Learning PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Dynamic Websites

Posted by tripwire45 on Sep 9, 2009 11:42 PM EDT
A Million Chimpanzees; By James Pyles
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Unless you've been hiding in a cave for the past ten years or so, you know that it takes more than a bit of HTML slight-of-hand to make a modern, dynamic website. The (so-called) Web 2.0 is constructed of a mix of technologies, creatively applied to allow the interactivity we have become accustomed to when surfing the web. Just looking at the front and back covers of Robin Nixon's book, he (and O'Reilly) promises to teach the reader all of the technologies (though I see no mention of CSS) required to bring your Web 2.0 creation to life, and send it out on the Internet. The best bit of news is that, according to the back cover blurb, "No previous programming experience is required." Really? We'll see.

Frankly, programming isn't all that easy. If you've never programmed before, you learn your first programming language and all of the principles of programming in general, all at the same time. This can be an enormous chore, compared to knowing basic programming skills and adding another language to your bag of tricks. Certainly learning PHP, JavaScript, and MySQL seems a daunting task for the coding newbie. There are entire books written on each of these technologies, just for the beginner. It seems that Nixon has quite a job cut out for him.

I checked, and the Preface does say in the Audience section, that this book is suitable, not only for webmasters and graphic designers, but also for high school and college students, graduates, and the "self-taught" (the latter would be me, so I guess this is a good fit). The next section does announce the Assumptions This Book Makes, so it's not all gravy. HTML is the only concrete assumption (and again, I'm surprised no mention of CSS is included, since it is largely required for web page formatting). While prior exposure to PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript isn't required per se, such exposure will allow the reader to progress through the book at a faster pace. That makes sense, but I'll hold the author and publisher accountable to their stated intent, that I (or anyone) won't need such exposure to benefit from this book.

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