PHP 5 and MySQL

2 comments | Posted: 16 January 06 in Books, by Nathan Smith

Note: This is an older review I wrote for Amazon before we started Godbit. This is a book I refer back to from time to time though, and one I think that others might benefit from reading for themselves. So, here is the original review I did. This book has a second edition: Beginning PHP and MySQL 5.

I recently finished reading Beginning PHP 5 and MySQL, by W.J. Gilmore, and have found it to be a comprehensive yet also user-friendly reference. It is rare to find this combination in a programming book, because the two are usually mutually exclusive. Based on my past experiences, how-to books are either very informative but too complicated for a beginner, or easy to understand but lacking in depth. Too often, those who are knowledgeable speak about a topic at a level too difficult for the layman to grasp.

This is not so with Gilmore. He is clearly an experienced programmer, in his thorough explanations of the intricacies of the language. What sets him and this book apart however, is the way he welcomes the beginner in his straightforward approach to the various topics. He covers the full spectrum of PHP5 / MySQL capabilities, and also elaborates on other closely related areas such as Apache, RSS, Smarty, and SQLite to name a few.

This book could very well be titled PHP / MySQL: And Everything Else Under the Sun. I bought both this and the companion text Essential PHP Tools, by David Sklar. Not to fault Sklar’s writing or teaching ability, but much of what is in his book is already covered in Gilmore’s. Such topics include the Smarty templating engine, SOAP, and XML parsing.

I am a big adherent to the “So What” adage / principle. So, what does this mean for you, the end user, my fellow consumer and aspiring PHP 5 programmer? It means that if you are looking for a volume which not only informs but also teaches, look no further. There are plenty of books out there that act as encyclopedias, but this one serves as both reference and guide.

If you are considering Gilmore’s book amongst other options, purchase this one first and give it a read-through. If you still aren’t satisfied, then look to other books to enhance your knowledge. My hunch is that as you progress in your understanding, you will find this book to be not only informative but also foundational to your programming skills.

Discuss This Topic

  1. 1 David Hemphill

    Thanks for sticking this old review up here. It wasn’t long ago that I read Kevin Yank’s Build Your Own Database Driven Website Using PHP & MySQL and was somewhat dissapointed at its lack of depth. It does provide a very good foundation for learning, but it just didn’t explain things as well as it could have. I tend to need something that tells you why something works a certain way rather than just tell me it works this way. I definitely check this one out.

  2. 2 Nathan Smith

    David: Sure thing. Here’s another one that I have seen highly recommended: PHP and MySQL Web Development, by Luke Welling and Laura Thompson. It’s in it’s 3rd edition, has a 4.5 rating on Amazon, with 146 customer reviews. I haven’t read it myself, but I’ve seen it on several developers’ bookshelves.


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