The full title for this book is Codin’ for the Web: A Designer’s Guide to Developing Dynamic Web Sites and that is an accurate description of the contents of this book. The author also wrote Stylin’ with CSS: A Designer’s Guide. With this book he completes the loop. In the first book he had shown you how to make the site look good with style sheets divorced from code. In the latest books, he leads you through an education in how to use the php scripting language to create full featured dynamic page web sites.
The book is well designed with comprehensive screen shots and code listings. The code is available for download. This is always appreciated as it avoids the tedious practice of typing code from a book page during the learning process.
The book starts at the most basic level with an introduction to php and a simple explanation of statement syntax, variables, operators, etc.
Chapter 1 introduces the reader to coding principles. Types of variables, functions, control loops and much more are covered comprehensively. By the end of this chapter, the student has the knowledge and tools to write well styled php code.
Chapter 2 deals with form processing. The author covers input forms and the checking of data for completeness, correctness and security. Creating, reading, and writing flat files is covered.
Chapter 3 covers the creation of a mysql database. Code examples show how to add, modify, delete, select, and retrieve data. This is a good introduction to the power of the combination of php and mysql.
Chapter 4 continues using the database material to begin designing a content management system with the creation of database tables and the necessary administration section or back end of the site. Style sheets and editing functions are covered.
Chapter 5 is about cookies, sessions, and authentication. These are required for limiting access to areas of the site and for tracking visitors. The chapter gives example code for a members only site.
Chapter 6 extensively covers building a website with php. The value of include files for effective site maintenance and modification. The best practices for site navigation and the creation of dynamic page titles are given their own sections.
This book is highly recommended as a beginner/intermediate level introduction to building dynamic web sites with php/mysql. No book can give complete coverage but this one will take you a long way and the author does a good job of telling where to get more information. All this in a visually pleasing well designed book makes a book that you will want to add to your library.