Skip to content

Searching for a good PHP & MySQL book (Part 1)

So far I’ve been more or less disappointed with the PHP and MySQL books I’ve glanced through. I try to read at least a few dozen pages in each to get an idea of the writing style and coverage. Perhaps it might be best to get separate books on PHP and MySQL? That’d be a shame, because there are so many which cover both of those topics.

What am I looking for?

  • An introduction to PHP and MySQL, rather than a cookbook. But the book can be geared towards the “advanced beginner,” if that makes any sense (i.e., I’m technically savvy but not a guru).
  • A focus on best coding practices, but also provide (and explain) examples of common mistakes and poor programming.
  • Coverage of PHP 5, including information on debugging, error messages and security. Examples using a content management system like WordPress a plus.
  • Basics of SQL and database design. Coverage of MySQL 5 preferred.
  • Platform independence, please.
  • Clear, succinct writing style. Of course.
  • Web and application resources a plus.

In any case, here are the first three books I’ve looked at.

Learning PHP & MySQL (Davis & Phillips, O’Reilly 2006, 1st edition). Covers PHP 5 and MySQL 4.1, which seems strange for a new book, since MySQL 5 has been out since 2005. (Admittedly that’s a naive remark since I don’t know much about MySQL’s development history.) I wouldn’t have minded the heavy reliance on Windows screenshots, except that the text really does seem dependent on that platform. Contains review questions at the end of each chapter, with answers in the back of the book. Has poor editing and a colloquial style which just ends up sounding like poor grammar to me. The chapter on database basics would be somewhat useful if it were better written.

PHP & MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites (Ullman, Peachpit 2005, 2nd edition). Like the Davis book, this on covers PHP 5 and MySQL 4.1. Peachpit uses a narrow 2-column layout in their QuickStart and QuickPro guides, which unfortunately makes both the code and text difficult to read. The book contains quite a few Mac screenshots, including Classic, oddly. Quickly dives into stuff, but clear. Best practices outlined in sections titled Tips, which somehow seems like awkward organization. Ullman uses XHTML 1.0 transitional markup, which is a nice touch.

Beginning PHP & MySQL 5: From Novice to Professional (Gilmore, Apress 2006, 1st edition). This book assumes knowledge of databases and SQL that I don’t (currently) have. (For example, I couldn’t find an overview of SQL.) So I’ve decided to move on to other books.

Submit a comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked with a red diamond, .