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Build Your Own Database Driven Website Using PHP & MySQL

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This book is aimed at intermediate and advanced Web designers looking to make the leap into server-side programming. You’ll be expected to be comfortable with simple HTML, as I’ll make use of it without much in the way of explanation. No knowledge of JavaScript is assumed or required, but if you do know JavaScript, you’ll find it will make learning PHP a breeze, since the languages are quite similar.

By the end of this book, you can expect to have a grasp of what’s involved in setting up and building a database-driven Website. If you follow the examples, you’ll also learn the basics of PHP (a server-side scripting language that gives you easy access to a database, and a lot more) and Structured Query Language (SQL—the standard language for interacting with relational databases) as supported by MySQL, one of the most popular free database engines available today. Most importantly, you’ll come away with everything you need to get started on your very own database-driven site!

“Content is king.” Cliché, yes; but it has never been more true. Once you’ve mastered HTML and learned a few neat tricks in JavaScript and Dynamic HTML, you can probably design a pretty impressive-looking Website. But your next task must be to fill that fancy page layout with some real information. Any site that successfully attracts repeat visitors has to have fresh and constantly updated content. In the world of traditional site building, that means HTML files—and lots of ’em.

The problem is that, more often than not, the people who provide the content for a site are not the same people who handle its design. Frequently, the content provider doesn’t even know HTML. How, then, is the content to get from the provider onto the Website? Not every company can afford to staff a full-time Webmaster, and most Webmasters have better things to do than copying Word files into HTML templates, anyway.

Maintenance of a content-driven site can be a real pain, too. Many sites (perhaps yours?) feel locked into a dry, outdated design because rewriting those hundreds of HTML files to reflect a new look would take forever. Server-side includes (SSIs) can help alleviate the burden a little, but you still end up with hundreds of files that need to be maintained should you wish to make a fundamental change to your site.
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