Sunday, March 20, 2005

Book Recommendation - Beginning PHP5, Apache, MySQL Web Development

My interest in web publishing has bumped into the limits of the hosting service that I use - Homestead. First the good news. If you want to get a web site up quickly and without learning anything new, use Homestead. They have a genuinely WYSIWYG editor that completely shields you from having to learn HTML or FTP or anything you would normally have to do to publish.

This simplicity of use has served me well for years, when I didn't have the time to attempt creating my own web site from scratch. I had two main objectives in publishing a web site - personal use, and information sharing regarding projects I was working on.

The personal use came from extensive business travel. While bookmarks work well if you are on one computer, they don't work when you are travelling or switching computers. I wanted an easy way to reach web sites that I regularly used for work and personal reading. Thus was born Hanafi's Haunt, my website. I have pages for Business News and Technology News, as well as pages covering projects such as computerizing my hi-fi.

The limit of Homestead is that it only supports rudimentary pages. One cannot create a database, RSS feed, or publish many types of files. To do so, it really is necessary to get down and dirty and create a web site from scratch.

Looking around, it became clear that the most common combination of tools was AMP - Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Apache is an open source web server, MySQL is an open source data base, and PHP is a scripting language.

I reviewed a number of different books to find something that catered to an absolute beginner. Many of the books published are reprints of manuals available on the web, or assume that the reader is already knowledgeable about the subject. I wanted something that took me through the steps of setting up the software and using it.

I am happy to report such a book exists. "Beginning PHP5, Apache, MySQL Web Development" published by WROX is readable, accurate, and has downloadable source code so you don't need to type in all the examples.

Highly recommended.

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