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Introducing PHP and MySQL

PHP and MySQL which I use to make Holisticwebs.com* database enabled make up what must be the best combination for open-source data-driven Web sites on the planet for e-commerce and business applications. You needn't take my word for it. An unofficial Netcraft survey shows that PHP usage has jumped from 7,500 hosts in June 1998 to 1,000,000 in November 1999. That's not bad. The combination was also awarded Database of the Year at Webcon98, where it received recognition.

What is MySQL?

MySQL is a small, compact database server ideal for small - and not so small - applications. In addition to supporting standard (Structured Query Language) SQL (ANSI), it compiles on a number of platforms and has multithreading abilities on Unix servers, which make for great performance. For non-Unix people, MySQL can be run as a service on Windows NT and as a normal process in Windows 95/98 machines.

What is PHP?

PHP(Hypertext Preprocessor) is a server-side scripting language. If you've seen ASP(Active Server Pages), you'll be familiar with embedding code within an HTML page. Like ASP, PHP script is processed by the Web server. After the server plays with the PHP code, it returns plain old HTML back to the browser. This kind of interaction allows for some pretty complex operation. PHP code is not visible if you view the source of a page because the server processes the code and returns only the output. This is easier to code and debug than writing CGI scripts in Perl or C since the HTML form and related code are all in one page and PHP puts any errors on the browser.

What are the benefits of PHP-MySQL combination?

In addition to being free and which work with Unix or Linux, the PHP-MySQL combination is also cross-platform, which means you can develop in Windows and serve on a Unix platform. Also, PHP can be run as an external CGI process, a stand-alone script interpreter, or an embedded Apache module.

If you're interested, besides having the ability to connect with relational database such as MySQL, PHP also supports a massive number of databases, including Informix, Oracle, Sybase, Solid, DB2, mSQL and PostgreSQL - as well as the ubiquitous ODBC.

Assuming that your server has support for PHP activated and MySQL enabled (which I prefer and which my web host installs and supports), PHP supports a host of other features right at the technological edge of Internet development. These include authentication, XML, dynamic image creation, WDDX, shared memory support, and dynamic PDF document creation to name but a few. If that's not enough, PHP is easy to extend, so you can roll your own solution if you're a programmer.

Finally, since both efforts are collaborative in nature, there's always plenty of support from documentation, PHP manual and mailing lists from PHP and MySQL web sites. Bugs are fixed rapidly, and requests for features are always heard, evaluated, and if feasible, implemented.


Book Cover  A good reference book in PHP-MySQL programming
 I could recommend if you have programming and
 RDBMS(relational database management system) experience
 is called Professional PHP Programming from Wrox Press.
 Format: Paperback, 909 pp.
 ISBN: 1861002963 Publish Date: November 1999


PHP Program Samples

An example of PHP program usage in my web site is the Holisticwebs.com Work Practicum Application and the Drug Detoxification Program Assessment Form. Other examples are the Email Form to send the recipients' email address to obtain the Address Book username/password and the password protected pages with cookies: Qi Meditation and the book Ozone Therapy for TCMDs. Another password protected page without cookies is the Drug Detoxification Program website.

Database Samples

An example of a PHP-MySQL combination usage in my web site is the Holisticwebs.com Database Guest Book accessed in the Guest Book Page which can be used as a bulletin board or message board. Other examples are the password protected Holisticwebs.com Address Book which is another free service of Holisticwebs.com for programmers/ webmasters who wanted their names, email addresses and other info listed for IT skills referral, the Holisticwebs.com Shopping Cart (Discontinued) where you can buy online Express-Micro's computers and TechData's hardware/software products with secure authentication registration, the Holisticwebs.com Netpreneur Club where netpreneurs can register to login the Netpreneur Database, the forums websites such as Bulletin Board for drug addiction forums and the Message Board.

Clickable Menu Tree

 PHP Samples
      Work Application
      Drug Assessment
      Email Form
 Database Samples
      Address Book
      Netpreneur Club
      Bulletin board
      Message board

The bottom line is:

If you need dynamic information in your site, you need to develop a database backed web application.

*Note: What does Holistic mean when I say Holistic Websites?

According to the Webster dictionary, Holism, n. Philos. the theory that a being has an identity other than and exceeding the total or sum of its parts. - holist, n. - holistic.

When applied to the content of web sites, it would mean web sites which talk about the multidimensionality of a human being in a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual sense, and also deal with healing completely(holistically) health challenges in the same way.

When applied in the way the sites are constructed, in a programming sense, it would mean also that the sites are dynamic and interactive thru the use of both client-side and server-side scripting languages such as DHTML, Java, JavaScript, CGI scripts, PHP with non-relational and relational databases(MySQL, etc) in popular platforms (Unix, Linux, Windows NT, etc).

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