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Web Database Applications with PHP \& MySQLWeb Database Applications with PHP \& MySQLSearch this book

0.3. How This Book Is Organized

There are 13 chapters and 5 appendixes in this book. Chapter 1 to Chapter 3 introduce web database applications, PHP, MySQL, and SQL:

Chapter 1
Discusses the three-tier architecture commonly used in web database applications and in those that we discuss in this book. We introduce each of the three tiers and the features of each, and we introduce the software tools that we use. We also briefly introduce web protocols. The chapter concludes with an introduction to our case study example, Hugh and Dave's Online Wines. We discuss the components of the winestore, the system requirements, and where in the book the techniques to develop each component are covered.

Chapter 2
Introduces the PHP scripting language. It covers programming in PHP and discusses the basic programming constructs, variables, types, functions, techniques, and common sources of bugs. We include many short code examples to illustrate how to program with PHP.

Chapter 3
Introduces the MySQL DBMS and how to interact with it using the database query language SQL. Using examples from the online winestore, we introduce the SQL commands for creating, deleting, and updating data and databases. We also present a longer, example-driven section on querying the online winestore. The chapter concludes with discussion of advanced topics, including MySQL database tuning and configuration.

Chapter 4 to Chapter 9 cover the principles and practice of developing web database application logic.

Chapter 4
Introduces the basics of connecting to the MySQL DBMS with PHP. We explain the querying process used in most interactions with the DBMS and present examples that use most of the PHP MySQL library functions. We also show how results from database queries can be formatted as HTML for delivery in a web browser. The chapter is supported by the online winestore case study example, which shows how to build a moderately complex querying module.

Chapter 5
Continues the principles and practice of querying web databases. Here we focus on user-driven querying, in which the user provides parameters to the querying process. We show how data is encoded, sent in requests from a web browser to a web server, and decoded for processing in PHP. We discuss the security implications in processing user data and show steps to secure interactive querying systems. Our discussion is supported by a user-driven querying example with results that can be browsed page by page.

Chapter 6
Covers writing data to web databases. There are several reasons why writing data is different from reading it. For example, reloading or printing a page from a web browser can cause data to be written to a database more than once. Multiple users accessing the same database introduces other problems, such as data unexpectedly being changed by one user while it's being read by another. We discuss how to solve problems related to the nature of the Web and multiple users. We illustrate the principles with an example that adds and edits customer details in the online winestore.

Chapter 7
This chapter is related to Chapter 6 and presents the principles and techniques for user-input validation. We introduce validation models and reporting methods that work in web database applications and show how these are implemented using PHP and supported by client-side, browser-based JavaScript.

Chapter 8
Covers the principles of adding session management to web database applications. Session management allows the interactions between a user and the application to be related so that, for example, a user can log in and log out of an application and be guided through a series of steps in a process. We show how PHP manages sessions and illustrate the techniques with a case study of managing error feedback to users who are joining as customers of the winestore.

Chapter 9
Presents topics in web security. We show how PHP can be used for basic authentication, how databases can manage many users, and how communications can be secured with the network-level secure sockets layer. Our case study is the login and logout process for the online winestore. This extends our discussion of session management in Chapter 8.

Chapter 10 to Chapter 13 present and outline the completed winestore case study. The outlines aren't comprehensive: we assume you have completed Chapter 4 to Chapter 9 and understand the principles of developing web database applications. We recommend that you view, edit, and use the winestore PHP scripts while reading Chapter 10 through Chapter 13.

Chapter 10
Presents the code for customer management in the winestore, as well as the general-purpose functions that are used throughout the application. The code presented is based on the examples developed throughout Chapter 4 to Chapter 8. We present the scripts for collecting, validating, and modifying customer details. We also include the code for the user login and logout processes based on the material presented in Chapter 9.

Chapter 11
Presents the code for the shopping cart at the winestore. The shopping cart is stored in a database, and each user's cart is tracked using the session techniques from Chapter 8. The cart module allows a user to view her cart, add items to the cart, update item quantities, delete items, and empty the cart.

Chapter 12
Presents the code for the ordering and shipping modules of the winestore. The ordering process shows how the complex database-processing techniques discussed in Chapter 3 and Chapter 6 are used to convert a shopping cart into a customer order. We also show how email confirmations of the order are sent to the user, and an order confirmation is presented as an HTML page.

Chapter 13
Concludes the case study examples and presents related web database topics. We present the complete searching and browsing winestore module based on the techniques discussed in Chapter 5. We also discuss automating queries and using templates to separate script code from HTML markup.

There are five appendixes in this book:

Appendix A
A concise guide to installing the Apache web server, PHP, and MySQL under the Linux operating system; includes resource pointers to more detailed installation guides for Linux and other operating systems.

Appendix B
Builds on Chapter 1 and describes the workings of the Web in greater detail.

Appendix C
Contains a case study that models the system requirements for the winestore using entity-relationship database modeling. It shows how this model can be converted to a design. It also details the SQL commands used to create the winestore database.

Appendix D
An extension of Chapter 8, this appendix shows how the default PHP method for session handling can be moved to the more scalable underlying database tier.

Appendix E
Lists useful resources, including web sites and books containing more information on the topics presented throughout this book.

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