0.4. How to Use This Book
This book is designed as a tutorial-style introduction to web database applications.
If you haven't installed the Apache web server, the PHP scripting engine, or the MySQL database management system, begin with Appendix A. Appendix A lists possible methods for obtaining the software and includes instructions for those who wish to install from source code. Appendix A also shows how the examples used in this book can be downloaded and installed locally. We recommend obtaining the code and databases used in this book, as they will help you understand the concepts as they are presented. The database configuration steps are included at the beginning of Chapter 3.
Each chapter covers a different topic. Chapter 1 through Chapter 3 can be read independently. Chapter 1 introduces web database applications and the case study application. We recommend reading Chapter 1 first. Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 are designed as introductions to PHP and SQL, respectively; both can be used as references when reading the later chapters.
Chapter 4 through Chapter 9 are a major section with a tutorial style that follows through the principles and practice of web database applications. Chapter 4, Chapter 5, and Chapter 6 begin with basic principles and components. Chapter 7, Chapter 8, and Chapter 9 contain more sophisticated examples that rely on concepts from the earlier chapters. These chapters are designed to be read sequentially. By the conclusion of Chapter 9, you should have mastered the principles of developing web database applications.
Chapter 10 to Chapter 13 present and briefly discuss the completed scripts developed for the online winestore case study. The scripts show how the techniques from Chapter 4 to Chapter 9 are applied in practice and, as such, are most useful after mastering the content of the earlier chapters. The material in these later chapters is also particularly useful when the example application has been downloaded and installed on a local server, allowing the scripts to be modified and tested as the chapters are read.
Appendix B and Appendix C are also in a tutorial style. We recommend Appendix B if you are interested in or are unfamiliar with the web environment and its underlying protocols. Appendix C is a brief introduction to entity-relationship modeling for databases and shows the steps we took in designing the winestore database. We recommend reading Appendix C after completing Chapter 3, and only if a detailed understanding of the winestore database is desired.
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