Excerpts from book:

Seriously though, was there life before the Web? Growing up today, one would hardly think so. The advent of the Internet has provided a basis for communication unparalleled in the history of mankind, with people both young and not so young using it as a means for shopping, learning, and communicating. In just a few short years following its inception, aspiring entrepreneurs have made it big, corporate empires have been built and lost, and entire economies are booming, all due in part to the vision of Tim Berners-Lee and his colleagues that the world might one day be interconnected via hyperlinks.

Of course, the Web has progressed substantially over the last ten years, beginning largely as a tool for scientific research and soon evolving to one capable of retrieving sometimes mind-boggling amounts of information. Perhaps the single most important contributing agent to the aggregation of this information is the ease in which it can be published to the Web. With minimal knowledge, a person can download a text editor, FTP software, and Web browsers and consequently be “published” to the electronic media.

However, the process behind the creation and maintenance of dynamic, large-scale Web sites tends to be somewhat more complicated. Typically incorporating features such as user interaction, database mining, and multiplatform accessibility, development of a professional Web service can quickly become a major undertaking. If you are interested in learning more about how these types of services can be constructed and deployed, this book is for you.

My main goal is to teach PHP in a way that is of immediate benefit to the user; I have no interest in blindly reciting information that can be easily read in the online PHP documentation. Rather, I’ve attempted to provide only information that will be of interest to the majority of Web developers, leaving some of the more obscure concepts to be learned in the interested reader’s own time. Concluding projects that relate to the subject matter discussed in the respective chapters are included when deemed necessary, giving the reader some extra insight into how that particular aspect of PHP can be put to practical use.

The PHP scripting language is the culmination of the collaboration of development efforts across the globe, resulting in the creation of a wonderfully rich and powerful Web development language. The sixteen chapters in this book delve into the many features that make this language so popular, beginning with a thorough introduction of the general concepts and constructs of the language, then moving into issues pertaining to Web development, such as building dynamic pages, creating dynamic links, and database interfacing. Finally, attention is directed toward advanced Web development and the role PHP can play in it, discussing XML, JavaScript, COM objects, and security.