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PHP Web Development with Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 [Kindle Edition]

David Powers , Allan Kent , Rachel Andrew
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Review

From the reviews:

"PHP Web Development … is a concise, compact, no-nonsense guide that teaches you how to develop accessible, standards compliant PHP-driven Web sites using the latest technologies. … This author team presents real-world tutorials so you can expect fast results as you progress through the book. It also covers vital Web development topics such as Web standards principles and implementation and includes a useful set-up section to guide and get you up-and-running quickly and easily." (it-expert, Issue no. 48, 2004)

Product Description

PHP is the most popular Open source server-side scripting language, with extensive support available in Dreamweaver MX. This concise, no-nonsense book teaches you how to develop accessible, standards-compliant PHP-driven websites using PHP 4 and Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004.



PHP Web Development with Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 presents real-world tutorials so you can expect fast results as you progress through the book. It also covers vital web development topics such as web standards principles and implementation, and it includes a useful setup section to get you up-and-running quickly and easily.


Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7811 KB
  • Print Length: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Apress (June 28 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001J2XY38
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Learn PHP with this book?? April 7 2006
Format:Paperback
If you want to learn about PHP, MySQL and how to do it in Dreamweaver, it could be a good book, since it's almost the only one... But if you really want to learn PHP and/or MySQL, buy a book on that topic.
This book is more about Dreamweaver than PHP.
First chapter: a rapid introduction to PHP. Didn't learn anything, but may be good if you're new to PHP.
Second chapter: MySQL. The same as for chapter one.
Chapter 3: Introduction to Dreamweaver. I hope if you want to work with PHP in DW that you already know DW a bit... If not, it may help, but it's very low level.
Chapter 4: Web standards in DW... Did I buy the right book? I was looking to know how to program in PHP with DW...
Chapter 5: Data manipulationand Server behaviors... ahh, finally... but VERY disapointing. It's the only chapter really on the subject, and it's just a quick overview.
Chapter 6: Code reuse with DW... Chapter 7: DW extensions... Hello?? It's supposed to be a book on PHP!!
Chapter 8: Debugging and error handling...
Chapter 9: an example (about 20% of the whole book...). Haven't read it yet... It's my last hope to save the book a one star score... Hope it's well done and I can use it to teach PHP with DW. (Did't tell you... it was supposed to be a book that I would use to teach DW and PHP... Don't think I'll use much of it).
So, this is really a tiny introduction to PHP. If you're serious about learning PHP, buy a book on that topic. There are some tools in DW to help you with that, but many aren't even touched in this book and the others are just fly over.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Finally! July 7 2004
Format:Paperback
Beginning July and this book has finally shipped! I Got it a few days ago and I am only half way into it, but it seems like a good 'investment' Finally a book that explains all the aspect of using PHP and MySQL with DreamWeaver MX2004. Most of it is applicable to DreamWeaver MX (6.x).
The content is excellent and despite the somewhat dry writing style very well structured and with great depth. Many other books failed for me to convey the whole idea of using PHP in DMX but this one finally works for me. Not only do they give great advice, but the debugging / trouble shooting section is extensive and certainly helpful for beginners (like me) and intermediates. It's not easy reading and not as enjoyable as Jeffrey Zeldmans "Designing with Web Standards" but that may be due to the topic and covered material. Databases are somewhat complex by nature.
The only thing I don't particularily care about is the layout. It starts with a typewriter style Table of Contents and ripples thru the book with somewhat inconsistent layout. (Some pictures have capitons others don't, some paragrahps are wider than others despite being of the same importance etc.) But that's mostly for the eye.
There is no CD included for the samples but that may be a good thing. Since "learning by doing" is less effective when taking shortcuts and simply loading the examples. However, if you don't like typing, the author's website provides downloads.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful as Assyrian May 18 2004
Format:Paperback
This book is very good book period.
It cover the php in a very interesting way.
Excellent for anybody.
Long live Assyria, the greatest.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The single most valuable book on web design that I own. Sept. 19 2004
By Josh Leslie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As the title to my review suggests, if I had to describe this book in one sentence, that is the sentence I would have to use.

If someone with a rudimentary understanding of web design (someone that knew the basics, such as what (X)HTML tags do, and someone that has a decent grasp on how to put together static web pages) asked me what one book they should buy in order to better their web design skills, "PHP Web Development with Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004" would be the book I would suggest to them. The reasons for this, I cite below. I also cite below the reasons why I would recommend this book to anyone who -- like myself -- has been hesitant to delve into designing dynamic websites, and in particular anyone who has been hesitant to put their feet down and take the plunge into PHP; the most popular scripting language in the world today for dynamic website solutions.

First off, I think that the authors of this book go above and beyond the call of duty of their subject matter, in that they included several chapters in this book that -- strictly speaking -- didn't have to be included. Had they followed a similar route to a lot of technical books out on the market these days, they could simply have included the bare-bones amount of information needed to do what the title of the book implies: develop dynamic PHP websites in DWMX 2004. However, the book would have been half the size, and so much the worse for it had they decided to take that route. I, and I'm sure many other readers of the book are thankful that they didn't take that route.

Instead, they include four chapters that make this book an invaluable addition to the shelf of any web designer who uses Macromedia Dreamweaver software to design websites. These four chapters are: Web Standards in Dreamweaver; Code Reuse with Dreamweaver and PHP; Dreamweaver Extensions; and Debugging and Error Handling. If you buy this book, even after you have finished it I guarantee that you will be coming back to it, to one or more of the above chapters. Why?, you might ask. The reason is simple:

In "Web Standards in Dreamweaver", the authors wisely enlisted the expertise of Rachel Andrew (one of the leading advocates of Web Standards, who is the Web Standards Project's "Dreamweaver Task Force" Member) who provides readers with a crash course in web standards with Dreamweaver. Calling it a crash course is not an overstatement -- in 70 pages Rachel covers a vast array of difficult topics ranging from the basics of working with Cascading Style Sheets, to authoring web pages that comply to current web standards (XHTML and CSS) in Dreamweaver; not to mention the fact that she offers guidelines for producing table layout webpages in DW -- and *then* shows how to move to constructing CSS layout webpages in DW. I own complete books on web standards (all useful for various reasons), but trust me when I tell you that Rachel Andrews essentially packs all of the practical design advice from these books into one chapter, and then some. It is no understatement to say that if you are new to designing with web standards in mind, you will be well on your way if you commit all of the information in this chapter to memory and incorporate it into your design practices.

The chapter on Code Reuse with Dreamweaver and PHP lays out in clear language and no-nonsense discussion the various advantages and disadvantages of the built-in code reuse features of Dreamweaver (templates, library items, and the Snippets panel), and of using include files with PHP. Not only that, but as icing on the cake it shows you how to build your own PHP functions, in plain langauge. Before I bought this book, I never would have even joked about writing my own PHP function -- even though I bought a fairly comprehensive book on PHP several years ago, it has never been of much use to me. In fact, I think that it made the prospect of using PHP to produce dynamic webpages all the more daunting and inaccessible to me than anything. Thankfully, this book has changed that for me, and I'm sure that I will now be revisiting the book I bought a few years ago with renewed confidence and interest (keeping in mind the changes to PHP since then, of course!).

The Dreamweaver Extensions chapter teaches you some of the inner workings of Dreamweaver and how to acquire and make use of DW extensions, as well as works you through how to make your own Dreamweaver extension! Certainly has peaked my interest to learn Javascript at some point so that I can have more control over the customization of Dreamweaver to be even better suited to my design methods/approach.

The chapter on Debugging and Error Handling is, for me, the true gem of this book. That is because -- prior to reading this book -- I found the idea of debugging scripts virtually incomprehensible without having a systematic approach to attempt it. That was the missing link that this book filled in for me, and I think it is one of the main reasons I was initially so unconfident about delving into learning and using PHP; the debugging was just a nightmare to me, and I didn't want to continually have to bother other people to help debug simple problems. After finishing the book I designed a rather complex form (by my standards, anyway) complete with error checking. I debugged it myself except for one small hitch which one of the authors replied to me directly about, and which has been specifically addressed in a second printing of the book -- support doesn't get much better than that!

Of course, the rest of the chapters are equally valuable; the first chapter on PHP gives the most straightforward explanation of what PHP is all about and its basic functionalities that I've read to date. The second chapter on MySQL and SQL gives an impressive introduction to working with MySQL databases and SQL -- this is something I knew a fair bit about before reading this book (since I have a big book on MySQL), but since I hadn't touched it in a few years it was an excellent refresher course, and I think it covers all of the major points someone new to designing and working with MySQL databases would need to get off the ground. The third chapter gives a helpful overview of the changes and additional functionality of DWMX 2004, and once the book has provided you with the basics, you launch head-first into Rachel Andrew's chapter and then into learning how to make dynamic sites with PHP.

The Data Manipulation and Server Behaviors chapter is the one I have to thank for changing the terms "server behavior" and "recordset" from something inaccessible to me, to terms I now use on a regular basis. It removed the bit of mysticism surrounding these features of Dreamweaver that have been there since the first version of it that I used (Dreamweaver 4 Ultradev) but have always avoided like the plague. Lots of useful information in that chapter, and it explains how to use some of the most common built-in server behaviors that come packaged with DWMX 2004 (which *will* be helpful down the road, for anyone building dynamic sites with DWMX 2004 and PHP).

Finally, the book contains a complete 120-page (huge) case study which guides you through building both an administrative backend and a full frontend to a website, complete with many features that would be oft-requested by a lot of organizations and/or very useful to them! It also contains something else that didn't strictly *have* to be included but is something I (and undoubtedly many others) are happy was included -- how to build a 'smart' contact form using PHP, with form field validation. Add to that the fact that you are provided with the code for several handy custom PHP functions (in addition to being taught earlier in the book how to write your own) and it makes for a great culminating chapter to a great book.

If I had to find one downside to the book, it is that CSS is essentially briefed over (Rachel Andrew provides all of the basic elements needed to get started, but understandably doesn't get into too much detail as her chapter is an overview of so many things). So if you are new to CSS I would suggest getting ahold of a good book on CSS. Anything by Eric Meyer will do the trick, but which one you go with will depend on your learning style. There is an Owen Briggs book that is supposedly really good too, that I plan to get my hands on soon.

In conclusion, I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone wishing to learn PHP (who doesn't 'think' like a programmer -- meaning that they learn better from pragmatic examples in a 'big picture' content, than from simply reading a technical treatise on the syntax of a scripting or programming language, with descriptions of its functions outside of an overarching context of how they might be used within a webpage and/or website as a whole). Especially those who already use Dreamweaver to design for the web.

I would also recommend it for programmer-types, believe it or not -- but for different reasons. A good friend of mine is a programmer, and he avoids Dreamweaver like the plague. However, he (and other talented programmers like him) would probably be surprised at how much quicker they could be designing webpages if they customized the heck out of Dreamweaver (by extending it to suit their programming style, and to deal with the typical sorts of tasks they code) and I think this book would help convince them of that, from a combination of the chapters on Web Standards and Dreamweaver, Extending Dreamweaver, Code Reuse with Dreamweaver and PHP, and the case study.

That being said, if you are interested in learning PHP to enter the fray of designing dynamic websites, this book would be an invaluable first step to making the transition. For all of the reasons cited above, I think that this book is worth its weight in gold, and it earns the title of "most valuable book on web design that I currently own". This is a book that I will be coming back to, because contained within its pages are not only examples of how to design pages with PHP and DWMX 2004, but the basic instructions you need to extend both Dreamweaver, and yourself as a web designer; teaching you not only how to do something according to a template or example, but how to go about 'breaking out of the box' when you are ready to, and coming up with your own templates and custom web solutions.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meanders a bit around the target Oct. 21 2004
By Jack D. Herrington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I'd like to give this book five stars because I think the coverage of Dreamweaver in the area of PHP development is well written and effective. The problem is that the book meanders off topic here and there. Getting deep into basic Dreamweaver features like basic editing, HTML layout, and CSS, well before getting into PHP. It's not until chapter five (page 153) that we really start to get into PHP.

The coverage then goes off topic again after the introduction to PHP, to get into writing Dreamweaver extensions. Which while interesting, is probably not what the reader was expecting from the title of the book.

It's hard to compare this book with a straight PHP web development book because the PHP coverage is from the Dreamweaver GUI perspective, where you can use the server behaviors features to drag-n-drop fields onto the page.

For those looking for a soup to nuts book that covers using Dreamweaver to build dynamic PHP pages, you have found your book. For those looking for coverage of the PHP specific features of Dreamweaver, this book is worth the look. If you are looking for a reference or introduction to PHP, this is not the book you want.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally! July 7 2004
By T. Theuerkorn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Beginning July and this book has finally shipped! I Got it a few days ago and I am only half way into it, but it seems like a good 'investment' Finally a book that explains all the aspect of using PHP and MySQL with DreamWeaver MX2004. Most of it is applicable to DreamWeaver MX (6.x).
The content is excellent and despite the somewhat dry writing style very well structured and with great depth. Many other books failed for me to convey the whole idea of using PHP in DMX but this one finally works for me. Not only do they give great advice, but the debugging / trouble shooting section is extensive and certainly helpful for beginners (like me) and intermediates. It's not easy reading and not as enjoyable as Jeffrey Zeldmans "Designing with Web Standards" but that may be due to the topic and covered material. Databases are somewhat complex by nature.
The only thing I don't particularily care about is the layout. It starts with a typewriter style Table of Contents and ripples thru the book with somewhat inconsistent layout. (Some pictures have capitons others don't, some paragrahps are wider than others despite being of the same importance etc.) But that's mostly for the eye.
There is no CD included for the samples but that may be a good thing. Since "learning by doing" is less effective when taking shortcuts and simply loading the examples. However, if you don't like typing, the author's website provides downloads.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on creating dynamic web sites May 17 2005
By Michael A. Milauskas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had a little knowledge of PHP and MySQL and had worked through part of an introductory book on the subject, but I really hate programming (even though it seems I'm forced to learn *something* as I progress in my web development career). So I picked up PHP Web Development w/ Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 because I thought it would take some of the pain out of creating a dynamic web site (database-driven) from scratch.

While the stuff I learned from the other book (syntax basics, etc.) gave me a pretty fair foundation, this book opened up new horizons. It's so great to be able to use Dreamweaver to automate so much of what goes into a dynamic site. Also, this book discusses the free PHPMyAdmin which makes creation and administration of databases a snap (BTW I'm a Mac OS X user).

Not only was I able to work through the exercises in relatively short order, I was pleased to find that one of the authors (David Powers) checks into the Apress forums on the Apress.com website and personally helped me when I got to hurdles. That may not always be the case, but it was an extra benefit I found after purchasing the book.

I think the book was written in just the right style. I had a little bit of PHP/MySQL experience (which helped) but the book went detailed each step I was supposed to take so even if I didn't have that experience, I was able to follow along. The great thing about PHP and MySQL is that they are both FREE and open source so IT COSTS NOTHING to put together a dynamic, database-driven site. This book helps you do just that. I still have a long way to go as far as being able to put together my own site from scratch, but this book was fantastic. I will go back to page one and re-read it just to make sure Iget the concepts down.

I recommend this book very highly (and have never written a book review before so that speaks for itself).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good Not A Rave May 10 2005
By Iden Rosenthal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read the rave reviews for the this book of these other authors on Amazon, I was excited get started with this book learning how to actually use the tools that Dreamweaver provides for PHP based website creation. I admit I was a little disappointed but did learn alot about how to use Dreamweaver with PHP especially after repeating the examples more than once.

To be fair, the only part of the book that I wanted was how to use Dreamweaver's PHP features which cannot be figured out on one's own. The book includes chapters on web standards such as CSS and XHTML as well code reuse, debugging and error handling, and extension use and writing. I read the web standards chapter and glanced through the others because code reuse and debugging are easier to figure out and more or less similar to other development environments or roll your own situations. Also to fully disclose I'm not more than a beginner at PHP, but have programmed in other languages. I have worked through the O'Reilly intro book and a self-assigned exercise I invented for myself. I was really hoping for a leg-up with Dreamweaver. I found the results using this book mixed. So much for disclaimers.

There are two example applications used in the book. Sometimes the notes on the examples boil down to "do this step now so that it will work later" and not enough generalized explanation of the tools used to get the work done. I would have appreciated a little more bird's eye discourse on how the tools in Dreamweaver (behaviors, recordsets, and the fields and buttons and other form elements used with them) are supposed to be used together.

The other note I have is the books writing is for some reason sometimes hard to follow because it seems they have left something in their commentary out. Now this of course may not be true in your case as it was for me.

What I did learn from this book is enough to use the basic php tools in Dreamweaver, so I do overall give it a plus, just not a rave. For example, I learned that each page maintains its own recordsets and recordsets can be cut and pasted between pages. I learned that field entry validation is accomplished by a simplified javascript behaviour which for real applications would probably have to be reworked. (The book does tell us where to get a better third party form validator though). Most valuable for me were the example applications which when studied and restudied should yield some confidence with Dreamweaver's imposing toolset interface.

My opinion is that as a tool for PHP, Dreamweaver is better if the user already knows enough PHP and javascript to modify the basis that Dreamweaver offers. It's still good if you don't but better if you do. Overall, this book has added to my ability to work with Dreamweaver in PHP so I would recommend it.
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