Introduction to PHP and MySQL

Learn how to create an interactive Web site, allowing visitors to post and retrieve information provided by you or your site's visitors. In this six-week online course, you'll see how to create dynamic Web pages using the PHP programming language and the MySQL database server.

During the course, you'll walk through the development of a complete content management system Web application. You'll receive clear, step-by-step, instructions demonstrating how to create a complete Web site capable of dynamically displaying data from a MySQL database.

You'll discover how you can allow your site's visitors to add new information to an online database, search through posted data, and create meaningful printed reports. By the end of this course, you'll have plenty of useful code templates that will help you create your very own dynamic, Web-based, content management system.

To enroll in this course, click the Enroll Now button below:


A PHP and MySQL development environment. During the first lesson in the course, you will be walked through the process of installing WAMP5 software, which provides a full PHP and MySQL development environment. You can download WAMP5 for free from You will also need Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Vista (WAMP5 does not support either Windows 98 or Windows Me); Internet access; e-mail; and the and the Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox Web browser. Note: Macintosh users will not be able to use the WAMP5 software, and must provide their own PHP and MySQL development environment. Prior HTML coding experience is helpful, but not required.


All courses run for six weeks, with a two-week grace period at the end. Two lessons are released each week for the six-week duration of the course. You do not have to be present when the lesson is released, but you must complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.

A new section of each course starts on the second or third Wednesday of each month. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.

Week One
Wednesday - Lesson 01
These days, people expect the information on professional Web sites to change continually and to remain up to date—even up to the minute. In this lesson, you'll start learning how to produce dynamic Web pages that can do just that. We'll begin exploring the Web application we'll be building throughout the course—one that will result in a complete content management system that you can adapt for any future Web sites you create. You'll see how the PHP programming language presents dynamic data, and how the MySQL database server stores it. We'll also dive into the world of WAMP servers, the engine behind dynamic Web sites. Finally, you'll take a big (but easy) step forward by downloading and installing a WAMP server on your own computer.
Friday - Lesson 02
PHP has taken the Web by storm, and there are now literally thousands of sites that use it to give visitors a dynamic experience. Today, we'll look behind the curtain of these Web sites so you can see how you can use PHP in your own applications. We'll examine the basic structure of the language, and you'll discover how easy it is to start programming with it.
Week Two
Wednesday - Lesson 03
The core of any dynamic Web site is its database engine. The WAMP server we're working with uses the popular MySQL database server to store data. In this lesson, you'll find out how to work with it to provide the content for your application. We'll examine what database elements are required to store and access data, and then we'll implement them using the graphical phpMyAdmin program. You'll learn how to create databases, data tables, and a user account.
Friday - Lesson 04
Throughout this course, we'll be creating a dynamic Recipe Center Web application. It will allow visitors to post new recipes as well as view existing recipes and post comments about them. This will be a fun, interactive way to learn how to use PHP and MySQL. It will also result in a template you can use to build any other dynamic Web applications you want. Today, we'll look at the elements you'll need for the Recipe Center application, and we'll map out a strategy for creating the final product. We'll start by building the center of the application—the home page. From there, your visitors will be able to view a list of recipes, see the latest site news, and navigate to all of the site's other sections.
Week Three
Wednesday - Lesson 05
In this lesson, using your newfound PHP programming skills and your newly created MySQL database, we'll actually start displaying recipes in the Recipe Center application. You'll see how PHP-included files can help keep your programming code simple. And you'll find out how PHP can help you create dynamic links on your Web pages—links that change along with the data on the pages.
Friday - Lesson 06
From simple guest books to complicated interactive discussion areas, allowing visitors to post data on a Web site has become commonplace. Today, you'll see how PHP can extract data from simple HTML forms and store it in your MySQL database. Then we'll use this feature to allow visitors to post comments and new recipes in the Recipe Center application.
Week Four
Wednesday - Lesson 07
These days, users expect Web sites to provide data-searching features. So in this lesson, we'll focus on incorporating searching into the Recipe Center application. We'll examine some common searching algorithms, and we'll go over the SQL tricks and PHP coding you'll need to know to implement them.
Friday - Lesson 08
While some people would like to live in a paperless society, many still find it necessary to print everything. But trying to print data from a dynamic Web site is often challenging. Fortunately, today you'll discover what you can do to make printing simpler for your Web site visitors. We'll go over two different techniques you can incorporate into your Web applications to let visitors print exactly what they need. Then we'll implement both of them into the Recipe Center application so you can see them in action.
Week Five
Wednesday - Lesson 09
Just saying the word security can send Web administrators into a frenzy. But any dynamic Web site that allows visitors to post data needs to have some level of security. In this lesson, we'll look at what you can do to protect your Recipe Center application from vandals and comment spammers. You'll see how to use PHP to control who can post items, and we'll create a log-in system for the application that tracks logged-in visitors as they request services.
Friday - Lesson 10
Unfortunately, bad things can happen to data that's on the Web, and it's your job to be prepared for the worst. Today, we'll walk through the options for protecting your data from a catastrophe. We'll discuss how to use data backups to help minimize any data loss, and you'll see how to backup the MySQL server data to safely store information in case your server crashes. Finally, we'll look at how to use the simple phpMyAdmin utility to export your data at a moment's notice—even while your visitors are still busily working away in the application.
Week Six
Wednesday - Lesson 11
Sometimes you can have too much data on a Web page. There's nothing worse than dumping thousands of data records onto your users' screens and making them sort through all of it. In this lesson, you'll learn about a user-friendly way to handle massive amounts of data. It's called paging, and commercial search engines like Google and Yahoo popularized it. We'll take a peek at how they use paging, and then we'll apply their techniques to the Recipe Center application.
Friday - Lesson 12
One problem with dynamic Web pages is that there are lots of code files to keep track of. For a large application, you can easily lose track of which files have been modified or which versions of files are active. In our final lesson, you'll learn how to organize your PHP programming environment using software version control packages. We'll walk through the process of using a simple version control system to manage the Recipe Center application files. You'll see how easy it is to implement code management in your project and the benefits of taking a few extra minutes to do so. Finally, we'll focus on some important files you should know about when you're running your own WAMP server. You'll discover how to keep track of who's using your Web server and how to spot errors and hackers.

To enroll in this course, click the Enroll Now button below:

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