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In this article Strydom Web Development will lay out the steps needed and explain How to build a Database Driven Website using PHP & MySQL.

How to build a Database Driven Website using PHP & MySQL

What Is PHP?

PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML.

Instead of lots of commands to output HTML (as seen in C or Perl), PHP pages contain HTML with embedded code that does “something” (in this case, output “Hi, I’m a PHP script!”). The PHP code is enclosed in special start and end processing instructions that allow you to jump into and out of “PHP mode.”

What distinguishes PHP from something like client-side JavaScript is that the code is executed on the server, generating HTML which is then sent to the client. The client would receive the results of running that script, but would not know what the underlying code was. You can even configure your web server to process all your HTML files with PHP, and then there’s really no way that users can tell what you have up your sleeve.

The best things in using PHP are that it is extremely simple for a newcomer, but offers many advanced features for a professional programmer. Don’t be afraid reading the long list of PHP’s features. You can jump in, in a short time, and start writing simple scripts in a few hours.

Although PHP’s development is focused on server-side scripting, you can do much more with it. Read on, and see more in the What can PHP do? section, or go right to the introductory tutorial if you are only interested in web programming.

What Is MySQL in How to build a Database Driven Website

What is MySQL?
MySQL is a freely available open source Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) that uses Structured Query Language (SQL).

SQL is the most popular language for adding, accessing and managing content in a database. It is most noted for its quick processing, proven reliability, ease and flexibility of use.

MySQL is an essential part of almost every open source PHP application. Good examples for PHP & MySQL-based scripts are WordPress, Joomla, Magento and Drupal.

One of the most important things about using MySQL is to have a MySQL specialized host. Here are some of the things SiteGround can offer:

We have long experience in providing technical support for MySQL-based web sites. Thanks to it our servers are perfectly optimized to offer the best overall performance for most MySQL applications.

We offer a lot of free MySQL tools including CMS systems, forums, galleries, blogs, shopping carts and more.

We support MySQL 5 and we provide unlimited MySQL databases on all our hosting plans.

Why PHP in How to build a Database Driven Website

The distinguishing feature of PHP is that the scripting code is executed on the server, which generates HTML that is sent back to the client. The client receives the result of executing the script without knowing the underlying code. Developers can configure the web server to process all the HTML files (containing the PHP script).

PHP course is easy to learn for any newcomer, but also offers advanced programming features.

Using PHP with a database system

PHP, as a scripting language, is popular among web developers because of its ability to interact with database systems including Oracle and MySQL.

This article discusses the use of PHP scripting language with the MySQL database. Any website can require a variety of data or information to display and to retrieve them from the database. This can include display of a simple list to the running of the website based on data stored in the database.

Listed below are some examples where PHP and MySQL can be used together:

• Digital Ad banners, where the PHP script can be used to retrieve a digital banner from the database, which then selects a random banner from its table records and sends it back to the calling script. The PHP script can also maintain a count of banner views and clicks from the website.

• Internet forums or digital boards, which use PHP and MySQL to store and retrieve user messages.

• Website designing, where the design of an entire website can be changed using a couple of PHP scripts, instead of changing and uploading each web page. The PHP script can access the MySQL database to retrieve all information about the web page.

Critical Role Of using PHP And MySQL How to build a Database Driven Website

In static websites, you create your site with HTML, CSS and Java which requires you to upload your website building files to another location. Whether it is a web hosting service, an ISP or a web server set by your business, this changes when it comes to using PHP. PHP is a server-side scripting language which serves as a plugin for your web server to enable it run PHP scripts. Basically, you will have to download PHP and install it for it to be able to carry out this function.

Downloading PHP On Own Web Server

Whether you are using Linux, Mac OS or Windows, you will need PHP and MySQL which is your database for your website. If you are lucky then your web host’s server already has PHP and MySQL, which means you will not have to install.

Installing PHP And MySQL Together On Windows

One way to handle this double-prong installation is to do it together as follows. You need:

Windows, Apache, MySQL, and PHP (WampServer), a one-in-all installation program to make your work easy. This program contains the current versions of this software.

Once you have it, follow the easy installation procedure by identifying the location, most preferably the default installation directory in your machine.

Choose your default browser and if you are not using Firefox, just choose an executable file where your browser is located.

APACHE HTTP, a popular web server for PHP development, will appear and Windows will issue an alert as WampServer installs.

Type in your ISP’s SMTP server address and your email when prompted.

Fire up WampServer when installation is complete and try it out on your localhost menu item at the top of the box.

If you are a business owner and you don’t have adequate IT skills, this process might get tricky and you can call in web development experts from to guide you through the process. Or sign up here and create a website using Easysite the site builder for people that have no web design or coding knowledge. That’s right even your Granny could make a website with its just so easy. If you want to get your hands dirty, you can opt for the longer per- package installation delineated below.

Individual One-package Installation

This process might take time, but it is the way to go if you want to learn the workings of PHP and MySQL. Installation of MySQL database is no big deal because you can do it online free of charge from the free MySQL Community Server.

You will then follow the Windows links depending on whether you are using the 64-bit or 32-bit version.

Go through the installation process, through the set up and configure MySQL server now to launch the configuration wizard.

The installation wizard will request for this information which you will fill as indicated;

Server type: Developer machine.
Database: Non-transactional database only.
Connection limit: Decision Support (DSS) /OLAP.
Networking options: Enable strict mode option.
Default character set: Best Support For Multilingualism.
Windows option: Allow MySQL as Windows Service and make it easier to run
MySQL’s admin tools from the command prompt by including Bin Directory in Windows Assistant.
Security options: Modify the security settings options to learn these settings with assistance of the wizard before learning the ropes.

You can verify the wizard is working by opening the task manager to check whether the program is running.

Installing PHP Individually

Start by choosing the latest version of PHP and select either the installer version, which is quicker, or opt for the zipped package for manual installation. For some Windows versions, including XP and Vista, you need to install your own web server to develop a database driven website as they have no internet Information Services (IIS).

Things get a bit tricky here because it is not common to host websites built with PHP on IIS. Linux OS is more popular to host PHP-powered sites, but then again if you are working in an environment where the company has invested in technologies, you better use IIS infrastructure to host your website.

The easiest way around this issue is to simply go to install.txt and get an easy PHP installation process that will ensure you have a running website.

Truth be told, you might find it too cumbersome to go through the whole installation procedure, but the fruits of your Windows MySQL driven websites will revolutionize your business. If you don’t have the time, or the necessary skills, calling a remote database administration expert is easy and they will complete everything for you. All you will have to do is log in and start administering your website.

Free Tools list in How to build a Database Driven Website using PHP & MySQL

  • 7-Zip
  • HashCalc
  • MySQL
  • SQLyog
  • Apache web server
  • Microsoft SMTP Server
  • Crimson Editor
  • NotePad2
  • FileZilla Client
  • ExamDiff
  • Color Picker
  • Agent Ransack
  • Microsoft Paint
  • Firefox
  • Firebug – a Firefox add-on for debugging JavaScript, HTML, and CSS
  • KeePass

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How to build a Database Driven Website using PHP & MySQL