This small format paperback, about 340 pages thick, is a handy little book for looking up code and finding out quickly how to do common tasks. It is – very appropriately – subtitled «Essential code and Commands».
PhP and MySQL Phrasebook contains more than 100 customizable code snippets, organized into 11 chapters and thus fairly easy to navigate to find the right code. The snippets cover all the basics of PhP, including working with variables and arrays – which in my opinion makes the book relatively useful even for beginners – and goes on to show how to use some of the more advanced code.
The author, Christian Wenz, is a very accomplished author and consultant with a focus on web technologies. He co-wrote the Zend PHP 5 and Zend PHP 5.3 Certifications and has contributed to several PHP packages in the PEAR repository. His writing style is clear and concise.
Personally, I found the section on using XML very useful. PhP and MySQL Phrasebook actually shows how to use several very powerful parsers: SAX, XMLReader, DOM, XMLWriter, SimpleXML, and XSL. All of this in no more than 16 pages! And for each it gives sufficient information to start working immediately.
I would like to point out that even though there is some basic coverage of the use of databases – including SQLite, PostgreSQL, and MSSQL – this book is more of a PhP book than a MySQL book. That is, it has quite a bit more breadth and depth in its dealings with PhP than when it deals with databases. However, it does give more than enough to set up programs to connect to various types of databases, do queries, work with the databases, and send back results in several useful formats.
Overall, PhP and MySQL Phrasebook is a useful introduction to PhP and MySQL, and a handy little book that one can actually bring along on trips in the computer bag.