Web Databases

PHP and MySQL Server Approach



Dale R. "Zai" Fox, Ph.D.



Office Hours:

2:00 - 2:50 PM Monday, Wednesday
5:30 - 6:30 PM Tuesday
or by appointment






Larry Ullman, PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Websites, Peachpit Press, 2003.

Important Reference: Rasmus Lerdorf, PHP Pocket Reference, O'Reilly, 2003.


The grade will be based on homework and tests 

  • There will be four homework assignments for a total of  60% of your grade.  You are expected to talk to each other when developing homework solutions, though each of you needs to turn in their own results.  

  • There will be two exams, a midterm and final, worth 40% of your grade.  


The course will be based on the assumption that you have some background in HTML or development of relatively static "information" pages for the WWW.  If you can develop your own personal web in HTML or FrontPage or some similar package you should have more than enough experience.  Though you are likely to learn much more about the meaning of HTML tags than you currently know.   If you don't currently have these capabilities it should be  relatively easy to compensate.

Any background in MySQL or SQL  will be helpful.  Almost nothing will be assumed about any such background.

Description: This course will be more of a course in PHP and MySQL with a focus on what it takes to develop some sort of store shopper profile pages and the administrative capabilities to deal with them.  Developing these administrative capabilities is actually more involved than developing the shopper profile capabilities, but something hidden from the shopper's experience.

Think about sites where you are a repeat shopper.  It is very nice to be able to visit and have them pull up things like your shipping and billing information without you having to reenter it.  You probably have not thought about the more administrative side of such situations.  We will also develop a web-based administrative interface.

The template will be more like a site that registers users based on their interests.  On a site like this you could develop other aspects such as user reports, chats, surveys and bulletin boards.

Required Software: For this course, most of the processing  will be enacted by a web server.  Thus you need to have a web browser in order to interact with the server.  The HTML will be executed by a client's browser.  The PHP and MySQL will be executed on the server.

I'm expecting each of you to register a domain and point the nameservers to


Personally, I think battcave.com does a very good job in a lot of ways and their approaches to a lot of things will be something we will examine throughout the course.

Ultimately, the entire course could be developed from Notepad.  I used to use  Homesite since I have been using it for web scripting for years.  But Homesite costs money.  Dreamweaver MX seems to now integrate all of the old HomeSite functionality into something much more, so it seems to be an even better choice. 

You will need some way to upload your files to the web.  Some sort of FTP program is best.  I use GlobalScape's CuteFTP.  It cost about $40.   There are many others, for example WS_FTP available at downloads.com, many of which are free.  You can also use Internet Explorer as an FTP program, which we will quickly cover in class.


Weekly Topic Coverage


Week 1

Domain Configuration for the Course

Some Background
Some Remote - Local - User Processing Issues
Some Database Issues
The QUESBMI Faculty Interest Database Management System

Some General Web Database Issues
What is PHP?

Week 2

Our First PHP Example - Hello World!
Characteristics of the PHP Installation on the Server
Variables and Constants
Quotation Marks

Some Form Processing
A Bit About Form Processing

Week 3

Some Built In Functions
Built In Functions for Numbers
Built In Functions for Strings
Built In Functions for Dates and Times

Decisions and Loops
Decision Statements

Homework 1

Week 4

Numerically Indexed Arrays
Associative Arrays

Input Validation
Input Validation

User Defined Functions
User Defined Functions
Another User Defined Function

Week 5

Sticky Forms
Sticky Forms
A Sticky Form with All the Form Controls

Session Variables
Session Login Security

Homework 2

Week 6


Week 7

Working with MySQL

Developing a Client Profile Manager
User Registration Background

Some Background on MySQL Tables
Creating the Table for the User Registration Clients
Home Page for the User Registration Clients
Adding a User

Week 8

Displaying all Users
Deleting a User
Modifying a User's Profile

Homework 3

Week 9

Developing the Admin Browser for the Client Profile Manager
Background on the Admin Browser
Developing the Sticky Form
Moving Around in the Table

Week 10

Deleting a User
Modifying a User
Finding a User

Week 11

Adding a User
Site Security

Homework 4

Week 12


Week 13


Week 14





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