Web database applications integrate databases and the Web. Well-known web destinations such as online auction sites, retail stores, news sites, discussion forums, and personalized home pages are all examples of web database applications. The popularity of these applications stems from their accessibility and usability: thousands of users can access the same data at the same time without the need to install additional software on their machines.
This book is for developers who want to build database applications that are integrated with the Web. It presents the principles and techniques of developing small- to medium-scale web database applications that store, manage, and retrieve data, as well as the basic techniques for securing an application. The architecture we describe is a successful framework for applications that can run on modest hardware and process more than a million hits per day from users.
An important feature of this book is our ongoing case study, Hugh and Dave's Online Wines. It's a complete but fictional online retail store that allows users to browse and search a database of wines, add items to a shopping cart, manage their membership, and purchase wines. Searching, browsing, storing user data, validating user input, managing user transactions, and security are each the subject of a chapter, and each topic is illustrated with examples from the case study. The completed winestore scripts are presented and briefly discussed at the end of the book.
We use open source software. Our database management system (DBMS) is MySQL, a system known for its suitability to applications that require speed but low resource overheads. Our scripting language is PHP, which is best known for its function libraries that interact with more than 15 relational database systems, the web environment, and many other services. We use PHP to develop the application logic that brings together the Web and the relational database management system (RDBMS). Apache is our web server of choice.
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