Chapter 10. Database Access


Databases are central to many web applications. A database can hold almost any collection of information you may want to search and update, such as a user list, a product catalog, or recent headlines. One reason why PHP is such a great web programming language is its extensive database support. PHP can interact with just about any database you can think of, some relational and some not. It also has ODBC support, so even if your favorite database isn’t in the list, as long as it supports ODBC, you can use it with PHP.

DBM databases, discussed in Using DBM Databases, are simple, robust, and efficient flat files but limit the structure of your data to key/value pairs. If your data can be organized as a mapping of keys to values, DBM databases are a great choice.

PHP really shines, though, when paired with an SQL database. This combination is used for most of the recipes in this chapter. SQL databases can be complicated, but they are extremely powerful. To use PHP with a particular SQL database, PHP must be explicitly told to include support for that database when it is compiled. If PHP is built to support dynamic module loading, the database support can also be built as a dynamic module.

The SQL database examples in this chapter use PHP 5’s PDO database access layer. With PDO, you use the same PHP functions no matter what database engine you’re talking to. Although the syntax of the SQL may differ from database to database, the PHP code remains ...

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