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PHP & MySQL: The Missing Manual by Brett McLaughlin

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Chapter 2. PHP Syntax: Weird and Wonderful

You’ve got a couple of PHP programs running, and one of them even works with an HTML form. But so far, you’ve just been typing code. Even though you’ve just gotten started with PHP, you’re ready to dig deeper, and start to understand what’s going on in that code. In this chapter, you’re going to get comfortable with a lot of the PHP syntax: that means learning what special words you type into your programs, and what each one of those special words—usually called keywords—tells PHP to do.

Fortunately, this learning doesn’t mean you can’t still build interesting programs that run in a web browser. In fact, since almost everything that’s done with PHP involves Web pages, all your scripts in this chapter will accept information from a Web form and work with that information. So you’re not just learning PHP; you’re learning to write Web applications.

Get Information from a Web Form

In sayHelloWeb.php, you used this line to get the value of a variable called “name” from the sayHello.html web form:

echo $_REQUEST['name'];

You may remember that $_REQUEST is a special PHP variable that lets you get information from a web request. You used it to get one particular piece of information—the user’s name—but it can do a lot more.

Access Request Parameters Directly

In fact, to see just how handy $_REQUEST really is, open up your text editor. Type the code below, in which a visitor enters her name and several other important bits of contact information, like ...

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