The ease with which PHP can be used to create dynamic, database-driven websites is the key reason to use it for many people. The stock build of PHP comes with support for MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, ODBC, plus several other popular databases, so you are sure to find something to work with your data.

If you want to, you can learn all the individual functions for connecting to and manipulating each database PHP supports, but a much smarter, or at least easier, idea is to use PEAR::DB, which is an abstraction layer over the databases that PHP supports. You write your code once, and—with the smallest of changes—it works on every database server.

PEAR is the script repository for PHP, and it contains numerous ...

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