Getting the hang of a query language can be tough, but with our top MySQL tips and examples that are ideal for website development, you should be able to start building your own queries to use in a PHP web page.
Using MySQL with Website Databases
Choosing the right database storage type is only one aspect of designing a dynamic website, or at least deciding on a structure, which is why you will need to understand the principles of database management for websites.
With a dynamic website you can use the database to deliver content to readers as and when required, as well as build or implement a content management system to edit and publish articles or other content.
If there is any version of SQL that is going to be used with PHP, it’s MySQL. While there are plenty of alternatives to MySQL (MSSQL has been used successfully with PHP, for instance) there is something very cozy about the MySQL/PHP coupling. They just go together too well, much like MSSQL and ASP.
PHP – The Other Side of the Coin
Once you have settled on MySQL, as you will have gathered from the previous section, the best choice of development language is PHP. This language is ideal for building web pages and connecting to databases, and as long as you understand the basics then you should be ready to begin programming web pages with this scripting language.
PHP can be used to create, edit and interrogate MySQL databases, making it the perfect partner language for this type of database.
Easy Setup of PHP, MySQL and Required Server Software
While it is straightforward enough to utilize one of the various installation scripts provided by many hosts to prep your web server to run PHP and MySQL, the easy way is to set up a LAMP server, a Linux box featuring Apache, MySQL and PHP. This can be done in just a few minutes via an SSH connection and once setup you should be ready to begin creating your database and uploading PHP files.
Meanwhile you can also setup a WAMP server (Windows, Apache, MySQL and PHP) or if you’re an Apple user a MAMP server (Macintosh, Apache, MySQL and PHP). The options here are obviously for different server hardware, but on the whole as Linux is most common for web servers, the LAMP solution is usually the preferred choice.
Learning SQL Statements
Once you’re setup and your LAMP server is configured, your MySQL server will be ready to start hosting databases. There are different ways of creating a MySQL database, from clicking a button to sending a text command to the server. It shouldn’t take long for you to get to grips with this, and before long you should be investigating the possibilities of using replace functions, using the delete statement or running a query and applying the "group by" statement to sort the results.
Counting, adding dates, finding similar items and even transposing a table are all possible, but ultimately there is one single statement that you will need to know in order for you to build with all of the others, and this is the vital select statement.
Making SQL Work for You
Getting to grips with any form of SQL can take some time, so you might like to test yourself by trying out all of the various functions and statements above to see how good your memory is -- not to mention checking exactly what these statements and functions do. Pushing yourself by creating your own scripts is the best way to learn SQL.
Start off with a basic select statement, possibly with a group by qualifier to sort the results, and then start to slowly progress, perhaps picking up a few tips on how to write SQL statements as you do so.
In no time at all you should become very familiar with MySQL, and be able to use it to interrogate your web server and incorporate your query scripts into new PHP code!