PHP has support for over 20 databases, including the most popular commercial and open source varieties. Relational database systems such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle are the backbone of most modern dynamic web sites. In these are stored shopping-cart information, purchase histories, product reviews, user information, credit-card numbers, and sometimes even web pages themselves.
This chapter covers how to access databases from PHP. We focus on the PEAR DB system, which lets you use the same functions to access any database, rather than on the myriad database-specific extensions. In this chapter, you'll learn how to fetch data from the database, how to store data in the database, and how to handle errors. We finish with a sample application that shows how to put various database techniques into action.
This book cannot go into all the details of creating web database applications with PHP. For a more in-depth look at the PHP/MySQL combination, see Web Database Applications with PHP and MySQL, by Hugh Williams and David Lane (O'Reilly).