This book is divided into five parts, corresponding to particular topics. The lessons within each part are designed to be read one right after another, with each lesson essentially building on the information found in those before it:
Part I, "Getting Up and Running," will walk you through the installation and configuration of PHP, MySLQ, and Apache. You'll need to complete the lessons in Part I before moving on to the remaining lessons, unless you already have access to a working installation of these technologies. Even if you don't need to install and configure PHP, MySQL, and Apache in your environment, you should still skim these lessons so that you understand the basics.
Part II, "Basic Language Elements," is predominantly devoted to teaching you the basics of the PHP language, and will get you in the habit of writing code, uploading it to your server, and testing the results. One of the lessons offers a basic SQL primer, and this part wraps up with an hour devoted to the integration of PHP and MySQL.
Part III, "Getting Involved with the Code," consists of lessons that cover intermediatelevel application development topics, including working with forms and files, access restriction, and other small projects designed to introduce a specific concept.
Part IV, "Simple Projects," contains lessons devoted to performing a particular task. These lessons consist of projects that integrate all the knowledge you have gained so far, and walk you through the process of building and testing the elements you will create.
Part V, "Administration and Fine-Tuning," is devoted to administering and tuning MySQL and Apache, and also includes information on virtual hosting and setting up a secure Web server.
If you find that you are already familiar with a topic, you can skip ahead to the next lesson. However, in some instances, lessons will refer to specific concepts learned in previous hours, so be aware that you may have to skim through a skipped lesson so that your development environment remains consistent with the book.
At the end of each hour, there are a few quiz questions that will test how well you've learned the material. Additional activities provide another way to apply the information learned in the lesson and guide you toward using this newfound knowledge in the next hour.