Lynda’s PHP with MySQL Essential Training – Full Review

PHP is an essential part of web development, and any programmer who wants to create web applications needs to know at least the basics. Lynda is an online training site that helps new PHP developers understand the importance of PHP and MySQL and helps you establish the basics for learning both the web programming language and the database application.

What is PHP and MySQL and Why Use It?

Lynda starts off showing you the history of PHP and why you want to choose it for web development.  This gives you a good foundation of Lynda, the courses, the reason behind learning PHP, and what you can get from learning through the course. PHP is a young language, so it’s relatively new even though thousands of programmers learn the language to better their knowledge of web development.

This introduction course has dozens of videos, but the most notable videos are the following:

  • Installing and configuring PHP for Mac, Apache and Windows
  • Embedding PHP and how to get started
  • PHP arrays
  • Control structures such as “end if” and “for loop” concepts
  • Functions
  • MySQL and CRUD

Installing and Configuring PHP

Before you even get started, you need to set up PHP to work with your current environment whether it’s Windows, Mac or Linux. This video set helps you get started regardless of your programming environment. Newer versions of Windows run PHP natively, but older ones need to run installations to get PHP to run on Internet Information Services (IIS). This chapter guides you through the setup and installation including the settings you need in the PHP.INI file, which is the main configuration file for PHP websites.

Embedding PHP and Getting Started

Your web server runs several programming languages including any extra installations.  However, for the web server to understand that you are implementing PHP, you must know how to properly format the PHP file. Lynda’s PHP with MySQL Essential Training helps you start off with your first PHP page and build and run it on the server. This course ties in with the configuring and installation of PHP.

Lynda starts off with the typical “Hello World” introduction, which basically means you create your first PHP file that prints out “Hello World.” This is the typical first-time program when you begin a new language.

PHP Arrays

Arrays are an easy concept for programmers who are familiar with other languages, but for new PHP developers, they are a little more advanced. Lynda dedicates a whole section to learning arrays, so you can understand the concepts. An array is a variable that contains several values that you can loop through and process. Arrays are used in most applications, so they are important to understand even when you are just getting started.

Lynda walks you through understanding data types and arrays. Each array can contain a data type such as a string or integers. PHP also has functions that help you count the number of arrays and evaluate the array as a whole. Lynda steps you through these functions to understand how you use arrays in your PHP web applications.

Control Structures

Control structures control the flow of execution for your code. The two common control structures are the “if else” structure and the “for loop.” There are also the while loop and switch statements. Lynda’s videos go through each of these types of structures to help you understand the concepts. These concepts can be difficult, because you must be able to logically understand the flow of the code. The code will flow in and out of control structures based on variables passed to the structures.

Lynda has several sections for these structures, because there is a lot to understand when you create a program that uses them. Control structures are one area of PHP coding that can introduce programming bugs, so it’s important to learn how to work with them, understand the logic, and code them for each possibility to avoid creating any issues in your application.


You want to repeat as little code as possible when creating your web applications. This helps when you want to change some code. When you write one function for a procedure, you only need to change the code once. Lynda’s PHP with MySQL Essential Training course takes you through the steps to create a function and understand the reason you want to create a function. For instance, if you have a calculation, you can use one function to calculate the procedure and use that same function throughout the code. If the calculation changes, then you only need to change it in that one function without changing a large portion of the code.

Functions are in almost all PHP web applications you code, and Lynda has a nice set of videos that make functions easy to understand.


Create, retrieve, update and delete (CRUD) are the four procedures used in databases. Since you are introduced to MySQL, Lynda helps you through several videos to understand the concepts of using CRUD and how to use them with a PHP web application.  These procedures cover all of the necessary understanding for MySQL, and Lynda gets you started in beginner concepts. MySQL can get a bit complicated, so the course is based on the beginner who hasn’t yet worked with MySQL or any database concepts. The great thing about these videos is that you can use some of the courses as a base for learning any other database applications, because CRUD is used in most database software.

Lynda’s PHP with MySQL Essential Training for the beginner PHP programmer is a great start for web applications. If you are completely new to PHP and MySQL, watching these videos get you up to speed with web development using the language. If you are a seasoned programmer, these courses can get you started with the basic concepts so you can move on to more advanced procedures. Use Lynda’s advanced PHP videos to move on from the basic concepts.


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