PHP and MySQL
Open source rocks!
Open Source software is any software whose code is available for users to look at and modify freely. Not only is Open Source almost always FREE, but it allows you to look at the code and play around with it or tweak it. It's a great way to learn what makes it tick. It's sort of like getting under the hood of a 57' Chevy. You can see how and why it works. Both PHP and MySQL are Open Source. Another great open source player is Apache, and open source web server. Put the three of them together, and you're in business. You can have state of the art dynamic web sites for FREE!!!! Pretty cool, huh?
Learning the syntax and rules.
There are ample resource on the web where you can learn how to read and write both PHP and MySQL. The best PHP for beginners, in my opinion, is W3Schools.com. Of course you can also check out the online tutorials at MySQL.com and PHP.NET
Dynamic Web Sites
What is a dynamic website? Dynamic websites use database technology to generate pages “on the fly”. The site content is stored within a database that is either updated automatically, or at least very quickly. Amazon.com is one example of a dynamic website. You do a "search", it gives you results based on the keywords you put in, and you're in business. It allows you to sort the results by price, category, user reviews, etc. It makes shopping on the web superior in so many ways. You're not intimidated by a salesman who has a quota to meet. You can research the produce, read what others have said about it, and make your own decisions sans the pressure of a hard sell. You can take your time, get your facts, and make and more educated purchase.
PHP and MySQL: Made for each other.
There are lots of server side scripting languages. Some are what they call proprietary, in other words you pay money to a company like Microsoft. There's also Cold Fusion. Macromedia handles that, as they bought out the company that created it. Both are great, but for my money (which ain't much), I'll go the free route. There's a neglegable difference in what these server side languages can do. There are also differences in how they do what they do. I heard that Microsoft's .Net Framework was going to be superior in so many ways. More web applications and stuff like that, but given a little time most of these functions are replacated or even improved on by Open Source technologies. There isn't much that can't be done with PHP and MySQL. It may take a little more homework, but either you or someone else in the Open Source Community can usually figure out how to do it.
Real World Practical Applications
Let's say you need a program that will keep track of your "to do lists". You need an organizer. There are literally hundreds of them for free online. Maybe you want to have a list of your songs, but you'd like them alphabetized. You'd also like to be able to sort them by either the title, song writer, publisher, or style. No problem. I found a great little script called PhpMyEdit. It does that. You don't even have to know much about programming. Usually these programs are well commented. In other words, they tell you what each section of the script means, where to place it on your web server, and which CHMOD permissions to set. Don't know what CHMOD is? Well, here's a little tutorial on CHMOD.
Free Free Free
There are several sites that offer complete programs that you can download and use for free. One of my favorite resources is hotscripts.com. You can find just about anything you could ever possibly need there. Check it out. When you do download these programs, you'll need something to unzip the file, such as WinZip or PowerArchiver. I use PowerArchiver, particularly for Linux files. You'll find that a lot of these programs are made by Linux folk. They're very Open Source oriented. A couple of tips:
- Once you download these files and extract them to a folder, you'll need to READ the README file. If you're on a Windows PC, you may not see the file extension. Your computer won't know how to open them. Well, if it says README, just right click on the file and choose RENAME. Then rename the file and put the .txt file extension on it. Then you can open it up in Notepad.
- The first time you open one of these files, it may look like gobblety goop. To make it easier for humans to read, just go to any semicolon (;) and hit return on your computer keyboard. Do that every place you find a semicolon. It may take you quite a while, but when you're all done, you will be able to make sense out of the script.
- Some programs require almost no configuration at all, but most do. Usually, you'll need to know the name of your database, your user name, your password, and occaisionally the full path to where you want to upload the program on your server. Depending on your web host, it should look something like this.
Still more stuff...
- Being taken seriously.
- How my father became a star.
- So, you wanna' be a country star?
- Who do you like better, Garth or Gershwin?
- You'll eat what you're served...
- The Media: Out with the old, in with the new.
- It's great exposure.
Thoughts on some of the people I've played with or known.
- Charlie Rich
- Freddy Fender
- Smokey Robinson
- Jo-El Sonnier
- Randy Meisner
- Billy Swan
- Flaco Jimenez
- Augie Meyers
- Doug Sahm
- Jerry Lee Lewis
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