Sepia-toned photograph of apartment letterboxes, taken on an angle

One of the reasons behind the continued popularity of is its strong support for handling data of all kinds, including forms, eMails, and file uploads. The belief that & JavaScript have somehow magically replaced any need for server-side technologies in these areas is a common misunderstanding: broadly speaking, JavaScript and HTML5 accessorize and enhance these processes, rather than replacing them.

For example, the HTML5 Constraint Validation API allows for easy display of form errors in the browser, but this can be avoided by the client (or potentially, not supported by the browser at all); neither in most cases does JavaScript handle submitting the information into a database on a server. The two technologies - server and client - often handle the same information, passed back and forth using Ajax or related technologies. In this reading list, I concentrate exclusively on the PHP side of things.

Goals: use basic regular expressions to check form data with PHP; send an eMail message that includes this information; allow the user to upload a file to a server via a simple web form.

Required: access to a server with PHP installed. (An active mail server will be required to complete the eMail lessons).

Total time (core material): 8 hours

Validation & eMail

  1. Introduction to Server-Side Validation
  2. Pattern Matching
  3. Checking Fields
  4. Showing Errors
  5. Sending A Simple eMail
  6. eMail Headers

Uploading Files

  1. Introduction
  2. Creating An Upload Form
  3. Transferring Files
  4. Checking Files

When You’re Done

While not as common as it’s use in handling files, PHP also contributes to web image management, manipulation and display, often in surprising ways. We’ll look at those abilities in the next reading list.

Photograph by Éole Wind, licensed under Creative Commons.

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