Frequently Asked Questions for the PHP and Flash class:

What is Flash?

Flash is a great way to make web sites. It is a program that allows you to do cartooning and/or interactive web sites that use video and other technology. Many of the best web sites now use Flash, as do many of the on-line cartoon greeting cards.

Macromedia, the company that owns Flash, has a list of the best sites that use Flash.

An interactive version of their showcase is even more fun to explore.

What is PHP?

PHP is a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML. PHP stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. This confuses many people because the first word of the acronym is the acronym. You can go to for lots of info on this language. The goal of the language is to allow web developers to write dynamically generated pages quickly.

When used in combination with MySQL, it will allow you to build interactive web sites that will collect data and allow you to control how you use it. It is a free, open-source language--making it a good choice for businesses.

Macromedia has some tutorials on using PHP with Flash.

Also, here is a link to an intro to PHP.

I use PHP (with HTML) and MySQL to do this search page. I also use PHP to create the navigation menu list on the left in my ITeachPHP site.

What is MySQL?

MySQL calls itself the "world's most popular open source database" and it is a good choice for web development. Take a look at for more info.

What do I need at home to make these sites?

Do I have to use PHP?

No, of course not. This class covers PHP. Macromedia makes Coldfusion, so they encourage its use. However, PHP is a great choice because it is strong, fast, and open-source. It's also free which is a strong virtue.

How can I log on to the school server?

You will need a secure shell client--like putty (for Windows). You will connect to and enter your username and password (assigned in class).

How long will my files be there?

Until the class ends, they should be fine, and after that they will be available for a few weeks, at least. To be safe, be sure to download copies of all of your files to your home computer or move them to another server, as soon as you have something you don't want to lose. Files and accounts will close at the end of the semester (Jan 31, 2005).

What is LAMP?

LAMP is the combination of Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. See my classes on these subjects. They are a powerful set of tools. Bring in Flash and you can do almost any web application.