You've probably seen the new trend of replacing standard smilies with emoticons. Emoticons are images that represent the common emotes like ":)", ":(", ";)" and ":P". You can see examples of emoticons in use if you visit one of the popular forums, such as the DevArticles forum.
In this tutorial I will explain how you can load emoticons from a database and replace all clear text smilies with their corresponding emoticons. This tutorial is meant for PHP and MySQL novices, however having some experience with database connectivity before starting is a good idea.