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PHP for Absolute Beginners (Expert's Voice in Open Source) 1st ed. 2010 Edition

18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1430224730
ISBN-10: 1430224738
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jason Lengstorf is a 27-year-old turbogeek from Portland, OR. He started building websites in his late teens when his band couldn t afford to pay someone to do it, and he continued building websites after he realized his band wasn t actually very good. He s been a full-time freelance web developer since 2007, and expanded his business under the name Copter Labs, which is now a distributed freelance collective, keeping about 10 freelancers worldwide busy. He is also the author of PHP for Absolute Beginners and Pro PHP and jQuery.

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Product Details

  • Series: Expert's Voice in Open Source
  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 1st ed. 2010 edition (October 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1430224738
  • ISBN-13: 978-1430224730
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #800,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jason Lengstorf is an author, speaker, and consultant. In 2014, he sold everything he owned and started traveling the world. He's been on the road ever since.

He posts armchair philosophy on his blog at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Keeva Cox on April 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am an absolute beginner in PHP. I have never coded anything from scratch in PHP. In fact, I don't have much coding experience at all aside from HTML. The most experience I have in PHP is in wading through thousands of lines of code to copy/paste some mods to an open-source forum program I have on one of my websites.

Being an absolute beginner in PHP, I give the book 3 stars. Here's why:

The author glosses over theory (in some instances, he just does away with it all together) in order to hurry up and get to the part of the book where you code your own blog. That's fine if all you want to be able to do with PHP is code your own simple blog. However, if you're like me and would actually like to be able to code something other than a blog after you read this book, you NEED theory. There are several different ways you can code things to get the same output. You need to know the hows and whys of them all in order to choose the best coding method for your project. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating a buggy program and spending hundreds of hours and countless frustrations on a project that you'll ultimately have to scrap because it wasn't coded properly in the first place.

There is no Glossary. Dozens of new terms and concepts get thrown at you within the first two chapters of the book, most of which are poorly explained (if they are even explained at all). A glossary at the back of the book would have allowed the author to explain them in detail to true beginners in PHP without taking up space within the chapters themselves. Without it, the first couple of chapters can be a bit overwhelming.

There are errors in the test code. To me, this is perhaps the biggest flaw this book has.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Original Elvis on December 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
It's clear from reading this book that edits were made after the initial submission. Some of the code doesn't work or doesn't match the author's "official" code sample for the chapter. I've read enough programming books to expect these kinds of problems but it's inexcusable for a book that targets ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS. Many of the errors I've found could have been caught in editing if the proof reader entered the program as described in the book.

For example, in Chapter 5 the author provides a Cascading Style Sheet with the caveat that this isn't a book on HTML/CSS and the user should type the text as displayed. Detailed instructions are provided for including the style sheet in the project. Unfortunately the href for the style sheet - "/css/default.css" - is wrong and it should be "/simple_blog/css/default.css". As a result, the style sheet isn't used and the actual browser output doesn't match what's displayed in the book.

In Chapter 3, page 90 the author feeds the result of the trim() function to the empty() function as part of a conditional check - if(!empty(trim($_POST['username']))). This code returns a fatal error because empty() will only check variables. Again, typing the code as displayed in the book would have caught the error.

In Chapter 7 on page 200 there's a custom confirmDelete() function that doesn't work and isn't part of the author's official code sample. Did anybody test the code before putting it in the book?

I'm giving PHP for Absolute Beginners 3 stars because the editing was sloppy. If the errors are corrected I would give it an additional star. The author provides a complete sample application and reviews all the pieces of the program. That's more than you'd get from a Software Development Kit sample.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Frank Stepanski on October 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
PHP has been the most popular server-side web developer language for years now. There are more websites created with PHP than any other programming language (more than ASP.NET, Java, etc.). That is probably why there are tons of PHP books from beginner to advanced on the market today.

I have a few PHP books and looked over lots of others online but so many have fell short in my opinion. Either they are way too basic and cover little tidbits and little examples. Thats all well and good for just learning the basics of the language but then what?

After you learn the basics of the PHP syntax (variables, conditional statements, loops, functions, object and connecting to MySQL) then what?

Well, normally most will try and look for an intermediate-advanced book, but do know what happens then? You find the book teaches more advanced topics which may or not be of help to you because you really havent fully understood how to use the basics yet.

I have taught lots of beginner to intermediate classes on PHP, ASP.NET, JavaScript and such and I find students dont fully know how to take what they have learned and put into practice. How do we solve this problem?

This book does. This is the only book i've read in PHP (if not any other programming web langauge), that after it explains the syntax basics with some small little examples, it then shows the reader how to take what they have learned into developing a real world example.

This book shows its readers how to build a working blog site. Of course its not a WordPress clone, but its a useable website that can be expanded. It is actually useful web application. Brilliant!

I have started to implement this book on my PHP classes I will teach next semester.
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