Most helpful positive review
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Has errors, But overall good book.
on October 27, 2010
I was convinced by a friend to try out Yii about two weeks ago. Coming from knowing CakePHP, Yii was a lot different. I completed the blog tutorial but was still confused about many things and did not really feel like I knew what I did from the tutorial. So far the the other comments on this book are pretty close. My 2 biggest issues are typos/errors, and the code examples. The errors, while obvious, didn't really distract from the learning. OK sure so a word was misspelled, but really you are going to give a book a lower rating for that? Most of these errors were in random words throughout the book and didn't really detract from learning anything. But, there are some pretty badly misspelled words that should have been caught.
My bigger issue was with the code examples. While much of the time they worked and served their purpose, they sometimes were wrong. And I would have to refer to the source code for the book to see what was wrong. So far the two worst are after getting the issues implemented with projects where updating an issue yielded in a broken page. Even the source code was broken. And the other was setting up a full login system. There are multiple authenticate() methods used over various classes and it get rather confusing. Some of the other methods do the same, as a method in another class which is also used in the authentication. I had to read the entire section 3 times before i said crew it and decided to move on, as the login process still worked. I would later go to the on line docs to read up on authentication. But I wanted to finish the book. Other than these, the book wasn't too bad. I did learn quite a lot about the framework. Though I still need to understand some of the finer things even more, I know that will come with experience.
Some things I liked about the book. Test Driven Development, while i was only vaguely familiar with the concept before, I now feel like I have a much better understanding of how it all flows together with application development. But I do still have questions. The book isn't designed to teach you how to be a pro at TDD but to teach you how to do it with Yii. So it will help if you know some about it, but like me, if you don't it will not hinder you. The book assumes you don't know anything about it. If you are familiar with TDD you can likely skip the intro section on it. But its uses with yii you might still want to skim just to see how it work in the framework.
The approach to the book is to build one functioning application, called track star. While this will help you see how an app is build from the ground up, this technique has its limits. But for this type of book I believe this was the better choice to the alternative of each chapter creating it's own application. Which I feel would be another good book for beginners. Though that information can be gathered from the on line documentation and various blogs as well.
All in all I felt as though the book was worth it to learn Yii. Do I think it could have been better? Most definitely. As with some books I want to keep them for reference and so people can see all the books I've read. This book however I wouldn't mind passing off to a friend who is trying to get into learning Yii. It's not really going to be a good reference book as the main idea is to build one application rather than one per topic/chapter so its post read value is small.