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Beginning PHP4 (Programmer to Programmer) Paperback – November 15, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0764543647 ISBN-10: 0764543644 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Programmer to Programmer
  • Paperback: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Wrox; 1 edition (November 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764543644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764543647
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.3 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,888,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Beginning PHP4 offers an almost ideal introductory tutorial to one of today's hotter scripting languages. This book really is everything that the novice needs to start building dynamic Web sites that are powered by PHP4, but old hands at programming also will find in it valuable information.

PHP, of course, is introduced in the book, but there's also an approachable and effective introduction to programming in general. The conscientious tutorial on basic concepts like variables, keywords, and flow control will give even beginners an understanding of the basics of writing programs. PHP, it turns out, is not only a great way to generate HTML dynamically, but a very marketable skill. Web fundamentals like HTTP, HTML form variables, and managing session information using no less than four different techniques are explained thoroughly and effectively. You also find out how to install PHP and other tools on your system, with the assistance of plenty of screen shots.

That's not to say that this book will cramp the style of more experienced developers. Some chapters delve into such important and advanced topics as database programming (with MySQL) and PHP's support for XML. One standout section demystifies the new support for objects and classes in PHP4. Basic topics like managing files and directories on the server, plus graphics processing, are addressed, of course, and a nifty sample program shows you how to build a Web-based text editor. Except for the final case study--a "URL directory manager" (akin to Yahoo!) that's rather specialized--the examples are right on, and illustrate everyday programming tasks. You'll learn also how to generate e-mail with PHP--certainly a valuable skill to have.

The appendix lists several hundred PHP functions in over 50 pages--a handy and useful feature. In all, Beginning PHP4 provides a strong choice for learning about one of today's most powerful and easy-to-use scripting languages; it's concise, fast moving, and thoroughly approachable. --Richard Dragan

Topics covered:

  • Introduction to PHP 4
  • Downloading and installing PHP
  • Basics of HTTP and Web pages
  • PHP as a scripting language
  • PHP data types
  • Constants and conversions
  • HTML primer
  • Form variables
  • Decision making in PHP
  • Loops and arrays
  • PHP functions
  • Error handling in PHP
  • Tips on writing more maintainable code
  • Debugging hints
  • Preserving state with hidden form variables

  • Query strings
  • Cookies and PHP4 native sessions
  • Using PHP objects
  • File and directory functions
  • PHP database programming
  • Installing and using MySQL
  • Tutorial for SQL syntax
  • Querying and updating records
  • XML "quickstart" for PHP users
  • Creating e-mail and electronic newsletters
  • PHP graphics processing (including image maps)
  • Case study for a URL directory manager
  • ODBC tutorial
  • PHP4 function reference
  • --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

    From the Publisher

    This book assumes some familiarity with HTML and the mechanics of the web, but is for people new to PHP who want to start developing web applications. This includes HTML users, ASP and ColdFusion developers looking to learn a new platform and web development managers wanting to move development to Linux. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

    More About the Author

    Allan is a born and bred South African who still lives, works and plays in Cape Town. He has been programming in various languages and on diverse platforms for more than 20 years. He's currently the head of AtPlay, the digital division of Saatchi & Saatchi South Africa.

    Customer Reviews

    The examples were easy to follow.
    Richard York
    I'd highly recommend it to anyone wanting to get a fast, no nonsense tutorial and a great reference for PHP.
    Todd L. Quatier
    I do not mean to single out this sentence in particular.
    Syd Allan (

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amy M. Sheflin on April 3, 2002
    Format: Paperback
    Whenever anyone asks me which book I recommend for someone just starting out with PHP I recommend this one. The book is an excellent introduction to not only PHP but also to mySQL , database design, and elementary programming prinicipals such as arrays and datatypes. With confidence I can recommend this book to a beginner that has never used a database before (let alone designed one) or programmed before and know that with this one book they can get a handle on how to create a simple database driven php site. I found the examples to be excellent. In fact, I have reused code in this book on my projects several times.
    As a book for beginners should be written, it assumes no prior knowledge whatsoever and is easy and enjoyable to read. The one thing the book does assume, which I think is a must, is prior knowledge of HTML and some Javascript. If you've never even built a webpage before, you should start with learning those 2 things first before picking up this book.
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    12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By JC-Austin on July 11, 2002
    Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    I recently purchased this book, and as some of the other reviewers have said, it rarely leaves my desk. I found this book to be written at an ideal level of difficulty for someone with a good working knowledge of HTML, and NOTHING more.
    This book has helped me develop from a static HTML designer to a capable PHP programmer. The book covers a number of topics that I'd always wanted to use on my sites, including: cookies, sessions, interactive forms, and database connectivity, including an introduction to using SQL to connect to a number of different databases.
    The book has a number of tutorials and examples which perform the key function of transferring what you are learning into practical examples (often lacking in beginning books).
    There is also a great appendix of functions that gives the new programmer a reference to which they can refer for quick answers. Finally, and maybe best of all, Wrox has a great Web site with a number of forums related to the topics covered in the book.
    Overall, it's a great book for beginners. I used what I'd learned in the first week to add a number of dynamic features to my own Web sites, and the difference was instantly noticeable. Best of luck!
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    10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gene Ballard on August 10, 2001
    Format: Paperback
    I am a complete beginner and found the book fairly easy to read and apply. However, some of the scripts I downloaded don't seem to work. Maybe its my lack of understanding, I don't know...
    You must know how to read html to get anywhere with PHP. You can use Dreamweaver or any other HTML editor to write your scripts in.
    The book has a good Appendix for all the PHP functions and the authors do a great job at explaining PHP at the beginning of the book.
    Each chapter starts off with a real basic script as it develops and adds more functions to the script until you end up with a fairly advanced script. Every time they add more stuff to a script they break each line down with explanations.
    Over all its a good place to start with a lot of Reference material for advanced users. However, if you have never programmed or want to get an easier start with php, I recommend "Php : Your Visual Blueprint for Creating Open Source, Server-Side Content" ISBN: 0764535617. Then move to the PHP Cookbook.
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    9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Richard York on January 19, 2003
    Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    I began php with two books, one being this wrox publication and the other a more advanced sams publication. The wrox publication was the fundamental lifesaver in my php learning. The examples were easy to follow. And wrox's p2p website and forums have proven to be a lifesaver again and again, providing a wonderful compliment to the book. It is not only a fabulous learning and how-to manual, but also makes a terrific reference. I would definitely recommend this book to the beginner. But not to sound like a complete advertisement! My experience with this book has truly been a positive one.
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    9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "nospam262" on June 22, 2004
    Format: Paperback
    I like this book and highly recommend it. It is good for people who are new to PHP but not so good for people who are new to programming. I've done a lot of programming in other languages and needed to learn PHP in a big hurry for a project that I was about to take on. This book got me up to speed fast. I'm inclined to think that a lot of the negative reviews are from people without any programming background. I agree this book is not the right place to start if you are a non-programmer. I've also done a fair amount of html prior to reading this book, I found that it's html section and php techniques for generating forms was really excellent, I learned some really great things!
    As far as depth goes, such as discussing details of the functions. Well, that's what the php manual is for ([...] Initially I tried to learn the language from the php manual alone but didn't get very far, I couldn't see the forest because the trees were in the way, eg too much detail without a big picture. What this book does is to focus on the big picture of how and why to do something. It also shows multiple approachs to the same problem and compares them so that you get an idea of the alternatives and trade-offs.
    Starting from not knowing php to writing some very sophisticated programs... I learned it all with two books and the manual. The other book that I read is PHP Developers Cookbook. The two books are very complimentary, there is not that much overlap between them instead they fill each others gaps. Note that the "Cookbook" is more advanced and assumes that you already know a lot of php.
    Okay, the one big gripe that I have is their lack of proof reading. They must have really rushed this to press. There are literally hundreds of errors and the errata sheet is incomplete.
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