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on October 19, 2009
I ordered this book at the same time as a few others, and at first I was quite disappointed. Leafing through page after page of stuff I had already figured out online, such as installation of test bed software and the framework, basic PHP, etc.

Moving on from that section, I found myself immediately in somewhat familiar territory, and from there on on almost every page had a light-bulb moment tucked away somewhere.

This book is currently still sitting on my desk looking like a porcupine with all the post-it markers stuck onto sections that stood out as a piece of the puzzle I had been missing.

A great investment for anyone learning Zend Framework. It starts out slowly and then ramps up, explaining and expanding as it goes. It even takes the time to explain the alternatives and things that you might need to do when customizing their examples, even though it doesn't apply directly to what they are showing. Excellent, excellent stuff.

I'm giving it 4 stars, simply for the fact that the first quarter of the book was of little use to me, but seriously, the rest of the book was like gold to me. The middle third of the book alone was well worth the cost of the book.

An excellent starting point.
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on March 15, 2011
This book is indeed a great book. I love it.
I bought the 1st version of this book, and I now have a *second edition* that has MUCH more things to talk about.
(btw, The second edition is for free for those who bought the first edition, and I found that, just great :) ).

Anyway, about this new book version itself:

The GOOD parts:

I love it because, one of the main steps a newbie developer (like me) must face is, to know, NOT ONLY how to accomplish specific tasks using a framework - seriously, we can get tons of that over the internet - BUT, actually, start to understand what MUST change on your developer process itself.

I had other Zend Framework books, they were quite advanced - they assumed that I already had my developer process workflow guaranteed and that I know a LOT about design patterns. I couldn't follow the book.

I had other Zend Beginner books, they were quite ok for learning the basics but that was not enough, even on those that actually introduce you do some design patterns, I just asked myself, what for?

Because I didn't understand the big question: HOW DOES THIS ALL CONNECTS ?

*And that is where this book really shines.*

It may not cover all little framework beginners details that some may expect. (I got them from searching the internet);
It may not be best book to learn about advanced design patterns regarding some applications architectures.

But it truly is a great book to break the bridge on two key points:

A) Developer tools.

When you design your application using Zend Framework, you NEED to have new tools, you cannot simply rely on having a simple lamp server installed locally. What about Unit testing? What about using the powerful zf tool?

Chapter 11. Unit Testing Your Project
Chapter 2. Creating Your First Zend Framework Project

Answers this.

What about deployment ?
I mean, if I use Zend Framework, I understand that I'm building no websites, or webpages, instead, I'm build authentic web applications. Should we deploy applications, with so much dependency and details, the same way we do with blog pages?
I believed not. And Easy Php Websites With Zend Framework told that to, on this second edition:

Chapter 12. Deploying Your Website with Capistrano

And on this same chapter, you get introduced to another very important tool, Git.
On the sub-chapter:

- Installing a Version Control Solution

B) New Applications Paradigm.

Applications are no longer static, and it's sure nice to learn a framework but it was so mysterious for me to understand how to integrate this, with Ajax. What should I do, where should I go? Absolutely lost. Api integrations? I knew that Zend have them, I understand the examples... but how does ALL this glue together?

Well, on this book I get those answered as well:

Chapter 9. Creating Rich User Interfaces with JavaScript and Ajax

Chapter 10. Integrating Web Services

C) Support:
As others had pointed out (on the first version reviews), with this book, you also have access to a lot of free casts related to the subject, to learn more things about this subject.

Even with all this the truth is:
We all have our specific way of work so, I had some questions regarding this workflow process and, well... I wanted no less but to ask the author himself what were his thoughts about my specific question. Ambitious me, I thought.

But you know what? He just replies back to me, I got my question clear.

So... this may sound to enthusiastic, I know, but it's just the way I feel about this book.
It as really help me out.

Still, not all are roses, so...

The BAD PARTS: - or better saying: About the parts that I didn't like:

A) Doctrine.

I know it's a nice new feature and all, but, if we are beginners on all this, let's play with real sql syntax and learn how to do that.
Zend_DB abstraction is quite strange when we have to deal with some complex queries.
If above all this, we add Doctrine. It gets really REALLY strange.
Could have it's benefits. I'm not saying otherwise, BUT, for those who want to learn, on my honest opinion, that is not the best way for learning it.

B) File Upload - Image Upload (omitted?)

For me this IS indeed a common request. We often want to allow our users to upload some files, and normally several of then, associated with a profile, a product...
How can we do that using Zend Framework? How couldn't that be covered here?

Anyway, and for me, and realising that we can never ever have a perfect book, this really have help me out, and the good parts clearly supplants the bad ones, so I could just say:
If you need to glue a LOT about the little tutorials that you are reading here and there, then, this book is absolutely for you.

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on August 28, 2012
The book IS well written.

The first few chapters will get you a good foundation on how things work. It may take going through a few early chapters twice. If you have no experience with framworks, it's all SO foreign at first, you need sort of a detailed overview in the first reading - don't worry if it doesn't all make sense - then read it again and it'll all start to come together once you've seen the end you're working towards, and experimented with a few examples on your own.

The problem is, after that you start getting into the REAL useful stuff - working with databases - the author proceeds to tell you that the native database interface is ok, but you should learn and use Doctrine instead because it has some cooler features.

(this he admits is based on the fact that he hates writing in SQL... which for many of us just isn't a problem - and learning an "easier" way to work with SQL code is a huge worthless undertaking)

Who knows, he may be 100% right, maybe we SHOULD learn doctrine. But with so much to learn on just the zend framework itself, it almost seems comical to suggest adding to that WHILE you're learning the framework.

New readers will be VERY confused as to why they need doctrine (if they even do) or what the differences are that doctrine offers.

I think it was a huge mistake, wrecking an otherwise great book.

He spends a few paragraphs telling you how miserably difficult it is to install doctrine, but that it might be better in new releases! Unless I missed something, there were no instructions or help to get you through setting it up yourself. You're left on your own with his well wishes.

The author continues using doctrine in the examples, and therefore, unless you decide to go along with him, the rest of the book is a useless waste of time.

Unfortunately this was my first book on the subject, and I can't say if there's a better one out there. But my next step is to look for a book that focuses strictly on framework.

I have ZERO interest in learning/using doctrine at this point in time.

The book SHOULD be titled easy php websites with Framework AND doctrine so people can decide BEFORE buying.

Who knows, maybe I'll learn the framework and finally see why he's right. But as for now, I feel like I wasted my money on this book.

I've got a very short window to learn this framework, and I feel this book set me back. Don't make the same mistake I did.
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on November 30, 2009
This book, and all the free support material is NO Joke.

I don't really want to draw any more attention to the "one star / joke" review, but that review is what has compelled me to write my review before any more time goes by.

I feel so strongly because it was that review that almost prevented me from buying this book. I have made so much progress with the help of this book that I can't believe I almost passed this book by...

Fortunately the remaining reviews (all 4 and 5 stars) gave such glowing reviews that I took the chance with the book!

Please note - The August 20 review is "technically correct" in that the Zend Framework is introduced at page 102/Chapter 5, but I see this as a strength and not a weakness of the books strategy. The simplicity of the examples lets the author (and you) focus on getting started with PHP and the Zend Framework. I am an experienced developer (25 years) but I have mostly worked with other languages and technologies (C/C++/Java/C#). PHP and the Zend Framework have "captured" a lot of "wisdom" and the methodical and deliberate approach that this book takes helps the reader see and understand many of these subtleties.

I would imagine that anyone new to PHP and especially the Zend Framework will be very well served by this book! Even somewhat experienced users would probably find useful information (integration with Google Maps, Facebook, PayPal, etc.)

I could keep going, but rather than repeat what has been said before, I will say that I agree with all the positive comments of the reviews that were written before me!

The size if the book is definitely deceptive. I have seen less info in 500 page books.

Highly Recommended! Period!
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on February 25, 2010
I don't recommend this for beginners. Maybe you might find it useful if you've never used PHP before (although in that case I don't recommend starting with a framework anyway), but if you're a programmer who knows PHP, I suggest you buy something else.

Before I start, you should know that I've been programming in PHP for a decade, and have bought almost every Zend Framework book printed so far, including those by Zervaas, Padilla, and Lyman. This one is the most disappointing of the lot. The books layout makes it look like a bad student newspaper, and the code examples are difficult to read in black text on dark gray background. Topics are lumped on top of one another; Chapters almost run into each other; and the few illustrations are printed in black and white.

Unfortunately that's not the worst fault of this book. The Zend Framework is a complicated beast, and this book seems to treat it as a simple tool that does all the work for you (which is certainly not the case unless you're building something very basic). Too many examples have little or no explanation to back them up, and it frequently feels like the author is throwing chunks of code at you and expects you to understand the intricate details without explanation. At other times I felt that I was being given the code or commands that solved a problem without being told what they were doing or why they were the right choice (which has implications when you need to extend the framework to do something the author wasn't thinking about at the time).

A lot of the early chapters are wasted on setting up the server environment on Windows and writing basic PHP -which is ok if you need it, but seems a bit light for programmers who are ready to start working in a complex, industrial strength framework like this one. And there's a lot of "waffle" in the first half of the book too.

To be fair, the book does cover some useful ground later on, and there are some good nuggets of information in there if you're prepared to look hard. But in my opinion there are much better books on the Zend Framework available and I don't recommend this one unless you're already familiar with the framework and are looking for the last few nuggets that you may not have got from other publications.

I'd recommend "Pro Zend Framework Techniques" by Forrest Lyman or "Zend Framework 1.8" by Keith Pope.
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on June 10, 2011
I tried learning Zend Framework using the documenation at the ZF site but quickly found that documentation to be incomplete, confusing, and unhelpful. This book is exactly what I needed to get started with ZF. If you have an interest in using OOP and MVC web development using PHP, you should really get yourself a copy of this well organized and thoughtful instructional text
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on April 13, 2011
Having read many Zend Framework and OOP books, I can honestly this was by far the most enjoyable to read and satisfactory of them all, the fact that this book contains many references to a living ZF project for all to visit, makes the learning curve even easier to accomplish.

I would recommend this book to both novices and experts of ZF, reasons being that I believe the fashion in which the author has created His project is both a quality lesson on how to organize projects to novices and also an extremely valuable array of references to experts too, this book has something for everyone, a truly outstanding display of Zend Framework mastery.

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on August 5, 2011
A few months ago, I had to debug a PHP website written with Zend Framework and Doctrine 2 ORM. I was totally unfamiliar with these technologies (and really any true PHP5 features, as I have been in Javaland for some time) and so debugging was pretty hard. But when I got it working, I thought maybe I should check this Zend Framework thing out.

I did the online "quickstart" from Zend's website, but it was full of errors and was extremely brief. Then I checked out the "Programmers' Refererence," also from Zend, but because the framework is so loosely coupled, the reference was unhelpful in seeing the "big picture" of developing a large application from scratch. I then tried Padraic Brady's free online book, which was quite good until chapter 10, when it abruptly ended. I then decided that I should possibly invest some of my hard-earned money in a published book, so I came to Amazon and found this. I made the right choice.

"Easy PHP Websites with the Zend Framework" is one of the best books teaching a computer toolkit I've ever used. Gilmore presents a wide array of knowledge about the Zend Framework so that the reader can get a good PHP/Zend/Doctrine site up and running relatively easily. The title means exactly what it says: it gives the reader enough ground knowledge and examples to get something off the ground but is not meant to be the end-all of Zend development. After finishing this book, however, I am fully confident in my ability to use a wider variety of more advanced reference materials.

Each chapter presents a variety of knowledge about a specific aspect of web development and how Zend accomodates that aspect. Gilmore usually presents some sort of problem in web development and then how the reader might fix that problem using Zend Framework. He discusses alternative design choices and many of the concepts key to really *understanding* what is going on. Then he goes on to the examples, which are superb. Finally, he rounds out chapters with a short quiz to ensure you didn't sleep-read the text.

The case study/examples are what make this book so great, in my opinion. In many books, the reader is subjected to goofy, contrived examples that don't hang together and serve only to induce yawning - I find this true of the "Head First" series, the "Teach Yourself X in Y [Days|Hours]" series, and countless other CS/IT/Programming tomes. On the other hand, many other books have such complex case studies and extended examples that the books tend to lack focus and the reader is easily confused - I find this is somewhat true with books like the G4's classic "Design Patterns" (although G4's book is fantastic as well). Gilmore's book really hits the happy median, where the case study is sufficiently complex to be interesting, but is not the primary focus of the book. In fact, Gilmore painstakingly emphasizes that the case study is only a supplement to the overall design concepts and concrete aspects of Zend, et al. Also, he documents his case study code extremely well so that the user can easily follow what happens from page to page.

Finally, I almost didn't buy this book because of the 1-star review, but I think that guy's review no longer has any relevance to Gilmore's updated work. Zend Framework is covered from page 1 in an extremely accessible manner. Gilmore does cover some things I already knew, but he's writing to an interface, not an implementation. He also makes himself available via email, which is extremely helpful. I absolutely recommend this book to anyone!
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on August 4, 2009
Easy PHP Websites is better than other books covering the Zend Framework, but is still in need of some work. (This is a hint that other books on the Zend Framework are quite bad.) After reading through this book, and others available, I started using the Framework exclusively in web development projects. It does a good job of covering commonly used modules of the framework, but lacks in some areas. For one, some of the explanations are hard to follow. I do not like how the author makes references to tables that do not have a schema defined. This makes it hard to understand what the author is trying to accomplish. The book could also use an wider coverage of the framework. I am currently supplementing this book with the Zend Framework manual until I find a better alternative. Finally, readers will have to be familiar with object oriented programming in order to understand most of the book. If you don't know OO PHP, you need to learn it because this book jumps right into it with no explanation. I hope the author solves some of these issues in later editions, and recommend this book to those with knowledge of Object Oriented PHP.
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on August 19, 2009
Full of useful information some of which doesn't seem available anywhere else.

I bought this book to progress along the learning curve of the Zend Framework and I wasn't in the least disappointed. I picked up a number of tips and insights which have helped me in my Zend Framework education.

The chapter on using the Zend Framework with a database is superb. The section on table relationships was worth tenfold the price of the book. It inspired me to redo a number of projects using these techniques.

The small size of the book is deceptive. There is a lot of useful information here.
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