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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful For The Ideas It Offers; Graphics, Database and Testing Hacks
I tried several of the hacks in this book and quickly scanned some others. It offers numerous ideas for dynamic web page presentation. Hack 11, "Put an Interactive Spreadsheet on Your Page", provides a fresh way to present tabular data in an Excel-like grid format, using a proprietary solution called ActiveWidgets. I downloaded the free version of the ActiveWidgets code...
Published on February 5, 2006 by Robert L. Cochran

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a tutorial, a reference, or PEAR
The hacks (PHP scripts) may be good ones, but who is this book for?

If you need to learn PHP, get a tutorial book. There are several. This is NOT one. Strangely, it walks you through installing PHP as if you were a beginner, but then it dives right into the hacks with no real discussion of the language. And there are no details about the lines of script...
Published on February 15, 2007 by Roy Eassa


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful For The Ideas It Offers; Graphics, Database and Testing Hacks, February 5, 2006
By 
This review is from: PHP Hacks: Tips & Tools For Creating Dynamic Websites (Paperback)
I tried several of the hacks in this book and quickly scanned some others. It offers numerous ideas for dynamic web page presentation. Hack 11, "Put an Interactive Spreadsheet on Your Page", provides a fresh way to present tabular data in an Excel-like grid format, using a proprietary solution called ActiveWidgets. I downloaded the free version of the ActiveWidgets code and ran this hack. It is giving me ideas for how to present the kind of tabular data that might look good on a web page. At no cost, you can study a given bit of PHP code and decide for yourself if you can put it to further use.

I also tried Hack 10, "Send HTML Email". It works fine as stated, and for the first time I learned how to construct a multipart email. That is what prompted me to implement the hack, I have always wanted to do exactly this. I have some work to do with my sendmail mail transfer agent (MTA) software for this to work even better. The hack can be improved by showing how to avoid the problem of the MTA writing the wrong from and to email addresses and how to work around potential mail relaying issues. The bottom line, however, is that the code presented works as indicated.

I experimented with Hacks 4, "Build A Breadcrumb Trail", and 12, "Create Popup Hints". These work acceptably.

An exciting hack that I haven't tried yet is #44, "Scrape Web Pages For Data". I would like to use this one to scrape weather-related data from [...] for my zip code.

Another attention-getter are the hacks presented in Chapter 8, "Testing". I have not tried these hacks myself, but I think unit testing needs more attention in web pages that utilize heavy scripting, and I'll be sure to experiment with these hacks in two projects of my own that are currently ongoing. I definitely feel the need of automated testing.

Other good points about this book is that it offers hacks which cover graphics tricks such as implementing Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). SVG deserves attention because the image renditions possible are stunning, and you can render them right now. Recent builds of Mozilla and Firefox support SVG natively and you do not need the Adobe plugin with these browsers. Author Herrington neglects to state this in Hack 28. When you see the graphical renditions you realize they are worth implementing in your PHP code.

I like the numerous screen shots the book provides. They offer a way to check my own results against what he suggests or shows are possible.

I would have given this book a 5 star rating if I had seen hacks that implement PHP Data Objects (PDO) with databases such as MySQL and SQLite. PDOs have been available in PHP for a long time now, I use them in most of my coding because they work so well and offer a cleaner interface to the database engine than the "traditional" PHP code taught in a lot of books. Likewise, there is a focus on PEAR programming, but in PHP version 6, which is now in development, there is no longer a default install of PEAR. Herrington also didn't test his Hacks code on different platforms. He appears to have settled on the Windows versions of Firefox 1.x, Apache server, and PHP. There is some reliance on Internet Explorer. I can see the results when I test his hacks in Mozilla and Firefox on the Linux OS. Indeed, it doesn't look like Herrington did extensive research for the book; otherwise he would have quickly learned that SVG is supported natively in Firefox. There is too much code printed, and not enough discussion about the code itself. I can download the example code easily enough; why print it at the expense of discussing it? The book index also needs improvement. You can see entries for "ActiveWidgets", for example, but not a related one for "widgets".

I ran all my tests of these hacks on Fedora Core 4 Linux, running MySQL 5.0.18, SQLite 3.2.x and higher, and development versions of PHP 6 available from [...] . I did not test these in Microsoft Windows XP.

This book belongs on your desk as you code PHP. I recommend studying it for the ideas it offers.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding PHP Tips & Tricks Book, March 10, 2006
By 
Dan McKinnon (Tewksbury, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: PHP Hacks: Tips & Tools For Creating Dynamic Websites (Paperback)
'PHP Hacks' by Jack Herrington truly is a book of hacks, tips, and tricks that I have found to be very useful. Covering 100 different ways to use PHP to perform a myriad of different tasks, this book covers many of the neat things that can be done to turn your web site from 'bland to grand' with little effort required!!

Some highlights of what this book will enable you to do with your PHP-based web site:

Create a skinnable interface

Add tabs to your web interface

Put an interactive spreadsheet on your page

Create drop down lists

Create dynamic menus for your site

Make a DHTML slideshow

Create an interactive calendar

Create thumbnail images

Read XML easily with regular expressions

Create RTF and Excel documents dynamically

Turn any object into an array

Create a login system for your web site

Aside from these top hacks/tips that I especially enjoyed, there is also time spent on better object oriented development with PHP, advice for testing your site out, and a whole myriad of other outstanding things you can do!

If you use PHP at your job and you want to tack on some more skills, you would be at a loss if you didn't pick up a copy of PHP Hacks.

***** HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best PHP reference I have used, bar none, February 20, 2006
This review is from: PHP Hacks: Tips & Tools For Creating Dynamic Websites (Paperback)
I've read at least a dozen books on web development with PHP. This book is the best, by far!

The good:

* Excellent coverage of elegant PHP for dealing with databases and XML

* Outstanding explanation of automated code generation (a must for professional PHP developers)

* Description (and code implementation) of how to use design patterns with PHP. Former J2EE guys will love this.

* High quality prose and clear descriptions. I did not find any grammatical or spelling errors.

* Light sense of humor (without the unnecessary banter that one finds in most "... for Dummies" books)

The bad:

* Nothing.

As a software developer of 10 years, I give this book my highest recommendation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid, Quality Reference For Many Possible Uses, May 13, 2007
This review is from: PHP Hacks: Tips & Tools For Creating Dynamic Websites (Paperback)
It's very packed full of php solutions that, instead of having you thinking: "I might need this particularly obscure thing later, but then again probably not", like a lot of other books, you'll very likely consider getting a lot of use out of at least 75% of the "hack" recipes eventually.

They're not really hacks by the way, in the negative sense of the word. (Maybe the Recipes book came out first and "Hacks" was the next best word for the title, who knows). But these hack/tips are based on fundamental technologies such as reading/writing XML, preventing double submission on ecommerce sites, making use of design patterns in PHP, great UI tips ( I immediately put one of them to use, which had a url to a popular dhtml library I didn't even know of).

A major portion of the hacks involve excellent user interface advice such as dhtml menus, generating images, etc..

Excellent real-world MySQL tips that include a basic login system, or a PHP recipe that you can use over and over to auto-generate sql CRUD (create/read/update/delete) PHP code. And the other way around. Auto-create mysql code from xml files that contain the schema for the tables.

Also recipes that involve basic knowledge in adding a paypal buy button, php unit testing, testing with simulated users. I shouldn't even attempt at trying to be specific with the types of tips. There are so many of them, varying through different levels of categories

I'd consider it a must-have for all PHP coders. And the reason why I say this, is it's very likely that you will find value in your situation, in at least 2 or 3 of the included "hacks", that would easily cancel out the price of the book. But that's a worst case scenario
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a tutorial, a reference, or PEAR, February 15, 2007
By 
Roy Eassa (Massachusetts, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: PHP Hacks: Tips & Tools For Creating Dynamic Websites (Paperback)
The hacks (PHP scripts) may be good ones, but who is this book for?

If you need to learn PHP, get a tutorial book. There are several. This is NOT one. Strangely, it walks you through installing PHP as if you were a beginner, but then it dives right into the hacks with no real discussion of the language. And there are no details about the lines of script within each hack -- you're essentially being asked to take each hack as a wonderful black box from on high.

If you already know PHP pretty well, then you know you can find nearly an infinite supply of great scripts for free on the web (for example, at PEAR, the PHP Extension and Application Repository). Many of them are updated based on feedback and have detailed explanations and discussions to go along with them. Why pay for a small sampling from a book?

And if you're a PHP programmer and want a reference book for looking things up quickly, well, this certainly isn't THAT either.

So I'm again left wondering, who does that leave?

(Edit: I think O'Reilly is a great book company. I own several other O'Reilly books, recommend them highly, and use them all the time. I just have reservations about this particular book's value given that PEAR is free, has user feedback, and is constantly updated.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars quick "How to's ...", October 19, 2006
By 
Discoveror "Mike" (Westerly, RI United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: PHP Hacks: Tips & Tools For Creating Dynamic Websites (Paperback)
When trying to figure out how to implement something, do you ever wish that the examples you find would just 'cut to the chase'? ... skip the theory & just show me a rough idea of how to go about it?

This book contains 100 hacks/recipes, satisfying the above need. Each is 2- 3 pages, which can (mostly) be run right from their folder (~100 folders in the downloaded code samples, of course). A hack-folderName cross-refernece would have been nice, but, hey ...

They put you on the track in moments - no need to read the whole book for any hack/recipe - just jump right in (to the problem of your day) ... and you can modify/enhance, as your needs dictate.

Code documentation is non-existent and explanation is sparse; but, they do, indeed, satisfy the need for quick examples in 2 - 3 pages!

`lovin it! NICE format ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 10, 2014
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This review is from: PHP Hacks: Tips & Tools For Creating Dynamic Websites (Paperback)
excellent!!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Meh, October 25, 2013
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This review is from: PHP Hacks: Tips & Tools For Creating Dynamic Websites (Paperback)
Hasn't been as helpful as I had hoped. A hard read. Not much else to say just filling in text.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good reference book., November 11, 2011
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This review is from: PHP Hacks: Tips & Tools For Creating Dynamic Websites (Paperback)
I like this book, it has very good examples, well elaborated explanation. If you know PHP well then this is good book for you otherwise some of the example are hard to understand. Over all this is the must have book for PHP Programmer/
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2.0 out of 5 stars Some good hacks, not a lot of PHP, September 12, 2010
By 
3rd Option (Western U.S.A.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: PHP Hacks: Tips & Tools For Creating Dynamic Websites (Paperback)
The book has a lot of hacks, to be sure! And if the author presents a hack that EXACTLY fits your need, then the book is worth a read (not a buy). WAY too often, though, the 'hack' is "How to use some other, non-PHP product to get PHP to do what you want."

The book is like bizarre combination of "Look what I can do!" and "Buy this book where I tell you, quickly and poorly, how to use someone else's product that really IS great!"

The book is barely worth checking out at the library.
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PHP Hacks: Tips & Tools For Creating Dynamic Websites
PHP Hacks: Tips & Tools For Creating Dynamic Websites by Jack D. Herrington (Paperback - December 22, 2005)
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