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PHP Phrasebook [Paperback]

by Christian Wenz
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 6, 2005 0672328178 978-0672328176 1

If you were traveling in Spain, but couldn't speak Spanish very well, you'd probably carry a Spanish dictionary with you. If you are a PHP developer who needs a portable reference guide for frequent use in your job, the PHP Phrasebook is perfect for you. The PHP Phrasebook is actually a pocket guide that is jam-packed with useful and essential PHP code "phrases" for the PHP developer's everyday use. The code is flexible, so it can be easily adapted to your needs and mulitple situations, and your time isn't wasted wading through chapters of tutorial lessons and extraneous information. The phrasebook covers PHP 5 and is relevant for PHP 4.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Christian Wenz is professional developer, trainer and consultant with a focus on web technologies. He frequently contributes articles to renowned IT magazines and speaks at conferences around the world. Christian is Germany's very first Zend Certified Professional and contributes to several PHP packages in the PEAR repository. Christian has written or contributed to several books on PHP and related technologies, including PHP 5 Unleashed.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.



Some time ago, my favorite development editor, Damon Jordan, sent me an email and closed it with "Ich möchte eine Föhnwelle"—"I'd like a blow wave." Unfortunately, I didn't know what either a Föhnwelle or a blow wave is, so I declined. He then told me he had found this sentence in a German phrasebook he recently bought.

I was interested and had a look at some German phrasebooks. I think they are great tools to get around in a foreign country, although I personally think that some of the phrases offered just don't make sense. For instance, in one phrasebook, I found a series of pickup lines, including the ingenious "You have a beautiful personality," something that didn't work for me either in English, in German, or in any other language! Some coital guidance could also result in other problems—you either have to remember all the things to say while you are at it, or you have to hold the phrasebook in your free hand. And, finally, "Blow waves are as dead as a pet rock," just to use another phrase.

Anyway, we were discussing phrasebooks a bit, and Damon said that he wanted to do a book series on phrasebooks. He also mentioned that he would like to team up with his and my favorite acquisitions editor, Shelley Johnston, so I was in.

While working on a concept, we found some differences between a language phrasebook and an IT phrasebook. For instance, a language phrasebook just contrasts the same sentence in two languages. However, this is not always helpful. What if you want to change the phrase a bit, for instance if you want an en vogue blow wave (an oxymoron, one might say)?

So, we tried to create a concept that contains a lot of phrases, but all of them with good explanations so that it is easy to change the code and adapt it to one's needs. This, of course, makes the "foreign language" portions of a phrase a bit longer than the phrase itself, but we think that really helps when working with the book.

I also remember one famous Monty Python sketch in which someone uses a sabotaged dictionary, so that asking for directions results in getting roughed up. Therefore, it is vitally important to get a real explanation on what is going on within the phrase.

I then wrote a series concept and a sample chapter and now, only a few months later, you hold the first phrasebook in your hands, one of hopefully many.

Something I really hate about reading computer books is when code samples are hacked into the word processor, but never tested. To avoid this, every listing is also available for download at, and the filename is part of the listing's caption for phrases longer than just a few lines. So every code does exist as a file and has actually been tested, unlike in some other books. Of course, it's an illusion that this book is 100% error-free, although we have taken several steps to come very close to that mark. Any errata, if known, will be posted to that site, too.

Another thing I really dislike with some books is that they tend to be very OS-dependent, which is really unnecessary for PHP. Some books were obviously only tested under Windows, some others only under Linux, but it is possible to make code relatively platform-independent. We have invested a lot of effort in testing the code from this book on many server platforms, including Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, and Solaris. Therefore, the screenshots in this book are also taken from those platforms, so you will find a healthy mixture of systems (and browsers). Ideology can be expressed with many phrases, but you won't find any of them in this book. If, however, something does only run on certain platforms (or PHP versions), it is noted in the text. Another phrase I promise you will not find in this book is anything that looks like foo, bar, baz, or any other proofs of very little imagination.

Of course, it is easy to find missing phrases in this book—PHP offers so much functionality that it is impossible to cover every aspect. Therefore, we had to select certain topics of interest—stuff that is relevant in a PHP programmer's everyday work. If you think, however, that something has really been overlooked, please let me know—but do also nominate something that should then be removed from upcoming editions of this book to make room for the new phrase(s). I am looking forward to hearing your feedback.

And now, to quote once more a phrasebook: "Bist du soweit? Da boxt der Papst"—"Are you ready? It's all happening there" (but literally: "There boxes the pope").

Your personal phrasemonger,
Christian Wenz

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (October 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672328178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672328176
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #802,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars my new desktop reference November 5, 2005
I work with PHP quite a lot, but I keep on forgetting things: How do I prefill a form without introducing security vulnerabilities, how do I connect to which database (in our company, we use several different systems), how do I provide web services, how do I sort arrays in natural language order, and so on. This book contains so many phrases I need in my daily work so that it really helps me save time. Thumbs up!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A PHP Developers Right Hand February 3, 2006
By M. Noga
This is quite possible the best book I have purchased so far, and I buy a new book every couple of months. I usually to use the Pocket References from O'Rielly but this new Phrasebook series looks like a great replacement. Full of short blocks of code that are easily adaptable to what ever your doing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very handy little book January 3, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is one of those that you like to keep at arms length. It has a lot of useful code that comes in handy. I liked it so much I purchased the MySQL Phrasebook as well.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise and relevant at the very same time November 20, 2005
With this book Christian Wenz and SAMS are trying to launch a new concept, sort of a condensed "programming cookbook" that can be used as a portable quick reference as well. The author brilliantly manages to keep a balance, being concise and relevant at the very same time. The code samples are well written and up to date with PHP 5; plenty of notes and tips provide valuable words of wisdom. The topic lends itself very well to this format, since PHP has hundreds of functions and many details that are often hard to remember. I really enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to see more titles published along the same series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect format for programmers. January 21, 2008
It's kind of like having a Reader's Digest version of an O'Reilly Cookbook title, but more oriented to learning the language instead of just listing the solutions to odd problems.

The Phrasebook series gives me everything I need to know to use my existing knowledge in a new language. Sure, they are not comprehensive. But too much information slows down the initial learning process, and makes the book less likely to be read. Read one of these books and you'll know enough to get started, and make smarter Google searches when you get stuck. Best of all, it fits in your back pocket.

If you're already a programmer and simply want to start using a new language, buy a Phrasebook. The PHP Phrasebook was my first one, and I "learned" PHP while I was in the waiting room of the mechanic shop having my car inspected.
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