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on March 12, 2000
The most serious problem with this book is that there's no index. If you want to remind yourself of what arguments a particular function needs, you have to work out which category the function falls in and hunt through the appropriate chapter.
It's useful as a reference if you can't get at the online PHP manual, but I've found that I rarely use it now. Maybe it's simply that the annotated online manual is so good, the book is redundant.
Having said that, some of the example code provided is extremely useful, though the code layout suffers from the small size of the pages.
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on May 22, 2000
Honestly if you are looking into buying this book take a look at O'Reilly's "Webmaster in a nutshell" before you buy this. The information in here is pretty much a repeat of everything in there, only the Webmaster book contains a lot more valuable and exstensive knowlege base in regards to not just PHP. If you just want a simple, small reference with information that is readily available for free on the web then you may find this useful, otherwise don't bother. I have to give it some credit because the book dosen't claim to be any more than it is and it is pretty inexpensive.
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on May 18, 2000
Well, for starters: there's no index. How did that slip through the cracks? Since the functions are grouped by type, you need to know what the function is before you can look up what it is, or just flip through 114 pages scanning for it, which leads to problem number 2: the typography is such that the function names blend right into the text.
The function reference identifies what is returned by the functions by data type (e.g., integer), but not whether it's a pointer to an array or just a number, or what. The Leon Atkinson book, otherwise even lamer than this book, at least got that part right.
Advice to O'Reilly: give up on the pretense of always having the "preeminent expert" write your books. Get professional technical writers, partner them with the big name "creators" of the technology, and the quality and timeliness of the books will improve. Thank god Larry Wall didn't write the Perl book. O'Reilly doesn't have the field all to itself anymore, so they shouldn't be resting on their laurels.
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on January 17, 2004
The book needs an index...
also, the function list.. (very lengthy) is very poorly organized and layed out..
each line starts with the output type of the function.. (int,string,bool) etc.
consequently scanning the index for the function you're looking for is extreemely difficult.
You cant even easily find where you are in the alphabetized list without sifting through a buncha lines starting with 'string','int','bool'
it's a worthless pocket reference.
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on May 20, 2003
I have been a fan of O-Reilly Pocket References for some time. My colleagues would say that I am highly vested in them. Sadly, this is the worst one I've seen.
The first section is actually laid out very well. The syntax highlighting and language basics are described with succinctness and efficiency.
As for the second section, the function reference, it is basically worthless. Taking up a bulk of the text, this 97 page listing is nearly pointless, as so many have said before me. The listing is completely alphabetical, which means you have to know what you are looking for before you look for it. Assuming you know what to look for, then you most likely have some idea what the syntax is, making this, sadly, a waste of effort (although, I can't deny that a syntax reference can be useful, if organized properly).
I'd have two suggestions for the next edition. The function reference would be decent if it were categorized. Since this would prevent alphabetical ordering of entries, my second recommendation is an index, which many reviewers have requested before.
With this said, don't bother with this product (2nd edition), unless you *KNOW* PHP.
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on May 6, 2007
O'Reilly must sell a ton of these. Why not get a new author willing to do a good job of updating and improving. We all owe Lerdorf a lot for starting PHP in the first place. Having said that, O'Reilly needs to get an author who can update this and make it a useful reference. PHP is now on version 5.2 and this book is on version 4. It is nearly useless. I try to use this book from time to time, but never seem to find the information I need. Ie: Each function in the reference section needs at least two sentences of explanation, not a half sentence.

PHP needs a couple of good current reference books. Where are they?
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on February 18, 2000
Just like many of the other ORA Reference books this one doesnt fail to deliver. No PHP developer should be without it, it's an excellent quick reference, very well set out. You'll soon be using the best PHP commands and functions for the job. Be sure to learn a little PHP before buying this book however, otherwise it will go to waste until you're at least a little comfortable with the language !
It's cheap too ! Go get it !
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on February 18, 2000
A really complete pocket tutorial. A good way to quickly lookup syntax, functions and the operation of PHP itself. The book starts with an introduction/reminder to PHP and actually very useable examples that you can put to use right away. An excellent book by Rasmus Lerdorf, one of the key developers of PHP.
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on March 22, 2000
This book is really nothing but the online PHP manual in book form without the code snippet examples for each function. You would get more info by just printing out the online manual, but if you use an inkjet printer that might be more expensive than the book!
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on December 3, 2002
.
My 1st Edition copy of this book is so well-loved that there is a dirt stripe down the edge of the pages from my flipping through it so often. I bought the 2nd Edition thinking it would be just as good as the first, with the new PHP-4 functions added.
The 2nd Edition is just an alphabetical list of functions, while the 1st Edition was categorized by usage-type (string functions, database functions, math functions, etc.). If I needed to find a function that did {foo} to a string, I'd look in the strings section until I found a description for an appropriate function. I can't do this with the 2nd Edition and am seriously considering returning it!
If you just need a reference to remind you of parameter order and return-type, get the 2nd Edition.
But if you're like me and want to find the correct function to do what you are looking to accomplish, save your money and buy a used copy of the 1st Edition PHP Pocket Reference.
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