Customer Reviews: PHP 5 Power Programming
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on July 27, 2005
PHP 5 Power Programming is the ideal introduction to PHP 5 for those who are already familiar with the PHP language. This book, written by some of the best known in the world of PHP, brings together all of the new and powerful features that PHP 5 has to offer, from polymorphism and interfaces to SQLite and SOAP. Anyone who knows PHP 4 and are wanting to make the change to PHP 5 would benefit from the "Making the Move" chapter. Watch out beginners, while the book does offer a "Basic Language" chapter, it isn't designed to introduce new programmers to the language. Those who are familiar with similar programming languages may be able to learn PHP from this short chapter, however don't expect the rest of the book to stop and wait for you.
PHP 5 Power Programming succeeds in showing the new features of PHP. The principle addition to PHP is the improvement of OOP. This book dedicated two chapters to introduce PHP 5's Object Orientated language and makes a fine job of simplifying something which appears complicated even to an experienced programmer. If you ever wanted someone to make sense of what PHP 5's OOP can accomplish, this book delivers it without fail. One of my personal favourites about this book is Chapter 5. Unlike the myriads of other PHP books, Chapter 5 actually deals with real life situations, such as file uploads and basic (but important!) file architecture. This chapter deals with the problems faced with cookies and sessions, and provides an excellent way around them. By the time you reach Chapter 6, you could be wondering what's left to be learned. The answer? Lots. So sit back and enjoy the journey through PHP 5, your in the hands of very experienced authors.
Not only does this book provide you with the "definitive introduction to PHP 5's advanced features" it also includes an extended 90-day trial of Zend Studio - the ideal Development Environment for PHP. This may make it a tempting purchase for programmers who are new to PHP. Even if the back cover encourages new developers to buy this book, I would strongly recommend against doing so. Chapter 2 does help set down the basics, but be prepared to take the plunge as Chapter 3 goes straight into OOP. If you're new to PHP and sure about choosing this book, I would suggest skipping both Chapters 3 and 4, head into Chapter 5 and see how the language should be used to the best of its ability.
PHP 5 Power Programming by Andi Gutmans (co-creator, PHP 5), Stig Saether Bakken (PHP core team member, creator of PEAR) and Derick Rethans (PHP contributor and the PHP QA team leader) is the perfect purchase for PHP developers wishing to bring their skills and programs into a new level. This book wastes no time in getting stuck into the advanced new features of PHP 5 and soon you'll be putting a big of reflection into all of your code. While not ideal for beginners, anyone who has experience with languages such as C, Perl or Java will find themselves understanding PHP in no time.
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on July 19, 2005
If you're already writing PHP and want to hone your skills, this is the book for which you've been searching. Bring a highlighter because you will want to go back for quick references since the book is packed with so much good information.

If you don't write code and think OOP is a sound you make when you drop something, you will never have to buy another book as it will take you a lifetime to finish this one.
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on January 17, 2005
OK, so you've created your first web page with PHP and MySQL and it's all right--it does what you want--but you want something more. Something in there is lacking. You've been searching for the best way to get your object-oriented applications working properly, or you need to find a better way to assimilate your data graphically for your boss and the only computer technology he understands is the World Wide Web. Welcome to the world of power programming with the latest version of PHP.

One of the latest books in the Prentice Hall's Bruce Perens' Open Source Series is this one called "PHP 5 Power Programming." Written by Andi Gutmans, the lead PHP 5 designer, Stig Saether Bakken, the creator of PEAR, and Derick Rethans, a key PHP contributor, this book is a self-proclaimed tome of wonders which contains insights into all the key features of the latest version of PHP and the keys to unlocking all its wholesome goodness.

After spending a little time showing the evolution of PHP, the authors dive right in. They only devote a brief introduction to the basics of PHP. Clearly, if all you've done is convert a six-line BASH script into PHP, you might check out a less involved reference first. You're expected to be tired with the PHP basics already when you dive into this work, because it's barely a chapter gone before you start getting involved in advanced constructs like iterators, object polymorphism, overloading and exception handling. The best part is the authors never leave you floundering about a simple topic just because they're in the midst of a complicated one. They never let you forget how to unset a cookie, while explaining all of the safeguards necessary to maintain a safe operating environment for a published Web application.

Some of the topics that can be found in this very involved book are: stucturing and designing Web applications, integration with MySQL for data storage and recovery, working with the GD libraries for extensive graphical manipulation, and a detailed discussion and reference on PEAR, the PHP Extension and Application Repository, which does for PHP what CPAN does for Perl. There are also sections with great insite into using PHP with XML and SOAP, regular expressions and streams. And there's even a detailed chapter towards the back about benchmarking your PHP performance and enhancing its operation. Three appendices provide information on the packages available through PEAR and PECL, the phpDocumentor application and Zend Studio.

For a technical manual, this book is surprisingly well laid out. You can use the index in the back to find the topic of your interest, but just skimming through reveals that everything is put where you can find it. Reading the book cover to cover works well also. I doubt the average reader will skip over much as this reference is chock full of good information and written with a style that keeps the reader interested, even if it's a topic he might already be familiar with.

For anyone who already has the fundamentals of PHP in pocket, but wants to get into the nuts and bolts of the new version and explore all of the depth and richness of some of its advanced features, this book is definitely a keeper. At 689 pages, it's long enough to contain a treasure trove of information, but short enough not to turn anyone away by its sheer volume. The best part is, all of this information is straight from the guys who know it best, so you can be sure that all of the best tips are included. And by the end of the book it's clear that PHP has evolved a great deal more robustness than it's original title and function of hypertext preprocessor had likely ever imagined.
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on November 20, 2005
I really enjoyed reading this book, and I did learn a good deal of things in the process. However this book covers a lot of topics, and because of that it doesn't get too in depth about any one subject. It mostly skims over many of the new OOP features of PHP5, and PEAR. Think of this book as a good resource for further web research.
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on April 17, 2009
I have never seen a book with so many typographical errors, including errors in code. There is supposedly an errata page, but there is nothing on that page except sponsored links.

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on September 16, 2012
I've had this book on my shelf for years and was wondering if there was a second edition in print. I use PHP and MySQL a lot and found this book to have a lot of well presented material which covered not only WHAT, but WHY.

Great explanation of the OO features in PHP 5. Nice material on PHP extensions and how to improve performance.

Sorry to see there is no second edition.
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on June 25, 2010
If your a newbie coder I would try to find something else to start on. If your an all around code everything depending on the job kinda programmer this is a great book for you to help supplement your current php knowledge. I have been coding php, perl, c and shell for over a decade and found myself a little lacking in an in depth look a php. I finally found a book that doesn't spend most of it's time explaining simple crap and does not assume you know the obscure stuff as well. The book does a good job at sectioning out the structure of php scripting and describing most of the functionality of functions and shows you how to code inline and OOP.
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on December 10, 2005
I got this book after reading a rather poor intro on php 5 (Learning php5) and was rather pleased with the book.

I had no experience with php (well other than reading the other book) and found this book very accessible. The book gives you enough information to get started on php5 and the majority of its features. It even has information about writing your own php extensions. Although I really didn't find the all the Pear info that helpful.

I do really wish the book had more information on design patterns etc for php 5. It did go over a few but not ones that are particularly useful for building applications for the web. But I guess this is sort of the status of PHP, its still seems to be a sort of hacky scripting language.
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on December 1, 2004
If you're going to start off learning to build database driven web sites today, you probably want to use LAMP. LAMP - Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. Each of these technologies is complex enough that a dedicated book, and this book is THE BOOK for PHP. Having said that, I need to add that this is not a book intended for the beginner. It is intended for people already working in PHP 4 to upgrade their skills up to PHP 5. It is written by the people largely responsible for bringing PHP to the state it is today. They know whereof they speak. To be sure there are chapters at the beginning of the book that provide a basic introduction, but they are a bit terse when compared to the typical beginners level book.

So what are the new features that this book is particularly designed to cover: The basic underlying structure of the language has been changed for more object orientation. This fits into the concepts of more recently designed languages. Yes, Martha, PHP is definitely a language. The next most important part of the upgrade is greatly improved support for producing and parsing XML code. While there are many more changes, these are the major.

One of the authors of the book, Stig Bakken, is the creator of PEAR (PHP Extension and Application Repository). There are three chapters discussing PEAR. PEAR is itself a fairly complex language, so this serves as an introduction to give you enough information to know if this is for you.

Summary: An excellent book for the intermediate level PHP programmer who wants to move up. A bit imposing for a beginner.
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on April 20, 2007
This is a great book covering a lot of the advanced features of PHP and how to use them in your scripts. There are a lot of examples and this books teaches a lot about OOP and various design patterns. This book is very well written and easy to understand.
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