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on June 7, 2005
Programming books tend to fall into two categories, learn by example and reference books. If you are new to programming, it's generally easier to start learning by example suspending your knowledge of everything a language can do in favor of examining a few simple scripts to learn the basics. Once you have written a number of small scripts, a good reference book can guide you in writing more complex and functional applications.

On the spectrum of how-to vs. reference, "PHP 5: Your visual blueprint for creating open source, server-side content" falls on the near-side of reference yet is organized in a practical solution based fashion. One of about six PHP books on my bookshelf (and perhaps only second to the website), I find myself referring to this book more than any other reference. It is an excellent reference for things like recalling the syntax of a loop structure to the application of a loop in processing multiple form elements.

Beyond being a solution-based reference, two things I really like about this book is the consistent two-page layout for each concept - a short description followed by code - and code shown in an actual editor window. (I'm not sure what it is about seeing screenshots of code but it seems to sink in better than code formatted in plain text on a page. Hence the Visual approach.)

If you are new to web programming and are looking to buy your first PHP book then you may be better served with a learning through sample projects approach like "Build Your Own Database Driven Website Using PHP & MySQL" by Kevin Yank. In reviewing this book, expert programmers might scoff and say RTFM. For the rest of us somewhere along the PHP and programming learning curve, I believe this book serves as a friendly and practical reference.
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on January 24, 2012
This is one of the best books I have seen on beginning PHP. It was actually assigned for a class I was taking and I was very impressed with how easy it is to follow. Each page has a separate concept with step by step instructions, plus an example. Very straight forward and great as a reference.
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on February 13, 2006
So satisfied with their first book - "PHP", I had to see if the second could be as informative and it was. The method of explaination in these books should be the model for all computer books. Nothing is over or under explained. While this book does not cover all that PHP has to offer, it does what it intended - making PHP easy for beginners to learn visually.
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on October 1, 2008
This book may not give every detail of the PHP language, but that's not the point. The idea is to give many very focused lessons on how to perform various programming techniques with PHP in very clear language and well-designed screenshots walking you through each step.

This title makes for both a great reference for old-timers, and has proven to me to be very helpful for learning even the most basic to some advanced techniques. Myself having a mid-level experience with PHP, it has really helped polish my fundamental skills.

I am waiting for the JavaScript Blueprint book, I hope it's as good as this one!
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on December 18, 2008
I highly recommend this book to anyone getting started in scripting or wanting to go futher with thier understanding of PHP. The book is layed out in a visual format so most people will have little if any trouble understanding what they are coding. You get to see the script, how it works and then what the outcome should be. If you are looking into scripting in PHP get this book! Also check out the other books in the visual blueprint series. I have enjoyed each and everyone and learned more than if I would have stubbled along seeking this information on the Internet.
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on October 10, 2009
IMO, the format of this edition is not suitable for this language. Most people learning PHP don't need instructions how to type characters, they are not retarded.
I found the same book format quite suitable for HTML and CSS, for example, or anything that has to do with visual design. But not for a programming language.
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on August 23, 2010
If you plan on reading this on Kindle... forget it. All the code examples are unreadable. They are included as blurry pictures, and the words are not readable. I wasted $15. You don't need to. If you want this book, buy the paperback version.
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on April 2, 2006
I learned ASP and Mysql with great ease and quick progress with 'the visual blueprint' books, the delivery were clear and concise.

But things have changed in this new series. The writing style is difficult to understand: instead of explaining the topic first, the writer jumps right into 'you can do this and that'. I have to read each chapter several times in order to grasp what he means. The screen shots are now arranged on top of one another. Which is by itself ok if the text are not reduced even smaller making it more difficult to read.

I am quite disappointed by this 'new' approach. I hope the publisher has not changed the 'your visual blueprint series' into

just a reference book instead of being a teaching book which it was so good at.
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on March 21, 2014
One of my favorite suggestions for beginners to read,
is not even close to the same experience as the hard copy.

The book itself is worthy of five stars.

The issue is with the Kindle file...
Why did the digital copy turn greyscale?
It's an easy enough option to offer to color changing for
ease on the eyes and preference of individual readers.
This seams lazy and/or cheap of kindle/amazon.
I would like to see an update with a true representation of this wonderful book.
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on July 27, 2014
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