Customer Reviews: PHPEclipse: A User Guide: Take advantage of the leading open source integrated development environment to develop, organize, and debug your PHP web development projects.
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on June 20, 2006
When you are first learning a new computer language such as PHP, you will want to complete each line of code and each phase of the program by hand and without using any shortcuts. This is the best way to learn. But as we all know, in the real world, we are all pressed for time. Many programmers turn to an IDE (integrated development environment) to keep them organized and to streamline the workflow. This book by Shu-Wai Chow will show you how to install, setup and use PHPEclipse which is a popular open source IDE for PHP programmers.

The author begins with an introduction to IDE's covering their main features and the pros and cons of using them. Following this, is an introduction to PHPEclipse, its history and architecture. Then the fun begins. Chow's tutorial-styled narrative walks you through each step as you install the main software; Apache, PHP, Java, Eclipse and PHPEclipse. I especially liked that he used the free, open source distribution/installation software called XAMPP which automates the installation of Apache, MySQL, PHP and Perl. He covers the installation for Windows, Mac and Linux. At this point you also install Java and PHPEclipse. Finally, he thoroughly discusses the user interface, the views (palettes) and dialog boxes and how you might want to customize these.

Once you have these installed, you begin to work on a real PHP application project which is a database driven website for an animal shelter. You learn how to set up this project's files and folders within PHPEclipse. Then you begin building the PHP code and supporting HTML, JavaScript and CSS files for the website. You also begin to work on the database, program objects and classes. Chow introduces some helpful tools at this point including WTP (Web Tools Platform project), HTML Tidy, Eclipse Tidy and phpDocumentor. I especially liked the phpDocumentor feature that builds the documentation for your application from your source code comments.

Debugging is the next topic and after an introduction to terms and concepts, Chow shows how to install and setup the DBG debugger. With this feature, you can use more sophisticated debugging practices than the basic echo ( ) function we all know so well. Chow walks you through a complete debugging session and discusses common strategies.

The next step is to turn PHPEclipse into a database client by the addition of the Quantum DB plug-in. Chow demonstrates how to use this with a relational database and how to perform common tasks such as writing SQL statements and manipulating tables.

Depending on your projects, you may or may not feel that you need the help of version control software to keep track of the changes made to your application. However, you will be surprised at how helpful this software is with even the simplest project. Chow helps you install, setup and use the CVS version control software with PHPEclipse and also discusses some common terms and concepts along the way. Lastly, Chow covers how to setup PHPEclipse to work with FTP, Secure FTP, WebDAV and Ant for publishing your new site.

As you can see, this book is more than just instructions on how to install these programs. It also gives you hands-on practice using them. You can download the complete application and sample files from the supporting website. Shu-Wai Chow has been working in the programming field for over eight years and is proficient in Java, JSP, PHP, ColdFusion, ASP, LDAP, XSLT and XSL-FO.
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on January 4, 2007
I'm a long-time PHP developer but a relative newcomer to Eclipse (love it).

This is a fair guide to PHPEclipse. I don't think there's anything about PHPEclipse I'd want to know that I couldn't find in this book, particularly about adding debugging and phpdoc, which don't come bundled with PHPEclipse.

On the other hand - for what you pay, this is a really, really short book. If they needed some filler space to justify the cost, more information on Eclipse in general would have come in handy for a noob like me, or some basics on PHP (the book assumes a fairly high level of PHP knowledge, as it goes right in to OOP in its examples). Some of the graphics work and text layout leaves a bit to be desired, which surprised me, as I've had good luck with this publisher.

If I had it to do over again, I probably would have skipped this book and toughed it out, but overall it isn't a bad book and it did help some. If you are a PHP ninja but you don't know anything about PHP in Eclipse (and you have some cash to kill), it isn't a bad pickup. I give it an "eh" rating.
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on July 10, 2012
I bought this book by reviewing the other reviews written here (as always). And I would give this book one star, but it apparently does contain some useful information for somebody(s) out there. I don't know what version of Eclipse the author is using (I am using ver. 3.0.2) but none of the screen shots match up with my version. Some of them are not even close. Which means endlessly stumbling around and much guess work as you read thru the book.

Nevertheless, I slugged my way thru to chapter 5, "Testing and Debugging," hoping I would be able to get a simple project to set up and run, and then debug. Nothing doing. Back in the days of that great Borland C++ IDE this was a snap to do. But with Eclipse (at least the way the book explains it) you are left with a bewildering set of choices, none of which can even get you to the first breakpoint you might set in your code. In that sense to me Eclipse is a total piece of crap, written by egg heads, who know nothing about real life debugging. The only way I can see thru this mess is to be able to attend a Community College course that specifically targets my version of Eclipse and PHP. But no such class exists. Perhaps an on-line video exists, but nothing beats having a real live teacher available to answer your questions.

So, what are the choices that are left? I could go back to NetBeans, but that is another quirky IDE that sometimes works, and sometimes does not. I was warned it was buggy, but found it to be of some limited help. The final alternative is to go back to sprinkling print statements thruout my code (the original way to debug) and take advantage of Firebug, which means using Firefox as the local browser.

Borland, where are you now that we PHP developers really need you?
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on February 17, 2006
I don't know how I ever wrote php code without Eclipse! And this book makes it easy and FUN to use Eclipse. Shu Chow is a master at explaining the concepts involved as well as the functionality of the tool.
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on June 9, 2008
PHPEclipse: A User Guide is a quick read. Having already worked with Eclipse for PHP development the book didn't present any drastic or life changing additions to my technique with Eclipse.

The book is greatly geared toward the newest of PHP programmers, ones still looking to make a mark in the world, or those who are looking to escape the claws of another IDE and want to know what Eclipse and PHPEclipse are all about. Shu-Wai does and excellent job of explaining what Perspectives and Views are and how they work together to make up the meat of PHPEclipse.

Each chapter is full of quick information about how to setup a specific aspect of Eclipse to better work with PHP development. Chapters 3 and 4 explain how the IDE displays information about your application to you, and where to look for more information. Chapters 5 through 8 explain different plug-ins (CVS, Debug, Deploying code) and explain how they work integrated with Eclipse. The best part of each of these latter chapters is they explain in detail how to get the particular plugin installed and configured. It was a fresh and welcome look at plugins and how they work.

What peaked my interest in the book were two things. The first was Appendix A which explains more about where to get more plugins and information about the plugins. The second was the overview of Eclipse. A short history and explanation of how Eclipse came to be what it is today. I was particularly interested in the plugin development, which is built right into Eclipse.

Although the book is short, and a quick read, if you are thinking about picking up Eclipse and using it, you should get this book and read through it while you are in the process.
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on February 22, 2006
I have struggled with PHP, always wishing I could just find a plain-language guide. This book not only makes the material clear, it is actually fun to read!

Having finished the book, I am now writing codes and deploying sites with greater ease than I ever thought possible. If you are ready to make a big leap with your command of PHP, this book is all you need.
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