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18 Reviews
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Excellent Advanced Text
I have been developing web-based, database-driven applications for 12 years using Perl, Java, and, for the past 3 years, PHP. I was a late-comer to PHP because, quite frankly, its early iterations sucked. The committers finally got it right with 5.2 and 6.0 looks like they are staying on-track.

I went through any number of online tutorials and "Learn PHP in...
Published on May 14, 2008 by Mark Galbreath

versus
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uneven but well written
[reviewed by XPSD member Woody Zuill]

One common technique I use when looking at a book I am thinking of
buying is to flip through to a dozen or so random pages and read a
paragraph or a bit of whatever is on that page. If most of these chance
peeks reveal something interesting or useful to me, then I figure I'll
probably get enough out of...
Published on October 8, 2008 by XPSD


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Excellent Advanced Text, May 14, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Pro PHP: Patterns, Frameworks, Testing and More (Paperback)
I have been developing web-based, database-driven applications for 12 years using Perl, Java, and, for the past 3 years, PHP. I was a late-comer to PHP because, quite frankly, its early iterations sucked. The committers finally got it right with 5.2 and 6.0 looks like they are staying on-track.

I went through any number of online tutorials and "Learn PHP in 24 Hours" books in the beginning and they were fine for "Hello World" applications. But as my need for sophistication rapidly grew, I found a distinct lack of good, readable texts that could function not only as tutorial but as reference as well. I went through a disappointing array of O'Reilly, Manning, Osborne, Addison-Wesley, etc. books, each of which lacked that crucial combination of clarity, accuracy, and scope. Then I happened to chance upon Apress' publication of "Pro PHP Development."

I just finished reading "Pro PHP Development," and when I say I "finished reading" it, I mean exactly that - I read it cover-to-cover. Kevin McArthur has the uncommon talent of writing a technical manual in prose. Unassuming vernacular makes reading easy, instead of the more typical struggle with every idea and re-reading sentences and paragraphs after that "HUH???" experience forces wonder at the author's point and intent. Concrete, concise, and useful examples demonstrate the textual subjects in clear unambiguous source code. And where appropriate and useful, McArthur introduces aspects of PHP 6.0. The coverage of some of the most useful objects in the SPL and the extensive treatment of the Zend MVC Framework is worth the price of admission in themselves.

In summary, "Pro PHP Development" is right up there with the finest technical literature I've read and has earned a place on my bookshelf (lesser texts get relegated to eBay). It's a keeper. Until the next edition!

Mark Galbreath
Annapolis, MD
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uneven but well written, October 8, 2008
This review is from: Pro PHP: Patterns, Frameworks, Testing and More (Paperback)
[reviewed by XPSD member Woody Zuill]

One common technique I use when looking at a book I am thinking of
buying is to flip through to a dozen or so random pages and read a
paragraph or a bit of whatever is on that page. If most of these chance
peeks reveal something interesting or useful to me, then I figure I'll
probably get enough out of the book to make it worth buying. I did that
with this book, and found plenty of interesting stuff. However, in the
reading of the book I was a bit disappointed.

First, the bad:
The book attempts to cover too much for the number of pages. The Title
is clear enough, but the subtitle ("Patterns, Frameworks, Testing, and
More") coupled with the introduction, which states "In this book, you
will learn how to make the most of your PHP programming, from a detailed
understanding of OOP theory, to frameworks and advanced system
interoperability" promises a great deal more than what the book
delivers. For example, the "detailed understanding of OOP theory" is
provided by a 7-page chapter on "Abstract Classes, Interfaces, and
Programming by Contract" and another chapter covering static members.
This is sufficient to describe a little about the mechanics of OOP in
PHP, but it's a stretch to call it even an introduction to the theory of
OOP. Pretty much the same can be said for the coverage of Patterns,
Frameworks, and Testing. I am not exactly sure what "advanced system
interoperability" is, I assume the author is refering to web services
which is covered to some degree.

To me, the book seems disjointed, and more like a collection of magazine
articles than a cohesive book. There is unevenness in the level of
coverage from topic to topic. Some chapters are thorough enough to be
considered complete, or at least a good introduction, such as the
chapters on Exceptions and Reflection, and all of "Part 3, The Standard
PHP Library". Each of these chapters would make a nice article. Others
contain a bare introduction, like the "Testing, Deployment, and
Continuous Integration" chapter. In some cases, there isn't enough
information to even consider it an introduction (such as the chapter on
AJAX and JSON.) It probably would have been better to replace these
chapters with more coverage of one of the other topics. Particularly,
for example, there is a chapter on what is coming in PHP6. It seems
very out of place and this sort of info can be easily found by a web
search.

Now, the good:
Kevin McArthur writes cleanly and I found everything easy to read and
understand. He is obviously very knowledgeable about programming in PHP
and presents his ideas clearly. I learned a lot from the topics that
were sufficiently covered (such as the chapters on Exceptions,
Reflection, and the SPL.) I feel that there was enough substance to get
me started on these topics.

Additionally, I like Kevin's "Just the Facts" synopsis at the end of
each chapter. In a paragraph or two he summarizes what was just
presented in a very succinct manner without any of the fluff or filler
we so often see in the typical programming book (like the "what's coming
in the next chapter" blurbs: I find that I can easily turn the page to
see what is "coming"!) Similarly, I enjoyed most of his chapter
introductions - he did a good job of describing what he was going to try
to cover.

Should you buy the book?
"Pro PHP" wouldn't be my first choice for a "PRO" level PHP book, but I
got enough out of it that I don't regret having read it. How is that
for a good sound bite?
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something to learn, even for advanced PHP developers, July 1, 2008
By 
Quentin Zervaas (Adelaide, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pro PHP: Patterns, Frameworks, Testing and More (Paperback)
As an experienced PHP developer and author myself I was delighted that Pro PHP showed me a number of new techniques that I can apply to my own every day development tasks. This makes me confident that developers of all levels will gain value out of reading this book. I typically like to keep up with recently released books so I know the material that is available, but as somebody who has been programming PHP for almost 10 years I generally don't find new ideas that can be applied to general PHP programming.

Two such examples of this in Pro PHP that helped me are array overloading with the ArrayAccess SPL class and the observer pattern using SplObserver and SplSubject. Firstly, ArrayAccess allows you to access objects (such as reading and writing) as you would with an array. One such example of this is in the PHP SimpleXMLElement class. Secondly, using the observer pattern allows one object to monitor the state of another object and react to these changes as desired. Kevin describes these to the reader and provides solid examples of using them.

An interesting aspect of this book is the chapter dedicated to PHP 6. Although a stable version has not yet been released, Kevin covers the key features that we can look forward to such as namespaces, late binding and native Unicode support.

The other thing that I like about Kevin's style and methods are that they are fairly similar to my own, meaning for the most part I agree with his methods and therefore recommend them to other users as well.

On the whole I would have two minor complaints with this book. Firstly, there is a lot of "conceptual code" rather than practical real-world examples. Having said that, there are so many different ideas in this book that it would be difficult to fit longer examples for these ideas. Secondly, I would've liked to see some more extensive coverage of the Xdebug module. This is a module that I try to use but I feel like I am under using its potential. It is great that Kevin covers it in Pro PHP, but I would've liked to see some slightly more advanced usage for my own benefit.

In summary, I would definitely recommend reading this book, especially if you have been slow to transition from PHP 4 to PHP 5, or if you use PHP 5 but know you don't take full advantage of its Object Oriented Programming features.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Informative Book, April 17, 2008
This review is from: Pro PHP: Patterns, Frameworks, Testing and More (Paperback)
This book focuses on some advanced technologies and latest developments related to php. The targeted readers are those who already know php programming but would like to know how to work with php in a way to adopt mainstream software and Internet development technologies.

For example, the book collectively describes about phpdoc, phpunit, xdebug, as well as subversion, phing, and xinc. The examples and steps provided in the book allow the reader to follow through relatively at ease. Nevertheless, the reader may want to know that all install and setup described in the book are based on Linux environment.

In the chapter of Reflection API, the reader will get a chance to study some use cases about this advanced extension that normally only java or C# programmers could enjoy through their build in language features today. The chapters about Standard PHP Library (SPL) give the reader the ideas of how to apply OOP libraries for php programming. For instance, instead of using a set of low-level file manipulative methods, the reader now might think about using SPLFileInfo object to represent and access file info. The book also covers some design techniques on php such as exception handling, MVC paradigm, and a few design patterns, which are informative.

The topics of Zend framework and Web 2.0 including ajax, web services, soap, and certificate authentication, provide a good entry point for those who want to know how to associate php to web design architecture and how php play its role within web deployment.

For about 300 pages, this book covers a lot of info. The topics are explained in a clear and straightforward manner for easier read. Additionally, the reader may find the writing is pretty concise in general and still leaves room for the reader to further investigate the issues outside the book. The companion download-able source code from the website is as expected and helpful.

Needless to say, some sections could be better organized. The Part 1 OOP and Patterns only list a few out of many common regarded patterns and OOP ideas, and other Parts of the book also mention some other patterns along their ways.

Overall, this book deserves a score 8 out 10 and should be as an eye opener and handy for those who like to see some advanced php subjects demonstrated in one place.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly titled book, June 22, 2009
This review is from: Pro PHP: Patterns, Frameworks, Testing and More (Paperback)
I purchased this book, but after reviewing it more carefully, I felt that it wasn't worth the price and returned it. Yes, there's some good stuff on the SPL like other reviewers have noted, but I didn't buy the book to learn about the SPL. The "Testing" mentioned in the title is all of 4 and a half pages, with not even a word about integrating tests into a framework. And sure, there's some treatment of Zend Framework, but I already have a book about Zend Framework.

I bought this book primarily as an extension to my training I got in another Apress book "PHP: Objects, Patterns, and Practice". This book is smaller than that one, has huge overlap with 'Objects, Patterns, and Practice' - and where it overlaps, it's the weaker book. The topic coverage is extremely disjointed, and while not particularly difficult to follow in individual sections, does not seem made for actually reading from cover to cover.

It is maybe enough of an intro to a number of different topics that one could use it as a guide to which keywords they should plug into a search engine in order to find a more thorough article (or perhaps a better book). And again excepting for its treatment of the SPL, it is not quite sufficient for use either as a tutorial nor as a standalone reference manual.

I would advise those considering this book based on its title, to instead get PHP Objects, Patterns, and Practice, Second Edition by Matt Zandstra, along with possibly PHPUnit Pocket Guide (Pocket Guides) and Zend Framework in Action by Allen, Low and Brown.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Better off on php.net, January 21, 2010
By 
WanderWhere (Biarritz France) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Pro PHP: Patterns, Frameworks, Testing and More (Paperback)
First of all, by no means am I an expert programmer, but I'm plenty competent enough to concur with another reviewer that you could get better info on the contents contained in this book via Google or php.net.

I bought this book to learn about patterns and frameworks and, having read the book in its entirety hoping to glean some pearls of wisdom, am now left totally disappointed.

Yes, SPL chapter has some interesting tidbits, that's about it. Patterns? Maybe 25 pages max in the entire book. MVC? Outside of Zend, the example MVC provided is a few pages, cursory at best. Obviously I should have read the table of contents and some of the reviews first. I think I'm going to buy O'reilly's Headfirst Design Patterns as that has @300 reviews most them overwhelmingly positive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 stars - could be better, May 29, 2011
This review is from: Pro PHP: Patterns, Frameworks, Testing and More (Paperback)
This book was written in anticipation of PHP 6. Most everything the author writes about has been released in 5.3 There are some issues with the code examples not working as described or expected but this is not a cookbook, it's a first edition and as I said before is written for 6. I particularly enjoyed the patterns and frameworks sections. As a developer of PHP since 3x I don't want an intro book and this is NOT. The author provides good information on PHPs implementation of some design patterns and gives you enough information to start implementing your own patterns. The frameworks section gives you a small taste of Zend Framework, but leaves you wanting more. I suppose that's what the Zend Framework books are for. I would provide a 4 star rating but the book just appears to have been rushed and is lacking more in-depth information in areas.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A PHP eye-opener, August 18, 2009
This review is from: Pro PHP: Patterns, Frameworks, Testing and More (Paperback)
When I first learnt PHP - I learnt it in less than a day. Serious, I was able to write simple web pages, db operations, AJAX ... I thought I knew PHP.

Until I read this book and I realized that PHP is a very powerful language and needs to be learnt and applied well if you really want to make the most out of the language in your project.

What the book covers:
(1) object oriented patterns : the book discusses object oriented programming and patterns in a simple & lucid manner that anyone can understand. As I read through the book, I worked a couple of samples that came with the book and this made my understanding very clear
(2) Frameworks : The author starts off by writing a new framework - to make you understand how a framework works and why you need it and then goes into Zend framework which is the most popular
(3) Testing, Web Services and lots more : Testing using PHPUnit is very modular and avoids a lot of repetitive testing, the book describes PHPUnit, Web Services in a fair amount of detail

PHP originated as a script and now become a full fledged programming language. If you are still programming in a traditional scripting manner - you are missing something. Give yourself some time with this book and it will change your perspective about PHP.

What the book lacks:
(1) Security: The author should have discussed about PHP security - register globals, file upload security risks ...
(2) Comprehensive project : A comprehensive project to wrap up all the concepts would have been helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Framwork Book!, December 15, 2008
By 
Adam Barrett (South Jordan, UT) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pro PHP: Patterns, Frameworks, Testing and More (Paperback)
Kevin McArthur is a self-taught entreperneur and opensource developer from Edmonton Alberta. Kevin has been running a very successful PHP application development studio for over 7 years. Additionally Kevin took time to write Pro PHP: Patterns, Frameworks, Testing and More, published by Apress.

The book really lives up to the name. It disucsses in great details the framworks that are most popular including Zend Framework. Kevin has what seems an infinite amount of knowledge on Zend Framework, and a quick Google search will reveal he is quite active is sharing that information.

I was a little let down on the Testing and Code Control sections of the book. I felt like Kevin mearly skimmed, and could have really dug into more detail, espeically about testing.

In talking about patterns for PHP Kevin reinforces some of the basics of good programming, and explains the pros and cons of each style of framework. You can tell he has spent his fair share of time in each of the patterns discussed.

Overall if you are thinking about playing with patterns and frameworks this is the book for you. Don't look for any golden knowledge about testing, but the rest is gold!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Professional!, October 3, 2008
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This review is from: Pro PHP: Patterns, Frameworks, Testing and More (Paperback)
This book is quite a good book on PHP. I would by no means recommend it to beginners.

I like how it dives into the zend frame work and different methods of testing. This book is not how to learn PHP at a advance level it is instead to learn how to use PHP in the formal software development approach. That's what makes this book so enjoyable.

I would recommend it to people going to build a enterprise size PHP web application. It has all the tools, tips and trick you need to do it.
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Pro PHP: Patterns, Frameworks, Testing and More
Pro PHP: Patterns, Frameworks, Testing and More by Kevin McArthur (Paperback - March 30, 2008)
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