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94 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great PHP book, but for programmers
The creator of PHP himself, Rasmus Lerdorf, put together a thorough and enlightening guide to PHP. In this book you will find everything you need to know about PHP from variables to a long list of all the PHP functions and how to use them. I found many features of PHP that I had no idea existed (such as creating PDF files). I use this book as a reference for a PHP...
Published on June 27, 2003 by Doug M

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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow Content, Many Errors, Poor Examples
I almost always turn to O'Reilly first when purchasing a new reference book, however this time I was disappointed. This book is fairly shallow in content and much of the information that you need is actually buried in the text instead of being presented as a topic unto itself.
The thing that is the most bothersome, however, is the plethora of flat out errors. Many of...
Published on October 10, 2003 by Glen M. Baker


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94 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great PHP book, but for programmers, June 27, 2003
By 
Doug M "陀愚" (The Jack n' the Box at the corner) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Programming PHP (Paperback)
The creator of PHP himself, Rasmus Lerdorf, put together a thorough and enlightening guide to PHP. In this book you will find everything you need to know about PHP from variables to a long list of all the PHP functions and how to use them. I found many features of PHP that I had no idea existed (such as creating PDF files). I use this book as a reference for a PHP course I teach, and its examples have been more than helpful to me in designing lesson plans.
The one caveat of this book is that it is not geared toward brand new web programmers. PHP as a language derives from C, C++ and Perl, and if you are not at least somewhat familiar with these langauges, you can get lost in this book. The authors really want to draw a parallel between PHP and its predecessor languages so that programmers can pick up PHP more easily. I really like the fact they try to do that, and it has helped me enjoy this book more. But on the flip side, it will be more difficult for new programmers to read this book. I really hope O'Reilly comes up with a "Learning PHP" book that will be more for beginning programmers, because PHP is a great language to learn, and it would be nice to have books to appeal to all levels.
In any case, for a book about PHP, you can ask for no better book than one written by the author itself. This book does keep up the tradition of professional, useful O'Reilly programming books, and is worth the time for web programmers to read. Thus I think it earns 5 stars.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding tutorial on PHP along with all of its possibilities, January 20, 2007
This review is from: Programming PHP (Paperback)
Most of the books I've looked at on PHP have tied it in a three-legged race with mySQL. I was looking for something that taught the core language itself and its place in applications besides those in which it is teamed with mySQL. This appears to be that book. The core PHP language is very good at handling strings and arrays and objects. Along with standard and optional extension modules, a PHP application can work with databases like Oracle and MySQL, draw graphs, create PDF files, and parse XML files. You can write your own PHP extension modules in C to provide a PHP interface to the functions in an existing code library. You can also run PHP on Windows and use it to control other Windows applications such as Word and Excel with COM or interact with databases using ODBC. This book is a guide to all of these capabiliies of the PHP language, as well as a tutorial on the core language itself. This book assumes you have a working knowledge of HTML and that you know how to program - preferably in either C, C++, or Perl.

The first six chapters teach the core language itself. The six chapters include a dedicated introduction and a chapter on language basics which acts as a concise guide to PHP program elements such as identifiers, data types, operators, and flow-control statements. The next four chapters after that concern functions, strings, arrays, and objects respectively. The following is an outline of the remaining chapters of the book:

Chapter 7, "Web Techniques" - PHP was designed as a web-scripting language and, although it is possible to use it in purely command-line and GUI scripts, the Web accounts for the vast majority of PHP uses. A dynamic web site may have forms, sessions, and sometimes redirection, and this chapter explains how to implement those things in PHP. You'll learn how PHP provides access to form parameters and uploaded files, how to send cookies and redirect the browser, and how to use PHP sessions.

Chapter 8, "Databases" - PHP has support for over 20 databases, including the most popular commercial and open source varieties. This chapter covers how to access databases from PHP. The focus is on the PEAR DB system, which lets you use the same functions to access any database, rather than on the myriad database-specific extensions. In this chapter, you'll learn how to fetch data from the database, how to store data in the database, and how to handle errors. The chapter finishes with a sample application that shows how to put various database techniques into action.

Chapter 9, Graphics - Many web images are dynamically created, such as graphs of stock performance. PHP supports the creation of such graphics with the GD and Imlib2 extensions. This chapter demonstrates how to generate images dynamically with PHP, using the GD extension.

Chapter 10, PDF - PHP has several libraries for generating PDF documents. This chapter shows how to use the popular fpdf library. The FPDF library is a set of PHP code you include in your scripts with the required function, so it doesn't require any server-side configuration or support, meaning you can use it even without support from your host.

Chapter 11, XML - This chapter shows how to use the XML parser bundled with PHP, as well as how to use the optional XSLT extension to transform XML. Generating XML is also briefly covered here.

Chapter 12, Security - PHP's convenience is a double-edged sword. The very features that let you quickly write programs in PHP can open doors for those who would break into your systems. It's important to understand that PHP itself is neither secure nor insecure. The security of your web applications is entirely determined by the code you write. This chapter gives tips on making that code secure.

Chapter 13, Application Techniques - This chapter demonstrates some techniques you may find useful in your PHP applications, such as code libraries, templating systems, efficient output handling, error handling, and performance tuning.

Chapter 14, Extending PHP - This chapter demonstrates writing C language extensions to PHP. Although most functionality can be written in the PHP language, sometimes you need the extra speed and control you get from the C API. C is the mechanism for creating the thin middle layer between PHP and any third-party C library. For example, to be able to talk to the MySQL database server, PHP needs to implement the MySQL socket protocol. It would be a lot of work to figure out this protocol and talk to MySQL directly using "fsockopen" and "fputs" from a PHP script. Instead, the same goal can be accomplished with a thin layer of functions written in C that translate MySQL's C API, implemented in the libmysqlclient library included in MySQL, into PHP language-level function calls. This thin layer of functions is known as a PHP extension.

Chapter 15, PHP on Windows - The most common reason to use PHP on Windows is to develop web applications on your Windows desktop. What can be confusing at first is the number of various configurations and choices available. There are many variants of the Windows operating system, and many web servers are available for those operating systems. PHP itself can run as either a DLL or a script. This chapter explains how to install, configure, and make the best use of PHP on Windows systems. One approach is taken and followed to its conclusion, although there are a number of different ways to arrive at the same destination. Also explained is how to take advantage of the features unique to the Windows platform, such as connecting to databases with ODBC and controlling Microsoft Office applications through COM.

As you can see this book really provides two functions. It is a very thorough tutorial and reference on the PHP programming language, and it is also a tutorial and showcase of all of the different uses PHP can have. Well commented code and instructions are provided throughout. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs to learn the PHP programming language as well as those that know the basics and want to put the language to work. Just make sure you know HTML and programming - preferably both C and PERL - first.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow Content, Many Errors, Poor Examples, October 10, 2003
This review is from: Programming PHP (Paperback)
I almost always turn to O'Reilly first when purchasing a new reference book, however this time I was disappointed. This book is fairly shallow in content and much of the information that you need is actually buried in the text instead of being presented as a topic unto itself.
The thing that is the most bothersome, however, is the plethora of flat out errors. Many of the examples have typos, missing code, etc. Even as a PHP novice I was constantly spotting errors which is frustrating when you're trying to learn the language.
On top of that, many of the examples exhibit just plain bad programming form (inefficient code, variables that are only used once, etc). It's the kind of thing that makes a seasoned programmer wince (and if I was reviewing the code I would send it back to the author with lots of red ink).
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, November 27, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Programming PHP (Paperback)
Programming PHP is a great introduction to PHP. The chapters are well written with good examples that explain what is being discussed. The chapters are not written in a "read one after the other" fashion, so you can easily go to the chapter you need information on and find what you are looking for. This book did have some errors in the sample code, but if you read the text and actually try out the examples you can easily figure out what needs to be fixed to get them running. Since the O'Reilly "Programming" series is more about advanced programming issues, I think this book should have had the title "Learning PHP". It just seems to be an introduction, because it did not delve into any advanced topics. It is worthy to have on any PHP developers bookshelf. Recommended for beginners.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kind of a Rip-Off, May 30, 2008
By 
David W (Memphis, TN) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Programming PHP (Paperback)
Don't get me wrong, the book is okay. But I feel O'Reilly simply slung out a new version of the book for PHP 5, without really updating the content to reflect PHP 5's enhancements. Especially the chapter covering OOP development with PHP 5. The content in that chapter is pure PHP 4. Not cool.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME intro to PHP for those w/ programming experience, June 13, 2002
By 
Jeremy Suntheimer (Akron, OH United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Programming PHP (Paperback)
Hi all. This is the first text that I've ever bothered to review on Amazon, but I do so now because I think that this book is *very* under-rated. This book is a SOLID 5 STAR INTRODUCTION TO PHP for the experienced programmer. If you already know perl or java, this book is a ultra-high-speed yet thoroughly comprehensible survey of PHP syntax and usage. Very complete treatment of the language. My only caveat: If you have no programming background, i would imagine that it may be a little terse.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent intermediate level book, May 11, 2003
By 
Foti Massimo (Vezia (Switzerland)) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Programming PHP (Paperback)
An excellent intermediate level book, the authors in depth knowledge of the inner working of PHP make the difference, especially when they suggest better practices. After a brief introduction to the language (too brief for most beginners), it covers many topics, from strings and array, to the more advanced chapters on XML, PDF and image generation.
Buyers must be aware that the database section is pretty limited and focus on using PEAR and around 100 pages are dedicated to a function reference that may be somewhat redundant for many developers
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Good, November 6, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Programming PHP (Paperback)
O'Reily books have the same pattern. They take content that should have been one book for maybe $50, and divide it out into 3 or more books adding up to a heftier profit. This book a nice quick reference, but doesn't cover the language in it's entirety (or close enough to from my experience with other books) or provide any actual examples, rather brief one line syntax examples. I've programed C++, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, and SQL while attending a state university for a degree in computer science. While examples can be redundant because concepts of programming are understood, a decent example is truly the best way to observe case implications of syntax. For example, when the book talks about constants and the define("name",value) function, it fails to mention when used in a string and output, the constant is not interpolated (the user sees COUNT, instead of say 3). In my experience I've run into a dozen of these situations I wish the book would have at least mentioned. This is important to know, and more important to know how to work around and do what you want. It's these details that make a solid programming manual, which this book claims to be. It is truly and introduction and quick reference. If you are not already an experienced PHP programmer, and you are going to deal with PHP at least somewhat in depth, you are better off looking elsewhere.

Edited 01/2010:

I dusted this reference off to look up something, exception handling... Wasn't there! He has 2 pages on error handling, but absolutely squat on try-catch-finally and throw, which do exist in PHP 5 (and hopefully earlier). How worthless, I own this book but turned to a quick google search because it fails. I've decreased the rating from 3 star to 1 star. I see no O'Reilly books in my future, so many bad experiences with them.

I was just trying to confirm that ellipsis (...) was not valid syntax in PHP like in other languages where it means whatever/any exception.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too many errors, even in april 2006 edition, December 17, 2008
By 
Mark S. (the Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Programming PHP (Paperback)
One shelf in my bookcase looks like a zoo with all those animals on the cover. I appreciate the books of O'reilly very much. But this particular book is really disappointing which is reported already many times. But the rating is still 4 star at this moment which is way too high. And I'm writing about the April 2006 edition. Too many errors, no complete code, examples of older (too old, and deprecated) php versions, layout problems, etc. etc. I really don't get it how they can produce a book like this.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply beautiful!, April 7, 2002
By 
Omar (NJ United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Programming PHP (Paperback)
This book is well written and an extremely easy read. The coverage is very very comprehensive yet concise! If you were worried about dragging through another 1400 page wrox book just to grasp another language, you will want to run and get this book. You will pick up PHP fast with no delay. It is around 380 pages along with a nice reference area of php functions. If you are a web developer who wants to pick up PHP quickly simply purchase this book. Folks with only html experience can also expect to have an excellent understanding of PHP by the end of the book, although I suggest that the book be read by someone with some form of previous web programming experience. This is only because certain coverage is very efficient and may be hard to keep up with if you are a complete novice in web programming basics.
Did I forgot to mention that the co-author is the creator of PHP!! :)
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Programming PHP
Programming PHP by Peter MacIntyre (Paperback - May 5, 2006)
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