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XML and PHP [Paperback]

Vikram Vaswani
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 16, 2002 0735712271 978-0735712270 1

XML and PHP is designed to introduce PHP developers to the synergies that become visible when their favorite web-scripting language is combined with one of the most talked about technologies of recent times, XML. XML and PHP teaches PHP developers how to use PHP's XML functions to develop and maintain XML-based web applications and sites, and it demonstrates the power inherent in the XML/PHP combination. This book provides information on all hte major XML technologies supported in PHP, demonstrating how the XML/PHP combination can be used to deliver cutting-edge web applications through practical examples and real-world case studies. XML and PHP serves as both an implementation guide to the topic and a handy desktop reference for quick lookups-combining all the information that developers need into a single, focused package.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Vikram Vaswani is the founder and CEO of Melonfire (, a company specializing in software consultancy, and content creation and syndication services.

Vikram is also the author of numerous well-received articles on open-source technologies (including Perl, Python, XML, and the very popular PHP 101 series), all written with the goal of making complex technologies accessible and understandable to novice users. He has been developing software since 1995, was first introduced to PHP in 1998, and hasn't looked back since. His favorite activities include reading, sleeping, watching movies, playing squash, and fiddling with his PalmPilot.

These reviewers contributed their considerable hands-on expertise to the entire development process for XML and PHP. As the book was being written, these dedicated professionals reviewed all the material for technical content, organization, and flow. Their feedback was critical to ensure that XML and PHP fits our readers' need for the highest-quality technical information.

Zak Greant is lead developer for 51 Degrees North, and is the founder of the Foo & Associates programmer's cooperative. He leads the PHP Quality Assurance Team, and is an active contributor to the PHP documentation, mailing lists, and source code. (See for his PHP community profile.)

Mark Nenadov is a bright, young software developer living in Canada (he does not reside in an igloo or speak French, however). Mark specializes in Open Source technology, and has lots of experience with technologies such as PHP, XML, MySQL, and Python. He is currently employed at a growing e-commerce company in Windsor, Ontario. When he isn't hunched over his keyboard, he is usually trying to learn new things, playing ice hockey, writing, reading books, and wishing it were a bit warmer in Canada.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.



"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt ofin your philosophy."

~William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Unless you've been doing a Rip Van Winkle for the past few years,you've heard about PHP and XML.

Probably not in the same context, I'll grant you—one is, after all,a programming language for the web, whereas the other is a standard toolkit fordescribing data. Individually, they're both long-time sweethearts of thenotoriously fickle web community—PHP for its rapid application developmentcapabilities and XML for its capability to make data more useful by attachingdescriptive tags to it.

Although there is no shortage of information on either of these twotechnologies individually, there are very few resources that explain how to usethem in combination with each other. Which was exactly the problem I had about ayear ago, when I decided to use XML as one of the components of a web-basedproject I was working on. PHP was my development language of choice. (I'dlong since given up on Perl and JSP.) Although I knew very little about how PHPand XML could be integrated with each other, I blithely assumed that the web,with its gargantuan knowledge bases, would have more than enough information tohelp me complete the project.

Imagine my horror, then, when I was able to find only the sketchiestinformation on the topic, despite hours spent tapping different permutations of"php xml development" into Google's search box. With time runningout, I decided to go to plan B: I printed a copy of the XML and XSL specs,stocked up on microwave dinners, and started experimenting with PHP'sbuilt-in XML functions.

I soon realized that combining PHP with XML wasn't hard at all—infact, it was pretty easy. Before long, I had worked out the basics of the SAXand DOM functions, installed my own copy of the XSLT extension, and figured outjust what I needed to do to deliver the project on time. All it took waspatience, a little research . . . and a lot of time.

In the highly competitive world of web development, in which contracts oftenturn on how quickly a project can be executed, time is a valuable commodity.Working with picky customers against aggressive deadlines is stressful enoughfor most developers; having to spend most of the day on research, rather thanimplementation, isn't likely to make their day any sunnier. And so, one ofmy most important reasons for writing this book was that it might serve as astarting point and reference for other developers looking to build XML- andPHP-enabled web applications.

This book is the book I wish I'd had a year ago. It includes detailedexplanations of PHP's XML extensions, together with illustrations of usingPHP to parse, validate, and transform XML markup. I've also discussed,among other things, how to traverse XML data trees, exchange data between webapplications, overlay remote procedure calls over HTTP, and use free open-sourcetools to add new capabilities to your XML/PHP applications. You can read it allthe way through, or use it in traditional cookbook style, flipping it open tothe chapter that addresses your specific problem. Either way, I hope you find ituseful, informative, and (dare I say it?) fun.

Over the past year, I've written a few articles on how XML and PHP canbe used together, and I've even given a couple of presentations on thetopic. From the feedback I've received, it seems that there are still many,many people—developers, consultants, educators, webmasters, systemsengineers, or just good ol' PHP enthusiasts—who would love to know howXML and PHP can be combined together, but don't know where to start.

If you're one of those people, this book is for you.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sams Publishing; 1 edition (June 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735712271
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735712270
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,301,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A questionable book... August 14, 2002
By Xi Chi
After all the flaky reviews this book has received, I was unsure if I was reading individual marketing campaigns sponsored by the various publishers or actual reviews. It seems that people cannot simply agree that this book is good or is bad as there is just nothing in between. Even in all the review cases, many people didn't find the reviews helpful, both positive and negative. It all seems complex from the consumer's perspective when deciding to buy this book.
So given all these statements, I thought I'd present a true review - one from an actual reader rather than from someone else. I think it's pretty safe to assume that this book is good for some people and bad for others. The problem is that the reviews already here have so much fluff that they didn't even begin to describe themselves, thus they could be ambitious or lazy, smart or dim, and hobbyist or entrepreneurs. There is simply no way of telling.
Personally, I think many of these concepts can be learned in PHP in about 2-3 days of trying the APIs out if you already know a great deal of XML. So if I'm going to buy a book on PHP and XML, I expect that it will provided added value information as well as design decisions, business concerns and best practices. Examples are not what I care about as much as the rich and deep information because there are many examples already on the web - no point acquiring the book just for those alone. That makes me question the reviewers who say the examples are clear and concise - the examples on the web already do that. Books are supposed to provide added value to these APIs and examples to make the topic complete and valuable to the reader.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars dissapointed January 9, 2005
I've been reading the book, and had a feeling it explained a lot.

Finally, i could use it, but the code used is very outdated (01-2005). That's why i visited their website.

as the book refers to the site often.


check it yourself, no updates, the forum is closed.

why did i buy this book?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Out of Date June 12, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been reading this book recently (6/11/2004). With regards to DOM and XML, it's very out of date given the current development of PHP. Would advise newer, more up to date book if you're interested in DOM and XML.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots Of Good Content, Examples July 24, 2002
i have bought both the wrox book and this one and much prefer this one. while the wrox book is good, i find this one to be much easier to understand, and to use as a base for my own projects. i am building an XML-based transaction server, and the chapters on DOM, WDDX and SOAP were very useful, as i was able to use some of the code from the book in my project without any difficulty. also i appreciated the chapters on using open-source alternatives to the built-in functions (this is again not available in wrox, which also tended to be infuriatingly vague at certain points).
if you are a serious developer, i would recommend buying both books - i refer to both the wrox book and this one since neither one is exhaustive - but i learnt more from this one, as it is written in a clearer manner.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good XML code and application examples in PHP April 27, 2004
Chapters two and three start the book with good examples of SAX and DOM use in PHP respectively. This provides a solid foundation for the rest of the book which shows examples of popular XML based technologies as applied to PHP. These include XSLT (Sablotron), XML-RPC, SOAP, XML in databases and other topics. Each of these discussions contains some real world examples to provide context.
It's a short and concise book that is well written. The use of graphics could be more effective. For example the screenshot in figure 6.8 is a single line in a vast sea of whtie browser space. The code sample could use some annotation or at the very least some bolding to hi-light the important segments.
The value of this book will depend on the degree to which you use XML in the PHP context. If you want a quick booster rocket to get you into SAX or DOM work within PHP this book will do the trick since it's far better than the documentation on the PHP site.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable, clear, and useful July 24, 2002
An extremely helpful introduction to several salient technologies for PHP developers.
It gives enough discussion into several XML/PHP technologies to allow you to a) understand what the technologies aims are b) how it can be used and c) if the technology is right for your application. It gives you enough of a boost into the technology so that you avoid wasting time developing with an irrelevant technology, and go straight to what is best for your own project.
The book can be skimmed very effectively by reading just the well commented and frequent source code listings, reverting to the adjacent paragraphs of text where more explanation is needed.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Covering every aspect of PHP and XML integration January 22, 2003
Vikram Vaswani wrote a very focused book, covering every aspect of PHP and XML integration, with dedicated chapters on SAX and DOM parsers, XSL, WDDX, XML-RPC and SOAP. I think that PHP 4 is still lacking in the area of XML integration, but intermediate and advanced developers can still perform a lot of tasks using this combo. The book is clearly written; it covers a lot of different extensions and third party libraries with full code listings
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