Customer Reviews: Zend Framework in Action
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on January 9, 2009
Overall I found this book to be helpful in understanding the inner workings of the Zend Framework. The low score I gave this book is attributed to the several errors in the code examples. It seems this book was rushed to publication and nobody verified that the code examples worked.

If you are like me and like to build the code as you read each chapter then this book is NOT for you. I could never get the code to work as written in the book. I would advise that you download the companion code from the publisher's website. The code from the site seems to have been tweaked after the publication of the book and does run correctly. Problem is it does not match the code in the book therefore you have to investigate why the book says one way while the code shows it another way. Very frustrating the say the least!

I can only recommend this book if the publisher decides to release a second edition with these errors fixed.

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on December 25, 2008
As anyone who pre-ordered this book knows, it was way off its release schedule. That may explain the numerous errors in the book.
I am only on day 2 of the book and so far I have found at least 5 errors. These are not misprints but clear technical errors. The errors are in differing areas too, so not like the author simply misunderstood something, which leads me to believe this book, while already late, was rushed out of the door.
The book comes with online source code, and my advice would be to get it. If you follow the source in the book you will get errors both from the database code and the PHP code. In chapter 3, for example, the author lays out a database table schema which clearly states that certain fields cannot be NULL and have no default value, and then goes on to state INSERT statements that miss these fields out...thus generating an error. Another example is where on one page the application library folder is called just that in an image, but then i the PHP code it is referred to as "lib", again creating an error when the code is ran.

On the plus side the detail is very good. The first couple of chapters lay out the "why"s and "where"s of Zend Framework, and the real world example that the book builds on gives you a much more usable path of learning than someone simply telling you the details of the framework itself. Definitely a preferred approach for me!

I would like to rate the book higher but having to wait for almost an extra month to get it and then penciling in the errata certainly does not build confidence in it.

Paul Allsopp
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on March 13, 2009
I find myself in agreement with most of the other reviewers. I had pre-ordered the book and watched its development through numerous e-book releases.

The extent to which it covers the fundamental but not as often explained concepts so important to the Framework (Helpers, etc) is impressive, and it covers a lot of ground. I had many 'a-ha' moments.

However, I also had a fair amount of frustration with the code examples in the book (the code on the web site ZIP file does seem to be absent these errors) - many syntax errors, and such. I also found it a little frustrating when the code examples were broken down so finely, into a couple of lines at a time, and often crossing multiple files (but without mentioning this).

However, the book is excellent and a great resource, and I'd be keen to see how a 2nd Edition looked.
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on November 27, 2009
I recently received the latest e-book version of this book and I have to say I'm really impressed with the content. Zend Framework has become one of the best PHP Frameworks on the market, especially when we talk about robust PHP apps. There are several books about Zend Framework on the market. I've seen some of them and while they are more focused on PHP beginners, I believe this book is not.

If you are an intermediate or advanced PHP developer, you will really like this book. While ZF documentation gives you full API description and Zend Tutorial help you learn how to use MVC functionality and some parts of the framework, this book will teach you how to combine all standard ZF functionalities with more advanced parts of the framework. The final result should be a well organized and really functional PHP application.

Through this book you will learn how to use MVC pattern, how to use database model by using DB_Table model, how to integrate Ajax, user authentication, search engine, public web services, cache engine etc. More important, you will get a lot of advice what to do and what not to do. How to handle your paths in PHP code and image paths, where to store your code, how to create your PHP library directory, how to use Layouts, module helpers etc.

The book doesn't stop on PHP code, it will tell you some basic info how to use Subversion repository, how to organize your code so you can create localized versions of your web site. It really gives you a full picture how to make a good PHP code.

Now, here comes a bad part. This version of the book comes with a code for Zend Framework 1.5.x and the latest version of Zend Framework is 1.9.5. A lot of people were complaining on problems in original source code, but I think that was the problem in a first edition of the book. Since I used ZF before I used an example code as a starting point to make ZF 1.9.x application, I think I cannot give a good comment if the original code contain errors. For example, at the very start you will see that you cannot use Zend_Loader class in 1.9.5 version the same way you used this class in version 1.5

If you are a beginner in PHP code, this book could be a little bit more than you can handle, especially if you want to use ZF 1.9.x. But if you are an experienced PHP developer who wants to learn how to use a full potential of Zend Framework, you should really read this book.
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on June 2, 2010
Here are my reasons why I gave this book a 1 star

1. The code snippets in the book are sometimes erroneous and very different from what's included in the code bundle download.
2. When explaining a complex framework to a beginner, needless tangential code (like preventing cross site scripting and SQL injection attacks) are a distraction. This book has a lot of this.
3. Some code is very poorly explained.
4. Ajax is explored even before Database access is explained.
5. I found an entire section on how to insert and update records for related tables using Zend_Db missing.
6. The example the authors use (an application called places which allows users to review places that are kid friendly and post review comments) is invoked in bits and pieces throughout the application. There is no smooth flow.

All in all, this is a badly written book, which is frustrating to read. And once you start a book, you have no choice but to finish it to get what you can from it. If you are someone new to the Zend Framework, I'd give this book a skip. Sorry I don't have any other Zend book to recommend, but I am sure a little searching will find you the right one. Avoid this book.
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on July 28, 2009
Overall this book provides a good run through of the Zend Framework. But I have two main issues with this book.

Firstly I don't think it is great for ZF beginners. I have been using ZF for over a year and for me it was a good resource to discover some new components I hadn't been using. Also it provided some better alternative ways of doing things within the framework which will be very usefull. But I imagine for an absolute ZF beginner the book would be difficult to read. At various points advanced concepts are introduced and not thoroughly explained or explained poorly.

My second issue with the book is the editing. There are many errors in both the code listings and general text. This is very problematic in a technical book as one misplaced word can have a huge effect. This book has obviously been rushed out with little time given to correcting these numerous errors.

I don't recomend this book to someone just starting out with ZF. However if like me you have some experience in the framework and are looking to expand your knowledge then this book is adequate if a little frustrating.
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on May 20, 2011
I'd really like to see a second edition to this book with updated information and concepts. This author is excellent in that he provides the material in a very readable and instructional manner rather then a lot of books that are more "geek for geeks" style that leave some readers discouraged. His onl[...]
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on January 16, 2010
This is by far the worst programming book I have read in almost 25 years of my programming experience.

I started PHP+MySQL from version 3 and I have done more than 200 projects. One of my websites has around 1 million members.

This book fails to teach the beginner user to create a simple "hello World" project and just confuses him as it goes forward. There is no structure or design for the content of the book at all. When discussing a subject , the book gives scattered information without obvious relation to the other information.

If you do not know anything about Zend framework and think you will be able to start with this book, then you are in a deep mistake. The book MIGHT be useful if you have already done a few projects with zend framework. however zend's documents would be more useful then.

I guess you will learn easier and faster by those simple tutorials on the net (like Getting Started tutorial of zend or some beginner videos on the net). After that Framework's documentation would be enough.
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on July 1, 2010
Rob Allen writes in clear, easy to understand fashion. He presents the topic in a logical progression, so the overall picture of the framework is redily grasped.

Allan's breadth of knowledge on the subject and experience in writing makes for relaxed presentation and quick absorbtion of the subject for the reader.

The Chapters are subdivided into numbered sections for easy reference and each section leads logically into the next.

Allen not only tells the 'what' but also the 'why' of how things are done within the framework which aids in understanding the philosophy used in the design approach.

Tips and techniques are sprinkled liberally throughout the book. These tidbits, such as how to prevent your site from being hacked, are extremely helpful.

This is not only a well written explanation of the Zend Framework but also a useful reference tool as well.
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on February 18, 2009
I found the book to be lacking. There is no mention of building an interface to your "real" website. I guess the authors assume someone will fire up mysql and insert the data manually.
While many things are discussed, they are rarely discussed in the context of the application you are supposed to be building. True, the source on the web is more complete, (still no admin interface), but since the book does not completely describe the code, you are left figuring it out on your own. That is not what I bought the book for.
All in all, a pretty poor book that I would not recommend for anyone. That said, if you do buy it, you can glean some scattered bits of information, you are just stuck on your own to figure out the details.
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