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Zend PHP Certification Study Guide Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0672327094 ISBN-10: 0672327090 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Sams Publishing; 1 edition (August 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672327090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672327094
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,019,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stuart Herbert has designed and implemented solutions for major companies such as Eurostar, Vodafone and HP, and he has been the lead maintainer of the Generic NQS project since 1994. A former systems manager with Orange UK, Stuart is currently one of the developers for Gentoo Linux, where he looks after Gentoo's installer for web-based packages.

Daniel Kushner is the director of training and certification at Zend Technologies. As director of training and certification, Daniel is responsible for the Zend PHP Certification program. In addition to designing the certification program, he developed the Zend PHP Training program, which provides the necessary study guide and classes to help PHP developers become Zend PHP certified.

George Schlossnagle is a principal at OmniTI Computer Consulting, a Maryland-based tech company specializing in high-volume web and email systems. Before joining OmniTI, George lead technical operations at several high-profile community websites, where he developed experience managing PHP in very large enterprise environments. George is a frequent contributor to the PHP community.

Chris Shiflett is a frequent contributor to the PHP community and one of the leading security experts in the field. His solutions to security problems are often used as points of reference, and these solutions are showcased in his talks at conferences such as ApacheCon and the O'Reilly Open Source Convention and his articles in publications such as PHP Magazine and phparchitect.

Björn Schotte is a German PHP veteran. He co-founded the first German-speaking portal for PHP topics in early 1999, co-organized the first worldwide PHP conference, and has been editor-in-chief of PHP Magazin since 2001. He also co-founded ThinkPHP, Germany's No. 1 PHP solution company dealing mainly with large PHP applications for clients such as HypoVereinsbank, Sixt, Lycos Europe, E.ON, Cap Gemini, Ernst & Young, and others. His company now consists of a team of more than 15 people, including PHP core developers.

Marco Tabini is the publisher of phparchitect, the premier magazine for PHP professionals, and has worked on websites for clients ranging from small startup operations to the Fortune 500s. Despite having been an IT industry professional for the last fifteen years, he still manages to maintain a reasonable level of sanity—at least most of the time. Marco is also a subject matter expert for the Zend PHP Certification Exam.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.



If you're reading this book, you've probably made a decision that becoming a Zend Certified Engineer is an important step in your career. And, indeed, it might well be—the certification exam will test your knowledge of PHP in many areas, ranging from the basics to the more complex topics. As PHP's adoption grows inside the enterprise, being certified can mean that you will have an edge when that dream job comes along!

The exam was designed by a number of well-known people in the PHP community in collaboration with experts in the field of computer-assisted testing. They approached it with a simple set of goals:

  • Test the level of PHP knowledge of the candidate without prejudice to other technologies

  • Use a set of testing questions that reflect real-world scenarios as accurately as possible

  • Avoid questions that rely on a person's understanding of the language rather than his or her understanding of PHP and its related programming techniques

It's very important to understand these points as you approach your studies, as well as the exam itself, in particular when it comes to testing technologies that are used in conjunction with PHP. The test authors decided that, rather than relying on assumptions as to what other technologies a PHP programmer is likely to use in his or her daily job, the exam should focus on PHP itself and on those topics that a developer deals with often without any ties to a particular product.

Thus, although you will probably encounter one or more questions about database development during your exam, they will not be linked to a particular DBMS, such as MySQL or Oracle. Rather, they will deal with the general concepts of database programming and the standard SQL language.

What Does This Guide Cover?

The Zend PHP Certification Study Guide covers every topic that is part of the exam. It was developed by some of the very same authors who designed the exam's questions and was thoroughly reviewed to ensure that it provides every bit of information required to cover each subject appropriately.

One thing that this book is not is a PHP development tutorial or a reference book on the language and its extensions. Our goal in developing the guide is to provide you with a study aid that can help you focus on those topics that you will be questioned on during the exam. It is not a substitute for your experience as a PHP programmer in the real world, and it does not provide you with a "magic bullet" that will make you pass the test if you have never written a line of code in your life.

Remember that this book—and the certification guide—are based on PHP 4. This is essential, particularly when it comes to object-oriented programming, where the differences between PHP 4 and PHP 5 are very pronounced. Whatever you read in this book, as well as anything that shows up in a question at the exam, does not take PHP 5 into account whatsoever.

Many of the questions in the exam have been designed so that they mimic scenarios that you are likely to encounter in real life. Many of them involve the practical analysis of snippets of PHP code that might contain bugs or that might rely on PHP's particular behavior in order to reach a particular goal that is not immediately obvious.

These are not trick questions—they are designed to determine how well you understand the unique way in which PHP works so that, when a similar problem occurs in real life, you will be able to tackle it properly and efficiently.

We have designed this guide along the same lines. Although you will find a good amount of theory among the pages of this book, it will always be presented to you with an eye to its practical applications. In addition, each chapter includes a set of sample questions that are similar in structure to the ones you will find at the exam (although they are not the same, of course).

In line with our goal of giving you all the tools you need to successfully pass the exam, we thought you might also want to know what taking the exam is like. Chapter 13, "Getting Ready for the Certification Exam," discusses what to expect when you go to the certification center and how the exam works.

How Is the Guide Organized?

We intended the book to be read as a tutorial, rather than a reference. As such, the best way is to start with Chapter 1, "The Basics of PHP," and move your way to the end, as each chapter introduces new concepts by building on the information provided by the chapters that precede it.

While reading the guide, it's useful to remember that you are preparing for an exam. Read each section carefully and try to remember not only the essential points, but also those elements that might be useful while you're trying to tackle the exam.

If you already have experience in PHP development—as you probably will if you intend to take the exam—you might think that some of the topics we have covered in the guide are quite basic—and, to some extent, they are. However, they are covered from the point of view of the exam, and this means that you might discover some facts that you are not aware of because you have not encountered a real-life scenario in which they are relevant, but that might well show up in a question during your test.

Finally, don't forget to peruse the sample questions that you can find at the end of each chapter. As we mentioned earlier, they are similar in structure (although not in content) to the real ones, and they rely heavily on the proper analysis of practical sample code. Answering them can help you not only to determine how well your studies are progressing, but also to familiarize yourself with the way the questions are phrased in the exam.

Other Resources You Might Want to Consult

As we mentioned at the beginning of this introduction, there is no substitute for experience when it comes to passing the exam. You'll find that very few questions are of a didactical nature and that most require some practical steps in order to find the right answer.

Although this guide covers all the topics that are part of the exam, you might want to examine some of the subjects in more depth. The best resource for this purpose is the PHP Manual, which you can find online at or through your local PHP mirror. In fact, it's probably a good idea to keep the manual handy while you're reading this book and refer to it for additional information on a specific topic. Simply remember that the manual covers all versions of PHP, whereas this guide and the exam are specific to PHP 4.

Customer Reviews

This book only covers PHP 4 not the current version of PHP 5.
I expect technical books to have a few errors in them but I was often finding one or more errors on every page.
Jason Carlson
If you just want to learn PHP there are much better out there.
D. House

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jason Carlson on December 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've been using php since 1998 and now php software development is the primary focus of my business. This book is written by many well known experienced php developers and is a study guide for the php certification test which is also written by many of the same authors.

Because of the php knowledge held by the authors, I expected it to be fairly in depth and accurate and perhaps it could teach me a few odd things. At the same time I wanted to see if this PHP certification was something I should be looking for when my business hires future php developers.

I have to give this book the lowest rating available simply because it is so ridiculously riddled with mistakes. I expect technical books to have a few errors in them but I was often finding one or more errors on every page. Barely into the 4th chapter I tossed the book out when not only did they have a mistaken output code but now they went on to explain why it printed out that output even though php could of never given that output from their example code (regardless of version).

If it was just the type or cut 'n paste type errors I would of over looked them and knocked my review only down to two stars but to see them describing something that is incorrect php behaviour (they do it right in the very next sentence for a different section of the same example so they know the behaviour, but why would they describe it wrong in an earlier section of the same example)

These developers do know php well so I am stumped at the poor quality of this book. I'm wondering if this thing even proof read or just translated from another language by non-programmers?
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on October 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
Let's be blunt, Assume you are hiring someone to oversee your PHP system and have it narrowed down to two candidates. One of the candidates says, "Oh yeah, I know all about PHP." The other candidate says, "Oh yeah, I know all about PHP, I've passed the Zend certification exam." Your next question is likely to be "What's Zend Certification?" And the job candidate says, "A PHP specialist company, you can learn more about them at" After that, all other things being equal, the certified candidate is the one you're likely to hire.

This book is not the one I'd pick to learn PHP. There are others better suited. But to pass the Zend certification exam, this is the one. It tells you specifically what you need to know, has a sample exam and doesn't cost very much. What more can you want?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bob on May 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book will really help get your mind geared toward the exam, but don't think that you'll be ready just by reading this book. The breakdown of topics by chapter are a great way to get familiar with the exam subjects. I read every word on every page about 3 times, and while it helped for the test, it wasn't 100% inclusive of the material you'll be expected to know. Get the practice exam book, and spend some serious time with the relevant sections of the php manual online, writing code trying out questions you don't understand/ got wrong, and going through the php-recommended.ini file that is distributed with PHP 4.*. Of course, programming experience will be helpful, but many of the subjects are in areas that you might not used on a daily basis, especially to the knowledge level you'll need for the exam.

Good luck!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Timothy M. Garrison on February 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
Coming from "The PHP Company", I fully expected this book to be "up-to-snuff" on everything it covered. I was sadly mistaken.

I barely made it past the third page of the first chapter, and I had to shelf it. The technical errors, the grammatical errors (I know, I'm not perfect), and the cheesey analogies all made it a very uncomfortable experience.

As another reviewer mentioned, this book needs to be updated to reflect the errata and such. I'm very displeased with it, and I will be sharing my opinion with Zend.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Carlos Solis on August 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this is a good book, good review of the php4 language, but useless if you want to get a PHP5 certification.

I buy the book cause i want to make the certification on PHP5 so i wasted my money...

Could help if the title of the book specify the language version.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Krater on April 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
I just took and passed the the test today and read this book cover to cover twice. I think it is a great book, but it seemed that the book's questions were a lot harder then the exams.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. Cramer on September 27, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is filled with errors so it is not a good book for learning PHP, but that is not it's purpose. If you have experience coding PHP this book will give you a good overview of topics that may appear on the Zend Certification Exam and a good indication of subjects you may need to study further. Good Luck!
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Format: Paperback
When studying for a technical certification exam, there are two things that you must do. The first is to achieve the appropriate level of expertise and the second is to become familiar with the forms that the questions may take. Questions on technical examinations can be very tricky, a common cause of failure is to misread or misinterpret the question. Programming is such a precise activity that it is easy to write a question where the "obvious" answer is in fact wrong.

While this book does have some description of how to program in PHP, it is a review only and there is not enough to impart the appropriate level of expertise in PHP. A small number of sample questions are given at the end of each chapter and there is a sample exam with eighteen questions at the end. Solutions to all of the questions are included.

Although I found the study questions to be good, my personal opinion is that there are not enough of them. It would have been better if there were at least fifty questions in a sample exam, or two exams with at least fifty. When providing study questions, overkill is difficult to impossible to achieve, and eighteen is nowhere near that lofty goal.
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