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PHP in Action: Objects, Design, Agility Paperback – July 13, 2007
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About the Author
Dagfinn Reiersol has been designing and developing web applications, web content mining software, web programming tools, and text analysis programs, mostly in PHP, since 1997. He also has a long history as a technical writer of software manuals. He lives in Oslo, Norway.
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I bought this book to brush up on OOP PHP, since I had long since given up on PHP after glomming onto Ruby & Rails. I have recently gotten interested in PHP again, primarily due to the good things I see going on in the PHP-CMS space (Drupal mainly, and also WP), primarily the emergence of using frameworks to write PHP, a development which is a game changer IMO. Drupal 8 will begin using symfony 2, and this is enough to get me very interested in PHP development again.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you are looking to start coding OOP PHP. There are some changes it seems since the book was written (I tried "private function __get()" per page 47, and got the error that this magic method had to be public), but they are easily fixed. The Good vastly outweighs any Bad in this tremendous book!
So if you're reading reviews and wondering if you should get this or the other book...no question, get this.
How many books have you finished and asked yourself, "ok, now, where do I start?". This is NOT one of those books. This, more than any other, answers the "How ...?" providing a whole process for starting, being sure of incremental progress, handling inevitable complexity and, ultimately, maintainability.
I've read over a dozen PHP books, usually picked based on Amazon recommendations (when available). This book stands head and shoulders ABOVE ANYthing I've found to date ... for its pragmatic blend of theory and practice. On a scale of 1 to 5 stars, this is at least an 11 (or better)! If you don't study this book, CAREFULLY, you're in for far more miserable coding experiences than necessary.
When I took the scenic boat ride through Oslo harbor, I had no idea that such a blend of PHP techniques and advanced coding theory was evolving in Norway! <G> It's such a beautiful ride ... try it.
The author makes two big mistakes that I don't like in software books:
1) Assuming that I know another language (Java in this case) and constantly describing PHP as it relates to Java. In addition, there are a lot of throwaway paragraphs describing Java that have no relation to OOP PHP. I'm not learning about Java, I'm learning about PHP.
2) Describing how to do things the wrong way before showing the right way. He sometimes spends several paragraphs on this. I'm trying to absorb new information and I don't find this kind of detail helpful. I find it tedious and confusing. It just muddies the waters.
I felt that code examples were needlessly complex (not digestible) and the explanations were not concise. The code examples kind of throw a kitchen sink at you instead of being targeted examples of specific things that the author is trying to teach you. Code exercises should be atomic.
The author also tries to take concepts, like namespace, that are not supported in PHP and shoehorn them into PHP. Not that it's a bad idea in itself; but, there is too much emphasis on this. Not enough emphasis on what is native in PHP and describing that. It gets too granular too quickly.
This book is really a book about object oriented code, using PHP and Java as examples. If you already know OOP; but, are looking for a book that describes the idiosyncrasies of PHP syntax, then this book is not for you.
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