Customer Reviews: PHP: The Complete Reference
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on August 27, 2008
PHP, The Complete Reference may be a good book to start learning from. In addition, it does touch on most of the major topics.

However, calling it "Complete" is a joke. I have been writing software for over 40 years, and this is the first language "reference" book I have found that does not fully describe the built-in functions supported by the language. For example, on pages 82-84 the author lists about 100 string functions in a 2 column table. The first column is the function name, and the 2nd column is a single phrase that states the purpose of the function. No syntax is shown, no arguments, no return value information and no usage information. In the few pages that follow, there are in-line examples of a couple of the 90+ functions.

The same is true for other groups of functions. Having to go online to find out information that should be in a "complete reference" obviates the need for a book. At the price charged for this book, you'd be better off using the abundant information available online.
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on December 18, 2008
Living up to it's name the PHP Complete Reference is a tome of PHP knowledge. With great detail about each (and just about every) PHP function, the book easily warrants the space it takes on your desk. If you are like me you will spend most of your time flipping back into the book to remember the correct order of arguments for in_array or another function.

Don't expect to learn anything fancy or exciting, the book covers the functions and the basics. It is also not exactly where you want to learn PHP, but that is where my second book I am reviewing comes in. The book PHP: A Beginner's Guide is the perfect companion to the Complete Reference. What you learn in the Beginner's Guide is backed up and reinforced in the Complete Reference.

The Beginner's Guide is really a great starter book for PHP developers, or those who think they will be PHP programmers. The information is provided in usable chunks, but fast enough that the book isn't a boring text book. When paired with the PHP: Complete Reference you will become a better PHP developer in no time at all.
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on April 15, 2009
Initially a front-end designer, I was looking for a book that could explain clearly HOW to code in PHP, and how PHP does work. This book covers all the essentials and give you the know-how to go further with other references. The writing style is clear and very, very pedagogic: it's like having a teatcher in front of you, never hesitating to repeat fundamentals and giving you different examples of a same topic. For the next version I'd love to have a chapter on how to work with REGEX.
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on April 25, 2008
This book is okay as a beginning reference. The title may give the impression that it's a book you'll want to keep on your shelf and return to frequently for years to come. That probably won't be the case for most readers who go on to write a lot of PHP, so a better title might have been "Getting Started with PHP", or something like that. The banner on the back of the book, which says "Your One-Stop Guide to Web Development with PHP", is a lot more predictive of the book's contents.

It contains a lot of fluff that fills way more pages than are justified for the amount of information given, such as examples built-up in stages, leading to a lot of needlessly redundant example code. This might make sense for complex examples, but the examples in this book are all very simple, so the extra use of paper is wasteful.

Personally, I don't like the author's tendency to follow his own explanations with expressions like "Not bad!", "Nice!", and "Pretty good!". I appreciate when authors use a conversational tone to some extent (Scott Meyers is the best at this, I think), but doing this constantly throughout the book goes too far for my taste. Others might enjoy this style of writing though.

I would say this book seems to be targeted toward readers who are absolutely new to programming. If you're coming from any kind of programming background at all, or like to be challenged, then you might not be very satisfied with this book. One good thing is that it's so simple and the examples take up so much space, you can read the whole thing in just a few hours.

I've also noticed quite a few typos, even in the example code (e.g. "close" where they meant "clone"), but I don't see an erratum posted on the McGraw-Hill website yet. I'm sure that's because the book was published only recently. The source code is all there though, as advertised. Still, it would have been nice if they'd done a better job of editing the text.

Maybe the overall nature of this book is consistent with "The Complete Reference" series by McGraw-Hill. This was the first title I'd read in that series, so I had no certain expectations. In the future, I'll know better what to expect from "The Complete Reference" books.
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on March 4, 2008
As a software developer, I primarily work with the ASP.NET technology and have been learning to apply Ajax to my work. A small segment of my work is with PHP/MySQL. I picked-up this book at Barnes & Noble (my Sunday library and Starbucks experience) and found the subject of Ajax to be very well explained.

I purchased this book solely for the Chapters 12 and 13 coverage of Ajax and have found it to be worth the purchase price alone. I look forward to reading the rest of the book as a refresher for my PHP development.
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on December 11, 2008
I do not recommend purchase of this book. This book has many topics but no depth. A beginner can not use this book alone as the cover suggests, the coverage on any particular topic is too thin for useful work. Someone competent in PHP at an intermediate level will be wasting their time reading it. The list price of 49.95 is an exceptionally high price given the books inadequate content. Several other books are much better values to learn PHP from.
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on November 28, 2012
The book teaches you PHP gradually, step by step, topics are presented in a logical order and perfectly understandable even for a non native English speaker like me.
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on January 30, 2013
It had Content in it that I did not find in the other References I considered such as Objects, etc.
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on November 20, 2011
I've been an enthusiastic reader of "Mastering NETSCAPE IFC" since Windows 31 to Windows 95 era. (IFC means Internet Foundation Class)
So recently I want to study a glue language of web programming.
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on December 14, 2009
Before I purchased this book, I was worried if I could get it at cheaper prix and in good conditions. But when I saw it advertised at, I could not think that a fairly new book of high value could be sold at that prix. My big surprise was when I received the book. The delivery was fast and the book was in exceptionally good conditions. It is was actually a new book although I have got it at second-hand price. What's a great deal!
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