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PHP Solutions: Dynamic Web Design Made Easy 2nd ed. Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1430232490
ISBN-10: 1430232498
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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

What made the first edition of "PHP Solutions" my most popular book was that I wrote it with PHP 5 in mind at a time when most websites were still hosted on PHP 4 servers. So, when friends of ED asked me to prepare a second edition, I thought it would be a simple task -- just remove the PHP 4 material, and add some new techniques. How wrong I was!

The decision to drop support for PHP 4 was liberating. I realized that some tasks, such as uploading files and creating thumbnails, could be much better handled by custom classes. I hadn't been able to do that in the first edition because classes in PHP 4 and PHP 5 are mutually incompatible. The classes break complex tasks into simple, easy-to-understand operations. Better still, all the code is project-neutral, so you can reuse the classes in other websites by writing no more than a dozen lines of code -- sometimes less.

Although the book retains the original structure of the first edition, all the code has been completely rewritten, making it cleaner and more efficient. Other new features include displaying the results of a news feed using SimpleXML and the Standard PHP Library (SPL). There's also detailed coverage of the date and time classes introduced in PHP 5.2 and 5.3. The chapter on working with multiple database tables has been expanded to explain how to implement foreign key constraints in InnoDB, the default storage engine in MySQL 5.5.

This new edition requires PHP 5.2 and MySQL 4.1 or later. The code won't work in earlier versions.

Please note that the example files for the book are now located on the main Apress website. The friends of ED address on page xvii is no longer valid.

From the Back Cover

What you'll learn
  • Updates to the first edition with the latest PHP techniques for modern, dynamic web design
  • Create dynamic websites with design and usability in mind, as well as functionality
  • Understand how PHP scripts work, giving you confidence to adapt them to your own needs
  • Bring online forms to life, check required fields, and ensure user input is safe to process
  • Upload files and automatically create thumbnails from larger images
  • Manage website content with a searchable database
Who this book is for

This is a "must have" reference book for any Web developer using PHP scripting language. If you have read the first edition classic, then this update will bring you the latest PHP techniques and best practices. If you are new to dynamic web design with PHP, then David will introduce you to the core techniques and methods for dynamic PHP web sites, ready for the 21st century!
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 2nd ed. edition (November 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1430232498
  • ISBN-13: 978-1430232490
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #246,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was going to hold off on reviewing this book until I had actually made it all the way through to the end but after spending hours (5 or 6 maybe?) debugging an error in the code from Ch. 09, I decided maybe it was time to voice my opinion.
I come from a programming background but I'm new to all things "web development". I went through the Head First HTML/CSS book and thought it was great. Decided to give the Head First PHP a try and was disappointed with it and so abandoned it half way through. Decided to give this one a try because of all the good reviews.

My first impression was that I liked the actual layout of the book and the teaching style much better than the Head First book. For the most part, the authors explanation of what each line of code is doing is excellent. The sequence of topics being covered seemed strange to me. You dive right in to the deep end which I found a little unsettling at first. There were a few instances where the author puts a line or two of some cryptic code and says something along the lines of "don't stress about this code and what it means...just know that it needs to be there and does what it needs to do" which I found a little strange because he was so detailed in his explanations in most other parts.

What I have found to be the most frustrating part of this book though, are the amount of errors found in the example code. I'm on page 256 of Ch. 09 and I've found no less than 6 or 7 errors in the code thus far that ARE NOT listed on the errata page on the books website. I've submitted the found errors to the publisher but I have yet to see them on the added to the errata list. Quite frankly, I'm pretty surprised that nobody else has mentioned this in any of their reviews?
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Format: Paperback
I'm about to start a new PHP project for our university website and was going to do it with the first edition of Dave Powers's PHP Solutions at my elbow. Now it will be the second edition. I have other PHP books and may dip into them a bit, but this is the one that will see me through.

It seems that Powers came to computer guru-dom from a career in broadcast journalism, and it shows in his ability to present exactly the information I need in exactly the way I need it. I'm a fairly experienced user-developer, but not a technical person. Powers is a wizard and at the same time a first-rate "host" to the reader. He understands the difference between making an explanation ALMOST confusion-free and getting it just right. His writing style pleasantly engages you on grown-up terms, with no static of jokiness to cut through.

As for content, PHP Solutions is, as the title declares, a solution-oriented approach to getting things done with PHP, not a ground-up tutorial or a dictionary-like reference. But I find that the challenges and solutions Powers has assembled amount to an important part of what I want to get done on a project. You can learn PHP basics anywhere (although Powers gives you a refresher in those, too) and then, when it comes to putting a particular capability into your website, turn to this book for the solution. For example, when I look at the code I wrote for my course-management system to display a list of students' reports with short extracts in screens of ten students each, I find the following comment:

// *** Prepare for paging through query results, displaying a specified number
//of records on the page and inserting a record-navigation system above and
//below the records.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I worked for years as a programmer, and am proficient in numerous languages, but a PHP noob. A current project requires me to work with PHP, and I bought this thinking it would be a good way to spin up on a new-to-me language.

The author is taking a "practical" approach to introducing the language. The good news is that his code is not all super-simplified examples, he shows some of the complexity of real world applications, and codes appropriate protections against malicious users and hackers. He basically develops a simple web site throughout the book, adding increasingly complex behaviors and features. This Sounds great in theory.

From a practical standpoint, it means that if you're trying to read the book rather than "coding along at home" the examples become impossibly large. Rather than using simple examples to illustrate things like database interaction or object-oriented features, the examples end up being a complex mish-mash of files discussed at various points in the book.

In the author's defense, if I had the time to work, slowly and methodically through each page, editing the sample code and seeing it in action, I would doubtless learn the essentials of the language. Sadly, like too many code monkeys, I'm under the gun and need to spin up on the details of the language quickly.

I was hoping for a book that would explain PHP, preferably in a semi-organized fashion. Where are the super-globals populated, and which ones can I rely on the server actually populating? What built-in functions are available? What are the most common errors and "gotchas" in PHP programming?
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