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PHP3: Programming Browser-Based Applications with PHP Paperback – October 4, 1999
The Amazon Book Review
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David Medinets's principal task in PHP3: Programming Browser-Based Applications is to find common ground for a discussion of PHP3, the database-interfacing module for the Apache Web server. Unfortunately, his task is subverted by PHP3's complexity.
In principle, PHP3's Perl-like script slides into HTML. When accessed by a browser, the code is interpreted by the Apache server, building a Web page out of data pulled from an SQL database through Apache's PHP3 module. The centrality of PHP3 in linking the user to the database is clear, but the stability of a uniform PHP3 implementation in an intrinsically heterogeneous Linux/Unix environment is so problematic as to be prohibitive.
To be fair, Medinets's PHP3: Programming Browser-Based Applications is a thoughtfully constructed book, but it sends mixed signals about whether it will enter the fray of PHP3 module support. Medinets's 20-page line-by-line description of building PHP3 begins with guidelines on how to make a new gcc compiler. Safe to ignore? Maybe not, because his Apache server-build instructions should be followed verbatim. A clean build and test on a generic Linux distribution is a multi-day effort because essential environment variables aren't documented--neither by Medinets nor by the PHP3 development team. Dynamical loading of the PHP3 module (the modern standard for module handling) is itself a subject of strongly worded statements in the newsgroups. Medinets has no comment on this show-stopping issue.
The book consists of didactic chapters on data manipulation, regular expressions, basic object-orientation, the CGI interface, and XML, all of which get interspersed with task-oriented interludes on connecting to databases, maintaining lists, creating HTML modules, and managing concurrent access. Over 100 pages of appendices provide SQL and PHP function references and Internet resources.
But the PHP3 development team must stabilize its interfaces before any single-source tract will suffice. Until then, readers must make personal commitments to read all available documentation. For the fearless few who venture into the PHP3 backcountry, Medinets offers an errata page at www.mtolive.com/phpbook to help with orientation. Active PHP3 mailing lists (www.php3.org) contain questions and answers, which are disparaging and hyperbolic but occasionally helpful.
The PHP3 developers have an outpost with a stable platform, and Medinets is safe at the outpost, but his smoke signals are too far away and the winds too variable for him to be of much help to us yet. --Peter Leopold
From the Back Cover
The most comprehensive collection of PHP programming tools for creating dynamic Web pages available anywhere.
As the essence of the Web resides more and more in databases, UNIX programmers need a complete set of tools that work well together, as well as a platform for building dynamic content. In this first-of-its-kind book/CD-ROM package, programmers are provided with an expansive set of support tools to develop state-of-the-art, dynamic Web applications and databases using. All open source software.
Written in a clear and precise manner by well-known author David Medinets, this book will teach you how to use the power of award-winning PHP and SQL Web tools to program browser-based applications. Programming languages, an open source database engine, and the Red Hat Linux operating system are fully explored, giving you a clear understanding of this thriving, explosive technology.
Plus, the accompanying CD-ROM contains the PHP programming language, the SQL database engine, the Red Hat Linux 5.2 operating system, sample applications and code listings, and all the software documentation found in the book.
UNIX Administrator's Complete Programming Toolkit:PHP Fundamentals Database Fundamentals Advanced PHP Application Fundamentals Application Examples Extending PHP
Top customer reviews
Buy this book only if you must have a php3 book and also want to learn about mySQL.
This book covers everything from installing PHP, understanding all aspects of PHP, connecting to databases (such as mySQL), pattern matching, working with CGI, XML, and many other goodies.
I am a fairly experienced PHP programmer, but this book has shown me several advanced tricks that I didn't know about, mostly due to lack of time to research these types of things on my own.
If you are a beginner, this book is perfect for you because the technical topics are covered in a straightforward, non-technical manner with lots of sample code to learn from.
While it does have a lots of useful information for beginning programmers and developers using MySQL and XML, it lacks depth. The book tries to cover too much territory and as a result fails to deliver enough useful information to make PHP accessible to all programmers.
There are plenty of code examples but they often refer to code used in previous chapters. I like to use books such as this as a reference and having to constantly cross-reference to other snippets of code is time consuming. I guess if I sat and read the book cover to cover, this would be less of a problem. However, most of the book is so rudimentary for most experienced programmers you would probably skim through it to get to what you need to know.
The most frustrating part of trying to really 'use' this book is that there is no function reference. Just a list of the functions without any parameter references or anything. I end up going to the PHP web site and getting more useful information online than in the book.
If not for some of the information on pattern matching, SQL and PHP installation, this book would have little value for me.
Every other PHP manual or tutorial I've seen just gave lists of commands and how to use them, but didn't really explain the thought-process behind making real working functions.
This one actually walks you through the creation-from-scratch showing first "goals" even for little tiny one-page projects, then follows through on making it happen. Very cool. This book even gives his 20-year-programmer's advice such as, "You could do it this way, but I recommend doing it this way instead."
It's nice to have more than "just the facts" - and that's why I've learned more from this book in the last 2 days than any other PHP tutorial I've done in the last 5 months.
He is clearly geared toward writing a tutorial and not a reference book. At one point, we're supposed to be establishing a mysql connection and after going through the steps, he says, "well, this doesn't work because..." (and then he explains what was missing). I appreciate this sort of method, but it might be confusing for some readers.
This book is to be a quick breezy read and intended for people who want to get their feet wet before getting seriously into the subject. I would mention that Professional PhP is an excellent book, much more comprehensive than this one and just as readable. Readers might seriously consider bypassing this book and reading the Wrox Professional PHp book. The Wrox book has excellent examples and gives switches and api's when trying to connect to other databases beside mysql.
In summary: an excellent straightforward introduction, but many readers might prefer to read a more comprehensive book like Professional PHP (by Wrox)
Entire chapter waster detailing app that's on the CD --- an app which is pretty much useless to you if you're not running your own server.
The index at the back of the book is fairly useless as well.
All + all, I wouldn't recommend this -- unless you're desperate for a PHP/mySQL book + are sick of waiting for O'Reilly + Associates to publish theirs (which is pretty much the reason why I bought this thing).
Most recent customer reviews
this book is the worst one i ever worked with. the author uses advanced implementations in the first few examples, without explaination; some statements are just simply...Read more