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PHP String Handling Handbook Paperback – March 11, 2003

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This book is aimed at PHP developers who have to deal with and manipulate strings. PHP is a web development language pure and simple, a large portion of Web programming requires strings to be handled and generated, so this skill is extremely important for PHP programmers. Most general PHP books have some coverage of string handling, but none approach it in nearly as much depth, or have the space to be able to approach the topic in the same Handbook "best practice, task-focused" way.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Wrox Press; illustrated edition edition (March 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 186100835X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861008350
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 2.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,523,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
There is some good string handling material in this very small book which was helpful. But when I returned to the book for a regular expression refresher & help with preg_match(), I was really disappointed. Chapter 4 (regular expressions) is badly written by Paul Adams. The main part of the preg_match() description shows that no proof reader ever proofed chapter 4. Ie:

"This takes a pattern string and a subject when the function finds a match to its regular expression, it returns true. If no match is found, the function returns false. Optionally you can set a pass the name of an array, if this parameter the function this will create an array contain the substring the pattern matched and the result of any subpatterns (also called groups), this aspect of regular expressions is covered in Chapter 5). "

Either Paul Adams can not write English or he is so brilliant that he wrote his chapter in his sleep. My suggestion to this group of 5 authors: Three of you should resign, and the best two should rewrite this book. Using 5 authors to write 7 chapters is a real problem. Fire the existing proof reader. Then hire two good proof readers who read & write English as their first language.

My suggestion to potential readers: Expect to have problems with this book. Unfortunately, there seems to be very little good coverage on regular expressions in PHP in this or other books. Even the official PHP manual is shallow on the subject. The rest of this book is better than chapter 4 and deserves 3 or 4 stars. Chapter 4 deserves 0 stars, and so the book gets my overall rating of just 2 stars.
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If you are just getting into PHP and do a lot of work with text formatting in web sites, this book is a very comfortable way to develop an understanding of the potential of PHP for altering, displaying, and receiving input with different types of text issues: forms; guarding against HTML/script/other tags being inserted by your users; searching and organizing in text fields and databases,
There's good explanations of the conceptual whys/hows of work with MySQL database, a gentle introduction to the use of "Regular Expresssions" within PHP for even more powerful text modifications, good examples of developing a full application for moderately sophisticated searches, and a good introduction to the use of forms in PHP and how to validate a user's input from a web page.
If you've mastered a major tome on PHP you may not need this book at all. Sure - all the information is available elsewhere, but the authors have helpfully collected all this information in a very clear, thorough and beginner-friendly manner. It's getting difficult to find a new copy of this Wrox title, but it's sure worth snatching up one of the great buys on a used copy.
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