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Beginning PHP 6, Apache, MySQL 6 Web Development Paperback – Jan 2 2009


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Paperback, Jan 2 2009
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Best PHP book I've found Jan. 29 2011
By David Crisler - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Ok, I've had this book for over a year now and I'm on my second read-through so it's time for a review. This book is the best book I've found for learning how to code real, useful applications that will please clients and make you money. I credit this book for lifting me up from beginner to intermediate PHP programmer. Highly recommended.

Having said that, I am in agreement with some of the other reviews in that the book suffers from some critical, tragic flaws that need to be taken into account so let's start with the cons:

CONS:

1) Many of the MySQL queries in the book & source code cause errors as written and everything comes to a crashing halt. MySQL errors are extremely cryptic and you will be pulling your hair out trying to figure out what to do with the authors' incorrect query syntax. It's very irritating, because obviously the code was not tested and they should know better. Luckily there is a forum where intrepid explorers have blazed the trail to success before you, but that leads to gripe #2.

2) The book has a support site but the authors are nowhere to be found. The only support you will find are scant users helping other users. Most of the issues with buggy code luckily have been answered by past users, but you have to dig for it. As of this writing, the search feature for the board does not work. You have to read through all the topics to find the one you need. FIX THE SEARCH WROX!

3) The book says "PHP 6" but all the MySQL queries are made with the original MySQL extension, not MySQLI or PDO. This is PHP 4 procedural code. You will not learn the intricacies of PHP OOP.

4) The authors are fond of using what they call "transaction" pages to process database interactions (updates, deletes, creating an account, etc.). This is an interesting approach. The authors show you how to check for errors and send the user back to the original page to display the errors, but they don't tell you how to preserve user input in form fields. Major fail.

5) Functions are introduced that are not explained at all. You have to look them up in the PHP manual.

Ok, now on to the positives:

PROS:

1) I own beginning PHP books by David Powers and Larry Ullman, and they are all good, but this book blows them away in terms of teaching you real-world techniques for creating dynamic, interactive web applications in a way that is fun and interesting without bogging you down in complicated minutia. From the very beginning you will be coding stuff that inspires your creativity. You will begin to think like a programmer. The authors have a light, humorous style of writing that made learning fun.

2) The book really showed me how to code sites that are personalized for registered users. It showed me how to effectively register those users, and track them through the applications, offering personalized data for each of them. What I really liked was how this book takes that approach from the very beginning, and never lets up. In my opinion this is a highly marketable skill set to have under your belt. Once you know the basic techniques for creating this type of application, the sky's the limit on what you can offer your clients. Thanks to this book, I have coded several user-community-oriented web applications for clients.

3) From very early in the book you will be using multiple tables within a database. Many beginning PHP books take a one-table approach most of the way through, then introduce multiple tables at the end. Not this book. You WILL become skilled at using multiple tables, joining the tables in intricate queries to compile custom data sets for your users. I found this very empowering. I now have a MUCH better sense of how to design my database tables and how to get the data I need.

4) The approach is "real world". In other words, there are lots of tricks and techniques in the book that enlightened me in a "Oh, so THAT'S how developers do it" kind of way. This is an extremely valuable asset. Most other books concentrate on syntax and methods but this book shows you "the way its really done". I'm sure there are other, perhaps better ways to get things done, but for a beginner, the methods these authors use was very eye opening and immediately helpful.

5) The book has a large appendix that includes a list of PHP functions. It's like having the PHP manual.

6) At the end of each chapter are optional exercises you can try. I didn't do all of them, but the ones I did really reinforced the learning process.

CONCLUSION:

If you have read other beginner PHP books but want to jack up your game with marketable skills, I strongly urge you to get this book! But be prepared - you will have to work through some frustrating errors in the code as well as a sad lack of support by the authors and publisher. It really is a shame - this book could be absolutely perfect if it's creators would just show some pride and fix the flaws.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This book could have been so much better Aug. 16 2010
By boneil - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
If you are easily frustrated or do not enjoy debugging other peoples code, this book is definitely not for you. There are many, many places in this book where you will complete the tutorials and then attempt to execute the code only to find that you are (a) not getting the results the authors say that you should be getting or (b) you are not getting any results at all (except maybe an error message). I was able to work my way through this book by making frequent visits to the Wrox user forum for this title to see what fixes others have come up with for the bad code and by trolling the internet for solutions to some of the problems not discussed in the forum. I also wasted almost a month trying to get the PHP mail function running on my windows machine before giving up and migrating all my files to a unix server.
I don't know who is to blame for all the errors in this book - the authors or the publishers - but there are lots of them, especially in Chapters 13 - 16. Yet I feel like I learned a lot from this book, because I have a hands-on learning style, and if everything worked right the first time, there would be no challenge to the learning process.
This book has some really good tutorials and covers a lot of ground, but it could be a whole lot better if the authors and the publishers would get their heads together and fix some of the errors.
Best book for real applications March 31 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
If you are looking for a book that gives you real world applications this is it. However, this book does not go through every little detail and then say make an application. It actually gives you an application then goes into how it works. So if you are a person that likes to learn everything upfront and then tries to make applications from what you have learned then this book might not be for you. But, if you are like me and like to see how these applications are built and learn from "reverse engineering" then this is for you. I have yet to have a problem with the code; however, I do agree with others that it is a must, when learning a new language, to draw from more than one book as a learning tool.
Good book but small imperfections in code March 30 2010
By Chris R. Binsack - Published on Amazon.com
First, I want to say I received this book as a gift so I can't complain too much. Second, I am new to PHP/MYSQL coding and this book has taught me a lot. The only problem I have with the book is that some of the code they use has errors or small imperfections. For example, in chapter 6 the book shows you how to write or edit to a database. The code is all written for you so basically all you have to do is copy/paste the code into your editor of your choice.
I use Dreamweaver and I like to type the code myself, so I can understand how it works.

After finishing and bringing the page up with Apache I noticed that the drop down lists, that connect to the database and let you choose the lead actors and directors displayed them in doubles. The actors and directors are placed in the same table, which has a total of eight values. The code was reading all the actors but it was counting the director's spots and placing the actor's names in the places again. I have tried everything to figure out how to get the extra names off the list but nothing worked. I checked the code over and over but everything looked good.
I even thought they meant to do this on purpose, to show an example. But that wasn't the case either.

There are many small examples like this through out the book. In a way, it's a good thing because it forces the reader to debug the code or improve on it. It also can be annoying. Either way, the book gives a lot of information but read additional PHP/MYSQL books because as I found out, everyone codes differently.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Good And Bad June 6 2010
By devlim - Published on Amazon.com
I will say that this book is good that teach how to build various application like login system, forum, send mail and etc.
but what make me rate this book 3 is

1)It use table in html, even thought this book is not teaching html, but at least use simple/standard css than using table where many tr and td cause confuse.
2)Many grammer error and use wrong word.
3)it dont use php efficiency like this book try to incorporate all php code in one php file.
4)It seem like focus on php 5 instead of php6, well maybe i wrong in this.


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