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Beginning PHP4 [Paperback]

Wankyu Choi , Allan Kent , Chris Lea , Ganesh Prasad , Chris Ullman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2000 Programmer to Programmer
What is this book about?

PHP is a rapidly growing web technology which enables web designers to build dynamic, interactive web applications, incorporating information from a host of databases, and including features such as e-mail integration and dynamically generated images. PHP4 added tons of features to make web application development even easier, and this book will show you how to make the most of the language's powerful capabilities.

This book is a complete tutorial in PHP's language features and functionality, beginning with the basics and building up to the design and construction of complex data-driven websites. Fully working examples in the book include a directory-style web search engine, a mailing list management system, a web-based file editor, and a graphical online shopping mall guidebook.

What does this book cover?

Here are just a few of the things you'll find covered in this book:

  • Complete tutorial in the PHP language
  • Installation guide and troubleshooting tips
  • Introduction to relational databases and MySQL
  • Practical worked examples throughout, including a detailed case study
  • All code written for both Windows and UNIX systems
  • Detailed language reference included

Who is this book for?

Anybody who knows HTML can use this book. If you've done any programming, that will be useful, but it's not a requirement. You can run all of the code on either a Windows or UNIX (e.g., Linux) system, and the book explains how to set up a web server and database in both of these environments.

Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

Beginning PHP4 offers an almost ideal introductory tutorial to one of today's hottest scripting languages. This book is really all the novice needs to start building dynamic Web sites powered by PHP4, but old hands at programming will also find valuable information inside it.

PHP, of course, is introduced in the book, but there is also an approachable and effective introduction to programming in general. The conscientious tutorial on basic concepts like variables, keywords and flow control will give even beginners an understanding of the basics of writing programs. PHP, it turns out, is not only a great way to generate HTML dynamically, it's a very marketable skill. Web fundamentals like HTTP, HTML form variables, and managing session information using no less than four different techniques are explained thoroughly and effectively. You also find out how to install PHP and other tools on your system, with the assistance of plenty of screen shots.

That's not to say that this book will cramp the style of more experienced developers. Some chapters delve into such important and advanced topics as database programming (with MySQL) and PHP's support for XML. One standout section demystifies the new support for objects and classes in PHP4. Basic topics like managing files and directories on the server, plus graphics processing, are addressed, of course, and a nifty sample program shows you how to build a Web-based text editor. Except for the final case study, a "URL directory manager" (akin to Yahoo) that is rather specialised, the examples are spot on, illustrating everyday programming tasks. You will also learn to generate e-mail with PHP, certainly a valuable skill to have.

The appendix lists several hundred PHP functions in over 50 pages--a handy and useful feature. In all, Beginning PHP4 provides a strong choice for learning about one of today's most powerful and easy-to-use scripting languages. It is concise, fast-moving and thoroughly approachable. --Richard Dragan --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

This book assumes some familiarity with HTML and the mechanics of the web, but is for people new to PHP who want to start developing web applications. This includes HTML users, ASP and ColdFusion developers looking to learn a new platform and web development managers wanting to move development to Linux. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
PHP4 is the latest incarnation of PHP - the "PHP Hypertext Preprocessor". Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
I like this book and highly recommend it. It is good for people who are new to PHP but not so good for people who are new to programming. I've done a lot of programming in other languages and needed to learn PHP in a big hurry for a project that I was about to take on. This book got me up to speed fast. I'm inclined to think that a lot of the negative reviews are from people without any programming background. I agree this book is not the right place to start if you are a non-programmer. I've also done a fair amount of html prior to reading this book, I found that it's html section and php techniques for generating forms was really excellent, I learned some really great things!
As far as depth goes, such as discussing details of the functions. Well, that's what the php manual is for ([...] Initially I tried to learn the language from the php manual alone but didn't get very far, I couldn't see the forest because the trees were in the way, eg too much detail without a big picture. What this book does is to focus on the big picture of how and why to do something. It also shows multiple approachs to the same problem and compares them so that you get an idea of the alternatives and trade-offs.
Starting from not knowing php to writing some very sophisticated programs... I learned it all with two books and the manual. The other book that I read is PHP Developers Cookbook. The two books are very complimentary, there is not that much overlap between them instead they fill each others gaps. Note that the "Cookbook" is more advanced and assumes that you already know a lot of php.
Okay, the one big gripe that I have is their lack of proof reading. They must have really rushed this to press. There are literally hundreds of errors and the errata sheet is incomplete.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It Gets The Job Done, But It's Nothing Special May 25 2004
If you've been programming for a while, the pace of this book is too slow to read cover to cover. The best thing to do is read the first half of the book (through chapter 9) and then skip around to what interests you. As others have mentioned, you will have to modify the code in the examples to get them to work because of the use of globals. This is not impossible to overcome if you write the message board for the book at [...] However, it is annoying. There are other errors too, but it doesn't take much in the way of trial and error to get around them. The three chapters on MySQL are the most useful. If you've worked with databases in other scripting languages, e.g. Perl, Python, or Ruby, it's simply a matter of looking up what you want to do. There are some good style examples on structuring PHP code - use of an "$action" variable to drive the behavior of the site from a single page. The book also stresses putting reusable code in include files. The author dismisses classes/objects as not really being useful in PHP, but the use of classes elimates the need for the "global" declarations in many of the common include files. All in all, this is an adequate book, but noting profound. If you have programming experience, this book will get you up and running quickly.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointingly inconsistent book Dec 2 2003
This book was an alright general introduction to PHP4 let down by a great number of inconsistencies between authors. They didn't introduce functions adequately in the latter parts of the book, for example in chapter 10 they start using new functions without any explanation of what they do or their usage, and the different authors didn't collaborate sufficiently as they use different ways of writing the same commands without any explanation (e.g. the echo "" and echo("") statements) and they also contradicted each other, for example again in chapter 10 the author uses typecasting while in a previous chapter we had been told this was unnecessary, and again no explanation is given as to why the author did this.
The examples are also very tedious and in some places extremely repetitive (chapter 10 repeats the same example ten times with very little change).
Overall a great dissapointment and it is also out of date as new PHP security means most examples will not work without changing to a weaker security setting.
Not recommended, there must be more consistent books about for PHP.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Better then O'Reilly Jan. 26 2003
I requested that my Parents buy me this book over two years ago. Sure I paid them for it but I demanded this book. I'm not quite sure why I did but at the time I was wanting to learn PHP and I was not happy with the way the O'Reilly books were written for Perl (2nd Edition) so I knew that I was not going O'Reilly for learning PHP4. Now that I've had this book and time has passed I would say that I have suggested this book to lots of people and they have all learned PHP alot easier then they would have from O'Reilly books.
I say go WNOR, Chris, et al. You all did a good job. I felt like the authors were sitting over my shoulder and giving me a one on one session each time I read the book. The examples were fun, understandable, and had a point them. They also helped me to have a better understanding in Programming in general. The next year, I had a C/C++ programming class and Aced it without a problem. You know, they say 9 out of 10 students fail their first programming class. I wasn't one of those nine thanks to this book.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Warning: error in most code
This book is very well written, but you should know that the code in the book is written with "register_globals" turned on in the php engine. Read more
Published on April 19 2004 by "redbaro"
1.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointingly inconsistent book
The book is out of date as it covers PHP4 before security changes were made. It is also very inconsistant later on, as the various authors seem to believe in very different... Read more
Published on Dec 2 2003 by "robpolding"
3.0 out of 5 stars I was stucked at chatper 6
I was having headache when i read the book, that because the examples were all related to MATH . it's no use for building a real website . Read more
Published on June 17 2003 by LuckyStar
4.0 out of 5 stars Train gives it four stars
The book was great. I learned from in-depth examples. The only problem I had with the book was that some of the examples didn't work. Read more
Published on June 13 2003 by Seth Buntin
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for the beginner - get this red book!
I began php with two books, one being this wrox publication and the other a more advanced sams publication. The wrox publication was the fundamental lifesaver in my php learning. Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2003 by Richard York
2.0 out of 5 stars Beginning PHP4 is not well written
This book reads as if someone recorded a group of teen-aged programmers telling someone how to write PHP scripts, and then simply transcribed what they said into a book. Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2003 by Syd Allan (
this book is heavy, its thick and its almost completely useless. well not totally useless, but it does lack alot of details and explanation about how some functions are created and... Read more
Published on Nov. 9 2002 by Jon
4.0 out of 5 stars If you are a solid actionscripter....
....get the Professional book, even if you have limited PHP experience. I thought it would be a good idea to start from scratch even though I had fairly advanced actionscripting... Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2002 by Tony Montana
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent beginner book
Wrox publishing puts out the best books. This book is wonderful and explains everything fully. I would recommend this book to all beginners and advanced users.
Published on Sept. 23 2002 by D. Fisher
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