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Essential PHP Tools: Modules, Extensions, and Accelerators [Paperback]

David Sklar
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 11 2004 1590592808 978-1590592809 1st ed. 2004. Corr. 2nd printing

Apress has been profuse in both its quantity and quality of releasesand (this book is) surely worth adding to your technical reading budget for skills development.

— Blane Warrene, Technology Notes

I stayed up clear past my 'bedtime' several nights while implementing the covered modules in my program, unable to pull myself away.

— Timothy Boronczyk, Codewalkers

From Pear packages to parsing XML files, this book is a huge time-saver to developing your own solutions.

— Richard Testani, Apple-Sauce.com

This book is an essential guide to some of the best free add-ons to PHP. These add-ons, or tools, provide invaluable functionality for improving your PHP Web applications, including accessing databases, generating robust Web forms, using page templating systems, creating and parsing XML documents, authenticating users, and much more.

In response to the existing shortage of documentation about the tools, Sklar packs this book with details about installing, configuring, and using each toolalong with plenty of examples tailored to PHP 4 and 5.

Sklar also lays out the details of Auth and HTML_QuickFormtwo hard working PEAR modulesso you dont have to code your own authentication system or Web form construction set! Also included are chapters on debugging programs, and increasing Web server speed. In short, you will learn to eliminate inefficiencies in PHP, and enhance performance without any code modification.


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Review

From the reviews:

"This book intends to simplify programming tasks through the use … . The intended audience is intermediate-to-advanced, although I believe it is also of great use to the uninitiated. The Introduction provides a solid introduction to the use of PEAR … . The section on databases is required reading for anyone wishing to … . The Smarty chapter is an excellent introduction into templating … . Especially enjoyable is the chapter on PEAR’s Mail_mime … . I particularly enjoyed the level of detail given … ." (Mitchell Pirtle, International PHP Magazine, Issue no. 4, 2004)

About the Author

David Sklar is an instructor at the New School University and an independent technology consultant. He is also the coauthor of the book PHP Cookbook and the author of the forthcoming Learning PHP. David has spoken at many conferences, including the O'Reilly Open Source Conference, the EGovOS Open Source/Open Standards Conference, and the International PHP Conference. His consulting practice focuses on interactive Internet applications, distributed systems, scalability, and security. Additionally, David is a principal of the Transparency Project, a nonprofit organization that coordinates data markup standards and builds tools that analyze publicly available political and campaign finance information. David was a founder and the chief technology officer of both Student.Com and TVGrid.Com, where he led teams of PHP developers that built multilingual data-driven web applications. He holds a degree in computer science from Yale University.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
If you are using PHP with your web applications you will want a copy of "Essential PHP Tools". Author David Sklar has gathered together tools to resolve some of the most common problems of PHP. If you want to do authentication you don't have to hand write the code, a free tool is available. Unfortunately many of the best free tools for PHP also have minimal documentation. David Sklar resolves this problem by providing excellent documentation for each of the tools mentioned in the book. Some of these include tools for accessing databases (using both the DB and ADODB methods), generating and processing forms, templating, XML parsing, sending mail, authentication, working with users and passwords, debugging, caching, and optimizing. The tools are easy to find and useful, the documentation excellent, and the writing style easy to follow. All this makes "Essential PHP Tools" a highly recommended book for anyone using PHP on their webserver.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Learn to use external PHP libraries effectively June 12 2004
Format:Paperback
David Sklar has written a book on a subject that most other PHP authors have ignored, and which many PHP programmers have failed to consider: how using pre-made, existing libraries effectively can save you hours of writing (and re-writing) PHP code.
There are many external libraries available to PHP, some under the PEAR brand ( [...] ) and others by individual authors or companies.
If you would like to automate the creation, processing and validatin of form processing, there's HTML_QuickForm. If you'd like to implement a templating system to separate presentation logic from other programming logic, there's Smarty. If you would like to setup a lightweight, yet completely usable and effective web services platform, there's the PEAR XML-RPC library.
In many of these cases, the online documentation is too complicated or technical (e.g. HTML_QuickForm) or too skimpy (PEAR XML-RPC). Enter David Sklar's book!
David uses concise, clear language with plenty of examples to explain how a certain library works. He goes through it step-by-step, first with a paragraph of descriptive text, then with a snippet of code elucidating what was previously mentioned.
He manages to cover just enough ground to enable you to grasp how to use a certain library without boring you to tears with extraneous, non-essential information.
If you would like to avoid re-inventing the wheel and the introduction of bugs (that almost always follows the insertion of new, untested code), I suggest you procure a copy of Essential PHP Tools today, and read it cover-to-cover!
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars I hope to see more books like this June 27 2004
Format:Paperback
The PHP world is full of great add-ons, modules and tools available for free on the Internet. Unfortunately, many of them lack quality documentation. If you already have a decent understanding of PHP and want to expand your arsenal this book is for you. Take a look at the TOC and you will find plenty of useful material, from portable database connectivity, to SOAP, XML and much more. Each chapter is self-containing, no linear reading is required and you can safely skip something or jump across different topics. I hope to see more books like this; there are many little software gems out there that deserve this kind of treatment
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn to use external PHP libraries effectively June 12 2004
By J. Sheth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
David Sklar has written a book on a subject that most other PHP authors have ignored, and which many PHP programmers have failed to consider: how using pre-made, existing libraries effectively can save you hours of writing (and re-writing) PHP code.
There are many external libraries available to PHP, some under the PEAR brand ( [...] ) and others by individual authors or companies.
If you would like to automate the creation, processing and validatin of form processing, there's HTML_QuickForm. If you'd like to implement a templating system to separate presentation logic from other programming logic, there's Smarty. If you would like to setup a lightweight, yet completely usable and effective web services platform, there's the PEAR XML-RPC library.
In many of these cases, the online documentation is too complicated or technical (e.g. HTML_QuickForm) or too skimpy (PEAR XML-RPC). Enter David Sklar's book!
David uses concise, clear language with plenty of examples to explain how a certain library works. He goes through it step-by-step, first with a paragraph of descriptive text, then with a snippet of code elucidating what was previously mentioned.
He manages to cover just enough ground to enable you to grasp how to use a certain library without boring you to tears with extraneous, non-essential information.
If you would like to avoid re-inventing the wheel and the introduction of bugs (that almost always follows the insertion of new, untested code), I suggest you procure a copy of Essential PHP Tools today, and read it cover-to-cover!
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I hope to see more books like this June 27 2004
By Foti Massimo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The PHP world is full of great add-ons, modules and tools available for free on the Internet. Unfortunately, many of them lack quality documentation. If you already have a decent understanding of PHP and want to expand your arsenal this book is for you. Take a look at the TOC and you will find plenty of useful material, from portable database connectivity, to SOAP, XML and much more. Each chapter is self-containing, no linear reading is required and you can safely skip something or jump across different topics. I hope to see more books like this; there are many little software gems out there that deserve this kind of treatment
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tools you will want to know about if you use PHP May 2 2004
By Harold McFarland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you are using PHP with your web applications you will want a copy of "Essential PHP Tools". Author David Sklar has gathered together tools to resolve some of the most common problems of PHP. If you want to do authentication you don't have to hand write the code, a free tool is available. Unfortunately many of the best free tools for PHP also have minimal documentation. David Sklar resolves this problem by providing excellent documentation for each of the tools mentioned in the book. Some of these include tools for accessing databases (using both the DB and ADODB methods), generating and processing forms, templating, XML parsing, sending mail, authentication, working with users and passwords, debugging, caching, and optimizing. The tools are easy to find and useful, the documentation excellent, and the writing style easy to follow. All this makes "Essential PHP Tools" a highly recommended book for anyone using PHP on their webserver.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful but not comprehensive Nov. 3 2004
By Erik S. Heerlein - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book does alert you to many useful modues, extensions and accelerators and given that many of these are open source and their documentation can be skimpy, it's good to have examples and documentation from another source.

However, this book is not comprehensive in it's coverage of said modules, extensions and accelerators and in areas where it covers material already explained in the documentation, I preferred the original documentation's style and explanations. The book does mention things that the original documention does not, but the original documentation talks about things that the book does not.

In short, I had to read both the documentation and the book to fully understand the code.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Extensions? What extensions? Aug. 22 2005
By J. Wren Hunt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
You would think that a PHP book that actually mentioned "Extensions" as part of the title would cover extensions wouldn't you? Well in the case of this book you would be wrong. The index has exactly 1 entry for 'extensions' and even that is a 1 sentence footnote! Compare that to the 45 pages devoted to the subject in George Schlossnagle's book "Advanced PHP Programming" and you can get an idea of actually how deficient this book is in this aspect.
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