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PHP Essentials, Second Edition [Paperback]

Julie C. Meloni
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 28 2003
If you want to know the concept behind the code, you need PHP Essentials, 2nd Edition. Unlike most books on the market, it includes thorough discussion of the best practices and reasons for using PHP. This edition follows Premier's popular PHP Essentials providing in-depth coverage of PEAR (PHP Extension and Add-on Repository). Plus, each chapter includes FAQ's and their answers to put you ahead of the game.

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Product Description

About the Author

Julie Meloni is the technical director for i2i Interactive, a multimedia company located in Los Altos, CA. She’s been developing Web-based applications since the Web first saw the light of day and remembers the excitement surrounding the first GUI Web browser. She is the author of several books and articles on Web-based programming languages and database topics, and you can find translations of her work in several languages, including Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, and even Serbian.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Less is More Oct. 25 2003
I'm a big fan of this book. I used the first edition to put a modest web commerce site up in about three weeks of spare time (see it at [...] Using only this book, I learned what I needed of how to use the freeware language PHP and the excellent freeware database MySQL (in fact I learned SQL from this book). And these two programs are a great combination supported by a large number of web hosting sites using Apache (an extremely common if not the most widely used server software).
I have just shy of a dozen other computer books--many of them are shovelware--full of glop because the publishers want thickness. And then there are some books where the authors seem to spend more time trying to show off how sophisticated they are than trying to explain things. This book has neither defect; its clear intent is to teach and it does so with economy and grace
Meloni is a solid technical writer. For those who like examples, there are lots of them (in fact a whole e-commerce site (no-I wrote mine from scratch) and there are compact appendices on the commands and functions you will actually use in the back. PHP is a language to get stuff done and this book is in the same spirit. But even supposing you want to use PHP to calculate fast Fourier transforms (heaven forbid!) this book is a good starter and supplimented by the free PHP web site, will get you there fast.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book Oct. 27 2003
If you are new to PHP, this is the book to get. Dont go anywhere, this book is simply one of the best introductory books on computer programming i have ever bought. It makes PHP learning fast, fun and easy. It not just covers PHP alone but also covers Databases and teaches SQL from the ground up with code for almost all the known databases in the industry.
Thank you Julie Meloni, you are great.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good, but as it says, Essentials only April 13 2005
By Ugo
This book is well written, but I was expecting more contents.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Less is More Oct. 25 2003
By Allison Parker - Published on Amazon.com
I'm a big fan of this book. I used the first edition to put a modest web commerce site up in about three weeks of spare time (see it at [...] Using only this book, I learned what I needed of how to use the freeware language PHP and the excellent freeware database MySQL (in fact I learned SQL from this book). And these two programs are a great combination supported by a large number of web hosting sites using Apache (an extremely common if not the most widely used server software).
I have just shy of a dozen other computer books--many of them are shovelware--full of glop because the publishers want thickness. And then there are some books where the authors seem to spend more time trying to show off how sophisticated they are than trying to explain things. This book has neither defect; its clear intent is to teach and it does so with economy and grace
Meloni is a solid technical writer. For those who like examples, there are lots of them (in fact a whole e-commerce site (no-I wrote mine from scratch) and there are compact appendices on the commands and functions you will actually use in the back. PHP is a language to get stuff done and this book is in the same spirit. But even supposing you want to use PHP to calculate fast Fourier transforms (heaven forbid!) this book is a good starter and supplimented by the free PHP web site, will get you there fast.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book Oct. 27 2003
By Kamran Vighio - Published on Amazon.com
If you are new to PHP, this is the book to get. Dont go anywhere, this book is simply one of the best introductory books on computer programming i have ever bought. It makes PHP learning fast, fun and easy. It not just covers PHP alone but also covers Databases and teaches SQL from the ground up with code for almost all the known databases in the industry.
Thank you Julie Meloni, you are great.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Ooohhhhhh, now I get it" book May 12 2005
By Tiffany B Brown - Published on Amazon.com
If you just want a clear-cut intro to PHP, this is the book to get. Meloni takes the basic concepts, and shows you how to use them to create a shopping cart (so you learn database interaction, how to send an email, and basic syntax). Perfect for newbies.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A pretty awful book Feb. 11 2008
By Kevin Arruda - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Before I go on a tirade about this book, I would just like to say that it does have a good layout and organizational structure, as well as a nice appendix of built in PHP functions. I would also like to mention that I am a professional Computer Engineer. I bought this book to quickly learn php syntax/semantics so I could make a simple DB front end.

Other than that,

1.) The book is rife with syntax errors and typos. Much of the example PHP code won't even come close to compiling in PHP 5.

I spent about 3 hours trying to figure out why a few simple lines of PHP code directly from the book wouldn't work. Since I had not been introduced to PHP previously (hence buying the introduction book) I was not able to recognize the errors in the text. The examples were apparently made for a previous version of PHP. It wasn't after googling around for a while I found out the error was in the book.

2.) The author had no idea who she was writing the book for.

The author states at the beginning of the book that it was not written for programmers (to my dismay), but for someone who could "take (the book) off the shelf, skim though, and say, Hey, this PHP thing looks like a neat language, and ever-so-easy to learn!"

First of all, if you aren't a programmer, you don't learn programming languages. If you know a programming language and use it, guess what, you're a programmer.

Secondly, the author wants to assume to reader isn't a computer scientist or programmer, but that they know how to properly set up a linux system with an Apache Webserver and SQL/PHP support. Anyone who is a novice user would probably spend days getting this to work correctly to begin with.

Thirdly, nobody picks up a programming language book and randomly decides it's a "neat language" that is "ever-so-easy to learn". People decide what they want to learn first and then find a book on it. So writing an entire book on that basis is pretty flaky in my opinion.

Another problem with this book I could see was that the examples were introducing unexplained elements. I.e. using language elements that were not previously described. I understood much of it, but for a true novice this could be extremely confusing.

In summary, the book tries to compromise between technical value and accessibility to a beginner, but ultimately just ends up with a poorly crafted piece of literature. My recommendation would be either to buy a different book, or save your money and use one of the many free PHP guides available on the internet.
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Beginning... May 17 2010
By Jason E. Gurney - Published on Amazon.com
This book has proven to be immensely helpful in regards to a beginner's foundation. I consider myself more of a designer when it comes to web applications...I feel quite confident that after this book, my coding skills and relative understanding have significantly increased. If you are a beginner, I highly recommend this book. It's easy to understand and chock full of useful references.
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