PHP Cookbook Paperback – Sep 4 2006
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About the Author
Adam Trachtenberg is the Director of Platform and Services for eBay and is the author of two O'Reilly books, Upgrading to PHP 5 and PHP Cookbook.
Adam has an MBA from Columbia Business School. While there, he focused on general management and operations, with an emphasis on the field of technology. Adam also has a BA from Columbia University. As an undergraduate he majored in mathematics, and his other studies included computer science and Chinese.
Before returning to school, he cofounded and served as vice president for development at two companies, Student.Com and TVGrid.Com. At both firms, he led the front- and middle-end web site design and development, worked on corporate planning and strategy, and served as liaison between the product and marketing teams.
David Sklar is an independent consultant specializing in software development, strategic planning, and technical training. He was a co-founder and the Chief Technology Officer of Student.Com and TVGrid.Com. At both companies, David oversaw the architecture and development of varied systems to deliver personalized dynamic content to users around the world.
After discovering PHP as a solution to his web programming needs in 1996, he created the PX (http://px.sklar.com/), which enables PHP users to exchange programs. Since then, he has continued to rely on PHP for personal and professional projects. He is the author of O'Reilly's Learning PHP 5, Essential PHP Tools (Apress) and the coauthor of PHP Cookbook (O'Reilly).
When away from the computer, David eats mini-donuts, plays records, and likes to cook. He lives in New York City and has a degree in Computer Science from Yale University.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book had well thought out examples and often showed multiple ways to solve the same problem (and commentary on the pros/cons of the various approaches). I bookmarked a dozen or more pages with recipes I want to try out to improve aspects of my website.
Note: This review is for the second edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
One thing I like about this book is that the authors don't waste the first few chapters trying to teach or give an overview of the language. Instead they hop right into the usage of the language that relates to real world stuff.
So here is a brief overview. The book covers PHP 5 and goes over many of the new and improved features. The first six chapters provide recipes for more basic subjects (strings, numbers, dates & times, arrays, variables, and functions. Again, this isn't an intro to PHP, that is another book such as Programming PHP from O'Reilly. This is that book you reach for once you have moved from PHP basics and are ready to build some real world stuff.
By chapter seven the authors are discussing classes and objects. I like using classes when coding in C++, so this is a good chapter for those who like OOP. The next nine chapters go over web stuff starting out with basic things like cookies, forms, and databases. Then the authors go into more advanced areas like session management, XML, automation and web services (REST, SOAP, Mail, FTP, LDAP, and DNS to name a few).
The next chapter  is on the topic of graphics. This is a cool chapter if you like to create dynamic images. Things like creating a button image on the fly, or generating charts. Graphics are great to have a knowledge of because everyone likes graphical presentation of data and this chapter can help you get there.
Chapter 18 is on security and encryption which I found rather helpful. No one wants there web application to be the link that allows data to be compromised, and this chapter deals with many of those problem areas. Chapter 19 covers localization, chapter 20 is on debugging and testing. The debugging section does a great job of getting a person setup with the tools they need to properly debug an application including creating your own exception class. This is an outstanding chapter that every programmer can appreciate since every application needs debugging.
The remaining chapters cover performance tuning, regular expressions, files, directories, command line PHP, PERL and PECL. Being a Perl guy I found it interesting to see how the authors utilized regular expressions in PHP. And the chapter on command-line PHP was outstanding; I thought the recipe for creating a PHP command shell was pretty cool.
This book is like having the answer key to most of the random questions a person comes up with when writing code. I found this book to be very useful, it will be one of those references that I keep close, and gets very little shelf time. It is a solid book. It is hard to say what parts I liked best because this is one of those books that you like and must have, but then as time goes on and you use it more and more its value grows. This is an excellent book and I would strongly recommend it the PHP users that want to move to the next level.
The chapters are organized according to topic and each subsection is basicly a short how-to comprised of a problem, solution and disscussion section that explains the solution in detail. Topics include XML, form handling, database interaction, session management and a lot more. I find all O'Reilly's cookbooks to be extremely useful and PHP Cookbook is ceartainly the most useful PHP book I own.
One major warning though: all the database stuff (about 20-30 percent of the book) depends on the PEAR DB class. That is a great thing to use as are many of the PEAR classes. But there is certainly great PHP code that doesn't rely on PEAR DB.
Besides the db stuff the book has great examples with strings, numbers, I/O (files and directories), dates, etc. And being that I used to be a Reptile Biologist - you got to love that Iguana. If nothing else, just buy it for the cover.
This 2nd edition of the PHP Cookbook offers real, useful, insightful information. The content is not "just recipes," but a consise approach to everyday problem solving using PHP. The organization of the book exposes this problem solving as a series of recipes that answer particular problem-domain questions. The diversity of the problem-domains accounted for in this text are amazing! If it is web or Internet related, this book probably has an answer for your most demanding PHP needs.
In the fine tradition of O'Reilly books, this text is very well presented, exceptionally well edited and organized in a manner that makes sense to the reader. It is not filled with fluff or hyperbole designed to add page count the way the thick volumes at Wrox seem to do. If you need every little thought spelled out for you, maybe you should buy a "PHP for Dummies" book. Otherwise, you can't go wrong with this excellent, well presented book that truly is "Solutions and Examples for PHP Programmers."
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