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PHP Fast & Easy Web Development with CDROM Paperback – Jan 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Premier; Pap/Cdr edition (January 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076153055X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761530558
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 18.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 771 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

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.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Overall, this book is a great introduction to PHP. The code examples are useful, and I have yet to find one that has errors in it. There are some formatting nuances in PHP that the author doesn't go into, and that would have helped. But the code from the CD-ROM worked fine when I ran into problems, and was useful in making comparisons.
My biggest problem came in setting up MySQL -- I'm using Win2k and, like another reviewer, there are some real glitches that the book doesn't discuss. Luckily, I have enough experience that I was able to find my way around them, but more installation instructions would have helped. While this book is targeted at PHP, using MySQL is essential in how it's being implemented here, and therefore more information should have been included. There are a number of sites online dealing with PHP and MySQL (and also Apache Server, which comes with it), so finding what you need isn't too far away.
I had one major concern regarding the installation files: When I scanned the CD, I found that one of the files on the Linux section had a virus in it...I don't know whether I got the warning because of Linux's use of multiple extensions or not, but I will be emailing the author/publisher regarding this.
Overall, it's a great beginner's book, and a good intro to most of the types of PHP coding that you may find useful. When you're done with this one, you can move on to subjects like how to set up effective databases, normalization, etc., which are beyond the scope of this book. And if you have experience working with other online databases, you'll find this book a breeze to work through and a great place to get you going for more aggressive projects...
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Format: Paperback
I've changed my rating from 4 to 5 stars, having said this previously :
" . . . would give Meloni's book five stars, but I never got the Apache server to run properly (on WinMe), despite many attempts. But that is probably Microsoft's fault, not Apache. Oh well, you can still develop your PHP code on-line as I do. Just get your FTP client fired up for all those uploads you will be doing :-) "
It turns out it was Microsoft's fault, more specifically Win Me's fault for not recognizing "localhost" as port 127.0.0.1. Just substitute that in your Apache config file, and things will work fine.
Meloni's style is clear, simple, and to the point. The examples all work and are meaningful programs. They all have real world applications and are not just disjointed snippets of code found in so many other egg head books. And if you already know the C language, learning PHP is a snap!
The first half of her book deals with PHP basics, up to and including e-mail programs and file I/O. After struggling thru a Perl primer, I found this part of Meloni's book to be a joy. I was doing more with PHP in one week than I had done with Perl in three months!
The second half of the book deals with MySql and database coding. As an experienced MS Access programmer, I find the MySql "DOS" like interface quite limiting (I hear a WYSIWYG one is in development). But Meloni steps you thru this part about as well as the first half. It's an excellent intro to using a database with your webserver programming. And by the time you are done with her examples, you will be well on your way to developing your own WYSIWYG interface anyway. Anyone who knows SQL fairly well will enjoy this section of the book, once they have learned the PHP basics in the first part.
All in all, a very good book for the novice who wants to quickly learn PHP and do some real world web development, not just dink around with isolated snippets of code or mostly useless "regular expressions."
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Format: Paperback
This is an interesting book, written with a casual easy going style that will no doubt appeal to some people, particularly i would guess, hobbyists who are trying to get a dynamic website with PHP up for the first time. Although the publisher Prima Tech doesn't provide any sort of skill level rating, make no mistake, this is a book for beginners only.
PHP fast&easy web development assumes that you will be using mysql as a database, which is fine, but not clearly stated on the front cover. The author has a website with some decent articles on using other databases with PHP which somewhat mitigates the issue.
One of the things that bothered me about PHP fast&easy is that the author seems relatively agnostic about what features of the language one *should use*. PHP is a highly flexible, loosely typed language with numerous pitfalls that a beginning developer can fall deep into, yet these areas are never acknowledged or discussed.
To illustrate this, a beginning section discusses the ways that PHP code can be intermixed with HTML, and the special tag syntax required. While she lists <? ?> as being an acceptable block, she never informs the reader, that they shouldn't use this syntax and should instead use <?php ?>. She then shows the use of the echo command for outputting text, using the " character to surround text, not mentioning that one can also use ' and that this helps avoid the perils of having to escape all instances of the " character when echoing embedded HTML.
In a later chapter the author shows how one could create some forms with the ability to create mysql databases and tables, never mentioning that a mysql user connecting through PHP with this type of access to a database is a huge security risk.
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