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PHP 5 Social Networking [Paperback]

Michael Peacock
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 49.66 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Oct. 25 2010 Community Experience Distilled

Create a powerful and dynamic Social Networking website in PHP by building a flexible framework

  • Build a flexible Social Networking framework using PHP which can be extended to fit the needs of any Social Networking site
  • Develop a suitable structure for our framework, with MVC to structure the architecture and a Registry to store core Objects
  • Allow users to connect and communicate with each other using communication with friends list, flexible user profiles, messages, discussions, and much more
  • Plan marketing and scaling strategies, to entice more users and ensure the site can cope with the demand
  • Packed with real-world code and clear explanation, this book uses an ongoing case study for creating a Social Networking framework

In Detail

Social Networking has quickly become a very popular activity on the Internet, particularly with the emergence of sites like Facebook and MySpace. PHP is a flexible web development language used on a wide variety of sites, including Facebook and Yahoo! But building a social networking site from scratch using PHP involves some complex logic, and also some serious coding.

This book will demonstrate how to create, maintain, and extend a powerful social network site. It shows how to create your own flexible social networking framework, allowing users to sign up, customize their profile, befriend other users, share information, communicate, interact with one another, and much more.

Taking best practices, such as object-oriented programming, and the Model-View-Controller architecture, this book will begin by walking through the development of a simple development framework, which is then used to rapidly build a Social Networking platform, building upon the social features chapter by chapter. At the end of this book, you will have a powerful Social Networking platform loaded with many features which can take the user from signing up and connecting with other users to posting and sharing information. With an API in place, the platform can be extended and used by other Social Networks. This book doesn't just stop with the code and the logic behind it; useful supplementary information is also covered, such as marketing the Social Network, keeping Search Engine Optimization in mind when developing, backing up and maintaining the site, and how to deal with large amounts of traffic through scaling.

By the end of this book, you will be left fully prepared to build, manage, maintain, and extend a powerful Social Network for your business, hobby, organization, family, and clients.

A fast-paced guide to creating a flexible Social Networking website using PHP with a custom, light weight MVC framework.

What you will learn from this book

  • Plan, develop, and extend a flexible light-weight PHP Social Networking framework
  • Implement a style of the Model-View-Controller architectural design pattern
  • Manage core functionality with the Registry design pattern
  • Make a registration and authentication process, allowing users to join the network
  • Enable users to connect with each other using friend lists, messages, flexible profiles with status updates, and much more
  • Construct a stream of updates informing users of what is happening in their Social Network
  • Allow users to customize their profiles
  • Allow users to post content on each other's profiles
  • Protect your Social Network from spam
  • Keep and maintain regular backups of your site
  • Marketing and Search Engine Optimization tips for your Social Network
  • Scaling hints and tips for when the Social Network becomes popular
  • Develop an API to extend the platform and interact with other Social Networks

Approach

This book is a fast-paced tutorial focusing on creating a Social Networking framework through an ongoing case study. It presents a lot of real-world code, with comprehensive explanation and discussion. With each chapter, the Social Networking framework is extended, with more functionality being added as we progress through the book.

Who this book is written for

This book is primarily aimed at PHP developers, but is suitable for any web developers looking to expand their knowledge and understanding of Social Networking concepts. Intermediate knowledge of PHP and object-oriented programming is assumed, along with a basic knowledge of MySQL.


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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
Perhaps the book's main value is the depth of detail it provides in showing how to use PHP to implement a social networking website. The Model-View-Controller pattern is used, which should be no surprise to many readers who have prior experience in website coding. The book takes you through the development of an example website, stuffed full of numerous code snippets in PHP.

The driving motivation is used in a top-down manner. Typically, a chapter might talk about a desirable feature that you would want in your website. Like letting a user have different types of relationships with other users. Or, in related ways, letting a user accept or decline a relationship request from another user. Proceeding from this, the narrative flows into a discussion of what this means at the database level. Here's where you need a background in relational databases. Both the general theory of table design, and intertable relations, and also hopefully some knowledge of MySql.

The SQL code snippets can be quite intricate. A reflection of the underlying reality of dealing with a non-trivial database application. It is unclear how much effort you might necessarily want to invest in deciphering and checking the logic of each SQL snippet. These are tied closely to the example case, of course. Given that your website is unlikely to use the same tables, then simply as a pragmatic way of getting through the text, you can elide past doing such lowest level code analysis.

Another and closely related way of using this book is to look for only those features that you also want in your website. Then scrutinise the relevant sections of the text to see how easy it would be to modify the code. If you scan the introductory remarks in each chapter, you can quickly see what features are described.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Book review: PHP 5 Social Networking Feb. 14 2011
By eirikhm
Format:Paperback
Short story: If you are fresh to social networks, this book will get you up and moving. It explains how to build a fully featured social network, based on a custom underlying framework. At the end of the book you will have a functional site, and know the what's what of social networks. It's very easy to follow the author, and the code is very readable. New concepts and features are introduced in a way that makes it easy for the reader to keep up.

Slightly longer story: I must admit that I'm having problems seeing the value of rolling your own MVC framework when building applications like this. The main arguments made in favor of going custom is ease of maintenance, licensing and code efficiency. I really don't buy these, as there are several good frameworks available under the BSD license, which are proven time upon time (Yii, Zend, Code Igniter, Symfony). Not only is the code maintained by teams of highly skilled developers, but also reviewed for security holes and exploits by the less good-mannered of our beloved internet. A *very* important aspect of social networking sites is security, and I feel that the book should spend more time on that subject (maybe including info on cross site scripting and related).
However, the one argument I really do see the value in is the process of learning. Writing a PHP framework is a very valuable exercise, and if you still have that on your TODO-list, this book should serve as a good guide on the way. The framework produced will allow you to keep extending and improving features after you are done with the material covered in the book.
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Format:Paperback
(Full disclosure: I was provided with a free PDF of the book by the publisher for the purposes of doing a review and a version of this review appears on my blog)

I'm glad I decided to take a look at this book. It's pretty dense at 450+ pages, but it really does work you through from start to finish how to build a small social networking site in PHP. Okay, it's about dinosaurs, but let's not quibble. I'm not into long-depth book reviews, so we can talk about what I liked about this book.

First, I admired the consistency in the approach. While I may not agree with all the decisions that they've made, or the coding style (we all have our own way of wanting to do things), but the author was incredibly consistent in how they're putting things together. It's all done in OOP, with attention paid on how to build on what you've already done. I mean, let's be honest here: most web apps of any significant size (meaning more than 10 lines of code) are very rarely internally consistent. People learn how to do new things. They start to hate how they've been implementing certain features in code. They get bored and decide to try out one of these 'design patterns' they've read about.

Not here. I think this is a very valuable lesson to be learned by beginning programmers. Once you've, you know, actually built a bunch of stuff that people other than your close friends use, you learn to refactor and improve your code. Your task gets much more difficult if the application itself is internally inconsistent. Like I said, I dunno if I would've made the same decisions as them, but damn it's slick looking code that looks the same no matter what they are doing.

It was also refreshing to see some attention paid to the concept of security in a web app.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Had high hopes, but was disappointed Dec 20 2011
By Tony - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The idea was exciting to me. Building a web application from scratch using the MVC design pattern sounded like an awesome learning opportunity. Most PHP material related to MVC only covers existing frameworks (Yii, Zend, Cake, etc), and there isn't much out there for folks who want to learn how to implement MVC from the ground up with PHP.

Unfortunately, this book has some pretty severe editing problems it seems. Here is a comment that was posted on the authors blog post about his book:

" ...The ebook I am reading also doesn't really tell you what you should name your files and were you should put them, it says something like, let's create the registry object, and then jumps straight into the source. I have this wonderful folder structure created in chapter 1, but where in the folder structure does this object belong?... "

The author replies:

"... while it _was_ the case that some file names and paths were missed off, this was only from the first drafts (which were released to the RAW programme), the final version should have all of these corrected..."

So, according to the author, the complaints about "missing code" pertained to an early edition of the book, and these issues should be fixed in the final release. However, it doesn't seem that it turned out that way. Here are some more comments from that same post:

"Michael: I sent you an e-mail about this book. In an earlier reply of yours to Mitch you stated that the problems he mentioned (ie: no filenames) were present in the RAW version but would be fixed in the final version. My printed copy that I bought from Amazon.com contains those same errors and also when looking at the downloadable code the book seems to be missing whole blocks of code."

"I have the same problem as bryan nelson as well... My amazon copy is also missing blocks of code and file names and all that."

"Hello, I eagerly purchased this book a week ago and am trying to work my way through it (up to ch.3) but chunks of it seem incomplete or missing... And, as many have already said, there is no instruction for what to name some of the files or where they go. I really like the ideas and strategy of this book, but with so many missing elements, it is impossible to follow along and type the code yourself with any hope of getting it to work. Even using the downloaded code, it is impossible to play around with it without the database schema. Mr. Peacock, can you please help us out?"

The author had no reply about content still missing from the final print. Furthermore, the publisher's website has no errata currently available.

To summarize, the book is missing significant content, the author has been made aware of this on his own site, and yet neither the author or publisher have stepped up to take responsibility for this mistake. They could have easily published some comprehensive errata documentation that fills in all the gaps. Instead, they have chosen to simply abandon their customers.

I personally noticed the missing content in chapter 2. There are chunks of code in the downloadable content that isn't even mentioned in the book. Therefore, I decided to stop now and return the book as there is no telling what kind of headaches and confusion are waiting in the later chapters.

I gave the book 2 stars because an experienced PHP developer could probably grab some nice nuggets of information here and there. A real shame as this book really did have the potential to be a pretty awesome resource that filled void in the PHP book market.

Oh, and lastly, the code isn't formatted properly in the Kindle version, the indentations seem to have disappeared.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book review: PHP 5 Social Networking Feb. 14 2011
By eirikhm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Short story: If you are fresh to social networks, this book will get you up and moving. It explains how to build a fully featured social network, based on a custom underlying framework. At the end of the book you will have a functional site, and know the what's what of social networks. It's very easy to follow the author, and the code is very readable. New concepts and features are introduced in a way that makes it easy for the reader to keep up.

Slightly longer story: I must admit that I'm having problems seeing the value of rolling your own MVC framework when building applications like this. The main arguments made in favor of going custom is ease of maintenance, licensing and code efficiency. I really don't buy these, as there are several good frameworks available under the BSD license, which are proven time upon time (Yii, Zend, Code Igniter, Symfony). Not only is the code maintained by teams of highly skilled developers, but also reviewed for security holes and exploits by the less good-mannered of our beloved internet. A *very* important aspect of social networking sites is security, and I feel that the book should spend more time on that subject (maybe including info on cross site scripting and related).
However, the one argument I really do see the value in is the process of learning. Writing a PHP framework is a very valuable exercise, and if you still have that on your TODO-list, this book should serve as a good guide on the way. The framework produced will allow you to keep extending and improving features after you are done with the material covered in the book.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PHP 5 Social Networking - Excellent Book! Oct. 27 2010
By Pule Nong - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book assumes you have a good grasp of both PHP and MYSQL. It is well written and easy to read. It explains each concept in detail with well commented codes. It implements the MVC method of web development and it covers everything from how to build user profile home page, send friends private messages, friend requests, add videos, create a live feed of your social network, and how to setup your social network to a live server. This book is impressive!!! 5/5.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars php Social Networking March 8 2012
By metalx - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Code for this book does not work, also the explanation are very hard to fallow since the Author is describing events and code that he actually presents afterword. There is lack of examples and lot of mistakes in the code itself. Code downloaded from the website does not work.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missing information Aug. 21 2011
By Patrick McMahon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i am currently on page 53 in this book and up to this point i was very happy with the detail of the information. there was a few typos but a skilled php programmer would catch them and fix them with no problem. every book has a typo here or there. but now on page 53 he starts talking about url processing and jumps into a bunch of functions without telling the reader what file and what object the functions should be in. i don't know if i need a new file or object for the functions i am making or if i should be putting them in one of the files i have already made. on top of all this the functions are calling on values that do not exist in any of the current object i have made. this book needs a drastic rewrite to explicitly enplane what objects and what files the reader is working in at the time of writing the code. often the case with this writer in this book he will give great detail but leave out the one key detail that the reader needs most of the time. ex: what file i should be in? what should i name the file? should i be in the same directory? what should my object be called? i have been making websites in php and mysql for years and prior to that i had been using c#, java, c/c++ and many more. i am no noobie to programming and thought this book would be a good read. i strongly suggest that the writer remake this book and don't leave out the little details of where your writing your code. i cant see how a new php programmer would be able to follow this book. a few times he didn't tell the reader what the name of the object was till after we had completed the object. this is not how you should be explaining the creation of an object. the the user the name of the file then. then tell them the name of the object. then give them the values in the object. then give them the functions. if the writer had done this consistently on every chapter this book would be a 5 start. but right now the best i can give it is a 3 star.
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