Each chapter follows the same basic format. A short problem, such as "you want to find the time that has elapsed between two dates", is followed by a solution, usually with example code. Next comes a discussion section, typically full of interesting comments and insights. There are generally 10 to 15 problems in a chapter, and there are 23 chapters, so a lot of material is covered.
The first and longest part of the book covers language techniques, from basic tips and hints through to illuminating chapters on session handling and Web automation. The second short part tackles databases, and then the third part mainly covers communications, including e-mail, directory queries and socket programming. There is also an interesting snippet about working with COM or Java objects. Part four is about generating images and parsing XML, while the final part shows how to extend PHP with the Zend API. Appendixes cover troubleshooting, online resources and PHP 4 migration issues. Overall, a recommended title for anyone who wants to get the best from this superb open-source server-side scripting language. --Tim Anderson
From the Back Cover
PHP Developer's Cookbook is a task-oriented book intended to offer solutions to the daily problems and goals the PHP developer faces.
In addition to a brief introduction to PHP, the main content of the book is presented in a problem and solution format, logically organized on a topic-by-topic basis. Each question specifies a goal, and the following text provides a detailed solution that achieves the stated goal along with any additional related information.
After a crash course in the basics, the PHP Developer's Cookbook covers more advanced development topics. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.