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Programming PHP [Paperback]

Rasmus Lerdorf , Kevin Tatroe
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Paperback, April 4 2002 --  
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Programming PHP Programming PHP 4.0 out of 5 stars (3)
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Book Description

April 4 2002 1565926102 978-1565926103 1

PHP is a simple yet powerful open-source scripting language for creating dynamic web content. The millions of web sites powered by PHP are testament to its popularity and ease of use. PHP is used by both programmers, who appreciate its flexibility and speed, and web designers, who value its accessibility and convenience. Programming PHP is an authoritative guide to PHP 4 and is filled with the unique knowledge of the creator of PHP, Rasmus Lerdorf. This book explains PHP language syntax and programming techniques in a clear and concise manner, with numerous examples that illustrate both correct usage and common idioms. The book also includes style tips and practical programming advice that will help you become not just a PHP programmer, but a good PHP programmer. Programming PHP covers everything you need to know to create effective web applications with PHP. Contents include:

  • Detailed information on the basics of the PHP language, including data types, variables, operators, and flow control statements
  • Separate chapters on the fundamental topics of functions, strings, arrays, and objects
  • Coverage of common PHP web application techniques, such as form processing and validation, session tracking, and cookies
  • Material on interacting with relational databases, such as MySQL and Oracle, using the database-independent PEAR DB library
  • Chapters on generating dynamic images, creating PDF files, and parsing XML files with PHP
  • Advanced topics, like creating secure script, error handling, performance tuning, and writing your own C language extensions to PHP
  • A handy quick reference to all the core functions in PHP and all the standard extensions that ship with PHP

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Coauthored by its creator, Programming PHP is a nitty-gritty guide to PHP development. PHP is an open-source scripting language used to build dynamic Web sites. In this title, the authors go step-by-step through the language, including brief coverage of common applications such as graphics or database work.

The first six chapters explain PHP essentials, including data types, functions, string manipulation, arrays and objects. Next comes a look at basic Web techniques, followed by an introduction to database access. There is a chapter on generating graphics with the GD extension library and another on creating Adobe PDF documents. The authors then show how to parse XML, and there is a section on security with some handy tips for protecting PHP sites. A chapter on application techniques looks at code libraries, performance tuning and handling errors. Next there is an explanation of how to build extensions to PHP using C, followed by a look at Windows issues such as COM and ODBC. Finally, there is a complete reference to the standard functions in PHP 4.0.

This is not an advanced programming book, but even experienced coders will discover new things about the language and get a clearer understanding of how PHP works. The specialist chapters such as those on XML or PHP extensions tend to be introductory, so readers will need further resources. For example, the database section is short, and would be best read alongside Web Database Applications with PHP and MySQL or another book with more detailed database coverage. Even so, this is a strong hands-on title that PHP developers will want to keep close at hand. ----Tim Anderson

Book Description

Creating Dynamic Web Pages --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow Content, Many Errors, Poor Examples Oct. 10 2003
I almost always turn to O'Reilly first when purchasing a new reference book, however this time I was disappointed. This book is fairly shallow in content and much of the information that you need is actually buried in the text instead of being presented as a topic unto itself.
The thing that is the most bothersome, however, is the plethora of flat out errors. Many of the examples have typos, missing code, etc. Even as a PHP novice I was constantly spotting errors which is frustrating when you're trying to learn the language.
On top of that, many of the examples exhibit just plain bad programming form (inefficient code, variables that are only used once, etc). It's the kind of thing that makes a seasoned programmer wince (and if I was reviewing the code I would send it back to the author with lots of red ink).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I liked this book. As an experienced programmer I like that it dove right in and gave me the basics of the language that I needed to get going. Since I am new to PHP I can't speak to what might be missing, as some of the other reviewers allude to, but it certainly seems to have all of the nuts and bolts necessary to get a quick grasp of the language and the "system".
So, why did I give it only 4 stars? Well, there are so many errors in the sample code and between the descriptions and the sample code that it significantly slowed me down, by confusing me. These errors aren't always horrible, but just to give an example the book says, on page 84, that you call the get_meta_tags() function by passing it "the HTML for a web page in a string". Well, the sample shows passing it a URL and if you do pass it a string, it turns out, PHP crashes (at least my installation of PHP does). There are many other examples.
My advice is to not buy this if you expect it to teach you how to program, but if you already have a couple of other languages under your belt, and how to build web pages, this book will get you into PHP quick.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great PHP book, but for programmers June 27 2003
By Doug M
The creator of PHP himself, Rasmus Lerdorf, put together a thorough and enlightening guide to PHP. In this book you will find everything you need to know about PHP from variables to a long list of all the PHP functions and how to use them. I found many features of PHP that I had no idea existed (such as creating PDF files). I use this book as a reference for a PHP course I teach, and its examples have been more than helpful to me in designing lesson plans.
The one caveat of this book is that it is not geared toward brand new web programmers. PHP as a language derives from C, C++ and Perl, and if you are not at least somewhat familiar with these langauges, you can get lost in this book. The authors really want to draw a parallel between PHP and its predecessor languages so that programmers can pick up PHP more easily. I really like the fact they try to do that, and it has helped me enjoy this book more. But on the flip side, it will be more difficult for new programmers to read this book. I really hope O'Reilly comes up with a "Learning PHP" book that will be more for beginning programmers, because PHP is a great language to learn, and it would be nice to have books to appeal to all levels.
In any case, for a book about PHP, you can ask for no better book than one written by the author itself. This book does keep up the tradition of professional, useful O'Reilly programming books, and is worth the time for web programmers to read. Thus I think it earns 5 stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent First PHP Book May 2 2003
This book is an excellent introduction to the PHP scripting language, which is one of the most popular ways to add dynamic content to the web; PHP seems to be displacing Perl on Unix and ASP on Microsoft platforms for this purpose. PHP is suitable for low to medium traffic sites, and is said to be faster than either Perl or ASP. Because it's an interpreted language, it's not as fast as JSP or natively compiled cgis, but few sites need the level of speed or the complexity that comes with those technologies.
"Programming PHP" does an excellent job of teaching the language to those with a little bit of software background, for example in Perl or C. The first few chapters quickly demonstrate what can be done with the language and document the language basics, which, while C-like, have a few differences that are important to be aware of. The book is clear enough that it may be useful to a savvy person with no computer language background.
The rest of the chapters cover specific issues in more detail. There are chapters both on more involved language features, like PHP's treatment of strings, arrays, and objects, and on applications of the language, such as using databases with PHP and how best to handle web site security issues in a PHP based site. These chapters are independent of each other, so the reader can focus on various issues as they come up - though a few, like the security chapter and the application techniques chapter, are worth reading earlier if you have time, as they will help you set up your web site scripts so as to prevent headaches later on.
The text has many examples, which are well designed to succinctly document language features. These examples seem to be largely accurate and bug free. It may help that one of the authors, Rasmus Lerdorf, is the original creator of PHP.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars A Frustrating Experience
I do not recommend this book for anyone. I am an experienced programmer - not a designer, nor a noob.
The code examples are full of errors. Read more
Published on July 18 2007 by George A. Langley
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gift if you like PHP
This was not my first PHP book, and probably it is not the best first book because it doesn't have a fun project to get you psyched. Read more
Published on March 26 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
O Reilly publishes the best programming books--they're accurate, elegant and get to the point quickly. Unfortunately, this book is an exception. Read more
Published on Feb. 21 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars not worthed
It sure tries to teach you something but cannot achieve...
As everyone mentioned before, it has countless errors and typos. But there is more than that. Book is out of focus. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2004 by M. Burak Tutan
1.0 out of 5 stars Full Of Errors, Not For Beginners
This book has code examples which are full of typos. For example, the code for "self-processing pages" on page 166 won't parse. Read more
Published on Nov. 23 2003 by Robert L. Cochran
2.0 out of 5 stars Too shallow
I was disappointed in this book. The title implies that the book would cover PHP in the same manner that Programming Perl (from the same publisher) covers Perl, but this is not... Read more
Published on Oct. 8 2003 by Dave Lerner
3.0 out of 5 stars average php book
this is a thin, mediocre book. at 373 pages, not counting the appendix, this is not a thorough treatment of the language. Read more
Published on Aug. 19 2003 by AntaeusQ
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't like it
* I am an experienced programmer. I finished the first seven chapters in one day. Because the book is good or because I got used to programming ?? I am not sure. Read more
Published on May 26 2003 by Hiep Nguyen
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent intermediate level book
An excellent intermediate level book, the authors in depth knowledge of the inner working of PHP make the difference, especially when they suggest better practices. Read more
Published on May 11 2003 by Foti Massimo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource
I've had this book for a few months now and I have to say it's really a great PHP resource all around. It's very clear, has great examples and best of all is inexpensive. Read more
Published on May 5 2003 by Jason
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