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Wicked Cool PHP: Real-World Scripts That Solve Difficult Problems Paperback – Feb 19 2008
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About the Author
William Steinmetz is the author of LAN Party: Hosting the Ultimate Frag Fest (Wiley) and co-author of Paint Shop Pro for Dummies (IDG). He is the webmaster and editor of StarCityGames.com, where traffic has quadrupled as a result of the changes he designed and implemented, all using PHP.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
When I first glanced through this book, I was intrigued by the way it was laid out. There are 12 chapters covering many topics that php programmers should know about their language and how browsers interact with a web server using php. Each chapter has many sections that cover a specific topic and most have very useful code examples. The extra feature is a part labeled: "What can go Wrong?". This is a great time saver on how to deal with common issues that might come up when you are working on your php script and implementing the example code. Most of the issues have really good explanations of how and why something could go wrong. What makes this book a real keeper is that they have the "why" explanations. I've always hated it when books tell you to do something a certain way, but never go into any depth on WHY you should do it one way or another. This book has the WHY covered very well for a great number of the examples.
The style of the book makes it easy to read and learn from the examples. In my case, it makes it easy to pickup, read a few pages when I get the chance and then put it down again. I find it easy to pick up right where I left off and keep reading right on to the next example. I like the humor level too. Often authors can get a little too cutesy with their wit and humor. I find that to be a real turn off. William and Brian (The authors) do a great job of keeping the humor light and laughable.
I just made some room on my busy book shelf for this book of 76 time-saving, problem-solving php scripts. I hope my friend doesn't ask for it back...
- it's fun to read and learn from
- content is broken up logically at the right points
- layout and design is a joy on the eyes and brain
- length is around 200 pages which is within the 2-3 (hundred) range that I like most books to be
Content is broken up over 12 chapters:
01. Basic script stuff
02. Configuring PHP
03. PHP Security
04. Form Fun
05. Text & HTML
08. User and Session Tracking
09. Email Excitement
10. Image Tasks
11. Using cURL to talk to web services
12. Other Stuff
The audience for this book hits the rare area of ALL developers from the expert to the newbie to the weekend hacker. There are 76 scripts contained within that nearly anyone could find useful in any project.
I love No Starch books because they don't feel like reference materials, rather they package it in a fun way from the glossy cover to smart design. No Starch gets 'it' when it comes to what geeks want and PHPites you will WANT this book!!
***** HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
 Two years later and they are still selling the original edition.
The author claims they don't focus on PHP basics, but rather they provide scripts that can be implemented. Yet a large portions are pretty much function descriptions pulled from php.net:
#4 is print_r();
#5 is serialize();
#8 is phpinfo();
#10 is error_reporting(E_ALL);
#11 is error_reporting(0);
#13 is upload_max_filesize
#14 is register_globals = off
#15 magic_quotes_gpc = 1
#34 is substr()
#35 is strtolower(), strtoupper() and ucwords()
Then they have sections on creating an array from a form via input_field (#27), accessing named form buttons (spoiler, $_POST['name']) or how to check if a data is in the past (wicked cool solution #31). They even provide some impressive regular expressions for validating emails and phone numbers: The former accepts complete gibberish while the latter returns any phone number with 10 digits (or 11 with leading 1) as valid.
Wicked Cool PHP is part PHP manual and part embarrassingly simple "solutions". And then there's the plain bad style such as accessing a string literal array index without quotes ($row[product_name]) or claiming that there is no security issue with the $_REQUEST array (#25 - There has been some debate on how safe $_REQUEST is, but there shouldn't be. ).