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Zend Framework in Action Paperback – Jan 7 2009
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About the Author
Rob Allen is a full-time PHP developer and contributor to the Zend Framework, developing the Zend_Config component. He has also written a popular getting-started tutorial available from www.akrabat.com. Rob is the Technical Director of Big Room Internet.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you are like me and like to build the code as you read each chapter then this book is NOT for you. I could never get the code to work as written in the book. I would advise that you download the companion code from the publisher's website. The code from the site seems to have been tweaked after the publication of the book and does run correctly. Problem is it does not match the code in the book therefore you have to investigate why the book says one way while the code shows it another way. Very frustrating the say the least!
I can only recommend this book if the publisher decides to release a second edition with these errors fixed.
I am only on day 2 of the book and so far I have found at least 5 errors. These are not misprints but clear technical errors. The errors are in differing areas too, so not like the author simply misunderstood something, which leads me to believe this book, while already late, was rushed out of the door.
The book comes with online source code, and my advice would be to get it. If you follow the source in the book you will get errors both from the database code and the PHP code. In chapter 3, for example, the author lays out a database table schema which clearly states that certain fields cannot be NULL and have no default value, and then goes on to state INSERT statements that miss these fields out...thus generating an error. Another example is where on one page the application library folder is called just that in an image, but then i the PHP code it is referred to as "lib", again creating an error when the code is ran.
On the plus side the detail is very good. The first couple of chapters lay out the "why"s and "where"s of Zend Framework, and the real world example that the book builds on gives you a much more usable path of learning than someone simply telling you the details of the framework itself. Definitely a preferred approach for me!
I would like to rate the book higher but having to wait for almost an extra month to get it and then penciling in the errata certainly does not build confidence in it.
The extent to which it covers the fundamental but not as often explained concepts so important to the Framework (Helpers, etc) is impressive, and it covers a lot of ground. I had many 'a-ha' moments.
However, I also had a fair amount of frustration with the code examples in the book (the code on the web site ZIP file does seem to be absent these errors) - many syntax errors, and such. I also found it a little frustrating when the code examples were broken down so finely, into a couple of lines at a time, and often crossing multiple files (but without mentioning this).
However, the book is excellent and a great resource, and I'd be keen to see how a 2nd Edition looked.
If you are an intermediate or advanced PHP developer, you will really like this book. While ZF documentation gives you full API description and Zend Tutorial help you learn how to use MVC functionality and some parts of the framework, this book will teach you how to combine all standard ZF functionalities with more advanced parts of the framework. The final result should be a well organized and really functional PHP application.
Through this book you will learn how to use MVC pattern, how to use database model by using DB_Table model, how to integrate Ajax, user authentication, search engine, public web services, cache engine etc. More important, you will get a lot of advice what to do and what not to do. How to handle your paths in PHP code and image paths, where to store your code, how to create your PHP library directory, how to use Layouts, module helpers etc.
The book doesn't stop on PHP code, it will tell you some basic info how to use Subversion repository, how to organize your code so you can create localized versions of your web site. It really gives you a full picture how to make a good PHP code.
Now, here comes a bad part. This version of the book comes with a code for Zend Framework 1.5.x and the latest version of Zend Framework is 1.9.5. A lot of people were complaining on problems in original source code, but I think that was the problem in a first edition of the book. Since I used ZF before I used an example code as a starting point to make ZF 1.9.x application, I think I cannot give a good comment if the original code contain errors. For example, at the very start you will see that you cannot use Zend_Loader class in 1.9.5 version the same way you used this class in version 1.5
If you are a beginner in PHP code, this book could be a little bit more than you can handle, especially if you want to use ZF 1.9.x. But if you are an experienced PHP developer who wants to learn how to use a full potential of Zend Framework, you should really read this book.
1. The code snippets in the book are sometimes erroneous and very different from what's included in the code bundle download.
2. When explaining a complex framework to a beginner, needless tangential code (like preventing cross site scripting and SQL injection attacks) are a distraction. This book has a lot of this.
3. Some code is very poorly explained.
4. Ajax is explored even before Database access is explained.
5. I found an entire section on how to insert and update records for related tables using Zend_Db missing.
6. The example the authors use (an application called places which allows users to review places that are kid friendly and post review comments) is invoked in bits and pieces throughout the application. There is no smooth flow.
All in all, this is a badly written book, which is frustrating to read. And once you start a book, you have no choice but to finish it to get what you can from it. If you are someone new to the Zend Framework, I'd give this book a skip. Sorry I don't have any other Zend book to recommend, but I am sure a little searching will find you the right one. Avoid this book.
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