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Zend PHP Certification Study Guide [Paperback]

Zend Technologies
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 28 2004 Developer's Library

The first and only officially authorized book on the PHP Certification exam developed by Zend Technologies, the commercial developer of PHP. Zend's PHP Certification exam is a high-quality, carefully developed exam designed to enhance and certify the skills of the PHP professional. The Zend PHP Certification Study Guide is a concise, densely packed book that will get you up to speed quickly on the nature of the exam's questions and what to expect on exam day. It's authoritative content comes directly from those writing the exam at Zend Technologies.

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About the Author

Stuart Herbert has designed and implemented solutions for major companies such as Eurostar, Vodafone and HP, and he has been the lead maintainer of the Generic NQS project since 1994. A former systems manager with Orange UK, Stuart is currently one of the developers for Gentoo Linux, where he looks after Gentoo's installer for web-based packages.

Daniel Kushner is the director of training and certification at Zend Technologies. As director of training and certification, Daniel is responsible for the Zend PHP Certification program. In addition to designing the certification program, he developed the Zend PHP Training program, which provides the necessary study guide and classes to help PHP developers become Zend PHP certified.

George Schlossnagle is a principal at OmniTI Computer Consulting, a Maryland-based tech company specializing in high-volume web and email systems. Before joining OmniTI, George lead technical operations at several high-profile community websites, where he developed experience managing PHP in very large enterprise environments. George is a frequent contributor to the PHP community.

Chris Shiflett is a frequent contributor to the PHP community and one of the leading security experts in the field. His solutions to security problems are often used as points of reference, and these solutions are showcased in his talks at conferences such as ApacheCon and the O'Reilly Open Source Convention and his articles in publications such as PHP Magazine and phparchitect.

Björn Schotte is a German PHP veteran. He co-founded the first German-speaking portal for PHP topics in early 1999, co-organized the first worldwide PHP conference, and has been editor-in-chief of PHP Magazin since 2001. He also co-founded ThinkPHP, Germany's No. 1 PHP solution company dealing mainly with large PHP applications for clients such as HypoVereinsbank, Sixt, Lycos Europe, E.ON, Cap Gemini, Ernst & Young, and others. His company now consists of a team of more than 15 people, including PHP core developers.

Marco Tabini is the publisher of phparchitect, the premier magazine for PHP professionals, and has worked on websites for clients ranging from small startup operations to the Fortune 500s. Despite having been an IT industry professional for the last fifteen years, he still manages to maintain a reasonable level of sanity—at least most of the time. Marco is also a subject matter expert for the Zend PHP Certification Exam.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.



If you're reading this book, you've probably made a decision that becoming a Zend Certified Engineer is an important step in your career. And, indeed, it might well be—the certification exam will test your knowledge of PHP in many areas, ranging from the basics to the more complex topics. As PHP's adoption grows inside the enterprise, being certified can mean that you will have an edge when that dream job comes along!

The exam was designed by a number of well-known people in the PHP community in collaboration with experts in the field of computer-assisted testing. They approached it with a simple set of goals:

  • Test the level of PHP knowledge of the candidate without prejudice to other technologies

  • Use a set of testing questions that reflect real-world scenarios as accurately as possible

  • Avoid questions that rely on a person's understanding of the language rather than his or her understanding of PHP and its related programming techniques

It's very important to understand these points as you approach your studies, as well as the exam itself, in particular when it comes to testing technologies that are used in conjunction with PHP. The test authors decided that, rather than relying on assumptions as to what other technologies a PHP programmer is likely to use in his or her daily job, the exam should focus on PHP itself and on those topics that a developer deals with often without any ties to a particular product.

Thus, although you will probably encounter one or more questions about database development during your exam, they will not be linked to a particular DBMS, such as MySQL or Oracle. Rather, they will deal with the general concepts of database programming and the standard SQL language.

What Does This Guide Cover?

The Zend PHP Certification Study Guide covers every topic that is part of the exam. It was developed by some of the very same authors who designed the exam's questions and was thoroughly reviewed to ensure that it provides every bit of information required to cover each subject appropriately.

One thing that this book is not is a PHP development tutorial or a reference book on the language and its extensions. Our goal in developing the guide is to provide you with a study aid that can help you focus on those topics that you will be questioned on during the exam. It is not a substitute for your experience as a PHP programmer in the real world, and it does not provide you with a "magic bullet" that will make you pass the test if you have never written a line of code in your life.

Remember that this book—and the certification guide—are based on PHP 4. This is essential, particularly when it comes to object-oriented programming, where the differences between PHP 4 and PHP 5 are very pronounced. Whatever you read in this book, as well as anything that shows up in a question at the exam, does not take PHP 5 into account whatsoever.

Many of the questions in the exam have been designed so that they mimic scenarios that you are likely to encounter in real life. Many of them involve the practical analysis of snippets of PHP code that might contain bugs or that might rely on PHP's particular behavior in order to reach a particular goal that is not immediately obvious.

These are not trick questions—they are designed to determine how well you understand the unique way in which PHP works so that, when a similar problem occurs in real life, you will be able to tackle it properly and efficiently.

We have designed this guide along the same lines. Although you will find a good amount of theory among the pages of this book, it will always be presented to you with an eye to its practical applications. In addition, each chapter includes a set of sample questions that are similar in structure to the ones you will find at the exam (although they are not the same, of course).

In line with our goal of giving you all the tools you need to successfully pass the exam, we thought you might also want to know what taking the exam is like. Chapter 13, "Getting Ready for the Certification Exam," discusses what to expect when you go to the certification center and how the exam works.

How Is the Guide Organized?

We intended the book to be read as a tutorial, rather than a reference. As such, the best way is to start with Chapter 1, "The Basics of PHP," and move your way to the end, as each chapter introduces new concepts by building on the information provided by the chapters that precede it.

While reading the guide, it's useful to remember that you are preparing for an exam. Read each section carefully and try to remember not only the essential points, but also those elements that might be useful while you're trying to tackle the exam.

If you already have experience in PHP development—as you probably will if you intend to take the exam—you might think that some of the topics we have covered in the guide are quite basic—and, to some extent, they are. However, they are covered from the point of view of the exam, and this means that you might discover some facts that you are not aware of because you have not encountered a real-life scenario in which they are relevant, but that might well show up in a question during your test.

Finally, don't forget to peruse the sample questions that you can find at the end of each chapter. As we mentioned earlier, they are similar in structure (although not in content) to the real ones, and they rely heavily on the proper analysis of practical sample code. Answering them can help you not only to determine how well your studies are progressing, but also to familiarize yourself with the way the questions are phrased in the exam.

Other Resources You Might Want to Consult

As we mentioned at the beginning of this introduction, there is no substitute for experience when it comes to passing the exam. You'll find that very few questions are of a didactical nature and that most require some practical steps in order to find the right answer.

Although this guide covers all the topics that are part of the exam, you might want to examine some of the subjects in more depth. The best resource for this purpose is the PHP Manual, which you can find online at http://www.php.net or through your local PHP mirror. In fact, it's probably a good idea to keep the manual handy while you're reading this book and refer to it for additional information on a specific topic. Simply remember that the manual covers all versions of PHP, whereas this guide and the exam are specific to PHP 4.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Study Guide Aug. 24 2005
By Adaera
The "Zend PHP Certification Study Guide" is the perfect book for those wanting to take, and pass the "Zend PHP Certification Exam".
Relatively new to PHP myself, I found the majority of this book useful. With a "Terms You'll Need To Understand" and a "Techniques You'll Need To Master" section at the start of each chapter, the areas you are expected to know for the exam is explained. Also, with "Exam Prep Questions" at the end of each chapter, you are given a chance to put what you've just learned into practice.
Although it covers the basics, I would not recommend this to anyone wanting to learn PHP. The book, as stated in the Introduction "...is not a PHP development tutorial or a reference book on the language and its extensions.", so those with no experience in PHP that are looking to take the exam should seek to learn the basics elsewhere before buying this book.
Wanting to take the exam doesn't have to be the only reason to purchase this book. It serves as a useful reminder to those out of practice, and may even teach you a few new things you've yet to discover about PHP. There is no doubt however, that this guide is invaluable to those looking to get certified. And written by those who write the exam questions, who's to argue with that?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent April 6 2005
By Adaera
Zend PHP Certification Study Guide Written by: Rhonda Mize-Tinch, Shelley Johnston, Damon Jordan and George E. Nedeff
The "Zend PHP Certification Guide" from Zend Technologies is the perfect companion for any PHP programmer who is either aiming to sit the PHP Certification, or simply wants to have an excellent tour through the major constituents of PHP. This shouldn't be mistaken for neither a complete reference of PHP nor a beginner's guide to PHP. The introduction of the guide emphasises this point: "...this book is not a PHP development tutorial...Our goal in developing the guide is to provide you with a study aid" It is crucial to make this clear, however it certainly shouldn't be considered a black mark - I'll come back to that later.
This book from Zend is clearly designed for a programmer who will be sitting the exam sometime soon. Because of this, the book does not focus on the new aspect of PHP 5. However it does provide an excellent layout which focuses your attention on exactly what you're going to be asked about. The beginning of each chapter contains a list of "Terms you'll need to understand" - these are the core learning points of the chapter which provides an excellent checklist before you sit the exam. There is also a list of "Techniques you'll need to master" which outlines the practical skills you should have after you read that chapter. To ensure you understand what has been discussed, there are numerous "Exam prep questions" at the end of the chapter, which show you examples of questions you are likely to be asked. Detailed answers are provided to the questions, showing you why the other choices are incorrect.
The "Zend PHP Certification Guide" is written by the experts of the PHP exam, the people who created it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Study Guide April 6 2005
By Adaera
This book albeit different from what I was expecting, did live up to other expectations that I had prior to reading. I was expecting a high quality, in-depth book that was written by those with real php knowledge, as well as some examples of snippets in action. These were fulfilled, with Zend PHP Certification having very in-depth chapters, relative to the sections which are covered in the "PHP Exam."
Zend PHP Certification is as its title suggests; it is a practice guide for the "PHP Exam" not a guide for those who are new to php. It is a thorough guide to php, starting a chapter with the basics, then moving up to the advanced scripts which can be compiled using that code. I believe it is a must for those serious about their php coding.
I believe some areas of the book could have done with more explanation, but this in its rights, maybe because I am still relatively new to php.
Zend PHP Certification is a great guide and once again, I strongly recommend it to those who are serious about, or want to take their php seriously.
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