Published on March 8 2004 by louism1
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but entirely misleading
I read the reviews before I bought the book. Sadly, I should have listened to the negative reviews. This book is NOT what it's advertised. I agree with the other reviewer: this is not a "CORE" book. Rather, it's more of an intellectual discussion of PHP on an abstract level. If you know the syntax, and want to learn how to apply it, then this book may be to your...
Published on Feb. 18 2004 by Jim Kellsan
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1.0 out of 5 stars they're right - not a very good book,
This review is from: Core PHP Programming (3rd Edition) (Paperback)yeah, i had to agree with the negative reviews. this book isn't very good. it reads like bad vcr instructions or something.
1.0 out of 5 stars Book of lies!,
This review is from: Core PHP Programming (3rd Edition) (Paperback)So, I thought the negative reviews on this page were kinda suspicious. I decided to buy the book anyways because of all the positive reviews. But, whoa! The negative reviews were right. This book sure is highbrow stuff. I mean, if you're an intermediate PHP programmer, you *might* understand this book. It tends to explain concepts on a high level and leave you to figure out implementation on your own.
On one hand, the book explains very basic concepts about PHP as if you were some sort of newbie. Then, when it has to get to the meat of actually writing code, then the book treats you as if you're a veteran PHP user. Kinda weird.
But, yeah, in general I didn't like this book. I'm no stranger to programming, but this book left me scratching my head.
4.0 out of 5 stars A PHP book for serious programmers,
This review is from: Core PHP Programming (3rd Edition) (Paperback)A PHP book for serious programmers
Core PHP is a book for serious programmers written by people who obviously know the subject inside out. The book is over a 1,000 pages long with densely packed pages. One of the authors Zeev Suraski is the co-creator of the upcoming PHP5 Zend Engine (the heart of the PHP system). The fact that it covers PHP 5 from people involved with that development give it an edge on many older books currently on shelves. The writing style is dry and factual (which is what I want from a technical book). If you have experience with other programming languages such as perl or C/C++ this book could be your rapid transition tool. I have a significant background in Java and a few years ago regarded PHP as just another scripting language that would allow trivial jobs to be done easily and give me sufficient rope to do damage when attempting bigger jobs. I was wrong, and the new features of PHP 5 may help it capture more of the hearts and minds of web developers. Unlike Java there is a shortage of good PHP books.
The tutorial section
The tutorial section covers the basics of obtaining and installing PHP both on Windows and UNIX style platforms. I would have preferred it if they had gone into more details on this subject as I seem to manage to mess up installation and configuration every time I do it under Linux. I always seem to fumble around, missing vital components and when I finally get it working I am not quite sure what it was that made it work. The brevity of the installation instructions are rather summed up by the comment "if you have ever compiled software you've found on the net you will have little trouble with this installation".
The book includes some basic tutorial material at the start but it quickly moves on to topics that would only be of interest to people who have real problems to solve. For example, before page fifty the book covers indirect references to variable names. I found this quite useful as it is something I have wondered about when using other programming languages The book covers the subject of recursion, which is a powerful technique but probably only appropriate for a fairly serious programmer.
Chapter 6 consists of about 40 pages covering PHP and Object Orientation. This is approximately 40 pages more than most PHP books. I have used th OO features of PHP4 but always felt they were a "bolt on afterthought". It looks like PHP5 has integrated OO more deeply into the core of the language. I appreciated the new features of PHP5 such as constructors and destructors, the access specifiers (public, private etc) and abstract classes. It is only a matter of time before PHP5 becomes the default version of the language, so it is a good idea to understand the ideas as soon as possible. It also means you can transfer concepts from other OO languages such as Java and C++. Because the authors are so intimately involved with PHP they were able not only to comment on the changes in syntax in PHP5 but also how it may improve performance in certain circumstances. To quote from chapter 6, "In addition to providing a more intuitive object model, the handle-based system has several additional advantages; improved performance, reduced memory consumption, and increased flexibility".
The function reference
The middle 670 pages of the book are a functional reference covering almost anything you can do with PHP, from interacting with databases to xml processing. Some of the API calls listed struck me as somewhat odd for such a section. For example the interface to the MnoGoSearch search system might be quite useful but is hardly part of every programmers essential PHP toolkit. The function reference also covers System V messages, semaphores and shared memory, hmmm might be a while before I need that information. On the more common front it covers Apache, IMAP, several XML systems and automatically creating and manipulating images and graphics. I couldn't see anything on manipulating flash movies but any geek knows that flash is the work of the devil and everything should be done on the server. The PHP community has created some excellent online documentation for the PHP function calls, but this book would make a good additional commentary for any programmer. Personally I can live with as much explanatory code examples as I can get my hands on.
PHP & Software Engineering
I know that some people do not like to see the words "software engineering" and PHP on the same page. The section on Software Engineering is interesting in that PHP is frequently regarded as a tool for Quick and Dirty style of programming. My comment on this is that Quick and Dirty programming is always dirty and never quick in the long run. This section covers the use of the language features of PHP 5 to implement classic design patterns such as the singleton and factory patterns. It seems like every programmer and his dog has written about design patterns and the Java language and it is a delight to see someone tackle this subject in PHP, particularly using the new features of the upcoming PHP 5 version.
There are some surprising omissions such as a very brief coverage of database independent API's such as adoDB and the pearDB classes. With the pearDB classes now part of the core PHP distribution this seems a surprising omission. For me database portability is important, I would like to be able to at least easily port my code between popular databases. I could find no mention of SQL Lite, one of the features due to be bundled with PHP5 when it ships.
A good comprehensive reference, not for beginners. A combination of this book, a "cookbook" style reference and the web documentation and you are set for programming anything with PHP.
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book on PHP 5 at core,
This review is from: Core PHP Programming (3rd Edition) (Paperback)One of my key concerns when reviewing a good book is the pull between information density and a light, easily read style. I believe that as we get further along the learning curve we can sacrifice some readability for density -- we want more facts and less explanation.
The authors of Core PHP Programming have found a marvelous middle ground. Toward the beginning of the book they have a great deal of light, explanatory material as they cover the basics of PHP. As they move towards more advanced topics there is less explanation and a tighter packing of information. At the same time the book has a large number of small code examples throughout, making sure that you know how to use the functions under discussion.
This is the third edition and I must admit that I had not come across it in either the first or second editions, so I have no great way of comparing them in this review. It has certainly been revised to take into account the changes for PHP 5 and examining the table of contents for the second edition on Safari I can see the that the basic structure has remained the same while the book has grown about 300 pages. The addition of Zeev Suraski as co-author can only be to the benefit of the quality of the information, particularly regarding PHP 5.
The book starts with the absolute rock bottom of PHP, the basic data types and operators through to efficiency, debugging and design patterns. Along the way it covers almost all aspects of PHP 5 with a readable reference style. The 'Core' in the title of this book is a key to understanding it. If you're looking for a book with all the code required to handle session management, or user logins and security (to mention two possibilities) then this isn't the book for you. If, however, you are after a book that more than adequately explains the power and nuances of PHP and programming in the language then this is a marvelous volume.
It's broken up into 5 sections: "Programming PHP," which covers the basics of data, control flow and I/O; "Functional Reference," which is 600 odd pages broken up into 12 chapters that seems to cover every PHP function (a check of three sub chapters showed every function mentioned on the topic at PHP.net was also in the book) and does it well with good explanation and code examples; "Algorithms," which details a number of methods of performing routine tasks such as sorting, parsing and generating graphics; and "Software Engineering," devoted to design, efficiency and design patterns; and finally, there are a seven excellent appendices.
Taken as a whole it does a good job of covering the whole language and the ways of using it.
I can imagine it would make a good companion volume to my other favourite PHP volume, PHP and MySQL Web Development, which tends more towards recipes and leaves out the encyclopedic coverage of this book.
Leon Atkinson has a good web page for the book that includes a link to download all the code and examples, a link to the Prentice Hall page for those wanting an example chapter or a look at the Table of Contents and some other reviews. His site also has a page for the inevitable errata, currently blank. While I did find only one typo (not in example code) I can't claim to have read every page or run all the code examples.
I'd recommend this volume to anyone who wanted a comprehensive guide to PHP 5. It is probably useful at almost all levels.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book,
This review is from: Core PHP Programming (3rd Edition) (Paperback)This is by far the best PHP book on the market.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent tutorial and reference,
This review is from: Core PHP Programming (3rd Edition) (Paperback)If you want a good intermediate to advanced book that includes: a solid tutorial of the syntax of PHP, an excellent function reference with good examples (99% of the examples worked for me), coverage of the new PHP5 capabilites, useful set of algorithms for common how-to features, and common sense guidelines on building, debugging, patterns, and Object Oriented php design, then this book will not disappoint.
If youre looking for a dummies how-to book to get your database driven website up and running, don't buy this book. And don't complain when you do buy the book and it turns out to be not what you thought - you need to be willing or at a stage to invest the time and effort to learn PHP in depth.
If you want a great reference and set of guidelines and algorithms, and are willing to extend yourself, then you will like this book.
1.0 out of 5 stars Flat out sucks,
This review is from: Core PHP Programming (3rd Edition) (Paperback)This book just flat out sucks. The negative reviews say it all, so I won't waste time writing up the same stuff they did.
1.0 out of 5 stars What a joke,
This review is from: Core PHP Programming (3rd Edition) (Paperback)First, I'll admit that I'm biased against PHP because it's such a haphazard language. I was frustrated to no end to find out that they made a huge change to the object model with this PHP 5. But, since it's helpful to know PHP, I figured I would grab a book that was written by the authoritative gurus on PHP. With that having been said ...
What a joke! This isn't a programming book, it's a memoir! The authors explain PHP only to the extent to which it allows them to glorify themselves and the open source community (or as I like to call it: the confoundingly elitist hippy brigade.
Part 1 is actually the most useful part of this useless book. It walks you through the basics of the language. Thankfully, it has the most examples so you can do some real learning instead of listening to their pie-in-the-sky abstraction ideas. Part 2 calls itself a "functional reference", but it's anything than that. Each entry gets a paragraph talking about the language element. But, there's no indication of how to use it -- not even an example in most cases! Furthermore, part 3 and part 4 of the book are totally useless. Yes, they explain how to code a nice sorting algorithm, use nifty graphics manipulators, and how to write efficient code. But, honestly? If you were writing code in another language, you could buy modules for sorting and graphics for about $10 each that are far easier to use and more powerful than what's given in PHP. This book doesn't cover all the bases it should about writing code well - they dedicate anout 25 pages to the subject. And, if you're concerned about writing efficient code and building sorting routines from scratch yourself, go take a class and learn to do it right! (Hint: this book actually shows you how to do it INcorrectly on occasion.)
Save your money and try one of the "customers who bought this also bought" because that will tell you where customers turned to after this book completely disappointed them.
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but entirely misleading,
This review is from: Core PHP Programming (3rd Edition) (Paperback)I read the reviews before I bought the book. Sadly, I should have listened to the negative reviews. This book is NOT what it's advertised. I agree with the other reviewer: this is not a "CORE" book. Rather, it's more of an intellectual discussion of PHP on an abstract level. If you know the syntax, and want to learn how to apply it, then this book may be to your liking. However, DO NOT expect a reference guide!!! This book does not take the time to document the language. This isn't the kind of book you keep at your side while you code. You read it, absorb it's wisdom, and then proceed.
Why did I give the book two stars? Two reasons: 1. Because a core book should be just that: core material (i.e.: a reference, a code example, and a best practices guide.) This book is a conceptual teaching guide. Which is fine, but, I already know how to code. I wish this book would have been more direct to begin with. 2. The book is a rather boring read. I once agree with the other reviewer: I could have done without all the self-congratulatory text. As for the meat of the book, it was rather amateurish and cutesy, the way Japanese instruction booklets are. All in all, mostly disappointing.
1.0 out of 5 stars What core??? This book doesn't explain anything,
This review is from: Core PHP Programming (3rd Edition) (Paperback)I have to agree with the negative reviews - this book just doesn't make any sense. First of all, why call it "Core" PHP? There's no core to this book. There's no syntax description, no documentation on arguments, returned values, or errors. There's very few examples of code, even the new version 5 code. This book should have been called "Addendum to a previous reference" instead of Core.
Personally, I distaste the format and style of the book. The first chapter glorifies the history of PHP to make you think it's bigger than Jesus. Guess what, folks? PHP has a long way to go before it's deserving of such praise. If I wanted an editorial, I would've gone to the "fiction" section of my bookstore.
Lastly, the positive reviews on this site are obviously written either by the authors or by people with affiliations with this publications. Come on, guys. Shouldn't you spend less time pumping up your diatribe novel, and more time writing a useful book on a fledgling programming language?
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Core PHP Programming (3rd Edition) by Zeev Suraski (Paperback - Aug. 5 2003)
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