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2.7 out of 5 stars30
2.7 out of 5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2002
My 1st Edition copy of this book is so well-loved that there is a dirt stripe down the edge of the pages from my flipping through it so often. I bought the 2nd Edition thinking it would be just as good as the first, with the new PHP-4 functions added.
The 2nd Edition is just an alphabetical list of functions, while the 1st Edition was categorized by usage-type (string functions, database functions, math functions, etc.). If I needed to find a function that did {foo} to a string, I'd look in the strings section until I found a description for an appropriate function. I can't do this with the 2nd Edition and am seriously considering returning it!
If you just need a reference to remind you of parameter order and return-type, get the 2nd Edition.
But if you're like me and want to find the correct function to do what you are looking to accomplish, save your money and buy a used copy of the 1st Edition PHP Pocket Reference.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2004
The book needs an index...
also, the function list.. (very lengthy) is very poorly organized and layed out..
each line starts with the output type of the function.. (int,string,bool) etc.
consequently scanning the index for the function you're looking for is extreemely difficult.
You cant even easily find where you are in the alphabetized list without sifting through a buncha lines starting with 'string','int','bool'
it's a worthless pocket reference.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2004
Don't buy this book; you won't use it. The function explanations are rarely more than a sentence, and worst of all they are many times self-referential.
"string urlencode(string str) - URL-ecodes a string." The function name makes that clear, but what does that mean, if you don't already know? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of referring to a book for clarification?
"array pathinfo(string path) - Returns information about a certain string." Does that description clarify anything beyond the function name?
They should have trimmed out more functions and included more information about the most important ones. Sadly, this is also the book used in Dreamweaver MX 2004 for online help, which is frustrating.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2002
The binding of this book really is thin and tight enough to easily swat a fly--for those of you who have already bought this book, give it a try!
But really, the content of this book is hardly what one would call a reference; it's no more than a categorized list of functions with extremely short descriptions of each one. If you've ever seen or read O'Reilly's Java in a nutshell book, then you know what a reference should be like; this is not like it. I probably looked at this book a couple times only, realizing both times it could not help me.
You really can't use this book to learn PHP, and it's reference is not descriptive enough, so it's a lose-lose situation. At first I was disappointed when I ordered it online thinking I wasting away... perfectly good [money], especially since I can find all and more I need of reference at, but then I realized this book is perfect for your bookshelf when you need a really thin book to fit in between other books to preven them from wobbling or swaying, giving a perfect snug fit. Don't buy it if you don't need it. But buy it if you don't care about wasting [money].
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2000
Well, for starters: there's no index. How did that slip through the cracks? Since the functions are grouped by type, you need to know what the function is before you can look up what it is, or just flip through 114 pages scanning for it, which leads to problem number 2: the typography is such that the function names blend right into the text.
The function reference identifies what is returned by the functions by data type (e.g., integer), but not whether it's a pointer to an array or just a number, or what. The Leon Atkinson book, otherwise even lamer than this book, at least got that part right.
Advice to O'Reilly: give up on the pretense of always having the "preeminent expert" write your books. Get professional technical writers, partner them with the big name "creators" of the technology, and the quality and timeliness of the books will improve. Thank god Larry Wall didn't write the Perl book. O'Reilly doesn't have the field all to itself anymore, so they shouldn't be resting on their laurels.
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on May 6, 2000
...if this is the best technical writing he can do, I understand why people complain of a lack of PHP documentation. This book is 90-some percent a list of PHP functions and their input and output types. However, it fails to give indication of what any function does, what the input means to the function, or what the output means to you. The rest of the book is a very basic PHP overview which states about twice a page that if you want any real information you need to visit the Web site. I can still see a use for this book, despite its utter lack of information: if you already use PHP and you know programming in general and you have a good idea of what kind of function you need but have no idea what it's named in PHP and don't want to spend hours on end trudging through the online manual, you can use the book to flip through function names 'til you find one that looks like it may be what you want, then search for that function online and see if it is.
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on May 21, 2001
I disagree with the reviewer who said this book is lacking an index. This book *is* an index, and not a terribly helpful one.
A Nutshell-type book makes more sense for a robust scripting tool. PHP is not a trivial or admin-oriented language; if you want to sell *any* reader on its virtues, you have to show what the language can do.
As a co-author of the The Java 2 Certification Study Guide, I can tell you exactly what readers think of a list of calls in print -- we used to have 200+ pages of that in the back of our book. Anyone who had anything to say about it called it filler, and they were right.
Make a PHP Nutshell book, and get someone like Flanagan to write it. Believe me, we'll buy it. Admittedly,I wasn't expecting a whole lot more than I got for the price of this book. But when an info-holic has a book he won't crack twice on a long plane ride, something's wrong with the book. :-)
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on September 14, 2000
Like many others are saying about this book it has two major flaws, the first is that it lacks an index, while it does have a table of contents, if you need to look up a specific command you can't. The second, and more important, problem is that this book doesn't describe the functions in a usable fashion. In fact the printing of the function is sometimes longer than the description itself, they rarely go beyond 5 words. While some functions do not need a lengthy explanation, others do. This book isn't all bad, earlier on it does explain (in full sentences/paragraphs, wow!) about form handling, database integration, variables, bolean, and the basics like while/do and if/then. Like every other O'Reilly pocket reference, these mini books are only good as a reference, not as a sole learning tool so if you purchase this book, I sure hope you bought a full sized PHP book.
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on June 28, 2000
The book is simply a listing of commands, organised by the same categories as the on-line manual, but missing an index and also missing the explanations and exmaples of the on-line manual. So unless you know in which category to find a command, you might spend ages to find its reference. Even if you do find the reference, the information is so brief that it is useless. If you've used the command a few times before, you'll know already (even if you have a lousy memory) the things described. If you haven't used it before, what you find is not enough to know how to use it. Rasmus, I thank you for inventing PHP, but I consider this book [not worth the money].
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on October 14, 2001
Aside from the fact that this book is now outdated I must disagree with the Editorial Review that says "This small book acts as a perfect tutorial for learning the basics of developing Web applications with PHP."
For someone who has never used PHP before (unless perhaps they are an experienced programmer) this would not be a good starting point. It is strictly a reference for those who already have some knowledge and experience with PHP and for that it is very good.
Anyone who has O'Reilly's "Webmaster in a Nutshell", 2nd Edition does not need this book as it is the same as Nutshell's section on PHP.
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