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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars6
3.2 out of 5 stars
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on February 9, 2003
I'm only giving this four stars because the information is freely available elsewhere. Nonetheless, this book is a wonderful reference to have on hand. It's the only PHP book (and I have plenty) that consistently sits on my desk. I find it to be a valuable reference tool for quick lookups, and for finding functions that I'm not sure how to spell.
It's a dictionary--not a tutorial. It doesn't teach you how to write your code (when was the last time you used a regular dictionary to come up with structure and form for a poem? You don't. You use it to look up words.) If you're looking for tutorials, you'd be better off looking elsewhere. If you use PHP day in day out, you might find having a paper reference on your desk to be helpful. Sometimes you just don't want to have to call up another web browser to search, or wait until your DSL provider decides to spring back to life and allow you to search the net for a bit of syntax that has slipped your mind. The price is right, and it's a good reference book to have in addition to a book of tutorials or other learning material.
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on November 2, 2002
Nothing too spectacular here. Basically it is the manual from reworded a bit and put in a book. What really disappointed me was that I could find no reference at all to the manual on I really thought they should have included some type of mention in the Acknowledgements section.
On to the book. They do provide a brief introduction to PHP. It is exactly that, brief. It is not meant to be exhaustive as this book is a reference book, not a tutorial.
Before I got this book, I exclusively used the manual to look up functions and such. When I got this book, I really didn't think it would be of any use. I have found, however, that by keeping it right there on the desk I do look things up in it. Sometimes it just feels better to look something up in a good old paper book. It is also nice to be able to have the page open and glance back at your code to compare syntax.
Would I recommend this book? It all depends what you plan to use it for. The manual will definitely suffice and will be more current. But, if you are just itching to get a PHP reference manual in a hard copy, this is your choice.
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on July 29, 2001
Most of this book is the VERY BASIC description of operators, functions, constants, objects, properties, and methods and that's about it.
It breaks them down into categories (string manipulation, database, etc) and then has a SHORT description of what they do and what arguements need to be passed to them, etc. Other than that, there isn't much else there.
One of the main problems I have with this book (and others like it) is that you have to know the name of the function or object to use it. If I want to know how to use mysql_connect, then that's no problem. However, if I want to know how to yank the two left most characters out of a string, I guess I'm going to be browsing every function in the string section until I find it.
This book just takes the wrong approach. If I had all of that stuff memorized, then I probably wouldn't need the book. However, since I don't have it memorized, it's rather hard to find it in the book since I don't know the name of it.
Would have gave it 3 stars except it basically does meet the criteria that it is advertised under, so I can't knock it for that. So, for being a categorized list of the PHP language then it's great (although, how hard can that be. I wonder if I too can print out the documentation and get it published).
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on April 25, 2002
I own and constantly refer to this book and am constantly disappointed. The PHP Developer's Cookbook (nearly identical cover) is a handy book, but don't waste your money on this one. If you need a good basic introductory text on PHP look to the 56 other PHP titles Amazon stocks. The examples in this one are unclear, the treatment of most topics is incomplete. While the introductory chapters provide an interesting overview of PHP's functionality, it cannot be depended on as a faithful reference for day-to-day use.
Just compare its treatment of classes or data types to that in other texts. Or give a careful read to functions that require careful documentation-like formatting of dates. The book just leaves you confused or in the dark. The book doesn't even do a decent job of summarizing the online docs. I wish I had been more careful.
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced developer this is just not the title you want.
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on January 30, 2001
Go figgure, a book that lives up to *exactly* what the title says, PHP Developer's Dictionary. This is not a "how-to", "Learn PHP in 12 minutes", or "PHP for the mentally challanged <sic>" type of book, it is a reference. If you already know what you want to do, and how to do it, but need to know what a function does, the syntax to connect to an LDAP directory or MySQL database, or other essential bit of info... this is *the* book for you. If you are new to developing, or to PHP, you may want to look at something else and come back and get this one once you have the basics (atleast) down. When someone tells you to RTFM when you ask a PHP related question, here it is :)
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on June 24, 2001
This book seems to be pretty much a rehash of the PHP manual complete with the same errors and omissions that the PHP manual has. As a desktop reference for PHP, it may be useful for the casual PHP user as it contains information on installation and configuration but for more serious programmers, stick with the online manual or see the 'PHP Functions Essential Reference' in print soon.
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