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on August 29, 2002
I just had the pleasure of reading New Riders' "PHP Programming for Windows" by Andrew Stopford. This book is excellent, and despite what the title may imply is actually geared towards both PHP and ASP developers, not trying to detract you from migrating away from a Microsoft-centric infrastructure (i.e., Windows 2000/XP, SQL Server, ASP, .NET, etc). Rather, it lends a helping hand for developers needing to cross-integrate a project with an existing infrastructure, with an emphasis on performance. You can take your existing ASP knowledge and extend it, even if only for the moment.
As such, the book offers a quick run-though of the structure of PHP as a developmental platform and gives a brief introduction into PHP programming. Admittedly, some experience with PHP or having read another book on learning how to program with PHP is helpful if one is to get the most out of this book; but if you're only looking to use PHP in an integration project, you'll learn enough to get by.
The book is concise and to the point, being a quick 294 pages long. It's a fast read, and well worth it. The book's content is up-to-date, providing discussions about integrating PHP with .NET, as well as with Windows DNA architectures.
The book's tone is written in such a way as to provide an academic, historical perspective on the evolution of PHP in the world of dynamic Web development, and defends against the popular and important theory that PHP has no place in the Web services arena, as most open-source communities tend to be disenfranchised when a new paradigm comes about. You can still create XML Web services using Microsoft technologies, and call them via PHP scripts, and an excellent discussion of using PHP to call remote/local COM objects within the scope of a Microsoft platform to create powerful XML Web services is presented.
The most significant discussions I found were the chapters on using PHP with Windows servers, using PHP to call COM objects, data access using SQL Server, Oracle, and MySQL back-ends, XML management, and how to work with Active Directory. But the biggest value for me was on a healthy discussion of sharing session information with ASP 3.0 and ASP.NET Web apps through Web-distributed data exchange (WDDX). Really cool stuff.
However, like many New Riders titles, some additional proofreading could have been helpful. The code was a bit buggy in some places, and there were sporadic, yet annoying writing snafus.
But the benefits far outweigh the shortcomings, of which there are very few. In short, if you're a Microsoft developer, and know a little bit about PHP already (or have a couple of days to spend practicing), this book will take you a long way.
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on April 27, 2004
For a book about Windows, this book has surprisingly little Windows specific information in it. The first chapter, on installation, is Windows specific. But then it doesn't go Windows specific until about 3/4s of the way through the book in section three, where it talks about COM, ADO, Active Directory and a couple of other Windows-specfic technologies.
It's a short book, so the mid-section which is not Windows specific is a general reference for PHP. It's a brief reference though, weighing in at less than 100 pages, where other books (PHP and MySQL Web Development) spend over 150 pages on just the basics.
I can't recommend this book unless you have a specific need for introductory information on PHP installation for Windows, or use of Windows specific back-end technologies like COM, ADO or the Active Directory.
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on October 30, 2002
I had a chance to read this book a week ago. This is a great book for PHP beginner like me who has ASP or ColdFusion background. It is being written with easy and simple explanation, so it is fast to read, to the point. I spent only couple of days to understand the whole chapters. What a book! And the excellent chapters are the WDDX, COM, and Web Service. I understood Web Service concept clearly from this book. Thanks Andrew. For the next version, it will be better if you can add more stuffs/examples on databases, accessing Stored Procedures in SQL server/Oracle, and try to create one example application eg Shopping Cart or something else) in one chapter, like all other book. Excellent book.
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on October 5, 2002
I would recommend this book to both ASP programmers looking to get into PHP and PHP programmers who sometimes work in a windows environment.

I found the information regarding PHP and ADO & PHP with Com objects the most useful info in the book.

One of my nicer aspects of the book is that Stopford often displays the equivalent ASP code with many examples.

Adding additional information regarding sessions would have been helpful.
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on January 19, 2003
This is a nice little book on a very specific topic. In my opinion the author spend too much time (actually half of the book) revisiting basic concepts that any PHP developer should know pretty well, still he manages to provide very interesting information on topics that you hardly find covered elsewhere, like integrating PHP with COM, .NET, ADO or Active Directory
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