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Creating Interactive Websites with PHP and Web Services
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on April 20, 2004
I'm your basic novice non-programmer type looking for a career change. I lucked into this book at Borders, sat down and looked through it. Well, I came home and have been working my way through this book all night.
I've learned more about PHP and MySQL in about six hours time than I had expected to. This book is so incredibly easy to follow that I can't even put it down to sleep. So far, I'm up to Chapter 4 and going fast. Since I read the reviews after I bought the book, I made it a point to place a check mark next to each example that worked. That's all of them. So far, apart from the 'mydb' file that Rosenbrock used as an example in database creation, I've also managed to create a database for my movie collection. Next database will be my extensive library of books!
The beauty of Rosenbrock's book is that he teaches how to do the things I actually want to do. Also, he assumes a reasonably intelligent audience. Rosenbrock also introduced me to a little gem, phpMyAdmin that makes MySQL far less painful. I'd been sweating bullets just thinking about getting into MySQL. Well, I'm in it and relishing it, all thanks to Eric Rosenbrock.
The back of his book tells that the user level is Intermediate/Advanced, but I think that since his coverage is so painstaking and thorough, it should actually be Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced.
I'd recommend that anybody wanting to do PHP and MySQL. I've got to find out what else Eric Rosenbrock has written. The dude is terrific!
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on March 21, 2004
I would not buy this book unless you already know PHP well enough to spot the errors in code and other things that were left out of the text. Unfortunately, I don't know PHP well enough to do that, and I have spent hours and hours on the Internet, trying to figure out what the author REALLY meant to say in a particular chapter. This is a frustrating book for the beginner.
Interestingly, the first page of the introduction says that the author wished for a book written by someone who takes the time to explain every step of the learning process, instead of listing lines of code with no explanation. This book claims to be just such a book, and then slaps you with "See where I configured the config.php file for the $cfg['PmaAbsoluteUri'] setting..." with no further explanation, in a chapter entitled "Building a Database Schema with MySQL."
There probably is good information in this book. Unfortunately, in order to find it, I'll have to purchase something else, and then return to this book after I know PHP.
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on February 24, 2004
Let me start by saying that I did find this book quite helpful. It contains a wealth of ideas about topics that a Web site developer would want to know about. The author doesn't just talk about designing a Web site with static data. These Web sites really are interactive, which is the direction that many Web sites are headed today. For example, if you want to create a blog, Chapter 6 will get you started. Are you a merchant that wants to get started with online payments? Chapters 8 and 9 will get you started; although, they probably aren't the end of the journey because the book doesn't address security and privacy concerns. Even so, you can get a lot of information out of this book.
The book does have a few problems, one of which is the title. I didn't really see much in the way of real Web services coverage. Yes, there is a simple example of working with Amazon Web Services in Chapter 7, but that's not really a lot of coverage. The supposed coverage of Google Web Services in Chapter 7 doesn't deal with Google Web Services at all--it discusses how to create request URLs for the standard interface. Does this make the techniques less useful? No, I found them quite helpful, but this truly isn't a Web services book.
I found it a little jolting that the author has just barely introduced functions on page 17 and on page 18 you're already working with databases. I wouldn't consider this a book for the novice--it's not a gentle introduction to PHP at all.
The author also has a tendency to either omit necessary configuration details or mention them in passing so that a reader could easily miss them. For example, the reader needs a developer token to work with the Amazon example, yet the author devotes a single sentence to this topic and it's buried in a paragraph with other details. Consequently, even though the code probably all works, some readers have probably gotten frustrated trying to figure out the missing details.
Given what I know about the book now, it's still a very good purchase and will stay on my bookshelf. The author introduces too many good ideas and interesting concepts to ignore this book. Hopefully, a second edition will fix some of the annoyances that kept the first edition from being as good as it could be.
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on February 21, 2004
First, I want to say that the book's code (downloaded from the website) has been a real boon in getting an operational PHP-based website up in a short time. I'm not sure what errors the previous reviewers are describing, but I've been very happy with the framework provided by free by the author. There are some minor errors but if you come up to speed on PHP, you'll catch them quickly.
I've programmed for a while in C, C++, and a smattering of other languages, but I'm basically a database and dynamic website newbie. I picked up this book to help me learn PHP and dive into building a data-driven community website from the ground up. One reason I rate the book highly is that while other PHP books provided watered-down website examples, this one starts at a reasonable level -- and by reasonable I mean (1) authentication & authorization through a database, (2) a framework for having all web pages in the site follow a consistent layout. Rather than "hello world" elementary pages, the book starts with useful pages and explains the code as it goes. The website run by the author probably uses similar techniques to the ones described in the book, although tweaked and enhanced, much like I'm doing with the book examples for my site.
The reason I didn't give it 5 stars was the lack of some advanced topics like better use of object oriented design and separation of content and logic with Smarty (or a look at how phpBB does it). The author does provide a layout framework that gets reused among all web pages (i.e. consistent headers, sidebars, and footers), but HTML portions still have some embedded code. The book also provides some insight into payment processing, amazon/google interfacing, and visitor tracking.
The bottom line is that of all the PHP-oriented books I bought, checked out from the library, or browsed at the bookstore, this book was the one I used to get me out of the gate quickest *because* of the quality of the downloaded code/examples and the no-nonsense explanations. Don't get this book expecting to learn PHP with examples of gradually increasing complexity. This is a book for people wanting to make data-driven websites, and as such, this book (in combination with books on general PHP programming and databases) will serve you well.
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on May 21, 2004
This is the perfect book if you're planning to build a complex website and don't really know how to achieve this. If you need to build a web site with a membership system, news section, content management system, online store, process payments and track visitors, but you don't know very much about PHP scripting, don't think twice. This is your book. It just get to the point. The author gives to you all his experience building large interactive web sites with PHP.
The only drawback that I can see in this book is the title. The chapter about webservices does not tell you anything about building SOAP or XMLRPC servers, instead of that, it tells you how to connect to the Amazon or Google Web services APIs and get the information you need, which is also good.
I definitely recommend it to anyone with this kind of interests, even if he really doesn't know anything about PHP or MySQL.
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on April 20, 2004
I just finished reading this book, and all I have to say is wow!! I'd like to thank the author for writing such a great book. I've read other books on PHP and Mysql, and by far, this is the first one that I can say really covered all the bases, and didn't make me feel like I'm wasting my time. The author really shows his skill as he walks you through step-by-step examples. He doesn't just throw code together and call it a book, he really helps you to understand the reason behind the things he was teaching. Surprisingly enough he's able to add some humor in and share some of his personal experiences, which really made reading this book not only fun, and educational but a really good read. This book has earned all the positive reviews it's received and I'm already pre-ordering his new book(...). I hope this review helps you out, as much as the book has helped me.
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on January 1, 2004
Unfortunately, this book has many errors in it and, until the publisher (Sybex) decides to release an errata sheet in order to make it truly usable, I can't recommend it. (I'll be happy to revise this review if they do.)
This book has the potential to be one of the best on the subject - the author's writing style is clearly a cut above most other technical writers and he seems very knowledgeable about the subject. Unfortunately, as it stands now, the book isn't usable by a beginner because there are so many errors. PLEASE fix them!
Update (Feb 3, 2004)
I give up - since I first posted this on Amazon, nothing has been done to fix the errors. Neither the Sybex site nor the authors own web site deal with the problems in the book. Look elsewhere if you really need to learn php.
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on June 14, 2004
This title is an excellent starting point for anyone wishing to dive into the world of building interactive/dynamic websites using PHP scripting and MySQL databasing, and could also come in handy for intermediates. The author makes sure the reader understands the topic, whether its shopping cart systems, payment processing, membership systems, etc.
The book also gives an excellent introduction into the logic of databasing, and also explains, in detail, how to integrate a MySQL database into your website. If you wish to learn how to build functional websites from the ground up, this is the book for you.
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on April 28, 2004
This is a very informative book! It is extremely thorough from start to finish, with real world examples and solutions. It is obvious that the author put a great deal of time into this book, as evidenced by the in-depth coverage of the code and services. This book, along with [...] gives the average coder the tools necessary to become a superior developer.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is working with PHP and web services, beginner to advanced levels. Great job, Eric!
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on February 2, 2004
I've had this !@#$ book for over a month - still can't get the book due to ERRORS that the PUBLISHER ACKNOWLEDGED OVER A MONTH AGO but REFUSES to post on their web site. The current "errata sheet" is BOGUS and won't help any one. Save your money and don't buy this useless book.
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