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Advanced PHP Programming Paperback – Feb 20 2004
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From the Back Cover
Over the past three years PHP has evolved from being a niche language used to add dynamic functionality to small sites to a powerful tool making strong inroads into large-scale, business-critical Web systems. The rapid maturation of PHP has created a skeptical population of users from more traditional "enterprise" languages who question the readiness and ability of PHP to scale, as well as a large population of PHP developers without formal computer science backgrounds who have learned through the hands-on experimentation while developing small and midsize applications in PHP. While there are many books on learning PHP and developing small applications with it, there is a serious lack of information on "scaling" PHP for large-scale, business-critical systems. Schlossnagle's "Advanced PHP Programming" fills that void, demonstrating that PHP is ready for enterprise Web applications by showing the reader how to develop PHP-based applications for maximum performance, stability, and extensibility.
About the Author
George Schlossnagle is a principal at OmniTI Computer Consulting, a Maryland-based tech company that specializes in high-volume Web and email systems. Before joining OmniTI, he led technical operations at several high-profile community Web sites, where he developed experience managing PHP in very large enterprise environments. He is a frequent contributor to the PHP community and his work can be found in the PHP core, as well as in the PEAR and PECL extension repositories.
Before entering the information technology field, George trained to be a mathematician and served a two-year stint as a teacher in the Peace Corps. His experience has taught him to value an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving that favors root-cause analysis of problems over simply addressing symptoms.
Top Customer Reviews
The performance section for example (which is one of my favourites) just scratches the surface on how you can use APD to find bottlenecks in your code. George provides you with some common examples, but the real work is still yours, you won't get a step-by-step guide.
Another interesting point of this book is that it is not to read from start to the end. You will surely find sections you are already familiar with (Smarty being a prime example), or sections too advanced for you (ex. distributed environments). And George also takes the liberty to use PHP 5 OO code before introducing the new PHP 5 features, and using XML-RPC before the chapter on RPC calls.
I find it very valuable to have a lengthy introduction to good coding practices at the begining, since most of the code in the book builds heavily on having a consistent coding style. What I miss from the begining though is the introduction on where can people find details if they are stuck. There are interesting PHP.net services (lxr.php.net for example), which are quite valuable if you are trying to find something in the PHP source, to get an idea of how things work.
George having been heavily involved in the APC and APD development knows a lot about PHP and Zend internals. The last section provides you with a current and correct explanation on how you can extend PHP. None of the printed books on the market, or any online tutorial or manual can beat this section currently.
Go read the reviews of other PHP authors' blogs by doing a Feedster search of this book, you'll find that they highly recommend this book, sometimes over their own books!
Looking at the chapter list, you can see the topics covered are not what you see in a typical PHP book. In fact, if you don't know PHP, this is definitely not the book to be learning out of. If you don't know how to program, this is not the book to be learning out of. But if you use PHP professionally and need to get that extra mile or scale your PHP to a large site, then this is definitely the book to be buying.
There are simply no books, articles, or web references that provide a bird's eye view of the Zend Engine Internals. That is, until this book. The car analogy in this chapter is very apt for the potential reader of this book on a whole. If all you do is use PHP to get you from "point A to B" you certainly don't need this book. But if you are a PHP professional who is responsible for a high performance website, then you need to know the content of this book cold.
The chapter on Performance Tuning has a lot of gems you can't find in any other PHP reference and is essential knowledge when you use PHP on large sites. According to Michael Radwin, George's APD (the tool referenced in the chapter), is used to performance tune parts of Yahoo. But George also gives a nod to competing projects mentioning their strengths and weaknesses. (You can see why it's hard not to like the guy, his pragmatism supersedes his ego in every page.Read more ›
This book doesn't teach PHP, it teaches efficiency, maintainability and some really good programming notions. The fact that it uses PHP as a vehicle is just the icing on the cake. The source code used is manytimes from real open source projects, a nice effort from the author.
Oh, and I would also like to mention the author's style of writing: he comes across as a very open-minded individual who routinely recognises his own errors and isn't in any way superior to the rest of us not-so-enlightned programmers.
On a final note, let me just say I wish my copy of this book would magically turn into a spell-checked hardcover edition :)
My first PHP book was Glasshaus' "Dreamweaver MX: PHP Web Development" (had to start somewhere). I then bought Sams' "PHP & MySQL web development". That was a big step forward.
I then got the SitePoint PHP Anthology volumes. I liked its use of OOP for the various solutions, but they're just that. A lot of cook book style solutions. I learned some good things from looking at all the solutions, but I wanted a more direct approach teaching me how to program PHP on a professional level, rather than just learn how to implement professional solutions.
A few weeks ago I got the book Advanced PHP Programming. Finally I have a book that seems to really have what I was looking for. This teaches not only how OOP works in PHP, but it also shows in general how OO techniques apply to different situations (design patterns). A lot of other topics in the book are a little over my head right now, but it is good to know it's there for when I need it.
While reading the many examples in the previously mentioned PHP books, I kept asking myself "is this really the best way to handle this?". Not with this one. I somehow know that this book can teach me all I ever wanted to know about programming PHP on a professional level and not teach me any 'bad practices' along the way.
This is definately not the first book I should have bought on PHP, but it seems this may well be the last book I will be needing for a long time.
Most recent customer reviews
For people familiar with the code or is exposed to allot of coding language to adapt to coding in PHPPublished on April 8 2013 by Virgie
This book has a lot of useful tips and techniques for those who is serious about PHP development beyond basics. Read morePublished on Dec 27 2010 by Andrei Filonov
Very good book with lots of examples and good advice. Easy to read and learn from it.Published on June 3 2009 by R. Okada
Excellent book, not only for PHP, but also for any programming language, especially web-developpement languages.Published on April 13 2005 by Ugo
I know PHP and Linux are a great match but people really do run PHP on Windows as well. This book acts like it is Linux only and never mentions the Windows implementation. Read morePublished on July 6 2004 by M. Hunsberger
Frankly, I think others have already said it so I'll keep this short. This book is a well-organized, easy to read compendium of best practices and advanced development techniques... Read morePublished on May 29 2004
George Schlossnagle's Advanced PHP Programming is the superbly organized and definitive instructional guide to developing large-scale PHP applications. Read morePublished on May 6 2004 by Midwest Book Review
Wow, I love this book! Not just because the content is great, but also because the other has his head held high. Read morePublished on April 27 2004 by Jack D. Herrington
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