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on April 6, 2005
This book albeit different from what I was expecting, did live up to other expectations that I had prior to reading. I was expecting a high quality, in-depth book that was written by those with real php knowledge, as well as some examples of snippets in action. These were fulfilled, with Zend PHP Certification having very in-depth chapters, relative to the sections which are covered in the "PHP Exam."
Zend PHP Certification is as its title suggests; it is a practice guide for the "PHP Exam" not a guide for those who are new to php. It is a thorough guide to php, starting a chapter with the basics, then moving up to the advanced scripts which can be compiled using that code. I believe it is a must for those serious about their php coding.
I believe some areas of the book could have done with more explanation, but this in its rights, maybe because I am still relatively new to php.
Zend PHP Certification is a great guide and once again, I strongly recommend it to those who are serious about, or want to take their php seriously.
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on December 18, 2004
I've been using php since 1998 and now php software development is the primary focus of my business. This book is written by many well known experienced php developers and is a study guide for the php certification test which is also written by many of the same authors.
Because of the php knowledge held by the authors, I expected it to be fairly in depth and accurate and perhaps it could teach me a few odd things. At the same time I wanted to see if this PHP certification was something I should be looking for when my business hires future php developers.
I have to give this book the lowest rating available simply because it is so ridiculously riddled with mistakes. I expect technical books to have a few errors in them but I was often finding one or more errors on every page. Barely into the 4th chapter I tossed the book out when not only did they have a mistaken output code but now they went on to explain why it printed out that output even though php could of never given that output from their example code (regardless of version).
If it was just the type or cut 'n paste type errors I would of over looked them and knocked my review only down to two stars but to see them describing something that is incorrect php behaviour (they do it right in the very next sentence for a different section of the same example so they know the behaviour, but why would they describe it wrong in an earlier section of the same example)
These developers do know php well so I am stumped at the poor quality of this book. I'm wondering if this thing even proof read or just translated from another language by non-programmers?
Some people will want to know the errors and there are too many to list them all but an example of small errors is the very first chapter ends with 3 exam prep questions of which 2 have errors in the ending descriptions as to why an answer is right. The first one has the line "(the remainder of the division of 5 by 2)" when it should be 5 by 3. The third question in the description says increment instead of decrement.
These two examples of mistakes are small however and only annoying though most of these should of been easily caught. Where I lost faith in the technical aspects of the book was at the beginning of chapter 4.
Here they start to describing how php handles array keys. They start with example code along with the output code from the example code and then go on to describe how php behaves in a specific situation (converting "numerical" string keys into integers). Their output code printed is wrong as the very first key would of been an integer and not a string as they printed it.
I figured this was just another small mistake but then they go on in the description as to why it outputs this code taking you through each key. The first key they again say it will keep the string value of "1" as the key (which is wrong). Then in the very next sentence they explain why the second key is converted from a string to an integer because of one of php's behaviours to convert numeric strings to integers (though they left out that this behaviour only happens to the keys when you are creating arrays, not the values). This means they know this behaviour but obviously missed it in the first key as it was also a numeric string and would of been converted to an integer as well.
It was obvious they wrote the output code by hand rather than actually running it and in doing so made a mistake in it which could of been easily prevented. What bothered me is that they then go on and describe why it output this code, even though php could not of output this code from their example. It is as if the writer of this section didn't know why the first key came out as a string so they just repeated as they were in a hurry to show the second key as their big example of insight missing the fact the first key they rushed over should of been the exact same example.
After seeing this level of lack of attention to detail spent in this book I lost all respect for the book. I also lost faith in the level of detail the same authors would of put into their Zend PHP Certification test.
With the book being my only guide to the quality of the certification test, as an owner of a software development business I will NOT put applicants for php programmers that have Zend PHP certification above any other applicant until I have reason to believe otherwise.
The current edition of my book I would not even give away but all is not lost as I have already found a good use for it. When hiring other php developers I will give this book to an applicant during an interview and let them read any two random pages and have them tell me where the mistakes are in the code or descriptions of the code. If they know php well enough to quickly see these types of errors, then this is perhaps the best test of all to see their deeper understanding of php.
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on August 24, 2005
The "Zend PHP Certification Study Guide" is the perfect book for those wanting to take, and pass the "Zend PHP Certification Exam".
Relatively new to PHP myself, I found the majority of this book useful. With a "Terms You'll Need To Understand" and a "Techniques You'll Need To Master" section at the start of each chapter, the areas you are expected to know for the exam is explained. Also, with "Exam Prep Questions" at the end of each chapter, you are given a chance to put what you've just learned into practice.
Although it covers the basics, I would not recommend this to anyone wanting to learn PHP. The book, as stated in the Introduction " not a PHP development tutorial or a reference book on the language and its extensions.", so those with no experience in PHP that are looking to take the exam should seek to learn the basics elsewhere before buying this book.
Wanting to take the exam doesn't have to be the only reason to purchase this book. It serves as a useful reminder to those out of practice, and may even teach you a few new things you've yet to discover about PHP. There is no doubt however, that this guide is invaluable to those looking to get certified. And written by those who write the exam questions, who's to argue with that?
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on April 6, 2005
Zend PHP Certification Study Guide Written by: Rhonda Mize-Tinch, Shelley Johnston, Damon Jordan and George E. Nedeff
The "Zend PHP Certification Guide" from Zend Technologies is the perfect companion for any PHP programmer who is either aiming to sit the PHP Certification, or simply wants to have an excellent tour through the major constituents of PHP. This shouldn't be mistaken for neither a complete reference of PHP nor a beginner's guide to PHP. The introduction of the guide emphasises this point: "...this book is not a PHP development tutorial...Our goal in developing the guide is to provide you with a study aid" It is crucial to make this clear, however it certainly shouldn't be considered a black mark - I'll come back to that later.
This book from Zend is clearly designed for a programmer who will be sitting the exam sometime soon. Because of this, the book does not focus on the new aspect of PHP 5. However it does provide an excellent layout which focuses your attention on exactly what you're going to be asked about. The beginning of each chapter contains a list of "Terms you'll need to understand" - these are the core learning points of the chapter which provides an excellent checklist before you sit the exam. There is also a list of "Techniques you'll need to master" which outlines the practical skills you should have after you read that chapter. To ensure you understand what has been discussed, there are numerous "Exam prep questions" at the end of the chapter, which show you examples of questions you are likely to be asked. Detailed answers are provided to the questions, showing you why the other choices are incorrect.
The "Zend PHP Certification Guide" is written by the experts of the PHP exam, the people who created it. Because of this it is the only book available which deals with exactly what is covered. The book is laid out over 13 main chapters, 12 of which deal with PHP and a final chapter which explains the format of the exam. Each of the first 12 chapters contains clear code listings which are often taken from real life examples. An explanation of the code then follows, illustrating the good and/or the bad points of that method. These chapters also include common pitfalls and show how to avoid making coding mistakes. Easy to follow figures and tables have been used throughout the book to help make topics easier to understand. The 13th chapter contains valuable information for candidates, and uses excellent screenshots of how the exam is structured. This final chapter has priceless advice on how to tackle sitting the exam, and how to avoid a resit. A further 18 exam questions can the be attempted using any topic included in the book. These are excellent to uncover areas of difficulty or certain chapters which may need to be rechecked before sitting the exam. An in-depth glossary and index make finding specific topics very simple - making the whole book one which is worthy of the name "Zend".
While it is the main purpose of the book to ensure the exam is covered, this doesn't need to be the sole reasoning behind its purchase. The "Zend PHP Certification Guide" includes extremely useful advice, reminders and maybe even a few things you haven't yet discovered. Some other PHP books either try to crush in the entire PHP manual or are too busy focusing on basics for beginners. This guide, however, focuses on highlighting parts of code which are most likely to be used daily by PHP programmers. The book does move fast though, and someone who has never wrote PHP before may find it a little thin when explaining the basics. There is no doubt that the "Zend PHP Certification Guide" is an invaluable book for anyone looking to get certified. Code, questions and technique are all covered in this guide, written by the people who know more about the exam than anyone else. The study guide is also useful for PHP coders who simply want to sharpen their knowledge of PHP. An excellent overall guide, something we'd expect from Zend - The PHP Company.
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on January 5, 2006
Well it ain't perfect but it was somewhat useful for the test although its hardly nessesary. also some practice questions are "questionable" one of the asks where to look at for HTML headers and the answer is the microsoft website because standards are nice but not real life or something to taht avail seems more opinion than fact really and thankfully questions on the exam are a bit more objective. it'll help you but odds are if you know how to program php and have been doing it for a year or so you don't need it to pass but that's just my opinion
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on May 21, 2009
This book is small and every topic is right-to-the-point. This can also be a good reference book.

Note that this is book from 2004 and targeted for PHP-4 which is not supported anymore.
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