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on December 7, 2002
I decided to purchase both Wrox's Professional PHP4 XML and New Rider's XML and PHP. Now, I'm not a dumb guy. I've been programming for awhile, but I'm still learning all the time. I like to build object oriented code in PHP as I believe it's the best way to go for several tasks (although not all). I'm still learning how to apply design patterns and the like and I find that very interesting. So when I pick up a book, I really want to see an author care about objects rather than putting all his code in the toilet - That's what this book does.
Even further, the examples are so basic and the chapters don't explain anything beyond those examples either. I'm surprised people found this book useful since everything is obvious that those university computer science monkeys who are still learning Windows can figure this book out.
But where are the best practices? Where are the examples used within an object oriented architecture? Do you think we are idiot programmers who only know how to code procedural programs that all reside within a single server page. Get real.
On the other hand, I was very impressed with the Wrox book. Although some of the intro chapters were fairly useless (since they covered intro to PHP concepts and so forth), the chapters talking about SAX, DOM, XSLT and XML-RPC are much better and totally outshine this book's counterparts. They even discuss Object oriented programs in all most cases and will provide you both versions a lot of the time! Even further, the Wrox book shows you various examples about solving common problems. I actually think the authors showed me all the potential problems you can have for that matter; they were pretty detailed, especially in the SAX and XSLT chapters.
After reading some of the reviews about XML and PHP, such as "This book doesn't suck" or Manual Lemos's review (a guy who contributes a lot of PHP code to the community) stating "this book was the best on PHP and XML available", it's obvious that they have ties to the author and want to see him succeed. Don't let them pull you in - this book isn't even worth the sympathy.
Xi Chi's review was right on the bull's eye. I should have listened to it and so should you. Avoid this book like the plague and get Wrox's PHP4 XML book instead.
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on August 14, 2002
After all the flaky reviews this book has received, I was unsure if I was reading individual marketing campaigns sponsored by the various publishers or actual reviews. It seems that people cannot simply agree that this book is good or is bad as there is just nothing in between. Even in all the review cases, many people didn't find the reviews helpful, both positive and negative. It all seems complex from the consumer's perspective when deciding to buy this book.
So given all these statements, I thought I'd present a true review - one from an actual reader rather than from someone else. I think it's pretty safe to assume that this book is good for some people and bad for others. The problem is that the reviews already here have so much fluff that they didn't even begin to describe themselves, thus they could be ambitious or lazy, smart or dim, and hobbyist or entrepreneurs. There is simply no way of telling.
Personally, I think many of these concepts can be learned in PHP in about 2-3 days of trying the APIs out if you already know a great deal of XML. So if I'm going to buy a book on PHP and XML, I expect that it will provided added value information as well as design decisions, business concerns and best practices. Examples are not what I care about as much as the rich and deep information because there are many examples already on the web - no point acquiring the book just for those alone. That makes me question the reviewers who say the examples are clear and concise - the examples on the web already do that. Books are supposed to provide added value to these APIs and examples to make the topic complete and valuable to the reader. The book should also scale well to both beginning audiences (this book does very well) to expert audiences that want to drill through the basic information like APIs and examples and learn more advanced techniques, best practices, etc. This book doesn't deliver on these areas very well unfortunately.
So, for a person like me: This book receives 2 stars. I didn't learn all that much from it and I was disappointed to say the least. He's a good writer, funny at times, and knows what he is doing, but he also catered to a specific audience and it shows. Is that the goal? Probably. But I think the expert people shouldn't have expected too much (as I did) - that's the truth.
Although I personally give this book 2 stars, I believe that many beginner PHP programmers who have a little idea to what XML is will benefit from it. If you've already read some XML material on the net and even read a book or two, this book won't exactly help you out too much. However, this segment is rather small I would believe. I'm still looking for a book that I can give to my employees for reference as well as added value information. When I find it, I'll put a review there as well so you can compare.
So there you have it - an honest review. I hope it helps people out in their purchasing decisions.
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on April 27, 2004
Chapters two and three start the book with good examples of SAX and DOM use in PHP respectively. This provides a solid foundation for the rest of the book which shows examples of popular XML based technologies as applied to PHP. These include XSLT (Sablotron), XML-RPC, SOAP, XML in databases and other topics. Each of these discussions contains some real world examples to provide context.
It's a short and concise book that is well written. The use of graphics could be more effective. For example the screenshot in figure 6.8 is a single line in a vast sea of whtie browser space. The code sample could use some annotation or at the very least some bolding to hi-light the important segments.
The value of this book will depend on the degree to which you use XML in the PHP context. If you want a quick booster rocket to get you into SAX or DOM work within PHP this book will do the trick since it's far better than the documentation on the PHP site.
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on July 6, 2002
I've just started getting into PHP, and have been redeveloping my own site
in PHP. I thought I would experiment with XML also - and this book was, and
still is, perfect for me.
The main focus of the book is real-world applications - using XML with PHP
to create XML-enabled web sites. It discusses lots of XML technologies like
XML, XSL, WDDX and XML-RPC, but always keeps the language simple and the
examples easy to understand. However, this does not mean that it is only
useful to novices - each chapter escalates in difficulty to advanced
examples and concepts.
All the examples are well-commented and can be understood just by reading
the source - or you can just jump to the explanation for the things you're
confused about. Also keep an eye out for the quotes at the top of each
chapter - they are so cool!!
Frankly, this book rocks. It is even fun to read.
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on July 24, 2002
i have bought both the wrox book and this one and much prefer this one. while the wrox book is good, i find this one to be much easier to understand, and to use as a base for my own projects. i am building an XML-based transaction server, and the chapters on DOM, WDDX and SOAP were very useful, as i was able to use some of the code from the book in my project without any difficulty. also i appreciated the chapters on using open-source alternatives to the built-in functions (this is again not available in wrox, which also tended to be infuriatingly vague at certain points).
if you are a serious developer, i would recommend buying both books - i refer to both the wrox book and this one since neither one is exhaustive - but i learnt more from this one, as it is written in a clearer manner.
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on July 25, 2002
XML is technology that has been around for several years now. PHP has been capable of dealing with XML for different purposes. Oddly, before this book there was little or no books at all specifically about developing with XML in PHP.
After reading the book you can realize why there were not really many books filling this void. It is that it is not really easy to write a good PHP book on XML because you need to know so much about both things to write such a valuable book as this. Congratulations for Vikram for having done it first and so well.
While many publishers insist on hiding the information to access book the authors, certainly these forums are good example of how you can get further value from a book beyhond the hundreds of pages of printed paper that you paid for.
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on July 15, 2002
After reading most of the book, I've concluded that this book is for amateurs. If you want to learn a little bit of XML, but nearly enough to do large projects, then maybe this book will be good for you. But once you need to do a large project or you need some actual advance over and beyond the syntax, concepts and APIs, the books won't help you; it's not even up to date in some areas. However the book is very easy to read, so I give it 1 star. However, there are better books that describe PHP and XML in much greater detail and in a way that is still very inviting to new comers. If you want to truely get the best knowledge for your buck, don't by this book. The Wrox book seems like a better choice so I'm going to pick that up next. I'm going to sell this book.
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on July 24, 2002
An extremely helpful introduction to several salient technologies for PHP developers.
It gives enough discussion into several XML/PHP technologies to allow you to a) understand what the technologies aims are b) how it can be used and c) if the technology is right for your application. It gives you enough of a boost into the technology so that you avoid wasting time developing with an irrelevant technology, and go straight to what is best for your own project.
The book can be skimmed very effectively by reading just the well commented and frequent source code listings, reverting to the adjacent paragraphs of text where more explanation is needed.
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on July 30, 2002
Most XML books suffer from painful verbosity. Useful information on a relatively simple subject tends to be hidden in drifts of useless cruft.
This book focuses on the core information needed to become competent using XML and PHP together. While it is not the most comprehensive reference on XML available, it is the first resource that I check.
(Disclosure: I worked on this book project as a technical reviewer - take what I say with your own grain of salt. :)
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on July 18, 2002
For those who know PHP and want to learn XML, this is a great book. The book covers SAX, DOM, XSLT, XML-RPC, SOAP, WDDX and contains many examples. The author has a clear and accessible writing style. He is the founder of Melonfire, a web firm in India that has written many PHP articles at I gave the book an extra star because it was published by New Riders and wasn't bloated by big print and thick paper like some other publishers' books.
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