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Core PHP Programming, Third Edition

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Spotlight Customer Reviews

Average Customer Rating: 3.3

Customer Rating: 2
Summary: Interesting but entirely misleading
Comment: I read the reviews before I bought the book. Sadly, I should have listened to the negative reviews. This book is NOT what it's advertised. I agree with the other reviewer: this is not a "CORE" book. Rather, it's more of an intellectual discussion of PHP on an abstract level. If you know the syntax, and want to learn how to apply it, then this book may be to your liking. However, DO NOT expect a reference guide!!! This book does not take the time to document the language. This isn't the kind of book you keep at your side while you code. You read it, absorb it's wisdom, and then proceed.

Why did I give the book two stars? Two reasons: 1. Because a core book should be just that: core material (i.e.: a reference, a code example, and a best practices guide.) This book is a conceptual teaching guide. Which is fine, but, I already know how to code. I wish this book would have been more direct to begin with. 2. The book is a rather boring read. I once agree with the other reviewer: I could have done without all the self-congratulatory text. As for the meat of the book, it was rather amateurish and cutesy, the way Japanese instruction booklets are. All in all, mostly disappointing.

Customer Rating: 4
Summary: Describes a Very Mature Language
Comment: In what seems like a dazzingly short time, PHP has grown from a simple little language that dynamically generates web pages to a fully fledged object oriented language. Now available in its fifth major revision, PHP code looks so much like C, with the added benefit of being OO. PHP is still very specialised, confined to essentially web server applications. While it is true that PHP is no longer strictly confined to this, the de facto reality is that the vast majority of applications, and the concomitant employment prospects, are in the context of web servers.

Clearly, if you are a web programmer, knowing PHP is a big plus. A hardcore way of doing this is to use the online documentation scattered throughout the web, and learn by downloading and analysing code examples. PHP veterans, including maybe the authors, probably did this. Nothing better at the time. While it works for some, this approach is awkward to many, and is quite ad hoc. The danger is in learning quick kludges as opposed to methodically designing and coding, with a full appreciation of the language's extent. Luckily, as PHP has matured, you can turn to this book for a logical pedagogy.

The treatment is exhaustive and shows starkly how far PHP has come. For example, you can use all the major encryption algorithms (Rijndael, Serpent, DES...) as extensively and easily as though you were coding in C. On another tack, the image analysis routines now handle all the important image formats (GIF, JPEG, TIFF...). The book displays the breadth of such computing topics now available, and the wealth of library routines in each topic describes the depth of the treatment.

Are you familiar with Fortran and the IMSL mathematical package so often associated with it? Or with C++ and its standard template library? Or C and the Numerical Recipes routines? If so, this book lets you appreciate that intellectually, PHP now ranks with those luminaries.

Customer Rating: 1
Summary: they're right - not a very good book
Comment: yeah, i had to agree with the negative reviews. this book isn't very good. it reads like bad vcr instructions or something.