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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Back when PHP was new, programmers searching for practical information invariably found their way to Leon Atkinson’s Core PHP Programming. Well, PHP isn’t new anymore. It’s matured into an exceptionally powerful language, complete with a new object model and its own design patterns. Core PHP Programming, Third Edition covers all those enhancements with the depth they deserve. It also contains all the practical code experienced developers need to do just about anything: 650+ examples, most of them fairly sizable.
For this edition, Atkinson brought on a new coauthor and a new technical reviewer. Who are they? Arguably the world’s two leading PHP experts.
New coauthor Zeev Suraski and technical reviewer Andi Gutmans were largely responsible for the PHP 3 rewrite that helped the language take off as a robust, reliable, high-performance web platform. As cofounders of Zend, they created the Zend Engine at the heart of PHP 4, and recently wrapped up the major Zend Engine 2.0 upgrade. They’re personally responsible for crucial PHP features such as the abstracted web server API, thread safety, MySQL support, and output buffering. It’s hard to imagine a more capable author team.
The book is exhaustive -- but never exhausting. No matter how advanced the discussion, the authors always come back to real working code. And the coverage does range far and wide.
If you’re an experienced developer moving to PHP for the first time, the authors’ clear and concise language introduction will build on the experience you already have. Part I reviews all the basics: variables, operators, and expressions; control statements; functions; arrays; classes and objects; disk access, and more.
Part II moves on to the meat-and-potatoes techniques every serious PHP programmer needs to master: managing browser and network I/O; working with the underlying operating system; manipulating data; handling math; configuration; images and graphics; and parsing XML.
There’s extensive coverage of database integration using PHP’s legendary MySQL and PostgreSQL support -- and, of course, you’ll learn how to make the most of the new Zend 2.0 engine.
Then, it’s on to algorithms for building more efficient and optimized applications -- and here, the authors’ exceptional “insider” experience really begins to pay off. You’ll learn how to use PHP to sort, search, and generate random numbers; how to parse and evaluate strings; how to build HTML tables from SQL queries; even how to generate “on-the-fly” graphics.
Part IV contains software engineering coverage at a level and depth we’ve never seen in a PHP book. After a full chapter on HTML integration, the authors present best practices for PHP application design, followed by detailed techniques for optimizing application performance and efficiently debugging code.
The book wraps up by introducing newly identified PHP design patterns for building even more robust software -- including the invaluable Singleton, Factory, and Observer patterns.
Whether you’re a PHP beginner or you’ve been scripting with the language “forever,” this book will grow with you for years to come. You’ll find it indispensable. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.