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Php Essentials (英語) ペーパーバック – 2003/3/28
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Covers PHP basics and explains how to use language to build an e-commerce product catalog, use graphics techniques, install a Web server, establish database connections, and learn session management skills.
PHP Essentials, 2nd Edition serves as an introduction to the PHP scripting language and provides real-world examples of common uses. No previous programming experience is necessary, as this book explains programming concepts in familiar and not condescending terms (unlike most programming books). It also includes a fundamental PHP language guide.
From downloading, installing and configuring a Web server with PHP, to creating dynamic content via database interfaces and developing Web-based e-mail applications, all levels of Web developers will find this book an invaluable learning tool.
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I have just shy of a dozen other computer books--many of them are shovelware--full of glop because the publishers want thickness. And then there are some books where the authors seem to spend more time trying to show off how sophisticated they are than trying to explain things. This book has neither defect; its clear intent is to teach and it does so with economy and grace
Meloni is a solid technical writer. For those who like examples, there are lots of them (in fact a whole e-commerce site (no-I wrote mine from scratch) and there are compact appendices on the commands and functions you will actually use in the back. PHP is a language to get stuff done and this book is in the same spirit. But even supposing you want to use PHP to calculate fast Fourier transforms (heaven forbid!) this book is a good starter and supplimented by the free PHP web site, will get you there fast.
Thank you Julie Meloni, you are great.
Other than that,
1.) The book is rife with syntax errors and typos. Much of the example PHP code won't even come close to compiling in PHP 5.
I spent about 3 hours trying to figure out why a few simple lines of PHP code directly from the book wouldn't work. Since I had not been introduced to PHP previously (hence buying the introduction book) I was not able to recognize the errors in the text. The examples were apparently made for a previous version of PHP. It wasn't after googling around for a while I found out the error was in the book.
2.) The author had no idea who she was writing the book for.
The author states at the beginning of the book that it was not written for programmers (to my dismay), but for someone who could "take (the book) off the shelf, skim though, and say, Hey, this PHP thing looks like a neat language, and ever-so-easy to learn!"
First of all, if you aren't a programmer, you don't learn programming languages. If you know a programming language and use it, guess what, you're a programmer.
Secondly, the author wants to assume to reader isn't a computer scientist or programmer, but that they know how to properly set up a linux system with an Apache Webserver and SQL/PHP support. Anyone who is a novice user would probably spend days getting this to work correctly to begin with.
Thirdly, nobody picks up a programming language book and randomly decides it's a "neat language" that is "ever-so-easy to learn". People decide what they want to learn first and then find a book on it. So writing an entire book on that basis is pretty flaky in my opinion.
Another problem with this book I could see was that the examples were introducing unexplained elements. I.e. using language elements that were not previously described. I understood much of it, but for a true novice this could be extremely confusing.
In summary, the book tries to compromise between technical value and accessibility to a beginner, but ultimately just ends up with a poorly crafted piece of literature. My recommendation would be either to buy a different book, or save your money and use one of the many free PHP guides available on the internet.