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Book Review

PHP Bible, 2nd Edition
by Tim Converse and Joyce Park

ISBN: 0764549553
Publisher: Wiley
Pages: 1012

This book is intended as an introduction to PHP and, as expected from a bible, it also covers a vast of related subjects.

The first chapter introduces not only PHP but also the community behind it. For someone new to PHP, this is an interesting read and the enthusiasm of the authors feels motivating. The following 100 pages introduce the basic elements of PHP. Everyone knowledgeable of a language in the C-style family should be able to get this rather fast and I soon found myself skipping through the pages. However, the explanations seem simple and clear enough for a beginner.

As expected from a bible, the rest of the book stretches over many different subjects like for example: basic database theory including a SQL tutorial, PHP’s database support, regular expressions, XML, and security issues. The chapters are well-written and I believe they serve as a good, general introduction, and nothing more, to the different subjects. Personally I was pleased to see a chapter devoted to coding style, which I believe is an often missing ingredient in introductory books.

Unfortunately the book is somewhat dated as it only covers PHP 4.2. In case the book gets updated to cover the recent evolution of PHP, I would recommend such an edition as a general introduction to server-side development.

Reviewed July 2005

©2005 Adam Petersen