Mastering PHP 4.1 with CDROM

Author: Jeremy Allen, Charles Hornberger
List Price: $49.99
Our Price: Click to see the latest and low price
ISBN: 0782129242
Publisher: Sybex
Edition: Paperback
Sales Rank: 236,502
Average Customer Rating: 3.8 out of 5

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Customer Reviews

Rating: 1 out of 5
Worst PHP book
This is the worst PHP book i have seen. This is my 3rd. I bought this book expecting advanced topics like email and pdf and gd but this book really dissapointed me. We can call it a extended copy of the php manual. Without any practical applications, this book keeps on telling different functions with little code snippets like in the php manual. the book fills in the space by lengthy texts.

It really makes an easy to learn language like PHP much more difficult.

If this book had a title somethin like "PHP Reference Guide", then i wud have given this book 4 stars but since it misleads the poor beginners by saying "if u r a beginner, this book starts from basics" which is not correct in any case.

There are plenty of books for beginners and intermediates. A very good book recently released is (by Julie Meloni) PHP Essentials 2nd Edition so get it as its the best books for beginners you will ever find.

I just kept wasting my time in this long manual. i dont know how the other readers give it so good rating?

Rating: 5 out of 5
Yep, 5 stars from me, too.
This is a review of two books. I'm going to tell you why I bought Mastering PHP 4.1, and why I did not buy PHP Bible, 2nd edition.

First, I have the PHP Bible 1st edition, and a bunch of other PHP books. But they're all outdated now. One thing that has changed dramatically in the PHP language is the use of forms. PHP used to turn a form field named "comment" into a variable called $comment. But then for a while, $HTTP_POST_VARS['comment'] was preferred. And now $_POST['comment'] is the best way to get that form field (I think, I'm not even sure, it has changed so much).

So I go looking for books that can really walk me through all these changes, and teach me the newest, best way to handle forms. PHP Bible mentions $_POST, and if that's all you're looking for -- the newest additions to the language -- then the Bible is worth considering. It's the most current. But PHP Bible really skimmed over forms. It doesn't even have "forms" in the table of contents (well, it does mention processing GET and POST input, all grouped in Chapter 9, "Passing Information Between Pages"). But that chapter is doing so many other things, forms get shortchanged.

So I look at Mastering PHP 4.1, and right in the table of contents is a chapter on forms. I go through the chapter, and it's really good, even mentioning all the new variables for forms. The weak spot is that some of their code examples still rely on "register globals" -- but then they followup with a section on why to keep "register globals" off and they show an example of how to rewrite one of the scripts. That's pretty close to exactly what I wanted: I know the old way but want to learn the new stuff; they showed the old way, then they showed the new stuff.

But there's more, and this is what solidified my choice. I tried looking up how to handle file uploads, either by PUT or POST. I looked in the index of the PHP Bible for $HTTP_POST_FILES, looked under "forms" for anything close, looked under "files" for anything close, looked for the "is_uploaded_file" function. Nothing. I skimmed Chapter 9, and did find mention of this, but pretty minimal. Then I looked to Mastering PHP 4.1. In the index under "forms" I see "uploading files" and turn to a page that has a nice walkthough with code. It also has a half-page discussion of some things you can do to secure the PHP code that handles file-uploading. While I'm reading this, I realize that any place there is some HTML in an example, it's actually XHTML compliant. Nice. I decide to buy Mastering PHP 4.1. I give PHP Bible 3 stars because a lot of the good stuff from the 1st edition is still there, and if you don't have specific needs, it's an OK book to use to learn PHP programming. But I give Mastering PHP 4.1 5 stars, even though it's a few months older, because it has a lot of the new info in a well-laid out format with a good index, good Table of Contents, and more well-developed content.

Rating: 3 out of 5
Extensively mediocre...
While Mastering PHP 4.1 is a surely an interesting book, it is written quite amateurishly, which really does pique me.

For example, I would estimate that there is a typo every 3 pages, a grammar mistake every 10 pages, and a repeated word every 20 pages.

More importantly, the format is absolutely horendous. In almost every one of their sample programs, the authors employ the use of various PHP concepts that are not to be introduced until much later on...and they rarely explain why they introduced such concepts premateurly.

Almost every other page, I find myself flipping through the index, searching for a word that they forgot to explain.

Overall, a quite mediocre book.

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