Coauthored by its creator, Programming PHP is a nitty-gritty guide to PHP development. PHP is an open-source scripting language used to build dynamic Web sites. In this title, the authors go step-by-step through the language, including brief coverage of common applications such as graphics or database work.
The first six chapters explain PHP essentials, including data types, functions, string manipulation, arrays and objects. Next comes a look at basic Web techniques, followed by an introduction to database access. There is a chapter on generating graphics with the GD extension library and another on creating Adobe PDF documents. The authors then show how to parse XML, and there is a section on security with some handy tips for protecting PHP sites. A chapter on application techniques looks at code libraries, performance tuning and handling errors. Next there is an explanation of how to build extensions to PHP using C, followed by a look at Windows issues such as COM and ODBC. Finally, there is a complete reference to the standard functions in PHP 4.0.
This is not an advanced programming book, but even experienced coders will discover new things about the language and get a clearer understanding of how PHP works. The specialist chapters such as those on XML or PHP extensions tend to be introductory, so readers will need further resources. For example, the database section is short, and would be best read alongside Web Database Applications with PHP and MySQL or another book with more detailed database coverage. Even so, this is a strong hands-on title that PHP developers will want to keep close at hand. ----Tim Anderson [via]