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Beginning Php 4 (Programmer to Programmer)
ISBN 1861003730 / 9781861003737 / 1-86100-373-0
Publisher Wrox Pr Inc
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Beginning PHP4 offers an almost ideal introductory tutorial to one of today's hottest scripting languages. This book is really all the novice needs to start building dynamic Web sites powered by PHP4, but old hands at programming will also find valuable information inside it.
PHP, of course, is introduced in the book, but there is also an approachable and effective introduction to programming in general. The conscientious tutorial on basic concepts like variables, keywords and flow control will give even beginners an understanding of the basics of writing programs. PHP, it turns out, is not only a great way to generate HTML dynamically, it's a very marketable skill. Web fundamentals like HTTP, HTML form variables, and managing session information using no less than four different techniques are explained thoroughly and effectively. You also find out how to install PHP and other tools on your system, with the assistance of plenty of screen shots.
That's not to say that this book will cramp the style of more experienced developers. Some chapters delve into such important and advanced topics as database programming (with MySQL) and PHP's support for XML. One standout section demystifies the new support for objects and classes in PHP4. Basic topics like managing files and directories on the server, plus graphics processing, are addressed, of course, and a nifty sample program shows you how to build a Web-based text editor. Except for the final case study, a "URL directory manager" (akin to Yahoo) that is rather specialised, the examples are spot on, illustrating everyday programming tasks. You will also learn to generate e-mail with PHP, certainly a valuable skill to have.
The appendix lists several hundred PHP functions in over 50 pages--a handy and useful feature. In all, Beginning PHP4 provides a strong choice for learning about one of today's most powerful and easy-to-use scripting languages. It is concise, fast-moving and thoroughly approachable. --Richard Dragan [via]