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Book Review: PHP Team Development

A few weeks ago, Packt Publishing sent me a review copy of PHP Team Development. This free copy of the book was sent to me just in time for my vacation, and I had a chance to read it.

Unfortunately, I was largely disappointed by this book. I join in many of the comments by Lorna Jane in the book’s writing, and I would add in that much of the text seemed simple. The author is trying to do too much, as well, in focusing on a number of topics that have sparked volumes in and of themselves (Agile programming, anyone?).

The book does make a good beginner book, but is not very telling for anyone that is using PHP and has been doing so a while. It seems to be more a collection of best practices that you should learn as a junior developer than a book for anyone who is actually trying to manage a team. I’d give it to a beginner but not to an advanced developer.

One of my biggest complaints is also that the author takes a firm position without exploring the other options available. Agile programming is not considered to be the One True Way in PHP; far from it. There are lots of development options in PHP (Test-Driven Development being one of them that I prefer), and I think that this is severely lacking. In fact, unit testing isn’t even in the index, even though the description says testing is discussed. This is a major faux pas.

The book also focuses heavily on MVC as the design pattern to Solve All Your Problems ™. While MVC has many uses, it is not the be-all pattern for every problem. This strikes me as a design pattern fallacy and flaw that I’d like to see corrected in future releases.

As a final note, the book is also a paltry 161 pages long, which is not nearly enough to cover the material that the author is trying to cover in any sort of useful detail, and certainly not worth the $32 price, at least to me. I was disappointed getting this book in the mail, and this was a review copy; I cannot imagine if I had spent my money on it.

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