Wez Furlong received a copy of PHP: The Good Parts as a thank you for his participation as a technical reviewer, and loaned it to me for a read. After reading it, I wanted to put together a brief review of the book for those who might be interested in this new title from O’Reilly.
My overall impression of the book was disappointment. To some degree I was hoping for a book that would show me special parts of PHP that perhaps I had overlooked; instead, the book focuses on a basic introduction to PHP, and one that isn’t very detailed in the first place. The book’s focus as an introduction also fails to teach basic programming concepts, meaning that non-programmers will not find the book to be useful.
I also struggled with the fact that the book contained statements that, while not patently false, failed to accurately express the realities of the PHP environment. For example, one part of the book states that sessions do not rely on cookies; while this is technically true, I haven’t seen a session implementation in a long time that doesn’t rely on session cookies being passed to the user. The security section is also particularly lacking, focusing on things like XSS and escaping output, but doesn’t focus in detail on session hijacking. Additionally, the book makes no mention of frameworks, even though they are the state of PHP development today (even though the book promotes Zend Studio).
I think that Peter MacIntyre means well and is certainly a smart individual with a lot of great things to say, and writing a book is by no means easy (I’m doing it right now myself). That being said, I feel as though this book is only average, and would find it difficult to recommend to others.
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