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Without this book I would have spent a lot of time submitting questions to mailing lists and waiting for answers. For example, if; elseif; else; is explained and an example is provided that makes it so easy to understand, the first time I used it it worked perfectly first time. This is a fairly basic example, but the book contains so many useful examples and real- useable ones too. The important thing is, I had never used if,elseif,else before to build a dynamic web page, and after reading the example in this book, it worked FIRST TIME!
As a result of this book being on my desk for a week I have transformed one site from a mass of pages to an application with a smaller number of actual pages that respond to users' clicks appropriately - thanks to a better understanding of PHP.
Tie in the examples in this book with the stability of the UNIX server, mySQL and PHP3 and you're on to a winner.
If you even think you need this book, I would say buy it! But then, the choice is yours.
Somehow Mr Atkinson weaves straight, comprehensive information directly into an interesting prose. The reference sections have been thorough enough for me to get my work done without questions going unanswered.
With comprehensive coverage of the major database management systems available you will be able to confidently put together your DBMS powered Web Site in no time.
My only suggestion for the third edition would be a more comprehensive index to the function reference sections as you sometimes have to guess how a function would be classified before you can identify it.
Altogether a very good package from Leon Atkinson, who is a active contributor to the PHP movement.
Note to the Author: What we need now is a cook book!
It's not arid in the way that many programming books seem to be and it doesn't patronise you either in the way many American texts seem to want to do. If you're a complete newbie to the language as I once was and you're looking to buy one book and one book alone on PHP, buy this one.
Also a lot of the examples mentioned didn't work on my computer.
If it had a better chapter on MySql then I'd keep it. But I'm afraid it's going back.
This is however *ideal* for the beginner who has never used PHP.