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on 3 October 2009
Well written, well organised, clear, precise - not full of useless waffle like many guides - over 900 pages of solid information. I can highly recommend this book for beginners and experienced programmers.

I bought the book to help me quickly learn PHP for web development (I'm an experience programmer in other languages). I found the book to be very useful; it doesn't stop with simplistic basics, but discusses real development issues, like security for example. Also, although I am trained and experienced in SQL databases, I found the information provided for SQL syntax and using MYSQL with PHP pages clear and informative. I think this section would be especially useful for anyone new to SQL.
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on 7 October 2011
I have just bought the 4th edition after using the 1st edition for years. I referred to the old book at least a couple of times a week and the new one is even better; bringing it up to date with PHP 5.3 and MySQL 5.1 but also adding more detail about things like security and AJAX. The new book is 100 pages bigger than the 1st edition.

For me this book is perfect, I'm an experienced programmer but not a PHP guru and I find the level about right. I mostly look up PHP functions etc online but if I need an explanation about where and why I might use this function I go to the book.

If you are not a total beginner and want one good PHP book I would recommend this one.
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on 15 November 2013
I'd got past beginner level with PHP, and I was looking for a book to take me further. This is definitely it. It covers PHP basics very quickly and efficiently – great as a refresher, but I'm not sure how helpful it would be for a novice. Probably not a problem if you're familiar with JavaScript etc. The style is clean and comprehendible, the exercise files are easy to find and download (this can be a problem with other books).
It's very thick, and the text is quite small – I wound up buying the Kindle version, too, for portability and legibility. Still, in the morass of PHP books out there, this one delivers the goods.
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on 19 October 2015
I've only really skimmed through the book so far, but already I feel this is the best book I could have gone for as someone who has dabbled in PHP but would like to understand better and code better. It gives lots of information on the background of PHP without going on too much about it and the examples feel more useful than most examples I come across in coding books.

Small niggles - the formatting in the kindle version is not great. Bullet points display as an "n" but while annoying you can ignore. I suspect the paperback version is better but I don't like cluttering up the bookcase with books that will be out of date in a few years, which is the case with most tech books.

It's also a bit confusing when it refers to the CD - since obviously there is no CD with the Kindle version - for those as confused as I was, you need to go to "informit.com" and create an account (I'm not sure if you need to use your amazon email to signup for this to work but that's the one I used). Once you have created an account and are logged in search for the book. Just under the description and share icons is a link "register your product" click on that. It auto filled the form for me and then I clicked "submit". You will then have a link to "Access Bonus Content" this has a zip file with all the source code from the examples within.
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on 1 June 2011
I have finally managed to make it through the first 2 chapters. What i learnt in those first 2 chapters covered up to 120-130 pages of the the Sams PHP, MySql and Apache book. I have found the book to be a little challenging in those 2 chapters and have decided to step down a notch to Larry Ullman's PHP 6 and MySql 5 book. The problem i found was that some of the syntax used was not clearly explained so i was sat there thinking why is that there, then continually referring to websites to understand why.

An example of this is in this example code.

echo "<tr>
<td align=\"right\">".$distance."</td>
<td align=\"right\">".($distance/10)."</td>
</tr>\n";

There is no explanation why the backslash is used, but after reading Larry's book, which this is covered on page 6, i now know it's an escape.

On a positive note this book's examples are really useful and once i have learnt the basics a bit more i will be returning to the book to further advance my knowledge and use the examples in my project sites.

My advice is try a simpler book first if your are new to PHP and use this book to build upon that knowledge.
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on 15 June 2010
This book states that it is suitable for beginners yet it clearly assumes some previous knowledge of php. 30 pages in I find myself looking blankly at the page all to frequently having been baffled at what seems like a soup of meaningless words. I will be keeping this book as it is fairly well written and seems quite comprehensive, I look forward to getting back into it after I find a book that can hold my hand whilst I take baby steps.
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on 4 October 2009
Right - everything I have read in the chapters in this book has been well explained and had good accompanying examples. Except for the installation on Mac. This however is ubiquitos as I found out on my search so I can't slate the book for that, it seems everyone who should have it right had it wrong when i was looking. I eventually cobbled together the right thing taking bits from a few guides. If you are using a pc I would imagine there will be no problem. Though only half way through i am still happy to recommend it despite the installation problems with mysql.
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on 15 June 2012
A perfect book for an introduction to mysql and php based web design. This book not only explains the basics of mysql and php but gives working examples broken down in stages with clear explanations. This is probably the best introduction to php and mysql you can buy
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on 27 April 2012
Very pleased with the book the only thing it arrived a bit late with respect to the arrival day. Overall worth buying it. I strongly recommend it to all CMS designers and Joomla web developers.
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on 20 February 2011
When I read throught this book I was favourably impressed as it seemed to cover everything I wanted to know. I thought it was the bee's knees until I actually started to use it. I have done hobby programming in C, assembler and Java but no web programming. The first snag came when following the installation instructions for PHP on Windows. I quote from page 903:

"Now follow these steps:

1. In the main directory, you will see a file called php.exe and one called php5ts.dll. You need these files to run PHP as a CGI. If you want to run it as a SAPI module instead, you can use the relevant DLL file for your web server: php5apache2_2.dll in this case.

The SAPI modules are faster and easier to secure; the CGI version allows you to run PHP from the command line. Again, the choice is up to you."

Do you see anything wrong with step 1? Well, there is no step! There is no instruction given. There is some information but they do not tell you what to do with it. I decided to ignore it and proceed with the installation and was successful to the extent that the test.php script which calls phpinfo() actually worked.

So I went back to page 14 and typed in the sample application consisting of orderform.html and processorder.php. The scripts would not work; Firefox could not find processorder.php. Apparently the scripts have to be saved in a particular directory but the book does not tell you that! Returning to the installation instructions, on page 904 I found a reference to the doc_root directive which suggested to me that maybe my scripts should be saved in htdocs. But when I tried this I got a "permission denied" error from Windows. I wiped the software off, installed EasyPHP and tried out the sample application again using the files on the book's CD. That did not work either; Firefox found the php script but displayed the source rather than the output. By now the cloud of uncertainty in my mind which formed at "Step 1" above had grown to a thick fog. I went online and found the internet littered with plaintive calls for help from people with the same problems but alas no clear answers.

So I am very disappointed; installation and configuration are of crucial importance and obviously cause problems for a lot of people. The book gives 9 or 10 pages of instructions on compiling and installing from source for Linux but anyone who wants to do this probably does not need these pages so I feel it should really give more help with basics such as where to save your scripts.
This book may well be a gold mine of information but for me the entrance has caved-in. If I ever get past the entrance then I may give it a higher rating.
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