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on 15 December 2009
I've been fiddling with PHP for more months than I care to admit to and I really wish I'd read this book BEFORE starting that. I also own Mr Vaswani's "How to Do Everything with PHP & MySQL" and had leapt straight into the middle of that book, trying to do my own thing with chunks of code from the book before I really understood what they were doing. To be fair, the code in both these books is really well annotated so that approach worked out successfully. I'm doing considerably better by working through PHP: A BEGINNER'S GUIDE (Beginner's Guides (McGraw-Hill)) from start to finish though. It's written in a way that you can dip in and out of different bits of it but it works particularly well if you go through it from the first to last chapters too.

What makes Mr V's writing work so well, in my opinion, is that he's got the balance between dry technical content and humour pretty much perfectly balanced. It seems to me that, modern technical writing, about topics like this, seems to veer to one extreme or another. The author either puts so much focus on filling their tome with accurate and worthy technical content that you need to keep pinching yourself to stay awake as you slog your way through it, or they spend ages trying to be funny and you end up skipping through bits to try and quickly get what you need to know out from amongst the jokes. Mr V seems to steer between these extreme very successfully. This book is very readable. It's written in an empathic manner, where it's obvious that the author has thought about which bits you, the reader, are likely to have found easy or difficult. You'd need to be made of wood not to crack a smile whilst reading this PHP book but the humour rarely gets in the way of learning the code.

There are masses of examples in the book, several of which I've adapted, to great effect for various projects. I've got several books where I've worked through the examples only to find that it's really hard to adapt them to do anything other than what they did originally. The opposite appears to be the case with this and the recommended additional reading, mentioned within the book, is well thought out too.

If you're relatively new to PHP and are torn between buying this, or another PHP book - buy this one.
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VINE VOICEon 7 May 2011
You will find this book excellent if you are a beginner. I first bought 'PHP 6 and MySQL 5' ny Larry Ullman because I wanted to do mkore. However it suddenly dawned on me that I was biting more than I can chew. I just could not understand the book because it assumed that I already had the basics of PHP programming. So I lowered myself and purchased this book. It taught me PHP from the ground up. The book's source code can be downloded from the support website.

Each chapter starts with the basics and towards the end it delves into real-world projects that apply some of the knowledge you have learnt. At the end of the chapter you find more projects to test how well you can apply what you have learnt. The solutions are provided at the back of the book. There are so many practical projects which are fully answered at the back. These are real world such as averaging marks in a class, Age calculator, Creating a population database. Through the projects the Author shows you how to apply arrays, variables, functions and strings in real world programming. Before I got this book, I had a hard time understanding variable scope in terms of functions.

If you are a beginner, this is your book. I don't think it will be useful for those who are already confortable in programming. Now I am using more advanced books, thanks to this book, I am passed PHP basics.

Get in now if you want to learn PHP fast and painless.
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on 26 October 2010
I already had knowledge of HTML and CSS, however was completely new to PHP. I new nothing about it what so ever. This book is brilliant as it starts right from the beginning and builds your knowledge up. It uses helpful examples that you can follow and do yourself. I am now able to build rather a lot in PHP, including a contact form for my website.

One downside of it is that before you start you have to download apache/php on your computer, this is fine for those with windows machines as there is a chapter at the back showing you how to do this, however I have a mac so it didnt work for me, I therefore used the internet to learn this and this was fine. I still rate the book 5 star as it really was brilliant!

Definately a must buy for anyone seeking to learn php!
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on 11 September 2010
A fantastic book! Only a few chapters in but already I have a good understanding of php. The book breaks down every part of the coding process so you can build your knowledge effortlessly and quickly. A top guide and I recommend to all!
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on 21 January 2013
It's cool, it teaches you PHP, it's boring too though.
lots of math, and not very inspired tutorials.
but it does the job.
in a slightly boring straightforward way which is fine if you like that kind of thing.
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on 2 September 2013
A very easy to read starter for PHP beginners. Written as a series of tutorials, so not so good as a reference, but I've been able to write some quite nice applications using this book and the online PHP manual. The book tends to jump about a bit, e.g. in Chapter 4 "Working with Arrays", it suddenly starts to discuss "Working with Dates and Times", then there is more about "Working with Dates" in Chapter 11 "Securing PHP". So you need to search for the information you need, at times. Still, overall I would recommend this book for beginners.
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on 27 May 2013
This book presents the information in a logical and progressive manner which is useful for the novice php programmer.
The appendix on setting up your own php server was especially useful, enabling web pages to be viewed and debugged without having to go on-line.
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on 20 April 2012
The installation guide is utterly useless given that none of the diagrams look anything like the actual installations. Most of the parts of files that the book tells you to edit aren't actually there. This is obviously already incredibly out of date given that other reviewers didn't have this problem. Support from the book's site would be so useful with perhaps updated download links and uploaded installation instructions but the site provides none of this. I have been battling with this for about 12 hours now and will keep going, but so far don't hold up much hope. Given that I have ten years experience as a front end coder with some understanding of php already I wouldn't have expected the installation to be as infuriating.

Given that I can't get any of it working on my computer in the first place I can't comment on the rest of the book. It's become a moot point because of the useless installation instructions.
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on 19 January 2013
This has some good information and it enables you to understand PHP up to a point, but I found too much prior knowledge was assumed and there is a lack of explanation of teh code used as examples. So while I have got some code working, I'm not sure why.
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on 20 January 2013
It's a good comprehensive read, but the content in detail is poorly ordered and phrased.

It needs to range its points better.
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