Building PHP Applications with Symfony, CakePHP, and Zend Framework Paperback – 4 Mar 2011
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From the Back Cover
The first unbiased comparison of the three leading PHP frameworks
Although it′s relatively easy to learn how to use a single PHP framework to produce dynamic web pages, it′s not easy to decide which of the three major web application frameworks will best suit your needs. To that end, this resource offers you an unbiased, in–depth comparison of the three most popular open source frameworks: Symfony, CakePHP, and Zend Framework. The authors present a detailed examination of the similarities and differences of the three frameworks, providing similar examples and tasks for each framework so that you can decide for yourself which framework is right for you.
Building PHP Applications with Symfony, CakePHP, and Zend Framework:
Presents an invaluable comparative approach to the pros and cons of Symfony, CakePHP, and Zend Framework and shows you how to solve problems using each of them
Addresses the standard elements used in common tasks such as forms, mailing, searching, security, and templates
Explores advanced features such as AJAX, plug–ins, Web Services, content management services, and internationalization
Demonstrates how to use various testing tools for quality assurance and increasing performance
Looks at younger, up–and–coming frameworks such as CodeIgniter, Lithium, and Agavi
Wrox guides are crafted to make learning programming languages and technologies easier than you think. Written by programmers for programmers, they provide a structured, tutorial format that will guide you through all the techniques involved.
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About the Author
Bartosz Porebski is a video game, web application, and C++ software developer. He works as Brain–Computer Interface researcher and lecturer at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland.
Karol Przystalski, MSc, is Software Quality Engineer at Sabre Holdings and a PhD student at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. He has worked with Symfony since its earliest versions and has written a book about this framework.
Leszek Nowak has years of development experience with the CakePHP, CodeIgniter, and Django frameworks. He also works with 3D graphics and pattern recognition at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland.
Top customer reviews
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I recommend it to several types of readers, including those - like me - who have not previously used frameworks and who would like to understand why frameworks are useful, to explore the differences involved in transitioning to a PHP framework and to understand what advantages and disadvantages they would get from using various different frameworks.
For me, the book has proved immensely valuable. Last year we needed to redevelop a very complex commercial web application. The application had been built in 2006 in an old language, so the critical decisions for us were: (a) which languages (PHP? Ruby? Python?) would best suit the new application, (b) whether we should we use a framework, and (c) if we needed a framework, then which one should it be? I'd looked everywhere for answers to the latter two questions, without success ... until I found this outstanding book.
Right from the first chapter the book was tackling the difficult questions - such as the circumstances in which a framework would or would not be suitable. This is not a trivial question!
By Chapter 3 the book was delving into questions that I had long wanted to understand - such as how the frameworks interact with databases (e.g. via the Object Relational Mapping) and how to connect to existing databases using the different frameworks.
Chapter 4 then applied the theory from Chapter 3 by showing how to build a small application (an address book) in practice, using each of the three frameworks. Each chapter from then on progressively revealed more and more about the practical differences between the three frameworks in relation to very specific issues - e.g. forms, web services, etc, etc.
Why is this book so interesting?
Most of the developers I know are already experienced developers who are already committed to a particular language+framework (usually Ruby on Rails), who develop relatively simply consumer-oriented site and who are not especially interested in comparing different frameworks. They've learned to code using frameworks, and can knock up websites very quickly using their preferred tools.
But if - like me - you have no experience in using frameworks, but you are building applications for enterprise clients and need to know where to start with frameworks, then this book is very useful.
In my own case, I'd started building complex web-based applications many years ago - long before frameworks existed, when each line of code was written by hand and where each file was set up from scratch. For me, the whole concept of frameworks - generating lots of code and dozens of files at the click of a button - was foreign! Even after I'd learned to build basic Ruby on Rails applications, there was still a vast chasm between the applications I could see being built on frameworks .... and the complex, database-heavy, commercial web applications I'd built myself. I was therefore at a complete loss to know whether the applications I was building were remotely suitable to the framework approach. No-one I asked had any idea, and most people didn't even understand the question!
Enter this excellent book - which answered many of my questions and began to explain the key differences. It didn't answer all the questions, but at least it provided the intellectual scaffolding for me to understand the key differences between the frameworks and the sorts of issues I would need to consider further. Overall, the information in this book was very valuable to me ... I only wish I'd found the book a couple of years earlier!
Postscript: After reading this book and then reading further afield, I decided that NONE of the frameworks examined would meet our needs. I then did a lot more reading, and ended up choosing the Yii framework instead (which we are very happy with so far). Notwithstanding this result, this thorough and careful book remained very useful in getting me to this conclusion.
For my purposes, more effort should have gone into explaining the code as it relates to MVC, but the book either assumes you know a lot about it already, or the authors know this stuff so well that it's hard for them to explain nuts and bolts of MVC code on a rudimentary level.
If someone is an advanced MVC developer, perhaps it's more useful, but it did not explain the MVC conventions thoroughly enough to make it understandable for me. For starting anew with MVC, I'd recommend the CodeIgniter online tutorials.
I think the best way to learn a framework is through the online documentation. And doing web searches.
The book walks you through many features of a modern PHP application. It has chapters on testing, and internationalization, which is something not all recent publications take into consideration. While reading, sooner or later you'll probably want to focus on one of the frameworks, and you can easily skip the other ones. What's good is that the book offers you choice, and you can get an actual feel of how a different framework looks from the inside out, without having to spend too much time going too deep into something you would not actually need.
Apart from the implementation details the book also contains the theory necessary to grasp the actual idea behind the code, like design patterns or some database theory. The code's also conveniently accessible from the publishers website, so it's easier to try it "on".
Overall I give it thumbs up, and recommend it to you if you want to start developing your own applications in any of the tree frameworks. And if you are already using one of them, to see what the other two are up to.
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