PHP in Action

Author: Dagfinn Reiersol, Marcus Baker & Chris Shiflett
Publisher: Manning, 2007
Pages: 525
ISBN: 978-1932394757
Aimed at: Experienced programmers
Rating: 4
Pros: Advanced treatment of OO concepts
Cons: Doesn’t introduce PHP
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

This isn’t a beginner’s book on PHP – the clue is in the subtitle “Objects, Design, Agility”. It deals with many theoretical ideas concerning object-oriented programming, design in general and patterns in particular. It doesn’t really introduce PHP from first principles and moves very rapidly through different aspects of theory to the details of serving web pages and patterns for web interfaces. To get anything at all from this book you not only have to be a reasonably competent programmer, not necessarily in PHP, but a reasonably intelligent one as It does spend time explaining and motivating all manner of modern, trendy even, programming methodologies. The ideas are mostly about objects and object-oriented philosophy but you will find mention of most other “hot” topics including, aspect-oriented design even if PHP isn’t the ideal language to express or demonstrate these ideas.

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It doesn’t spoon feed with simple examples and simplified explanations – it seems to expect you to do some work to gain the reward of understanding. As long as you aren’t a beginner you can pick up PHP as you go, but in many ways PHP is just a vehicle used to explain deeper concepts. Often object-oriented ideas are introduced by comparing how PHP implements some feature as compared to Java. So it does help if you have some passing acquaintance with Java but it’s not essential. Overall the book is well written with lots of interesting asides and almost personal comments – it’s fairly easy reading. The final verdict has to reflect the fact that this is an advanced book that happens to have picked on PHP as a language to use rather than dealing with the specifics of the language. It’s a good book if you are ready and willing to read it.

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Supercharged JavaScript Graphics

Author: Raffaele Cecco
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pages: 280
ISBN: 978-1449393632
Aimed at: Intermediate JavaScript programmers
Rating: 5
Pros: Well written and full of useful and sensible discussions
Cons: Only minor criticisms
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

Ian's verdict in October was "probably the best book I have re [ ... ]



Good Math

Author: Mark C. Chu-Carroll
Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf
Pages: 250
ISBN: 978-1937785338
Audience: Geeks
Rating: 4.8
Reviewer: Mike James

Math - it's essential and it isn't the same thing as arithmetic or even algebra. Can it be explained without leaning too heavily on either?


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