More advanced PHP books

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I've been writing software for over 30 years.  I can read PHP and make
small tweeks to FOSS but I'm not an accomplished PHP developer.  When
I look at FOSS I understand most of what they're doing, but I still
feel like I'm not on top of the game.  To me, PHP syntax is just like
any other with semicolons and curly braces.  The challenge is knowing
what functions are available to populate the mental toolbox, and
knowing the algorithms where good use of code leads to a fast runtime.
I'm completely on top of Java, JavaScript, and C#, but light on C++
for all of the exact same reasons.  PHP is similar, just different.

Given that preamble, can someone recommend books that are beyond the
basics of "What is PHP" and related syntax?  I need something that is
still tutorial, still progressive, building upon basic skills.  Beyond
the Hello World books, most others jump right into more sophisticated
code, so your stuck looking up a lot of functions as part of trying to
understand the algorithms.  Examples of that would include Wicked Cool
PHP and the PHP Cookbook.  I need something between those levels that
treat me as an advanced student rather than as a professional refining
his skills.

I don't want a book that focuses on PHP with Dreamweaver MX, MySQL,
security, AJAX, etc.  I need to delve into the most important or most
used functions and patterns so that I can work with any general
purpose code.  The idea is, I look at PHP code and they do something
"funky".  What is that?  I know I can learn through the school of hard
knows, lookingup every function as I find it, but I've done that with
over 20 other languages and I'd think there Has to be a better way
with as popular as PHP is.

I have downloaded the manual from the website.  But a
reference manual is for reference for someone who is already familiar
functionality, it's not ideal for someone who wants to be fed a
progressively better diet of relevant information.  (And no, I don't
have time to go to college classes.)  As an example of why a reference
manual is inadequate, the ref tells you what a function does, but
rarely about when you should not use it, or how to use it in a secure
and responsible way.  This is what separates amateur hobbiest coders
from the pros, and I'd like the tutelage that an author/mentor can

If any published author out there wants to write a PHP book that fits
the above description, I have Technical Editor credentials with
several mainstream publishers, and would be honored to assist in the
development of such a book.

Thanks for your time. :)

Re: More advanced PHP books

Hmm, no books or just too long of a request?

Re: More advanced PHP books

On 1/7/2011 8:50 PM, Tony Gravagno wrote:
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Not too long of a request - I just don't know of any decent books
matching your desires.

Remove the "x" from my email address
Jerry Stuckle
JDS Computer Training Corp.

Re: More advanced PHP books

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I may have a couple of books bookmarked in my books24x7 account. When
I can remember the credentials, I'll take a look.

However, I think that the reason you are having problems finding such
a book is that you are asking the wrong question. You state: "a
reference manual is for reference for someone who is already familiar
[with the] functionality", but I don't necessarily agree with the last
word. A reference manual shows me the functionality and the syntax
required to use that functionality. What one needs to be familiar with
is the paradigms of programming and a general understanding of
semantics. Once you know that, a reference manual will tell you how to
implement your program in a particular language. If you ar fluent in
oo concepts, the php manual will tell you how to implement those
concepts in php. A c++ manual will tell you how to do it in c++ and a
COBOL manual will tell you likewise in COBOL (although oo COBOL is no
laughing matter).

Re: More advanced PHP books

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About reference manuals, my intent was that there is a rich library of
functions in every language/framework, and the ref is more for going
back and getting details than learning something new from scratch.
That said, I have no problem reading categorized/alphabetically sorted
reference manuals from beginning to end, just to absorb the content.

Beginner books discuss syntax, statements, and common built-in
classes, but rarely go deep into the library.  What I'm looking for is
a book of functions in context, based on the most frequent usage and
increasing complexity.  From there I can refer back to the Reference
manual for details, user contributed examples, etc.  I just don't know
which functions I should focus on as part of my education with the

The same experience applies whether we're talking about PHP, Java, or
the .NET Framework which is absolutely huge.

The traditional approach is to start planning or writing code, say "I
need a function that does X", and start looking under categorized
functions.  Then I would check script sites and forums to see if
someone else has solved the problem, then I would take it upon myself
to just write what I need.  The other common scenario is to learn from
live code by ensuring complete understanding the the use of syntax and
the class libraries being employed.  An advanced tutorial on common
functions would provide the information I need up front so that I can
spend less time hunting and more time coding or learning nuances.

I haven't seen the PHP Cookbook for a while but that's probably close
to fitting my definition.  The Wiked Scripts book is OK but just not

If I had the same expertise in PHP as I do in .NET I'd probably write
the book I'm asking for.  :)

Thanks for the exchanges!

Re: More advanced PHP books


Hi Tony,
as promised here are some of the books that have helped me on my way:

PHP 6 and MySQL 6 Bible
by Steve Suehring, Tim Converse and Joyce Park
John Wiley & Sons 2009 (912 pages) Citation

HTML for the Business Developer: with JavaServer Pages, PHP, ASP.NET,
CGI, and JavaScript
by Kevin Forsythe and Laura Ubelhor
MC Press 2008 (626 pages) Citation

PHP & MySQL Everyday Apps for Dummies
by Janet Valade
John Wiley & Sons 2005 (458 pages) Citation

Re: More advanced PHP books

Sincere thanks - I'll check them out.

I've been hoping for books that didn't combine PHP with other topics.
But if the material I need is in books like this, I won't argue with
the presentation. :)


Captain Paralytic wrote:

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Re: More advanced PHP books

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I know you were, but very little is done with PHP alone. It is almost
always used with other things to create applications.

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