Author: Larry Ullman
Publisher: Peachpit Press, 2009
Aimed at: Beginners with no previous knowledge of programming
Pros: A well paced introduction
Cons: Doesn't cover anything that is even slightly advanced
Reviewed by: Mike James
Larry Ullman's Visual QuickStart Guide to PHP has reached its third edition and it's good – but only if you are a complete beginner. PHP is an open source web page scripting language that works with almost any web server. It is easy to use and sophisticated in the sense that it is a fully object-oriented language.
This particular book ignores the sophisticated aspects of PHP including object orientation and "this topic is beyond the scope of this book" is a phrase that you will discover occurs often. As long as you can live with this repetition then this book should provide you with a good introduction to PHP. It starts from the very basics of programming and works its way up to the point where you should be able to do some useful things within a web page.
It covers the fundamentals of using MySQL and using databases and files within web pages but stops short of anything really advanced. If you can create a web page and want to learn how to create dynamic or databased web pages then this is an excellent place to start. The explanations are slow and patient and the examples are usually good but occasionally they could be simpler and clearer.
The third edition has been updated to PHP 6 with its improved support for handling any language in a Web site. Some outdated and insecure features have been removed giving way to new functions and the lastest and more efficient ways to achieving things.
A recommended book if you are beginner with no previous knowledge of programming.