Wicked Cool PHP: Real-world Scripts That Solve Difficult Problems
Author: William Steinmetz
Publisher: No Starch Press, 2008
Pages: 198
ISBN: 978-1593271732
Rating: 4
Aimed at: Developers already familiar with PHP
Pros: Provides practical answers to faqs, covers PHP configuration
Cons: Relatively slight collection
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

The subtitle of this book “real-world scripts that solve difficult problems” is a little misleading. Many of the problems aren’t particularly difficult to solve but they are often posed as questions on web forums where novice programmers gather. As a result this isn’t a particularly advanced book but it does explain lots of very practical ideas, potential dangers and ways of doing things. You do need to be reasonably knowledgeable about the basics of PHP and this certainly isn’t a book for the complete beginner nor is it in any sense a step-by-step. It covers PHP configuration and security and often takes the time to explain why something should be done in a particular way if only because it’s good style. Many of the solutions are packaged into useable functions although many are so small that this isn’t necessary. The book also isn’t above using scripts that have appeared on the web, with suitable credit, and standard libraries. The final chapter deals with creating an online poll, e-card delivery system and a blog as examples of complete but still fairly small applications. The biggest draw back of the book is that it is very short and this limits the range of recipes that are included and hence the likelihood that it will contain the recipe that makes it all worthwhile to you in particular. However this said, it’s very readable and the selection of recipes is very practical. If you are looking for a book of mostly short but very elegant examples this might be what you need.

<Reviewed in VSJ>