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Название: Programming PHP
Авторы: Lerdorf R., Tatroe K.
This book does exactly what I believe it is intended to do; Teach a new PHP programmer the basic syntax of the language and give insight into PHP's more language specific features. Having used PHP before there were a two main things I was looking for in this book.
The first of these was Readability. There are two very different ways to read this book. The first is to just go through it as if it were a novel. For someone who is completely new to the language, this would be the ideal method as it steps through the different parts of the language, gradually increasing in difficulty and complexity as you go. However, my main problem with this is found in the later chapters, where the topics turn from the language itself to very specific tasks and libraries. Of course it's nice to know that PHP has the capability to write PDF files, but I don't think that should be a part of this book. It isn't standard by any means and for someone like myself, if I wasn't already experienced in PHP I would still feel like it could be space better used in this otherwise great book.
The other way to go through the book is to simply search what you are looking for. I read this book mainly to refresh myself on some of the concepts and syntax of the language, and was able to do just that in a timely fashion. If there is something you're specifically looking for, it can be found relatively quickly. Sometimes the progression of topics within a chapter can seem a little out of order, but the chapters are short and concise enough to where this isn't really a problem.
The second important factor was the actual content of the book. As far as reading the descriptions of what the code does and how it all works, I thought it was well written and would be sufficient who has had experience in another language. Based on a few of the other reviews I looked at of this book, I will have to agree that some of the code does not perhaps use the best standards. However, that's not the purpose of this book. Sometimes the most complex and efficient solution is not the best for teaching and explaining. I'd much rather see some basic code structure repeated five times in a block than have to decipher some complex for loop to achieve a menial task.
Aside from the style of the code though, my only real concern is with the code relating to the specific extensions, which I really don't feel belong. Other than this though, each section of code is clearly explained by the text preceding and is written in a manner clear enough for a novice in the field and language to understand.