Recommendaitons for PHP books? January 24, 2002 10:55 AM   Subscribe

When writing a weblog in PHP, one must learn PHP. Which book should a beginner pick up for the best results? Matt suggested Julie Meloni's book but it's currently unavailable here. So it's down to either the Wrox book, the SAMS book or the Osborne book. Any suggestions? Or other resources?
posted by lostbyanecho to General Weblog-Related at 10:55 AM (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

it's currently unavailable here

Where are you at? Amazon says it can ship it within 24hrs anywhere.

Any suggestions? Or other resources? has everything you'll ever need, but in a documentation sort of way, not in a "easily explained, lead you through php" sort of way

Also, if you want a premade, php/mysql system that you can hack later on when you get more php knowledge, try out b2.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:03 AM on January 24, 2002

The online documentation is excellent at

and it has a links section too. A lot of which I checked out when I was starting PHP.

Sorry, not sure about books though.
posted by selton at 11:07 AM on January 24, 2002

if your a beginning programmer the PHP bible is pretty good, but not if you already know programming concepts and just need to learn the php functions.

any oreilly or wrox book is valuable resource. is a great site.
posted by danOstuporStar at 11:38 AM on January 24, 2002

Assuming you know some programming (esp. Perl or C), the docs at are all you need. Really. Be sure to check the "User Contributed Notes" under each function for great tips and snippets.

If you don't know some other programming language, I'd recommend the SAMs book.

If you're going to use MySQL with that, definitely get the DeBois MySQL book. It's pure gold. 75% of your weblog will be the queries anyway, not the PHP.

I really like the tutorials at, especially this one:

posted by y6y6y6 at 11:51 AM on January 24, 2002

I agree that manual & will be what you will mostly refer to. There's also evolt, weberdev, PHP code exchange, &
posted by riffola at 12:35 PM on January 24, 2002

It might be redundant, but the Zend site itself is rapidly becoming a great resource.
posted by anildash at 12:53 PM on January 24, 2002

I'm really shocked and appalled that O'Reilly doesn't have a full-fledged PHP book, just a pocket reference. But they do have ASP and VBScript books. Go figure.
posted by kindall at 2:20 PM on January 24, 2002

Funny. At this moment I'm taking a break from banging through SAMS "PHP and MySQL Web Development". It's a fairly comprehensive, beginner-to-intermediate resource for php--but it's probably a little heavier on the database stuff than you'd need for a weblog. I'm finding it a little hairy, but I don't have a background in programming. Plus, I have a tendency to skip over all the boring stuff between the examples. :-)
posted by jpoulos at 2:42 PM on January 24, 2002

I do PHP/Mysql web dev professionally.

I keep two MySQL books (one by NewRiders, one by PHPTR, in the Core series) and the PHP Bible by my side at all times.
I would reccomend the PHPBible simply for its end-of-section summary of the functions. As it finishes describing a set of functions, there's a quick reference guide that saved me hours and hours of frustration and searching when I was first learning. I wish O'Reilly books had this feature.

One book that I will warn everyone away from is the PHP Developer's Cookbook. It's totally based around a set of tools that they give you, which are poorly written to begin with. (Everybody should create a set of portable code libraries that do the things they use the most, that don't have code-level functions... but this code should be cleaned up a lot and should be really slim and quick.)
posted by SpecialK at 3:29 PM on January 24, 2002

Oh yeah, and I'll 3rd the notion that PHPBuilder is an excellent reference.

Here's another, the YAPF - a PHP FAQ. It was written and filled by a guy named Vincent, who you'll find being consulted a lot as -the- guru on PHPBuilder.
posted by SpecialK at 3:34 PM on January 24, 2002

jpoulos beat me to it. The PHP/ MySQL book is a great tool. However, it launches right into examples and kinda assumes you understand scripting syntax (variables types, etc.). There's nothing wrong with the getting the cheap Peachpit Press starter book to see if a language is for you and then progressing onto meatier stuff.
posted by yerfatma at 4:37 PM on January 24, 2002

On the contrary, I like the PHP Developer's Cookbook. It's given me a lot of ideas towards solving problems, and the entire book isn't based around the authors' code library. A good portion of it is based on Sterling's CURL addon and the sablotron xml/xsl module though.

Then again I do see your point; I'm also a seasoned PHP Ninja and am able to pick out the useful bits and pieces, while a newcomer using the Developer's Cookbook might be confused when stuff doesn't work.
posted by tomorama at 6:55 PM on January 24, 2002

Thanks for all the help, I'm currently in Indonesia and ordering via Amazon would take a LOT longer than 24 hours. I'm not too keen on the local postal service either. A lot of my mail has not reached me in the past 6 months or so.

I'm a beginner at programming fullstop. So I have no prior experience in Perl...perhaps very little C++ so I have to turn to one of those beginner books previously mentioned.

The books I mentioned are the only ones currently available here so it probably will be one of those. I've heard many good things about the Wrox book but it's a little on the expensive side. The other two (SAMS/Osborne) are cheaper but the reviews have been less kind.

Net resources will probably be useful a lot later, once I get the core knowledge down. Heh - I must make you programming wizards cringe.
posted by lostbyanecho at 7:49 PM on January 24, 2002

The Wrox series are pretty good. I was actually asked to be an author for one of them. I passed that up though, and yes, I know I'm a bonehead.
posted by tomorama at 8:39 PM on January 24, 2002

thanks for the tip on where to find more wisdom from the venerable vincent, SpecialK.
posted by danOstuporStar at 5:24 AM on January 25, 2002 is the definitive online reference. as for print, wait for the o'reilly php book coming out this spring.
posted by manero at 4:01 PM on January 25, 2002

I have just about every php book in existance on my shelf here at work, and I can say with out a doubt that Core PHP is without a doubt the best. Runner up to that would be Programming PHP3 Browser Based Applications, which gives you a pretty damn good outline of how to write applications in php, not just simple scripts. It's much more of a software engineering book than just a regular php manual. The only downside is it's php3 only, so it doesn't include any of the new php4 functions, such as session handling, pdflib, curllib, et all.

posted by SweetJesus at 10:40 AM on January 26, 2002

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