This book caught my eye recently because there was a chapter in it which talks about Search Engines. I’ve been looking at building a spider which can crawl a website and analyse SEO information for me, but wasn’t sure how to go about doing it.
Written by Timothy Boronczyk with help from Martin E. Psinas, this book didn’t really go much into depth on building a web spider/crawler, nor provide me with any major new information. But, it does give some very practical real world advice in building those commonly used application projects.
This is not your standard PHP language book, which talks about the syntax, the code structure etc. It assumes you already know all that, and quickly brings you into how to put together an application, using objects, database calls, and the mass library of PHP functions.
This book presents presents 12 PHP projects that anyone can use/reuse/extend anyway they wish. The first chapter starts off with User Registration, which is one of the most common functionality any PHP project will likely to need. Other projects include, Mailing Lists, Personal Calendars, Community Forums, Photo Albums, News/Blogs systems, and many more. It even touches on AJAX in the form of an AJAX File Manager.
The basic structure of the book was well thought out. One chapter builds from the previous chapter. Components developed from previous chapters are reused in subsequent projects. This reinforces to the reader on how programming codes are reused, and how to build common routines and where to store them. This is probably the best lesson this book teaches.
But, don’t expect the projects from this book to be ready to go live on a production website. The projects are there to give the reader some sense of how a proper web project can be pieced together.
With regards to my own Web Crawler project, this book introduces web page fetching using CURL and parsing them using SimpleXML which, unfortunately were not really what I was looking for, since I know how to do those things already. I was hoping it would does cover how to automatically follow links effectively which what a crawler is suppose to do. And, I was looking to find out more about how to efficiently run a crawler using process controls, ie multi-thread processes.
In other words, don’t expect to build the next Google with this book, or the next Amazon, or the next Worldpress for that matter.
That said, I think there’s nothing like learning by doing, and this book is a recommend to PHP beginners who wants to tackle real PHP projects. Stuff like User Registration, Photo Gallery, Shopping Carts are some of the most commonly asked ‘how-tos’ for many new PHP developers and this book definately delivers in that aspect.
Personally, I did find some useful tips and suggestions but for more advance PHP, you’ll be better off looking elsewhere to put your money into.