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December 19, 2005

PHP Hacks: Stretch Your Apps to See How Far PHP Can Take You

Sebastopol, CA--Programmers love its flexibility and speed; designers love its accessibility and convenience. When it comes to creating web sites, the PHP scripting language is hot. And it shows: PHP is currently used on more than nineteen million web sites, surpassing even Microsoft's ASP.NET technology in popularity.

As PHP matures, it steadily advances towards more enterprise level applications.Hence, the skill set required of those working with PHP becomes more sophisticated.

"PHP looks pretty simple on the surface but that hides a very powerful system," says Jack Herrington, author of the new PHP Hacks (O'Reilly, US $29.95). "PHP has a reputation for being a 'hacky' language, and that is in some ways deserved, but it's not indicative of what can be done with PHP. In this book, I wanted to stretch PHP in a bunch of different directions to show just how far you can go."

Herrington's new book shows PHP developers how to take their PHP applications to a higher level of sophistication and style. PHP's popularity has spawned dozens of PHP books, but PHP Hacks is the only book on the market that takes the language beyond traditional web programming and into mapping, graphing, and multimedia. From adding new front-facing features like graphing, flash, instant messenger, and email access to back-end hacks that show how to create PHP applications that are easy to maintain and extend, "PHP Hacks" delivers hands-on tools for enhancing PHP applications.

"This is more than an entry-level PHP book," says Herrington. "This isn't about learning the syntax. It's about taking your PHP application and skill set to the next level."

PHP Hacks is a collection of 100 individual hacks; you don't need to wade through pages of theory and lead-in; the Hacks books are designed for dipping--go straight to the hack you need. The hacks include tips, warnings, and expertly written code.

The author carefully selected the hacks every PHP developer needs and some they probably haven't even thought of. For example, code generation--a technique for automatically writing code for an application from a business level specification-- can reduce the time to write web applications by up to sixty percent. It's covered at a practical level in several hacks in the book. With these hacks at hand, developers will improve their database design, automate application testing, and employ design patterns in their PHP scripts and classes.

But once they've developed all the robust, practical applications on their to-do lists, PHP developers will want to play, and Herrington has a rich offering of nifty techniques. Readers will see how to upgrade their web interfaces with tabs, stickies, pop ups, and calendars. Then, they'll learn to integrate web sites with Google maps and satellite imaging, to dynamically display iPhoto libraries online. They'll add IRC, SMS, and instant messaging capabilities to web applications. And going further, Herrington shows how to render graphics and user interfaces with SVG, DHTML, and Ajax, and even how to drop the latest Wikipedia dictionary onto a Sony PSP. PHP Hacks is the only PHP guide that offers something useful and fun for everyone.

Additional Resources:

PHP Hacks
Jack Herrington
ISBN: 0-596-10139-2, 443 pages, $29.95 US
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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