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  • thebigdog 17:00 on Saturday, 30 April 2005 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Spring into PHP5 

    “Spring into PHP5″ is a new book from Addison-Wesley’s series “Spring into…”. The book is written by Steven Hotzner; an author with many books in his line of credits. If you are new to PHP5 this might be a great book to check out.

    I just got a copy of the new book from Steven Holzner entitled “Spring into PHP 5″. The “Spring into” is a new series of books coming from Addison-Wesley publication. You can check it out at Addison-Wesley for more information on additional titles in the series. First, let me give some back ground on Steven Holzner. I first heard about Steven in the Java programming world. With more than 88 books to his list of publications, he has extensive experience in teaching and software development.

    Now lets get into the book. As with all my reviews the first thing i like to do is check out the table of contents for anything that catches my eye. Sure enough, there is a couple of chapters that really stood out; chapter 6 Creating Web Forms and Validation User Input and Chapter 7 Object Oriented Programming and File Handling. As I preceded to read through chapter 6 i noticed that the book has a very, and i mean, very simplistic approach. The book is written for new PHP users that want to get started with PHP5. However, as I read through the book I noticed that the book does not cover many of the new features that PHP5 has to offer. For example, the book does not really have any coverage of interfaces and the new XML features. The book does a great job in covering basic PHP functionality and only devotes chapter 7 to Object Oriented Programming.

    Some of the good items to discuss about the book is that it is simple and provides simple examples for users just learning PHP. The author does not spend any time focusing on the theory behind PHP and web based programming. For me this is a negative aspect of the book, but can be a positive aspect for a user just wanting to get down to using PHP with no interest in the workings of PHP. The examples and very simple and the Steven does a great job explaining the examples in detail for the reader.

    Overall, I feel “Spring into PHP5″ is a decent book for a new user just starting out with PHP5. However, with the lack of real PHP5 chapters and the weakness of chapter 7, I think that a new user can find a book that goes into great detail about PHP5 and the new object oriented engine that it contains. For a user that wants simple examples with a simple and easy to understand layout this book does the trick.

    Spring into PHP5
    Author: Steven Holzner
    Publisher: Addison-Wesley Publishing
    Published: April 2005
    ISBN: 0131498622
    Rating: * *

  • macnewbold 16:45 on Friday, 29 April 2005 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    University of Utah Contiuning Education offers PHP classes 

    The UofU Continuing Ed. Program offers a wide variety of computer classes, but now there’s more than just Word, Excel, and “Internet Essentials”. They offer two levels of PHP classes, three levels of Flash (for those of you giving in to the dark side), 2 levels of XHTML, and a Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) class. You can even take Visual Basic.Net, heaven forbid, though Javascript seems conspicuously absent. Hold on to your chair though, they’re not cheap.

    Most classes are single day, 9am-5pm courses that cost $189. The PHP classes are each two full days, and cost $495 per class. Details on PHP Level 1 and on PHP Level 2 are available online. The dates are June 14 and 16 (Tuesday & Thursday) for Level 1, and July 5 and 7 (Tuesday & Thursday) for Level 2. The instructor is Nikolai Langlois, who we should probably get involved in UPHPU. (These links seem to be a bit tempermental, but the continuing ed. one seems stable.)

    This highlights the demand that exists for training in PHP in our area. It also indicates the value that is placed on it – $1,000 for 32 hours of training puts it at $30/hour. Take off the University overhead, and $20-25/hour of training isn’t unreasonable.

    Another thing that catches my eye is the fact that they offer only Level 1 and Level 2 classes, with Level 2 stopping with connecting to a database and using PHP sessions and cookies. This is just the tip of the iceberg in being a good PHP programmer, and I doubt there are many people or organizations in a better position than UPHPU to provide advanced training.

  • thebigdog 8:06 on Friday, 29 April 2005 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Linux Quick Fix Notebook 

    If you are at all interested in Linux, this is one book that you really must have in your library. It is a book that you atleast need to check out.

    I recently had the opportunity to review a new book in the Bruce Perens’ Open Source Series entitled “Linux Quick Fix Notebook”by Peter Harrison. The book is definitely one to have in your library. The first thing I did when i received the book was open it up to the table of contents and searched out some advanced topics that I have been looking to read. Topics like wireless networks, iptables, and LVMs to name a few. I was impress to see those topics and more advanced topics like software raids, LDAP and Radius, and linux vpns. Harrison wrote the book to follow a simple pattern of providing real answers to questions ranging from the most basic to advanced.

    One of the first sections of the book that I read was “Expanding Disk Capacity”. In searching the table of contents this was one section that really caught my eye. My reasoning for selecting this section is two fold: first, I wanted to see if the book could be used as a reference to various topics; and second, because I wanted to check out some of the advanced topics covered in the book. Peter Harrison does a fanatastic job of focusing on the topic at hand and providing simple and intellegient instruction to your questions. The flow of the book allows you to pick it up and start with a section and just move through it.

    As I started reading the book, I noticed that the progression of the topics moved in an orderly fashion that a system administrator would follow. It allowed the basic administrator to start from the beginning and progress to an advanced level of configuration, security and optimization. One item that I did not really like is the references to RedHat as the linux distro. Yet, I can agree with Peter, that many users will start out with this distro or one similar. I think that the topics are great, and my only regret is that there were not more topics to read about.

    The book in its entirety is definitely a must have for any system administrator or software developer. Mr. Harrison provides valuable information in sizable chunks for the reader to manage. My only real critique would be to have a different layout in each topic. For example, in chapter 7 Peter discusses “The Linux Boot Process”. He does a great job of explaining and outlining the process. Still, I think that perhaps having sub-sections in the topics would allow readers to glean additional information. Like have a security, advanced, and optimization sub-sections to each topic.

    All in all, Harrison does an exceptional job in bring many great topics into one book. Harrison’s style allows the reader to move forward or back without loosing momentum in the book. The reader can get quick answers to their questions.

    Linux Quick Fix Notebook
    Author: Peter Harrison
    Publisher: Prentice Hall Publishing
    Published: March 2005
    ISBN: 0131861506
    Rating: * * * * *

  • Joshua Simpson 1:26 on Friday, 29 April 2005 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Practical C++ Programming 

    Ok, I know this isn’t technically a PHP book. However, Ray was gracious enough to get me this book for review, and I believe the book offers techniques and advice to just about any programmer, not just for C++.

    Practical C++ Programming, like most O’Reilly books, is a top-notch technical book, with a focus on beginning programmers, but with enough readability to serve more experienced C++ coders. Steve Oualline does a great job of mixing technical, aesthetic, and design advice, spattered with small, amusing anecdotes and miniature quizzes. He uses examples effectively to reinforce standard programming concepts and gently nudge the reader along the sometimes painful path of C++.

    The best aspect of the book isn’t the technical knowledge passed along by Oualline; it’s the more abstract things he tackles that truly separate it from other C++ books, such as object orientated and procedural design practice, styling and naming conventions, and the tools of programming that many books miss: Makefiles and a brief overview of debugging utilities. It’s refreshing to read a book that takes such points into account, and I found myself nodding in agreement in these sections.

    As far as technical material, Oualline keeps up-to-date by including sections on fairly new and complex topics such as namespaces, STL, and templates, without alienating the reader. He uses code often to explain various points, keeping most examples small, but building to larger snippets and build on previous chapters smoothly. The ‘C to C++’ chapter in particular was excellent, and I think even C++ programmers could benefit from a quick overview of this section.

    All in all, Practical C++ is an excellent book as a supplement to your generic C++ reference book, especially for those new to C++ programming or just coding in general. However, I think many, more experienced, programmers could also benefit from his gems of wisdom on various topics that he sprinkles throughout the book. I’ve come to expect the best from O’Reilly, and, again, I wasn’t disappointed.

    Practical C++ Programming
    Author: Steve Oualline
    Publisher: O’Reilly Publishing
    Published: 2002
    ISBN: 0-596-00419-2
    Rating: * * * *

  • wade 2:35 on Sunday, 24 April 2005 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    The Zen of CSS Design 

    images.jpgI just finished reading Zen of CSS Design, The: Visual Enlightenment for the Web by Dave Shea and Molly E. Holzschlag. For those that don’t recognize the name, Dave Shea is the “creator and cultivator of the highly influential CSS Zen Garden.” The book is well-written, interesting, and covers the subject well.

    The way in which the book covers web design is both different and interesting. Instead of simply mechanically moving through lessons, the auther covers web design standards, principles, and technique� by using the conceptualization, birth, and life of the website CSS Zen Garden as a perpectual example. The result provides for interesting reading and for an excellent real-world example experience.

    Another thing that makes this book different from many web development books is that it spends more time covering design theory than technical application. This to me is exciting, because even though it was very elementary to me personally, we always need to be reminded about the fundamental principles of design. This book will be of most value however to those just beginning their education in web design or those with a more technical background seeking to improve�or at least enhance their understanding or appreachiation of�good design.

    What I found most interesting about the book was the history of Shea and his adventure with CSS Zen Garden. He descripes this interests with web design, web standards, and making a statement. It was interesting to follow the detailed process of organizing his efforts, putting the project together, and partaking of an insiders view of something that has been such a high profile event.

    All-in-all, the book is a good read. It was quick, but effective. I did find the last half of the book to be a little repetative, but that might have been because the principles were already understood. Advanced CSS masters will find little value in the book technically, but the history of the web described in the biginning chapters and the story of the Zen Garden makes it still a worthwhile read. Novices and others looking to increase their knowledge of CSS and general web layout however, will be find� a collection of lessons and tutorials pulled from real page examples hosted online in the garden archives.

    I was a little disappointed, but that is only because I was hoping to learn something new and not because the book was lacking. It was simply because the book is for a more entry-level audience�and for that it achieves it’s purpose well.

    Zen of CSS Design, The: Visual Enlightenment for the Web
    Author(s): Dave Shea, Molly Holzschlag
    Publisher: Peach Pit
    Published: Feb 17, 2005
    ISBN: 0321303474
    Rating: ? ? ? ? ?

  • macnewbold 22:01 on Friday, 22 April 2005 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    PHP training classes and group project coming soon 

    Attention: If you’re interested in the training classes and/or the group project, read this and respond appropriately!

    The plan is moving forward, and we’re working out the logistical details of getting the course off the ground.There are a couple of important discussion threads on the mailing list, and a poll to plan days of the week, measure interest and estimate attendance. We are in urgent need of some feedback from people, whether they’re interested in training, the group project, or both.

    If you’re interested in participating in the training courses:

    1. We need to you to take the poll, so we can decide on a day. For now, don’t worry about cost, location, or anything like that, and just assume we’ll be able to work things out with you.

    2. “Pre-register” with Wade or myself, the sooner the better. We need to get together a list of interested people so we can email the smaller group and expect to get answers back in a timely fashion. Without being able to contact everyone, it will be really hard to make this work.

    If you’re not interested in training, but would like to participate in the group project:

    1. Some of the group project meetings will coincide with training meetings. For example, the first half of a training meeting may be discussion and planning for the group project, while the second half would be training related to the plans that were made.

    2. Take the poll, and select your day(s) of choice. The team working on the project has to have time to get together, and we need to know when you can make it.

    3. Tell Wade or myself that you’re interested in the project but not training classes. If you’d like to also specify what level or kind of involvement you’d like to have, that might help too. We’ll probably set up a developer mailing list for the project along with CVS or subversion accounts and access to a MySQL database for all the team members.

    We really want to know what people want to do, and where UPHPU should be focusing to provide the most benefits to its members and our community. Without some participation from other people, it will end up being based on the ideas of just a few of us, and probably won’t be as good.

    Thanks to everyone for your participation in UPHPU!

    - Mac

  • wade 20:00 on Monday, 18 April 2005 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    PHP and GTK 

    Ray Hunter presented on GUI programming with PHP and GTK. This will be yet another excellent UPHPU presentation. I am continually amazed at Rays knowledge and experience. For those that missed it, Ray gave a well-prepared and well-covered presentation.

    Download slides form the presentation.

  • wade 20:42 on Friday, 15 April 2005 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Additional meetings and training courses considered 

    We are condering some new ideas and events to increase group participation and skills. Please take a moment to vote. We are very interested in feedback from the group and nonmembers alike.

    First, we are interested in knowing what individuals are looking for in our montly presentations? Are you satisfied or are could you use more? Why do you come? Why don’t you come? What would bring you out more often? Would you like to meet more than once a month?

    Second, we are considered sponsoring monthly or even semi-monthly training courses. Please let us know if this is something that you could benefit from and would be interested in. How much would you be willing to pay? The cost of these would be minimal and would for the most part be only to cover production costs.

    Thanks for everyone’s interest and participation!

  • wade 13:28 on Thursday, 14 April 2005 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    PHP 5 Power Programming PDF free! 

    In an effort to share the knowledge with the entire community, the Bruce Perens’ Open Source Series has posted a PDF copy of one of the latest offerings from Prentice-Hall—PHP 5 Power Programming (Gutmans, Bakken, Rethans).

    In this book, PHP 5′s co-creator and two leading PHP developers show you how to make the most of PHP 5′s industrial-strength enhancements in any project – no matter how large or complex. Their unique insights and realistic examples illuminate PHP 5′s new object model, powerful design patterns, improved XML Web services support, and much more. Whether you’re creating web applications, extensions, packages, or shell scripts, or migrating PHP 4 code, here are high-powered solutions you won’t find anywhere else.

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