PHP 5.1 for Beginners

Reviewed by Major Keary

The use of the term, beginners, may be misleading; the book is intended for programmers and developers who are approaching PHP as a programming environment—at least, at a professional level—for the first time. Topics cover installation of web servers, fundament of PHP, database-driven programming, object-oriented programming, advance techniques, content management, and an integrated development environment. A companion CD includes setup files to build the runtime programming environment, the source code for the examples used in the book, and solutions to the exercises. Computer science students should find it a useful resource. Learning PHP in isolation doesn't achieve much; it has to be approached as part of a system that includes many other tools. PHP 5.1 for Beginners teaches PHP and how those other components are employed.

The presentation uses a tutorial style to good effect with hands-on exercises (solutions provided) and useful boxed hints, reminders, and warnings. It is not a step one, step two, … list of instructions, but discusses in depth the issues that have to be considered. Both the MS Windows and Linux platforms—and their attendant applications—are given their own space, so to speak.

The Linux distribution used in the book is Fedora Core 3; a number of open source programs—including Apache, Joomla!, b2evolution, and PRADO—are covered: where to find the files, downloading, installation, and application in the context of PHP.

The book is remarkably wide ranging, discussing in detail topics such as: cookies and sessions, blogs, forums, how to create HTML forms on the fly, using SimpleXML, PEAR:DB, PHP Designer, and AJAX.
Several database applications are discussed: MySQL, MySQLi, SQLite, Oracle, and the ODBC API.

Apart from learning how to PHP, the book should serve as a useful ongoing reference. There are some instances of quirky English, but the meaning is quite clear. This is a big book—over 1000 pages—that comes with a modest price tag; the Australian distributor's on-line sales site ( is worth visiting for a significant discount.

Bayross and Shah: PHP 5.1 for Beginners
ISBN 978-81-8404-075-3
Published by Shroff, 1 pp., RRP AU$ 59.95

Woodslane. This title can be purchased from the Australian distributor at


A discount can be redeemed by entering the following code at the checkout:



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