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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Web Application Development with PHP 4.0

Target Audience
If you’re new to programming, this book is not for you.You’ll find a helpful resource, however, in the following cases:
- You have already developed applications with PHP, and want to take your skills to the next level.
- You have experience with other programming languages and want to develop Web applications with PHP.
- You’re an expert with PHP and want to extend PHP’s feature set on your own.
You don’t need to be a PHP wizard to read this book, but you should be familiar with PHP’s syntax, or have good knowledge of programming principles.

This book assumes that you have a working PHP setup, preferably PHP 4.0 or later. Because of its popularity, we use MySQL as the database system where one is required. Because platform independence is one of PHP’s strongest features, however, our examples should run on UNIX as well as on Windows.

Organization of This Book

This book is divided into three parts.The first part,“Advanced PHP,” covers the advanced syntax of PHP; for example, object orientation, dynamic functions and variables, and self-modifying code. It also gives you an overview of project planning principles, coding styles, and application design.This part provides the necessary base for fast, productive development of industry-quality Web applications. Part II,“Web Applications,” focuses on building the software: It explains why sessions are important, what security guidelines you need to keep in mind, why usability matters, and how to use the PHPLib for session management and database access.You’ll also find three case studies of successful PHP projects here, to help you convince your IT managers.

The third part of the book,“Beyond PHP,” is for readers who want to go beyond
what’s currently available with PHP, and explains how to extend PHP with C.This is
the official documentation on extending PHP, as approved by Zend Technologies.
In detail, the following topics are covered.

Chapter 1—Development Concepts
Having to deal with advanced projects makes the usage of coding conventions, proper planning, and advanced syntax unavoidable requirements.This chapter covers general coding conventions that are a requirement for all industry-quality projects—naming and comment conventions, as well as how to break up the source into logical modules.

Chapter 2—Advanced Syntax
This chapter covers PHP’s advanced syntax, for example multidimensional arrays, classes, variable variables, self-modifying code, and the like.

Chapter 3—Application Design: A Real-Life Example
In this chapter, we walk you through the entire process of planning a complete Web application: phpChat, a Web-based chat client interface to IRC.This chapter shows planning fundamentals, gives guidelines on project organization, and shows how to realize modular, plug-in-enabled applications.

Chapter 4—Web Application Concepts
Session management, security considerations and authentication, and usability form the base of every Web application.Web applications aren’t possible without proper session management.You have to find a way to recognize users during multiple page requests if you want to associate variables like a shopping cart with one specific user. And this identification had better be secure if you don’t want to have one user seeing another’s credit card information. Indeed, special considerations are necessary for improving security in your applications. Even if PHP is less prone to crackers’ attacks than other CGI environments, it’s easy to write totally exposed applications when you don’t keep in mind certain important principles covered in this chapter.

This chapter also introduces basic usability concepts. As soon as we begin to talk about applications instead of stand-alone scripts, the user’s role becomes more important. After all, it’s users who finally determine the success or failure of a project—and this chapter shows some guidelines to achieve better user satisfaction.

Chapter 5—Basic Web Application Strategies
This chapter discusses more fundamentals of Web applications. All Web applications process form input, for example, or deal with separation of layout and code.Moving on from these topics, this chapter also introduces you to effective team development by giving an overview of version control with CVS. Finally, it discusses multi-tier applications, COM, and Java from a PHP point of view.

Chapter 6—Database Access with PHP
Without databases,Web applications are not possible. Chapter 6 presents the PHPLib as a tool for vendor-independent database access, and gives an overview about its other features, such as session management, user authentication, and permission management.

Chapter 7—Cutting-Edge Applications
By developing a complete knowledge repository using PHPLib, this chapter familiarizes you with PHPLib’s template class, self-references in SQL, and other advanced topics.Then the chapter presents an overview of XML and how applications can benefit from this exciting technology.The chapter also describes PHP’s interfaces for XML parsing and its WDDX functions.

Chapter 8—Case Studies
Success stories can help tremendously when introducing a new technology into a corporate environment. In Chapter 8, we present case studies featuring Six Open Systems, BizChek, and—three great examples among hundreds of companies using PHP successfully in high-demand scenarios.

Chapter 9—Extending PHP 4.0: Hacking the Core of PHP
Are more than 1,200 functions still not enough for you? No problem, because this chapter is the official documentation on extending PHP. If you know some C, Chapter 9 gives you some condensed insight into the internals of PHP 4.0, and shows you how to write your own modules to extend PHP’s functionality.

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