Pragmatism in the real world

A review of "Object-Oriented Programming with PHP5"

Packt Publishing recently sent me a couple of books to review, so let’s start with Object-Oriented Programming with PHP5 by Hasin Hayder. According to the introduction, the book is intended for beginners to intermediate PHP5 programmers and the first chapter has a good introduction to what object oriented programming is and why you would want to use it.

Overview of the book

Chapters two and three of the book are an excellent discussion of how objects work in PHP and cover everything from the use of $this through to object cloning and fluent interfaces. Chapter 4 gives a basic introduction to design patterns, however I feel that it covers too many patterns in not enough detail. It does provide the terminology required though for communicating with other developers about design patterns which will also help when searching the web for more information.

Chapter 5 then introduces reflection and unit testing. This is an odd couple to put together and the entire chapter feels like the author was padding. There are long pages of code with very little explanation of what the code does and no example of real-world usage of the Reflection classes. The unit testing half provides a good introduction to unit testing and shows how to use it. Rather oddly, there’s a 10 page table listing all the PHPUnit assert functions which would have been better left to the PHPUnit documentation as the table provides no added value.

Chapter 6 introduces the SPL. Like the design patterns chapter, it covers a lot of objects in relatively shallow depth. Good code examples are provided to show how to use the SPL objects, but again, there’s not really enough textual explanation of the code or discussion of real-world usage. Similarly, chapter 7 covers object oriented database access with MySQLi, PDO, ADOdb and MDB2. It finishes up with a couple of pages ADOdb’s ActiveRecord object. It’s all a bit rushed.

XML is introduced in chapter 8 with SimpleXML and DOM are looked at. Again, a very basic introduction is provided. For example XPath is covered in 3 pages and I still have no idea how to actually use it in a project. The final chapter in the book covers the MVC design pattern as implemented in the author’s home-grown framework. As with the rest of the book, a lot of code is presented with little explanation of why the code has been written. For example, the view class presented provides __get(), but not __set(). There is no explanation as to why __get() would be required in a view class, but not __set().

In summary

This book is a whistle-stop tour through object oriented concepts with PHP5 and I’m left with mixed feelings about it. The best parts are chapters 2 and 3 which provide a solid introduction to objects and classes. The rest of the book covers too many disparate topics in very little depth to be useable on its own for those topics.

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