On 2011-09-29, at 8:53 AM, Andy McKenzie wrote:

>> Is there something wrong with the PHP.net manual?  Or you just want
>> something physical to be able read any where and stay unplugged?  If the
>> latter and there's nothing wrong with the official manual, try downloading
>> the chm or single html file and print as you go.  No need to lug around
>> thick that manual/reference ;)
>> Regards,
>> Tommy
> I didn't find that there was anything wrong with the PHP.net manual,
> except that it wasn't a book about learning to program.  It's a
> fantastic reference guide;  if I can't remember what order the inputs
> to that one function go in, it's my first resort.  But I prefer to
> read paper for learning theory, and I find it more useful to flip
> through pages trying to find something I half remember than to click
> through links.  Put simply, I like to learn the basics from books
> rather than web pages.
        And as the OP said, something that they can carry around - websites 
don't always cut it on the morning commute! (Although I hope the OP wouldn't 
"smoke" anything!)
        I too prefer books, as they are usually organized as a training course, 
starting you with the basics and walking you through a logical progression of 
learning, as well as giving real-world lessons and experience. Not saying that 
php.net is or isn't, but more often than not, the manuals that come with 
software are organized by sections or features, and do not give you the basics 
from which to start. It's no good to start with "This is the drawing tool", if 
you don't know how to create a canvas to draw on. Reference books/sites are 
good once you know the basics on proper techniques, best practices and sensible 
workflows, and you can now expand into the full features that the software can 
        Plus, they can target your skills and desired learning - am currently 
researching Drupal, and have found some books that teach the basics on using it 
within its limits, and then others that teach how to build your own modules and 
plugins. Depending on what you are looking for, you can quickly target the 
skills you need to learn.
        And, is easier to make your notes in the margins on a piece of paper!

        Having said that, one of the main books I used for PHP was Apress'  
"Beginning PHP and MySQL", which is now in a 4th edition:


It provided a logical approach to both technologies and how to integrate them, 
all in one book.
        Then get one that focuses on security. O'Reilly has one (or more), but 
the one I picked up was "Securing PHP Web Applications":


and was a good read.

        I just wish book publishers offered an upgrade path if you bought an 
earlier edition, the way software publishers do! Perhaps that will be the 
greatest advantage an iPad or Kobo will have over paper.

George Langley
Multimedia Developer

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