6 books to master PHP

PHP is a wonderful dynamic language, and the addition of Unicode support, namespaces in the upcoming version 6 will make it even better.
If you are new to PHP or are thinking of moving to PHP form other language then the following list of books will provide you with the required knowledge to become a seasoned PHP programmer. Of course, the list is subjective and you may have a different list of books in mind.

Zend PHP 5 Certification

1. Zend PHP 5 Certification : If you are new to PHP, then you cannot get wrong with this book. This book will get you up and running in no time.; right from the basics to OOP, security, XML processing and more. A warning – the book doesn’t go into much detail, so you will have to refer to other books given below for a deeper understanding of the concepts.

php in action

2. PHP in Action : If you a beginner or intermediate PHP programmer, then this book will take you to the next level. Design Patterns, unit testing, advanced OOP.

PHP and MySQL Web Development

3. PHP and MySQL Web Development : More pragmatic then the other books posted here. A little old compared to others. No information about MVC or design patterns, but this book you show you how to build real world applications like shopping carts, forums, mailing list managers, content management systems etc. It also has an excellent coverage of MySQL.


4. PEAR : PEAR is the PHP Extension and Application Repository, and is a framework and distribution system for reusable, high-quality PHP components. If you have been programming PHP for a while then you will surely have come across PEAR. PEAR provides classes for most of your daily programming needs. Whether you want to work with XML, create Excel documents, encryption, text processing; PEAR provides a class for the purpose and for many more then you can shake a stick at.

PHP Cookbook

5. PHP Cookbook : The book to get you unstuck. Mostly for intermediate programmers; just the book to refer when you want a quick solution to a particular coding problem.

SQL for MySQL Developers

6. SQL for MySQL Developers : Most PHP programmers I have encountered have a very limited understanding of SQL. How many intermediate programmers are aware of the ‘HAVING’ clause in the SELECT statement or have used sub queries more then 2 level deep. The book provides excellent coverage of SQL as implemented in MySQL. The SELECT statement itself is given 9 chapters of coverage.
The book covers everything from MySQL installation, configuration, security to Stored Procedures in a friendly manner with many exercises at each chapter end.

11 thoughts on “6 books to master PHP

  1. Hi…I Googled for michelle branch lyrics the game of love, but found your page about nnial 2007 – salvatore iaconesi – del.icio.us poetry…and have to say thanks. nice read.

  2. Thanx for recommeding Sql for Mysql. I just checked the source code from book’s website. r20.nl. Examples very practical and advanced. SAMS PHP Mysql Web Development is my personal favorite. Its latest edition covering php 6 is due for release next month.

  3. Nice list! Thanks for compiling this. I’m currently using PHP in an extremely non-standard way for my current job. We use it basically as a Windows GUI platform (Firefox browser in kiosk mode). Not my preference but it sure has forced me to think waaay outside the box.

  4. Some nice books you’ve pointed out here, but I still miss a very essential book, which gave me a lot some years ago.

    I am talking about the book “Advanced PHP by George Schlossnagle”, which I mean must be in top 6.

  5. “Advanced PHP” is one of my favorite books; not only in PHP but also in the general programming category. But it is a tad bit advanced for the newbie programmer moving to PHP – as the above list is supposed to be.

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