No, this isn't about using references in PHP. Even I don't fully understand them yet!

I figured that I write it so often on forums to people wanting to learn PHP that I'd list out some recommended reading (including free stuff) here, with the low down on each. They're mainly free chapters but my argument is to get the free chapters and surely anyone can make up their mind after 150+ pages as to whether the book's worthwhile to buy!! I've linked to the full book on Amazon as well, in case anyone takes my review for granted and just wants to buy the book ;)

Build Your Own Database Driven Website Using PHP & MySQL – Kevin Yank

This book is from SitePoint which I have to say produces some of the best books out there and offers 4 free chapters on virtually all of their books for you to download. That's over 150 pages for free! The free chapters are very worthwhile for anyone who wants to get PHP up and running on their own computer. It devotes the first chapter to installing Apache, PHP and MySQL for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. It then teaches you how to develop your own content management system whilst explaining the various parts of PHP and MySQL as you go along. I own this book myself and find it very easy to read. The current release is also updated to work for PHP 5 as well.
Free Chapters from SitePoint
Buy from Amazon UK

PHP and MySQL Web Development

This is a later version of the book I learnt from. It starts with the basics of PHP and doesn't jump straight into MySQL until you have a good understanding of PHP basics which I think is a good way to learn. I sat and read 500 pages of this book in a week and haven't looked back. Whilst the version I have now is outdated and not really used, they have since released 2 further versions so the current Version 3 is most likely up to date, but still a worthwhile book to try.
Sample Chapter
Buy from Amazon UK

The PHP Anthology: Object Oriented PHP Solutions – Harry Fuecks

Another book from SitePoint, this PHP book is for the more advanced user that already has an understanding of PHP and MySQL. The subject goes into the world of Object Oriented Programming, explaining about classes, how to use them and how they can speed up your scripts and let you write more efficient code. The books also explore more advanced programming methods and requirements such as parsing, generating bar charts and graphs, watermarking images, creating more efficient error handling methods and much more. I own both of these books however I'm still on Vol 1 at present. It is definitely for the advanced user and must be read without distractions!
Free Chapters from SitePoint
Buy from Amazon UK

Php|architect's Guide to PHP Security

Anyone who's seriously considering creating PHP sites and possibly working as a PHP developer professionally, and even for their own projects, needs to be reading this book. Explaining about security, how to prevent injections, attacks and hacks on your code it's a must for anyone who wants to ensure their site is absolutely secure. I've seen (and secured) a lot of code that people naively assumed would be safe when in fact it isn't. If you don't want your sites compromised then I recommend this book for reading and keeping for reference.
Buy from Amazon UK

Sample Chapters

The following are just links to sample chapters from various bookstores. I've not read any of these books and so cannot offer a review, but for anyone who can't neccessarily afford to pay out for a book right now, these sample chapters between them may give you a reasonable amount of information and help too.

Learning PHP and MySQL
PHP in a Nutshell
Learn PHP 5
PHP Cookbook
Web Database Applications with PHP and MySQL
Programming PHP
Advanced PHP Programming Sample 1
Advanced PHP Programming Sample 2

Online Resources

Practical PHP Programming – by Paul Hudson

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  • 45n5 Comments:

    My favorite has always been the free php book at hudzilla.

    And of course the PHP Manual.

    I don't do too much heavy lifting with php so those two usually get me where I need to go ;-)

  • Sarah Comments:

    Mark, must admit I never tied the Wiki link I had to your link until now! It's not a site I've looked through yet but I know Paul Hudson's work from a magazine I get and know it to be pretty good :)

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