Few weeks ago I was asked to review Zend Framework 2.0 by example – beginner’s guide from Packt. While I’m not a beginner anymore – and haven’t been one for a while – I do hold from time to time training sessions on the various technologies used in web development so I can easily put myself into a beginner’s shoes and asses how useful a resource is.
While it has “beginner’s guide” written on the cover, the book is not for the absolute beginner. It assumes the reader has basic knowledge about PHP, classes, objects and (a bit) design patterns. I would say it’s for students in uni who want to start a career in PHP development or young professionals. Can be interesting for a more seasoned professional who wants to get a quick start with ZF2, but sometimes all those beginner level explanations can get boring.
Like with all Packt releases, the book is available in multiple formats, from paperback to pdf, kindle and so on. This makes it easier to read it in the format of choice. Personally I prefer books in paper format – although the electronic versions are cheaper.
The book is divided in 10 chapters and one appendix and buyers can register on Packtpub.com and download the source code for all the examples in the book. It describes some common scenarios and provides solutions to day to day problems people encounter when using 3rd party APIs.
Long story short, the book delivers what it says, nothing more, nothing less.
- simple, concise language – somewhat of an exception, because writing code differs greatly from writing a book and usually books written by developers aren’t the most enjoyable reads
- uses Ubuntu and CLI tools for all the examples – I’m sick of PHP developers using Windows and not knowing anything about Linux although most of the web runs on it
- gives example using popular APIs and 3rd party integrations: Paypal, Google data APIs, phpCloud, phoneGap and so on – this is very good for a beginner, because it shows how to solve real life problems rather than abstract artificially created problems
As always, there are some minuses:
- inconsistent naming in the SQL tables – some tables use the singular form “user” while others use the plural “uploads”. I see this as a bad practice which decreases code readability and should be strongly discouraged. Also, some of the foreign keys are signed and they reference unsigned columns (id in user table vs user_id in uploads)
- missing licence information for the source code. Some beginners might be tempted to use code from the repository in their own applications and I haven’t found any information on whether that’s possible. Also, the phpdoc comments in the code are missing virtually everywhere
- sometimes it gets too verbose although that might be considered a plus for beginners
Value for money
As I said in the second paragraph, I see the book as being targeted for students / young professionals so I’ll use terms that they’re familiar with: the eBook with access to the code is priced at £16.14 (€19.04) which buys you 4 pints of ale (3 if you’re in London) or 2 steins Paulaner if you’re in Munich at Oktoberfest (lucky bastard :)) and while this might sound like something your granpa’ would say, those money are far better invested in your education.
I do recommend the book!