Book Review: Beginning PHP and Oracle (Apress)

The nice friendly people over at APress sent me a few new books the other day, one of which is “Beginning PHP and Oracle: From Novice to Professional” by W. Jason Gilmore and Bob Bryla. Of the three, I was most interested in this one as a possible resource to hand off to other people in our company (the Oracle developers, specifically) for them to get started with PHP. Thankfully I can say that, after going through the book, it looks like an excellent fill to bridge the gap between most Oracle developers and the world of PHP.

If you’re a PHP developer, pick up your copy of the book and follow my lead – set the book, spine down, on the table and stick your finger right in the middle. To your left is all of the PHP knowledge you’ve already learned and to your right is a wide open range of Oracle goodness just waiting for you to soak it all in. The first half of the book is an excellent introduction to PHP and can be handed to that special Oracle developer in your life who would like to get to know the language. The usual topics are there – the basic syntax, functions, arrays, object oriented programming, PEAR and lots more. If you’re just going in for the Oracle/PHP combo, you’ll find a lot more than you were asking for (which can be good and bad).

Things switch around at about the Chapter 26 mark where the first hints of Oracle start to show. This is where a lot of the Oracle developers out there can tune out a little more. The first few Oracle chapters deal with setting up and getting to know the Oracle environment, how to use views and transactions. Things get interesting when PHP jumps back in, though. PHP and Oracle developers alike can learn lots here.

Starting from Chapter 32 on, the rest of the book is devoted to the happy union of PHP making requests via the Oracle drivers to a local database (they use a local copy of Oracle Database XE in their examples). They include examples using transactions, generating a table of results with PEAR’s HTML_Table and using views and triggers in your application.

This book works well for both audiences – the PHP developer wanting to learn what all the fuss surrounding Oracle is about and the Oracle developer looking for a peek into the world of the web’s most popular web development language. There’s a little something here for everyone (there’s even a chapter on web services!) and it will be finding its way to the desks of several Oracle devs around here that have been bugging me to show them “that PHP thing” they’ve been hearing about.

Something a little more substantial – the Table of Contents:

  • Chapter 1 Introducing PHP
  • Chapter 2 Configuring Your Environment
  • Chapter 3 PHP Basics
  • Chapter 4 Functions
  • Chapter 5 Arrays
  • Chapter 6 Object-Oriented PHP
  • Chapter 7 Advanced OOP Features
  • Chapter 8 Error and Exception Handling
  • Chapter 9 Strings and Regular Expressions
  • Chapter 10 Working with the File and Operating System
  • Chapter 11 PEAR
  • Chapter 12 Date and Time
  • Chapter 13 Forms
  • Chapter 14 Authentication
  • Chapter 15 Handling File Uploads
  • Chapter 16 Networking
  • Chapter 17 PHP and LDAP
  • Chapter 18 Session Handlers
  • Chapter 19 Templating with Smarty
  • Chapter 20 Web Services
  • Chapter 21 Secure PHP Programming
  • Chapter 22 SQLite
  • Chapter 23 Introducing PDO
  • Chapter 24 Building Web Sites for the World
  • Chapter 25 MVC and the Zend Framework
  • Chapter 26 Introducing Oracle
  • Chapter 27 Installing and Configuring Oracle Database XE
  • Chapter 28 Oracle Database XE Administration
  • Chapter 29 Interacting with Oracle Database XE
  • Chapter 30 From Databases to Datatypes
  • Chapter 31 Securing Oracle Database XE
  • Chapter 32 PHP’s Oracle Functionality
  • Chapter 33 Transactions
  • Chapter 34 Using HTML_Table with Advanced Queries
  • Chapter 35 Using Views
  • Chapter 36 Oracle PL/SQL Subprograms
  • Chapter 37 Oracle Triggers
  • Chapter 38 Indexes and Optimizing Techniques
  • Chapter 39 Importing and Exporting Data
  • Chapter 40 Backup and Recovery

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