Book Review: PHP Oracle Web Development

I recently received another one of Packt Publishing’s PHP-related offerings that’s targeted at more than just the PHP programming population. Their “PHP Oracle Web Development” seeks to be a sort of crossover book – take one part PHP, one part Oracle database work and toss together to make an interesting mix.

The book is laid out simply enough:

  • Getting started with PHP and Oracle
  • PHP and Oracle Connection
  • Data Processing
  • Transactions
  • Object-oriented Approach
  • Security
  • Caching
  • XML-enabled Applications
  • Web Services
  • AJAX-Based Applications
  • and an appendix showing how to install the PHP and Oracle software on different OSes.

Overall, the book is well-written – there were a few places where I don’t know if I agree with how they presented the material (somewhat confusing), but at least it was there. I like that they have a range of topics covered in the book – unfortunately, this is also one of the bad points about it. Since they did try to appeal to both the Oracle developers learning PHP and the PHP developers looking to learn how to work with Oracle, they didn’t get much of a chance to really dig into some of the fun things below the surface. After the first few chapters, you could basically replace the Oracle-ness in the examples with a lot of the other database systems out there (MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc) and you wouldn’t have to change much.

The book became more of a “just another PHP projects” book by focusing on things that could be done with any other system out there. I wanted to see more of an Oracle focus, maybe looking more at things like installing the updated PDO drivers for the OCI8 connection or suggestions on tuning the actual connection between the script and the database. There’s also almost no mention of working with settings on the database side to optimize anything for the connecting script.

Overall, I’d recommend this book to a certain audience – ones just starting out working with the PHP/Oracle combination. I passed it around to a few of the database developers here that work with PHP some and they found that most of the material covered in the book wasn’t anything you couldn’t learn from five minutes of googling when you had a question. It is good, though, to have as a “first guide” if you’re not familiar with the territory.



  1. I reviewed this book here: and Rob Richards reviews it here:

    Like you, Rob would also have liked more coverage of installation. My point of view, having read (and written) many Oracle-PHP install notes, is that Yuli made a good choice not to repeat that task. It would have taken away from the book’s architectural focus.

    I don’t agree that you could replace the database in the book – there are some very useful Oracle features covered that are not available in other databases. Also these features are not covered in the same way in any other Oracle-PHP book – and Googling isn’t going to help you build a complete system the way that this book does.

    Each of the PHP-Oracle books on the market has a different audience and style, so I do suggest readers find the one that suits their needs.


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