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PHP Essentials (Linux Series)
PHP Essentials (Linux Series)
von Julie C. Meloni
  Taschenbuch

4.0 von 5 Sternen Pretty good for beginners, 30. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: PHP Essentials (Linux Series) (Taschenbuch)
I read the reviews of the Professional PHP Programming book, and noted a lot of people said there were typos in that book, even though it was very good otherwise. As a PHP novice, I cannot afford to muddle through a typo-ridden book. So I looked at Web Applications With PHP 4, and that book was so advanced that the *first* chapter is titled "Advanced PHP" -- no install guide or anything else.
This book, PHP Essentials, is geared toward not only PHP newbies, but also people who have never programmed anything in any language. That's a little bit basic even for me, as I do at least know Perl and JavaScript. But it looked better that the first two books I tried, so I bought it.
I don't regret buying it. It is written in such a simple, friendly manner, that I was able to breeze through the first half in about an hour. If you're good at HTML, and you're looking to get into programming, this may be just what you need. This book will teach you, in basic terms, how to create if-else statements, what the proper syntax is for PHP code, how it integrates into the HTML page, what variables are, how to capture form data and write it to a file or database, how to send email from a Web page, how to send HTTP headers (so you can set cookies and do redirects), and it will step you through building a shopping cart system.
Now, if that were it, this book would be a five star book. However, being that I do have some programming background, and did have some idea of what PHP could do, let me tell you why I gave it four stars instead of five. First, there are some technical inaccuracies, such as the statement that Netscape 3+ supports style sheets (Netscape 3 has zero support, it's only Netscape 4+). But that's not bad. Second, nowhere does she address the "gasp, mixing HTML and code" programming debate. And finally, as another reviewer said, this book really is just the essentials, and I think it's not even that. Because there is a whopping omission: how to create a file that pulls in other files, like Server Side Includes. While the book covers how to open a file and read/write to it, the book never goes into detail about just linking in a file. This is important, because it's a fundamental feature. In fact, PHP has two commands for doing it, and neither one is mentioned, not even in the commands listed in the appendix.
So, if you're new to PHP and new to programming in general, this is a good -- great -- introductory book. You could learn the basics of programming with this book, and put yourself into a better paying job! But if you have some programming background, or even some PHP background, this book isn't going to feel very thorough.


Elements of Programming with Perl
Elements of Programming with Perl
von Andrew L. Johnson
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 27,18

4.0 von 5 Sternen This book will take to you to a new level of competence, 13. Juni 2000
Four or five other reviewers said this book "fills the gaps" between the O'Reilly books (Learning Perl & Programming Perl). I agree, but I had no idea what that meant until I bought the book. So here is what that means in practical terms. If you're like me, you know enough Perl to get the job done. You learned what you needed. But there may be things you never picked up, and this book will give you a lot of that.
Never learned about modules? Or worse, do you just put "use CGI" in your code without knowing what it means or how you could expand on it? Chapters 14 and 16 explain about modules, how to get them from CPAN, how to create your own, etc. Have you always thought the perlfaq was too obscure and massive to use easily? The faqgrep tool on page 49 will demystify it. Have you been looping through your arrays, trying to find matches with a regex (or worse, a string comparison)? That always seemed okay to me. But using the grep and chaining functions for arrays (in chapter 12) is more clever, and reduces loops to "that old brute-force method I once used" in some cases.
The bottom line is this book is very meat-and-potatoes practical. It will make your everyday work with Perl better, because you'll understand a lot of things that no one explained to all of us self-taught Perl programmers. And you may finally feel like someone clued you in to some of the better Perl tricks and concepts.
This isn't getting 5 stars from me for only two reasons. First, the index is missing a lot of stuff that I know is there, so I end up leafing back through the pages looking for a familiar spot. And second, there isn't any discussion of the Perl DBI -- not that I need it, but I was hoping there would be some insight and tips for that, since all the other stuff was so good.


Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity
Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity
von Jakob Nielsen
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 39,49

4.0 von 5 Sternen good but not gospel, 10. Februar 2000
I agree with other reviewers, Jakob does present his ideas as Rules You Must Follow, rather than observations or suggestions. On a few things, he offers no data to back up his assertion, and on a couple things I know he's factually incorrect. I also agree that there are a lot of typos in this book, but only if you're observant.
However, what he does present is just great. I like the writing style. I like the example images. For example, when he says to design for "any" screen size, and then shows you 3 screenshots of Web sites that lock themselves into a certain size, that certainly illuminates how stupid some designers can be.
One other point. Jakob is writing for usability, about how people get information. He pays no attention to marketing issues, such as branding, creating product interest, giving the customer a memorable experience, entertainment, etc. It is fine that he concentrates on other areas, but know before you buy the book that you will have to make up you own mind in those areas (at least). For instance, site reports from the Web site I work on show that any time I throw a DHTML "whiz-bang" widget onto the site, the area it is promoting gets a doubling to a quadrupling of traffic. That flies in the face of his "don't use whiz-bang features" philosophy. But I've learned that his data and my data don't always agree. So take Jakob with a grain of salt.


Design of Everyday Things
Design of Everyday Things
von Donald Norman
  Taschenbuch

3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Has drawbacks, but shines nonetheless, 21. Dezember 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Design of Everyday Things (Taschenbuch)
I agree with another reviewer who said that he found the material rather dated. It is.
However, I found some of that dated material fascinating -- the author's discussion of hypertext systems before the Web ever existed, the author's predictions/descriptions of handheld computers before the Palm organizers ever existed, etc.
Also, many of the "boring everyday examples" that another reviewer hated (such as doors, legos, stoves, faucets, and so on) were exactly what I needed. For example, a discussion of an ice cream menu helped me immensely with a corporate Web site I maintain. That's because the author went into detail about "decision trees" and how people handle lists of information.
In chapter 5, the discussion about the differences between "slips" and "mistakes" (which I thought were the same) will help me build better user interfaces, because I now know why people have problems with some interfaces, and how to resolve those problems.
I had also never heard of "forcing functions." I've used forcing functions, but I didn't know I was using them, and I didn't have the concepts clear enough to make them effective.
In summary, the book is dated but good. Couple this book with a book like "Information Architecture For The World Wide Web" or "Web Site Usability" and an average Web designer could become an excellent Web designer.


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