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2011/02/23

Book review: CMS Design Using PHP and JQuery

A couple of weeks ago I got a request from Packt Publishing to review the book "CMS Design Using PHP and JQuery". I accepted the offer because we're using more and more JQuery in our applications these days and I thought this book would give me a better insight in how to best use JQuery.

After receiving the book I started reading it. But right from the start the author displayed bad practices and mis-use of PHP. Reading the book from front to back, the author Kae Verens (@kae_verens) has confronted me with bad use of variables (like $a, $b, $c), bad use of PHP structures and a complete wrong approach of using JavaScript, where JavaScript should enrich an application instead of incorporating business logic.

The good:
It was nice to see JQuery has a variety of plugins to get things done, most of the plugins discussed in the book were developed by the author himself.
I do like the way Kae Verens (@kae_verens) breaks up a CMS basic functionality and targets it one by one to describe it's functionality and purpose. Without the code samples, this book is a good guide for anyone who wants to build a home-grown CMS.

The bad:
It's not bad, it's worse!

The ugly:
As already stated in the introduction, this book is a complete contradiction to the things we try to promote. Clear separation of business logic and presentation layers (where JavaScript is another presentation layer) has gone out of the window in this book.

Since the audience for this book are beginner to intermediate PHP developers, I can only curse at the author to be more responsible. Never use meaningless variables like $a, $b, $c!!!

Filtering and Validation of received data was something I missed in the code.

Another thing, if you use SPL functions like DirectoryIterator to traverse a directory on your filesystem, use the SPL methods that come with it (e.g. $dir->isDot() to verify if it's a "." or "..").

At the end of the book the author says this application only works on a *NIX platform. I think this statement reflects how this application is build: poor design.

Conclusion:
After reading this book, I should advice Packt Publishing to put a sticker on it "Warning: explicit content - bad coding practices" as this book is dangerous in the hands of novice PHP developers.

I'm very sorry for the authors and Packt Publishing as the topic of this book is very promising and could be a good read for everyone, but at this point with this type of coding I strongly advice people NOT to buy this book. Maybe a next edition…

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review

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  2. At least an honnest review !
    Thanks

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  3. Anonymous24/2/11 03:42

    Your review seems too negative, these are minor flaws and are common in many programming books. My complaint is that $30 for the e-book is too expensive!

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  4. Anonymous24/2/11 10:27

    probably fair enough review.. I bought the author's other book "jQuery 1.3 with PHP" myself and to be honest the coding quality in it was a bit of a dogs dinner as well.

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  5. Anonymous24/2/11 12:20

    From your review:

    At the end of the book the author says this application only works on a *NIX platform. I think this statement reflects how this application is build: poor design

    I think this is quite daft. Unless you are developing an open source applications, it's entirely correct to build for a single, tailored-environment. In fact this is how you can take full advantage of the systems capabilities rather than having hordes of ifs to verify if the method/function exists in the N platform.

    I would even go as far as saying that anyone that designs their applications to run on windows and linux in production environment are complete idiots.

    Nonetheless, this is an honest review. I'm not sure if it's fair considering I've just read http://verens.com/2011/02/24/response-to-dragonbes-review/ but at least it's honest even though some arguments are unfounded and/or simply off the point.If this were a PHP Best Practices book, it would however be another story.

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  6. @Anonymous:

    I for one am happy that Michelangelo speaks the truth. He wasn't a jerk about it, he just told the truth.

    If something is bad, why not say it is bad?

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  7. Great book. I strongly recommend it for my developers.

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  8. jQuery is one of at least a dozen JavaScript frameworks that have exploded onto the scene during the last few years, and for good reason. The Web 2.0 era has called upon JavaScript in a big way, turning to it as the driving force behind all the gliz and glamour that defines any Web 2.0 site. This huge increase in workload for JavaScript has called out for JavaScript frameworks that do the heavy lifting of common Web 2.0 tasks for us, from common visual effects such as fading, DOM traversal/ manipulation, to of course, Ajax interaction. jQuery has risen to become one of the most popular JavaScript framework due to its small footprint and focus on just the core tasks shared by almost any Web 2.0 project.

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  9. I've notice the quality of the Packt Pub PHP books haven't been all that great. Some of the books I feel like is a waste of money, since I can easily find the information by searching for a tutorial on the subject. Some just are mashed together and are inconstant in presentation.

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