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Wicked Cool PHP--New from No Starch Press: Useful PHP scripts that solve real-world problems


PHP is an easy-to-use scripting language that is perfect for quickly creating a wide range of dynamic web features, like forms, user polls, and shopping carts. It’s the go-to language for web programmers in a hurry, and for good reason.

Wicked Cool PHP (No Starch Press, February 2008, 216 pp., ISBN 9781593271732), by William Steinmetz and Brian Ward, is a different breed of PHP book. It’s made specifically for the developer who wants to know how to get things done without mucking around and wasting a lot of time. This is not a weighty PHP complete reference or bible that threatens to take down your bookshelf and the rest of the bookcase. This is a book for coders to pick up and use, not wade through.

“We do the picking so that our readers won’t have to,” said No Starch Press Publisher Bill Pollock. “When we release a title, we make sure that we’ve pared it down to its essence, and at under 250 pages, Wicked Cool PHP is no exception. Just the meat, none of the starch.” But don’t let this book’s lack of girth fool you.

Wicked Cool PHP offers readers a collection of 76 immediately useful PHP scripts, the brainchild of two veteran Web programmers. The scripts can be used to process credit cards, check the validity of email addresses, use HTML templates, and serve dynamic images and text. Most importantly, readers learn how to customize all of the scripts to fit their own needs, and how to troubleshoot their scripts when something goes wrong.

The book also teaches readers how to use PHP to:

* Send and receive email notifications
* Scrape other websites
* Encrypt sensitive data and create a secure login scheme
* Track visitors’ behavior with cookies and sessions
* Override PHP’s default settings
* Manipulate dates, images, and text on the fly
* Harness SOAP and other web services
* Create an online poll, e-card delivery system, and blog

Dynamic web content doesn’t have to be difficult—and it doesn’t have to be scripted from scratch. Wicked Cool PHP provides the building blocks for full-featured websites while teaching the techniques that will liven up any site.

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