From the book lists at Adware Report:

All information current as of 03:35:26 Pacific Time, Thursday, 23 December 2004.

PHP Functions Essential Reference (Essential Reference)

   by Zak Greant / Graeme Merrall / Torben Wilson / Brett Michlitsch

    Pearson Education
    --publication date not specified--


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Editorial description(s):

Sterling Hughes, PHP Core Developer and author
This book is an excellent complement to other, more tutorial focused books, or even to the PHP Manual itself.

From the Author
Much of the attraction that PHP holds for its developers is its extensible nature. Adding functionality to the language in the form of optional modules is not only allowed, but encouraged- and often users find that an extension they've written makes its way into the official distribution. However, this extensibility comes at a price: There is a vast amount of documentation of which only a fraction is generally applicable to any given project. This book solves the problem of widely scattered documentation by providing, in printed form and on the book's web site, extensive coverage of every essential PHP function. Zak Greant

From the Inside Flap
The web site for PHP Functions Essential Reference contains materials to support and expand on the book. Over 700 additional function writeups are available, along with updates, errata, and a few surprises.

From the Back Cover
PHP is swiftly gaining market share and is expected to become the leading add-on module for Apache (the leading Web server) within the next 3-4 months. PHP is a server-side scripting language for creating dynamic Web pages, and it is the Open Source alternative to Active Server Pages. PHP is a server-side scripting language for creating dynamic Web pages. You create pages with PHP and HTML. When a visitor opens the page, the server processes the PHP commands and then sends the results to the visitor's browser, just as with ASP or ColdFusion. Unlike ASP or ColdFusion, however, PHP is Open Source and cross-platform. PHP runs on Windows NT and many Unix versions, and it can be built as an Apache module and as a binary that can run as a CGI. When built as an Apache module, PHP is especially lightweight and speedy. This book is a reference of all PHP functions and features, through PHP4, presented in the very accessible manner of an Essential Reference.

About the Author

Zak Greant is lead developer for 51 Degrees North and is the founder of the Foo & Associates programmer's cooperative. He leads the PHP Quality Assurance Team and (when not writing) is an active contributor to the PHP documentation, mailing lists, and source code.

Graeme Merrall graduated from university in 1993 with a degree in biochemistry. While at university, he discovered the Internet while it was still very much in its infancy. This led him away from biochemistry into employment with an ISP and later with a leading web design firm in New Zealand, where he developed his skills in PHP and ASP. As well as his programming, Graeme has written for the local newspaper in his former home town in New Zealand, and has written several tutorials and articles on PHP for Wired Digital's Web Monkey. Born and raised in New Zealand, Graeme currently resides in Sydney, where he runs his own consultancy, specializing in e-commerce and business integration with the Internet. In his spare time, he enjoys modern literature, music, and crocodile wrestling.

Torben Wilson is a freelance developer, technical writer, and member of the Foo & Associates programmer's cooperative. He has been programming in PHP since 1996 and has been a contributing author to the official PHP manual since 1997.

Brett Michlitsch is a producer/senior developer at a leading multimedia training development company based in Minneapolis, MN. As a leader in software design and development, Brett has mentored aspiring developers, led in-services on database design and software architecture, and been recognized by colleagues for his outstanding technical feats. In addition, he has led the design of several web sites and web applications, overseeing the database, business logic, and interface design, and using scripting languages such as PHP, ASP, and Perl to carry out his designs.

Book Description

The PHP Functions Essential Reference is a simple, clear and authoritative function reference that clarifies and expands upon PHP's existing documentation.The authors have spent time evaluating all of the PHP functions and have selected the essential functions to include in the printed book. This includes around 900 of the 1500 functions. The remaining functions will be covered in the same depth and treated in the same way, but they will appear on the web site along with the content of the entire book, which is provided under the OPL.

Reader review(s):

An Awesome Resource, January 4, 2002
Whether you are new to PHP or a seasoned web developer, this reference book is an absolutely must. Clean, concise, and well written, the authors are well-known and respected in the PHP community. Zak Greant heads up the PHP quality assurance squad, Torben Wilson is one of the longest-running credited authors of the PHP manual, and Graeme Merrall contributes to several areas of PHP development.

This book is fast. You can get to what you need quickly, and if you're not sure what you need, the logical hierarchy and table of contents makes narrowing things down very snappy. Within minutes of picking up the book, I've learned new things about PHP, even after 4 years of hardcore PHP development. Not too many books do that. The only downside I can find with it is it won't fit in my shirt pocket.

This book has many other strengths.
- It has a companion website that compliments the book and is maintained by the authors.

- It has been released under a license that reflects the very nature of PHP and Open Source Software, a real credit to the authors.

- One of the Technical Reviewers of the book during the process of it being written was none other than Ken Coar, one of the leaders of the Apache Foundation (author of the best darn web server ever made) and one of the Open Source movement's greatest assets. Buying a PHP book reviewed by Ken Coar is like buying a Bible blessed by the Pope.

If you can't RTFM, then for sure, RTFB.
That is: Read This Friendly Book. ;)

Great time-saver, November 3, 2001
I found this book surprisingly useful as an ordinary PHP user. I thought it might be only for gurus, but when I picked up the book it fell open to a function that could have saved me hours of programming on a previous project. I built it from scratch when I didn't know the function already existed.
That's the value in this book. There are hundreds of PHP functions, the vast majority of which are unknown to the casual user. If you're on deadline there isn't time to learn them all, or even to wander the PHP sites until you hit paydirt.
This book simply lays them out, with a clear description and example attached to each. It's a huge time-saver.
My one suggestion is that the book would benefit from having a usage index. Right now, functions are grouped by type (say, time & date functions), then listed alphabetically. But often users don't know what a function is called. They only know what they want it to do.
It would save even more time if there was an extra index where you might look things up by use, say, "Create random password." That would make this time-saver even faster.

A Must Reference for PHP Developers, September 17, 2002
I do a lot of PHP web development. The books that use the most are "MySQL by Paul DuBois", and this one.

I hear a lot of comments stating, "you can find it online". Yes, its true, you can. But, when you are writing code the last thing you want is another window open or spend valuable time trying to find an answer.

The authors have done a great job laying this book out. The information is catagorized and aphabetized. There are short examples that do a good job of explaining how each function works. And what really sets it apart from others, is it tells you if the function has been deprecated and/or what version of PHP and OS supports it, it has a "see also" for each pertinent function, and a great layout(check out the sample pages).

If you program using PHP, get this book. The time it saves is well worth the price. This book is for all levels of PHP programmers, novice to experts. Don't be fooled into thinking all you need is the downloadable manual from The manual is useful, but it doesn't work as well as this book.

This book is always within arms reach when I'm programming and I'm sure it will be the same for you.

Reference Material, October 30, 2001
This book is undeniably the best PHP Reference book I own. It's saved my butt in many situations while programming. Using an index in a regular book to reference a command is anoying and time consumable. Using this book to reference a command is so fast and easy. The index is setup so nicely. Think about it your not always looking for a way to use a particular command sometimes your looking for the command in general and sometimes you don't even know what the command would be under. For instance I had to figure out a way to make pages so they were refreshed at every visit. I didn't even know where to begin. So I went to the index and looked up Caching, boom right there, "preventing, page 238" less then 1 minute later my page is running smooth. I tried that previously in my other reference book (this book is awfull and will remain secret for their sake) impossible. Don't take a risk buy this book wether our an experienced programmer or new to php. Its awsome, I even like the size, easy to tote around and set next to your keyboard unlike these massive 2000 page bibles of unneeded text and garble.

Excellent desktop resource., October 30, 2001
While no function reference can top the ease of use and simplicity of$function_name, some manage to hold their own. This isn't just another regurgitation of the downloadable help system, this book actually manages to give you usable examples along with function explanations you can wrap your head around.

This is not a book for those just beginning PHP, and I pity anyone who write an application using only this book. You better have some preliminary knowledge of PHP before picking up this book, but beyond that it's probably one of the best reference books available, and small too!

Excellent Reference Material, May 24, 2002
This is the perfect book for someone who wants a comprehensive reference of the functions available to PHP programmers. An brief description and example usage is provided for each function.

I must have 10 books on PHP and MySQL, this is the one I use the most.

corrected URL for online book, May 5, 2004
Reviewer Kevin Carlson noted that the book was not available online at the web address that it mentions. It turns out that there is an errata at giving the correct URL:

Encyclopedic, but no longer online, September 18, 2003
Fantastic reference book with code snippets for every function.

My only complaint is that although the book was released under the Open Publication license (allowing it to be freely distributed), the book's website ( no longer contains the book contents.

Let's hope that this great book becomes available online once more, preferably as a PDF file. I'd love to have it on my computer as well as in paper format.

An update to the new PHP 5 release would also be great.

A goldmine of easy to find information., September 25, 2002
I own a number of so-called 'essential' references for many languages, and over a dozen PHP books that claim to be the end all of PHP documentation.

If you have already learned PHP but are human and cannot remember every function's name or syntax, this book is for you.

It is organized in clear and concise format, you can find your needle in a haystack either by looking in the grouped chapters, or if you know the name of the function, just not the details (which in reality happens more often than not ) the well stocked index will get you going.

This ...I prefer having the hardcopy in my hands when coding so that I can quickly jog my memory without having to navigate through the web for the info.

This book, along with the PHP Developer's Cookbook by SANS should be on *every* PHP Developer's desk... not the bookshelf!

The ideal desktop reference, January 22, 2003
It's more then the usual printed version of manuals, this book actually give you usable examples along with clear function explanations. The ideal desktop reference for the serious PHP programmer; just not for people that need to learn PHP

Excellent Reference Book, October 4, 2002
This book has an excellent easy to use layout and contains just about every PHP function you can imagine. Each function includes a description of the values the function requires and returns along with some sample code showing its usage. It's not for beginners trying to grasp the initial concepts of PHP, for that I'd suggest the PHP Visual Quickstart Guide by Larry Ullman. For anyone else, this is an indispensable reference! It's worth every penny!

A must have PHP reference, September 10, 2004
This is without a doubt, a brilliant PHP reference book.

The PHP functions are grouped in chapters based on their relevance. E.G. String functions are in one chapter, Session functions are in another etc. So even if you don't know the name of the function you're looking for, you'll most likely find what you need in the relevant section.

The book is very well laid out, there are nice descriptions (not too long and not too short) of the function and its use. There is example code showing how to use the function and the functions have a 'related functions' part as well which in my case encourages further reading and thus expanding your knowledge of all things PHP.

Unfortunately though I've found that not all functions are covered in this book. I agree you can't cover them all, but surely a string length function would be covered? Don't let that discourage you though because I've only found a couple of functions that I've needed that weren't covered in this book. Apart from that, I wholeheartly recommend getting a copy. One of the best reference books I've ever purchased.

Essential book for all PHPers, November 16, 2002
You'll have this book within an arm's reach at all times. It's packed with every PHP function and has excellent examples for each one.

This book is absolutely ESSENTIAL for anyone diving into PHP/MySQL. Don't start PHP without it.

Reference, not tutorial, July 14, 2002
This is a reference, and a very good one. Not for the "learning" set, but it will be kept when you are doing PHP.

Title Says it ALL!, October 29, 2001
Essential Reference is EXACTLY what this book DELIVERS!
For the person working with PHP, this book lives up to its promise. The examples that are included with each functions description make putting this resource to work quick and painless. That allows time to get back to the task at hand instead of wasting time trying to figure out where you need to look next just to figure out how to use the information presented. In only minutes you can find the info you need - (they used that ALPHABETICAL style of organization that most everyone understands)-- and toss the book back onto the shelf where it will be handy for your next question, when you need it!
Great Resource for the busy professional!

A Must Have!, October 13, 2003
This book is a must have for any PHP wed developer. I find myself referencing this book quite often. It's logically laid out and makes finding just the right function a lot easier then

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