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CodeIgniter for Rapid PHP Application Development
July 31, 2007
Week: 25 All time: 88
ryanpartington.comI started reading "CodeIgniter for Rapid PHP Application Development" as a novice. This book is specially targeted to anybody like me: little or no prior experience of Object Oriented Programming or the MVC approach, with couple of years procedural PHP experience, and is after something that can really take you to the next level.
I have prior experience of 2 years using Dreamweaver to build Web applications for my current employer. Dreamweaver uses a procedural approach to PHP, whereas CodeIgniter focuses on Object Oriented Programming (OOP). If you have not done any OOP before, then this book provides a good introduction.
CodeIgniter is a PHP framework that allows you to build clean and sophisticated applications using an MVC (Model View Control) approach.
Putting it in simple terms, an MVC approach provides a clean way to organise your code. Once you understand the concept and become familiar with the CodeIgniter framework, you will be building Web applications in no time.
The book was published by Packt Publishing. Like with all their books, you can download the example code from their support page. The examples are pretty easy to setup. I had no problems getting any of them to work. The details and explanations provided by the author make it very difficult to make a mistake.
The introduction was for me the hardest part to get through, as I had no prior experience with OOP, nor with the MVC approach.
I am a more hands on programmer. I learn from writing the code rather than reading about the methods. So when the book starts explaining how to use CodeIgniter to simplify common tasks, I started realizing how and why my application design would improve. This book was not just about CodeIgniter, but a new approach to efficient application development with all the hard work already done.
After you are introduced to the MVC approach, chapters are broken down into common tasks. It starts looking at how CodeIgniter works with database connections, while keeping the application code clean and writing less code.
Initially I thought it was reinventing the wheel, making me learn a new syntax to achieve the same results. However, over time, you find the application development with CodeIgniter is a lot easier because it is simple, especially when it comes to troubleshooting. You are working with a much stronger and efficient foundation when compared to not using any framework.
In the middle of the book we get a look under the hood, i.e. how CodeIgniter actually works. You will still want to write your own application classes. Here we can see how we can integrate them with CodeIgniter. Being new to OOP, I just gave a brief overview over this section, as it focused very much on the CodeIgniter "super-object", which is the root of the framework.
You may have heard about "Test Driven Development". In a nutshell, it focuses on creating a test environment before you even start writing your production code.
The idea is that you build your application and code to pass these predefined tests. It is difficult a concept to swallow initial, so I welcomed the chapter that helps understanding this approach to application design.
Once we have tested our application and we are happy with the functionality, how can we ensure we have not ended up with slow code? Easy! David Upton, the author, shows how we can easily benchmark our application using a CodeIgniter class.
Benchmarking is not always required. Smaller projects may not benefit much from speed improvements of just a fraction of a second. But if you are building an enterprise class application, optimization can make all the difference.
The CodeIgniter framework offers a lot of productivity to PHP Web developers.
The greatest benefit of buying this book is that we gain a practical understanding of where and how we can use CodeIgniter.
I have only scratched the surface of what is offered by the author. He tutors you on each section, explaining the concepts behind each CodeIgniter class or helper.
You are not overwhelmed with code, but taught valuable lessons about the MVC approach and Web application development.
Alexandre Altair de Melo
alexandremelo.netWhen I started programming with PHP in the beginning of the year 2000, the object orientation support provided by the language was not sufficient for my needs.
Odd effects could be caused when objects were copied instead of passing them by reference to functions. Off course we could use workarounds for this using the operator &, but it was not very intuitive.
PHP 5 introduced changes to the object oriented support and it become more usable. Before this version, not much was mentioned about PHP frameworks. After PHP 5 was launched, many frameworks appeared, some working with version 4 and 5, others only with version 5.
When I started reading the book "CodeIgniter for Rapid PHP application Development", I was introduced to a framework that I heard before several times.
My first thought after reading the first sections of book, was that this framework was using the rule of "Power with simplicity". This impression was confirmed after I read the first two chapters.
In the first chapter it shows all concepts behind CodeIgniter. In the second chapter we learn how to install the working environment. After a few minutes the environment is ready.
In the third chapter and through the whole book, we are presented to topics that teach common Web development tasks using the framework. These tasks include querying a database, user input validation among others.
Other concepts are listed in the book, as the MVC pattern. This pattern is very well explained throughout all the book. The book also describes how the framework is prepared to use it. We also have a good explanation of concepts like object orientation, the correct use of CodeIgniter classes and many others concerning good practices.
After the presentation of the common tasks between chapters 3 and 11 which include e-mail, ftp, images, file uploads and others.
The book closes with a golden key. The last chapter covers many interesting things like extending the framework, diagnostic tools and AJAX.
I have just a couple suggestions for a second edition: to include a chapter about internationalization and another to explain more about security with CodeIgniter.
This book is not a documentation of framework. It is rather a guide of what we can do with CodeIgniter.
The book is very useful because it describes not only the framework but also good tips on how to work with PHP.
The concepts on how to develop systems for the enterprise with CodeIgniter are also explained.
A word that I would use to describe this book is that it is a map, because you learn about a light and powerful framework and also see how powerful PHP has become.
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