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php|architect's Guide to Programming with Zend Framework
Marco Tabini & Associates
January 21, 2008
Week: Not ranked All time: 34
Alexandre Altair de Melo
alexandremelo.netIt is interesting to notice the tools that are being developed to facilitate the life of developers working with a given technology. This is very good because it reflects the fact that there is more people demonstrating what is possible to do with a certain technology.
When a developer uses a framework to do his work, he is trying to follow a line of development. However, when you choose to work with a given framework, you will also have to learn how to deal with the characteristics of that tool.
At a certain point the developer asks himself: is the framework I have chosen right for my needs? Does it follows common design patterns of development, such as the MVC? Will its development be continued for a long time and support always be available?
Unfortunately there is no definite answer for each of these questions, but there are some ways to make a decision.
One way to determine which framework is the best for you is to use a decision table. You give different weights to each of the points that are relevant to you, so you can decide between one framework or another.
But why was this book released? The answer is that now Zend Framework is one of the frameworks that satisfy the requirements of developers that need to build PHP project.
Of course there are other frameworks that meet these requirements, but the team that keeps this project knows PHP and tends to build structures that can make the best use of language and avoid its pitfalls.
Cal Evans, the author of the book, goes straight to a section that describes what you need to start working with the Zend Framework. The author gives an overview of the main features of the framework at the beginning of the book, exploring classes and special features throughout this section.
Let me give you a summary of what the reader will find in each of the chapters.
In chapter 1 it is discussed the pros and cons of using frameworks for PHP development. The author ponders whether the Zend Framework is the best for the developer. He describes how the Zend Framework can be used to quickly implement the MVC pattern and which are the involved classes.
The second chapter is about the installation and configuration of the Zend Framework. The author also shows a quick example of building an application to simply display the "Hello World!" message.
In chapter 3 the focus is on the controller classes of the MVC design pattern and how the Zend Framework handles this.
Chapters 4 and 5 address respectively the implementation of model and view classes, explaining which the Zend Framework classes should be used in each case. It also explains how to implement data validation in model classes and generate page output with view classes.
Chapter 6 talks about database connections and data access. It includes explanations about the fact that there are several ways to do it, despite the focus of the chapter is in Zend_Db class and how to use it.
Chapter 7 covers authentication and validation. It is not a chapter on what we can do to implement the security of your application. It focus on the Zend_Auth class and framework classes to take care of these matters.
Chapter 8 deals with a class that the author calls "Ninja". This class is in Globals.php, which is not part of the Zend Framework. It is a singleton class that is used to retrieve configuration data that the developer may need in different points of application.
As the author says, "no respectable book on developing Web applications would be complete without a chapter on Web services." So he addresses in chapter 9 topics like PHP and Google Maps and how to work with the Flickr Web services API. Additionally he explains how to create your own Web services.
Chapter 10 deals with the processing of exceptions and how to do it PHP and specifically using the Zend Framework.
Towards the end of the book, in chapter 11 there is a quick presentation about Rich Internet Applications (RIA) and how to use a little of this concept in PHP applications with the Zend Framework.
Chapter 12 is the last chapter of the book. The author comments on how to use the command line interface offered by the Zend Framework.
Appendix A covers matters related with page layout and using the Zend_Layout class.
After reading this book, the reader will have a good overview of the Zend Framework. The author has not exhausted the subject because new features are added to each new version of tool. The book is worth reading as an excellent entry point to the study of this framework.
A suggestion for a future edition would be the addition of a mini-application that combines all the framework aspects, showing how to build a real application since the modeling of the database and a layout to view the results.
This is a good book to read and start understanding the potential of the Zend Framework.
It is interesting reading generally recommended for those who want to learn about this framework is one of the most used by PHP developers.
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