It may be a well known secret that the animals depicted on the cover of O'Reilly books have some bearing on the contents -- but indulge me -- I've only just recognized the fact. The camel on the front of Larry Wall's Perl book should perhaps have given the game away long ago. Ever thought about the duck-billed platypus on "Web Database Applications"? Well the authors are Australian. For a book on security ("Essential PHP Security") what better animal than a monitor lizard? So why a cuckoo for "Programming PHP"?
In the server market these days Linux is pretty mainstream, so it was no surprise to see a number of major corporations, including HP, IBM, and Samsung, represented at LinuxWorld. However, the show floor was dominated by Novell. They were positioned front and center with an exceptionally well-staffed booth, and at the epicenter of it all was SUSE Linux.
Quick -- name a Canadian-made computer-programming language. Time's up. If you answered "Java," that's true enough -- its originator, University of Calgary graduate James Gosling, created the language for Sun Microsystems Inc. But the top prize goes to those who answered "PHP."
As the version number in the title would indicate, this book is a follow-up to Open Sources (1999, O'Reilly). There are inherent dangers in writing a sequel - you've lost the element of surprise and created certain expectations. As Hollywood has shown far too often, it's easy to sink into comfortable repetition. Fortunately, that's not the case here - the subtitle, "Continuing Evolution", is warranted.
Security is constantly being brought to our attention - at every turn it seems another flaw is discovered in this or that application or operating system. Because PHP is being ever more widely used, it was no surprise that security was a hot topic at the recent php|works conference (organized by php|architect). I missed hearing Ilia Alshanetsky, the author of this book, speak on security - there was something equally attractive in the same time slot - but I was impressed by his talks on web services and PHP performance.
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This summer marks the tenth anniversary of the birth of PHP and, given this fact and the healthy state of PHP, this was a very upbeat conference. Rasmus Lerdorf, the originator of PHP, gave the keynote address and a number of PHP core developers made presentations - often in the same time slot, leaving this developer wishing he could defy the laws of physics and be in two places at the same time. But, once a presentation started there was only one place you wanted to be ...