<pre>Author/s : Matt Zandstra Publisher : Apress Category :Other Review by : Lasse Koskela Rating : 8 horseshoes</pre> I haven't read a book on PHP in ages. In fact, I haven't programmed in PHP since 2001. With this in mind, I can say that Matt Zandstra's "PHP 5 Objects, Patterns, and Practice" was a very approachable introduction to what the latest version of the PHP platform has to offer to an OO developer from the Java scene.
The book is split to three main sections: objects, patterns, practice. The first section runs through the new object-oriented features of PHP 5, the second sections introduces design patterns and includes a catalog of some of the more common patterns from the original Gang of Four patterns as well as from "Core J2EE Patterns". The third section is a set of tutorials on tools and assets that a modern day PHP developer really should know about and make use of: the PEAR installation tool, PhpDocumentor, and the Phing build tool. The author also squeezed in a bit about the PHPUnit2 library for unit testing PHP code which I especially appreciated.
The design patterns catalog is far from comprehensive, covering only a small subset of published design patterns in the Java/.NET camps, but serves its purpose alright. Every included pattern is illustrated with an example that the author has crafted for the PHP context - in other words, these are not just direct ports from their Java equivalents, for example.
While being an easy read, Zandstra's introduction to the object-oriented features is, I believe, perfectly adequate to get started with object-oriented PHP programming. Combined with the discussion about design patterns, the book feels like a valuable asset for getting up to speed after a break. A more up-to-date PHP developer might find the information a bit lacking but for someone new to PHP 5's object-oriented features, this is a good package to get started with.