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0.2. Structure of This Book

We've arranged the material in this book so that you can read it from start to finish, or jump around to hit just the topics that interest you. The book is divided into 15 chapters and 2 appendixes, as follows.

Chapter 1 talks about the history of PHP and gives a lightning-fast overview of what is possible with PHP programs.

Chapter 2 is a concise guide to PHP program elements such as identifiers, data types, operators, and flow-control statements.

Chapter 3 discusses user-defined functions, including scoping, variable-length parameter lists, and variable and anonymous functions.

Chapter 4 covers the functions you'll use when building, dissecting, searching, and modifying strings.

Chapter 5 details the notation and functions for constructing, processing, and sorting arrays.

Chapter 6 covers PHP's object-oriented features. In this chapter, you'll learn about classes, objects, inheritance, and introspection.

Chapter 7 discusses web basics such as form parameters and validation, cookies, and sessions.

Chapter 8 discusses PHP's modules and functions for working with databases, using the PEAR DB library and the MySQL database for examples.

Chapter 9 shows how to create and modify image files in a variety of formats from PHP.

Chapter 10 explains how to create PDF files from a PHP application.

Chapter 11 introduces PHP's extensions for generating and parsing XML data, and includes a section on the web services protocol XML-RPC.

Chapter 12 provides valuable advice and guidance for programmers in creating secure scripts. You'll learn best-practices programming techniques here that will help you avoid mistakes that can lead to disaster.

Chapter 13 talks about the advanced techniques that most PHP programmers eventually want to use, including error handling and performance tuning.

Chapter 14 is an advanced chapter that presents easy-to-follow instructions for building a PHP extension in C.

Chapter 15 discusses the tricks and traps of the Windows port of PHP. It also discusses the features unique to Windows, such as COM and ODBC.

Appendix A is a handy quick reference to all the core functions in PHP.

Appendix B describes the standard extensions that ship with PHP.

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