Sunday, January 5, 2014

Zend Framework 2 Application Development: A Book Review

I once tried using the Zend Framework 2 documentation as a guide to PHP5 development but the documentation given the number of framework components is also gargantuan, and having to look through the documentation can be intimidating if not cumbersome, especially for newcomers to PHP5 development.

I highly recommend this book to be a reference on ZF2 for newcomers and experts alike within reach on your desktop, literally and metaphorically

With due credit to Punit Shetty through Facebook, I was floored to have had the opportunity to review the book, or rather the eBook version of "Zend Framework 2 Application Development" by Christopher Valles that was released around the last quarter of 2013. At the outset, the book was intended for newcomers to PHP5 development using Zend Framework 2, arousing the curiosity whether this book would be suitable for newbies while at the same time hopefully valuable also to experienced developers.

I had a pleasant surprise to find that the book "Zend Framework 2 Application Development" by Christopher Valles published by Packt Publishing is less than 300 pages to cover most of the components of a hefty PHP5 framework that has earned the reputation of bringing to a PHP developer everything including the kitchen sink, giving the subliminal impression of an ambitious treatise to make the framework approachable even to newcomers.

For starters, the setup and installation of PHP5 with Zend Framework 2 (or simply ZF2 from hereon for brevity) is made fast and easy, especially for newcomers to this framework by having the user setup a virtual machine on which to run ZF2, guaranteeing consistency, faster access to a development and by using VirtualBox, minimized the cost of investment in setting up a virtual machine (VM).

The discussion of Vagrant and VirtualBox setup and configuration may be steep for newcomers and the process is very involved, technical guidance from a more experienced friend on setting up  a VirtualBox VM can make this necessary step smoother.

The big plus of the VM is that it installed a Unix-like environment, Ubuntu Linux in this case, rather than trying to run PHP5 and ZF2 on the Windows platform. I personally have had nightmares working with PHP5 in Windows and I advise friends against it, unless you're a masochist.

Overall the notably covered programming topics include user authentication, database backend storage and retrieval, API development, REST web services, and MVC design pattern. I have particular concern on when, where or how I will read the book, having eBook and printed version of the book is a bonus.

My only personal gripe is that the discussion on interfacing with databases is focused on MySQL and that the index does not list 90% if not all of the ZF2 components should I need to see how a particular component is used. This is an introductory book in learning ZF2 but if the index is any indication, it does not cover 90% of all the ZF2 components, rather it covers the ZF2 components everyone would use 90% of their development time.

All in all, I highly recommend this book to be a reference on Zend Framework 2 for newcomers and experts alike within reach on your desktop, literally and metaphorically.

Update: Included the front page of the book so you know visually what cover to look for since Packt books look almost alike (it must be the orange). Due credit to Mr. Ariel Licas of for the suggestion.


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