Review: PHP 5 Social Networking

I was, a few weeks back, asked to review the book “PHP 5 Social Networking” by Michael Peacock. As I have partaken in development of several websites with both more and less social elements I found the book’s title and slogan interesting.

About the book

The tag line of the book “Create a powerful and dynamic social networking website in PHP by building a flexible framework” sums up pretty well the main aims of the book. It starts off by giving an introduction to social networks: the definitions, existing services and software-solutions as well as why and when you might want to develop your own (Chapter 1).

Assuming you need your own solution it then goes on with planning and designing the framework which will serve as the platform for the further development of your social network site (Chapter 2). The next chapters (Chapter 3 through 10) goes systematically through how to implement features such as registration, relationships, status stream, events, groups, API etc.

It then finishes off with discussions around deployment, security and maintenance (Chapter 12), marketing and monetizing (Chapter 13) and finally a chapter about performance – Chapter 14: Planning for growth.

My thoughts

The short version: I like the book. It’s a recommended read for people wanting to learn more about extensible application frameworks suited for the web as well as examples of developing and implementing social features.

The slightly longer version: I like the fact that Michael (Peacock, I do not speak about my self in third person… usually) follows a systematic approach the whole way through and focuses on well known best practices. These includes data sanitation, MVC, design patterns and encourages the reader to ย just use the exapmles as inspiration and a starting point.

I would like the chapter about performance (Chapter 14: Planning for growth) to be a little more comprehensive though, but it’s really more suited for several books of it own and Michael does give a nice overview of some of the options and techniques available which in turn can point the reader in possible directions for further reading.

The nitpicking: The editors should also have done a better job with the typography related to the code examples as they can be a little hard to read sometimes with lot’s of linewraps etc, as well as some minor typos which sometimes can cause a little confusion.

The HTML-purist in me do feel a little bad about some of the HTML/CSS-examples though, but that’s not the focus of the book. ๐Ÿ™‚

Who it’s for

The author assumes the reader knows the basics of PHP 5, OOP and preferably some knowledge regarding software design patterns but that’s not required.

Sidenote: The techniques listed in this book is not limited to social networks so there are a lot of good information here about how to develop a framework in general. The “Social”-bit is just for the buzz ๐Ÿ˜‰

Useful information

Title: PHP 5 Social Networking

Author: Michael Peacock

ISBN: 1849512388

ISBN: 13 : 978-1-849512-38-1



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