When Alex told me he was about to write a Yii cookbook about a year ago, I was wondering how original it would be, considering the fact that there was already an online user-contributed cookbook (aka. Yii wiki). It turned out Alex produced a book that is not only full of wisdom about how to use Yii effectively, but also presented in such a systematic way that it can be taken as an essential companion book to the definitive guide to Yii. In fact, Alex has successfully intrigued the interest of every member in the Yii developer team when he asked for review and comments on his newly finished book chapters.
As the founder and the lead developer of the Yii framework, I feel this book is a must-read for every Yii programmer. While this book does not describe directly the rules set by Yii, it shows how to program with Yii from a practical perspective. People who are driven by tight project schedules will find this book very handy as it gives ready-to-use solutions to many problems they may face in their projects; people who are already familiar with Yii will also find this book very informative as most problem solutions given in the book can be considered as officially recommended because they have undergone thorough review of every Yii developer team member. Alex, through this book and his active participation in the Yii project, proved himself to be a great programmer as well as a good writer.
Lead developer of the Yii framework
Alexander Makarov not only is an active member of Yii's core development team but also a vivid contributor to its community and put a lot of experience into this excellent book. I am using Yii for quite a while now and thought I knew some tricks but this book really helps you getting a deep understanding of the framework's functionalities. It's not written for beginners but a very inspiring reference for intermediate Yii developers and presents a lot of solutions for everyday scenarios that aren't explained in much detail in the framework's wiki: Advanced profiling to find bottlenecks, customized logging functionalities, deployment using different environments (development and production versions), using customized folder structures, preventing XSS and CSRF attacks, using external code libraries (Zend, Kohana, PEAR) and getting the best out of existing Zii components (grid views, list views and data providers). One of the nice things about this book is that the topics are always accompanied by useful real world examples which - from a developer's point of view - makes them really easy to understand. If you are new to Yii I would recommend starting with Jeffrey Winesett's "Agile Web Application Development with Yii1.1 and PHP5" first, but if you got the basics this book will help you become a Yii expert in no time.
The Yii 1.1 Application Development Cookbook is the latest printed publication for aspiring Yii Framework developers. The book takes on a rich set of topics and demonstrates how to exploit the Yii Framework to increase development speed, reduce errors, improve security, and improve the feature set of web applications. The book covers underused core features, data integration, URL routing, AJAX, web forms, security, performance, UI widgets, testing models, extending the framework, and much more.
This book fills a critical gap in the learning cycle for the Yii Framework. It compliments the excellent online Yii class documentation and user guide with a lot of code examples that help the framework come alive. There is some good syntax and logic gems found throughout the examples that are helpful in fully leveraging Yii classes and conventions. I certainly learned a lot and will refer back to it often.
While the book is rich with information, the content organization is not ideal for a cookbook and makes it harder to use than necessary. This seems to be more of an intermediate Yii developers guide organized around core topics as opposed to a full inventory of functional recipes. I was hoping for something like the streamlined technology cookbooks that succinctly outline a problem, a solution, and an explanation. I find this book’s content far too verbose, highly repetitive (e.g. instructions for creating a new “webapp” for every example), and not very consistent in language, completeness or code syntax. I found enough errors that it appears to have been rushed by the editors. I also don’t understand the organization of topics. The topics are not methodically laid out in complexity or frequency-of-use order so it feels like we are taken on a wild ride of good learning without knowing if we missed something or fully understand where we’ve been.
Despite the structural problems, this is a good book if you are looking for Yii code examples to accelerate your learning. I recommend it for your development library because you will learn a lot, but don’t expect a vast list of code recipes succinctly tailored to the task. This book did help our company leverage the framework for higher performance, security, and faster time to market for our web features. No doubt.
Mark Trenchard, Keystone Media Group
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