I taught myself PHP and MySQL and found myself, at times, without internet access and thus without search access to the PHP.net manual ( http://www.php.net/manual/en/ ).
Since coding was not my primary job, I needed a refresher on syntax, usage, and most of all, a
reminder of how to code PHP without spending an hour debugging a silly mistake.
I printed out reference sheets, cards, cheat sheets and tried to work off of them exclusively. However, I still found myself needing more than would fit on one page of 8.5" x 11" paper front and back. So, off I went to the web and the local bookstore. After spending some time with a few books,
giving them a trial run, I ran into two major problems:
1. I spent most of the time weeding through extensive tutorials to find the keyword and answer I was looking for, sometimes fruitlessly.
2. Information was biased or surrounded by irrelevant and often confusing code that did little to explain the what of the function.
I figured I couldn't be the only one with this problem, and quickly found out that I wasn't alone thanks to a chance run-in at a local bookstore.
Casual PHP programmers, sometimes away from the internet, wanting a quick reference book that assumes they have some experience with PHP and understood the basics while still needing a little clarification sometimes on the details. Therefore, this book was born.
For this edition, I decided to eliminate some of the more advanced aspects of PHP programming: object oriented programming, image manipulation/creation, secondary modules, and a few others. Secondarily, items such as mail handling, file manipulation, regular expressions, MySQL,
sessions, and cookies were balanced for complexity and usability, usually excluding the more advanced uses, such as streams .
Finally, this book is not an exhaustive collection of every PHP function, but a majority selection of
those appropriate for beginner to intermediate programmers. The most common or effective functions are included and some aliases are left out to reduce confusion, such as including is_int() and not is_long().