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Node.js for PHP Developers
December 17, 2012
Week: Not ranked All time: 385
samshal.github.ioSince the launch of Node.js 6 years ago, many PHP developers became interested in this platforms. There have been some articles around the Web defending that Node.js is better than PHP to make PHP developers be scared away from the older language.
I have read so many articles that try to magnify the differences between the two platforms that make fans of the PHP language uncomfortable.
But, recently, when I came across the this book "Node.js for PHP Developers". I was really amazed by how the author brought the two platforms together and taught Node.js in a way that’s very easy for the PHP developer to grasp and gave a lot of reasons and examples that demonstrate why Node.js is not a replacement of the PHP language and why we shouldn’t be scared of switching to Node.js when it makes sense.
The major hype point about Node.js is its ability to perform non-blocking asynchronous operations. The author pointed out very clearly that this is the most significant difference between the two platforms earlier in the book.
This is actually the part that won my attention. I needed to see what similarities there are between the two platforms, and according to the author, "why it would be very easy for the PHP developers to use this material as their learning resource for the Node.js framework”.
In the first chapter, the author introduces Node.js to the professional PHP developer by explaining the basics. This includes topics like what Node really is, Stack Traces, and the differences between node and the Node Packaging Manager.
The author also suggests that an IDE (specifically the Eclipse IDE) should be used for development and gives very good reasons why a simple text editor would make development less friendly. A simple Hello world example that is very easy to understand was also demonstrated in this chapter.
The next chapter continued on the example that was started in chapter one. The author explains how an HTTP server, such as Apache and IIS, work and how to create one with the Node.js framework.
Since the book was written for PHP developers, some important concepts of PHP like the built-in global variables ($_REQUEST, $_GET, $_SERVER, $_COOKIES) and so on needed in Node.js were also explained in this chapter. The author also demonstrates this PHP concept and how they relate with the Node.js framework using concise examples.
In chapters three and four, the author explains one of the most important concepts of Node.js. Callbacks are considered to be one of the reasons why Node.js is special in comparison to PHP.
Actually callbacks are one of those things that scared me during my first attempt at the Node.js framework. Callbacks were concisely laid out and well taught in these chapters.
In chapter three, the author introduces the notion of callbacks and in chapter four, he builds upon this foundation by treating advanced callback operations using well planned, easy to understand and more traditional examples in such a way that a PHP programmer would find it very easy to move along and start writing callback handlers for events.
Chapter one focused on teaching the reader how to build an HTTP server using the Node.js framework. The author continued to build upon this foundation in chapter five by explaining the concept of HTTP responses and how to get a response in any format from an HTTP Server.
He explains how to read and write from both the header and body of an HTTP page and wrapped up this chapter with a concise example, which is actually a proof of concept.
Chapters six, seven, eight and nine were based on the syntax, variables, classes and file access techniques of the Node.js framework respectively. These are the building blocks of any programming language or framework and the author did a very good job in these chapters.
Chapters 10 and 11 were concentrated on data storage and retrieval. Chapter 10 introduces the reader to database connection using MySQL, while chapter 11 was based on data storage and retrieval from plain text files, JSON and XML.
These chapters were written for the professional PHP developer who is already used to this concepts and needs a cookbook to easily work with them around Node.js
Chapter 12, which is the last chapter, contains topics such Arrays, String, MySQL, JSON and so on which are used by PHP programmers often but may be needed for reference while learning the Node.js framework.
The main goal of this book was actually to teach Node.js to the professional PHP programmer in a very traditional style making it very easy to use both technologies interchangeably and this is exactly what the author achieved.
Every PHP programmer out there that is yet to check out the Node.js framework or is still scared of moving on and learning it, will really find this book very useful as a complete learning material.
This book is one of the best materials I have seen so far that tried to unite PHP and Node.js. It makes it easy for an expert in one of these technologies to quickly understand the other.
I would recommend this book to any developer of these platforms, not just as a reference material but as a masterpiece that’s worth having in your book shelves.
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