Professional PHP: A difficult task, and even worse in Spain

By | 2008-12-03

PHP ElephantThis is a post about tech books. Sometime ago I discovered that Internet is not, and should be not, the only information source for an IT professional. It’s a good place to search for technical reference, to scan for chunks of information, but definitively it isn’t a place to read long texts. Books are the alternative. We get used to scan text on Internet (Nielsen dixit), but we read books in other way, in a more relaxed way. And books authors write books in a different way from writing on Internet. We need books (or big and comfortable e-books) in order to understand “the big picture”.

PHP is a flexible language, and thanks to its version #5 it’s a modern object-oriented language. It’s also an easy language to learn, which leads to help newbies. But, just because this, most of the PHP programmers’ population have a low programming level. This could be a reason to explain why almost every PHP book seems written for newbies. PHP5 is object-oriented so, as an example: how many books explain Design Patterns using Java? More than 30 (according to an Amazon search). How many with PHP5? Just 4. Another example… let’s speak about unit testing: how many books are out there on jUnit? Around a dozen. And on PHPUnit (something like jUnit, but in PHP)? Just ONE!

And things get worse if we speak about trying to buy advanced PHP books in Spain. Libraries in Spain avoid books written in other languages but Spanish, and of course none of the “advanced level” PHP books get a Spanish translation. So the reality is that it’s almost impossible to get a decent book. Last year I was surprised when I went to London, entered in a just normal library and found a lot of hi-tech PHP and AJAX books. I tried to found a good library here in Barcelona, but it’s impossible: so finally I ordered some books to Amazon UK!

6 thoughts on “Professional PHP: A difficult task, and even worse in Spain

  1. Neko

    There is one technical bookshop in Madrid:
    But I think that amazon is the cheapest solution, they have great discounts (sometimes 50% off). It is true that in amazon you can look inside the index and some of the first pages. But I think that the experience of leaf through books in a bookstore is nicer.

    Any way is very dificult to compite with the big Amazon, and here in Spain particularly, because the bookshops only can sell book with a maximum of 5% off.

  2. Ruben

    As a mathematician (and ocasional frugal programmer) I also go for Amazon. I am yet to find K&R ANSI C… a classic book, well written and so on with just only one f…ing spanish translation. And I had to buy (of course) ANSI Common Lisp from Amazon. And all advanced mathematical books… either from Amazon or in Warwick University (last year). The only “good” programming non-spanish book I have bought in Spain are Stroustrup’s C++ and Tanenbaum’s OS Design and Implementation.

    I have just made a quick glance at my spanish computer-related books: Locomotive Basic 2 para Amstrad PC 1512 and Basic para niños. The latter is better than the former…

  3. Julio Post author

    Oh, wonderful, I had “Basic para niños” (Basic for kids)… it was my first programming book, when I was 4 or 5 years old!

  4. Ruben

    I was 6-7 when I first read it, you beat me 🙂 but it is really nice, really instructive. Julio, if you ever have the time (you know, sometimes you get too bored) write a “Python for kids”!

  5. Julio Post author

    Nice idea… Python for kids!
    But I’ll do so if you just write another one: “LISP for autistic kids” 😉

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