Zend PHP 5 Certification Study Guide (2014)

Preface

Foreword

When I wrote the foreword for the second edition of this book back in 2006, I wrote that there were “more than 1,500” certified engineers. Today (according to Wikipedia!) there are over 10,000!

PHP has come a long way in the last 8 years, but doubly so in the last 4. PHP 5.3 raised the bar for the language, and has been rapidly followed by great releases in 2012 (5.4), and 2013 (5.5).

More recently, PHP 5.6 has been released, and brings less changes than it’s 3 pre-decessors, yet still adds some fantastic new functionality.

Despite what some might have you think, PHP—as a language, a tool, a job market, and most importantly: as a community—is still very much alive and kicking.

Alongside these releases, Zend had released a PHP 5.3 certification, and more recently, a PHP 5.5 certification. This books was long overdue for an update!

When writing this book originally, we were determined that it should outlive it’s somewhat short-lived lifespan of just being a study aid, and that hopefully it would become your go-to desk reference. With this in mind, the book has been fully updated not just to 5.5 to keep pace with the current certifications, but right up to PHP 5.6.

I hope that this update has been worth the wait, I have been humbled by the number of people who have thanked me over the years for helping them pass the certifications, and urging me to update. Well: now it’s here, and I hope it’s everything you want it to be!

Davey Shafik

Wesley Chapel, Florida

How To Use This Book

We wrote the Zend PHP Certification Study Guide with the specific intent of making it useful in two situations:

·        For candidates who are preparing for the Zend exam

·        For students of instructor-led classes who are approaching and studying PHP for the first time

These choices may seem obvious, but they, in fact, imply that we made a significant assumption about our readers.

In the first instance—when you are studying for the PHP exam—we want this book to act as a guide to your studies. Because you should not take on the exam unless you have a working knowledge of PHP, this book will guide you through the different topics that make up the exam with the idea that you will either be already familiar with them, or that you will use the PHP manual as a reference companion to explore in depth those subjects that you need to freshen up on.

If, on the other hand, you are using this book in an instructor-led class, we intend it to act as a companion to your classroom experience, and not as a self-study or reference tool.

As a result, this Guide does not teach you how to program in PHP, nor does it provide exhaustive coverage of every single topic. This is by design—an all-inclusive book would have missed the mark on both fronts: for starters, it would have been much bigger and more expensive; it would have made preparing for the exam much more difficult, as the significant amount of extraneous material—useful for reference purposes, but detrimental to studying for the exam—would have made the study process much more complicated than it would have to be; and, finally, it would negate the purpose of serving as a good textbook for a class, where we believe that simplicity while you are trying to learn foreign concepts trumps exhaustiveness hands-down.

In short, we feel that there is a single reference text for PHP that is simply unbeatable: the PHP manual, which you can download and access directly online at http://www.php.net. The manual is constantly up-to-date and contains information on every single PHP-related topic under the sun—not to mention that, best of all, it is completely free.

Additionally, based on feedback, we have also learned that a large number of readers have used this book as a desktop reference. We have tried our best to maintain this appeal with this third edition.