Book Review: CakePHP Application Development
CakePHP has been around for awhile with the final 1.2 just around the corner. Despite that, we hadn't seen any books come out focused on the framework. Thankfully, not one but two books came out recently including CakePHP Application Development by Packt Publishing.
The folks at Packt were kind enough to send me a copy and it turned out to be a fairly quick read. It's 300 pages of good starting knowledge. The book is targeted as an introduction to the framework and not meant as a definitive guide (to which the book would likely need to be three times the size to accomplish).
It begins with an overview of concepts such as MVC and how CakePHP is designed to speed development. The book then discusses installation including installation on Windows. After which, it quickly dives into a To-do application to demonstrate how quickly an application can be built.
The book covers Controllers, Models, how relationships work, and Views. It also touches on components and helpers. One of the nice pluses is that the book covers the CakePHP shell scripts for quick creation of application code.
What didn't work
Now for the downsides: this book needed a copy editor and badly. Grammar and punctuation mistakes make the book difficult to read and distracts from learning the framework. Code formatting also wasn't consistent with awkward line breaks, although, this was less of an issue.
I also felt that the book didn't go deep enough into many of the features within the framework, especially when it comes to the Form Helper—which could and should have a chapter all on its own.
Finally, CakePHP 1.2 is still a moving target and has changed since the writing of the book, so you'll need to freshen up your knowledge in a couple areas to make sure that your applications work okay on the latest version.
Overall though, CakePHP Application Development does what it's supposed to: it provides a good introduction to CakePHP. If you've been developing with 1.2 for awhile, you probably won't find many surprises. This book will be great for anybody looking to get their feet wet with the framework.