Book Review: Beginning CakePHP From Novice to Professional

I have been getting into CakePHP development more and more recently. With all the CakePHP books that have come out in the past year, I was hoping I could find one that would be a pretty comprehensive guide to CakePHP. I was looking for something that would basically tell me everything that Cake’s online manual would. I know I will get the usual “why not just read the manual?”. Well, if I have time to read a book, I’m not usually around a computer, and reading off the computer screen for an extended period of time isn’t pleasant.

Beginning CakePHP From Novice to Professional does a decent job covering the basics of CakePHP. Having built even the simplest of applications with Cake before reading this book, I was able to breeze through the first half of the book. Much of it covers the very basics, including installation and setup, naming conventions, and etc. Most of the code examples in the book extend Cake’s blog tutorial, which most Cake developers will be familiar with.

The book covers CakePHP 1.2, which is currently the latest major release. I was surprised it does not include documentation on how to upgrade a site from 1.1 to 1.2. Of course, it is different for every site, but some general instructions would be a good idea. The book has a paragraph on ACL with CakePHP, but no more than that. ACL is one of the more complex paradigms in Cake, and it would have been nice to have some documentation on this subject.

I learned a few tricks from this book, but nothing I couldn’t have learned anywhere else. Beginning CakePHP From Novice to Professional would be great for those brand new to CakePHP, but it definitely does not cover more than the basics. If you are already familiar with Cake and have been working with it for a while, this book will be of little use to you. Hopefully one of the other CakePHP books out there will go into more depth than this one. As I read them, I will review them here, so be on the look out for them.