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Athens MongoDB User Group Message Board › MongoDB and PHP by Steve Francia review

MongoDB and PHP by Steve Francia review

Thanasis E.
user 70475862
Athens, GR
Post #: 2
As you already know, O'Reilly Media is sponsoring our group by providing discounts on books and conferences, free books that will be drawn during our sessions (make sure you don't miss our first one on January 16th!) and preview copies. A preview copy is a book our group may receive for free and, in return, we'll have to read it (duh!) and write a review about it here, on, Amazon or any other related site. In other words, it sounds like a great deal to me! More details about it during our first session!

Below you may find my review on MongoDB and PHP by Steve Francia, O'Reilly Media, 1st edition:

The way I see it, when you're called to write a book review, it's all about the reader's perception about how good it is – and that is very, very subjective. When it comes to programming books, then I guess it has a lot to do with the reader's own expertise, too.
I've read some pretty nasty reviews about this book on Amazon and some pretty good reviews on So, here are my thoughts.

First of all, when I think of programming and/or databases books, I think of heavyweights. That's definitely not the case here. At 62 pages, this is more a white paper than it is a book. It is basically a white paper for experienced PHP developers who have seen a couple of NoSQL technologies or are haunted by the limitations of MySQL and need a few good reasons why they should switch to MongoDB. Thus, there are several MongoDB features introduced but there is hardly the attempt to teach how to use them or to explain them in detail; the text simply acts as a reminder that “this feature exists, go Google it to see how it works in detail”.

I have very little experience with PHP and decent experience with MongoDB. What I liked most is that I was able to understand almost everything PHP-wise; that is, apart from all references to the PHP frameworks out there, which should be very meaningful to all readers already using PHP. What I didn't like is that, not only I didn't really learn anything new about MongoDB, but there are a few parts that are already heavily outdated, too – but that is, of course, not the author's fault. A typical example is the all new aggregation framework introduced in MongoDB 2.2 which is missing. Additionally, I found its structure not to be optimal in the sense that bits and pieces of information about a given subject exists in a couple of places instead of having it all gathered in one spot.

All in all, I think this book is targeted to very specific PHP developers with greater than average database know-how, who are trying to bypass the limitations of their current DB model. If you understand what sharding or eventually consistent mean and you are exploring the NoSQL (or even better, the non-RDBMS) space, then this book could help you. If you are a beginner with PHP or MongoDB, then there are a few other books that you could find much more useful than this.

If I could, I would rate it 2.5 out of 5.

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