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I recently was provided with an eBook review copy of PHP and MongoDB Web Development from Packt Publishing, by Rubayeet Islam. Being interested in MongoDB, though a bit out of date with my PHP development, I read through the book fairly quickly.

As the title indicates, the author focuses on using MongoDB to provide the storage back-end for PHP web applications. After a short introduction to the basic concepts behind MongoDB, we get a walk-through of installing MongoDB and getting PHP to talk with it, before starting in on building a blog. It’s a safe example, since a blog is a reasonable candidate for a document store like MongoDB. It also provides a way to address one of the big design questions when using MongoDB, which is when to use embedded documents and when to store references. To my mind the question is glossed over a bit too quickly, but it is discussed.

Additional projects like session management and geolocation get a bit off-track, as a lot of time is spent describing the concepts rather than MongoDB, but the meatier sections that get into topics like Map-Reduce (creating a tag cloud) and web analytics are certainly worthwhile. I did feel that the chapter reviewing two MongoDB management tools could have been skipped, since the information will likely be out of date within a couple of months.

Overall, this is a reasonable beginner’s guide, as its subtitle indicates. There’s a great deal of PHP code filling its pages, which will give you a starting point if you need a boost to get going. Reading through it will give you the basics about MongoDB, and a bit more — hints on indexing, optimizing, and Map-Reduce will keep you running. A lot of the information felt cursory, and I would have appreciated more depth, but that’s probably just me wanting more than a beginner’s introduction. Perhaps more relevant were my concerns about the copy-editing and grammar. I didn’t notice any actual errors, but the grammar is quite rough and it made me wonder. It may make me old-fashioned these days, but I still expect my books to be well-edited and grammatically correct. The issue didn’t get directly in the way of the information to be had, but it’s still a pity. Nonetheless, if you’re a PHP developer and you’re looking to get started with MongoDB, you’ll doubtless find this a useful book.

PHP and MongoDB Web Development from Packt Publishing, also available from Amazon.

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