Book Review: Twilio Cookbook

Twilio CookbookThis is another book review for a book named Twilio. It mostly consist of recipes of how to do a single task and it includes source codes with exlpanations on how it works and what is done when.

For all of you who are lazy and who do not want to read the full review here is a resume:
If you need a crash course on Twilio and if you keep in mind that code you will see in the book is for education purposes only, that’s a good book that contain solid, tested-and-true recipes. But if you have some spare time to look around the Twilio API and some expertise with PHP I don’t think this book will give you a lot and it might even frustrate you in some points (I especially hated the first two steps in every recipe which are the same).

Now let’s go on with a little bit of detailed review.

Book contains 60 recipes to do simple tasks to complex ones. Source codes for all the recipes are given and they are actually easy to follow. But this book does not contain an overview of the Twilio API only methods used in the recipes. An overview of how the Twilio API works, how the authentication is done, how the library communicates with the actual API or what are the most used classes and functions could have been included. Even if it’s a cookbook I think I expected such a part that contained basics should have existed.

Source codes could definitely have been better. I would understand writing HTMLs and PHP codes together to keep simplicity but executing queries without escaping parameters is not acceptable for me. That wouldn’t have added complexity to the source codes but also provided newcomers who just copy and paste things some kind of awareness and security. I have even noticed the usage of “extract” function which might be very harmful for a novice who is not aware what it does.

The idea of tested and true functions is good and it’s definitely the main difference between the code you find from the Internet and the the code you will find from this book. It will also give you some insight on what can be done and how but that’s all. Some of the recipes caused some sense of unease for me. The recipe containing the Bulk SMS could really be harmful when you want to send an sms to hundreds of people. I think such a warning could have been nice.

I’m not really fond of cookbooks. The source code used in the books tend to become oudated pretty fast and when the source code is outdated book is not useful at all. There aren’t any basics in the book which will give you a cause to keep the book in your library. To keep the source codes as short as possible and simple as possible, the practices used in the book are not state of the art etiher which might have been a use case for the book to give you an idea of the best practices to use the Twilio API etc.

I would have liked a part which included what you cannot do with Twilio, or what kind of workarounds you need to do to overcome a problem. But this is a cookbook so it’s not actually the purpose of this book.

Returning to the resume, if you don’t forget that you can’t just copy paste the code used in this book for your production environment, this book will definitely give you a good idea on what Twilio can do. It will be a crash course for a seasoned PHP developer. It will definitely be helpful for anyone who wants to implement some simple tasks with Twilio which will be used by themselves and not by some end user. This book will definitely give you an “idea” on how to implement things but that’s it.