PEAR is the PHP Extension and Application Repository, and is a framework and distribution system for reusable, high-quality PHP components, available in the form of "packages". In this book, you will learn how to use a number of the most powerful PEAR packages available to boost your PHP development productivity. By focusing on these packages for key development activities, this book is an in-depth guide to getting the most from these powerful coding resources. You will become a master of various PEAR packages that help you with the essential tasks of PHP development such as: accessing databases with MDB2; displaying data in a range of formats (HTML, Excel spreadsheet, PDF); creating and parsing XML documents; serializing PHP objects into XML, and unserializing XML documents to PHP objects; consuming and offering web services; and, accessing Web APIs including Google, Yahoo, Amazon, and Technorati. Chapter 1 shows you how to access databases with the MDB2 package. You will learn: connecting to the database, and instantiate objects; executing queries and fetching data; MDB2 SQL abstraction; sequences, replace queries, sub-select support, prepared statements; using MDB2 modules; and, extending MDB2 to provide custom fetch and result classes, iterators, and modules. Chapter 2 explains how to use PEAR packages to display data. It teaches you: creating powerful tables of data easily with the HTML_Table package; advanced table formatting with HTML_Table_Matrix; creating Excel spreadsheets dynamically with Spreadsheet_Excel_Writer; adding formatting to these spreadsheets including colors, patterns, formulae and number formatting; creating flexible, sortable grids of data with Structures_DataGrid; adding columns to the grid, control paging, select data sources, and renderers; and, using File_PDF to create PDF documents on the fly. Chapter 3 covers the usage of PEAR packages to work with XML and stresses on: creating XML documents with XML_Util, XML_Fastcreate; transforming PHP objects to XML format with XML_Serializer; creating Mozilla applications with XML_XUL; parsing XML with XML_Parser; processing XML documents to PHP objects with XML_Unserializer; and, parsing RSS with XML_RSS. Chapter 4 is an extensive tutorial on working with web services and Web API's using PEAR packages. We cover the following topics: consuming web services; consuming XML-RPC-based web services; accessing the Google API; searching blog entries with Services_Technorati; accessing the Amazon web service; accessing the Yahoo API; offering XML-RPC-based web services; offering SOAP-based web services; and, offering REST-based services using XML_Serializer. Chapter 5 covers PEAR's date and time functions using the PEAR::Calendar and PEAR::Date packages such as: creating, manipulating, and comparing Date objects; Data_Span arithmetic; handling timezones with Date_Timezone; keeping track of public holidays with Date_Holiday; and, using the Calendar class to display an HTML calendar. Packed with code examples, every topic is explained in a clear, practical way. This book is for PHP developers who want to maximize their productivity through the use of proven, high-quality, reusable PEAR components. Some experience of working with PEAR classes will prove helpful, and developers who've used PEAR before can find something new to delight them.