Object-Oriented PHP is really a technical brief that seems to fall short of its own ambitions. It covers PHP 5, most notably the radical switch from prior versions to a full OOP model. Lavin summarizes the reasons for the changes and reviews basic concepts of OOP. He then develops some classes for an application that draws images from a database and displays thumbnail images. In some places the PHP 4 equivalent code is provided for study. Notes on MySQL and PHP Data Objects (PDO) are also included.
It is a terse and sometimes bumpy ride. The book's conversational tone is appropriate for fellow geeks, but I found it more distracting than reassuring. There are some summary apologies, for example, that make the chapters seem like they were transcribed from tape. Rather than go back and match the introductory objectives to the text, a summary or two admits things didn't quite work out as planned. Ok, let's say there was no time to fix it. How does calling attention to it help?
Because the book is so short, the author glosses many concepts, frequently referring to web sites for technical details and tutorials. Once or twice he refers to a well-known author (e.g., Bruce Eckel) to support a complex point. Again while this is appropriate for a peer audience, it also needlessly puts the book out of reach for some readers.
It seems to me the book once had a too-ambitious outline. The back cover states you'll learn to "Incorporate AJAX into your OO PHP code." The coverage on this topic is trivial: an eight-line paragraph that names a website from which to retrieve example code, followed by indicators in subsequent to show where the AJAX reference is. The reader would be right to feel misled.
This book should be useful to the author's PHP peers, but those same readers should understand OOP well beforehand. I doubt a skeptical or demanding reader will like this book. Beginners will almost certainly get lost early and often.