I started as not knowing much about PHP, and by the time I had completed reading this book and doing many of its exercises, the book had lived up to its promise of "Learn PHP the Quick and Easy Way!", at least for me.
PHP is actually easy, but it is somewhat involved! It is not like learning VBA where you focus on the language syntax and that is all you really need to learn. PHP, by its Client Server nature, requires us to learn some HTML, Forms, CSS, and Database as well. Being a Client-Server Scripting Language, this is only natural.
Larry has done an excellent job of keeping this book comprehensive by giving us enough first had knowledge to be effective in HTML, Forms, CSS, and Database. But most importantly, there is enough to help learn to write a useful program as a beginner. However, previous experience about other programming languages,we can get inventive and write more complicated ones using this book.
Chapter 1 gets us started nicely. Chapters 2 to 5 are basic things like variables and strings. Chapter 6, does a good job of giving practical, and clearly explained control functions. Chapter 7 on using arrays gives us a good start plus a lot of helpful things like how to convert an array into a string, and vice versa. I found Chapters 8, 9, 10, and 11 containing all essential things needed to make a decent website including session management and cookies. Again, he clearly gives an excellent start, and empowers us to build on that. Chapter 10 is on functions and Chapter 11 introduces us to files and directories as seen by PHP Client Server approach. Chapter 12 is introduction to Databases. Databases and detailed explanation of them, to satisfy a DBA for example, will take a complete book focused on it. However, Larry has packed enough database information here that will get us started and more importantly operational on the Back End Database. Chapter 13, regular expressions, while important, was sort of icing on the cake for me.
Appendix A does a basic treatment of general installation for different operating systems. Appendix B, on the other hand is a good list of other resources.
As a suggestion, I would say that if the code for a more involved, ten or fifteen page website could be shown to expand on what is already in the book, would help put all in prespective. Also, there is a slight confusion at this time in this book. At the time this book was being written, there was some confusion about PHP 5 or 6 in the Regular Expressions Chapter 13. I would recommend that this be cleared up in the Fourth Edition. This book is well worth a Fourth Edition!
The pace of the book is good and it does not jump around, and it does not leave gaps that would be frustrating to a first time PHP programmer. It logically and systematically builds up on previous chapters as it proceeds.