Worthless for any level of reader,
This review is from: PHP Essentials (Paperback)I got this book because not only was it on sale, but I had just been assigned a PHP project at work. Having read the book, though, I must say that it's the worst computer book I've ever come across.
First, for someone who is already a programmer such as myself (having used C, Perl, Lisp, etc. for years) the book is much too basic. I don't like to see the same 10-line example repeated half a dozen times with only minor changes. At many points, the author basically tells the reader "do it this way and don't ask questions." I don't like that, especially when the author seems to have contradicted herself. As a programmer, I was also shocked by the inaccurate presentation of sprintf() and other functions - turning them into special purpose functions. There were many other things badly done as well. Also, the language reference in the appendix is pretty lame.
Secondly, this book I believe would be bad for those beginning to program. Maybe if you think that you can whip out a webpage with PHP and get rich fast this book would be a good buy. But for all others - stay away! The book doesn't teach programming. Functions are not covered. Control structures are basically ignored. The presentation of variables is badly done. This is very bothersome to me indeed.
Finally, the scope of this book. I thought this was a book on PHP. So why do I have to wade through: how to install Apache & other web servers, a pathetic HTML "refresher", a discussion on database "theory", an SQL lesson, etc.? Another chapter filled with incomplete coverage of the functions for connectivity to 7-8 different databases. Then a chapter that's source code for some bloated e-commerce example.
All things considered, a worthless book. It doesn't matter if you're a beginner or if you have lots of experience - please don't waste your time and money here.