Top critical review
This book versus the new O'Reilly one
on June 7, 2004
I bought this a few months back and I found it useful getting started with PHP and MySQL. The problem, though, is that it doesn't go far enough: the material on PDF doesn't actually show you how to write a report from a database or get anything installed, there's almost nothing on advanced MySQL, and just 10 pages on OO programming. I also found the code hard to get going and a bit buggy. The 2nd edition seems to not really have moved with the pace of the area and it left me unsatisfied. In the end, I went in search of another book.
Williams and Lane's new 2nd edition of "Web Database Applications with PHP and MySQL" (O'Reilly, 2004) has done it for me. It weighs in at almost 800 pages, a few hundred more than its 1st edition, and it looks like an almost complete rewrite. It covers PDF reporting in depth, installation on Windows and Mac OS X, and has chapters towards the end on PEAR, advanced MySQL, and PHP55 OO features. By the time I bought it, I guess wasn't really a newbie, but I still think it is gentle enough if you're still getting the basics (the first 200 pages or so introduce PHP and MySQL). It's a pretty awesome book, and shows again why O'Reilly are a safe bet (though perhaps it's wise to wait for the 2nd editions, judging by the bugs in the 1st edition of this one).
I reckon both books are worth the money, but if you just want one, then O'Reilly's new book is better.