Top positive review
Not necessarily a beginners book
on May 24, 2000
I disagree with the reviews that say this book is only for beginners. I am a PHP newbie, but code ASP for my day job, so I understand the basic concept. But since I am a visual learner, I find step-by-step examples much more helpful than a big paragraph going over the theory behind something. PHP Essentials is great for me in that respect. Yes, some of the html stuff is pretty basic, but it doesn't take up the bulk of the book! Besides, you can just skim those parts. The only reason I don't give the book five stars is that I have yet to find the be-all, end-all tech book that warrants it. It's very rare to find books that are timely, comprehensive, and useful day-to-day. But PHP Essentials isn't supposed to be the grand bible of PHP either.
I've also read some of the Wrox Professional books, but find them less useful because of the reason I stated before. Lots of text, few examples, so that I have to look elsewhere anyway just to find something specific. For me, it's usually a waste of [money].
The nice thing about PHP is that it's very well documented, which is to everyone's advantage. For [this purchase price] and a few hundred pages, PHP Essentials shows you just enough to get your feet wet. Most books, including some Wrox books, are one-thousand-page doorstops with information that becomes obsolete rather quickly.
If you're new to PHP but not new to the web, and you learn by example, PHP Essentials can be a very helpful intro. But if you prefer more text in your tech book, then by all means drop your money elsewhere. I think it's nice to have the choice.