This book is an ideal first choice book on PHP for programmers. It covers all of the core functionality of the language in a concise way without getting bogged down in the details of how the lesser used parts of the language function.
This book starts with a brief history of PHP before moving on to cover how to install and use the core language and most useful add-ons. The book takes a typical "for the programmer" approach to providing a concise reference to the most useful core functionality as well as add-ons such as image manipulation, PDFs, and Flash.
There is no in-depth coverage of any particular topic covered by the book. Instead it provides that part of the information from each topic area that will fulfil perhaps 98% of your PHP programming needs. As such the book admirably meets its own objectives. The information isn't just presented as a plain reference either, there are also many real world examples of how the various functions can be combined together in useful and not necessarily obvious ways.
The book also covers the latest additions to PHP 5 including SimpleXML and SQLite.
The only real downside to this book is that the errors that appear in the many example code fragments mean that you can't just type in the code exactly as shown in the examples and necessarily expect it to work without having to make minor corrections.
This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.