This is a review of “Wicked Cool PHP” by William Steinmetz and Brian Ward
Ok, let me sum this book up quickly: This book is for beginners.
To be more specific, this book would be absolutely perfect if your job (as a beginner) was to create a PHP website with some interactivity however you were locked in a room with a computer with PHP/Apache/Mysql installed, but zero Internet access to get further help online. This book would likely give you everything you need to get that website built using PHP. You could walk out of that room with a working website, using ONLY this book as a reference to get it done. (assuming your Apache/Mysql installs are good to go)
That said, I don’t think that is a knock on the book. The book is excellent, it is just for folks who are new to PHP. It covers a ton of topics with a “cookbook” like feel. The book is short at 181 pages so it has just enough info to get you going with very common everyday PHP tasks that someone needs to do when creating a PHP web app. It covers file access, sending email, working with forms, text/html, user/session tracking, and using cURL to talk to web services. It also gives 3 mini project examples (a poll system, greeting card system, blog system).
My recommendation. If you have zero experience with PHP, purchase this book today. I recommend it for beginners.
If you have some php experience, or have built a system in other langs and can get around online documentation… I would skip it.