A few months down the road after using it in some sites, I found the PHP book of Jack Herrington quite informative and useful. It’s not really a book for newbies as it doesn’t give you a step by step tutorial on how to program in PHP. Still, the beginning of the book teaches you how to install PHP in different platforms (Windows, Linux, OS x) as well as making it run on either IIS or Apache. Along with that is some instructions on installing MySQL. It would be therefore useful to know some fundamentals of PHP before trying to pick up this book.
The format of the book for each tip starts by showing you the hack, then it shows you the code. Afterwards it shows how to run the code then how to modify the code. The tips that I found most useful were: implementing mod_rewrite as well as implementing Google Maps with a website. In the book itself there are about 90+ tips that a PHP developer could reference.
To see sample pages of this book, click on this link and hit the Browse Book link.
Some other stuff I’d like to add:
O’Reilly got it right. The book is approx. 9″ x 6″ x 1.5 “, meaning that I can stuff it in my bag and easily bring it around wherever I go without adding to the load of my already burgeoning knapsack. I never understood why programming book publishers had to create their books in text book sizes? Is this a form of marketing so that it can be easily seen in the shelves of the book stores?, or a paradigm that all books related to learning has to come in a particular size, go figure? In the future I’d hope to see more programming books in compact sizes, this way it’s more convenient to read it in a crowded bus or while waiting in an office lounge. It wouldn’t be a first since I saw them already in Japan last 2000. Compact, Efficient and practical.