The PHP Anthology: SitePoint writes some books now and again, and they appear to have come up with a big winner in “The PHP Anthology: Volumes 1 and 2.” These books are written by PHP evangelist Harry Fuecks, who is to PHP what Ben Forta is to ColdFusion.
I downloaded and read both excerpts they have available, a total of five chapters from the two books. They’re extremely well-written — probably the best PHP texts I’ve read, along with O’Reilly’s “PHP Cookbook.”
“Volume 1: Foundations” is for the PHP beginner (but not for those that just started developing this morning — the book assumes you know how PHP works). “Volume 2: Applications” covers more advanced concepts, including a fantastic chapter on caching — server-side, client-side, and everything in between. I learned quite a bit from this chapter alone.
They have a great emphasis on object-oriented code right from the beginning. I wish I had these books when I first started writing code — they would have gotten me into the OO mode right away instead of fearing and misunderstanding it for a number of years.
You can’t buy them in bookstores — you can only get them from SitePoint.