If you are VERY comfortable with PHP and MySQL, this may not be the best book for you. (I say that with some reservations, though, because of the vast wealth of knowledge in this book between page 1 and page 729.) Also, if you don't know how to code in PHP, the "Introduction to the Basics of PHP" in Chapter Ten may not be enough instruction for you to comfortably appreciate this book. BUT, if you have some knowledge of PHP (for example, you are a self-taught PHP coder like myself), need the power of PHP and MySQL, and are curious about any benefits there might be from this new technology SPRY (Adobe's implementation of AJAX), this will be an excellent book for you. The writing is clear, concise (in spite of its detailed explanations), and logical.
The strength of Powers' book is providing you with the vast majority of tools you will need to create, test, and implement a dynamic Web site using the power of PHP, MySQL, SPRY, and more. For instance, Chapter Four has detailed instructions on setting up a PHP server on your hard drive to enable you to test your server-side programs. Those instructions begin with downloading the PHP installation files and end with trouble-shooting possible configuration problems, including all necessary steps in between.
The book continues with how to set up a PHP site using Dreamweaver, learning the rules, tips, and benefits of cascading style sheets (CSS), the advantages and creation of a SPRY navigation menu bar, and an in-depth examination of on-line forms and data validation. Since the next logical step is doing something with the form data, the MySQL database product is tackled beginning, again, with its installation, continuing with the use of the phpMyAdmin feature, and ending with the storage of database records (including access control and security issues). As if this was not enough information to digest, the book ends with a guide to and uses for XML and XSLT in your Web site.
One more big plus from this book is that it offers the code (tested and commented) for a number of commonly used functions on Web sites today. If you are looking for a login function, form validation function, mail function, (and the list goes on) you'll find the code in this book.
Again, there is a wealth of knowledge in this book from front cover to back cover - well organized and easy to grasp.