This is an interesting book, written with a casual easy going style that will no doubt appeal to some people, particularly i would guess, hobbyists who are trying to get a dynamic website with PHP up for the first time. Although the publisher Prima Tech doesn't provide any sort of skill level rating, make no mistake, this is a book for beginners only.
PHP fast&easy web development assumes that you will be using mysql as a database, which is fine, but not clearly stated on the front cover. The author has a website with some decent articles on using other databases with PHP which somewhat mitigates the issue.
One of the things that bothered me about PHP fast&easy is that the author seems relatively agnostic about what features of the language one *should use*. PHP is a highly flexible, loosely typed language with numerous pitfalls that a beginning developer can fall deep into, yet these areas are never acknowledged or discussed.
To illustrate this, a beginning section discusses the ways that PHP code can be intermixed with HTML, and the special tag syntax required. While she lists <? ?> as being an acceptable block, she never informs the reader, that they shouldn't use this syntax and should instead use <?php ?>. She then shows the use of the echo command for outputting text, using the " character to surround text, not mentioning that one can also use ' and that this helps avoid the perils of having to escape all instances of the " character when echoing embedded HTML.
The first 50 pages of the book cover installing apache, mysql and php. This is great if you need this help, however, if you don't it's just filler in what is already a sparce tomb. The last 60 pages provide a tutorial in creating a primitive contact management system. This does a fair job of showing the basics of developing an online form based system, although I'd certainly prefer a more interesting sample applicaion, perhaps similar to the cd collection database used in earlier examples (mp3's come to mind).
Personally, I'd prefer a book that uses its source code to provide hints in regards to best practices, even if the concepts are beyond those which can be adequately dealt with in an introductory volume. All the source code in PHP fast&easy web development is of the rudimentary variety.
There is decent coverage of PHP's session capability. Unfortunately, things that might have been covered but aren't include: PHP's somewhat unusual variable scoping mechanism (globals aren't visible inside functions); user defined functions; the include function; PHP classes and objects; the power and use of regular expression functions; a normalized database (ie. use of more than one table) etc... you get the idea. PHP, like perl, is a swiss army knife, capable of many amazing things, and this book barely covers the spoon.
In conclusion, if you have even a modicum of programming background I suspect you will be sorely dissappointed in this book. If you're a rank beginner who wants to get a toe in the water with PHP, then you may find this a decent entry point. Expect however, to supplement the tutorials contained here with additional reference materials and reading.