I don't know about anyone else, but I rarely look at the author's name on tutorial-type books like these. I just want the info and the author's name is one piece of info I skip over. David Powers is one exception. I read another book by David Powers (et. al) "PHP Dreamweaver MX 2004" prior to this one and loved it. This current book "Foundation PHP for Dreamweaver 8" is also a great book. I felt almost euphoric with the things I could accomplish with PHP and Dreamweaver after reading the first book, however, if one doesn't immediately apply it, the info tends to leave the brain--mine, at least. Having upgraded to Dreamweaver 8 this latest book was a good refresher. That's not to say it's not complete by iteself. It is. What I like about Powers' books is that they are like Swiss Army knives that I can go back to, open up and take out the tool I need for a specific job. I may not remember the steps necessary to perform a certain function in PHP, but I can at least remember that I read it in one of these books. For me, who can only still barely scratch the surface of PHP, this book is a godsend. Why code when I can use Dreamweaver's built in server behaviors to do it for me?
I get several things out of this book. More web design skills, more familiarity with CSS, a good exposure to PHP (and MySQL) and Dreamweaver 8. There's also the parts about blogs and RSS feeds which were things that I thought were over my head (turns out I really didn't know anything about it and now I've created a blog AND an RSS feed).
I'm a graphic and web designer, but I don't consider myself a programmer. This is a great reference tool for me and I'm already applying the things I learned in the book to projects I'm taking on. In fact, Powers' book has given me the confidence to know I *can* handle database-driven projects (to a limited extent) which means I don't necessarily have to turn down work. What I like about this book is that the author goes through EVERY step (down to the very last button which needs clicking in Dreamweaver). If I have a problem while doing an exercise, it has usually meant that I missed one of the steps.
This is also a valuable learning tool for working with the newest versions of Dreamweaver. I've used Dreamweaver for years and working through the exercises in this book accomplishes multiple tasks at once. I get a good grounding in PHP and I get to learn what's new in Dreamweaver.
The way Powers builds the sample site using PHP and CSS is also a wonderful thing to have. I can refer to this book instead of having to keep several books at the ready. Yes, this isn't a complete CSS guide, but I can adapt the section on building a navigation system in CSS to whatever site I'm working on. Plus, I've got the PHP stuff there too.
Who is this book for? Well, me, for one. If you've got some HTML skills, know a little CSS and you're looking to dive into PHP and dynamic sites, this is an excellent resource. As I said, I'm not a programmer, so I like the fact that it's written in plain English. I think a lot of it made sense due to the fact that I had read some other books on PHP so it wasn't all that strange to me. That might help and I would recommend getting some other books that go into more detail, too. Of course, Powers gives lots of recommendations in the book for other books that do go into more depth.
Still, I am very excited that I am able to create databases, tie into them and display dynamic data on web pages. It's a lot of fun. Powers makes it easier than I ever thought it was. I still have a long way to go, but as I said I'm confident I can do a lot more than just build static-page sites. I highly recommend this book.