The first thing that always strikes me about a book is how it has been written: if the personality is dry or uninteresting, I never finish past the first chapter. Keith did a great job, in my opinion, of writing in a very conversational approach which appealed greatly to me. The flow of the entire book down to individual sections in chapters made things easy to read.
The book is all about web application development, which interestingly enough is communicated by the title. So, it makes perfect sense that the book took the path of using a Storefront as it's reigning sample application throughout it's chapters. This is a tremendously welcome change over the exceedingly boring blog examples that I seem to see in every book and tutorial known to man. Through using the Storefront, Keith was able to bring up more real-world problems and provide multiple solutions to those problems than what would've been offered by a mundane blog application! I took particular interest in the Storefront example because of the project Purple, Rock, Scissors is currently wrapping up that involved creating a Storefront-esque system for a client. What are the chances of that?!
As a bonus, unit tests and maintaining a build tool is prevalent throughout the entire book. Emphasis on good application development practices is paramount and I think the ZF community as a whole is very conscious of this [one of the main reasons I have so much love for ZF], so I was glad to see it getting good exposure inside of the book as well.
And so it was decided...
The book would prove to be invaluable to those who are interested in diving into Zend Framework for application development. Furthermore, if you're up to your eyeballs in ZF day-in and day-out like I am, I still recommend picking up the book as it is packed with tid-bits of juicy info that I learned from. I don't want to run around praising the very spot on my desk where the book lies right now, but I honestly don't have much to complain about. Keith does use Ant for his build tool, which is fine to me. I prefer Phing, but that's just what I used first. It's really all personal preference so I can't criticize.
As Matthew Weier O'Phinney, the Lead Developer of ZF, mentioned at ZendCon this year; the rapid pace that Zend Framework is changing is starting to stabilize. ZF 1.8 marks a massive leap in the project roadmap with the introduction of Zend_Application, which is one of the points the book focuses on. If the book were titled, "Zend Framework 1.7 Web Application Development" and we were just entering 1.8, I would be singing a different song.
In this regard, I think the book remains relevant and will continue to be with the coming release of ZF 1.10. While there are always components being added and improved, they are typically points that change some scope but not the entire game like Zend_Application did.