If you are new to web development, I suggest you trust my plan and read the first section from start to finish, then move around as you want to learn. The topics in this book have been ordered in such a way as to allow newcomers to progress smoothly and quickly in their learning without having to worry about taking notes in the margin or copying thousands of lines of code.
All code in the book is shown in a fixed-width font. Sometimes I use "...[snip]..." to show that what you see is only a portion of the code from that page.
Particular chapters of interest will vary for each reader, but I strongly recommend you read as much of the Databases chapter as you can, as I think nearly every PHP developer can learn something there. Also of interest to all is the Performance chapter, where I look at how to optimise your PHP site at every level.
Author's Note: Throughout this book, you will see various boxes like this one, with a title of "Author's Note". The tips I offer are from my own personal experience in programming with PHP, and I recommend you take good notice of what they have to say - sometimes ignoring what's said there may waste you hours or even days of your life.
For the benefit of the less jargon-inclined, I have included a comprehensive glossary towards the back of the book. It has often been said that the root of misunderstanding a topic when reading lies in the reader skipping past a word they didn't fully understand - don't fall prey to this problem!
Finally, at key places in the book I will ask you to try something for yourself. Now, when I read some books that say, "now copy the following hundred lines of code into your editor", I run towards the next chapter without a thought. In order to make your learning as painless as possible, I only ask you to try particular things when it' absolutely s necessary to ensure you have understood what has been said. Here is a simple saying that you would be wise to remember: