I got a copy of Keith Pope’s book Zend Framework 1.8 Web Application Development from Packt Publishing last year but didn’t find the time to read through it until the beginning of this year. Here are my thoughts about the book.
The book starts off by giving you a very good introduction to the MVC architecture in general and how to create a simple Zend Framework MVC application using tools given by the framework. You will also get some insight about the directory structure used by default by Zend Framework, how controllers/actions work and how the view part of MVC is used. The first chapter is a good starting point if you don’t really know what MVC is all about and haven’t used any of the MVC parts of Zend Framework yet.
In the next chapter Pope goes deeper into the MVC parts of Zend Framework and describes the possibilities of customizing the different parts of the framework to your needs, like using a non-default directory structure, creating front controller plugins, creating custom classes for requests, responses and much more. Here you will learn allot about how easy it is to make Zend Framework fit your exact needs and that you aren’t tied down to a strict set of rules set by the framework.
From here on you will start building a storefront application from start to finish. The book covers most aspects of a more or less complete storefront with customer registration, a shopping cart, admin-area to administer products and categories and so forth. It also has a small chapter in the end dedicated to testing your applications using unit tests which in my opinion is a very important part of an application. Zend Framework will let you solve a problem in many different ways, and Pope usually describes his decisions by listing pros and cons which I found very informative. I enjoyed reading the book from start to end and will most likely refer to it again from time to time whenever I’m using the MVC parts of the framework.
In conclusion I would say this is a very good book. It’s easy to read from start to end, and it’s easy to use if you only want to look at a certain part of the MVC stack. In the preface it says that the book is for developers who want to get started with Zend Framework. I would say that the book is also for people who have been using the framework for a while and simply want to get more out of it.