The zend.com are initiating a beta certification program on Zend Framework. I received an email informed me that I could get a 50% discount on the exam fee and a free study guide if I schedule and attention the exam before the end of this month. I do have some working experience on the Zend Framework before ( I have built a small project use it recently ), but I feel my knowledge on Zend Framework is still not adequate for passing the exam. So, I have ordered the PHP Architect’s book: Guide to Programming with Zend Framework.
This book cost me US$29.99 (PDF only). I must say, although Cal Evans has admirable knowledge on Zend Frame work and PHP in general, this book may will not give you a systematically analysis on Zend Framework.
I think the main shortcoming is that this book was published early ( it was out when Zend Framework 1.5 was not available, and now 1.6.0 RC1 is for the taking on the official web site ). It will be a very good news if this book release a nice updated version!
For those who want to check out a finely thought out explanation on how Zend_Form works, they will be disappointed to know that this book has no part on Zend_Form, since before 1.5, Zend_Form was not available yet. The project I was worked on, used heavily on Zend_Form, so I was kind surprised that this book has no information on Zend_Form, this was before I realized the publish date of the book of course.On Zend Dev Zone, there are several pretty good tutorials on Zend_Form, though.
Another thing surprised me was that this book is kind thin, only 222 pages includes the covers and indexes. I must admit, Cal has very good writing skills. He covered every topic with a concise and efficiency manner; and this book is not lack humor too. But, sometimes, this book may give you the feeling: “too briefly”. I personally think that the most interesting information in this book is the Appendix which introduce the Zend_Layout.
In conclusion, this book is indeed a good “Guide”, even though I think it needs a good update for the newer version of Zend Framework (add a section to explore the Zend_Form for example). In the process I search for study material on Zend Framework, besides the Manning’s “Zend Framework In Action”, this one is the currently only alternative for those found reading on Zend Dev Zone, Mailing lists and IRC are not the best way to study ZF.
P.S. I think, APress will publish the “The Definitive Guide to Zend Framework” in Sep, let’s keep on eye on that.