First, I must point out the “language” of the book – I was expecting a text that's hard to follow, that's full of words and sentences requiring at least two dictionaries by my side to help me out (hey, English is not my first language!), but, it was quite an easy and, if I may add, an enjoyable read.
If you think, that you're just gonna sit down, read the book and know all about Zend Framework, boy you're wrong! Yes, the book explains a lot, but you'll still need to follow the example codes along the way and play with them to get really familiar with ZF.
The book starts off with a basic application (yep, “Hello world!”), explains the bootstrapping, configuring, working with action controllers, views and handling errors... The second chapter continues with explaining the MVC architecture, the front controller, router, dispatcher... It even has a nice flowchart about the whole dispatch process, great stuff.
From chapter 3 to chapter 12, the author is taking you through a process of building a web application – from creating the basic directory structure, over the hardcore programming stuff to the optimizing/testing part. Chapter 4 gives a rather good explanation on the “Fat Model Skinny Controller” concept; chapter 8 deals with authentication and authorization; chapter 11 takes care of the optimization.
At last, my favourite part of the book is when the author has several “ways out of a problem”, he tells the good and the bad sides of each, picks out the best one and explains why did he choose that particular one. I hate it when an author just simply says: “This is the right way, trust me.”, without caring to explain why.
So, would I recommend this book to a friend who wants to start working with ZF? Absolutely.
Happy reading! :)
Edit 2009., November 23rd: Added a link Sudheer's post :)