Magento 1.4 Development Cookbook Review

Magento 1.4 Development Cookbook Review

Magento 1.4 Development Cookbook

Magento 1.4 Development Cookbook

Development in Magento

I would have to say that I chose Magento in the first place because it would have a lot of the features we would need available without writing or editing code. It turns out, that wasn’t so. There will never be a platform you don’t want to tweak, and Magento code may be some of the most complicated PHP code you have seen. It was when I first dug into it. There were no books at that time and I depended on forum posts to get my answers and I made many mistakes long the way. I love cookbooks. Telling me how to write the code, documentation or giving me a toy example may help a bit. But a cookbook with real code is something that gives me ideas. And that’s just what the Magento Development Cookbook is.

Finally A Magento Cookbook

Yes, with Magento, you do need at least a VPS. The Magento Development Cookbook starts by walking you from setting up your VPS, setting up Subversion (another important tool), setting up a Magento development project in Netbeans (a great free IDE) to Magento coding conventions and style. The EAV pattern is not a widely known pattern and can leave you at a loss when you are looking for the location of data in the Magento database.

After the first chapter, the first half of the book covers some intermediate level modifications to your Magento store. Not the normal pages of screenshots to fill space. The book goes straight to the meat like a code cookbook should. In 100 pages, the Magento Development Cookbook covers:

Chapter 2: CMS and Design Introduction Adding a home link to the menu bar Changing any page title in Magento Customizing a Magento error page Adding AdWords tracking code to order confirmation page in Magento Adding a custom CMS layout template Adding an RSS feed (last five tweets!) Placing the trusty old contact form in CMS Integrating JW Image Rotator 3.17 in Magento

Chapter 3: Adding Extra Functionalities Introduction Integrating WordPress in Magento Creating a new page Adding jQuery support Adding Lightbox2 in Magento Adding an accepted payment banner at the footer

Chapter 4: Customizing a Store Introduction Creating a custom “Twitter handle” field in a registration form Deleting orders in Magento Using Google Website Optimizer Creating a custom variable and using its own e-mail templates Using Google analytics for Magento Creating Catalog and Shopping Cart Price Rules Creating a featured product and showing it in the home page Creating a custom admin theme

Chapter 5: Playing with Products Introduction Setting up the Catalog defaults Adding a Facebook ‘Like’ button in product page Setting up Table Rates shipping Adding a product to the cart through Querystring Creating a configurable product Embedding a YouTube video in product details

Chapter 6: Adding a Professional Touch to Your Site Introduction Installing Magento 1.4 in PHP 5.3.2 (without mcrypt) Optimizing Magento store for search engines Implementing PayPal Website Payments Pro and Express Checkout into Magento Preventing a CSRF attack in Magento

Then the next 6 chapters get into the code intensive part of working with Magento. This is where I got stuck for a few months. I had just moved from osCommerce and had just got used to its weird idiosyncrasies and Magento was complexity squared.

Remember I said I chose Magento because I thought there would be less development time because of the extendability. Well, when I was done with Magento, I knew more about code then I eve did before…because I had to. After Magento, I went on to learn a bit of C#, Flash and Python in a few months time because I was no longer scared of any type of code except maybe Java. I guess things work out in weird ways.

And this book will save months of hunting down answers. It covers:

Chapter 7: Database Design Introduction Resources and database connections Magento database replication using Master Slave setup Using the Magento’s Singleton method Repairing the Magento database Working with Magento’s EAV design

Chapter 8: Creating a Module Introduction Creating an empty module with a Module Creator Creating the required directories Activating a module Creating a controller for the module Creating a configuration XML file for the module Creating a helper for the News module Creating models for the module Setting up SQL for the News module Designing a template for the News module Adding required blocks for the News module

Chapter 9: Creating a Shipping Module Introduction Initializing module configuration Writing an adapter model Adding a module in backend Adding a module in frontend

Chapter 10: Writing a Social Widget Introduction Creating an empty module and an enabler file Creating a config file and declaring the widgets Writing the default module helper Data.php Creating a source model for services multi select in widget configuration Creating frontend block for our widget Creating templates

Chapter 11: Performance Optimization Introduction Measuring/benchmarking your Magento with Siege, ab, Magento profiler, YSlow, Page Speed, GTmetrix, and WebPagetest Optimizing Magento database and MySQL configuration Optimizing Apache web server configuration Tuning Magento configurations Using APC/Memcached as the cache backend Accelerating PHP: php.ini configuration Applying YSlow and Page Speed rules

Chapter 12: Debugging and Unit Testing Introduction Installing and configuring Xdebug Using FirePHP with Zend Wildfire plugin Installing PHPUnit and necessary PHP CLI binaries Writing your first Magento test case

This book will save you a lot of time if your chosen ecommerce platform is Magento. And I don’t blame you. If you have the server power and know how to tweak Magento, it will perform well and look good doing it.

But if you are an average PHP developer or are coming from osCommerce, Wordpress or Drupal, your first reaction to Magento might be “who the hell put Java in my PHP” or “did a JAR file explode on my site”. There are thousands of PHP files in a Magento installation. And this book will help with that.

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Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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