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SilverStripe 2.4 Module Extension, Themes, and Widgets: Beginner's Guide Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Krenn is currently finishing his double master in Software Engineering & Internet Computing and Information & Knowledge Management at the Vienna University, and his knowledge of programming concepts and theories shows; he smoothly guides the reader through the Silverstripe system and highlights its ORM features and clean object oriented structure.
The book does show some similarities to the official Silverstripe book by Ingo Schommer (I read the German version in 2009), in that it approaches the Silverstripe novice and explains the system in its entirety. Having worked with Silverstripe since 2007, this is off course superfluous for readers like me, but essential in a book of this kind, especially as it is only the second book available on Silverstripe.
While I really liked Schommer's book I feel that Krenn's book touches some more general needs and considerations for building a site or a web application. Furthermore it comes in very handy that the book is only recently published, and contains up-to date information, as well as it introduces how to base a Silverstripe site purely on HTML5.
If you'd like to learn about Silverstripe, or you'd like to improve your Silverstripe knowledge today, I'd recommend this book over Schommer's.
Foremost because of its recent publishing, and thus inclusion of 2.4 only features as partial caching and short codes, as well as up-to-date information on error handling and logging, and information on Silverstripe's recent activities regarding structure changes.
But secondly also because of the website example built throughout the book, giving the reader an easy-to-adapt blueprint for whatever website he's working on.
About the author
Philipp Krenn studies software engineering at the University of Technology, Vienna. At the moment, he is writing his thesis on current database trends. Besides that, he's working as a freelance IT trainer and web developer, mostly using SilverStripe, but also Drupal, CakePHP, and Smarty.
He started using SilverStripe in 2007 as one of the Google Summer of Code students improving the project, beginning with the effort to support multiple databases (besides MySQL). During this, he got a detailed insight into the inner workings of the project. Since then he's been in love with SilverStripe.
= Who is the book aimed at? =
The book is aimed at developers who already have an understanding of PHP, HTML and CSS and are looking to get started with SilverStripe, or improve their knowledge if they're only been working with it for a short time. It covers all the basics about getting a SilverStripe site going as well as some decent in-depth coverage.
It also has use for seasoned SilverStripe developers who may not be aware of all the features in SilverStripe (for example I had no idea about the short code system that already exists in SS) so there's something for everyone.
= Chapter overview =
The easiest way to summarize the book is to have a look at what each chapter covers and then I'll deal with my thoughts about the book in general below.
1. "Principles and Concepts" gives a good overview of the SilverStripe system itself
2. "Customizing the Layout" shows how to go about setting up templates, including template placeholders, control structures and conditional statements and how the URL structure works
4. "Storing and Retrieving Information" covers the SilverStripe model for getting data to and from the database, adding custom fields to the database and CMS and creating relationships between tables.
5. "Customizing Your Installation" shows how to set up the site configuration file, error logging and notifications, and various customizations that can be done to the CMS.
6. "Adding Some Spice with Widgets and Short Codes" looks at widgets that can be dragged and dropped onto pages in the CMS, dealing with caching, and creating short codes which are like placeholders for CMS input fields.
7. "Advancing Further with Inheritance and Modules" which uses Uncle Cheese's excellent DataObjectManager and Uploadify modules to enhance the CMS and work with images and image galleries, and then turning the gallery into a module.
8. "Introducing Forms" deals with creating forms in the website front-end, processing the user's repsonse, sending it via email, client-side validation with jQuery and server-side validation.
9. "Taking Forms a Step Further" shows how to add a search box and display results with pagination, building more complex forms and saving data to the database.
10. "Targeting the Whole World" which shows how to configure the CMS to support globalization and the frontend to support multiple languages and localizations.
11. "Creating an Application" isn't actually in the book itself, but is available as a downloadable PDF. It brings all the topics of the book together to create an example application, and also covers how to decorate existing DataObject classes.
= General summary and other thoughts =
I bought the first (and so far only other) SilverStripe book titled "SilverStripe: The Complete Guide to CMS Development" by Ingo Schommer and Steven Broshart which covers the older 2.3 version and is a bit heavier on more complex topics, whereas this new book is for 2.4 and covers the basics in more detail.
It's well laid out and covers pretty much everything you need to know "out of the box" in a SilverStripe install and is excellent for developers just getting started with SilverStripe.
Having said this, I've worked with SilverStripe for 18 months now so I'm very familiar with the way most of it works, but there are still topics in this book that will help me create my SilverStripe websites better so I'm glad to have this book to refer to.
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