Getting Started with Magento Extension Development – Book Review

Background

Recently, I needed some good resource to start learning Magento e-Commerce system for one of my current web projects. For this project, I was required to write an extension module that would implement a customer-specific payment method. To get started, I tried to browse Magento documentation and to find good free tutorials on the Internet. I was not neither satisfied with the documentation nor could find a good tutorial. After realising that, I decided to find a good book about Magento extension development. I was so lucky, because I’ve found the “Getting Started with Magento Extension Development” book by Branko Ajzele. Below, I provide a brief overview of the book and my personal recommendations.

The Book

Indeed, the “Getting Started with Magento Extension Development” book is the right place to start with Magento extension development! Author’s explanation style is very easy to understand (compared to other resources I’ve faced with). Of course, to read the book you need to be a pro in PHP/Zend Framework development, otherwise you won’t be familiar with the terminology. But, since you know ZF, you will feel comfortable reading this book.

So, the book is some kind of “cook book”, its a set of recipes. Each recipe shows how to write certain example Magento extension from scratch. The complete source code can be downloaded when you purchase the book. The source code is very usable, because when you are new to Magento, you will typically make a mistake/type and will spend many hours determining why the code doesn’t work as you expected. With having the code, you can just install certain extension manually and just see how it works or to investigate its code deeper.

In the beginning of the book, there is a (very large) chapter about Magento code architecture and terminology. You will learn about the directory structure, the code pools (you are targeted on the Community pool), the controllers, actions and routers, the blocks, templates and themes (changeable sets of templates). The terms “controller”, “action” and “route” may be familiar to PHP developers who knows Zend Framework. However, “blocks” and “themes” is a very difficult thing to understand without this excellent book.

Next, you will find several chapters showing step-by-step how to write certain type of extension from scratch. The chapter begins with defining the requiresments for the extension module (What we are trying to achieve?) and the implementation of that requirements (What steps we need to perform to achieve that?)

The author shows how to write different simple types of extensions:

  • Logger extension. Shows how to listen to Magento events and react accordingly.
  • Shipping method extension. Add your own custom shipping method if a standard method doesn’t suits your needs.
  • Payment method extension. Shows how to write a payment method (if a standard one is not suitable for you).

The “Getting Started with Magento Extension Development” book is written by Branko Ajzele. He is a Chief Technology Officer at Inchoo, a Magento Gold Solution partner company that offers top-quality e-commerce solutions, specializing in the Magento e-commerce platform.

The book was published by Packt Publishing. It has 128 pages and costs $17.84. It can be purchased from Packt Publishing web site: http://www.packtpub.com/getting-started-with-magento-extension-development/book

My Recommendations

To those who are new to Magento and strongly wishes to start creating Magento extensions quickly, the “Getting Started with Magento Extension Development” book is the right choice, because the author has a very good explanation style. This book is a set of recipes / very well developed step-by-step tutorials showing how to write modules for Magento. Complete source code can be downloaded together with the book, which makes learning much easier.

Disclamer

Writing review for this book is completely my choice based on my personal interest in learning Magento, and I was not paid for this. I was provided with a free PDF copy of this book in order that I may review it (I cooperate with Packt Publishing from time to time, because I’m interested in learning new things, and they are interested in spreading the word abouth their books). I am not receiving any money reward for writing this review.

Advertisements

I am a software developer currently living in Tomsk, Russia. I received a PhD degree in Computer Science from Tomsk Polytechnic University in 2010. I have been professionally developing C/C++ and PHP software since 2005. I like contributing to open-source and writing programming articles for popular web resources, like CodeProject. Besides writing, I love skiing and watching Formula-1.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Magento, PHP
3 comments on “Getting Started with Magento Extension Development – Book Review
  1. Alex James says:

    Great post Oleg, i would like to know whether the book highlights some common issues or errors associated with the installation process while also reflecting some tips to extension management.I dont think that its mentioned in the post but i believe that its mentioned in the book.

    • Hello Alex, thanks for your kind feedback. There is a chapter in this book related to packaging your extensions and also about installing a Magento Extension via Magento Connect web site. The book is mostly dedicated to starting developing an extension, not to installing it. This book is not very big (only a hundred pages), so there is only a limited number of recipes there.

  2. Alex James says:

    Thanks a lot Oleg for your prompt reply,so we could say that the book is purely a written for the beginners. That is literally a good thought, we need not confuse/scare these guys with lots of in-depth or complex things. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow ValuableThing on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: