Cms Made Simple Development Cookbook

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CMS Made Simple Development Cookbook

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781849514682
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/25/2011
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.71 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 5, 2011

    CMS Haute Cuisine

    I"ve been using CMS Made Simple for for a few years now and I've watched the system grow into a powerful and sophisticated entity. My original and ongoing attraction to CMSMS is that as a graphic designer I can weild far more control over how my sites look than with other content management systems so I wanted to find out how easily someone from a non-coding background could make sense of, and use, a book about code like the 'Development Cookbook' .

    The book gets stuck straight in with no introductory waffle and very usefully gets to the nub of the differences between the three main methods of extending CMSMS; Tags, User Defined Tags (UDTs) and Modules and when and where to use them. Having cleared that up we then learn how to create powerful features and manipulate templates and content without resorting to any of these but just using the Smarty template engine supplied with every CMSMS install.

    Then, at Chapter 3 we get to the section I was most looking forward to - User Defined Tags. Many members of the CMSMS community seem capable of tossing out these things without a moments hesitation but I'd always imagined there was some arcane law that needed revealing before I could start writing them myself. However the Cookbook's example recipes show just how easy it is to construct your own UDTs once you grasp a basic set of ideas and provides good examples like how to manipulate database content or pull in data from a remote site.

    Chapter 4 and beyond deal with Module building showing precisely how modules are created from scratch or how they can be built from existing module 'stubs' such as the Skeleton Module that forms a ready-made structure which can then be customised to perform the functions you need. The recipes here are set out with the same clarity that suffused the rest of the writing and although I currently have neither need or time to test them out, a simple cursory read of the section has already demystified a process I previously thought beyond my capabilities.

    Usefully, the book doesn't remain purely focussed on the code level, a final chapter showing how to share the fruits of your development labour with the community - a must-have discussion for open source projects

    One aspect of the book's layout I did find to be slightly unsettling was the recurring use of 'How to do it...' and 'How it works...' boxes which gave the whole endeavour a slightly infantilising tone and somewhat broke up the flow of the text. Surely anyone clever enough to write a .htaccess file can follow a set of linear instructions without the help of a nanny text box?

    Goldstein doesn't lose sight of the fact that one of the major USPs of CMS Made Simple is that it's so designer-friendly and the recipes frequently offer solutions to design-specific issues. I also loved that he wraps the examples in witty and erudite humour with dummy text examples advertising spaceships that allow you to remain awake throughout an entire 440 year journey to the Pleiades and the observation that the internet "can be a wretched hive of scum and villainy".

    Although by the end Goldstein's book I hadn't metamorphosed into a 'proper' developer it did leave me feeling that, as a designer, I had a far better grasp of the underlying mechanisms of the system and excited at the thought that the next time I had to implement a complex feature in CMSMS I'd have less need to go and pester my fellow community members for a solution.

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  • Posted June 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    User Defined Tags, Tags and Modules

    Goldstein takes a lot of the mystery out of programming in CMSMS. With some luck, your needs for a modification of the basic CMSMS package will be readily implementable using tips from the book. As the recipes make clear, all this sits atop PHP code. Knowledge of PHP is a prerequisite for understanding most of the recipes. However, a quick glance at these shows that the PHP code examples are mostly self explanatory in terms of their semantic value, even if you don't know PHP. Which by the way is a good instantiation of why the language has proved so popular.

    The other requirement is to understand HTML, since several or many recipes revolve around using PHP to construct HTML snippets. Luckily, here too HTML is a simple language to pick up.

    The book divides its recipes into 3 groups - User Defined Tags, Tags and Modules. At the highest level, the most important lesson is which of these you should pick to handle your problem. So pay careful attention to the first chapter, which is essentially a flowchart of how to make that decision.

    Of these groups, a module can be the most complex, at least as evidenced by the book's choices of recipes. The modules often tackle processing of data. Here is where the complexity can arise. CMSMS uses a free relational database management system like MySql or PostgreSql. What eventuates is that module coding needs an understanding of SQL grammar. Unfortunately, this can be somewhat verbose, shall we say. But if you plow through the SQL parsing, you can write the appropriate deconstructionist code to get at the various data fields.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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