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Magento PHP Developer’s Guide: Detailed Review from aheadWorks Experts

Magento PHP Developer's Guide

We were lucky to get one of a few copies of "Magento PHP Developer's Guide". It was published in April 2013 by Packt Publishing Ltd., one of the most prolific and fast-growing tech book publishers in the world.

Allan MacGregor, the author of "Magento PHP Developer’s Guide", has a reputation for being professional, skilled and accurate developer easy to work with. I have happened to communicate with Allan and I should say that he is very responsive and friendly as well.

Allan MacGregor started working with Magento when he was a freelance developer little over 4 years ago and now he is a Magento Certified Developer Plus.

"Before Magento, creating an ecommerce website was difficult, expensive and slow," tells Allan. "Magento changed all that! I enjoy working with Magento because it's challenging, the framework is very powerful and flexible. And overall, I have fun working with Magento!"

Allan understood that there was a lot of information online, but he felt that there was a need for book that was an easy entry point for new developers and a bit of reference for developers that are not so new to Magento.

"I wanted to write the book that I wished I had when I was starting with Magento. A guide that covers the fundamentals, that gives me the tools to start developing with Magento."

And Allan did it. Though it was his first writing experience, "Magento PHP Developer's Guide" turned to be an easily accessible tutorial, designed and written to give the reader maximum understanding of the powerful Magento framework.

Continue reading this post to find out aheadWorks impressions on guide illustrations, contents, and writing style.

aheadWorks Magento Products: Magento Extensions, Magento 2 Extensions


Contents Overview


This book covers many issues from understanding and setting up development environment to deployment and distribution. From this guide, you will also learn about ORM and data collections, the Magento API, testing, and the secrets of frontend and backend development.

In "Magento PHP Developer's Guide", the author investigates 2 version control systems – Git and SVN. To our regret, Mercurial is not considered because of the recently decreased popularity - Git market share was 27% last year, SVN is #1 choice for developers with over 50% of market share, Mercurial has less than 10%.

Allan MacGregor skips the description of the Magento Test Automation Framework in his guide. The author explains that there is a lot of great documentation already available.

Debugging tools (XDebug or built-in Magento tools) are skipped as well in "Magento PHP Developer’s Guide". But don't be upset - Allan plans to do a book dedicated solely to testing for Magento and he will cover this topic in detail.

Style Analysis


The book is written in an easy-to-read style, so developers shouldn't worry if English is not their native language. The information is given from simple to complex, there is no medley. New notions are explained. The author doesn't beat the air, the text is theme specific and relevant.

Illustrations Usage


Intuitive diagrams, screenshots and pieces of code supplement the text part of "Magento PHP Developer's Guide". Summarizing and demonstrating contents, they make the information more visual and easily understandable.

General impressions


"Magento PHP Developer's Guide" is a unique tutorial helping out new developers to avoid many of the headaches that most of them had to suffer when starting out. If you are confident with PHP5 and familiar with basic Magento operations and concepts, then install Magento 1.7, open a code editor, take "Magento PHP Developer's Guide" and have a happy coding!

Especially for our blog readers, Allan shared some of his future plans: "I have a few more ideas for books related to Magento. But this time I'm going towards really specific concepts, areas within Magento that are difficult or large and that haven't been thoroughly documented.

Also once we are closer to a stable version, I would love to do a Magento 2 Developers Guide. There are so many changes coming on that version that a book is more than justified.

Other than books, I'm working on some screencast for Magento to supplement the contents of the book."

Great news, Allan! We are looking forward to your next guides!

You can purchase "Magento PHP Developer's Guide" at the Packt website.