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Mastering Joomla! 1.5 Extension and Framework Development Paperback – June 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Chuck Lanham began his career as a database software engineer with Burroughs Corp. He later worked for Informix Corp. managing the database tools development group while serving as repository architect. He has founded and managed two successful software development companies, and taught college courses on database theory, data communications, and computer technologies. He has also managed the global development and deployment of leading CRM and CMS systems for many Fortune 500 companies, and managed the development and deployment of some of the largest e-commerce websites in the world. In 2002, Chuck left the corporate world and started a new company, Blue Water Associates. This company is located near the deep blue waters of Lake Tahoe where he designs, develops, and maintains websites for small to medium sized businesses, both within the U.S. and abroad. Chuck has been developing websites using Joomla! since 2007 with the release of version 1.5 and has developed several extensions for use in the websites he has designed. This is Chuck's first book as an author, although he has reviewed and edited several books and written numerous technical articles for publication. James Kennard is a computer programmer. He has worked with various PHP and MySQL applications, since 2002. He quickly discovered Mambo/Joomla! because of its flexible extension manager. James currently maintains one open-source Joomla! component, which has been translated into over fifteen languages. Moreover, he has plans to build two more open-source components. Examples of his work can be found on his personal website www.webamoeba.co.uk.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing; 2 edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849510520
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849510523
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,697,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In this edition, Lanham teams up with 1st Edition author James Kennard, one of the Joomla! authors I have considerable respect for.

The goal for this book is to guide the developer through the process of creating components, modules and plug-ins for Joomla! 1.5. Developers are undoubtedly aware that the technical infrastructure of Joomla! 1.5 is significantly different from earlier versions, and requires developers to significantly enhance their skills.

Although the end of my review points out some editorial issues with the index and appendices associated with this book, it's still a solid introduction to Joomla! extension development and one that I would recommend.


For those who need it, the first chapter provides a nice overview of Joomla's framework, and outlines the development tools that are necessary (and readily available) for use in developing Joomla's extensions. Be aware that this is a relatively brief discussion and will require that you do your own investigation of the development tools available to you. Given the assumption that this title is for relatively advanced developers, odds are this isn't a significant issue.

The book starts with a general description of the extension development and packaging process. Chapters 2 and 3 cover basic object-oriented development principles, working with/extending Joomla's database and packaging an extension. I appreciate that Lanham and Kennard also point out that 1.5 was intended to run with both PHP 4 and PHP5, and devote some discussion to the differences. These feel like challenging chapters, however, because they also attempt a discussion of design patterns.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book if you have some background with Joomla! and are ready to increase your knowledge (quite a bit). It would also help if you've got a good handle on PHP before jumping into this book. After a quick intro into Joomla!'s framework, it gets right into the nitty-gritty of the API. If you're not sure what a class in PHP is, or if you're new to the ways of MVC design patterns, you may want to at least get your feet wet in the ways of object-oriented programming first.

Building on the great job James Kennard did in the first version of the book, Joomla! whiz-kid Chuck Lanham takes the concepts of the book and explains them gracefully and clearly. Joomla! at a framework level, as brilliant as it is, is a lot to wrap your brain around. Chuck's great writing makes reading and understanding things a lot less tedious than other technical books in this class. I found his use of examples to be mostly thorough and well thought-out, though some examples lacked full explanation that might be beneficial to a brand-new reader.

The book, overall, was really well planned, and you can tell as soon as you begin reading. The chapters are broken up thoughtfully, and the sections within the chapters guide you through the concepts logically. I never found myself flipping around, trying to figure out the explanation of a concept that should have been explained before the concept I was in the middle of reading. But while the book is a great linear-read, the fact that you can flip to a section and get some immediate clarity on the subject is a testament to not only how great of a reference book this is, but also how well it was planned out. Kudos to Chuck for balancing the front-to-back readability with the jump-to-the-spot reference nature of this book.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a great guide for people looking to learn a lot about programming for Joomla 1.5. I compared this to first edition, and the second edition has around 70 additional pages, better print formatting, more information, and an improved set of examples.

You should have some general PHP experience and be familiar with Joomla at least in some capacity. The more programming background you have, the easier it will be to get through the book. For people with less experience with design patterns and OOP (Object Oriented Programming), it comes with more detailed explanations on the programming concepts that are applied in 1.5. The best thing about a book like this is that it provides a direct path to learning Joomla rather than piecing together details from various sources online.

Most of the book is relevant for for 1.6, but the major changes in 1.6 are not covered. I use it regularly just to refresh my memory on various items, so it has the ability to be a teaching and reference book. However, its appendix with some API details is ok, but I always just search on the [...] websites for more detail and examples.
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Format: Paperback
What is, in my opinion, indisputable is that this book is an eye-opening tutorial and, especially with the sumptuous appendices a huge and valuable reference to anybody that wants to extend Joomla.

As a relative newcomer I feel I must point out that I had to re-read some of the earlier chapters to make them more meaningful to me. It probably was my previous level of knowledge that meant I needed to really study things and chapter 5 was initially a bit confusing but now a veritable font of knowledge.

The detail with which some PHP topics are covered and related to the book subject like static and private variables, combined with the fairly huge resources in the appendix make this work quite nearly encyclopedic. The large page count excludes half a dozen extra downloadable sections.

I can describe my journey through the book as exciting. Each detail as it unfolded brought me closer to my first Joomla extension and each eye-opening detail like how easy it is to create the administrator menus for your component was a joy. You CANNOT google information like this.

How about an extensions cookbook with loads more examples? I'd buy it.

Yes I recommend it.
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