I don’t start with a design objective, I start with a communication objective. I feel my project is successful if it communicates what it is supposed to communicate.
‒ Mike Davison
Most companies are looking to “wow” with their products, when in reality what they should be looking for is an “of course” reaction from their users.
‒ Christian Lindholm
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WooCommerce, from WooThemes, recently acquired by Automattic, the owners of WordPress, is a great eCommerce platform with lots of extensions and with the benefit of total integration with the renown WordPress GNU/GPL CMS platform.
Besides, the author is a real experienced WordPress developer and works for WooThemes, so you could be confident that the information is accurate and to the point.
If you are a good WordPress developer or you are really used to work with it, and you do not mind spending some money, mostly to WooThemes, to fulfill almost all the recipes in the book, then this is the book for you.
In the rest of this review I will explain a little about what you can found in each chapter and also the costs involved with all recipes.
So, lets get started.
On Chapter 1 you will get the basics about WooCommerce: installing, setting location and currency, how to find documentation, how to install WooCommerce official plugins and themes, how to create a very basic WooCommerce compatible plugin and how to add extra currencies to it. To aplly what you learn in this chapter you will not need to acquire any plugins.
The second Chapter is about products. You will learn almost all that is to know about how to add them, modify them, bulk upload CSV files and bundles, etc. The down side is that you will need to spend about US$300 to follow the recipes that would allow you to do so.
Chapter 3 is about changing product organization. In this you will learn how to reorder and refine how your products would appear in your page, sorting and filtering products, adding social media sharing, how to display savings in product’s page and some more tricks related to visual organization of your store. The purchase of the required plugins will cost more or less US $250.
If you are planing to build a membership based store them you will get a lot from Chapter 4 and you should read it. It will save you countless hours of work, although the necessary plugins will cost you more or less US $500 to apply the included recipes.
Chapter 5 is about setting shipping methods and will require that you spend at most US$400, but you do not need to have all the mentioned shipment plugins, and some may not even work on your country.
The information contained in this chapter is very interesting and even may help you in building your own shipment plugin. The most interesting part, for me, is the one related with setting free shipping per minimum amount and per product. I missed a less USA centric shipping offer.
On the Chapter, 6, the title says it all: “Get paid”. This is the most important thing in any business and in your new eCommerce store also. Basically, you will learn how to configure three payment gateways and how to setup fees based on which payment your costumer chooses, how to setup HTTPS on your store globally or just for the important pages, and how to analyse your store’s traffic with Google Analytics. Like the previous chapters this has an implied cost, in this case, it could mount up to US $300.
Sometimes, just because law requires you to do so, or because you need to redeem a coupon or due to some marketing requirements, you may need to modify your checkout process. In Chapter 7 you will learn how to do that in various ways.
Even if you did not need to spend around US $300 the information and concepts that you will get in this chapter could be beneficial for your strategy.
It is important to know how you get costumers in but also how you process their checkout, not forgetting costumer retention strategies. Many stores loose real money when not considering this issues upfront. So this could be a good US $300 well spent.
Orders and Taxes management is one of the most important tasks when you have a store. Specially more when you have to deal with the new European VAT legislation. On Chapter 8, all the process of sending notes, refunding orders, importing from old stores to your new shiny WooCommerce store, drop-shipping – if you need it on your business – giving away goods, tax management (two excellent pieces of information on this one included), local pickup, etc., are important and crucial time consuming tasks and you will wish to have most of them automated if your store start to really grow (and we all want that, right?).
In this chapter you will learn how to setup a bunch of plugins for doing that and even extending or modifying the way some work. The amount required to fulfill the recipes is around US $280.
Chapter 9 is all about theming your store. Starts just by teaching you how to turn your theme WooCommerce compatible. You can also make a lot of modifications and WooCommerce has a lot templates and hooks to help you do so.
You can just start with WooCommerce’s free theme Storefront and the book will lead you on creating your own sub-theme, but if you have another theme you will need to do some modifications for which this chapter will also help on that.
The recipes included will be using Underscores, a free theme and framework by Automattic, help you on that task. This is the recipe chapter that involves less money spending: just one plugin is required, for USD $29, and only if you really want a product slideshow in your store.
At last, on Chapter 10, the author talks about a few things that can be useful but were not included in the previous chapters. Theses are also important aspects of any successful business so you should not neglect them.
Costumers reviews of your products can do more for your sales that a US$1,000 spent on advertising, and you should deal with this to your favor. In this chapter you will learn not only on how to get them but also on how and when to display them in your store.
You will also learn how to use affiliate links, creating and bulk-generating coupons with or without restrictions, how to change the from address and, something important for your store, sending follow-up e-mails to your costumers after the purchase.
Of course, like most of the chapters in this book, you’ll have to acquired some plugins. In this case they could cost you more or less USD $200.
Most of the recipe’s code in the book can be added to one or more new plugins or just added to your theme’s functions.php. But, be warned, if you use an acquired theme, and you didn’t create a child theme, updating it could destroy all your code in functions.php, so I always advise on creating a new in-house plugin. It’s easy to do and avoids a lot of headaches later on.
WooCommerce Cookbook is a good acquisition if you are planing to build an eCommerce store based on WooCommerce and wish to do it fast, and are also prepared to spend some real money acquiring plugins.
If you are planing to build it only with Free Software then this is not the book you are looking for. Nevertheless, even without buying any plugin, you have a lot of information and a few real useful recipes in it.
Originaly published at PHPClasses.org
If you have been around for many years you would remember PHP as just a scripting language to be used inside HTML pages. It was really great, if you think that most sites would have to be done using plain C or Perl languages. In the beginning PHP FI was just that.
But the PHP language became very popular due to its simplicity. It evolved fast throughout the years.
Since it got better support for modern programming approaches, like OOP, MVC and ORM, it has gained a lot of support from its users and, at first, a lot of small library classes started to pop up and being freely hosted in sites like PHPClasses.org
Later on, especially since PHP 4, application frameworks started to appear. FLOSS, CodeIgniter and CakePHP were the most famous, along with Zend, but they started to lag behind with the release of PHP 5 due to the need and will to keep backwards compatibility with the old version and all its users.
This unwillingness, in the pure tradition of free software, originated some forks, like FuelPHP, from developers that wished to move on and use the full strength of PHP 5.
Some new frameworks, like Symfony, also began to emerge, all with something different in style, functionality or approach.
Laravel, the subject of this book, took a different approach from all the predecessors to avoid many of the problems and mistakes previous full stack frameworks did.
The developers decided to make a robust component-based framework on top of the successful and excellent Symfony framework, but also using the “good parts” of other frameworks and libraries, like SwiftMail for email processing.
If you never worked with a PHP framework then you should start with Laravel and this book is, although short, a great one for it.
From this book you will learn just the essential on the last version of this framework with simple examples and very easy to understand language suitable for even the novice PHP developer seeking to start developing or migrating his/her apps from another framework or even converting his/her old non-OOP scripts.
If you are already a seasoned Laravel 4 developer and want to have a reference for the new version then this book was specifically written for you.
As the author says “this book will give you a tour of Laravel and its core features”, so it will guide you from understanding the Laravel wording and concepts to know, through simple examples, all the basics about Laravel and its tools; like Eloquent ORM, virtual development environment Homestead and its powerful command line tool Artisan.
First of all, of course, knowledge of PHP and its related technologies are implied, as is some knowledge on OOP. That said lets start touring.
Chapter 1 gives you an introduction to frameworks and why they can improve your development and your productivity and introduces you to the Model-View-Controller paradigm on which Laravel is based.
It also introduces you to the concepts and features of Laravel and its new application’s general structure and conventions. At the end you can learn some tips on how to migrate your older Laravel’s applications to the new version.
Laravel is much more than just a framework and it includes a set of tools to fasten your work so in Chapter 2 you will learn how to setup a development environment using Composer, a dependency manager, to deal with the installation of all the third parties components that Laravel may need and that are not included in its core source.
You will also learn how to use Homestead, a Vagrant based Virtual Machine box that will allow you to create a full server ready to work with Laravel and without fussing around with your system.
At the end of the chapter you will learn how to create your first Laravel application inside Homestead and how to perform your daily work with it using Homestead (or you can just use ssh or Putty if you are working on Windows or Mac OS X).
Now that you already have your environment created and that you have your Laravel also installed in Homestead it’s time to start building your first application.
That is what you will do in Chapter 3. You will start by planning the URLs and entities that you will use. Learn how to troubleshoot and solve common issues when getting started. After this initial steps you will learn how to define routes and their actions, as well as models and relationships.
Having done that you may need to have a database for your application so you will learn how to setup your database and how to work with Laravel’s ORM Eloquent. At the end of the chapter you will be presented with Blade, Laravel’s template language to create your interface layouts.
Chapter 4 is all about Eloquent ORM. You will learn how to use it for every action that concerns databases.
Although it covers a lot, Eloquent is so feature-rich that the book does not cover all of its features. Neverthless, it covers the most important aspects and you will know how to save and retrieve data, create relations of varying complexity between your data models and also how to handle events raised during your data model’s life cycle.
In Chapter 5 you will learn the importance of testing your applications and you will see how Laravel 5 was built from the ground up to facilitate it. It comes with everything you will need to get started, including helpers to test your application.
In this chapter, you will see how Laravel makes it very simple to get started with testing. In this introduction to testing, the author looks at the advantages of writing tests for your application, how to prepare your tests, the software design patterns that Laravel fosters, what is Mockery and how to use it to test objects in isolation, and introduce you to the built-in features and helpers that facilitate testing.
One of the best things that today’s most used PHP frameworks and applications have is command line tools to fasten your development and automation. Drupal as Drush, WordPress as WP-Cli, Symfony as Pake, just to mention a few.
In Chapter 6 you will be presented with Laravel’s powerful command line tool, Artisan, and will learn to use it for everything you may need, including rolling your own Artisan commands and how to schedule commands to automate everyday’s web site tasks.
Chapter 7 is the last one and it’s about securing your application and user authentication. In order to do that you will improve the application you started in chapter 3 by adding a simple authentication system and tackle any security issues we have in the existing code base.
So you will learn how to configure and use the authentication services, what is the concept of middleware and how to apply it to specific routes, how to validate data and form requests.
You will also learn what are the most common security vulnerabilities and how Laravel can help you write more secure code.
At the end of the book there’s an appendix, a non-numbered chapter, with lots of very useful information and code. I will just quote the beginning of it:
“Laravel comes with several utilities that help you perform specific tasks, such as sending e-mails, queuing functions, and manipulating files. It ships with a ton of handy utilities that it uses internally; the good news is that you can also use them in your applications. This chapter will present the most useful utilities so you do not end up rewriting a function that already exists in the framework!
The structure of this chapter is partly based on Jesse O’Brien’s cheat sheet, which is accessible at http://cheats.jesse-obrien.ca/ . The examples are based on Laravel’s tests as well as its official documentation and API.”
Now all the Essential on Laravel is presented to you so you just need to start coding. I hope you enjoy Laravel as much as I do.
In conclusionThis book was a bit of an unexpected surprise. For its seven chapters and just 118 pages I was expecting less than I got. Of course, this is just an introductory book so do not expect it to have it all about Laravel 5.
Neverthless, if you are willing to know more about what modern PHP programming and Laravel is or just want to get a fast update on what’s new in its version 5, then you should read “Laravel 5 Essentials”.
Laravel is one of the most exciting of the newer PHP frameworks and it will gain market share in the near future. It’s already the most starred PHP framework on Github and that says a lot about its popularity, so you should really consider to have it as one of your expertise areas.
This book is, for sure, a must have and a very good starting point for all PHP newcomers and old Laravel developers.
Originaly published at PHPClasses.org
One more. Now 4.4 🙂
WordPress 4.0 is out. Go grab it.
“When To Prototype, When To Wireframe” — http://buff.ly/1nDoi1t
We have to call him to solve an issue with the graphic card of one of our machines.
Mais uma ronda pelo forum do WordPress.org a resolver questões. De vez em quando temos de dar uma mãozinha.
“Today at f8, we announced Anonymous Login, a brand new way to log into apps without sharing any personal information from Facebook, along with a new version of Facebook Login with even better privacy controls.” @ http://smsh.me/k0ue