A couple of weeks ago I reviewed Emma Jane Hogbin's new eWorkbook on Drupal theming. With PHP for Drupal Designers, we are going to have to make that a double: 32 pages with a few examples in PHP for designers, you may ask, what's the big deal? The big deal is that with the info to be found in this condensed form, designers can learn how not to clutter their Drupal templates, developers can learn just what they really need to finally make good on separating coding from layout and styling, and multi-talented groups can learn the Drupal way.
Emma gave out over 300 copies of her new eBook: Theming Drupal: A first timer's guide, as a way of saying Happy April Fools day. So since you can still purchase the book for a very low price, I thought I would review it as a thank you note for my free copy.
Not only is this "Drupal theming the missing starter tutorial", as characteristic of Emma, this 29-page book is geared towards a specific learning curve for a specific kind of audience ("Whether you want to build and sell your own designs, or you're a newly hired designer at a Drupal Web development shop"). It even assures you get a brush up on web design and web designing software in general before diving into Designing for Drupal. The goals (p. 4) speak volumes:
Aegir 0.4 Alpha 5 installed on my Linode VPS, and now I've got my little ecommerce platform kicked-off!Mon, 2010-02-08 10:54 — victorkane
I read on the Development Seed blog about a New Release: Aegir 0.4 Alpha 5, and since aWebFactory finds itself in the midst of retooling (Git! Aegir! ... more soon), I knew this was a great moment for biting the bullet and stop reading about Aegir and actually installing and enjoying all that hard work the devs had been doing.
The post includes a link to mig5's incredible video (see below for References and links), which also basically follows the step-by-step instructions found in the officially supported INSTALL.txt and the first part of this article basically consists of the steps I took following along. It took me about two hours to install Aegir and make my first use of it (deploying some new staging sites), as well as writing this post.
Improving ecommerce usability: first 30 minutes with Magento, first 30 minutes with Ubercart and DrupalSun, 2010-01-10 09:00 — victorkane
In order to comply with what website application end users really need, we often need all the benefits of the proven specialized tools (for example, Alfresco for document management, Magento for ecommerce, WordPress for blogs, Gallery for photo galleries, Moodle for education), but without having to sacrifice the power, community, flexibility and excellence of Drupal.
Several clients need to integrate ecommerce functionality into their website application right now. And to be honest, what I need is the great usability of a good specialized framework without giving up Drupal. As a developer and not an experienced store manager, how can I be sure to offer those using my services the most advanced usability for their ecommerce needs? I need Drupal for most of their requirements, but I need, say, Magento too. To be honest, the question I need to answer is: Ubercart is the best Drupal based ecommerce solution; but this time is that going to be good enough for the end users?
As a website application developer, I need to place reusability at the core of my kit of best practices. But reusability isn't always about code, or modules, themes, or even whole frameworks; it's often about tried and proven industry-wide well-trodden paths, a set of patterns upon which to build no matter what tools you use. Just as usability most often isn't really about flashy widgets, it's about an architecture that won't paint you into a corner.
So I hit upon what I think is a novel idea: I decided to prototype the development with a best-of-breed specialized ecommerce framework in parrallel with Ubercart/Drupal, in order to gain insight into the kind of usability and architecture required. Then I could decide between integrating Drupal with Magento on the one hand (a la Promiscuous Drupal), or using Ubercart directly with Drupal to attain the same level of functionality.