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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.

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.

This post is also available in: Spanish

  1. Kamil
    June 12th, 2013 at 10:30 | #1

    Great to hear that Magento has also paper publications. I would love to read in this book part about Magento specific ORM and custom data collections.

  2. dgaero
    June 12th, 2013 at 11:53 | #2

    Does this book contains something new in comparison with “Magento fundamentals” video course?

  3. Paul
    June 12th, 2013 at 13:11 | #3

    Good to know it goes into version control as well as Magento itself, we’re currently looking into Git so winning a copy of this book would be a huge help!

  4. Miguel Balparda
    June 12th, 2013 at 13:14 | #4

    Im really interested in the book, specially about the ORM and data collections part because im a developer myself and i want to learn more about that field in Magento so i can make better modules!
    The GIT and SVN section looks interesting too!

  5. Irina Tsumarava
    June 12th, 2013 at 13:28 | #5

    @Kamil
    You have a chance to read this book! Leave your comment for this blog post and win a free e-copy of the guide.

  6. Anastasia Harlamova
    June 12th, 2013 at 14:17 | #6

    @dgaero
    I suppose you are talking about “Fundamentals of Magento Development” course which is available for registration at Magento U and costs $3,850 per student.

    We had no chance to watch it, but if we just compare the contest of the guide and the course outline, we can say that:
    1. In the guide you can find the information on how to set up development environment and tools. There is no such info in the video.
    2. The “Magento PHP Developer’s Guide” seems to be more practical while video course – educational.
    3. There is no description of automatic tests in the video course.

  7. Yogesh
    June 12th, 2013 at 14:21 | #7

    I like to read all about the ORM and data collection.Even though i have an idea about it just want to make my knowledge crystal clear about it.Also i am keen to learn about The Magento API specially the RESTful API.Its becoming more and more important these days to know all about API.

  8. Ramiro
    June 12th, 2013 at 14:48 | #8

    Would love to see what “really specific concepts, areas within Magento” he’s covered in the book, since I completely agree some stuff are lacking good documentation.

  9. Tom
    June 12th, 2013 at 19:29 | #9

    Would love to see some in depth documentation about building web services to use Magento with other apps and vice versa.

  10. iNPUt
    June 13th, 2013 at 10:18 | #10

    Sounds like a good book, magento has so many mystery that I am yet to crack open.

  11. Carl
    June 13th, 2013 at 11:36 | #11

    This review could get much more into detail than it did.. the only chapter which was in depth covered was the scm one.. and I think this isn’t the best chapter for a magento book.. if I wanted to learn git/svn I’d bought another book.. So this is wasted bookspace for me. What sounds cool is, that the api is covered. Last time I checked, there was not much documentation in the internet about REST-apis. Your review of style/illustration wasn’t for me either, you write too positive about everything so that I don’t trust you to be honest.. what would’ve helped are some examples where I can see it by myself.

  12. Sieger
    June 13th, 2013 at 12:57 | #12

    Just got started with Magento. I think this will be the prefect book to get me started on devloping for Magento.

  13. danielgsims
    June 13th, 2013 at 14:07 | #13

    I’ve worked with many e-commerce solutions – usually built as custom projects or as plugins for content management systems. I’m interested in seeing what something like Magento is capable of in terms of development speed and features.

  14. Denis Obukhov
    June 13th, 2013 at 15:06 | #14

    Please add a kilogramm of potatoe to each prize! It will be the most interesting and testy prize.

  15. Bob
    June 13th, 2013 at 16:23 | #15

    I’m looking to get a job using Magento, I think this book would be helpful!

  16. Irina Tsumarava
    June 13th, 2013 at 16:37 | #16

    @Denis Obukhov
    Denis, haha good point ;) We are already packing it!

  17. Richard
    June 13th, 2013 at 21:54 | #17

    About time a new book came out the last one that Packt had was full of errors so I have high hopes for this publication.

  18. Carlos Ufano
    June 14th, 2013 at 15:49 | #18

    Sometimes looking for a Magento book and this can be a great opportunity to get help from Packt publishing for our Magento sites development.

  19. Paul Byrne
    June 14th, 2013 at 16:17 | #19

    I would love a copy of this book. Looks like great reading.

  20. Andrew McEwan
    June 14th, 2013 at 16:30 | #20

    While there are plenty of existing online resources available, a comprehensive all-in-one guide has been sorely lacking for a long time…until now, that is. Looks like it’s a must-have for any serious Magento developer.

  21. Tyson
    June 14th, 2013 at 19:27 | #21

    Not a lot of good books on MAge Dev. Look forward to getting my hands on it.

  22. Susan
    June 14th, 2013 at 19:36 | #22

    Looks like a great read/reference. I am especially interested in the API, as I have only touched the surface on what can be done with it. I am also curious what they suggest as far as setting up the dev environment, I have been experimenting with different things myself.

  23. J Luis Sanchez
    June 14th, 2013 at 19:59 | #23

    What a great Giveaway to started with Magento. I think this will be the prefect book to get me started!

  24. Matt Dilley
    June 17th, 2013 at 02:16 | #24

    great to see a book written by someone who’s clearly passionate in the topic they are writing about
    I’m interested to read about how to write magento plugins (back-end and front-end focussed), and sales reports.
    I cant wait to read this publication!

  25. Witalli Reingard
    June 17th, 2013 at 16:06 | #25

    Need to know more about this. Hope I can get a copy. Best wishes from germany

  26. keyur
    June 18th, 2013 at 06:58 | #26

    Hope i get book ,,,because very useful for beginner like me,,,,

  27. Greg
    June 19th, 2013 at 09:56 | #27

    I have recently been given the task of integrating Magento with our CRM using the Magento API. I also need to build a module or two. This book looks like it can help me get the job done.
    Magento is powerful and complex, a book can help code while reading and learning.
    I feel I should look to see what other knowledge I can learn from Allan MacGregor after reading this review.

  28. Ivor
    June 23rd, 2013 at 16:23 | #28

    I am very interested in developing in Magento – this sounds like the ideal place to start

  29. IT training academy
    June 29th, 2013 at 13:56 | #29

    It nice to see that you publish a php developer book for us to guide in our works.i wish i get this book.if you tell me where is available.Thank you.

  30. claudiowebdesign
    July 11th, 2013 at 21:46 | #30

    “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 MacGregor
    I am a php developer and entrepreneur, the time I am studying programming languages ​​such as php, mysql and javascript, css, html to build my shop, I noticed more than a store is too complex to be developed with the liguagens I mentioned, I met magento everything changed, I’m almost a year studying through tutorials that one of the winners of the book Mario Sam (Brazil), publishes several post it is a reference in magento here in Brazil, many people do not know how to develop with magento and many do not understand, more many are interested to Brazil is a country emerging growth enabling much interest in magento platform, as well as Allan MacGregor’m very difficult, but with hopes of one day having a good knowledge to desevolver best platform.
    Hugs to all.
    Claudio Macena – CEO http://www.mgraficaebrindes.com.br / index.php

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