Tutorials Posts

“Mastering Magento Theme Design” by Andrea Sacca – Contest Results

We are completely sure that the Magento community is full of truly inquisitive and passionate people, who never stop their self-education.

That’s why we always strive to tell you about the latest noteworthy Magento books and guides, which provide valuable knowledge and educate us.

Mastering Magento Theme Design

Last Monday we started a contest and announced the prize for participants – free e-copies of the “Mastering Magento Theme Design” guide by Andrea Sacca.

We are glad that despite the vacation season some of you are still hungry for new knowledge and prefer to take sun baths with a decent book in their hands. So, today we are ready to praise the winners and send them the deserved books.

Just to remind you, the terms of our contest are, as usually, extremely simple. We asked you to name your favorite Magento theme and explain your choice in a couple of words.

The Magento community did not disappoint us and offered some original answers to this not very simple question.


Here are the answers of our winners:


“My favorite theme is always the one I use in the latest project. In my recent project the used theme was Shopper.



Dustin Nordquist

“My favorite theme is the Argento theme. It comes with some great extensions that streamline a lot of tasks for users.”




“My favorite Magento theme is the default theme. I’m a newbie and I want this book.:)” ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. …..



We congratulate all the winners and ask them and all our readers to stay in touch as we are going to continue holding book contests in the future.

If you have something to add to this post, please share your ideas in comments below.


Book Review: “Mastering Magento Theme Design” by Andrea Sacca

Knowledge is never too much. It is an absolute true, but when you are dealing with Magento, this statement looks even more reasonable.

In this post we continue our tradition of book reviews and open in front of our readers one more useful Magento guide, and, as usual, we encourage you to read the review carefully as at the end of this post we hold a contest for the visitors of our blog.

So, today we’d like to draw your attention to the “Mastering Magento Theme Design” tutorial by Andrea Sacca, which shares a comprehensive expertise of the advanced Magento themes design.



Andrea Sacca is a front end developer and web designer, who creates great appearance for different eCommerce stores, including start-ups and individual shops. Starting his career in 2012 as a web designer for some renowned web agencies, today he is a founder of his own company – 1604lab in Rome.

He is a Magento Certified Front End Developer and recently took part in the Meet Magento Italy Conference, as a speaker.

We contacted Adrea and asked him to share his impressions about this significant for the Italian eCommerce market event:

Andrea: It was a great experience for me. The Webformat team asked me to participate as speaker in order to talk about my book and about the front-end of Magento.

I talked about the importance of the responsive web design and Mobile commerce, and how to create a responsive Magento Theme based on Bootstrap. You can take a look at the slides here.

It was nice to meet a lot of developers there, talk to merchants, and people from the Magento team, such as Ben Marks. As you know, during such events you can establish a lot of new contacts and, possibly, start new business with people from all over the world (not only from your own country).

I think that it was one of the most important eCommerce events in Italy. Italy is often “late” with innovations and new technologies, while the events like Meet Magento highlight the importance of eCommerce and the power of this great CMS. As for me, I have already got many requests for new projects just after my speech, and it is a great confirmation that people want to invest in eCommerce and create new online shops.

I work for a lot of customers here in Italy, and 90% of them use Magento for their eShops. So, I think that Magento greatly affects eCommerce in Italy, as well as all around the world.

aW: Thank you very much Andrea for your view of the conference and the Italian eCommerce market. It is truly interesting and reflects the opinion of the real participant of the local market.

Now, let’s get down to the book review.

Magento 1.8 Development Cookbook Contest Results

Last week we started a contest for our readers passionate about Magento and announced a really valuable prize for you – five e-copies of the Magento 1.8 Development Cookbook guide. Today we are announcing the winners, but, surprisingly, experience a certain deficit of them. 🙂

However, we are confident that Magento developers will never lose their enthusiasm and just missed our offer. So, we decided to continue the contest, but changed the rules a bit. From now on you should just name the book you’d like to obtain in comments below, and you will get it immediately. Thus, we still search some decent owners for:

And now comes the most pleasant moment – winners rewarding. Today they get large pictures, high-volume cups and books, of course.

Donald Longwinner-button

Steve Perrywinner-button

Congratulations! Let this book along with your expertise make Magento even better!

P.S. If you get to know some truly valuable Magento-related books, we’ll be pleased to share them with our readers. Just let us know.

P.P.S. Magento 1.8 Development Cookbook is out of stock. Refer to the comments below. Magento Search Engine Optimization is out of stock. Refer to the comments below.

Magento 1.8 Development Cookbook Provides Over 70 Effective Recipes

Magento development is an inexhaustible subject for authors since increasingly more e-commerce sites choose it as a basis for their further extension and prosperity.

“From scratch” is the main tagline of the new book we want to bring to your attention. Magento 1.8 Development Cookbook by Bart Delvaux and Nurul Ferdous contains over 70 practical use cases covering multiple aspects of Magento development, customization and testing.

Bart Delvaux

Bart Delvaux is an experienced web developer from Belgium. He started the career in 2010 after he received his bachelor’s degree in Applied Informatics. Magento gave him the first opportunity to establish himself when he was working as a consultant for a leading PHP company in Belgium. Bart was one of the first persons who received Magento Certified Developer and Magento Certified Developer Plus.

Nurul Ferdous

Nurul Ferdous is an open source enthusiast and IT specialist from Bangladesh who is currently working for TM Secure Inc. as a LAMP consultant. He started his career with the Bangladesh Air Force. Nurul is a Zend Certified PHP 5 Engineer, and contributes to a number of PHP projects, blogs on PHP-related topics, and presents talks and tutorials related to PHP development.

Book Review


This cookbook is primarily oriented towards PHP developers starting with Magento from scratch. It aims to accompany you along the bumpy ride of site creation and deploying, and as a result, you will become much more experienced in Magento.


The guide has a clear and logical structure influenced by the main purpose of the book. The first chapter prepares a background for successful studies and practice and is devoted to the required development environment and necessary tools.

The following chapters proceed to Magento and explain common and trickier examples of Magento coding, including catalog configuration, themes integration, backend functionality extending, Cron setting, and creation of events.

Concluding chapters reveal some must-have activities, which optimize Magento performance and allow you to avoid bugs within your code.


All chapters are preceded by a short chapter summary and introduction, which prepare readers for the content and sharpen their attention.

Each chapter contains “Get Ready”, “How to do it…”, “How it works”, and “There is more” standard text blocks, which make reading more structured and easy.

The text is full of descriptive and ready-made code excerpts. All important and noteworthy messages are displayed in bold or appealing boxes. Almost all textual explanations are accompanied by descriptive illustrations and diagrams.

“Grokking Magento: Book 1” by Vinai Kopp – an Excellent Book for Experienced Developers

We’ve got one good tradition in our blog – review books related to Magento written through authors’ experience in working with this platform

This time we are happy to introduce you an excellent guide for Magento developers named “Grokking Magento: Book 1 – Magento Basics and Request Flow” by Vinai Kopp. We thank Vinai for an e-copy of his book kindly provided for our review.

Vinai KoppVinai Kopp

Vinai Kopp is a passionate Web Developer and open source enthusiast since 1998. From March 2008 Vinai has specialized in Magento. His main focus is training and consulting.

Author, active community member and a part of the Magento community advisory board (CAB).

Book Review

Grokking Magento


The cover of the Grokking Magento guide is very extraordinary and everyone who sees this book wonders about that amazing creature or strange skeleton put in front of them. We’ll reveal this little secret, as it is uncovered by the author himself in the introduction. The cover is decorated with a silver fern frond, which is, in this case, both unusual and intriguing at the same time.


This book will be especially useful for highly-experienced developers, which have essential knowledge and long practice in PHP and OOP with a great desire to learn Magento. But it is also recommended to professional Magento developers as a set of nontrivial Magento solutions.


The book is a collection of exercises, which go in a cookbook stile and are not actually structured, but it is not necessary, as each one is a self-sufficient entity. All the exercises are very useful and we wanted even more.


The book has three main goals:

  1. Help prepare for the Magento Certified Developer Exam (MCD);
  2. To be used as a reference for best practices and Magento architecture;
  3. Give solutions to specific problems in a “developer cookbook” style.

In our opinion, this guide is equally helpful for all the declared goals and may easily become a reference book for many developers.

Who Gets Free E-copies of the “Magento Search Engine Optimization” Guide?

Magento search Engine OptimizationFor many online shops search engines is still one of the most abundant traffic sources, and Magento stores is not an exception.

Though recently, SEO operations area has shrunk considerably due to strict regulation undertaken by search engines, but basic on-page improvements are still required. Amid this valuable topical guides are always welcomed, and last week we reviewed such a guide for Magento stores:  “Magento Search Engine Optimization” by Robert Kent. This review was very successful and we thank all of you, who voted for it in social media.

On Monday last week we also started a contest for those, who would like to get a free e-copy of this book. Today we are announcing our winners. Four of you get the “Magento Search Engine Optimization” guide by Robert Kent for free. Here they are – our winners:

Matt Carver


Nestor Gonzalez






Congratulations! Hope you will find the book useful.

As we constantly strive to provide our readers the best thematic content, your active engagement and feedback is always highly appreciated.

P.S.: Stay in touch for more useful stuff.

“Magento Search Engine Optimization” by Robert Kent. Book Review

One more useful guide, published at Packt Publishing Ltd., drew our attention – “Magento Search Engine Optimization” by Robert Kent. The book describes an eternal subject of all site owners – SEO, but this time it will be especially valuable for Magento store owners, as it describes SEO expertise for Magento-based stores.

Robert Kent
Robert Kent

Magento Certified Developer at Creare
Robert Kent works at Creare – one of the largest Web Design and SEO companies in the UK. He has over 4 years experience with the Magento platform and has worked on more than 50 Magento installations for a wide range of businesses from many different industries.

The Magento SEO book was written through his experience in optimizing Magento websites for search engines – from the early stages of Magento CE 1.3 right up to the current release.

Book Review

Although the subject of this book can’t be considered as a purely technical one, but yet it will require definite knowledge of SEO from you, namely on-site optimization. This book will be especially useful for SEO specialists, who just start with Magento. Here they will find the description of on-page optimization techniques applied to Magento stores and their specific features, which affect the way search engines treat these sites. The second part of the audience is Magento admins, of course, as they know everything about the platform, but, possibly, miss something about SEO in their daily routine.

StructureMagento Search Engine Optimization
The structure of this book is intuitive and arranges chapters in order of their importance for SEO. Thus, the chapter about product and category pages goes first, as they are usually being optimized for main keywords and used to be landing pages. Technical aspects of SEO are followed by contextual issues and naturally build a complete comprehension of the SEO process.

The chapter about Magento extensions finishes the book and puts a justified full stop of this exciting topic. The only chapter “Analyzing and Tracking Your Visitors” is, possibly, a bit universal for this book and could be replaced by the one covering SEO specific indexes and their measurement tools.

The content is really valuable and has no any digressions or theoretical discourses. The book is full of relevant examples and useful tips; all technical issues are accompanied by code excerpts; all navigation paths are followed by screenshots and schemes.

SEO in this book is considered in conjunction with usability and conversion rate optimization, which closely corresponds to recent Google’s guidance for webmasters.