Book review of "Magento DIY"
FireBear Studio is a Magento vendor, known for its extensions among which a nice connector with CloudFlare. They recently released also a book called Magento DIY (Do It Yourself) aimed at the self-sufficient Magento owner. Here's a brief review of the book from our side.
Overview of the book
The ebook counts about 270 pages, which is quite a nice amount of content for an e-book. Instead of dealing with explanations of the underlying workings of Magento or showing you how to accomplish certain tasks within the Magento backend, the book focuses mostly on listings of solutions and extensions that are of interest to the self-made Magento owner.
This quickly leads to the first conclusion: This book is not for somebody who is starting with Magento and wants to know how - for instance - Configurable Products are working. There are already good books for that - heck, the Magento project itself is offering merchant guides for this. The ebook of FireBear Studio instead focuses on the Magento merchant who is already there with a Magento shop and wants to extends this shop with addons or solutions. There are numerous extensions on MagentoConnect, which makes searching for the better extensions harder. This is exactly one of the reasons why buying this book might be a good investment: You'll get a good overview of extensions that are recommended personally by FireBear.
Words on installing extensions, data import, SEO
Some topics are dealt with in depth: There is a good recommendation on how to install Magento extensions properly. Things like composer and magerun are missing, but the procedure of the Magento Compiler is dealt with properly and will hopefully save time and frustration for merchants. Likewise, the CSV fields of data imports and some hints for SEO are dealt with.
Topics like Varnish are summarized but not explained much: In some way this makes sense, because setting up VCL rules within Varnish is not for the non-technical, which made me wonder whether mentioning the Turpentine extension was a good idea anyway: Why mention something that might be too difficult to configure? The list of PHP accelerators is in my personal opinion a bit outdated - I would not recommend to use anything different than PHP 5.5+ and Zend OPcache. Nonetheless, the topic of accelerators is there, which I find of more importance than actually having the debate on what should be recommended. As a self-sufficient Magento merchant, you will want to dive into specifics anyway.
In total, the book simply helps the more advanced Magento merchant get more out of Magento: It leads to more research and more extensions to explore. Some conclusions in the book are debatable, like everything, but it does not take away that this book quickly sums up the things that are important. As a Magento merchant, you either have to pay a developer to fix things for you, or start learning by yourself. In the latter case, buying this ebook is a no-brainer. We recommend this book.