Review: Practical Plone 3
I read the Practical Plone 3 book sent to me by Packt publishing.
I think this book is for everyone, not only for Beginner like the subtitle of the book says. It's splitted into 4 parts and each part can be read independently. Part 1 and 2 are really for beginners. Part 3 and 4 are for medium to advanced user. Even advanced user like me can learn some things from part 1 and 2!
Part 1 explains how to install Plone with the Unified Installer and do a brief of tour of Plone. I tested for the first time the new Unified Installer which now use buildout, very nice.
Part 2 explains you how to fully use and administrate your Plone. I learned how to use content rules, a functionality I never looked at until now. I now have a new thing to teach in my courses.
Part 3, the biggest of the book, teaches you how you can extend Plone with third party products. This part explains you how to write your own content type with ArchGenXML, customize Plone and change the look and feel. I tested PloneFormGen product for the first time, nice product.
Finally in part 4 you know how to set a decent production server configuration with Apache, Varnish/Squid and CacheFu.
I first started reading chapter 20 "Make it Go Faster" of the fourth part because I had an immediate need to learn about Varnish and CacheFu for one of my customer. This chapter was a good starting point for me. In this chapter, you will learn how works all of those HTTP response headers Expires, Cache-Control, Last-Modified and ETag. Firebug and LiveHTTPHeaders Firefox extensions are of great help here.
Next I read the chapter on ArchGenXML (chapter 16 in part 3) because I'm a user and contributor of ArchGenXML. I advise everyone wanting to learn how to use UML for creating new content type to read this chapter. Matt Bowen did a great job on this chapter. He teaches you the basics of UML and how to use ArgoUML to create your content type. IMHO, it's the best documentation you can find to start developing with ArchGenXML.
The chapter is a bit old though. Now ArgoUML 0.28 is out and there is a new version of ArchGenXML too. In the latest version of ArgoUML, you should use (not import) the archgenxml_profile.xmi file as a profile. You should not use an old argouml_profile.xmi file with latest ArgoUML. There is no .agx_zope.path configuration file anymore, ArchGenXML now installs all its dependencies. Please read (again) the Getting Started page from the archgenxml2 manual I updated recently.
I finally read the book from the beginning. I'm not really a beginner in Plone, so I didn't learn lots of new things, but I learned a few. An example of what I learned is how to do an internal link to an anchor of another document with Kupu. I didn't aware of this functionnality, powerful! FCKEditor does not seem to support it.
All the authors and reviewers did a great job writing this book. Thanks you!
Even if you're not a beginner, you can use this book as a great resource to teach someone how to use Plone. Buy a copy to give it to your neightbor!