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MODx Web Development

August 7th, 2009

[MODx Web Development]

In 2007 MODx won the “Most Promising Open Source CMS” Packt Award. A little more than one year later, the MODx Web Development book has been published, to fulfill the expectations of many interested readers.

MODx Web Development is the first book available on MODx, and will undoubtedly contribute to spread the knowledge of this emerging CMS. Once again, Packt Publishing does a great job promoting Open Source Software, and MODx especially deserves such a promotion.

But let’s have a look at the book itself. The author, Antano Solar John, is active in the field of consulting, education and training, and the intended audience of the book are readers new to MODx or less experienced with this platform. But even advanced MODx users will find something interesting, especially in the last chapters.

After explaining how to install MODx, the book proceeds to present Documents and Containers (the basic elements of a MODx site) and templating (the way to style those elements according to our preferences and needs).
Each concept is presented without assuming any prior knowledge of site development, with many step by step examples.

After the basics are covered, the author introduces more advanced features, like authentication and authorization of users. This chapter is available for all to read in Sample Chapter 5, and is a good sample of the clarity of the whole book.

Next comes the explanation of snippets, powerful tools to enhance our MODx site. Two important built-in snippets are presented: Ditto, which enables content aggregation (including tagging and feeds), and Wayfinder, which builds a variety of document lists, useful for instance to build navigation menus. Many more MODx snippets are available, whether in the MODx package or as a separate download, and we learn how to search for the snippets we need, and how to install and use them.

The last chapters put the finishing touch on our MODx learning journey, and are probably more interesting for advanced users, since they discuss the PHx notation, ways to integrate forums or image galleries, and finally creating snippets, plugins and modules. Search Engine Optimization and Security are also covered.

Conclusions? Well, given the clarity of MODx Web Development and the features of MODx I’m really thinking about developing a MODx site myself!

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