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New book on SilverStripe 2.4

May 20th, 2011

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I’ve recently had the chance to read the latest SilverStripe book:

SilverStripe 2.4 – Module Extension, Themes, and Widgets: Beginner’s Guide

I found this book very well written and entertaining. The author does a great job highlighting the SilverStripe way of building websites, and a good book explaining a good CMS is a very enjoyable read. But let’s see the book contents in more detail.

We start with the first thing new users may wish to learn, that is customizing the layout of our website. To make the journey in SilverStripe land more interesting, the author lets us build a complete project, a bar website.

To customize the site layout we learn to know the standard BlackCandy theme, and the Silverstripe template engine that allows us to build our own themes.

The following chapter explains the MVC structure of SilverStripe. MVC, meaning Model – View – Controller, is a popular software architecture that cleanly separates the presentation, the control logic and the database in a software application. Armed with this knowledge, we learn how to build our first SilverStripe page, using the View and the Controller layers.

Next we learn the Model, that is accessing the database for storing and retrieving information, and extending the model to suit the needs of our site.

SilverStripe is very extensible, if we add widgets and short codes. We learn how to use them, and how to build ours if necessary. Along the road we also learn how the SilverStripe cache works, and how to use it to improve our site performance.

Modules are more complex and powerful extensions for our SilverStripe site, and again we learn how to use available modules and how to build our own. The book lets us build an image gallery module for our bar website, and package that module so it could be distributed independently.

Many SilverStripe modules are already available, and among them we can find modules to add blog, forum and e-commerce functionality to our site.

But our site won’t reach its full potential if we don’t add interactivity, so we need SilverStripe forms. We learn how to create and display a form, and how to get and process the user input. We can also add automatic client-side validation, or custom client-side validation using the jQuery Validation plugin.

Last but not least, we learn how to localize and internationalize our project. Now we can go forth and build great websites with SilverStripe!

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