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Plone 3.3 Products Development Cookbook

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A review of a practical book by Juan Pablo Giménez and Marcos F. Romero.

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Packt Publishing has published a book by Juan Pablo Giménez and Marcos F. Romero: Plone 3.3 Products Development Cookbook. It is a very practical book. The authors do not present much theory, except when it is really needed to understand the recipes. With 70 recipes of about 5 pages each, there is not much room to go very deep into a subject. I think that does make for a book that I can point to in answer to questions on mailing lists: "Oh, just read that recipe in the cookbook on page 42."

Each recipe is structured like this, with some sections being optional:

Getting ready
some prerequisites for following the recipe.
How to do it...
actual steps you need to take, commands you need to perform in a terminal, lines you need to add in a file.
How it works...
explanations for what you just did and how Plone makes it work.
There's more...
this can point to more information, mostly online, or to alternative solutions.
See also:
this points to other recipes in the cookbook.

Sometimes the 'how to do it' steps make no sense without the hints in the 'how it works' section. For example, when 'how to do it' says this:

$ paster create -t plone3_buildout
$ cd pox

This is only going to work when you follow the instructions in 'how it works' where the authors tell you to enter 'pox' as the project name. In general, the distinction between these two sections does not always make sense to me. But I can imagine that the first time you follow a recipe you will want to read all sections, and the second time you only need the 'how to do it' section because you remember the other steps and explanations from the first time you did this; you may be happy then that this extra information is separated.

In the introduction, the authors say: "The book is for programmers who have some knowledge of Python, Plone, and Zope." Indeed without at least some prior experience you may get lost because you miss the bigger picture of the recipes. But the authors start by explaining how to install python and Plone on Linux and Windows, so they get you in a good starting position.

I would say the book is for beginning to intermediate Plone programmers. The only new information I saw for myself was about plone.app.content and dexterity. Still, it is good to have available when you think: "Today I want to bake a fresh portlet, let's get the cookbook." You will find good, solid information in this book.

As always, there is lots more info on the Packt website, like a table of contents and a sample chapter. You can get a very good idea of what the book is like and if this is something for you by reading the sample chapter about Creating a Custom Content Type with Paster.

Disclaimer: I got a review copy of this book for free. If you buy the cookbook via links on this page, I get a small fee.