Kennard's cookbook is an excellent resource for novices and experts alike. The book covers some very common issues with Joomla 1.5 sites that have implications for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). These include how to set document titles, and add meta-data, for example (Chapter 7). For novices, however, it would be helpful to not only explain how to perform these activities, but why one should be concerned with them in the first place. On the topic of SEO, for example, most search engines are much more concerned with descriptive document titles than with accurate meta-data.
For experts, this book goes beyond the typical cookbook of solutions, but in organizing them around larger, significant issues. For example, he covers solutions associated with multilingual sites (Chapter 5) and in writing plugins that are extensible and modular (Chapter 9) to ensure portability and re-use.
Kennard also explains how how to set up a formalized [...] project (Chapter 1), While this is excellent information, I would recommend moving this information to the end of the book, perhaps even as an appendix.
Even if you're working on one of your first Joomla sites or projects, this book will pay for itself. In particular, novices should pay attention to chapters 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12. Because Chapter 11 discusses error handling, I would recommend that new developers start there. Oftentimes frustration with a project arises not from having to troubleshoot, but by not providing yourself with the necessary error handling and reporting to really understand what is happening. This is excellent material.
Overall, the benefits of this book far outweigh what I would consider minor revisions for a second edition. Although I would like to see this book be a little more novice-friendly (add definitions, explanations of relevance, perhaps a glossary), I would still recommend it to both novices and experts alike.
Stephen L. Mcconnell
This is the book I have been looking for. I have not read the authors' previous work, but this one is excellent. I actually read (mainly skimmed it) in one evening and now am ready to get down to brass tacks of working through the examples. It is not for beginners, but those who have worked a little with Joomla will learn a lot on the internals of Joomla from this book.
Although the author calls it a "cookbook" it does not follow the usual format of a "cookbook". The information builds from chapter to chapter.
I must say that in the first chapter, he talks about his web site [...], but it is in the interest of introducing developers to good open source and distributed development practices. And his discussion of the Subversion code versioning workflow is the Best I have ever seen on the subject. It is a shame that he concentrates on a Subversion tool only available on Windows, but usually Mac or Linux users are familiar with tools available to them.
The second chapter explores "Safe" SQL queries using the Joomla Framework and Joomla API's and how to keep your Extensions secure by primarily using Joomla APIs. Old dawgs like me learned some new tricks from this one.
Chapter 3 goes into further detail on working with the Database, and the following chapter deals with working with the Requests and Users and how to keep Joomla secure through those practices.
I could go on outlining this book, but the table of contents will give one a good idea of what this book has.
The one thing I do wish he had included was an appendix that gathered all the important API's and Joomla Constants in one place. This book is excellent, but the Joomla project is JUST getting around to putting good documentation on-line.
I expected that it would better explain what each part is and what it does. This book is more for programmers. It mainly covers how to install joomla not much more.