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Review: Plone 3 Products Development Cookbook

May 23, 2010

My shelf of review copies of Packt Publishing books is getting, well packed. But that’s OK, I enjoy reviewing books, and they look good. The latest addition is the Plone 3 Products Development Cookbook by Juan Pablo Giménez and Marcos F. Romero. To my surprise this book is black and green, not Packt Publishings ordinary black and Orange. That probably won’t look as good in the shelf. ;-)

I wondered how useful a cookbook could be, it’s after all a series of “recipes”, telling you how to do one specific thing, and often you need to do something slightly different, and then the book might not be so useful. Reading the book dispelled those worries. Some of the specific recipes in this cookbook are how to set up a development environment, and installing and using various Plone development tools. That’s always useful. The book then goes on to explain how to make content types, create workflows, do caching and portlets etc, covering the most important parts of Plone development.

My major complaint with the book is that they focus the testing examples exclusively on doctests. Doctests are designed to test documentation. But there has been an unfortunate trend in the Zope and Plone world to do all testing as doctests, something which is evil in many ways. The book should come with a warning sticker: “Warning: Abuse of  doctests can be dangerous to your sanity”.

Other than that, this book makes for a great entry book to Pone development, something that has been lacking in Packts set of Plone books. By the nature of the style of the book the recipes are sometimes lacking in depth, but they’ll get you 99% of the way there, which what entry books should do. It’s not a book for complete Plone newbies, you will need to know a bit of Plone first, for that I can heartily recommend “Practical Plone 3“. And no, I’m not paid by Packt Publishing to say that. They just send me the books for review, that’s all.

Plone 3 Products Development Cookbook book will also work fine for Plone 4 development. How to develop in Plone hasn’t changed that much between Plone 3 and 4. That said I’m hoping for a Plone 4 edition that has changed most of those doctests to normal tests.

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