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October 29, 2008

Book review: TYPO3 Extension Development

Category: Patrick Gaumond, TYPO3

By: Patrick Gaumond

Packt Publishing has just release a very important book for beginners in TYPO3 Extension development: TYPO3 Extension Development by Dmitry Dulepov. Here's the review.

Starting with TYPO3 development? Get this!

TYPO3 Extension Development by Dmitry Dulepov

PACKT Publishing, ISBN 1847192122, 232 pages.
Available in print or as an eBook.

One of the missing links in the TYPO3 English book universe is now filled.

For years I’ve watched giving us more and more German books which have made  me feeling jealous over time. And now our unique Dmitry has just filled the gap by giving us a well written book  for Extensions developers’ wannabe. As you see, this book is aimed at beginners in the TYPO3 Extensions universe. People with 5 years of practice will possibly find a few tricks here and there but not that many.

So what was missing exactly?

An A-to-Z development extension book that skips everything such as  installing TYPO3, giving advice  to editors and that goes directly to the point: Understand the extensions concepts, find your way thru few Core key documents, get to know the logic behind the API and then code 2 different extensions.

The book starts with a very good and understandable overview of the TYPO3 API and gives hints and historical context when needed. Dmitry takes time to give great advice  throughout  the text which in turn allows  the TYPO3 Dev newbie to be on the right track from the beginning to end.  The text is succinct, easy to read for non-native readers like myself and never boring. It’s almost like following a course or having a discussion with a very knowledgeable pal. For someone starting in TYPO3 development, the first chapter is worth the price of the book!

Chapter 2 is about the anatomy of a TYPO3 Extension. If you go to the Packt Publishing website, you will be able to get the Chapter 2 free of charge. Go get it at:

Chapter 3 is about the not so popular planning phase and it’s great to see Dmitry gives us some more common sense advice  before getting our feet wet into the coding itself. He puts -emphasis on the requirements; implementation planning and TYPO3 related planning as well (extension key, database, fields and indexes). Then he goes into the DB structure needed for the extension to come.

Chapter 4 is about our friend, the Kickstarter. This section is still filled with advice  and a few tricks but a bit lighter than most of the book.

Chapters 5 and 6 are about the most popular extensions around: Frontend Plugins. Dmitry takes care of doing an overview of the concepts, plugin and flexform configurations. He sets the basis of extension templating and underlining the importance of localization and character set handling. Those unfamiliar with  Dmitry will not be surprised he puts emphasis on performance and caching. Remember, set_no_cache() is evil. ;)

The essential stuff in chapter 6 is the coding itself. The interest and the feeling of having a knowledgeable tutor remains while we go deeper into the entrails of the extension. Chapter 7 still continues in this style but this time we’re following Dmitry building a Backend Module that displays last logins,  login statistics and a list of active users.

Chapter 8 ends the book with a very important topic: Code review. Dmitry gives us some kind of a maybe too-brief-in-comments checklist but still, it’s an important step not to overlook. He also puts emphasis on documenting our extensions and gives some advice on the subject.

So what is missing in this great book? A guide to the actual documentation available on could have been a great addition. Even better (and maybe I should do it for a list of subjects which links to the actual documentation. For example “Localization” with links to the “Frontend Localization guide”, “Inside TYPO3, page 86”, “TYPO3 Core API”). The official documentations are cited thru the book but could have been centralized and put into an appendix before the index.

This book could have been a 600-page- book and cutting edge developers will have to look into the source and other material if they want to get hints for Workspaces or IRRE. Someone who wants to develop a Service Extension will be kept alone but we can’t blame Dmitry for not writing on those subjects. This also means that there’ still place for an Advanced Extension programming book or maybe a sequel to this one…

One of my first feelings once I started to read the book was that it will become the de-facto manual for Extension Development courses given by agencies all over the world. It’s really the kind of book you don’t want to skip a paragraph, fearing you’ll miss some good advice. Succinct is a quality.

All in all, it’s a very good book for starters; a very important book to hook some PHP newcomers into the TYPO3 world and a great step for better comprehension of this fabulous principle Kasper gave us 6 years ago when he presented the Extension Manager.


Thank you Dmitry for this great asset in our community.



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