After reading and reviewing PacktLib’s Magento 1.4 Cookbook, I decided to give this book about Magento themes a day in court.
It does a very good job of walking someone through the entire process of building out a theme from almost scratch. Doing a very good job of describing Magento’s terminology for its hierarchy of websites, stores and views with many visual cues to get a general sense of how and why Magento’s theming is built in this manner. It also does a very good job explaining Magento’s fall back methodology for template/theme files, even noting the differences from versions 1.3 to 1.4. This book would definitely help a newbie at getting started producing their own themes for Magento.
With the ever changing landscape of software to hard copy books, the books are almost always months behind official releases. The review of simple CSS/HTML changes like font @font-face while relevant really has not a whole lot of bearing on Magento’s themes and these topics should be lightly touched on as they are not integral parts of the Magento theming system. Also with the previous the first chapter starts with installing Magento and general usage. While this may be relevant to a newbie, it will bore even Novice Magento developers, skip these chapter(s). Lightly touching on the layout XML configurations that is Magento, I would recommend also reading Alan Storm’s No Frills Layout book for more in depth knowledge.
Overall my impressions of the book appeared it really wouldn’t contain much information most seasoned Magento developers or theme designers won’t already know. It is really geared for a UI/UX Developer who’s just got Magento dropped on their lap or they are wanting to get their feet wet in using Magento themes.
To pick up a copy of your own both Hard and Electronic:
Magento 1.4 Themes Design.