This afternoon I finished reading Peacock's book on the package of e-Commerce modules. The book was published by [PACKT]. [PACKT] sent me a review copy some weeks back. It made for an easy going read that was written conversationally.
The examples in the book were straight forward and gave a good sense how to set up a site. The book has been written from a administrator's point of view (for the most part) allowing those who aren't heavy-duty themers or developers to set up a credible e-Commerce site. The book goes beyond simply the e-Commerce modules and looks at simple SEO, use of WAMP, and some basics in CiviCRM (as they could be used within an online shop). It assumes very little Drupal knowledge and walks the reader through setting up and configuring Drupal, installing modules and themes, and some basic theming.
- Chapter 1 introduces you to Drupal and how to install Drupal locally. It looks at Drupal basics like themes, clean URLs, the file system, different ways to handle images, and the basics of installing the e-Commerce package.
- Chapter 2 continues to explore using Drupal focusing in on basics like static pages including the home page and contact page. It explains how content is created in Drupal and use of menus.
- Chapter 3 looks at planning your store. It touches on legal issues in the UK and the US. The book looks at different kinds of products--Apparel (along with sub categories like colour), Shippable Goods, and Non Shippable Goods (like services, media, and pay-for-content sections of a site). The chapter takes a brief look at photographing your products and advertising do-s and don'ts. It ends talking a bit about customer service.
- Chapter 4 is concerned with creating a catalog including how to create, group, and list products. It explains how to set up a shopping cart.
- Chapter 5 reviews Roles and Permissions which really don't differ from standard Drupal, but does help you understand how best to structure roles and permissions within the context of a store. It also looks at the use of Taxonomy within a store.
- Chapter 6 looks at themes and basics on theming your own look and feel.
- Chapter 7 explores checking out, payments, order history, and processing payments.
- Chapter 8 looks at how to add the shopping cart, using core search, adding images, creating discounts, and goes to touch on Auctions, Donations, and using Flexicharge.
- Chapter 9 is a review of taxes (but you need to find out the rules in your own jurisdiction), payments and gateways, and shipping.
- Chapter 10 concerns itself with security--use of CAPTCHA, email verifications, legal module, and login security. It talks a bit about secure passwords and Phishing. The chapter also looks at deployment and maintenance.
- Chapter 11 explains the use of invoices (and the quirks that exist with e-Commerce) and how to use CiviCRM as a for-profit tool to log appointments and communication.
- Finally Chapter 12 looks at buying and selling ads for and on your site both on other sites and in newsletters. It also briefly explores the importance of SEO and how you can do some light SEO optimization on your site.
- In the Appendix, the book reviews using WAMP.
While I found the book easy to read and informative, it struck me that Drupal 6 has been out since February and there doesn't seem to be much traction in the e-Commerce package being ported to 6. The book was first published a month after Drupal 6 release meaning the effective life of the book is about one year--when Drupal 7 would be slated for release. I think it is worth mentioning that Ubercart, with a development snapshot for 6, could quickly out-pace the e-Commerce package.
If you are planning on building a site using the e-Commerce package or if you are a user of the e-Commerce package and need a "manual" this book would be very helpful.