April 19th, 2010
Chapters 7 and 8 guide the user through all of the advanced functionality made possible by 3rd party and custom-built modules. The gallery and form builder plugins are examined in detail which only helped to reassert the opinion I already had that these are the best gallery and contact form plugins available on any CMS. Next came the newsletters module which is a cool concept, but the book glossed over the fact that sending emails really should be done from a dedicated email server through a system outside of your CMS. Surprisingly absent was coverage of the blog, guestbook, and forum modules as these features show up time and time again on requirements lists.
Chapter 8 deals with creating new module by using the CTLModuleMaker module. That’s right, you can use a module making module to create a new module. The book walks the user through the steps of creating hierarchy, creating templates, and integrating the module into the site search. Thankfully most of this difficult work is prefaced by encouraging the user to thoroughly search existing modules for the desired functionality before tackling the somewhat difficult task of creating a brand new module. The idea of modifying and combining existing modules to achieve new functionality is also encouraged with an example of turning the general feedback module into a help ticket system.
These two chapters are really starting to get into the heart of CMSMS, but if you’re just a designer or an end user, you can probably put the book down at this point. For hardcore developers, these chapters mark the point where you should stop skimming and start really reading.