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At the end of last year, Jisse Reitsma published a new book called Programming Joomla Plugins. You may know of Jisse through his work at Yireo, the developers of the well known Joomla / Magento bridge extension called MageBridge.

Yireo have been around since the beginning of Joomla and have over 60 Joomla and Magento extensions in their catalogue.

While I eagerly wait for my copy of the book to to arrive, I thought I would ask Jisse a few questions to find out more about the book and in particular his motivation for writing the Programming Joomla Plugins.

Hi Jisse, nice to meet you. Can you tell us about your background? What is your experience in Joomla development?

As founder and lead developer of Yireo, I have been developing Joomla extensions since 2006 or so. I started building sites back in the Mambo days and once Joomla 1.0 got out, I started fiddling with the Joomla code to get things done.

As soon as Joomla 1.5 came out (alpha 2), I created my first MVC component and I have been focussing on writing extensions ever since.

Currently, extension development is my main task. Besides Joomla, Yireo also focuses on Magento, so I've developed quite a lot of Magento extensions as well.

What inspired you to write your book?

My book is all about plugins. Often, when I explain what the book is about, the reaction is that Joomla plugins must be a topic that is too narrow to fill an entire book with. That was actually one of the main reasons to write the book in the first place. The topic of Joomla plugins is not narrow at all - it is huge.

Plugins allow you to do so many things - ranging from small HTML hacks to modifying any form in Joomla. Because Joomla plugins are underestimated so much, I felt that a book needed to be written. So my book does not deal with Joomla development as a whole, it does not deal with component development, module development or templating. It focuses on plugin development and only plugin development. It has become a book that tells you everything there is to tell on plugins.

Who is the book written for? What type of Joomla user will benefit from the book?

The book explains the basics of plugins first - how object oriented programming leads to creating a plugin class, how to create a plugin skeleton, what events are and how you can use a plugin to react on that event. So the book is definitely explaining things for PHP newbies and Joomla builders who want to start coding.

However, it does not stop there. The book also covers unit testing, Phing, Single Sign On, system events, finder plugins and much much more. I've heard repeatedly of experienced Joomla gurus that they initially thought the book had nothing to offer for them and then they were amazed to learn something new nonetheless. So the book is definitely meant for experienced programmers as well.

What are two tips for any budding Joomla developer?

The first tip I would like to give developers is to create a custom plugin for every project you are working on. There are always a few tricks that need to be applied to a specific project and a plugin allows you to add those tricks quickly. Personally, I'm using a System Plugin called "yireo" which has zero functionality but which offers a skeleton for project features when needed. It allows you to implement quick fixes really quick.

The second tip is to keep your code clean at all times. Make sure to apply unit testing to your code (plugins, components, libraries, whatever) and also make sure to write code that complies to Joomla coding standards. By paying attention to this, your code becomes cleaner and is likely to contain less bugs. It might take some time to fit this into your working flow but it is definitely worth the effort.

So what is in store for Yireo in 2015?

Ouch. Well first of all, I'm focusing on some loose ends with the book. There are some more chapters I want to write on HikaShop and some other extensions that allow for plugin development. These chapters will come available somewhere in the spring. Next, I will focus on writing a new Magento book. So there's quite a lot of things to do in 2015!

Thanks Jisse!

Grab a copy of the new book

If you have ever been curious about how to build a Joomla plugin or even if you are a seasoned pro, this book has something for you. Order a copy of Programming Joomla Plugins today.

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