R. L. Reade "ComicWisdom"
"This is one of those books that does exactly what it tells you it's going to do. There are a few others out there, but not many. Add this to your short list.
I've read in a few places that this is not a beginner's book. That really depends on your definition of "beginner." If you've managed to get osCommerce up and running, and if you've managed to install even just one or two of the contributions from the osCommerce support site, this book is for you. This is much closer to a beginner's book than to an expert's book, though I'm sure there isn't an expert out there who couldn't use at least some of the presentations.
At first glance, the chapter titles seem to be a little too "cute." But they grow on you. And you get to appreciate them. Besides which, a little light-heartedness mixed in with your work is a good thing. In what might be Monika's terms, I'd say it makes for a good recipe. I think of those titles as a sign that she enjoys what she's doing. And it's obvious she does. And when you enjoy what you're doing, you do it best. And she has.
The format of the book works well. At the beginning of each section, she presents specifically what that sections coding will accomplish. She then gives you the list of all the files you'll need to be working with. (This is a good time to back those up.) After, she explains in clear, concise and simple terms the step-by-step process to accomplish the goal.
Again, if you've installed a single contribution, you'll recognize the format and be immediately comfortable with it. While most of the instructions that go with the contributions on the osCommerce support site are well done (no pun intended), these are all very well done. I couldn't find a bit of confusion anywhere.
A great feature of the book was the insertion of screen shots to give a graphic display of the expected results. And her decision to use the default display was excellent. Everyone who has used osCommerce knows what that looks like and can immediately see what's changed.
In essence, what Monika has done in a very easy to understand manner is provide numerous recipes to make your eshop a little sleeker and more appealing, and your customers stay more pleasant. That, of course, should mean money in your pocket.
If you're planning to go into ecommerce and osCommerce is your choice (which I highly recommend), buy this book now. Even if you've never seen a bit of code in your life. By the time you get your first installation up and running (an incredibly easy chore), and you figure out how to get rid of "What's new here," "Lets see what we have here...," and "This is the default osCommerce setup...," you'll be ready for this book.
Just don't be tempted by the goodies in this book to ignore the contributions on the support site. They'll do a lot of good things for you that aren't covered and are not meant to be covered in this book.
My one disappointment is that although Monika taught me how to put the billing address phone number in the confirmation email, she never taught me how to put the shipping address phone number in the confirmation email.
I'm going to repeat myself here for emphasis. If you're thinking of going into ecommerce and osCommerce is your choice, buy this book; you'll be glad you did.
And if you do that, I'll see you in the forums.
Look for me.
PS: After you buy the book, it's possible to get a download of the code to save yourself some typing. A great idea!