At first glance at the title of this book, you might be tempted to think that it is not too much more than a reference guide to the complex Ubercart module. Surprisingly, you're only half right. While the authors, George Papadongonas and Yiannis Doxaras, do a great job of covering almost all aspects of the modules that ship with Ubercart, they also go way beyond that. It turns out this book is actually a pretty good guide for not only configuring your Drupal-powered ecommerce site, but also quite valuable in the planning, promoting, and tracking phases as well.
As you'd expect, the authors do a nice job covering the many modules that need to be enabled and configured for a basic Ubercart site. In many cases they go screen-by-screen in the configuration - something that isn't easy to make very engaging. They cover Ubercart's conditional actions functionality quite nicely and how it can be used to configure tax and shopping modules. They also cover product classes and product kits - two very powerful features of Ubercart that every site admin should leverage.
Where the book really shines though is in the descriptions of all the various topics (mainly other modules) in the Ubercart universe. They wisely provide information about popular supporting modules that many ecommerce sites lack, including wish lists, product recommendations, and coupon codes. It is effective use of modules like these that really make ecommerce sites useful.
Surprisingly, the authors also discuss, in some detail, Ubercart integration with the Views, Panels, and CiviCRM modules. Any one of these topics could easily be a book on their own, and the authors do a nice job of providing enough information to get started without falling too far down the rabbit hole. The inclusion of the CiviCRM section in handling customer relationship management was something that many smaller ecommerce store owners could definitely benefit from (and the biggest surprise in the book for me).
I was pleased to see that the authors included a section on importing products into Ubercart from a spreadsheet or .csv file. This is a common request that is often overlooked. I wish they had spent a little more time going into some of the details of PCI Compliance, as this is often a stumbling block for small-to-medium sized ecommerce sites. The authors do a nice job of comparing and contrasting the various payment mechanisms available to site admins using Ubercart.
The theming chapter is well thought out, breaking up the discussion into free, paid, and custom theme options. The authors even go so far as to introduce basic techniques for creating a custom theme from a mockup or a static HTML file.
The authors wrap up the book with a chapter that mainly focuses on search engine optimization. Again, they provide just enough information for users to get started without going into too much detail. They talk about Ubercart's integration with Google Analytics as well as some of the methods for measuring a site's effectiveness.
Overall, this book is a nice surprise. At well over 350 pages, it is beefier than most Drupal books, and provides a wealth of practical information that most Ubercart-powered sites will benefit from.
Drupal E-Commerce with Ubercart 2.x is available from Packt Publishing.
Thanks Mike nice write up.
I was thinking about getting the ebook version of this. If you are doing the "give away" I would like a "printed" copy.
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