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PrestaShop 1.3 Beginner's Guide 59

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
johhnyb writes "PrestaShop 1.3, Beginner's Guide by John Horton does exactly what is suggested by the title in that it provides a comprehensive and detailed guide to novices looking to set up their own online shops. While it is aimed at total beginners it never talks down to the reader and neither does it merely scratch the surface of the topic requiring you to go off and search for the real valuable information somewhere else. This book takes you from clueless beginner (which I undoubtedly was) to someone equipped with the knowledge, resources and additional support to be quite confident in setting up an effective online retail presence (which I believe I now am)." Keep reading for the rest of johhnyb's review.
PrestaShop 1.3 Beginner's Guide
author John Horton
pages 308
publisher Packt Publishing
rating 9/10
reviewer johhnyb
ISBN 1849511144
summary covers all you need to know about starting your own e-commerce business.
From the beginning, I was caught by the evident enthusiasm of the author and the fact he is clearly such an expert on the subject. I also liked the fact that he laid down his 'seven day challenge' and included some excerpts from his own 'story' throughout the book. Anyone who has even a faint idea about selling products online would undoubtedly benefit from this book as it gives you not just the technical information but the business input too. Likewise, if you already have an idea of what you want to sell and why it is a good product then you have a complete technical guide as to how to make that happen.

It actually helps if you have at least a certain comfort level with some simple computing basics, but even if you don't the processes described are in sufficiently layman's terms to make it easy for almost anyone. I can be quite confident in saying that this book contains pretty much everything you will need to set up a sophisticated and successful online shop. It doesn't go crazy though and go off on any disingenuous tangents by, for example, trying to explain Content Management Systems or some other equally esoteric topic. Overall, I think an excellent balance is achieved.

PrestaShop 1.3, Beginner's Guide is written in a very chatty and engaging style and the author's personality comes through loud and clear — you really do feel like he wants to make it as easy as possible for you to succeed. It is always down-to-earth and although the author clearly knows his topic well, he does go to great lengths to take everything step by step and make it as absolutely logical as possible. The level of detail is sufficient if you have never covered the particular task before.The addition of screen shots is also very convenient and makes the process easier. The 'What just happened' section is particularly good and there are plenty of reassuring summaries throughout so you can feel the book is not just running away with itself and the reader can keep recycling and reprocessing the information. Most importantly, he has done it himself and made a success of it. He has set up over 10 online shops, has been through all the different options, experienced the pitfalls, the highs and lows, and is passing on the very best information and advice possible to a new lucky group of shop owners.

I found the book full of very solid advice which could applied in many settings. It is also a great introduction to some of the most modern forms of online marketing including the use of Twitter, Facebook, and Google Adwords. One thing I liked was John's regular reference to the need for a strong, viable business case. Prestashop is a magnificent product but will totally fall flat if your basic offering does not create a customer which Peter Drucker famously said was the purpose of business. It is too easy to fly into the detail of a business before taking time to fully understand your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and why people buy from you. Likewise, the author also covers key and hard-to-grasp issues like Search Engine Optimization which I think he correctly identifies as something readers will need to understand.

I can honestly say that PrestaShop 1.3, Beginner's Guide covers everything you will need. Not only that, John refers to several free resources he himself has written and provides an extensive list of resources at the end of the book.This book is almost encyclopedic in its treatment of how to set up and use Prestashop and it is certainly something that can used in that way. You don't only get Prestashop related material you also get a lot of valuable business advice, of course in a Prestashop context.Another benefit readers will receive is regular pointers to where they can find other free resources also written by the author.

I have to state clearly that John is a long-term friend of mine — to give you an idea we go back to those halcyon days of the Spectrum ZX-81 and the Commodore 64 — yes, we are getting on. Bearing this in mind, I have done my best to write something honest and useful to potential buyers of this book. Although he plays it down, John has always been marvelous with computers and able to effortlessly explain complex technical issues to me, a relative technophobe. Therefore, it does not surprise me he has written something so useful, practical and frankly inspiring.

You can purchase PrestaShop 1.3 Beginner's Guide from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
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PrestaShop 1.3 Beginner's Guide

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  • what is it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by antibryce (124264) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @02:22PM (#33371954)

    would it really be that hard for the editors to add a blurb saying what prestashop is to the submission?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It does

      ...it provides a comprehensive and detailed guide to novices looking to set up their own online shops

    • Re:what is it? (Score:4, Informative)

      by nullchar (446050) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @02:44PM (#33372180)

      I was thinking the exact same thing. I read the entire review, simply looking for an explanation of PrestaShop [prestashop.com].

      Apparently it's a PHP/MySQL app for running a web-based retail store. The core is released under the OSL 3.0 [opensource.org] license, but it seems [prestastore.com] that many add-on modules and themes are available for purchase.

      This review makes no mention if you have to purchase anything to build a storefront using PrestaShop, or if the standard OSS version will suffice. Nor does this review give any technical details on setting the thing up, including any dependencies on existing relationships with payment processors / merchant accounts. Perhaps the author could have talked about the example store he setup, and used his praise of the book to illustrate his example.

      • by megrims (839585)

        Apparently it's a PHP/MySQL app for running a web-based retail store.

        Outside of Appleville, we call this an ecommerce application.

        In any event, PrestaShop is one of the more decent modern OS ecommerce applications (in PHP. If you're open-minded, look at Spree instead). You don't need to buy anything to get started, aside from the services of a development company for rebranding/customisation.

    • Does it really matter what it is? You have money, this costs money, therefore, you should spend your money on this. QED.

    • mod parent up. Seriously. the only reason I clicked "read more" was to find out WTF PrestaShop was. Then the whole review...
      This review could have been written by running a preg_replace on "Generic Book Review" (released under the GPL) /the subject/prestashop/

  • Gimp? (Score:4, Funny)

    by chocolatetrumpet (73058) <.slashdot. .at. .jonathanfilbert.com.> on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @02:52PM (#33372254) Homepage Journal

    For a minute there I was hoping PrestaShop was the new name for the single-window version of Gimp. Ah well.

  • used it (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I used it once:

    - from their site "Delivery fees billing by price or weight" http://www.prestashop.com/en/allfeatures#catalog. The most important word is or, which means that you can't accurately enter Royal Mail fees (you pay by weight but also by price, actually by the total value of the package; if it gets lost you will get some money back according to the declared value).

    - GoDaddy it's just a poor choice to host a PrestaShop site. The shop will try to send emails in a specific way, it fills the From: fie

  • After reading your review, it sounds as though this is mainly useful for selling products that you create yourself (dolls, widgets, whatever). Do you think this would be useful if you had a large inventory of items that you wanted to sell in an online store environment? I have a huge (thousands and thousands of pieces) collection of video game memoriabilia from the late 70s until the late 90s, including consoles, computers, software, games, arcade machines, posters, and the like, that I would love to sell
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vacarul (1624873)
      it can work for you but I found that it is not really made for very large shops. The kind of items that you sell doesn't matter.
      Just consider this:
      - you can import products in bulk but you can't export them
      - you can't edit products in bulk: ex. increase all the prices by 5$, or select 10-20 products and edit them in one page. All the time you have to edit product by product unless you install some extension for bulk editing
      - if you decide to "regenerate thumbnails" while having thousands of products it
      • by BigSes (1623417)
        Thanks man, thats actually very useful information. I think I will have to pick this up. Even with what you described, it seems very doable, as long as I break it into manageable pieces, certainly not everything at once. Thanks again!
  • I mis-read it as, "Photoshop 1.3 Beginner's Guide"

    And I thought, "Wow! Now THERE'S something really interesting! I wonder what the author's logic was to have gone and written a modern book on such an out-of-date piece of software? Cool!"

    Then it got boring very fast. -Not that the real subject isn't interesting and relevant, but it sure isn't as intriguing as the false idea!

    -FL

  • by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @03:40PM (#33372840) Homepage Journal
    definitely not 'guide to setting your ecommerce business'. it is a guide to setting up a presta shop, pimping it. lovely that the summary somehow, moronically, tries to set up a connection in between 'ecommerce' and presta, as if 'ecommerce means presta'. great pimping there.

    of course, thats leaving out the fact that 6 months into your presta online eshop ( or any other ecommerce software for that matter ) you will have to migrate to oscommerce because of the paranormally high module base and universal provider support.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Sorry but....that's bullshit. Prestashop, whilst not the most effectively documented codebase in the world, is way better written, is easily more extensible and doesn't look like it was designed or the codebase written in '99. I had to write three payment modules and set up a prestashop install recently and everything, from the module development, to the templating system they employ to to the quality of code under the hood appeared streets ahead of oscommerce. The only gripe I had with Prestashop is the
      • by rainer_d (115765)

        Maybe you could only let people download an URL to a one-time-download script after buying, instead of downloading the complete file directly?
        Or is that too complicated? OTOH, people downloading software online should have some sort of triple-digit IQ...

        Other question: how does PrestaShop compare to Magento and Oxid eShop?

        • Yeah well that's how OsCommerce does it by creating one off symlinks to the actual file...so you get a one off download URL. Prestashop is a lot more simple to set up than Magento from what I've seen. Magento looked pretty powerful, but for a small e-commerce site just a bit of overkill... Not so sure about Oxid, but I just know that so far I've been pretty impressed with the feature set of prestashop, it's look and feel and the general quality of the app.
          • if you are thinking as such about magento, stop talking about ecommerce. for, you dont know shit about it. dont take any projects either, for, you soon would find yourself waist deep in shit.

            magento has 54,000+ files. it does 2 to 3000 inserts to db per order. yeah, you heard it right. you would need an entry level dedicated server to run a small shop with it. it is also coded intentionally roundabout, so that 3rd party development will be harder, and users will have to go to original developers. the new
            • by megrims (839585)

              I gather you took a Magento project and it went pretty badly? Happens a lot. It is also used in lots of project which don't really fit its feature set, etc.

              Once you get past the steep learning curve, it's actually a very decent system, with a few flaws. Can also run pretty snappily if you set it up properly.

              • by unity100 (970058)
                not one. i had more than one magento shop hiring me to migrate away to other systems, due to the reasons i mentioned and others. most important reason generally comes up as module abundance and support, however.
        • by megrims (839585)

          Other question: how does PrestaShop compare to Magento...?

          PrestaShop is smaller, has fewer features, and is almost certainly a better choice if it fits your requirements. Also look into LemonStand and OpenCart for other light-weight but high(er) quality PHP ecommerce applications.

      • it is apparent that you are not actually working in ecommerce web development, or not for enough time. had you been, you wouldnt be uttering such naive bullshit as 'codebase' etc, like a weekend coder or an enthusiast.

        in the ecommerce trenches your 'codebase', new trends, new coding concepts matter zit. in production environment what matters are budget, time, function.

        oh so it took you no time to write so and so many modules and install them for prestashop then ? grreat. now do it for random obscure sh
        • Wow. You sound pretty angry. Ok. You keep in those e-commerce 'trenches' then. Sounds like you're having tons of fun down there. So using the term 'codebase' to you == naive bullshit. Well what pray tell am I supposed to term the code that makes up the application? Would you prefer the entirety of the application code? What would sound less 'weekend coder' or enthusiastic to you? That last line is pretty laughable. I never ever thought I'd read someone expounding the virtues of an e-commerce app soundin
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Prestashop is a fine shopping cart software if your needs and demands are extremely simple.

    I started my webshop with prestashop and over the last couple years I've seriously customized it to fit my needs. Several million dollars of sales have since passed through the shop, so believe me when I tell you it has serious shortcomings:

    * Can not handle multi-currencies well at all (not all modules of the software convert the values correctly). Just to give an example, if a customer wants a voucher refund in a cur

  • by claura28 (1888470)
    This review makes no mention if you have to purchase anything to build a storefront using PrestaShop, or if the standard OSS version will suffice........ http://globetv.co.uk/ [globetv.co.uk]
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