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TYPO3 Templates, book review

12 Mar 2011
TYPO3 Templates

I have just finished reading a TYPO3 book titled 'TYPO3 Templates' with the subtitle; 'Create and modify templates with TypoScript and TemplaVoila'.

The author of the book is Jeremy Greenawalt, web director of Vintage 56. I had never before heard of Jeremy. In fact I didn't know any Jeremies at all.

I think the title of the book is misleading. The title should have been 'Building a complete TYPO3 website with TemplaVoila'. Almost the entire book is about how to use TemplaVoila to build a full fledged multi lingual website with a newsletter and some mobile capabilities.

There are no more than three pages about creating a website with straight TypoScript, a chapter about developing websites for mobile devices and a chapter about website localization. The template autoparser is not mentioned at all. There is one paragraph mentioning that the next step (after using straight TypoScript) is mapping dynamic content elements to the HTML. But then it says; 'this process was more complicated and cannot be covered here'.

Huh? I thought the whole purpose of this book was to enlighten me about TYPO3 templates.

A pointer is given to the 'Modern Template Building' tutorial on typo3.org which does go into the process a bit more. There the template autoparser is also explained. If you take a look at the tutorial you will see that it's not THAT many pages. The whole tutorial could easily fit into this 298 page book. It's totally unclear to me why Jeremy chose to ignore TypoScript template building and only talk about TemplaVoila.

That being said . . . it's a good book about TemplaVoila. I'm going to warmly recommend this book to one of my colleagues who has TemplaVoilaFobia. There are many useful tips and tricks for TemplaVoila users. And to be fair, there is a good deal of TypoScript being covered in the course of the book. Many TypoScript objects (PAGE, TEXT, HMENU, GIFBUILDER etc.) are explained in some detail with working examples. I've learnt some things about flexible content elements I never knew before.

I also learnt about a thing called the 'TemplaVoila Framework' from busy noggin. This Framework is essentially a TYPO3 + TV introduction package which will make your life as a site builder even easier.

The book could do with a chapter about 'digging deeper' into TYPO3. This chapter would explain how to find your way around the TYPO3 community. The documentation page on typo3.org is mentioned in the first chapter, but it would have been nice to also mention https://wiki.typo3.org, the TYPO3 newsgroups and several snippets sites.

I don't know how far along TYPO3 4.5 was when this book was being written. But it would have been nice to see a chapter on 'backend layouts' in TYPO3 4.5. Backend layouts free the editor from the column model in the TYPO3 backend. This is without using TemplaVoila mind you.

If you are looking for a book explaining all about TYPO3 templates then do not buy this book. If you are looking for a book explaining how to build a complete and flexible website using TemplaVoila, then this book is for you.

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