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Pro Drupal Development, Second Edition Paperback – 1 Aug 2008

3.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Description

About the Author

John K. VanDyk has been a Drupal developer since 2004. In 2005, he organized the first Drupal conference in Antwerp, Belgium, with Drupal founder Dries Buytaert. John has contributed several modules to Drupal including the actions, workflow, publish, subscribe, and pubcookie modules and has been instrumental in the design of Drupal's Content Construction Kit. John's day job is as an entomology professor and systems analyst at Iowa State University, where he teaches undergraduate courses about insects. In his spare time, when not hacking on Drupal, John enjoys squash hunting and raising children.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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If you want to get at all serious about taking Drupal beyond a simple installation, this book is going to be a massive help to you. If you're anything like me you'll come back to it again and again for reference and to try out some new ideas.

It covers all kinds of development areas such as building your own modules, the form API, themes, and even best practices. All this kind of stuff can be found online, but it's a big help to have it all clearly explained in one place. Sometimes you just need someone to guide you through the maze of options that Drupal offers.

Much of the book isn't for the faint-hearted. You need a good working knowledge of PHP and some MySQL. Most books start you off nice and easy, but here the early chapters are very much a leap into the deep-end. There's a certain amount of reliance on just accepting fairly esoteric Drupal stuff until it's explained more clearly later in the book.

The book also comes with plenty of examples, which you can download for free from Apress. These really help you get your head around some of the trickier ideas (I found one or two of the examples didn't work as described - but to be fair there are some errata by the author on the Apress site).

In summary - this book is an excellent buy if you want to take Drupal to the next level but don't know where to start.
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Format: Paperback
there is much information on the web about Drupal, lots of good bits of specific information; as a experienced developer, but no experience of Drupal, I found it like being a "detective" trying to piece together a puzzle, i knew the sort of thing I wanted to do but couldn't quite find all the information in one place to tell me how to do it. I was just about getting there when I decided to bite the bullet and buy a reference manual. What a difference it has made, I can highly recommend this book. its well laid out and talks you through all the powerful features of drupal in a thoughtful sequence. It has helped fill in lots of gaps. Drupal is a powerful, flexible product with lots of ways of dong things, that makes it very confusing when you first come across it. its easier to learn something when there is only one way to do it or you are led through the options, this is what this book does very well.
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Format: Paperback
Unlike other content management systems, Drupal can appear daunting to new users. It is full of concepts like nodes, hooks, themes and the form api which can take weeks to learn.

Pro Drupal Development should be a mandatory read for anyone wanting to use Drupal for their website. It guides you through the technology with clear, well written sections on every aspect of Drupal including module development.

You will need a reasonably good grasp of PHP to follow the book and I found myself having to re-read some chapters before the concepts sank in; particularly the theme() function and form api.

I also found this book useful once after I became more proficient in Drupal. I was able to return to topics to check my approach was correct and I now find the book sits beside me while developing new Drupal sites.

In summary, a worthwhile read for anyone wanting to use Drupal professionally.
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The book is not very paletable in the first 250 or so pages. Have you ever read a page and thought... "What did I just read. I didn't take any of that in" and you have to re-read sections a few times to start to understand things. This occurred often (30% of the first 250 pages being incoherent I'd say) and was compounded sequencing errors where things didn't get discussed in the right order. The copy editors should have picked up on this and helped improve the readability of the text (awkward sentence construction). Functions were called in code, then eventually explained some 50 or so pages later. Things of this nature.
As the book progresses it gets better because you've covered more ground. I found the chapters on Taxonomy, CVS and JQuery to be the most lucid. Appendix B also contains some valuable online references that should help you get going too.
Had it not been for these things and the fact I feel I've learnt a few tips on caching techniques and security issues along the way too, I would have given this book two stars because of how arduous the book was to follow.
I felt particularly irked to by the cop out on P271. What a waste of paper and time of the reader, giving an example you were told you shouldn't follow because it was flawed.
It is informative, but more of a dull reference than a Recipe book or a meaty example that gets built over course of book, either of which I would have preferred as a beginner to Drupal. It is the kind of book you'd need to read at least twice to get the best out of it.
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