|Publisher||Packt Publishing / Birmingham|
|First published||September 2010|
|List price||€27.99 (Ordering / Product information)|
Merely ten years ago, building websites was a daunting and costly challenge. This changed significantly with the advent of content management systems and nowadays, hardly any new website is build without the help of one.
Drupal is such a content management system and about to be released in it's seventh version. In his likewise named book, "Drupal 7", David Mercer sets out to introduce this new version.
Structure and Content
The book lacks a central theme, making it essentially a screenshot rich showcase for the seventh version Drupal.
Chapter 1, Introduction to Drupal introduces you to the world of Drupal and looks at where Drupal comes from, where it's going, and what it can offer you. It then deals with how to get everything you need up and running on a development machine and also briefly looks at how all the requisite technologies gel together to produce a working Drupal site. Once everything is up and running, and after looking over some of the more common installation problems, the chapter presents a brief tour of Drupal in order to give you an idea of what to expect in the coming chapters.
Chapter 2, Basic Functionality sees us adding important functionality to the newly created site. The focus of this chapter is on modules and blocks and how to add and enable them, and how to obtain modules that are not a part of the core distribution. Given that menus are closely associated with a site's functionality, these are also covered here.
Chapter 3, Configuration and Reports looks at the most general settings that all Drupal administrators need to contend with. Everything from specifying your site's name and dealing with filesystem settings to proper utilization of logs and reports gets treated here.
Chapter 4, Users and Access Control concerns itself with the best ways to implement a sound access control policy. Drupal has a sophisticated role-based access control system, which is fundamentally important for handling users properly. This chapter will give you the information you need to implement whatever access controls your site requires.
Chapter 5, Basic Content gets to the heart of the matter by beginning the book's coverage on content. Working with content, what content types are available, administering content, and even a discourse on some of the more common content-related modules serve as a basis for moving to more advanced content-related matters that follow in the next chapter.
Chapter 6, Advanced Content gives you the edge when it comes to creating engaging, dynamic content. In particular, Drupal 7's new field paradigm is discussed along with content types, taxonomy, and formatting.
Chapter 7, Multimedia embraces the trend towards rich, visually appealing websites. Given the increasing availability of broadband Internet, it is only fitting that a full chapter be devoted to learning how Drupal's various core and contributed modules support different media.
Chapter 8, Views is dedicated to arguably the most important topic of all. By mastering Views, Drupal webmasters can manipulate and organize their content in a way that no other platform can. This chapter shows not only how to create new basic and advanced Views, but also how to theme and manipulate them.
Chapter 9, Drupal Theming gives you a run down of how attractive, functional interfaces are created in Drupal through the use of themes. As well as discussing briefly some of the considerations that must be taken into account when planning your website, it shows how to make important modifications to your chosen theme, through the use of sub-themes.
Chapter 10, Advanced Features adds the icing on the cake by looking at a host of more advanced topics. From better and more complex theming issues, to creating a real world application by integrating several different features and technologies, this chapter gives readers their first look at how Drupal makes building genuinely world-class websites possible.
Chapter 11, Deployment and Management takes a pragmatic look at the type of tasks in which you will need to be proficient in order to successfully run and maintain a Drupal site. Whether it's considering what type of hosting service to use, or how to enhance a site's SEO, everything you need to do throughout the course of operating a live website is covered.
It also discusses the all-important topic of deployment. Because all major work should be done on a development website, this chapter presents a sound process for taking the finished product and making it available for public consumption on a live server.
I have three bones to pick with this book:
- Title, cover text and publishing date may mislead the interested reader into thinking, the book focuses on describing the upgrade path from Drupal 6. This is not the case. The previous version of the content management system is hardly mentioned at all. Readers, looking for a "what's new" comparison will be disappointed. Sadly, this is also what makes the book almost useless until the first stable version of Drupal 7 is actually released.
- David Mercer makes the bold claim of Drupal making it so easy to run a website that everyone can do it and consequently starts his book with a brief instruction on how to setup a WAMP system. While this is comprehensible and maybe even mandatory from a sales point of view, it is also irresponsible to tell people, who have no clue about running a webserver, that they could operate a website. This attitude is simply a security incident in the making.
- In an attempt to reach the broadest audience possible, the book also ended up being very general, often only scratching the surface of a topic. The entire chapter on theming, for example, would have easily justified a book on its own, freeing up pages for adding more details to the other chapters.
All in all, I would recommend "Drupal 7" to readers, interested in a general overview of and looking for a quick start guide for Drupal.