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Building Online Communities With Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress 2006th Edition

29 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1590595626
ISBN-10: 1590595629
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert T. Douglass is a core developer and member of the security team for the Drupal project. As a leading voice in the Drupal community, he works hard to introduce new programmers and webmasters to the joys of building websites with Drupal. To this end, Robert headed Drupal's involvement in the Google Summer of Code, 2005. Robert is a freelance Drupal consultant and programmer, working out of his home in Germany.

Mike Little is one of the founders of the WordPress project and is still a contributing developer. He has been programming professionally for 15 years in a variety of languages including PHP, Java, JSP, Perl, and assembler.

Jared W. Smith has several years of experience administering, styling, and modifying the phpBB bulletin board software, and designed web sites in different forms for several years before that. He was among the original support team at the leading distributor of modifications and templates for phpBB where he now serves in an advisory role.


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Product Details

  • Series: Expert's Voice in Open Source
  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 2006 edition (December 16, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590595629
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590595626
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,409,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By David Stapleton VINE VOICE on March 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
When I picked up this book I knew what phpBB was (my main reason for getting the book), but the other two applications were foreign to me. So, let me start off by briefly pointing out what each application is and does:

- Drupal is a CMS, content management system, (think Wikipedia) that allows users to input and update information

- phpBB is bulletin board software (very much like Invision or Jolt from surface appearances)

- WordPress is blogging software (do I really need to say more after 2005, the year of the Blog)

The publisher has chosen to group what amounts to three separate books on three open source applications together based upon the 'community' aspects that they engender, allowing groups of users to come together to post, comment and counter-comment.

The book is effectively a collected user manual for these three applications, but that does not really go far enough. Yes, the material for each is available online, but this book collects the documentation together in a user friendly manner. Anyone that has tried to install and operate a complex piece of software based upon the canned manuals can appreciate the complexity involved. Using this book is essentially like having an experienced guru looking over your shoulder offering advice as you go through the process. This can be the difference between 30-60 minutes of simple work and 5-6 hours of confusion, frustration and ranting.

Add to this the advice on configuration and usage/management for avoiding pitfalls and achieving best case results, and this book can pay for itself in no time (I bill at $50 an hour and consider my personal time even more valuable).

Bottom line, if you want to keep users on your site (i.e.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By C. Cutler on February 26, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have only read the Drupal section of the book, so I can't comment on the other two sections.

I have been trying to learn how this powerful CMS system works as I start my first Drupal site, and have spent many hours on the official website reading documentation and community posts from the incredibly helpful folks over there. However, sometimes computer people have a hard time communicating effectively with the less-technical among us. As an instructor myself, I constantly have to remind myself to slow down and make no assumptions when I teach - a skill it takes a long time to master.

This book is a shining example of that skill put to good use. The author is extremely talented at phrasing things in "real English" and makes no assumptions that the reader has any pre-existing knowledge. His explanations are well thought out, and make perfect sense out of what can be a complex subject. He has obviously spent a lot of time crafting the words to ensure you get the picture. I've had many "ah-ha!" moments reading this book, where something came together and clicked in my mind - even after reading many other explanations elsewhere.

There are a few features and modules mentioned which are available only in the upcoming Drupal 4.7 (which is currently available in a beta test version, and working quite well just as it is), but it would have made no sense to publish a new book that only covers older features when the new version is literally weeks away.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning Drupal.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M. Boucher on February 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book was useful for comparing and contrasting Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress. Before reading this book, one might have reasonably wanted to use Drupal where phpBB would have been a better and simpler choice, or tried to use phpBB when something with the power of Drupal was required. Having all three technologies in one place was useful in doing the compare/contrast required to make the decision.

However, the treatment of each technology is cursory. Having used the book to decide that I needed to use Drupal for my site, I did not find the book sufficiently detailed for me to do that successfully. The description of the Book module, which the author correctly describes as one of the most useful in Drupal, warranted only three pages. There's not much as far as best practices or warnings about what not to do, so it's hard to use the book as the sole source of information about building your site.

It's useful for its ability to help choose between apparently similar technologies, and it outlines the capabilities of each in a way that may make it easier to use a more detailed book on one of these three topics. However, you will need at least one more book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on August 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
I bought this book mainly for the Drupal section but the entire book is done quite well. The Drupal section is excellent and really walks you through everything from installation to modules to maintenance. The Themes section could have been a little more in-depth.

This book is perfect for anyone that is interested in any of the three topics that have very little experience with them. This book could certainly serve as a reference for doing small things within each app. Very good read!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By drupal user on February 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
The section on Drupal is terrific -- it has saved me a tremendous amount of time. It builds on the current documentation, but it adds very helpful comments which have prevented or solved problems for me. Here are 3 examples:

(1)On page 131 it says Organic Groups conflicts with other modules that provide access control, such as Taxonomy Access. I'm so glad I read that before I installed Taxonomy Access. On the Drupal forum you can find people who installed modules that conflict, and ended up having to reinstall the entire program. This tip from Robert saved me 3 days of chaos.

(2)It told me about the devel module (p.144), which enables me to test code. That was a great find. When the devel module was not working, I checked the book and realized I forgot to enable access controls.

(3)Yes the install directions are similar to Drupal's. (That makes sense, there's one basic way to install it.) But Robert Douglas added a great short cut that I didn't know (on page 6) which is to use wget instead of downloading and then uploading. I quote, “the quickest way to get Drupal....” That's a nice shortcut

As far as I know, the 3 points above are either not in the Drupal documentation or are buried within it in a place easily missed.

Another great thing about the book is that Douglas goes through 10 modules that he considers very useful. Since Drupal has 400 modules of varying quality, it's really useful to get a sense of some of the best ones. Alas, Douglas didn't have the space to cover more modules. He's writing a second book covering I think about 100 modules, which I can hardly wait to buy.
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