Most helpful positive review
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Well done by competent authors
on January 20, 2011
(Full disclosure: The publisher of this book sent me a review copy)
This book will serve as a tremendously helpful introduction to Drupal programming for programmers. It does assume you know PHP, and warns you (or comforts you, depending) early on that there won't be much OOP here and there will be a lot of structured arrays. The chapters don't necessarily follow in order one to the next, and aren't explicitly linked one with another.
For programmers new to Drupal chapter one should be required reading. And while occasionally the book slips into "what's new" mode, for the most part the reader is considered a competent PHP coder but not necessarily someone fluent in Drupal programming.
The style of the book is nicely conversational. The overt humor is sparse, but at the same time you don't ever feel that you're sitting in a lecture hall. The authors seem quite well-versed in the material and aren't subjecting you to death-by-powerpoint-by-screenshot. They don't talk down to you, ever, guiding the reader through the API as a comrade. Even in the areas of security and best practice, when it would be easy to slip into browbeat mode, they resist, presenting facts instead of opinion and advice rather than orders.
The main problem I had with this book is that I feel there are parts missing. The book begins talking about how we'll use modern techniques, and mentions Drush, the Drupal shell, one of my favorite tools. And that's the last we'll here of it. Seriously. Even when the installation profile chapter says we can use profiles at the command line, we end up writing a command line PHP script instead of leveraging Drush. An oversight in the editing, perhaps, to mention it at all?
Also absent any real treatment is *contributing* rather than simply *developing*. A "10 minute git tutorial" appendix wouldn't have been out of line. There's no mention of how to be a good module maintainer, dealing with releases, submitting your module to drupal.org, or any such thing. While that's not necessarily within scope, such a discussion is noticeable in its absence, particularly when the community is perhaps the strongest thing about Drupal. Given the status of the authors as top-tier contributors, it's a curious omission.
There are some nitpicks, some spelling errors, wrong screenshots, and discussions of things (ie., drush) that just aren't there. No more, perhaps, than any other book of its size, and nothing that was too glaring or anything that would stop one in their tracks. We do occasionally slide away from coding standards (eg, after singing the praises of Doxygen comments earlier in the book, chapter seven contains no code comments at all), but it's nothing too big.
I was very happy to read through this book. It's well written by competent authors. It gets me excited to write some custom code of my own for Drupal 7. While there's not too much that will serve as a desk reference within the book (the authors are quick to point us to api.drupal.org, early and often), Drupal 7 Module Development is a worthy addition to the shelf and serves as a wonderful introduction to coding for Drupal.