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For Absolute Beginners Only
on July 24, 2009
I'm mystified by who the intended audience of this book is. Its apparent audience is people who want to build a social network site, but who have never built a webpage before. Why a web newbie would want to attempt to build a social network site when they can just get a Ning account is incomprehensible to me. That being said, let me delve into the contents a little bit.
Chapters 1 and 2 are introductions to social networks and drupal. Spend 15 minutes on the Drupal website ([...]), and sign up for a myspace or facebook account. You now have more knowledge than you would by reading chapters 1 and 2.
Chapter 3 tells you how to use the core drupal modules. If you need help pointing and clicking your way through the graphical UI in drupal, this will be useful for you. On the other hand, if you can figure out that clicking an Enable box will enable a module, and that typing a description in the "Description" box will give your module a description, you can safely skip this chapter.
Chapter 4 goes into more details about core modules like Profile and Open ID. Again, this will be useful for an absolute beginner, not so much for a user with any amount of experience with software interfaces. Chapter 4 introduces a new tradition that will be repeated in every chapter hereafter: instructions on downloading and installing a module.
Chapters 5 and 6 can be summed up with, "Get the following modules: User Relationships, Activity, Guestbook, Organic Groups, Views, Notifications, Token, Messaging, and Addresses."
7 and 8 are the truly shocking chapters. Without giving any real detail on the topics of creating custom themes and modules, the author posts page after page of code. For a newbie, this is completely baffling and unhelpful. For a programmer its useless. Just download a module and look at the source. Ditto for the css and php of a custom theme.
In summary, this book is mostly good if you're relatively new to the web and want to start a social networking site. But if you are such a user, I recommend googling "white label social network" and saving yourself a lot of trouble. For the rest of us, skip this book and instead spend a few hours on the drupal developer site.