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on November 11, 2011
Emma Jane continues to be a voice that resonates with new Drupal users as well as themers of all levels with her clear writing style and holistic approach to building Drupal sites. This book is well-written with chapters about less-geeky, but equally important aspects of web site development (site planning, information architecture, usability) that are often ignored in other Drupal books. When she does dive deeper into Drupal site building (most effectively with multiple case studies), her ability to focus on the important parts and not get bogged down in details (as is very easy to do with Drupal) is what makes this book a valuable resource for beginners.

If you're new to the community (and starting with Drupal 7), this should be the first book you purchase.
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on November 13, 2011
Drupal is not easy. It has a very steep learning curve. Building a website is more complex than most people think.

Hogbin spends the first third of the book instructing you on what goes into a great site. I never realized how vital that is to a person who has little experience in building real sites.

If you are building a Drupal site, then congratulations, you are on the road to being a serious developer.
From examples of types of sites, to getting into the role of the users of the site, this book cover it.

As a starting point, you cannot go wrong.

I highly recommend this book and I have added it to my list of books I give my clients.
In fact buy this book just for the planning chapters.
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on March 5, 2012
I'll cut to the chase: "Drupal User's Guide" is a good book, and if you're trying to get your bearings in the often-confusing world of Drupal site building, you should buy it. Period.

I'm not necessarily the target audience: I've been a Drupal developer for almost six years now, and I tend to chew on more esoteric and nerdy problems than the ones this book tackles. I do a lot of training and education for clients and customers, though, and the approach that author Emma Jane Hobgin takes is fantastic for those who aren't already neck-deep in the world of Drupal (or a similar web CMS). She's an experienced author, teacher, and trainer who knows Drupal inside out, and it really shows.

The book often mixes technical information about Drupal-specific features with introductions to the "soft skills" needed to use them effectively. Drupal's FieldAPI, for example, isn't just about clicking and dragging. Using it effectively requires understanding how to break down something like "An article" or "An event" into discrete chunks of information, and Hobgin tackles that without getting tangled up in the technical weeds. Similarly, chapters on installing Drupal include useful overviews of the other stuff that's needed -- web hosting, domain registration, and information about how to cope with "custom installers" provided by soem web hosts. The chapters of the book that deal with planning your site's structure also touch on SEO and accessibility.

Many of those secondary topics have enough potential depth to justify their own books, but their inclusion works well. While that information can be safely skipped by old hands and experienced web developers, the result is a Drupal guide with valuable context, something that's often missing from purely technical books.

Hobgin also pays attention to the current trends in the world of third-party Drupal addons. The chapters that cover design and theming explain how to build custom Drupal templates, naturally, but the book also gives some space to point-and-click design tools like Sweaver. While some people will always want to roll their own designs from scratch, it's great to see all the options covered.
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on October 30, 2012
This book is very useful if you wish to build a Drupal website without having to learn code. The book, for the most part, does not delve into code at all. All website customizations are done via configuration options from the administrative toolbar. The exception is a very short section within Theme building that introduces the basics of HTML, CSS and PHP.

Individuals with a non-technical background or those with no web coding expertise will gain maximum benefit from the book. The writing style is very engaging with examples following a step by step, do as I say approach. Soft skills in website planning, information architecture, search engine optimisation to highlight but a few are also explored.

Those with prior expertise in Drupal or indeed individuals coming from other Content Management Systems may find the book to be technically light ( less geeky for want of a better word ) with an almost neurotic avoidance of code. Saying that, however, there are many nuggets of very useful information on grid based layouts, automated accessibility tools, analytics software packages to highlight but a few.

Drupal is a challenging subject but the book goes a great way in making it understandable. All in all, a good starter for beginners but reference material ( at best ) for the more experienced.
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on January 19, 2012
This is the best introductory book for Drupal 7 that I have seen. It is very well written, has very good supporting images, is well organized, and indexed. Emma Jane's writing is extremely readable.

Its coverage is broad: Background on Drupal, installing it, administration, site planning and building, Drupal information architecture, theming, SEO, accessibility. There are detailed case studies on building a community website or a site containing a business directory. The case studies illustrate important capabilities that can be broadly used.

The focus of the book is not PHP development, but would give an aspiring Drupal developer the necessary background in the use and configuration of the system.

This is a great book about Drupal 7.
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on June 4, 2012
I am trying to learn Drupal. I have Drupal 7.14 installed. It appears that this book applies to Drupal 7 so I thought I was in the "right place."

I actually tried to build the Case Studies in Chapter 9 and 10. I found that the further I got into the examples, the more incomprehensible they became. I feel this is because of the numerous errors and poor flow of the text in comparison to what really happens. It seems the author prepared the steps from memory but did not actually quality check the steps to see that what is described matches the user's experience. The editors could not have gone through the steps either as they just don't work.

There are several cases where text is simply missing or out of order. These errata require the reader to apply in addition to reading skills, reverse engineering skills to decode what the author's intent was. In several cases I was able to perform this decoding, but in others I just had to give up. The detailed guidance does not match what you see. For example, there are dialogs that appear that the author does not cover. So at that point I am lost. Or the author refers to links or tabs that are simply not present.

Perhaps the case studies were written for an earlier version of Drupal and have not been correctly updated. Or perhaps they are just erroneous. I cannot tell. But I can definitely say that it is an exercise in frustration and futility to try to follow the case studies. And I am betting that all the steller reviews here are from people who did not try to complete the case studies either.

Originally I believe I overreacted in the rating. The book is useful regardless of the flaws in the case studies. For me, when I want to gain a "sense" of the content, I would often skip over the case studies. However, to really learn to use Drupal, you really have to build something yourself, either from scratch or by following a case study. That is why I am disappointed by the incompleteness and flaws of the case studies.

I am going to continue going through the book, as except for the disastrous case studies, the book does seem well written. I may be able to come back and update this review later if my experience changes.
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on December 14, 2012
I was put in charge of a migration project from Ektron websites to Drupal websites. I was already familiar with HTML, and many web technologies, but I knew nothing of Drupal. I read about half of the book, and it gave me enough to know what I needed to know. If I were going to be a Drupal developer, this would be a good start.
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on June 24, 2015
I bought this used, and for $4 it's a very good value. However, this is not a stand-alone get up to speed on Drupal 7 book. Some of the examples didn't work out and most of the time i was following instructions without know WHY I was doing what I was doing. The problem with writing a book on Drupal is choosing the audience and I think this book tries and fails the greater audience. That said, I definitely feel that I got good value for my purchase.
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on January 5, 2012
Being most Drupal current books are on Drupal 6 I decided to go with this book especially after reading the reviews. I think the book is okay in general, but biggest frustration is often when told go to administer something and she gives the path whatever it is isn't there. So you spend a time hunting around to find where things actually are. My guess is she wrote this book using a beta version of Drupal 7 and things changed. Things changing is normal and an errata webpage would be nice, but I haven't seen one.

There are a lot of references to outside materials which are nice, but there are places in book where she starts mixing talking about outside things and Drupal's own tools, if new to Drupal this can get confusing.

In general its a good book and given me a basic intro to Drupal, but for some having to resolve differences in book and current Drupal may be frustrating.
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on November 29, 2011
I build and maintain some sites (non-profits, etc), but I'm not a real programmer. I can tinker a bit with template files. So I know some Drupal. But this book is full of tips, examples, URL listings that I haven't seen in other Drupal books or sites. I thought Using Drupal was excellent when I started using Drupal, but Drupal Users Guide is perfect for my current proficiency level. Its also well written, and seems to cover aspects of Drupal that I need to learn more about. I can't put this book down!
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