12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Comprehensive, but approachable!,
This review is from: Drupal User's Guide: Building and Administering a Successful Drupal-Powered Web Site (Paperback)
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.