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Pro Drupal 7 Development (Expert's Voice in Open Source) 3rd ed. Edition

3.2 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1430228387
ISBN-10: 1430228385
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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Pro Drupal Development represents the definitive guide for Drupal developers.   Many have called Pro Drupal Development the one "must have" book if you're thinking about using Drupal.  In this edition I focus on Drupal 7 and the significant changes to the APIs and capabilities presented by Drupal core.   I cover everything from building new modules, creating complex forms, interacting with the database, using the new Field API (the part of CCK that was moved into core), working with nodes, working with users, leveraging JQuery, themeing, creating web services, testing, and several other key topics.   If you're looking for one book that will help you succeed as a Drupal 7 developer, this is the book to have on your desk.

About the Author

Todd Tomlinson is the Vice President of Public Sector Consulting for ServerLogic Corporation.  He is the former Senior Director of EBusines Strategy at Oracle Corporation, VP of Internet and eBusiness Consulting for Claremont Technoloyg Group, VP and CTO of Emerald Solutions, Senior Manager with Accenture, and a senior faculty member and area chair for a large University where he was the lead professor for web design and development.  He has been using Drupal for the past several years and had a significant number of high profile sites on the web that he's developed using Drupal.

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Product Details

  • Series: Expert's Voice in Open Source
  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 3rd ed. edition (December 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1430228385
  • ISBN-13: 978-1430228387
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,051,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've always been a huge fan of the Pro Drupal Development series of books. I referred to my battered copies of the D5 and D6 editions as my "bibles". I had the same expectations for the Drupal 7 version but after reading felt it lacking compared to the previous editions. My guess is there was a rush to push out the book before D7 was ready but by doing so the authors left out some key functionality available in Drupal 7. It felt more like a rehash of the D6 version with some D7 functionality thrown in. Below is a rundown of some of my "issues"

Entities: Every data element in Drupal is now an Entity (Nodes, taxonomy, users, comments). This was huge shift and probably could get its own chapter. Found barely a mention of this.

Database: I was glad to see some mention of the OOP aspects of the database API. One major absence was EntityFieldQuery. This is a huge D7 feature that developers will need and I don't recall seeing it mentioned.

RDF: Resource Description Framework is in core. This needs a chapter (or a book). Enough said.

Renderable Content: All content in D7 is treated similar to FAPI (form API), via a renderable array. This new feature didn't get nearly enough of the attention it deserves.

Javascript/AJAX: Missing about 2 chapters here. The ajax functionality for D7 is all new. I don't recall a mention of the Ajax commands API. Also missing was any mention of Drupal.behaviors. The Javascript examples don't follow the best practices.

I respect the authors work and gave them my $[...] bucks for the book. That being said, I'd really wait for (hopefully) the next edition of this book as it is missing too many key features of D7 for me to fully recommend. If you are already hardcore into D7 development definitely hold out.
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Format: Paperback
The third edition is still an excellent book for Drupal 6 development, but despite its title it fails miserably at detailing the many changes introduced with Drupal 7.

Probably the biggest shortcoming of "Pro Drupal 7 Development" is the inadequate coverage of Fields API. One major change of Drupal 7 was the integration of CCK (now known as Fields API) into core. While the book explains how to define fields in the UI (which is off-topic for a book on programming) and how to create custom fields, it lacks an explanation of how to work with fields programmatically. Consequently, it remains unclear how to migrate content based on custom node types from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7.

Other major changes of Drupal 7 include Entities, which unify nodes, users, and comments into one common concept, and Render Elements, which radically change the way theming works. Alas, neither Entities nor Render Elements are even mentioned in this book.

It is obvious that "Pro Drupal 7 Development" was rushed to market. The index is sketchy, some flow diagrams of the second edition have been replaced by blurry jpegs, and code examples are formatted sloppily (wrong indentation, poor word-wrapping). Many chapters refer to the Drupal online documentation for "up-to-date information".

For Drupal module developers who already own the second edition and who just want update their knowledge for Drupal 7 the book "Drupal 7 Module Development" by Matt Butcher is a much better choice.
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I learned a lot from the second edition of this book, but after after having had a first look at this third edition, I must say I am deeply shocked and very disappointed. It is mostly just a copy and and paste job from the second edition. As other reviewers have commented, several of the most important new features of Drupal 7 are not even mentioned. Neither are important developer tools such as Drush and Git, they are simply non-existent in the index. I had a look at the chapters on Taxonomy and Users, and find no information about the fact that these are now fieldable entities. In the chapter on Users, they still recommend the profile.module, which is now deprecated...

The code examples are full of errors, but there is no errata:[...]
Apparently, Apress lost all the submitted errata information because of no backup.

I honestly don't understand how a book like this can pass through a process of technical review, and even get the recommendations of Dries Buytaert in the foreword. I love Drupal, but this book is going to be bad for the community. I really think Apress owes us a revised edition.

I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone already owning the second edition. Instead buy "Drupal 7 module Development". It is not an easy read, but at least it is up-to-date.
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The 2nd Edition (Pro Drupal Development for Drupal 6) was my bible in regards to understanding Drupal from a developer's perspective, thus my hopes for Pro Drupal7 Development were high, and I'm sad to say that they weren't met.

First of all: For a development book, there are just too many coding mistakes in the code printed. The authors provide an online errata ([...]), but even that directory of errors doesn't cover everything. Unfortunately, only the code examples for the first 2 chapters are available online, so the only option to get the code running is typing it in. With 50 conceptual code errors (and counting), that process is very frustrating as it's unclear why a certain piece of code isn't working correctly.

Drupal 7 provides a number of exciting conceptual changes, but rather than explaining what these changes mean for a programmer, the authors merely updated the chapters from the 2nd edition without revising the structure of each chapter. In some cases, the documentation in the code still refers to the the code in the 2nd edition.

I purchased this book before it was released, as it was the de-facto standard developer book for Drupal 6. For the 3rd edition, I wish the publisher and technical reviewers would have spent more time before putting this book on the market.
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