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Using Drupal 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596515805
ISBN-10: 0596515804
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Using Drupal cuts out a lot of the research time and helps you dive headfirst into Drupal. It does an excellent job of explaining how to rapidly assemble a wide variety of websites using some of Drupal's most commonly used modules. Whether you're new to building websites or an experienced programmer, this book is full of useful information. By the end of Using Drupal, you'll be much more prepared to build the Drupal site you've always wanted.

Is That Site Running Drupal?
By Angela Byron
Various attempts at "fingerprinting" a Drupal site have been tried in the past, none of which are completely foolproof. These range from *super* easy stuff like checking for CHANGELOG.txt to checking the source for a reference to "drupal.css" (Drupal 4.7) to checking for common paths like taxonomy/term/1, and /user, (which might be aliased to something else with something like Pathauto/Path Redirect module), and so on. However, since Drupal 4.6, there's a super geeky trick you can use to fingerprint a Drupal site that works 90% of the time.

1. Get Firefox.

2. Get the Live HTTP Headers extension.

3. After restarting Firefox, click Tools > Live HTTP Headers. This'll pop up a little window to the side.

4. Visit a website you suspect of being Drupalish.

5. Highlight the Live HTTP headers window and type "exp", looking for the following in the output:
"Expires: Sun, 19 Nov 1978 05:00:00 GMT"

"Classic" Web Problems, Solved
Drupal version: 6.x
By Jeff Eaton

A lot of energy in the Drupal world goes towards solving complex problems: giving administrators ways to build publishing workflows without writing code, integrating with cool new APIs, automatically translating site content into Klingon... You know. The usual. With all of that energy focused on complex architectural problems, it's easy to lose sight of the simple solutions that Drupal provides for really common "classic" web problems. This really hit home the other week as I sifted through an old Zip disk with archives of sites I'd built for clients in the heady days of the late 90s. One by one, I started ticking off requests my clients had made that today's site-builders can solve in minutes with Drupal modules--no wacky configuration, no complicated recipes. Just a simple, "Yes!" when a client says, "Can you...?"

"...Make a splash page for the site?"
No problem. Drop in the Splash module, and you can use any page on your site as an interstitial splash page. It's also smart enough to tie into contextual information Drupal provides--only showing the splash screen to anonymous users, creating section-specific splash pages, and more.

"...Let visitors print out copies of the pages?"
While any web browser can print a simple copy of the current page, and custom style sheets can help clean up color schemes and images to make a page look printer-friendly, sometimes, things need tweaking. For example, embedded web links will look like simple underlined text if you rely on style sheet tweaks. Drupal's Print module generates printer-friendly versions of any page, including the creation of URL footnotes at the bottom of each printout. It can also generate downloadable PDFs of any page, and send-this-article-to-a-friend email links.

"...Show visitors a Terms Of Service page before they sign up to post on the site?"
Letting users sign up to post comments, subscribe to newsletters, and so on was just catching on when I handcrafted those old-school sites in the '90s. The Terms of Use module handles one of the tricky parts: requiring users to explicitly agree to terms of service before they can create an account. It lets you maintain your terms as a dedicated page on the site that users can read, and present it to them with an 'Approval' checkbox when they create an account.

"...Add a chat page where users can talk in real-time?"
Setting up chat rooms on web pages was always a pain in the old days. Even today it can be tricky, and there are quite a few different ways to do it. Flash, AJAX, Java applets, and more are all ready. The Mibbit module for Drupal lets site visitors chat on a custom IRC channel using a simple AJAX interface. Since it uses IRC as its backend, it can point to custom private discussion channels, or public ones like #drupal on the freenode IRC network.

"...Keep other sites from stealing my content using Frames?"
This one went out of style for a while, but when Google's AdSense and other advertising networks up momentum, some enterprising individuals resurrected the concept of "wrapping" other sites in HTML frames, presenting ads in the sidebars while leeching the original site's bandwidth and content. JavaScript can help: script snippets can force your page to open in a dedicated window instead of a frame, and the FramePrevention module makes that trick automatic.
None of these modules are crazy, groundbreaking tools that get their own articles and tutorial videos. Like many of the tools in the Drupal world, though, they do the heavy lifting that lets us focus on the really complicated tasks. Looking back, it's hard not to sigh and wonder how much time could've been saved if I'd had them at my disposal in The Olden Days...

Book Description

Choosing and Configuring Modules to Build Dynamic Websites

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 494 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (December 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596515804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596515805
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #890,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book has been eagerly awaited as the first O'Reilly volume covering Drupal, and having been written by such a rockstar team of Drupal pros.

It's also the first book to focus on a wide range of third party contributed modules rather than just Drupal core, or a narrow subject area of modules. It's written for Drupal 6, although the book would be fairly applicable to Drupal 5 (with the caveat that one of the major modules, Views, is completely different for Drupal 6 - the underlying concepts are similar though).

The first thing that struck me about this book is its fundamentally different approach from most early Drupal books, as well as the kinds of books you find in the early stages of any new technology's mainstream acceptance. It's not simply a higher quality rehashing of handbook pages and technical how-tos, but it has an incredibly cohesive and clever process through the entire book.

Every main chapter of the book will:
* Introduce an example scenario that's easy to relate to.
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Format: Paperback
I'm just learning Drupal and this book has been invaluable. Via a "case study" approach, Using Drupal shows you many well-trodden paths through the Drupal forest using off-the-shelf modules to build out 9 sites.

As a Drupal newcomer comfortable writing code (like me), your first instinct will probably be to start adding PHP to your theme, your blocks, etc. to do what you want. Using Drupal shows you how other developers have solved many common problems/features and packaged up the solutions as modules. It's like being able to start out on your first solo project after being on a team that has already completed 9 Drupal projects. You'll already have a set of "tried and true" design patterns to leverage and know how Drupal sites tend to be built.

Using Drupal can only cover a handful of the numerous Drupal modules out there, but it saves you time by pointing out some of the most useful and commonly-used modules and showing you how to use them in practical situations.

This book is not a comprehensive introduction to the basics (how to install Drupal, basic configuration, etc.), but once you have the basics and want to start "Using Drupal" on real projects, this should be your next read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of many books coming out that focuses on the very confusing contributed modules aspect of Drupal. There are so many and it's hard to know what's available, and what choices to make. The book has a focus on some of the most popular ones, like CCK and Views, but covers many others as well. I particularly like that it often compares the options available for doing a specific thing and explains why they chose the one they did, and why you might choose another one.

I gave the book four stars instead of five because the printed edition needed some serious proofing. If you get the printed edition, be sure to go to the website where you can find errata (corrections). It was very confusing and time-consuming to figure out that figures were out of sync with the figure references in the text in some cases. There were also some typos that make some instructions technically wrong. But given how much people wanted to get this book, maybe they rushed it.
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Drupal is an incredibly powerful CMS and like anything with its flexibility, Drupal quickly gets complicated. As much as I like the system, one of the problems that I've had with it is that Drupal has been built upon a unique set of assumptions/principles, which really haven't been covered in a book. Until now.

This is the missing link between the introductory Building Powerful and Robust Websites with Drupal 6: Build your own professional blog, forum, portal or community website with Drupal 6, which does a nice job of getting a basic Drupal site set up but doesn't really show how to deeply customize the CMS, and Pro Drupal Development, Second Edition (Beginning from Novice to Professional), which is written for programmers. Both are good for what they are, but don't help the reasonably knowledgeable web designer, not programmer, wring all the juicy goodness out of Drupal.

Through a series of well chosen example projects, Using Drupal, opens the door to the power and extensibility of Drupal and shows us not just how to do things but why. It's the why part that makes this book special. Drupal is different and understanding the philosophy behind the difference and how to think the Drupal way makes Drupal special.

Even though I've built a dozen working Drupal sites over the last few years, a couple pretty complex and customized, I've felt that there was more I could be getting from the system. Oh, I can theme a site and set up users and modules.
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