Using Drupal 1st Edition
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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
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
"...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?"
"...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?"
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...
About the Author
Angela Byron is an open source evangelist, and has been called a Drupal freak by those in the know. She got her start as a Google Summer of Code student in 2005 and since then, she has immersed herself in the Drupal community. Her work includes coding and reviewing patches, creating and contributing to modules and themes, testing and quality assurance efforts within the project, improving documentation, and providing user support on forums and IRC. Angela is on the Board of Directors for the Drupal Association, and helps drive community growth by leading initiatives to help get new contributors involved. She is a sought-after lecturer on many themes, especially the topic of women in Open Source.
Addison Berry is deeply involved with Drupal and takes part in many aspects of both the software and the community. She contributes patches to core Drupal, maintains several contributed modules, and is active in various mentoring programs such as the Drupal Dojo group and Google's Highly Open Participation (GHOP) program. Addison helps maintain the drupal.org website, and is a permanent member of the Drupal Association General Assembly. Her work focuses on improving Drupal documentation and she has worked to provide a wide range of tutorials covering all aspects of Drupal from community involvement to code.
Jeff Eaton has been building software for the Internet and desktop applications for over a decade. He's participated in projects ranging from web-portals for communities and nonprofits, to enterprise client-server applications for retail industries, to large-scale web applications for companies like Dow AgroSciences and the Chicago Board of Trade. In 2005, he began developing solutions based on the open-source Drupal content management framework. In the years since, he's become a core developer for the Drupal project, specializing in architecture and API development. In his capacity as a consultant for Lullabot Consulting, LLC, he's helped plan and build the software infrastructure for Drupal sites including MTVUK's music portal, SonyBMG's artist site platform, and Fast Company's groundbreaking business networking site.
Passionate about both technology and teaching, James Walker is Lullabot's Director of Education where he oversees the company's public workshops, seminars and private Drupal trainings. A leader in the Drupal community, James is a founding member of the non-profit Drupal Association and the Drupal security team. As a long time member of the Drupal community, James maintains over a dozen modules and has contributed countless patches to Drupal core. A long time believer in Open Source and Open Standards, James has spent years co-ordinating Drupal's involvement with other communities such as Jabber/XMPP and, most recently, OpenID. An engaging speaker, James is a frequently requested presenter at many types of technical conferences. His humorous and informative lectures have been among the most well-attended at DrupalCons, starting with the first - four years ago.
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3.9 out of 5
70 global ratings
Top reviews from the United States
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Reviewed in the United States on March 31, 2009
After a year of struggling through and figuring out how to use Drupal 5 -- and tentatively experimenting with Drupal 6, only to throw in the towel -- this book came to my rescue.
If you're not a hardcore programming geek, it is insane to use the Drupal content management system without a good reference manual or two. Tiny problems that have relatively easy solutions can swallow days and weeks of your time. Finding answers on the Drupal website is hit or miss, its forum is generally helpful, but occasionally rude to overwhelmed newcomers. To be clear, a simple out-of-the-box Drupal website isn't necessarily that hard to put up. But as you try to fine tune the graphic layout, add functions, and expand the breadth of your site, you get a geometric increase in complexity.
7 people found this helpful
Reviewed in the United States on January 13, 2009
This book walks you though the basic setup of an amazing variety of websites using existing contributed modules. In every chapter I found my self saying "WOW! That's cool!". My mind was opened to new possibilities. Just check out the table of contents and you'll see what I mean: a photo gallery, a wiki, a newspaper with editorial workflow, an e-commerce site... Wow! Drupal is really amazing in the possibilities made possible by the contributors. "Using Drupal" will help you see what's possible and help you get started. At the end of each chapter is a "Taking it Further" section that makes recommendations for other modules that would improve the site you just created, which I found very informative even though they did not cover the details.
Using Drupal is centered around Drupal 6, and makes extensive use of the CCK Content and Views (version 2) modules. CCK/Views are a very powerful way to develop web content types, and create different ways of viewing or referencing that content. The several sample websites that make use of CCK and Views will give you a good idea of how they work, and what is possible.
The book does have it's flaws, and at times it's a little rough. Not inexcusably so, but be prepared for a few moments when what is supposed to happen when following the examples does not happen. There is a significant bug in the core Drupal modules that will present itself in Chapter 6 if you follow the "Hands-on" text, and the authors fail to make note of it, which left this reader wondering what he did wrong. There are also many occasions when the authors walk you through setting up some modules without adequately explaining the "why" of what you're doing.
The target audience is decidedly not for the developer type. Knowledge of PHP scripting, CSS, HTML, etc. is certainly not required. In fact, a complete novice to the world of web development can probably follow most of the setup of the sample websites without too much trouble, if they have a bit of help in actually installing the files and setting up a database. This in itself is a testament to the power of Drupal.
That's not to say developers cannot benefit. This can actually be a good thing for developers who tend to just go off and solve problems themselves. Better to get a lay of the land and see what other developers have contributed and see if you can use it. Odds are remarkably good that you can, and if it's just not quite there yet, you may find yourself wanting to get involved in the open source community to make it happen. Playing around with contributed modules is likely to help you see what's possible, and help you "grok" the Drupal way of doing things. Actually, I wish I'd read this book before "Pro Drupal Development" from Apress, but it was not available at the time.
Overall, this is a wonderful and welcome addition to the material available for aspiring Drupal developers. I will no doubt be preordering the 2nd edition just like I did the 1st edition. I almost want to give it 4 stars because of it's flaws, but this is such a useful book that the pluses overwhelm the minuses. So 5 stars it is.
7 people found this helpful
Reviewed in the United States on May 9, 2009
I looked at a lot of Drupal books. I had already installed Drupal. I secured my site. Then I tinkered with a few modules. I quickly realized I could lose a lot of time exploring modules. Amusing, but not efficient. I needed a guide to some common modules to get me going. This book does that.
If you're having trouble installing Drupal, this book won't help you.
If you're a hardcore CSS or PHP hacker, this book is not for you.
If you want to go crazy creating your own themes and modules, there are other books.
But if you want a good guide to quickly building and customizing a site, this is it.
The book is built around use-cases for typical "types" of sites, introducing modules suitable for each. Notable strengths include detailed hands-on examples the awesomely powerful CCK and Views modules. Although often treated in the Drupal community as "advanced" topics, it's hard to imagine even a moderately functional site today that does not have equivalent functionaltiy. (They really should be part of Drupal core!) This book shows how easy it can be to use CCK and Views to great effect. All example sites can be downloaded from the publisher's site.
The book does have some weaknesses, none fatal, and none unique. As with most tech trade books, it was trivially out of date the moment it was published. Having the source for each site available solves that problem, but if you're working from the latest release build of Drupal (as you should be) then you need to accept some discrepancies and read for the forest, not the trees.
A bigger weakness is the page-flipping annoyance. The heavy use of figures and tables is essential for this book. And it's clear that attention was given to to placement relative to supporting text. But with typically two figures/tables per page (!) no pagination scheme could possibly produce a graceful result. It would have been easier for the reader if the tables and figures were simply collected at the end of each chapter. Maintaining two bookmarks is not hard; readers and editors alike would have been happier. (minus 1/2 star)
The other major weakness is the typesetting. Linotype Birka is just harsh on the eyes and pretty awful for books which are meant to be read character-by-character to follow examples. Do not attempt to read this book in low light! O'Reilly please note: other publishers (APress and Manning in particular) have realized that long tracks of technical detail are more pleasant to read in heavier, "boring" typefaces. (minus 1/2 star)
9 people found this helpful
Top reviews from other countries
Good Book. But in 2015, buy the latter edition unless you really need to work with Drupal 6.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 29, 2015
This is a great book. But, in 2015, it would be silly to buy this edition. The book's source code requires Drupal 6 and Drupal 6 requires an ancient version of PHP (5.2). That ancient version of PHP is not particularly easy to install (compared to current versions). For example, it is quite hard to get hold of a copy of PHP 5.2 from within modern Ubuntu aptitude repositories. So, it is not plain sailing to get the book's source code running and, since Drupal 8 is due to be released soon, it is hardly worthwhile to start learning Drupal 6 when it will soon be 'end of lifed'.
I would highly recommend the 2nd Edition of this book. For some reason, Amazon does not make that easy to find at a reasonable price. But, when you do find it, it is a great introduction to Drupal 7 that can save many hours of head scratching.
One person found this helpful
Excellent introduction to DrupalReviewed in the United Kingdom on October 12, 2010
Very useful book if you want to quickly get up to speed with Drupal.
- The case study approach shows you how to implement real-world projects in Drupal.
- Plenty of practice at choosing and configuring core and contributed modules. This is key to the Drupal approach to building sites. Note the line at the top of the cover: "Choosing and Configuring Modules to Build Dynamic Websites".
- It's written by people who really know what they're talking about!
- This edition covers Drupal 6. Throughout the book I kept wondering if these examples are relevant to Drupal 7 (a major upgrade). I expect there's a new edition in the pipeline.
************************************** UPDATE - AUGUST 25TH, 2011 *****************************
THIS EDITION IS NOW SERIOUSLY OUT OF DATE. WAIT FOR THE NEW EDITION IF YOU PLAN TO USE DRUPAL 7.
12 people found this helpful
Highly recommendedReviewed in the United Kingdom on September 25, 2009
I can't think of a better-wriiten book in my technical library than this one. It is highly recommended for the purpose of introducing you to Drupal theming and getting you into the depth of understanding required to build highly functional websites. I like the combination of "hands on" and topic "spotlight" sections that give the necessary width and depth of understanding that's always a challenge to writers on as large a technical subject as Drupal. I now feel well-enough equipped to buy a book specifically about manipulating Drupal themes and / or read and understand Drupal's online theming guide.
2 people found this helpful
J. P. Johnson
Got me up to speed quicklyReviewed in the United Kingdom on February 20, 2011
This book is great for getting up to speed quickly, so long as you can see the principles underlying the examples used. I have found it very useful in defining the Drupal environment, the terminology and the primary building blocks. It has allowed me put together a reasonably complex website rapidly. But there are two things that bug me:
-- I cannot help feeling that if I didn't already understand web sites and web creation, then I would not be so enthusiastic. I think a complete novice would have difficulty moving away from the examples given;
-- I'm stuck on the last important bit: themes. I feel that it glosses too quickly over this complex topic and, although I have got the layout and content just as I want them, I'm having difficulty getting the final look as I want it.
Don't get me wrong, the book has been excellent at getting me 80% of the way there. I just need to discover how to do that last 20%!
2 people found this helpful
Using DrupalReviewed in the United Kingdom on July 17, 2010
I think this book is excellent. It gives step by step tutorials and is very easy to follow. Also everything is explained extremely well. It was my first look at Drupal I really enjoyed working through the book and with Drupal itself. Also, they cover the security aspects very carefully. They recommend modules through the book that just about cover everything you could need. I am so pleased I chose this book first.
One person found this helpful