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Posted November 7, 2010
This book provides a very easy to understand introduction to Drupal 7. The keyword is introduction. And, there is definitely nothing wrong with that especially for a brand new version of such a cool piece of software. For those new to web application frameworks, content management systems, and especially Drupal, this is a very good resource to kickstart the experience. It covers what Drupal is, where to download it, how to set up your computer to host it locally, and how to install it. The book describes an easy way to set up a local development environment with XAMPP. Follow by a pretty thorough introduction to the basics of what makes up Drupal including how to download and use modules and themes. An introduction of some features that are considered more advanced completes the book including Actions, Triggers, Clean URLs, Views, and Panels. Just remember that even for these advanced uses of Drupal the book only covers an introduction. Personally, I like the latter half of the book much better. After introducing user management and basic content concepts the author talks about content fields, taxonomy, images, and files. While I considered myself a relative newbie to Drupal, the first half of the book helped me realize that I did not need that sort of beginner introduction. And, while the screenshots and discussions about the new Drupal 7 overlay features are certainly helpful, I would not recommend the first half of this book to those who are familiar with Drupal and trying to figure out what's new in Drupal 7. Views and Panels are introduced during this part of the book including some special wording by the author indicating these modules are still being developed and upgraded for Drupal 7 so, as they say, your mileage may vary. The benefit for a reader like me is that the book delivers an introduction to give me some ideas and examples of how to implement Views and Panels. I was given the opportunity to read this book as part of a promotion from Packt Publishing. They provided the book as a PDF eBook which gave me a great opportunity to test out reading a technical book on my eReader. The only concern I have about this experience is that the layout of the book was broken on my device. The bulleted points were messed up as were the side notes. In this case, I would have preferred to try out the ePub version rather than the PDF. That being said the PDF eBook looked just fine in Acrobat Reader so it may be more a problem with my eReader than the document itself. In summary, this book was very clear to read with a pretty good progression of ideas and topics building upon each other as I read through the chapters from start to finish. The only critique I have with the topic layout is that the last chapter "Deployment and Management" could have been placed earlier in the book right behind the chapter on installation and basic configuration. It is a very good introduction to Drupal 7 for the intended audience which is "people with little to no experience in using Drupal." I definitely recommend it for readers who fit this profile.
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