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Using Drupal by Angela Byron
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176296,028 (3.31)None
Title:Using Drupal
Authors:Angela Byron
Other authors:Addison Berry, Nathan Haug, Jeff Eaton, James Walker, Jeff Robbins
Info:O'Reilly Media (2008), Edition: 1, Paperback, 492 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:computers, drupal

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Using Drupal by Angela Byron



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I never reviewed a technology book before that I studied from. All the books I wrote about have been either fiction or non-fiction that I read or studied for my school. But I didn't have any formal schooling related technology, at least not on the coding level. (We did some basic HTML and XML when I studied for my MLIS, but by the time I got there I knew all that.) So when I sat down to write a "review" about Using Drupal* I realized that I have to use different criteria than usual for my reflections.

When judging a tech textbook first and foremost I should assess what I have managed to learn from it. The answer in this case is a tremendous amount. Right now though, I don't know how lasting my learning will be. That will depend on how much work I will be doing in Drupal and how much I retained in the first round of studying. As it was a library book, i.e. I have to give it back tomorrow, I tried to take as much note as I could. Nowadays I try to put every informational on the web, except confidential pieces, so you can find my notes on my blog here: chapter 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11.

I think that studying the book was very useful for me. I wasn't a total novice in using Drupal 6, so I can't say I learned everything I know from it. But I can say that my knowledge feels much more grounded now. And there was plenty of new information, tips, trick, modules for me in there. I enjoyed the clear style of the writing, the detailed explanations, the description of the processes and the screenshot that helped me along the way. My only regret was that halfway through the book the site accompanying the book went down and I still cannot reach it. I hope usingdrupal.com will come back, so I could reuse the code snippets from the book, without having to type them in.

The book had a lot of authors, most of them are members of the team at Lullabot. Let me spell out all of their names, that I couldn't do in the title of this post (hence the ellipsis there): Angela Byron, Addison Berry, Nathan Haug, Jeff Eaton, James Walker, Jeff Robbins. Thanks to all them making for putting together an excellent resource. Too bad that by the time I was done with the book, that covers Drupal 6 , Drupal 7 came out and now I can start the process (almost) all over again.

* Here is the official descrption of what Drupal is: "a free software package that allows anyone to easily publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content on a website."
  break | Feb 2, 2011 |
Drupal is a popular open source content management system (csm) that flourishes because of some nice architectural ideas (basically a core and (often user developed) modules that add functionality to your website.

The documentation on drupal is not excellent, although there is an handbook online, maintained by the drupal community. Coming to terms with drupal is not as easy as it could be. Enter this book.

In a number of chapters cases are studied and very explicit help and explanation is given about how to setup drupal and what kind of modules are relevant. In due course one learns to understand drupal, the drupal site, the drupal community, and how to enhance your own website, or the website of your company. It is not a book that goes into much detail when it comes to programming, using css or javascript. It is not a book for developers.

The case approach has a number of drawbacks. First of all, not every reader is interested in the cases, which can make reading an entire chapter quite boring. Secondly, the book is not a manual. It can be challenging to find what you need to know while working on your website in this book. It is an introduction that assumes that you will start working on your own after reading the book, of a few chapters.

The book is ok, well written and precise, a good introduction to using drupal and the many modules. Having said that, it is boring at times too. ( )
  HenkEllermann | Mar 23, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0596515804, Paperback)

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...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:47 -0400)

With the guidance in Using Drupal, you will be able to take full advantage of the vast collection of community-contributed modules that make the Drupal web framework unique. Learn how to combine modules in interesting ways (with minimum code-wrangling) to develop a variety of community-driven websites. Each chapter describes a case study and outlines specific requirements for one of several projects included in the book--a wiki, a publishing workflow site, a photo gallery, a product review site, an online store, a user group site, and more.… (more)

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