Given the success of David Mercer's first Drupal title for beginners, Packt has published a new and improved edition to go with the latest release of Drupal. The new book, still targetted at beginners and intermediates, builds on its predecessor to provide a steeper launching ramp for everyone who still feels they're not yet a pro.

Changes to the new version include:

  • Slimmed down writing, to provide faster flowing and more concentrated information
  • Updates to all the original text to reflect the enhanced features of D6
  • Vastly expanded the range of topics
  • Increased the depth and level of coverage for many topics

Despite the fact that I have cut out quite a bit of the old text and trimmed that which remained, the new version is over 330 pages. This gives you an idea of how much new material went into this edition in order to bring it up to speed with this most impressive of Drupal releases. This new book is as much an overhaul of the last as Drupal 6 is over Drupal 4.7.

I hope that this title will meet the following goals that I have personally set for it:

  1. To help lower the intellectual "price of admission" into the Drupal fan club
  2. To encourage people outside the community to join by providing quality informative content that really enhances the learning process and reduces the learning time
  3. To provide a great companion for new Drupal users and raise their basic level of competency to a stage where they can begin tackling ambitious and advanced projects
  4. To raise even more money for the Drupal community through Packt's donation scheme - they recently announced that their tally now exceeds $100 000 in funds raised for open source projects, so congratulations to them.
  5. To become the Drupal community's de facto title for learning the technology - from here readers can specialize into their own topics of interest such as module or theme development utilizing the more specialized and advanced titles available

This book is available immediately from the Packt website in both hardcopy and eBook format. It will also be available on Amazon and many other bookstores around the world shortly.

Please visit for a more in-depth view of the content and a sample chapter.

I sincerely hope you all find this a valuable addition to this great Open Source Project, and, with your support we can help to ensure that Drupal continues to move from strength to strength.

David Mercer
Author: Building Powerful and Robust Websites with Drupal 6


bxy’s picture

It would be nice after the book's commerical life (shelf life), usually one or two years, the full text will be available for drupal community.

Is it possible?

damiancarvill’s picture

We're always looking at further ways of supporting the Drupal community and this is a good idea of doing just that. In fact I'm currently looking at trialling free electronic versions of our books, when they have been superseded by a new edition and I expect David's Drupal 4.7 book to be high up on that list.

When this happens, we'll let you all know.


Packt Publishing

lopolencastredealmeida’s picture

... if David had give a step forward and included something more like how to setup a Groups-like website or some other example he mention on start besides the regular Drupal basics.

I had both books and I really expect that this reviewed version was not just a review from 4.7 to 6.0 :-)

I'm also waiting for the D6 Developers book and I do expect that it doesn't follow the exact same path. Hint, hint ;-)

Neverthless, is always easier for me to read a book than to read the site Documentation.


Humaneasy Consulting


lopolencastredealmeida’s picture


Read the new book.

I'll rephrase the previous comment :)

It is nice. Has some stuff better developed. Good for begginers.
What I still miss is a middle-way book beetwen the "Building..." and the "Developing..." that focuses on more advanced website implementation.

Humaneasy Consulting


Walt Esquivel’s picture

Hello David,

Long time no talk and I hope you're doing well.

Thank you for your latest book on Drupal and thank you so much for the excellent sample chapter, "Chapter 7 - Advanced Content".

Chapter 7 gives you the edge when it comes to creating engaging and dynamic content. While this chapter doesn't require you to be an expert in HTML, PHP, and CSS it does introduce you to the basics and shows how, with a little knowledge, extremely powerful and professional content can be created. That's only half the story, because it also looks at categorization and how this particular feature of Drupal sets it apart from everything else out there.

Being able to categorize information is one thing, but the ability to create entirely new content types and post complex pages will also come in handy at some stage. Accordingly, this chapter discusses the following subjects:
Content Construction Kit (CCK)
HTML, PHP, and Content Posting

I'm looking forward to reading the sample chapter this week.

Keep up the great work.


Walt Esquivel, MBA; MA; President, Wellness Corps; Captain, USMC (Veteran)
$50 Hosting Discount Helps Projects Needing Financing

abhigupta’s picture

Like couple of my other Drupal developer friends, I am planning to skip 6.0 considering that we recently upgraded to 5.0 and that 7.0 is just around the corner in 6-7 months.

I think we need to slow down the release cycle to at least 18 or 24 months, in order for Module & Theme Developers to catch up to the releases.

BTW, the book looks great. Good Luck :)

Pasqualle’s picture

I am sure you will not upgrade to drupal 7 after 6-7 moths. You can happily upgrade to drupal 6 after a year.
Not even runs on drupal 6, and I do not know about the upgrade plan yet. There is no hurry.

So, do not make hasty decisions..

ananto’s picture

After 6-7 months I guess we can happily upgrade to drupal 6 not drupal 7. :D

chx’s picture

I can't imagine Drupal 7 being out before 2009 February.
The news is Now Public | Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile. |

Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile.

venkat-rk’s picture

The sample chapter has been very useful for me in grasping the subtleties of taxonomy (despite being reasonably familiar with it), group settings in CCK and so on. The stuff about CCK group settings is especially the kind that I wish were on the handbooks.

I am not so sure about the parts that deal with HTML. And, the typos have been a distraction, though. If there's still time, Packt should put this through more professional proof-reading. Based on the sample chapter, the book could also do with better editing at many places. The sample chapter is also missing the graphic on Page 7 about taxonomy and thesauri.

But, very useful info, all the same. Thank you, David Mercer.

Does Packt plan to release an Indian edition just like it has done with the Drupal 5 Themes book? It would be a lot more affordable for me.

Previously user venkat-rk.

jsolochek’s picture

I have been using Drupal on my main site for years now and I have always preffered over the other platforms such as Wordpress, Blogger, and Typepad. I have started programming again and eventually I will create my own modules for my Drupal. If anybody has any comments about my site I would apppreciate any suggestions, Thanks.

Jeffrey A. Solochek

SirKhan’s picture

I just paid the book I hope it will arrive next week. Then I will post some feedback/review :)

chrisindallas’s picture

I received my pre-ordered copy last night and quickly looked it over. I see that there is a chapter on CCK, but didn't see an entry in the index for Views. I know that Views hasn't been available for Drupal 6 until recently, but it seems like these are two very important modules for anyone interested in Drupal 6. Maybe the coming O'Reilly book will cover these modules.

add1sun’s picture

The O'Reilly book that we at Lullabot are writing will be focused heavily on using contributed modules - how to snap all those pieces together. We start the book off with core and theming basics, then it dives headlong into contrib, starting off with CCK and Views, which are also used throughout the rest of the book in addition to other popular contributed modules.

Lullabot loves you | Be a Ninja, join the Drupal Dojo

Drupalize.Me, The best Drupal training, available all the time, anywhere!

Vigile’s picture

Do you have any more information on this book? Details, availability time frame?

lopolencastredealmeida’s picture

Also interested in knowing it.

Humaneasy Consulting


add1sun’s picture

Here is an update we wrote back in December when we were at the halfway point of the book ( that gives a bit of info on what we are covering. We are much further now of course but don't expect to see the book on the shelves til the end of the summer.

We also finally have a new name: Drupal Jumpstart and no, we won't know the animal until it is getting ready to be printed. We don't get to pick it, that is up to the publisher's art department, so we are just as curious as everyone else what it will be. We will be putting up a new post on the Lullabot site soon with an update.

Lullabot loves you | Be a Ninja, join the Drupal Dojo

Drupalize.Me, The best Drupal training, available all the time, anywhere!

Chill35’s picture

I just posted a review of Building Powerful... BPaRWwD6! (looks like the username a bot would use). Excellent book for beginners!

By the way, it seems that Packt is finally allowing to discount their books. Out of curiosity, let me ask: does 5% of the proceeds of this book still go to the Drupal Association when the book is ordered from Amazon?

Drupal on 11

Chill35’s picture

The book is showing up on now with title 'Using Drupal'.


The details for now:

560 pages
Release date: December 15, 2008

PS: anyone recognizes this animal on the cover? I am not animal-savvy.

Vigile’s picture

And I have to say while good, it was overly simplified at least compared to what I was expecting. I already have a good idea how to make a website in general, and there seemed to be too much generic stuff in here to really call it "building a powerful site." There are sections that detail how HTML works and such but nothing on how to customize any modules, and doesn't give more than a single example of how to set things up.

The taxonomy description was helpful for me; as a user that has been waiting for Drupal 6 before starting a major development project though the book was mostly white noise and I will need something much more technical and in-depth.

Vigile’s picture

I want to be sure I don't sound too critical - this book could probably be helpful for very basic Drupal users. But for me, it just wasn't what I was looking for.

SteveTurnbull’s picture

Not wanting to sound churlish (good word that) but bearing in mind the changes happening all the time, such as the change to menu path access inheritance, is the book up-to-date?

Are you printing digitally on-demand and has the text been changed?

SuppaDuppa’s picture

hi does the book deal with creating a new template? looks good, but could not read anything abut this topic on website

hectorplus’s picture


I apologize, i was not able to find a paypal payment option at packt's web site.

Does packt accept paypal?
The growing Hispanic community in Canada.

Road’s picture

I just purchased (ebook version) yesterday thru Packt.
The sub title "Building powerful robust sites....." is a tease. There really is nothing included in the book other than the statement is true for Drupal - it can do that for you. The book itself is more about fundamental getting started issues.

I am an advanced beginner and am just getting my head around the many opportunities offered by Drupal. I am confused about the more complicated issues like CCK, Taxonomy to mention a couple of important things.

The book is over 300 pages and most of it is light weight. To be fair, if you're starting out it may be of some use and get you through the difficult first steps and it may save you a few weeks of aggravation. If you're already over that hump (say a few weeks of really poking around setting up experimental sites, trying out modules etc) then it doesn't provide you any further insight then you have already earned through your own trial and error.
For my stage of understanding this book is quite a disappointment and a waste of 30 bucks.

One further thought it covers D6 - I have used D5.7 and D6 so I was able to understand the few differences in the examples. If you are a true beginner then you must use D6 to reduce any confusion.

I'll be looking at a few sections again just to make sure I didn't miss anything e.g. Taxonomy

SirKhan’s picture

I agree with your post 100%, also because of this matter I have a new piece of this book for sale if anyone is interested let me know. :( I can't use the book, although it is good for newbies indeed.

Mtt’s picture

This book does not provide any usefull informations if you are not an *absolute* beginner. In case you are it may save you some days/weeks of "how-the-hell-do-I-config-this-out".

I would say even if you are a beginner try to read it briefly in store before buying it. Honestly, for 40$ I would expect a more accurate title such as "Discover Drupal 6" or "Drupal 6 first steps". But "Building..." is something I would use for intermediate-advanced content.


vijethk’s picture

After 6 or more months we can surly upgrade it to Drupal 6.
As of now i am happy with what i am using.
I am pretty sure that this is really a good one.

Free WebSite Content -

purrin’s picture

This book is exactly what I love to see people do with new editions of books... really expand on it and make all the content relevant and timely. Sometimes you buy a book that is a 2nd edition and you wonder where you money went. This is a great new edition book totally revamped for Drupal 6. Great job David!

-=- christopher

Omar Khan’s picture

I waited for a long time for this book, but found it only moderately helpful. It is probably good for people brand new to Drupal, and does have some helpful pointers, but for those somewhat familiar with Drupal it is too basic. I must say that I think the way to write a book of this sort is to walk someone through an actual hypothetical website that covers most types of sites with enough specificity to be useful to many. Major modules like CCK and Views 2 were not ready at publication to be covered properly. Nor were their good tips on themes and the Devel module.

There is still room for a great Drupal book for non-programmers, those curious project manager hybrids being created by the tool who can do certain techy-type things really well (create Views) but want to be spared the programming world most Drupalites are suffused in.

RGO’s picture

I guess I'm having trouble with the concept of buying a book with the subtitle, "building powerful and robust websites ..." when the publishers' website hasn't been working for at least 2 weeks. What gives?

RGO’s picture

Apologies to packt. My employer seems to think the site should be banned for some reason.

Fred Domminik’s picture

Have anybody read the book?

mot’s picture

I bought the Book and started to read over it. First of all (as written) the book is for beginners. You learn that you can download tar.gz archives of drupal, how you extract the files, that you need a webserver and a database server (Chapter 2: Setting Up The Development Environment). It then continues in Chapter 3 with "Basic Functionality" that means, the books first tells you, that there are modules and how you activate them, that there are third party modules, that some of them need configuration etc. Then Blocks are introduced and after a smaller, xhtml + js example block it goes on with connecting modules with blocks. You learn that some modules provide new blocks, Forum, Comments and Search Modules are taken as examples. This is quite nice to get a fine start. The 3rd Chapter rounds up with Description of Menus and Links (Primary + Secondary) so that you should be able to "add functionality and organize it in the site".

The Chapter 4: Site Configuration and Chapter 5: Access Control goes a little more deeper into drupals built in funtionalities. You can read about important stuff if this is your first webapplication that handles user input and the book describes how you can handle standard scenarios, so you can read first about what you will be faced while configuring drupal for your needs. The Part about Access Control talks about Roles, Permissions, Users and Access Rules. Drupal does provide a nice system for those and it is clearly describben.

After these Chapters that care about setting drupal up and getting everything ready, Chapters about content follow up: Chapter 6: Basic Content (Content Types), Chapter 7: Advanced Content (Taxonomy, Terms, Categories and Hierachy and then Tags as well ["Implementing Thesuari in Drupal (Tags)"]). Advanced Content is with CCK for shure as well which is handled on some pages.

The other Chapters are about Dupals Interface with some good Tips on the go and a introduction on how you can powerfully modify the Sites Design with CSS and the built in Theme-ing.

A good mark to understand to which group this book aims is to take a look inside the Chapter 9: Advanced Features and Modifications: * OpenID, * Actions and Triggers, * Language Support, * Performance, * Dynamic Javascript Features (that is basically jQuery and then some tpl.php-files editing). So you can see, that changing the language of Drupal is under "Advanced" even if for a non-english site this would be one of the first points.

The last Chapter 10 is called "Managing Your Website" and is about how to run your site while users are actively using it.

Appendix A: Deployment is then for some basics on how to transfer your configured drupal page onto another webhost. This is one-time deploy only, nothing about a constant develop'n'deploy process for which a solution is inexistant anyway right now. You can find some more talks on the drupal side.

So the book is good to get a start. Even CSS and jQuery is explained so you do not need to feer these words if you're not an up-to-date web-professional. There is a lot for clicking and not-so-much coding.

If you're already a PHP Developer and you want to dive into Drupals API and Core, this is not that type of "Beginner" this book has been written for, you will miss a lot. No Stuff like professional development with Drupal can be found nor a profound API Documentation with in Depth Examples and Tutorials. There is some other Book for drupal 6 about it but I have not read it so far.

It will help anyway for anybody to get a quick start with drupal 6. compared to other books the screenshots aren't that outdated and most tips and hints are well placed. Most things are well explained, even if you're totally new to drupal and I think this is the most benefit of this book. It has a very good scope over drupal overall sothat even a beginner can quite fast unleash the power of his or her own new and upcomming drupal site. You will learn about all important things while reading through.

My first choice so far for a well structured read-into drupal 6.

vkr11’s picture

Thanks for a good review

- Victor
Search | Lamingo | Tax India | Drupal Jobs | FPGA

barthaedens’s picture

Reading this book right now, very smoothly written, love it!

Drupal Dune

wbe’s picture

Damian of Packtpub promised us about two and half years ago to release a free electronic copy of this ebook. Is it ready now?

Am pretty sure it will be of immense benefits to new Drupal Community members.

God bless him as he keeps his promise. And if he has already done that, can any one be kind enough to put the link here, for all to see?