Drupal 6 Social Networking, by Michael Peacock, is a new book from Packt Publishing, aimed at readers wishing to create a Social Networking website. With Social Networking being a very powerful and popular concept on the Internet, this book discusses the benefits of creating your own Social Network over utilising existing Social Networks, and guides the reader through setting up a Social Network of their own.

After discussing Social Networking concepts, the book covers the basics of Drupal including installation, configuration and administration, before looking at building a powerful Social Networking website, including:

  • User generated content with Drupal core modules
  • Managing users and enhancing their profiles
  • Enabling user interaction and communication as well as communicating with our users
  • Creating a simple map-based module to show how we can extend the network with custom features by creating our own modules
  • Customising the theme, and creating custom themes giving the Social Network a unique look of its own
  • Deploying the Social Network, and keeping it running smoothly
  • Promoting the Social Network so that its user base, and community contributions grow

About the book

The book fast-paced working through creating a Social Network for a fictional case study. As the book progresses the Social Network is expanded with new features, new modules and more ideas resulting in a powerful Social Network which can easily be adapted to any number of different uses. Example uses include sites ranging from a family Social Network to keep everyone up-to date, a business Social Network to promote a businesses products or services, or a fan / hobby group to promote their interests.

The book has just been published, and is available direct from the publishers. As with all of Packt’s Drupal books, they will be donating a percentage of its sales to the Drupal Foundation.

I'd love to hear your feedback on this book, so please feel free to let me know what you think, either by commenting here, sending me a tweet (@michaelpeacock), or sending me an email mkpeacock@gmail.com.

Get 15% off!

I have secured an exclusive 15% discount off the book when bought through PackPub.com, just enter the discount code DrupalSN15, to the shopping cart.

About the author

Michael Peacock is a web developer from Newcastle, UK with a degree in Software Engineering from the University of Durham. After meeting his business partner whilst studying at Durham, he co-founded Peacock Carter a Newcastle based creative consultancy specializing in web design, web development and corporate identity. Michael loves working on web related projects, and when he isn’t working on client projects he is often tinkering with a web app of his own invention, his latest app is Learnr.

Michael has been involved with a number of books, having written three books: Drupal 6 Social Networking, Selling online with Drupal e-Commerce, Building websites with TYPO3, and acted as technical reviewer for Mobile Web Development and Drupal for Education & E-Learning.


Michelle’s picture

Given my involvement with Drupal's social networking side, I'll have to take a peek at this one. Pity advanced profile kit is still waiting on panels. I suppose you went through doing profiles using theming, then?


See my Drupal articles and tutorials or come check out life in the Coulee Region.

stephthegeek’s picture

Neat! I know the "friend" space is in quite a confused state for Drupal 6 right now, so I'm curious how the book will tackle that. But definitely a popular topic that could use its own book!


{ Drupal Themes by TopNotchThemes }
Gorgeous, 100% original themes for Drupal 5 & 6, plus Ubercart themes

SeanBannister’s picture

I agree, the buddylist style modules have been all over the place, can't wait for one to come out on top. I'm actually waiting to see what one they use on the new Drupal site.

mdev’s picture

I've updated this post, as the book is now published, and there is an exclusive 15% off coupon available!

BioALIEN’s picture

Great, thanks for posting the discount codes. I've already taken a look at the chapter list, but maybe it would be useful if you add the chapters and what they cover on this page? It would definitely help people make informed decisions on whether to go ahead and buy the book or not, while they are on this page (rather than the pact website).

Just my 0.2p!

einsteinsboi’s picture

Here you go, from the Packt website - https://www.packtpub.com/build-social-networking-website-with-drupal-6#e...

Chapter 1: Drupal and social networking – In this chapter we look at exactly what Drupal is, what social networking is all about, and why Drupal is suitable to create a social networking site, before we install the software itself.

Chapter 2: Preparing Drupal for a social networking site – You will be introduced to the concepts of Drupal with a tour of the administration tools, as well as planning your new social networking site.

Chapter 3: User content: Contributions, forums and blogs – This chapter focuses on the contributions of your users, via forums, blogs, comments, and files as well as taking a brief look at user management.

Chapter 4: Managing users and profiles – Following from Chapter 3, we look at how to manage users and their roles, as well as looking at our site from their perspective with Blog themes, Customizing user profiles, and Open ID.

Chapter 5: Enabling user interaction – This chapter looks at enabling user interaction on the site with Organic Groups as well as building connections between users with the Friends module.

Chapter 6: Communicating with users – This chapter goes through how to communicate with users directly, through mailing lists, Twitter feeds, and in-page messages.

Chapter 7: Improving our networking with custom modules – This chapter illustrates how Drupal can be extended to match the needs of almost any social networking site, by creating a custom module for the site. This serves as a primer to creating Drupal modules.

Chapter 8: Designing our site – The design of a site is very important to a successful site; this chapter covers customizing the default theme to make it more unique, as well as a basic primer on creating custom themes.

Chapter 9: Deploying and maintaining our site – This chapter covers deploying our Drupal installation, securing it, and maintaining it, along with combating spam and looking at the reports Drupal generates.

Chapter 10: Promoting our site – This chapter looks at how to promote the site with SEO, marketing, and social/viral marketing and also has a quick look at ways to monetize the site

px’s picture

It would definitely help people make informed decisions on whether to go ahead and buy the book or not, while they are on this page (rather than the pact website).

Here's my review of the book. Hope it helps.

Virbius’s picture

Under the heading "Get 15% off!" you have the wrong web address!!!

Instead of PacktPub.com, you have PackPub.com which takes you to a gambling site with popups!!!

Please can you fix the text in this section.

einsteinsboi’s picture

Packtpub gave me a review copy in ebook format, and I've started going through it, it's definitely detailed and thorough as far as I can see.

I'll be writing a review on my blog as soon as I'm done looking through it a little more.

But so far definitely looks like a book worth adding to your collection!

himtuna’s picture

I don't know whats the magic in drupal. In december,2008 I gazed at packtpub's drupal category and wished to get those books. Finally I somehow managed to buy them in next month 5 books in a row.
Education and E-Learning
Drupal 6 Themes
Drupal 6 Multimedia
and Drupal 6 social networking(was waiting for march for its release.

I have't read even one of the book completely and by the time I read those books, I started getting the feeling that I am proficient enough to most of the things written and why I bought them?
Passion for drupal thats why!
If you don't buy pro drupal development you are not a drupaler.
Still when I go through them an a casual notice I discover new things here and there written, some great tricks and tips. That makes them worth reading.

Drupal SN is different because it has mentioned tons of modules that can help customize your site.
And one part that is missing is multimedia handling, however there is another book to handle it Drupal 6 Multimedia.

Just few days back I came across a book from book.drupalfun.com Gonna buy that also for my collection.

minesota’s picture

Social Networking has evolved into certain standards these days and actual social networking sites provide certain basic and added stuffs all over the nets. Many questions regarding these remain unsolved or partially solved from drupal documentation or forum posts that don't allow us to build a true social net based on these available criteria. So a book is welcome :)

Same questions that I ask :
Does this book provides cookbook-like codes or snippets to overcome the many existing difficulties in making 'true-type' social/community web with drupal namely

- Snippets so that users can hide online status if they wish so : will ne nice to see a sample pdf of this
- How to do true "Block this person" as in standard social or community webs ?
- How users can choose what Activity of theirs is private and can delete what they want
- How to ajaxify profile comments and how not to get points deducted when the owner trims her gbook ?
- How to allow users to theme and drag-drop-add blocks by users to individual profiles as they want?
- Some real help on or "how to do" Social / Community Apps or Gadgets in drupal ?
No social net is complete without these gadgets these days

We already have resources like http://shellmultimedia.com/ (which actually offers some real help to get out of box snw or build up one, one by one ) and books like http://book.drupalfun.com/
It will also be good to know from someone ( who has seen all these ) which is a better buy.

Michelle’s picture

The other two have the advantage of being done. ;)

My eBook is very much in progress and has a long way to go. On the plus side, I'm putting things live as I write them so you don't need to wait a year to see it. I also intend to keep updating it as I update my own site so it stays current.

As to your questions, that's going to take more than a book. That needs actual code written into modules to be practical.


minesota’s picture

Many books, specially php books ( as I have read only php books not perl or ruby) extend what is available already in codes by extra snippets. These are not big codes obviously but small cookbook type recipis to provide solutions which the website does not provide. This can be the advantage of buying books to at least users like me who need solutions ( rather than explanations or re-telling of what is available online already) .
A book on core Drupal can be of help in many ways to starters who may find difficult to grasp or navigate and collect all necessary info or advanced users who want more insight BUT a book which has offering on a definite field like "social networking" needs to give at least the very basic needs that a site needs to call itself "social network". If it be codes, codes (like APK :)) will be welcome to users like me.

Michelle’s picture

My point is that the things you are asking for are too much for a recipe. You aren't going to get the level of privacy you are looking for in a snippet. It's going to take someone taking the time to write a comprehensive privacy module that hooks into all of the SN modules. No small undertaking and not something you can just toss in a book.


minesota’s picture

Is it :\
Michelle, you can write that :)
Add those in your book to make a complete, really useful book.

Michelle’s picture

If no one else does I will probably write it at some point. But I have a lot on my plate already and am not getting paid for any of this stuff so it will likely be a while. It's going to take co-operation of a lot of maintainers, though, so will be more difficult than the average module.


minesota’s picture

Sorry to make this long :\
but a book, well written and containing really needed codes, will pay you :)
There are buyers and more like me.

Michelle’s picture

My book is free so I don't expect huge profits. ;)

If I write the privacy code, it will be in a module. As I said, it's far too big to paste into a book

And, now, I think we should stop taking this thread so far off track. This is thread is about someone else's book. :)


Thomasr976’s picture

I wrote a review about the Silver book at http://drupal.org/node/378578. Also mentioned Michael Peacock's book and glad it's now available. These two books and the Online Community Guide by Dorien Herremans should help the Drupal community produce some awesome networks.

shiva7663’s picture

Will the usefulness of this book survive the release of Drupal 7?

JohnForsythe’s picture

I don't think anyone can make that prediction until Drupal 7 and the related modules are released. Either way, Drupal 7 is not coming any time soon.

dnewkerk’s picture

The discount code does not appear to work:

I have secured an exclusive 15% discount off the book when bought through PackPub.com, just enter the discount code DrupalSN15, to the shopping cart.

Tried both the eBook (which I prefer) and the printed book. The discount code did not appear to have any effect in either case.

Anonymous’s picture

Just ordered the book, entered the code but instead of the 15% it "only" gave me the 10% standard discount - which is totally fine for me. But indeed, something's definately broken..

Nevertheless: Great to see more and more quality Drupal books in stores and shelves.

damiancarvill’s picture

Thanks for letting me know, there appeared to be a bug with the code's set up, which has now been fixed.

dnewkerk’s picture

Thanks. However the code would only apply to the printed book, which I don't want (adding the code automatically adds the printed book to the cart). I gave up and just placed the order without the code. Unless it is still a bug, I'd suggest updating the post here to reflect the discount applying only for the printed version.

roball’s picture

Just bought the eBook - the promotion code won't be applied. Anyway, no problem. The price was about 20 €.

-- Robert Allerstorfer

roball’s picture

Does your book cover usage of the "Organic Groups" module?

-- Robert Allerstorfer

mdev’s picture

Yes it does.

Thomasr976’s picture

I ordered your book this morning. Does it discuss the relative differences and the pros and cons of various social networking mods that provide similar functionality like Buddy2 and User Relationships? Thanks.

seutje’s picture

wewts, more drupal books!

this one is actually really interesting, even more than some others, will definitely check it out sometimes


Steve Hanson’s picture

Hi -
I read the book and wrote a short review at Drupal For Users - http://drupalforusers.com/content/drupal-6-social-networking-review

Basically I think this is a pretty good introductory Drupal book, with an emphasis on the social networking aspects of Drupal.

Steve Hanson
Principal Consultant Cruiskeen Consulting LLC

minesota’s picture

leaps into writing some custom Drupal modules.

I thought it did not extend beyond the modules that are already available ( see Michelle's and my conversation above ). If it is offering custom modules ( sometimes books offer custom codes in cd or web if they are longish to print ) I would be happy if it addressed the very basic and essential social networking needs like :
- Snippets so that users can hide online status if they wish so
- How to do true "Block this person" as in standard social or community webs ?
and some advanced but necessary things which every social network needs like "gadgets" or "Social Apps".
I am not sure whether these are covered in the book as I got no yes/no reply. I am sure this book will be of help to many but users who are looking for specific "Social Net" solutions will find no help unless these are covered. Your review apparently does not clarify these things.

Steve Hanson’s picture

the custom modules in the book are, as I said, pretty much things that could have been done without any custom code - they're basically an example of adding a somewhat specialized content type - it's really not going to answer your questions as such. I think you're probably looking at having to either learn to write PHP code or hiring someone to do it.

Steve Hanson
Principal Consultant Cruiskeen Consulting LLC

Dekka’s picture

I don' t want to punk around but is a 256 KB Image really necessary?

idontknowtheanswer’s picture

I had a look at the chapter content on packtpub site, there only seems to be a bit on performance in Chaper 1. Getting satisfactory performance out of a Drupal site where most of the users are authenticated seems to be quite a challenge. Given that social networking sites require the vast amount (if not all) users to be authenticated I'd have thought this would have warranted a chapter in its own right. Can the author or any readers comment on whether sufficient coverage is given to this subject? Thanks...

minesota’s picture

The same drupal script along with modules will behave differently in different types of hosting environment. Imagecache and Organic Groups are resource intensive, so are many modules together that are needed for social networking ( unless someone comes up with a module merger module that integrates a lot of functionality of different modules into one ) .

Thus I am not sure "performance" can be given fair coverage unless different hosting packages are compared. Enabling site cache and things like php cache also depends on hosting.

For example, Imagecache recommends me 96 mb of memory. I found VPS, particularly the ones at cheaper end, can be poorer performer w.r.t this at times compared to some good shared host.
Of course, if one has a ded server this sort of problem does not arise. If there is a "load-balancer" module it can help to spread your site's usage over varius resources.

I do wish there is brief indepth and helpful studies and pointers to social network hosting which is what we all are ultimately going to need to have a successful social network drupal site.

idontknowtheanswer’s picture

I agree with what you're saying but it would be better for the book to define a typical hardware infrastructure that can be used as a real world example when discussing performance. For example something like 2 small Amazon EC2 instances for Apache & MySql is something that most people undertaking a social networking site could actually build. All discussions on performance, deployment and configuration can be related back to the sample architecture which is obtainable and comes with none of the deployment\configuration constraints that a VPS may have.

Maybe the book already does this but I'm getting the impression it probably doesn't...

Please don't take this as a dig at the author, for my sins I've contributed to a few technical books in the past and I know how much time & effort it takes. Anyone writing a book deserves credit and respect - can I just have a full chapter on performance please ;-)

spflanze’s picture

I am still using Drupal 5 because not enough of the modules I need have been upgraded to Drupal 6. How much of this book is applicable to Drupal 5?

wheredoyouwanttogo’s picture

First of all, thanks for the author who have written this book. I should say this book served a nice practice for regular drupal user on how to use whole bunch of unorganized drupal modules to try to build some basic thing out of those modules. But if you are expecting to build a facebook type of social networking after reading this book, you are damn WRONG!!! This book spent a lot of long long long pages displaying the original php source code and template HTML source for modules that the authors used. After finishing the book, I am embarrassed to say my test site (the site I built following this book) looks very simple, I can just write my own application to accomplish that.

I was thinking to ask for refund, but too bad, the packt do not provide refund an ebook.

Again, a good book to start, but not in-dept enough.

Michelle’s picture

Facebook has spent millions of dollars on their site. If you're expecting to get that out of a book, perhaps you need to re-examine your expectations.


justageek’s picture


Why do people join this site to post their first disparaging comment?

Post something helpful first.

einsteinsboi’s picture

The book doesn't promise to teach you how to build Facebook. No book can teach you how to do that. Books are there to guide you and give you a starting point and show you the possibilities, not hold your hand from start to finish. A book that taught you that much would probably be priced in the hundreds. This book is intended as a starting point, showing you the possibilities and possible recipes.

Take what you got from the book and run with it. Let your own creativity and drive pick up from where the author left off, that's the key!

BioALIEN’s picture

Well, the book is teaching you how to create a "social network". Maybe you need to wait for the next edition to learn how to create a "social utility" site?

"Very simple" can actually be a Good Thing (tm). Spend some time with drupal and review your test site after a few months and see if you change your mind!

iScene.eu :: UK Drupal Consultancy

fox’s picture

It will be a strange web indeed when Facebook clone sites are as common as wordpress blogs.

minesota’s picture

Perhaps it is already a strange web :)
Perhaps it is not a question of facebook clone :)
Do yahoo, hotmail, gmail clone each other - they all have an inbox, compose, sent, search etc.
Do blip, vimeo, metacafe, youtube clone each other ?

It is called social network service and whether we are blissfully unaware or whether it matters to us or not, plenty of such sites are clone to each other in that they share a set of common standard features.
A script or any book on this needs to provide these or road-directions to these to "qualify" in the "social networking" boat :) . APK and OG make Drupal almost close to this except a few glaring holes which either Drupal or any book needs to cover, imho.
Imbibing varied and huge content, building up huge userbase, crafty and costly marketing to turn up something into the likes of facebook or bebo or hi5 is of course a different story all together.

energybunny’s picture

Yo All,
1. Now we know how many fake accounts had been created for promoting this book and for bashing that wheredoyouwanttogo guy/girl for saying something shitty/negative about this book.
2. I am trying to be fair, come one, this is an open source forum, you should allow people to tell the truth or atleast that they think is truth
3. For me, I have been using drupal since 4.x, and have developed 5 medium scale social networking sites, the only money I spent was only on few cups of coffee and few packs of cigarette. I can only say there are good things out there, you just need to know, where and how to find it, either for free or for minimal fee.

Mastering drupal is not easy, PATIENT is the key.

4. About drupal book, so far, I haven't seen a good book that I can count on yet. Per the source code thing that wheredo... mentioned, I have encountered some books that shows crazy long pages of source code, this is not only waste of my time reading those source code, but a waste of my papers.
5. My girl friend left me because I spend more time with Drupal (both physically and mentally) than with her ;-(

Michelle’s picture

LOL! I suggest you check my tracker. Yes, I faked nearly 4 years of active participation just for this moment.

No one is bashing the poster, simply pointing out that his/her expectations are not in line with reality. To criticize a book for not doing the impossible is really not terribly helpful.


einsteinsboi’s picture

For someone who has done so much work with Drupal, you show no activity on the forums, so I'm not sure how you can accuse others of creating fake accounts. Everyone who responded to the wheredoyouwantogo poster has a track history here (just look under Tracker. Your tracker on the other hand shows a less than 1 day membership and no track record).

If you look at the responses, there was no bashing involved. We all tried to give objective feedback about the posters expectations of the book versus what a book can deliver.

Nonetheless, welcome to the forums!

Arminius’s picture

you just need to know, where and how to find it

Maybe that's exactly what a book will tell you!

Mastering drupal is not easy, PATIENT is the key.

But books help you mastering drupal and you maybe achieve your goals earlier?

I just started to read the other book about social networking (drupalfun), but I'd like to have a comparison with this book mentioned above, if it's going beyond. I will read the reviews carefully. Thanks for all, who did one already! And of course I'm waiting for Michelle's book. ;)

My girl friend left me because I spend more time with Drupal

Sorry to hear that.

Thomasr976’s picture

I just finished reading Michael Peacock's book. It's an easy read and will save you hours of time sifting through the Drupal Forums for social networking modules. It's ideal for beginners because it slowly and painstakingly takes them step by step through the process of setting up drupal and ending up with a website with advanced social network functionality to compete with fee based Ning or Onsite offerings.

With that said, I think that those wanting to build or improve their existing social networking communites would also be well served by Dorien Herremans' Ultimate Community Site Guide (see http://drupal.org/node/367131). I found that the Ultimate Community Site Guide targeted users with a more drupal experience. It also targets people using Drupal 5 as well as version 6 and provides more options as far as modules that one could work with.

Finally, for those still pondering what kind of a social community to build or how to modify an existing community, the Social Network Business Plan by David Silver might be helpful. Drupal offers all of the functionality that the Silver's book envisions in a social networking website. I'm finding that Drupal also provides some advanced functionality that neither Ning or Onsite even come close to. See http://drupal.org/node/378578 for further details.

minesota’s picture

will save you hours of time sifting through the Drupal Forums

In case it helps anyone reading this post, here is a list of major Drupal modules needed to build social network service, that even comes with a tarball which lets one have a quick start, or lists or upcoming tutorials or book like this

It may be worth noticing this if someone is keen on building social network service according to current standards and user expectations.

advseb’s picture

I bought the eBook version of the book and I'm not really satisfied. The book basically shows how to download and install some modules, but it doesn't show how to build a social network. Of course it covers many modules targeting aspects of a social network, but building a social network site involves integrating the different modules.

For example, you want to be able that users can leave comments on user profiles. So you need the "Leave a Comment" input form directly on the profile page and not a separate page. It might be true that the guestbook module can be used for this purpose, but out-of-the-box it is not possible to have the input form of the guestbook module to display on the profile page.

The book doesn't provide an answer to those questions. Instead, many pages of screenshots showing standard Drupal admin pages are included. This feels like the author had to generate 300 pages, but he didn't really had enough content for it. I think it is possible to write such a book in 2-3 weeks, because no detailed knowledge or experience is needed.

Personally, I can't recommend the book. The market is still waiting for a book targeting advanced users and not showing for the 367th time how to install Drupal.



mrugesh_drupal’s picture


Please give me the url/website from where I can get free drupal books.

Thank you,

Michelle’s picture

I'm not aware of any Drupal books that are free. Paper costs money. ;) There are tons of tutorials and such out there, though. If you go to Drupal Planet and click on any one of those names you'll find lots of great help for free.


emrebilgin’s picture

Where can I find books that drupal. If you appreciate help. I did not find

[removed keyword link spam]

Michelle’s picture

There's a whole list here: http://drupal.org/books


frecaze’s picture

:) tengo el libro en mis manos, al fin.. :) gracias por escribirlo :)