Now available:
Leveraging Drupal: Getting Your Site Done Right, by Victor Kane.
Leveraging Drupal - the book

From the Introduction:

This is a book you have to read. This is a book you have to work through (by installing, wrapping your head around and reusing downloadable Drupal instances)... It is the author's earnest hope that the contents of this book may be shared with many kinds of Drupal users...

However, the problem this book attempts to solve, and in this sense it is perhaps unique, is the sad but true fact that the development of any website today involves the ability to master with at least a practical level of solvency, a huge number of disciplines. You need to be in a certain sense the Renaissance kind of person capable of either dealing with or (and this is extremely important) delegating when you cannot, an extremely wide range of skills. Meaning that you are very often in the position of needing to get up to speed on a wide variety of issues. This book attempts to bring them into a single, convenient space.

As a result the book focuses, in a detailed and practical manner, on a wide range of disciplines, tools and best practices you need in order to optimize the way you approach development projects built on this CMS and framework...This is for people who, given a set of website requirements and a community of users who need to use that website, have to learn how to fashion Drupal to their needs, how to domesticate Drupal, in short, how to get it done...

You definitely form part of the audience of this book if you are:

  • A website developer interested in looking over the shoulder of
    experienced Drupal developers and learning all the steps and
    how-to's of all the processes that they need to master in order to
    efficiently harness Drupal.

  • A website developer who has most sites done in Drupal 5.x, and so still needs to push the envelopoe there, but who is making the necessary transition to the awesome Drupal 6.x, which now becomes the standard and the basis for all new projects.
  • Website developers interested in learning how to set up a professional
    Drupal shop, including practical examples of best practices in
    business modeling and requirements capturing, iterative and
    incremental development, testing and deployment and maintenance in
    regard to the Drupal website development life-cycle.

  • Anyone interested in finding out the shortest path between what her clients
    need, on the one hand, and how Drupal can be used to get there.

  • An IT professional with experience in developing website applications
    using other frameworks and technologies, who is now interested in
    either using Drupal for a specific project, or in evaluating it.

  • Web designers who are interested in finding out how to convert their
    XHTML/CSS designs into working Drupal sites.

  • Project managers who need to understand the dimensioning of what is entailed
    in various kinds of website development using Drupal.

  • Untrained end users who are having a Drupal-based site delivered to them and
    need to school themselves realistically in terms of what it means to own and house-train a modern website.

  • Anyone curious about how anything Drupal actually gets done.


The book is structured around a real world example of a website
application based on Drupal, the On-line Literary Workshop.
As such,
its organization mirrors the development life-cycle as a whole, with
the exception of Chapter 10, which covers the development of an
entire real-world, multi-lingual application from start to finish.

  • The first chapter takes you from business vision and scoping of the
    project to the laying out of an agile approach tailored to Drupal
    website application development based on an iterative and
    incremental approach with frequent builds and prototyping, oriented
    towards a maximum of client participation.

  • The second and third chapter deal with gradually setting up a complete,
    no-nonsense development environment-including development, test
    and production sites-using version control and issue tracking
    tools. As you work through these chapters, you analyze, design and implement your first cut of
    business objects while working with Drupal itself to get an initial
    prototype up and running.

  • The fourth chapter is a fully fledged planning sprint, starting with the
    refinement of the project user stories, their final assignment to
    phases and iterations, and the test-driven implementation of the
    first batch. The architectural baseline, concerned with mapping
    Drupal modules and architecture to the design and implementation of
    the project's functionality, is completed.

  • The fifth and sixth chapters cover various implementation sprints.
    You use development documentation and project tracking to extend a
    project within the project and find it a home as part of the website
    itself, which becomes self-documenting.

  • The seventh chapter covers more user story implementation, but also
    concentrates on explaining how the Drupal theming system works, and
    how it cleanly separates content from presentation and styling. A
    great deal of hands on practice is included, as well as a concrete
    recommendation and demonstration for using the Zen theme as a
    systematic starting point for all your Drupal theming.

  • The eighth chapter is an aside on upgrading from Drupal 5.x to 6.x,
    taking the author's blog,,
    as a real world example.

  • The ninth chapter is a hands on step-by-step approach to upgrading the
    On-line Literary Workshop to Drupal 6.x, including the upgrading of
    all content and modules, including CCK, Views, Organic Groups,
    Pathauto, Private Messaging and more.

  • Chapter 11 takes the development of the On-line Literary Workshop a great
    leap forward with the implementation of another round of user
    stories, and also includes a section on how to turn a standard
    XHTML/CSS template into a Drupal theme for use with your project.

  • Chapter 12 is the JQuery chapter. Enough said.

  • Chapter 13 deals with the Drupal 7 release, its roadmap and the philosophy
    behind it, its feature list and architectural style, and also covers
    its installation and use.

  • Chapter 14 completes the On-line Literary Workshop deployment, explaining
    how to use the advanced help module to provide customized context
    sensitive help, and how to turn your whole project into a reusable
    installation profile anyone in the community to download and use.

  • Looking ahead, and with the objective of exploring as many alternatives as
    possible as a basis for serious Drupal development and use, Acquia
    Drupal is explained and explored in Chapter 15 as an enterprise ready commercial services
    based distribution of Drupal. This chapter brings you the possibility of starting
    out with enhanced off-the-shelf functionality, monitoring and support.

Acknowledgements and thanks:

The Drupal Community at itself, who have managed to bring together a hugely talented and motivated community network, and who owe their success to their ability to begin to transcend national boundaries, must be acknowledged in first place.

In second place, the unknown and unwitting poster to the forums and handbooks of who have provided answers in the nick of time on countless occasions.

I must acknowledge also the Drupal Dojo group (, an incredibly selfless ‘‘share the knowledge'' self-teaching group that started operations in January 2007 and is ow getting ready to launch Drupal Dojo 2.0. This group had a lot to do with my getting up to speed with Drupal Development, as someone coming from a strong Java Enterprise and C++ background.

Also, I thank the kind people at Wiley Publishing including Carol Long, who helped me make this book a reality, and Maureen Spears, who was my lifeline. In addition, I‘d like to convey a word of thanks to the technical editors - Joel Farris, Dan Hakimzadah, and Benjamin Melancon as well as Robert Douglass of Acquia - who all were instrumental in shaping the code and text; as well as Miguel Martinez, of Buenos Aires, who took my photograph for the cover.

To all who post. All who test. All who post issues and solutions in the Bazaar.

Saving the best for last

The people at Wrox assured me from the start that a percentage of sales will go to the Drupal Association.

leveraging-drupal.jpg6.98 KB


robertDouglass’s picture

I'm happy to see this one hit the shelves. I reviewed Chapter 15 which deals with Acquia Drupal, and am looking forward to reading the whole thing!

- Robert Douglass

my Drupal book | Twitter

Wim Leers’s picture

Congrats Victor :)

I'd already been wondering why you'd been so quiet… I guess this was the reason :)

ron_mahon’s picture

You have that unique talent for making the most completed tasks understandable. I preordered my copy so it should arrive soon…and I can’t wait.

Best regards
Ron Mahon
Alias "Link" at

pcambra’s picture

It looks really great Victor!
I've already preorderer :-D

augustofagioli’s picture

Well done, Victor!

My next beer is for your book.
(looking for my preorder to be delivered.) - software and web services

RKC’s picture

I am wondering if there is an onilne version of the book that can be purchased.

victorkane’s picture

But there's plenty of downloadable Drupal instances... but you have to read the book to make the most out of it :)

Victor Kane

victorkane’s picture

Book can be purchased in ebook form, but will not be available till end of April / early May.

In the meantime, grab a free chapter at (as well as the table of contents and index).

Also, you can buy Chapter 9 at for about $7. This is published under the WroxBlox series.

Victor Kane

gusaus’s picture

Great to see yet another amazing accomplishment by one of the Dojo originals! Looks like you've generated some great source material for a few Dojo sessions, but also a much needed framework for more structured curriculum and collaboration. The Dojo is available for knowledge sharing (and book promotion) anytime - - and more people than ever ready to learn and participate.

Congrats again!

Gus Austin

Gus Austin

victorkane’s picture

Got the Dojo right there on the acknowledgements page!

Victor Kane

Senpai’s picture

/me hi-fives victorkane. You did it, baby, you really did it! Awesome!

Joel "Senpai" Farris | certified to rock score

victorkane’s picture

... if it weren't for super technical reviewers like yourself and the great community-oriented points you brought up during the review process!!!

You significantly contributed to whatever quality the book may have (and are in no way responsible for its many deficiencies :)

Victor Kane

Rosamunda’s picture

Congratulations!! Oh my! I knew that any moment now your book would be out, but yay! days run faster than I thought!
I´m really looking forward to read it entirely! But I love that you included a chapter to talk about Drupal 7 and its roadmap, and new stuff!
Thank you very much! This kind of stuff leverages the whole community!


victorkane’s picture

You are the kind of person the book was written for! A drupalista for many years, web admin of really outstanding sites making a profound use of Drupal possibilities, always concerned about doing things right, always pushing the envelope, and the heart and soul of the Buenos Aires Drupal Users Group. Un abrazo!

Victor Kane

jinlong’s picture

the more and more drupal new book.very good!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- water droplets together--Today, you drupal it?

mbutcher’s picture

Yes, the number of new Drupal books is staggering! And each one has its unique appeal.

Business solutions with a web interface:
QueryPath - It's like PHP jQuery: |

karlosgliberal’s picture

I am delighted at the news. I figure that has been long process. I'm nervous and wanting to read your book:)

A hug from Pamplona.


Karlos g liberal (patxangas)
Investic->software libre->Tecnologías de la colaboración

victorkane’s picture

from Buenos Aires

Victor Kane

federico carol’s picture

Great news! I will buy it online soon.

Congratulations Victor.

Best wishes,

Federico Carol

xamount’s picture

Wow...well done. Already placed my order!

What convinced me to buy this book was where you mentioned:

Website developers interested in learning how to set up a professional
Drupal shop, including practical examples of best practices in
business modelling and requirements capturing, iterative and
incremental development, testing and deployment and maintenance in
regard to the Drupal website development life-cycle

I don't think I have seen that anywhere before. Also I love the idea how this book entails discussion from Drupal 5 all the way into Drupal 7.

Blessings from Trinidad!

Steve Hanson’s picture

It's in the mail. I devour all these books as they come in. And if you read all of them, you are then up to speed for about 50% of the power of Drupal. What a fun time it is for all Drupalistas.

Steve Hanson
Principal Consultant Cruiskeen Consulting LLC

Steve Hanson
Principal Consultant Cruiskeen Consulting LLC

greggles’s picture

Hard to believe it's been so long since we shared empanadas in Congreso and were just talking about this book. Congratulations, Victor. Well done!

Growing Venture Solutions | Drupal Dashboard | Learn more about Drupal - buy a Drupal Book

-- :)

victorkane’s picture

Really feel like doing that again tonight!

Thanks so much, you were a great inspiration on more than one occasion!

Victor Kane

NikLP’s picture

Victor is one of the smartest and most experienced developers I've met, and to have him in the Drupal community is indeed an asset. That this book exists is testament to his commitment to our Cause, and I couldn't be happier.

I'm sure the book itself will be awesome - I second what was said about Victor being a great explainer of things.

Good work, Victor :)

Web Design & Development in Nottingham by Kineta Systems / Follow me on Twitter!

Nick Lewis’s picture

I love the subtitle "Getting your site done right" -- maybe its a Texas thing.
"I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect." - George Carlin

"I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect." - George Carlin

iimitk’s picture

I've always called Drupal "the information architecture's CMS". I've never seen a CMS that is fully aware of disciplines of IA like Drupal. Taxonomies, synonyms, primary navigation, secondary navigation, content types and many more are all basic IA components that Drupal provide out of the box; nothing that you would dream of in any other CMS.

That's why I think this book makes perfect sense to "leverage Drupal" in the quest for building powerful web applications using agile approaches.

Just for the record, the book's page on the original publisher website (Wrox) has the first chapter available for free download. I read it. It's really fantastic & unique. It makes perfect sense in timing as well for the Drupal community as more people are getting involved on a more large scale with the software (Acquia, for example) and it definitely is worth the investment.

"Creativity is knowing how to hide your resources" - Albert Einstein.

victorkane’s picture

I can remember when I wrote that chapter, and reworked it, trying to get this point across. So cool you got it right away!

I have just created a Workshop site for people to work through the book together.

I sure would enjoy your kicking off the discussion on the Chapter 1 page!


Victor Kane

Omar Khan’s picture

We just ordered the book after someone else recommended it - and hope it is useful. Somehow Drupal books to date have been rather poor, at least for non-techies. Out of date or poorly written or both. But we will give this s shot . ... Omar

victorkane’s picture

Would love to hear feedback on how the book panned out for you guys in terms of usefulness... Please leave comments at Leveraging Drupal: Getting your site done right - Workshop Central.

This will be a workshop style interactive forum for people (including me) to share their ideas, requests, needs and gripes and updates, with a separate page for each chapter.


Victor Kane

universeinside’s picture

Big Congratulations on the book Victor!!

Can't wait to read it!


Nicolás Amado

Universe Inside Entertainment S.L. | Brightcove Solution Provider | Drupal Association Organization Member |

.Universe Inside Consulting: Comprehensive Digital Experiences for your Brand
.Universe Inside Studios: Digital Entertainment Studios & Creative Artists Agency


Holie’s picture

Thanks for the tip, just ordered this book!

Mrzeigler’s picture

Though I've been running a Drupal site for about two years, I still consider myself a newbie. I'm helping a few friends start up a site, and I had spent about a month tinkering here and there with it.

Since this book arrived on Wednesday, I've been able to sort what had been general ideas into a very specific list of functionality for every possible user role and take this project from a sloppy jumble of brainstorming ideas to a very clearly defiined outline of whatever it will be to the several idfferent types of people who will utilize it. And I'm only on the fourth chapter.

For those who have never tackled web development or who have never tackled it in a organized, competent fashion (i.e. your group needs a website and you — a nonprogrammer — have been elected developer/webmaster), this book will really jumpstart your project and prevent some frustrating and time-consuming pitfalls.

Rosamunda’s picture

Help me digg this story about Leveraging Drupal!

cloneofsnake’s picture

Am I right in saying that this book fits somewhere above the "Using Drupal" book and below the "Pro Drupal Development" book?


I'm one of those people that always want to do things "the right / best way", and it seems like this book covers these "best practices" to get people up to a high level, and then hopefully we can then make better use of the Pro Drupal Development book and start contributing back to the community.

victorkane’s picture

I hear you, but I think that it would be more accurate to say that each of the three books represent a high point for different sets of Drupal end users, or in relation to different sets of goals those same users may need to attend to especially.

I'll just talk for my book: I think that the highest point you can reach as a Drupal user is to adopt best practices, both in term of how you organize your development environments (dev, test, production) and in terms of how you translate client needs into prototype and then product (agile). The book aims at people getting their website applications done just like the big shops do (or should). As a result it uses the concept "development" as a sequence of versioned states complying with client requirements, in varying degrees of acceptance by the client.

This will include Drupal installation, maintenance, configuration, theming, functional enhancement through, say, module mashup; but it could conceivably include coding modules, although that isn't the main scope in the book. But it includes being able to manage an extremely wide skillset.

As such a user, you could give back mightily to the Drupal community, in any number of ways, including helping in the support forums, for example, with an innumerable flow of requests for help.

I don't think of coding or an intimate need for knowledge of Drupal internals as being any meritorious. Not everyone may need that; a person could be very good at using Drupal to satisfy web application needs using the methods and info provided in my book without ever coding.

Of course, reading Pro Drupal Development can give you valuable insight and understanding even if you are not going to code, I would certainly recommend it.

Using Drupal also may be just what the doctor ordered for some people, as may any one of several of the great Drupal books out there: the more the merrier.

Victor Kane

guysaban’s picture

I am using the "Using Drupal" book for working with Drupal from the User Interface and the "Pro Drupal Development" book for working with Drupal through code. Both are excellent books for learning Drupal. But what has been missing for me the last year is the understanding of how all this comes together in a structured and professional webshop process (workflow). I have see so many video tutorials and read so many comments and handbook pages all very helpful for a very focused development topic but still I missed the webshop development process. All these tutorials and the community support I received are all important pieces to something much bigger.

A big THANK YOU to Victor for giving me the start I was searching for. I now see how all the multi-facted aspects of professional website development and managed workflows come together from the developers perspective and for the customer.

cloneofsnake’s picture

Just ordered through Amazon. I wanted an electronic copy because I'm in Hong Kong and also it saves paper, but I simply can't wait till April! :P

Thanks Victor for creating what seems to be the perfect Drupal book for me!

victorkane’s picture

A big thank you @cloneofsnake @guysaban and everyone else who has commented. What more can an author hope for than to get such feedback.

Please feel free to participate in the online workshop at

Feel free to get into detail on each chapter as you work your way through the book.

Victor Kane

chrissommers’s picture

I absolutely love this book. I had a total epiphany while reading it. As a SW developer I use SVN daily, but I never quite made the mental leap on how to marry SVN (and Trac) with Drupal. Up until now the Drupal books never dealt with the software development lifecycle to show how software engineers really work. Your methodology is great and I am starting to incorporate it into my own. You really have a good writing style with an appropriate balance of detailed advice without getting pedantic.

It think my favorite gem is the idea of backup up your SQL dumps into a directory under sites/all/backup/db, then committing the whole sites directory to SVN; this is simple and brilliant. (I also like the rest of the book with your agile and Information Architecture "Lite" approach.)

BTW, is there a module or set of modules which let you easily do this snap-shotting? I can imagine a module which, with one click, backs up the DB and commits the site to a repo. That would eliminate some command-line steps and promote more frequent incremental commits.

Great work, look forward to another book from you.