Today I received a very nice package in the mail; my Drupal book is finally available!

Robert Douglass' Drupal bookWhen I first met Dries Buytaert, in February in Antwerp, we discussed the need for a book explaining how to use Drupal. We agreed that such a book would be a great asset to the many people who are becoming interested in our great software. Since I had already decided that it was my goal to write a Drupal book, I expressed this to Dries.

Soon after the conference, Dries was approached by Matt Wade, an editor at Apress, about writing 1/3 of a book about building online communities. The other 2/3 would discuss phpBB and WordPress, two other immensely popular projects that address different niches. As Dries was too busy with his studies to write a book, he introduced me to Matt.

The result was a project that lasted until October; writing the first book about Drupal. I knew that I would need lots of support, and therefore asked James Walker to be the technical editor. This turned out to be a very good move, as James is a "Drupal Rockstar" who always knows the smallest technical details, and has worked with many many clients and other people to know which parts of Drupal are hard to grasp, and where the hidden sticking points are. He helped me decide how to present the many concepts and capabilities that are not always intuitive.

What's inside?

This book covers Drupal from the point of view of someone who wants to build an online community. Tasks like installation are covered in detail. I scoured the Drupal forums to get a feeling for what kind of problems people run into when installing Drupal and tried to address as many as possible.

You can download the table of contents.

Basics

Concepts and tools like the taxonomy system get special attention. I wanted to not only explain how to use taxonomy, but to mention some of the possible reasons to do so as well. I gave lots of detail when it comes to using the taxonomy REST API that lets you query any Drupal database and get results either as HTML or RSS.

Modules

Since modules play a vital role in Drupal, I spent two chapters talking about them. First, I cover all of the core Drupal modules, providing comprehensive documentation. Then, in a separate chapter, I pick a handful of contributed modules and do the same for them. In particular, I discuss the installation of contributed modules in a general way so that installing modules should never again lead to dead ends or surprising situations.

I tried to pick modules that work well together. For example, the img_assist, image and tiny_mce modules are each great, but they are the most powerful if used together, and this is the way they are presented in my book. Likewise, flexinode, event and location modules are each great pieces of engineering, and very popular, but really start to shine when used to make custom events that are location aware and appear in the events calendar.

Themes

With Drupal 4.7, the default theme engine is PHPTemplate, and I cover this in great detail. In fact, I think that I am most happy with the chapter that covers themes. There is so much power in Drupal's theme system, and I have a feeling that seeing it all laid out on the table, with examples and helpful tricks, will change the way people think about theming Drupal. Thanks Steven Wittens for your help with this chapter!

PS. This chapter will be a great help to anyone who wants to participate in the upcoming Drupal theme competition!

Important things, Cool things

The final chapter deals with maintaining your site, and doing really cool things with it. The maintenance part deals with backups, upgrading, test sites and server administration stuff. Important and useful. The cool things are Drupal's multi-site functionality, database sharing, and a brief survey of the "Drupal community" to see what's out there and what resources the Drupaller has available.

Postlude

Many people helped with these efforts. Dries and Morbus Iff both reviewed chapters; contributors like Matt Westgate, Gerhard Killesreiter and Moshe Weitzman looked at excerpts that dealt with work they had done. Writing this has been a fantastic experience for me, and I have a lot of new-found respect for authors of all sorts. I had read many times from new authors that "it is harder than I expected". Well, I had adjusted my expectations accordingly, expecting it to be harder than expected, and I was unexpectedly surprised with how hard it turned out to be. But well worth it in the end!

Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and Wordpress is available at Amazon.com.

(Affiliate revenue will go to Drupal.org)

The book is also available as an E-book from Apress.

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Chapter_4.pdf868.75 KB

Comments

Chris Johnson’s picture

Nice work, Robert. Glad it's finally out. I may just have to buy a copy!

Somebody promote this to the front page! :-)

Robert Castelo’s picture

Congratulations, this is certainly a milestone for the Drupal community!

I know how much work it is to write just a few pages of documentation, so looking at the sample chapter I'm impressed with what you've achieved.

Maybe I can get you to sign a copy at the next DrupalCon :-)

Cortext Communications
Drupal Themes & Modules

------------------------------------------
Drupal Specialists: Consulting, Development & Training

Robert Castelo, CTO
Code Positive
London, United Kingdom
----

robertDouglass’s picture

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

Brian@brianpuccio.net’s picture

It doesn't seem like Safari has this book. Does anyone know if there are plans for this to show up there?

zirafa’s picture

congrats! just what we need...at least until "Drupal for Dummies"
comes out :)

Bèr Kessels’s picture

Robert, the book is ordered, though just too late to come as a xmas gift for my partners. I think you have doen grat work, but i will find uot after I read the book, huh :)

The very fact that you managed to get the word 'drupal'
in a printed (no, your canon bjc 250 does not count) 'environment' alone is already great for a lot of kudos and cheers.

Now let us just hope that mentioning PHPbb and drupal in one sentence does not fire that silly, neverending 'imusthaveaphpbbmodule' debate :)

---
Bèr Kessels
Professional www.webschuur.com
Personal bler.webschuur.com

Jaza’s picture

Congratulations, Robert, on bringing Drupal into a grand new era, and for making it that much more accessible and established. I read through most of the sample chapter that you've made available (chap 4), and the quality of this book simply blows me away!

You've done a fantastic job, and it looks like your book will be an indispensable treasure to everyone from would-be Drupallers, to confused newbies, to long-time veteran site admins (and even to seasoned developers!).

Just a pity that the book is so expensive here in Australia (AUD$89.95 - that's about USD$65.00) - not that this comes as a surprise, most PC books suffer this same problem down under. Might just have to order it straight from Amazon. One way or another, though, I'm getting my hands on it ;-).

Jeremy Epstein - GreenAsh

Jeremy Epstein - GreenAsh

robertDouglass’s picture

I hope you enjoy it, Jeremy =)

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

Walt Esquivel’s picture

Hi Robert,

I went to the apress.com web site today and invested $25 on the ebook version of the book - what a great value! I wanted to start reading it immediately and didn't want to pay for shipping so US$25 is very reasonable. The print version at http://apress.com/book/bookDisplay.html?bID=10031 is listed at US$49.99 and the ebook is listed at only US$25 (click on "Purchase as eBook").

Your book is going to help me quite a bit by saving hours of searching for answers here on this web site and hours of frustration due to mistakes on my end. Plus, it's written by a true Drupal professional so I know I can trust it! I'm glad Dries put you in touch with the editor at Apress and that you were able to complete the book project.

I highly encourage all newbies, which I myself still am, to invest the $25 for the ebook at apress.com or whatever the paper version costs wherever you can buy it. It's definitely worth it and will save newbies like me many hours of valuable time (and frustration!) with its clear and straightforward language, tips, cautions, etc.

The only issue I have now is...how the heck can Robert sign my ebook?! ;)

Well, it's back to reading some more. Thanks again, Robert. YOU'VE DONE EXCELLENT WORK.

Cheers & happy holidays,
Walt
---------------------------------------------------------
Walt Esquivel, MBA, MA, Captain - U.S. Marine Corps (Veteran)
President, Wellness Corps, LLC
---------------------------------------------------------

Amstercad’s picture

Thanks Robert for the quality documentation effort, and Walt for the timely and money saving e-book tip. Mega-kudos to you both.

I think I read both tips on Christmas eve, slept on it and realized the next day (doing repetitive work in an air mail hub helping Santa, ho hum, time to contemplate life really...) that I *had* to buy that book and read it asap. And I did, and have been doing, and I'm really glad I did. (and I gave the postman a rest.)

'tis the season of joy! Merry Merry!

It is a quality contribution I hope you'll find much reward in. Thank you.

grohk’s picture

This is truly fantastic news. I plan on buying a few copies to give to a few friends that need something like this to help them learn the inner workings of Drupal.

---
Code0range: Drink Your Juice

Roland Tanglao@bryght.com’s picture

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
--
...Roland

bertboerland’s picture

having an own ISBN number for something you co-created, rather cool. I preorded mine in a bulk mailing due from amazon. wont make it before the hollidays but still welcome.

Once again, rather cool news for you and the drupal community.

--
groets
bertb

--
groets
bert boerland

adrian’s picture

we should have some available for sale (signed, of course) at the vancouver meet up.

--
The future is so Bryght, I have to wear shades.

Dries’s picture

Quite a Christmas present!

jiggonaut’s picture

I 've heard about a german Drupal book coming in january. Unfortunatly I ve forgotten the title. Is this a german translation of your book?

bertboerland’s picture

i like the cover, reminds me of the old drop.org days...

--
groets
bertb

--
groets
bert boerland

oadaeh’s picture

I did a search on Amazon 3 or 4 weeks ago for the word Drupal, and came up with a big, fat 0. Then a couple of days ago, while looking for programming books for my son, I did another whimsical search for Drupal, and there was your book! I was perplexed as I could have sworn it wasn't there before, but now I know it is because it is brand new. It is currently in my Wish List, and I will be ordering it in the next day or two, when I get those other books for my son. Congratulations!

bertboerland’s picture

I pre-orded my copy on 15/11/05. I dont know if I found the book via a "customers who bought this also bought" or via the title including drupal.

Do a Drupal search on Amazon (strange, the revolution will not be televised which i also bought, is not on the list?)

--
groets
bertb

--
groets
bert boerland

bluepal’s picture

Congrats! No doubt, this is a sure sign that Drupal has made it to the mainstream. It can only go up ... WAY up!

Are you working on the SECOND edition now? :-)
... for Drupal 4.7 ??

Walt Esquivel’s picture

I purchased the ebook online at apress.com for US$25 and am enjoying reading it and learning quite a bit.

I’m using Drupal 4.6.5 and have a LAMP stack:
Operating System: Linux
Apache Version: 1.3.34 (Unix)
MySQL Version: 4.1.13-standard
Perl Version: 5.8.5
PHP Version: 4.4.1

With regard to “Creating the Files Directory” and the httpd.conf file covered in Chapter 1 on page 12 of the book, it states:

"The first step to creating the files directory with the optimal permissions is to determine
the username of the web server process. To find out what user the Apache web server is running as, look in the httpd.conf file, which is responsible for the Apache configuration. There you will find an entry like this (from Debian 3.1):
User www-data
The actual name of the user depends on the operating system and distribution. Other
common names for the user include wwwrun, www, apache, and wwwuser."

Well, I looked for and could not find the httpd.conf file on the shared server my web site is hosted on. Not knowing much about the httpd.conf file, I wrote my web host to find out its location. I was told there is only one httpd.conf file, that it is the server-wide configuration file on the shared server, and that modifying the httpd.conf file is not allowed because it would modify all accounts on the shared server. (With a dedicated server, a customer can access and modify the httpd.conf file.)

Since I don’t have access to the httpd.conf file, is there a workaround for this issue? (If so, I suggest a mention of it in the book’s revision.) I do have access to the .htaccess file, so is there anything I can do with it instead?

Also, the Drupal 4.6.5 INSTALL.txt file states the following. Is this good enough? Sounds like it will do the job, but perhaps with less-than-ideal permissions that the httpd.conf file would otherwise allow?

5. CONFIGURE DRUPAL

You should consider creating a "files" subdirectory in your Drupal installation directory. This subdirectory stores files such as custom logos, user avatars, and other media associated with your new site. The sub-directory requires "read and write" permission by the Drupal server process. You can change the name of this subdirectory at "Administer > Settings > File system settings".

Thank you in advance & happy holidays,
Walt
---------------------------------------------------------
Walt Esquivel, MBA, MA, Captain - U.S. Marine Corps (Veteran)
President, Wellness Corps, LLC
---------------------------------------------------------

dman’s picture

Well, I looked for and could not find the httpd.conf file on the shared server my web site is hosted on.

Yes

I was told there is only one httpd.conf file, that it is the server-wide configuration file on the shared server, and that modifying the httpd.conf file is not allowed because it would modify all accounts on the shared server.

Yes

(With a dedicated server, a customer can access and modify the httpd.conf file.)

... and infinite variations between these two approaches

Since I don’t have access to the httpd.conf file, is there a workaround for this issue?

Yes.
It's (usually) called .htaccess

There you get to over-ride or redefine most of the bits in httpd.conf you don't like.
On a site, subsite or directory basis.

Certain high-level configs (such as the location of the running binaries) cannot be over-ridden, and other bits may be locked down by admins (in their master httpd.conf : AllowOverride)
See the Apache docs for more.

Your helpdesk should have responded with "No, you can't muck about with httpd.conf - use .htaccess instead. ... like so... "

The sub-directory requires "read and write" permission by the Drupal server process.

Can also require a message to the admin, depending on many things, but basically completely unrelated to the httpd.conf issues.
You should be able to sort that out for yourself, either through FTP or a shell login.

.dan.

markus_petrux’s picture

To find out what user the Apache web server is running as, look in the httpd.conf file...

Not sure if it depends on the configuration, but this information may be also available in the phpinfo() report, in the "apache" section (near the top), on a table cell labeled "User/Group".

Doubt is the beginning, not the end of wisdom.

AliaK’s picture

Congratulations on the book and thanks for writing it. I just purchased the ebook version - looking forward to reading it. Having a chapter on themes is worth the price of the whole book in itself!

cheers

Stepunk’s picture

I just want to know how many mb are the ebook version available at apress.com

Walt Esquivel’s picture

If how many megabytes is your question, then the answer is 18. To be precise, it's 18,076 KB.

I have it on my hard drive and it's a PDF file.

-----
Walt Esquivel, MBA, MA, Captain - U.S. Marine Corps (Veteran)
President, Wellness Corps, LLC
-----
Drupal Users and Developers by Geographical Location
http://drupal.org/node/46659

Stepunk’s picture

thanks a lot! ;)

pamphile’s picture

congrats Robert

Marcel
http://www.macminiforums.com

garamchai’s picture

...on Amazon. I have been using WordPress for some time now and I am impressed. I am working on migrating one on my php-nuke+phpBB sites to Drupal. This book will, hopefully, reduce my stress levels. I hope a single-signon—as opposed to logging in three times to use the three features—is enough on a site to be able to use WordPress+Drupal+phpBB features on a site. I am also hoping there are themes out there on the 'net which, when installed, take care of look-n-feel of the whole site. Well, I will find out after reading the book.

Thanks for helping create a book on topics which needed to be addressed togetther!

robertDouglass’s picture

Thanks for ordering the book, I'm sure you'll find lots of useful information in it. Unfortunatley, the book is comprised of three separate sections which three authors wrote in parallel. You won't find information about how to integrate these three products with single sign-on etc. The point of addressing all three in one book is to help people decide which to use for their purpose at hand, and to serve as a quick reference.

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

garamchai’s picture

The idea is this: A community portal running Drupal (for content management by the site managers), phpBB (for forums for registered users to post) and WordPress (for registered users to blog) should allow for single sign-on to provide decent user experience. At the same time, although the site is using three different applications, the site should provide a single look-n-feel as opposed to three.

As one may notice, the inidividual strengths of these three applications together will make the site compelling. If one has to be technically adept to combine these three to function in unison or to use only one of these three applications to provide the functionality offered by three applications, acceptance of these applications will be much slower than when they are packaged together or work seamlessly with each other.

robertDouglass’s picture

but writing about this in the book just wasn't possible. There are very few people on Earth who know enough about all three of these systems to write about your vision. But if your goal is to use all three together, this book will be a major boon for you.

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

garamchai’s picture

Order Total: $32.47 (on Amazon, with A9.com π/2% instant discount) with free shipping. Although delivery will not be as quick as e-book, a few extra $$ for a hard copy of this book isn't all that bad.

matty’s picture

Im a designer, building my first Drupal site these days.
Ive been advancing very slowly with this, until I bought your book. It really helped me put things together, understanding the big picture as well as many details. Thank you very much for a great book!

nig’s picture

I'm a raving newbie and I've just bought the book as a way of getting a step-by-step "how to get started" hand-holding sort of user manual. It seems just the job.

However, chapter 1 mentions features that do not show up in my version of Drupal (4.6.3)

In the excercise to build a custom menu, the "Menu Item Settings" do not show up on my create content > page options.

In the excercise to set up free tagging for pages, the field "Tags" does not show up on my content creation form.

Also, in Admin > categories > add vocabulary, I don't have a "Free Tagging check box".

I have followed, and re-followed, the instructions about enabling the necessary modules (menu, page, taxonomy).

Strange. What am I missing? Is my version of drupal out of synch with the book's version? But I can't see anywhere, which version the book is describing......

All suggestions, that are understandable by a raving newbie, are very welcome.

Nig

robertDouglass’s picture

The book was written against the 4.7 code branch (current until about mid-September). Since we expected 4.7 to be released in October/November, and 4.6 was already most of a year old, we couldn't see the point in limiting it to 4.6.

Fortunately, the features that you mention can be replicated in 4.6 with the menu_otf module and Morbus Iff's free tagging patch.

Now, you may ask, why isn't this mentioned anywhere in the book? It was supposed to be. But, alas, it got overlooked. Good thing you can chat directly with the author, eh? =)

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

nig’s picture

You have a real gift for clear, calm prose - even while explaining complicated stuff.
Your book, and the way it is written, has been a great help to me in getting going.
Thank you
Nigel

Walt Esquivel’s picture

Hi Robert,

I hope all is well in Germany.

I purchased your book when it first came out in 12/05. I've been working on a few other projects and going to school since then and basically waiting for the Drupal 4.7 Release Candidate to be released which, in my opinion, could be very soon.

Like you, I had originally thought that 4.7 RC would have been released sometime last year, but I think it's definitely better to have stable code in a release that comes out later than originally believed than it is to have unstable code in a release that comes out early or on time.

So…on to the point of this email!

Are you aware of any HUGE differences between what you wrote in your book last year and the way Drupal 4.7 currently operates? We're up to drupal-4.7.0-beta6 and I'm about to start digging into your book and would hope that it's still current. Please understand that I realize there will be minor things that probably don't work exactly as that described in the book due to code revisions since you wrote it, and I'm not asking about those. I'm merely asking about HUGE differences that, if one follows your book, might cause HUGE issues, if any, with one's web site.

IF there are HUGE differences and if you simply want to post a few links in your reply to current solutions, that would be greatly appreciated. Of course, you writing back and saying there are no huge differences since you wrote the book would be fantastic!!! :)

Again, congratulations and thank you for your fine work!

Regards,
Walt

-----
Walt Esquivel, MBA, MA, Captain - U.S. Marine Corps (Veteran)
President, Wellness Corps, LLC
-----
Drupal Users and Developers by Geographical Location
http://drupal.org/node/46659

robertDouglass’s picture

Hi Walt,

where there are differences, they are not dangerous ones. The biggest change in 4.7 since the publication of the book is the new install system. It saves people the trouble of importing the mysql/pgsql files by hand and does it automatically when you activate the module. My book still instructs you on how to do it by hand. If you import them by hand, and then activate the module, the install system will throw an error, but no damage is done. The module gets installed one way or another, so no danger is involved.

I plan on releasing an article detailing the differences between what is in the book and 4.7 when 4.7 is released.

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

Walt Esquivel’s picture

Thanks Robert.

As today is St. Patrick's Day, be sure to drink some tasty green beer, German or otherwise!

The luck o' the Irish to ya!

-----
Walt Esquivel, MBA, MA, Captain - U.S. Marine Corps (Veteran)
President, Wellness Corps, LLC
-----
Drupal Users and Developers by Geographical Location
http://drupal.org/node/46659

Fidelis’s picture

..To reading more of you. I had already identified your book as a good resource to read, and now that I'm done reading your part in the book (twice), I found myself in the funny position of being able to answer (well - a little) a question or two here (!)

Now, I am eager to read a similar book as yours but on Drupal templates.

In planning my site at http://www.gov20.info, the only two questions left I have (at this point - lol) are:

  • What are your recommendations for a Drupal community administrator to deploy a wiki capability, as close (in terms of features - not the look) as possible to MediaWiki, for example? In the earlier link I allude to using Book pages for this; but found out that a Wiki Module is in progress... There seems to be many ways to approximate a wiki capability with drupal and frankly I am a little lost on how to make this decision - use something available now but what or wait for what seems to be *the* wiki module (also see the discussion thread), etc.;
  • Same question but for blogs - I understand from your book that drupal (the Blog Mdule) enables individual blogs, but what about community wide or organic groups blogs? Is there a way to do this other than with taxonomy terms?

patrick

robertDouglass’s picture

Hi Patrick,

I'm really glad you enjoyed it. There are two book topics that will have to get written by someone else; the Drupal programmer's guide (being written already), and the Drupal theme developer's guide (not my forte). I do have plans for a second book, and with luck, will start writing it later this year. No promises, though =)

As for wikis, I know next to nothing about them. I haven't even tried all of the various wiki options that exist for Drupal. I know that there are efforts by some really smart people in Drupal-land to have one wiki module that works really well, so maybe the answer to your question will become clear in time.

In terms of blogs, there are several ways to crack the nut, all of them involving either lots of configuration tricks or custom development. Organic groups is a good start, and it is being developed really really heavily, so it is always getting better. The Views module is also helpful because you can create list-type views of just about any combination of nodes/terms/users that you want, so you have a lot of options in terms of customization. The two modules even have some base-level integration. Views will play a central part in the Drupal of the future, so getting to know it is very worth your while.

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

Walt Esquivel’s picture

Patrick,

With regard to community wide or organic groups blogs, I encourage you to ask your questions at http://drupal.org/node/59082, "Organic Group Enhancements."

It's a brand new thread as of today and, to me, it's VERY EXCITING to read the planned future of organic groups! =)

-----
Walt Esquivel, MBA, MA, Captain - U.S. Marine Corps (Veteran)
President, Wellness Corps, LLC
-----
Drupal Users and Developers by Geographical Location
http://drupal.org/node/46659

Fidelis’s picture

Robert - thanks for the reply. I've bookmarked Views and will revisit after 4.7 is out. I might just wait (a few weeks apparently?) for 4.7 before I download and deploy MY FIRST DRUPAL SITE (really excited about this - I think it's time I find a girlfriend - lol). I'll also wait to see what's happening with the Wiki module.

Walt - thanks for the link, I will monitor. I laughed when I read webchick's "Name your pet feature for OG and make Raven pay for it" and saw your answer... ;-)

patrick

vincentc’s picture

Hi Nig,

I had exactly the same problem as you and I thought I was doing something wrong!!

I even wrote to Apress to mention an "erratum".

I finally decided to install 4.7.x and then the light came. ;-)

But it's too bad the book doesn't mention the version anywhere.

Vincent

robertDouglass’s picture

It was a stupid oversight on our part. Glad you've liked it otherwise, though.

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

kae’s picture

great book. let's put the table of contents into the documentation on this web, with a link to the book! that way when we search this site, we are also searching the book

robertDouglass’s picture

I don't have the table of contents in electronic form. Good idea, though!

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

kae’s picture

the top of this page claims to have a link to the outline in pdf form. i guess it could be scanned in using optical character recognition. glad you think it's a good idea. i posted it in another thread but i guess you didn't see it.

robertDouglass’s picture

It's just the first page. The interesting stuff, which lists all the keywords that you'd want to be picked up by the search, is all in the subsequent pages, which I don't have in electronic form. Makes me curious... I wonder when Google will have it available in book search?

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

kae’s picture

yes I see what you mean. I think Amazon and Google have some options for authors so you could see if you could request something. also amazon was piloting a program to sell one page for 3 cents or something. will be interesting when it's up and running

ae

vincentc’s picture

I've just finished reading this book and I found it excellent!!

My job is to build websites and I'm considering switching to Drupal for all my new projects. (I'm currently only doing 'hand-coded' PHP/MySQL websites.)

After some investigation, it seemed Drupal would fit the bill. I first went to the Drupal website and printed out all the documentation I could find. Unfortunately, some poorly-edited sections (no offence here, it's just the impression I had) really confused me. I then went to Amazon and found out this book had just been released. I've only read the part on Drupal so far, but I highly recommend it.

For a Drupal newbie like me, it has given me an extremely clear vision of what Drupal is, what it does, and how to install/configure/extend it.

Congratulations to Robert Douglass and the Apress team for the book, and to Dries for creating Drupal to begin with. ;-)

robertDouglass’s picture

Please share your honest impressions about this book on Amazon. There is currently one review which hopefully doesn't represent everyone's experience with the work.

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

kae’s picture

The section on Drupal is terrific -- it has saved me a tremendous amount of time. It builds on the current documentation, but it adds very helpful comments which have prevented or solved problems for me.

(1)On page 131 it says Organic Groups conflicts with other modules that provide access control, such as Taxonomy Access. I'm so glad I read that before I installed Taxonomy Access. On the Drupal forum you can find people who installed modules that conflict, and ended up having to reinstall the entire program. This tip from Robert saved me 3 days of chaos.
(2)It told me about the devel module (p.144), which enables me to test code. That was a great find. When the devel module was not working, I checked the book and realized I forgot to enable access controls.
(3)Yes the install directions are similar to Drupal's. (That makes sense, there's one basic way to install it.) But Robert Douglas added a great short cut that I didn't know (on page 6) which is to use wget instead of downloading and then uploading. I quote, “the quickest way to get Drupal....” That's a nice shortcut

As far as I know, the 3 points above are either not in the Drupal documentation or are buried within it in a place easily missed.

Another great thing about the book is that Douglas goes through 10 modules that he considers very useful. Since Drupal has 400 modules of varying quality, it's really useful to get a sense of some of the best ones. Alas, Douglas didn't have the space to cover more modules. He's writing a second book covering I think about 100 modules, which I can hardly wait to buy.

Because I'm having trouble getting some modules to work correctly, I've already written Robert Douglas and offered to PAY HIM RIGHT NOW in full for his second book if he'll send me even just the 3 pages on the modules I'm having trouble with. That's how much I value his documentation.

Douglas is a good writer. I quote from one user on the Drupal website: “You have a real gift for clear, calm prose - even while explaining complicated stuff. Your book, and the way it is written, has been a great help to me in getting going. Thank you.”

I can't speak to the other 2 sections because I don't know those pieces of software. But I highly recommend the Drupal section. I will warn you that some of it might go over your head, but Drupal is a complicated system and it takes time to get up the learning curve.

Drupal is a fantastic content management system with a terrific community. However, it is oriented toward people who are programmers. Drupal, and this book, may not be right for you if you are not willing to invest the time to learn. On the other hand, Drupal lets you set up a website for free that would cost perhaps $500,000 to $1 million if you hired programmers to wrote every line from scratch. Thanks to Dries and all the other developers for making this terrific software available for free, and to Douglas for explaining it.

Just to let you know, I tried to use Drupal in November. I couldn't figure it out, saw the book was coming out in December, and decided to wait until it came out. It was a great decision, because Drupal was far easier to figure out with the book.

dlr’s picture

a great book for the newbee i am. Just a detail, the description of module 'drupal' is incorrect now (v 4.7) : the site directory feature is no longer part of it.

aidanodr’s picture

Hi All,

Just said I would pop the following up as it may prove useful to newbies like me. I bought your book Robert, very good, just the ticket to get my head around the concepts. Here is what may not have been mentioned before - IT IS ALSO AVAILABLE AT THE APRESS SITE AS AN EBOOK FOR $25. Great Bargain. I have it displayed on one Screen / PC while Drupal is open on another. Go here for the EBOOK version and immediate download:

http://www.apress.com/book/bookDisplay.html?bID=10031

I apologise if this has been mentioned already

Cheers
Aidan O Driscoll

robertDouglass’s picture

I think someone did mention it before, but it is good to say it again. Most of us are perfectly comfortable reading from the computer screen, and if you want to save a couple $$ and a bit of a tree, the ebook is a great option.

Glad you are enjoying the book!

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

dlr’s picture

:)

kennyg’s picture

If you are new to Drupal like me, get this book, sit down and install Drupal with the book as your guide. It sure takes the guess work out and easily explains the how's, why's and what's of Drupal.

Many thanks to the authors - sure hope you are making money on this book. In Canada it is normally kept in stock at Chapters / Indigo.

dpimp’s picture

Trying to purchase ebook at apress but There is not possible to pay via paypal funds only via credit card.

Are you handling the sales so i can pay directly to you?

robertDouglass’s picture

If you find a way to purchase with PayPal, let us know, thanks.

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

dpimp’s picture

the question directing to thouse who have read already the whole book...

thecreek’s picture

Hi Robert,

I was wondering how well your book might sync with CivicSpace.
I noted that you had a few tweaks that could be made to the default 4.6 install that would allow it to function as 4.7 - but I've heard that CivicSpace actually uses a lot of modified code.

Basically, I'm attempting to set up a Drupal installation, where users can peruse content globally, or based on location. For instance, someone in town A can view all "humor" based articles or "music" created by others in town A, or globally.

I'd just hate to purchase the book, thinking it might show me the "light" - only to find that it's too limited in scope for my needs, requiring me to go back into the hell of hunting down documentation on the site.

And I'm a little scared of investing my time (not so much the cost :) ) in reading your book if it won't apply at all to the CivicSpace installation.

I absolutely despise reading on a computer screen - so I'll definitely buy the book if it can only allow a grasp of the basics.

But it might be cool if you'd offer some type of online supplement to the information online? Particularly given it's been released a bit "ahead of its time"?

Thanks for any info.

sepeck’s picture

CivicSpace is essentially Drupal core with add on modules configured and integrated. They add an installer and profiles. Not quite sure where you heard more then that.

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide -|- Black Mountain

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide

thecreek’s picture

I'm just a newbie, so I have no clue really.
But I could have sworn I ran across a thread where someone was comparing CivicSpace with 4.6, and they mentioned that the actual core code had been manipulated within CivicSpace.
Again, I have no idea - just thought it would most likely effect the book, as it's based on Drupal 4.7, whereas CivicSpace is 4.6?

sepeck’s picture

Ahhh, well CivicSpace has several developers and initiatives ongoing. THey have a vested interest in folllowing Drupal core development. They also hlp to make sure the additional contrib modules that they use in their distribution are updated in a timely manner. The current release of CivicSpace is based off 4.6. When 4.7 is released CivicSpace will release a distro based off 4.7. I believe their plan is to release very soon after.

You can find more information on their site www.civicspacelabs.com I use Drupal core, but their distribution has many additional features that can help ease the use.

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide -|- Black Mountain

-Steven Peck
---------
Test site, always start with a test site.
Drupal Best Practices Guide

kae’s picture

i wrote on a thread that for free tagging, civicspace uses a different patch than drupal. the book is equally useful for both. (but it explains little in terms of taxonomy relative to what you might be looking for)

robertDouglass’s picture

It is great software, doesn't break Drupal compatibility, and has the location module already included. I recommend using CivicSpace in the book, and you will gain much guidance on using CivicSpace by reading it, especially in the chapter for contributed modules.

I hope to release an article for owners of my book to bridge the gap between the book and 4.7 when 4.7 is released.

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

thecreek’s picture

Robert,

Are you telling me that - after reading your book - I'll not only understand what taxonomy, nodes, and flexinodes are, but I'll actually be able to employ them creatively to create a community-based site?

Cuz I've spent a fairly good amount of time here - and EVERY time I think I have something figured out, I run across something else telling me that what I thought was right was actually wrong - and that the "better" approach would be to...

Basically, I just want someone to communicate how to use this thing effectively and with authority :) If your book is full of "you can do this" or "this path also works" and "this path is also good", I may hafta shoot ya :) If I want a thousand different opinions as to how to make Drupal even MORE abstract, I can just stay here hunting game in the forums :)

Opinions are all cool for the gurus - but for the newbies, getting down to the nitty gritty of what things are and what they aren't, actually grasping the basics, gets so freakin' (un-necessarily in my opinion) abstract, it's just maddening. Almost like Drupal is a religion and there's already a zillion "true ways of Drupal."

It's really so bad that I can't even trust that Drupal is even the best fit for my project, cuz I have really no idea what it does. But I still trust that the ubergeeks know what they're talking about - and they all say Drupal is the bomb.

Hopefully, you're the kinder, gentler ubergeek who actually holds the newbies hands and takes them through the fire swamp?

Brian@brianpuccio.net’s picture

What if there is more than one way through the fire swamp and some ways are better for some people and other ways are better for other people? There may not be one hard and fast solution.

robertDouglass’s picture

The book was definitely aimed at answering the types of questions you're facing. It discusses taxonomy and shows some examples of how it can be used in conjunction with some modules. I cover a lot of material in 215 pages, so it is certainly not "The Drupal Bible"... that book is yet to be written.

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

robertDouglass’s picture

http://civicspacelabs.org/home/developers/download

I just tested it and it is very nice. It has a new module, zadministration, which provides an administration dashboard. This means the configuration and adminstration of the site looks significantly different (better) than plain-vanilla Drupal. It also means that it will look accordingly different than in the Drupal book.

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

dpimp’s picture

actualy they fix the problem and now u can pay with ur funds there and i did it. but after payment i wasn't redirected to download page but again to my shopping card. i verify my paypal acc and see the payment was OK.

letter to apress support has auto answer
"I will be away from email on Friday March 24 for most of the day"

it look like till monday nobody gonna answer to it and 2 days i was planed to read it goes to rubish.

can anybody give me a tip how to find at Apress purechased items?

------------

PS: email from apress arived with an 1h delay, downloading now. everybody who wanted to pay with paypal funds can do it now.

dpimp’s picture

met 1 problem trying to search into the book - pages in content table not asigned right into ebook.

for example:
Menu Module . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79

but realy it is on page 107, need a time scroll over the pages to find somthing...

i think its not very difficlt to correct it ?

Walt Esquivel’s picture

(Robert Douglass - please feel free to correct/clarify anything I write below. You might want to ask the publisher about this annyoing issue..it's not a biggie, just annoying.)

SHORT ANSWER:
Add 28 to any page listed in contents/index of ebook because page 1 in the ebook = page 29 in Adobe's PDF file!

LONG ANSWER:
You're absolutely correct that pages in the Contents section of the ebook do not match up with pages in the chapters of the ebook. This is not the author's fault but simply the way Adobe's PDF file presents it to us.

In your example of the ebook's Menu Module being listed on page 79 in the Contents page but actually being found on page 107 of the PDF file, the reason is because all pages in the ebook that start with "Page 1" are off by 28 pages. The PDF file does not "know" that the cover page nor the acknowledgements nor the Contents (etc.) shouldn't be counted and so it starts counting pages from the very beginning, including the cover page.

For example, go to the very "first" real page of the book, the page you and I would believe is page 1 and which is titled "Part 1, Drupal." You'll see that if you click on "Thumbnails" on the left margin of the PDF file to see various pages listed in a vertical column and click on the right hand side, that is, the page titled "Part 1, Drupal," what we see on the right as page 1 is actually page 29 for Adobe on the left. So, page 1 in the book = page 29 in Adobe!

I don't know of a way to "fix" this issue other than to simply add 28 pages to anything in any chapter or index pages you're trying to get to. For example, take your 79, add 28, and voila, you get 107! :)

Enjoy the book!

-----
Walt Esquivel, MBA, MA, Captain - U.S. Marine Corps (Veteran)
President, Wellness Corps, LLC
-----
Drupal Users and Developers by Geographical Location
http://drupal.org/node/46659

Walt Esquivel’s picture

I'm confused as to whether or not you were able to download your ebook.

So...

1. Go to http://www.apress.com/ecommerce/loginp.html
2. Log in.
3. On the right hand side of the next screen, click on "Download".
4. Again on the right hand side of the next screen, you should see a vertical list of the word "Download," one for the entire book and many more for individual chapters, the table of contents, and the index. Click on the one you want to download. I simply downloaded the entire ebook, which is an 18MB PDF file.
5. Enjoy the ebook!

-----
Walt Esquivel, MBA, MA, Captain - U.S. Marine Corps (Veteran)
President, Wellness Corps, LLC
-----
Drupal Users and Developers by Geographical Location
http://drupal.org/node/46659

robertDouglass’s picture

thanks for helping make this so clear. Much appreciated.

- Robert Douglass

-----
Try CivicSpace 0.8.3!

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

adamm’s picture

hey.. im knew in this..

how to get started? how to get this book for free ??

robertDouglass’s picture

You can download that for free. Otherwise the book is available at Amazon and on the Apress site itself.

- Robert Douglass

-----
My Drupal book: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB and WordPress

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

twohills’s picture

it is worth the money. I bought it today from Apress for $18.75. it's nothing for what you get.

Drupal Install Step #1 ought to be BUY THIS BOOK. Oh if only I had it back then!!

i'm up to chapter 2 and it paid for itself in saved grief already

yes you can argue that the Handbooks should look like this and one day they might. For now they don't, and people need to be incented to go to the amount of effort that went into this book.

jeditdog’s picture

Well, I guess I'm starting the debate again :)

No really, I've just got a question. Doest this talk about integrating Drupal & PHPBB ?

or does it just refer to them independentaly.

Fidelis’s picture

book is three parts, three different authors, each part is self-contained and only about itself - no integration. But by the time you're through with drupal (which comes first), you may (it happened to me) not even continue to read the other parts, not because they're not interesting, but because your online community needs may be all fulfilled with drupal...

patrick

Chill35’s picture

The section you wrote on Drupal is a book in itself and it is GRRREEATTTT.

I bought it online through Chapters Indigo.

Chapters Indigo is, to my knowledge, as big as amazon.ca in Canada, as an online book store. Chapters (online! not in their book stores...) matched the 33%-off offer of Amazon on your book, so it was relatively cheap, and it turned out that the first third of the book (your part) was well worth a one-on-one one-week training course, so... so much more than what I paid for the book (and I am an quasi-destitute girl, currently unemployed and disabled, I am getting some of my food from charitable organizations, no kidding). I was afraid that the book would be outdated. But it covers 4.7 !!! Yeahhh! Another book is coming out, but that will be in April 2007 or something, and anyway, I won't need that other book because I have yours, now, and by April 2007 I expect to be a Drupal expert.

I known that there is excellent documentation on drupal.org... and the forums are a GREAT resource!
(and I get fast-enough access with my dialup connection) HOWEVER your book is really adding to all of that. It is well-organized, it builds-up very nicely, the exercises are exccccellent and it goes in depth... and you are a great writer... the way you explain is crystal-clear!

I am not good at writing reviews, Mr Douglas, but on Chapters Indigo we can give "stars" to a book without reviewing it. I will give it 5 stars. I will do that now (before I forget he he he).

I did not know that you also contributed to these forums. What a surprise to see your name here well AFTER I had bought the book. LOL...

That must have been a lot of work (tremendous work) so thank you for spending so much time on this!

Caroline

Chill35’s picture

LOL... not only does your book already have 5 stars on Chapters but it has an excellent review :

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/item/books-978159059562/

Please let me know if it's not appropriate to link to an online book store... I will remove that link if it is. It probably is.

Chill35’s picture

Here is the review : If you are new to Drupal like me, get this book, sit down and install Drupal with the book as your guide. It sure takes the guess work out and easily explains the how's, why's and what's of Drupal. Many thanks to the authors - sure hope you are making money on this book. In Canada it is normally kept in stock at Chapters / Indigo.

FYI, Canadian people, Amazon.ca does have the book in stock now, HOWEVER... (LOL)

Only 1 left in stock--order soon (more on the way).