Drupal 6 Panels Cookbook, by Bhavin (Vin) Patel, a newly-published title from Packt Publishing, is a collection of simple useful recipes that gives a very clear understanding from the basics of Panels to complex implementations to generate Web 2.0 layouts.

It begins with the basics and gradually delves deeper into the complexities of Panels. You will learn how to set up CTools and Panels, upgrade from Panels 2 to Panels 3, about page layout, theming, and lots more. The layout of the book is a series of interconnected but distinct recipes that gives a basic understanding of usage of Panels in Drupal and also the advanced settings that makes Panels one of the most powerful modules. You will learn to master the Panels user interface and theme each panel quickly with a series of practical recipes. You will be able to integrate powerful Drupal modules like Organic Views, Advanced Profile Kit, Views, CCK, and many more to create socially connected Web 2.0 websites.

As a reader of drupal.org, you can receive a 20% discount (see below) and benefit the Drupal Association!

What you will learn from this book :

  • Develop spectacular Drupal websites by leveraging the power of Panels.
  • Make complex and user-friendly front pages for portals and social media websites without coding.
  • Theme your Panel pages to generate rich user experience for your websites.
  • Create powerful and attractive front pages by combining Panels with Views.
  • Clone a page layout and get quick and easy replicate layouts across the site.
  • Introduce access permissions for your page and define your own access rules for users.
  • Generate a distinctive-looking Web 2.0 design using the powerful combination of Panels UI and custom CSS.
  • Create not just custom page layouts but also custom block layout inside the page by using mini panels effectively with Panels.
  • Put together fancy user profile pages like those commonly found on social networking sites by using the Advanced Profile Kit.
  • Provide extended functionality to Drupal using a killer combination of Panels and other modules.
  • Dive into a real complex travel site example. Live Site : Visit Communiqs.com!


Written in cookbook style, this book offers learning and techniques through recipes. It contains step-by-step instructions for Drupal users to make optimal use of the Panels module. The book is designed in such a way that you can refer to things chapter by chapter, or read them in no particular order.

Get 20% off!

I have secured an exclusive 20% discount for you when you buy through PacktPub.com, just enter the discount code Drupal6panels20 (case sensitive), to the shopping cart. As with all of Packt’s Drupal books, Packt will be donating a percentage of its sales to the Drupal Association.

About the Author

Bhavin (Vin) Patel is a result-oriented lead Web architect with a focus on delivering high-quality code and products in high traffic environments. He is enthusiastic about building new products and services. He has nine years of experience in the Internet industry, and specializes in Drupal. He has hands-on experience with all aspects of building large-scale, high-availability applications: application development, n-tier architecture, frameworks, data interchange, security, online commerce, database administration, replication, optimization, server administration, open source software, and quality assurance. He stays up-to-date with best practices and is always finding himself learning new technologies.


Michelle’s picture

This sounds like a cool book but, as the maintainer of the Advance Profile Kit module, I'm sitting here scratching my head wondering why no one talked to me about it? It's currently in RC, which means a lot of people will shy away from it, and I could have coordinated a release if I'd had some warning. Also, I've made a lot of changes fairly recently so I could have been sure the book was up to date with them. I realize APK is only a small part of it but it sounds like merlinofchaos didn't have advanced notice, either, and I know he's been doing one heck of a lot of work on Panels / Page Manager lately and coordinating with him would have been good as well.


mindtrades’s picture

I wanted to first thank you for taking the time to go through my book and assess the various components which have been placed together to deliver an understanding of panels to the Drupal community. In understanding this, the purpose of the book which I have written on Panels was to provide primary understanding of the effective usage of Panels for launching websites and small web-based projects.

I appreciate the fact that you have found the Advanced Profile Kit portion of my book interesting with room for improvement as with any book or technology. The version of APK for the purpose of use at the time which I was writing the book sufficed. In any case, I would love to work with you in the future on other projects that are in development in order to include the latest version of APK on writings that are more specific to Module Integration rather then general understanding of a module.

I hope my response is adequate in answering your questions and comments. Please feel free to contact me and lets co-ordinate and touch base for the future to come.


Michelle’s picture

I haven't actually read the book, sorry. I can't afford to buy a copy just out of curiosity to see what you said about my module and I already know how to use Panels.

My point was, why write a book about contributed modules without even letting the authors of said modules know you are doing so? If we have some warning there is a book coming out, that gives us the chance to help you and also a chance to make sure our modules are in a good position to have a sudden influx of new users.

Obviously it's too late for this book but, in the future, I hope Packt Publishing takes this into consideration. This isn't like writing a book about Windows. This is open source where the authors of the code are very approachable and working with them will make for better books.


Juliancpackt’s picture


I am a colleague from Packt (as my name may suggest) and I can ensure this feedback has been passed on to my editorial team. We do work with authors of code however this time in some cases it seems to have slipped the net.

Thanks again for your feedback,

Kind Regards


ukrdrupal’s picture

Michelle, I am sorry, but I just cannot resist responding to your comments. You are TOO correct in everything you said.

Some ideas/thoughts -

Maybe the author wanted more attention on them self?
Maybe if they involved the module creator, they understood they should share in some profit?

I went to the author's web-site and their prime example ( Communiqs.com ) that they gave, demonstrating their abilities in panels. I was not at all impressed. I expected to see a really-really impressive site. Woah! No way!

The author's sites really are not good selling points for their book! Judging by the websites, I wouldn't even waste my money on purchasing the book, no matter how good the title, subject or the description!

"Dive into a real complex travel site example" ??!! Yeah right!

kaakuu’s picture

More sample chapters and a better demo site would be welcome.

Regarding "slipped the net" I think this is the fun of GNU General Public License. Everybody is free to earn whatever they like. It may be good to consult the module creators and maintainers but it is not necessary. When GNU was drafted no body perhaps really thought that big corporates (who donate money too) will have such a flourish and rapid output of printed books on stuffs such as php cms-es. Something that is so "hard" as printed book is somewhat (put your word) to something which is so "soft" as in software. Maybe some one needs to do introspection and a revision in GNU w.r.t a clause on printed books now that they are both plaguing our source of knowledge-base as well as "donating"" money. Wondering whatever happened to a good wiki knowledge-base with good static diagrams, flowcharts and nice text, something like Wikipedia for Drupal and radically different from the book-pages and docs we have?

Michelle’s picture

I don't think there's anything wrong with books and there shouldn't be any requirement that book authors contact the code writers. I think it's to their mutual benefit if it happens but I would be against making it a requirement of any sort or banning the ability to release books on open source.


PettyRider’s picture

When I click Add to Cart it just puts me on the homepage with an empty cart. C'mon

jrivelli’s picture

The book seems cool, but what is stopping people from just asking the community for help? o.0

mherchel’s picture

I think the point is to get all the information in one place without having to ask (and then wait) for help.

I love cookbook style books, going through examples one at a time really works for me. I'll look into this book a bit...

Bubb1egum’s picture

It would be cool if someone added nice examples like these to the drupal.org Snippets or Tutorials sections. open just like open source

Balbo’s picture


jillbrown’s picture

Someone should have a tutorial section already built out on the forum. I remember a few months back seeing one. I'll send you a thread if I find it.

mindtrades’s picture

I would be now the person to initiate that too, for the community

gloscon’s picture

The sheer will and attempt to write something that helps promote Drupal is appreciated. Writing a book is a very intensive process. I'm sure - there is an audience - especially those starting out in Drupal who would prefer to buy this book for offline reading and also go through online tutorials.

mindtrades’s picture

Thanks for your comment

legend112’s picture

The intention to write a book was great but as far as material and relevancy is concerned...this book doesn't weigh much. The example site really sucks, Michelle has pointed out one of its flaws and how it could have been improved. What good is it to learn from a book that's obsolete? [or at least refers to obsolete material]

I'm all for a tutorial section so the books can be open sourced as well...[a wiki maybe?]

mindtrades’s picture

The book is not obsolete. The book has references to many other modules and it has every detail required to make that module functional with panels.Michelle's Concern was different.

legend112’s picture

Had you taken the time to get the latest input from module developers and [as it now seems you lack it] knowledge of how to make the best use of their modules, you'd have done a much better job mate. I apologize for being so harsh but what you have in your book is not the best, latest nor the most relevant material you could have delivered.

"Also, I've made a lot of changes fairly recently so I could have been sure the book was up to date with them." Oh, just to quote what Michelle said.

sunward’s picture

It would have been better to offer a chapter in the middle of the book. Not the first that is almost a repeat of what is on line now.

GiorgosK’s picture

It would be nice if every author did contribute back to the community
with updating the documentation from where they got their FREE content for their books

take this as an example

Hummad’s picture

Excellent book and got me going to work with panels but not really sure if you would be able to answer my question but I will ask anyways. I have an ongoing implementation (first of my effort in drupal) where the primary design is using:
1. Panel 6.x-3.8
2. View 6.x-3.0-alpha3
3. Menu Link

The Panel is a two column display where left column is "navigation" and right column is "content display". The navigation design is as follows:
1. Home page (panel) content display has a view where one selects a content type,
2. The view is configured to "Output this field as a link" and throws the output, which are two field values of the content type selected in step 1.
3. The output is configured as mySite/panel/panelName/[field_value_1]/[field_value_2]

I have been able to configure the fore mentioned but need to make this iterative so that once a selection is made in step 1, the fields are saved and called as and when required. This, as per perceived design, would be through links which would be pre-configured with links like mySite/panel/panelName/[field_value_1]/[field_value_2]. The field value would of-course change whenever a new content is selected (step 1).

What I am unable to figure out is where and how to save the field values so that they can be used in the navigation links. What I have been to figure out that I need to save the fields as global variable and that too at the time to content selection so that the navigation links that give updated information.

Warm Regards