My beginner’s Drupal 7 book: What’s missing?

I’ve been busy writing Drupal 7: Visual QuickStart Guide for Peachpit Press over the last couple of months. I’m pleased to say that all the main chapters are done, and most of them are already available for preview on Safari Books Online. (I’ve given the table of contents below.)

Now it’s time to write the appendices, and I’m not sure what would be most useful. We’re thinking:

  • Extending Drupal, including a list of the most popular modules, and whether they’re expected to be available for D7 (thanks to the #D7CX project)
  • Differences between D6 and D7
  • Interacting with the Drupal community
Other ideas?

Here’s what the book contains so far:

Chapter 1. Getting Drupal Up and Running

  • Fulfilling Drupal’s Requirements
  • Downloading and Unpacking Drupal
  • Creating the MySQL Database Using phpMyAdmin
  • Installing Drupal

Chapter 2. Establishing Your Drupal Site

  • Performing Common Post-Installation Tasks
  • Giving Your Site Its Identity
  • Selecting a Visual Theme
  • Monitoring Your Drupal Site
  • Packaging Your Drupal Site

Chapter 3. Creating and Managing Content

  • Gaining More Control of Individual Nodes
  • Creating Other Types of Content
  • Finding, Editing, and Deleting Content

Chapter 4. Customizing Content

  • Defining Custom Types of Content
  • Putting Images and Styled Text in Content

Chapter 5. Making Content Interactive

  • Enabling Interactive Content Types
  • Categorizing Content with Taxonomies
  • Mastering Text Formats

Chapter 6. Improving Access to Content

  • Making Content Searchable
  • Directing Traffic with Menus
  • Laying Out Your Site with Blocks

Chapter 7. Wrangling Users

  • Managing User Accounts
  • Controlling How Users Interact with Their Accounts
  • Defining User Roles and Permissions
  • Building and Protecting User Community

Chapter 8. Customizing Drupal’s Look and Feel

  • Creating a New Theme
  • Changing Theme Graphics and Typography with CSS

20 replies on “My beginner’s Drupal 7 book: What’s missing?”

Info about WampServer
First of all, it’s probably “Wamp”, not “WAMP”.

Secondly, the current Wamp includes PHP 5.3. Drupal 7 probably does not run without problems using PHP 5.3. One can install earlier PHP plugings from the Wamp site.

Best Wishes!

Since this is a beginner’s
Since this is a beginner’s book I don’t know if a comparison between Drupal 6 and 7 is required. I think that for people starting out with Drupal a chapter about how to interact with the community is more important, especially on how they can get help on the forum, on irc, on and explain the local Drupal groups.

I would also include a description of popular modules such as views, pathauto, service links and the new media module. Add a short note about how, at the time of writing, some modules might not have a stable Drupal 7 version available but that they are expected soon.

Best wishes for the book
If this has been already covered my apologies.

There can be a brief chapter on few important things that were in Drupal 6 and we are going to miss in Drupal 7 core. A few examples are
– a site’s registered users can no more choose a theme or skin they like
– the comment control as it appears in your site will probably be no more
– there are no new features which are new to the registered users or visitors
– will there be any performance gain, lesser size, lesser cpu consumption in D 7 ?

There are also very basic privacy issues which Drupal does not address – may be there can be tips-tricks or modules added in this book to do this
– an user cannot hide / show his online status
– an user cannot hide / show his email
– an user cannot put off his feeds ( there’s a patch – is it working? )
– anon users can enter there name in comments but not new posts ( why ? )
– drupal cannot search unicode text or fails frequently in case of unicode docs

early access edition?
Do you know if the publisher will offer an early access edition? I’d love to take a look at the book now.

RDF, Semantic Web, etc.?
This technology areas are supposed to figure in Drupal 7. To what extent will you address them in your book? Hopefully at least an orientation for beginners.

Nope, not in there.
Hi, jx. I’m afraid that none of those subjects are in this book: In my opinion, they’re both too advanced and too “young”.

Thanks for the reminder for next time, though. đŸ™‚

Coming in Definitive Guide to Drupal 7
in a chapter being written by Stéphane Corlosquet (scor), who led getting RDF into core.

(Disclosure: i’m heavily involved in that book and terribly biased.)

In the meantime check out presentations by scor or a bunch of posts and videos by Lin Clark for some RDF introduction.

jQuery and Drupal
Hi Tom,
I know it’s probably too late for your book, or maybe too advanced, but some explanation with examples on how to incorporate some basic (or advanced) jQuery stuff into Drupal managed content would be great. If you know of any resources I would appreciate it if you (or anyone) would post them.

Things like creating a tabbed interface, or tabs within right or left column blocks, or dropdown tiered navigation (or a meganav) managed with the menu section of Drupal… that kind of thing. I get how to do all of this in jQuery but am having difficulty translating that into what Drupal allows you to do… how to set it up or structure it within Drupal.

Thanks a lot!
~ Jim S.
ps – I found your site via the Lynda tutorials – very informative thanks!

I’m afraid it’s too late
Hi, Jim! Thanks for the ideas, which I agree would be great for an advanced Drupal book. Unfortunately, this one is (a) too elementary for such subjects, and (b) already written. (Well, it needs a complete revision to match Drupal 7’s new interface, but the basic text is there.) Sorry.

But you’re in luck! Matt Butcher has written a book specifically about Drupal and jQuery: Drupal 6 JavaScript and jQuery. And I understand that Aaron Winborn’s book Drupal Multimedia also has some stuff in it about jQuery.

Good luck!

jQuery and Drupal
Thanks for the links Tom, and thanks for the quick reply, much appreciated! Anyone know of any websites/tutorials that address this?
Thank you,
~ Jim S.

Extending Drupal, including a list of the most popular modules, and whether they’re expected to be available for D7

My vote is for the above.

Very heartened to see
the focus on interacting with the Drupal community. How did that end up working into the final book?

(Ahh, answering my own question via Safari bookshelf– a solid apppendix on getting and giving help!)

Thanks! I’m glad you liked it.

For the record, the entire book is being rewritten from the ground up to take into account changed in D7. But the community section should remain pretty much the same.

Missing database files
In your Lynda training basic lesson you refer to an existing database “2trees.sql.gz to import into the test site.

However, since I dont have that and it is not part of the upload for the training, what am I supposed to use to import?


Only if you’re a Premium member, or…
Hi, Robb. The exercise files are part of what you get if you sign up for as a Premium subscriber, at $37.50/month. You also get them when you buy the course on DVD.

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