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. Here are 3 examples:
(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.