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Pro Drupal 7 Development Paperback – Dec 29 2010
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About the Author
John K. VanDyk has been a Drupal developer since 2004. In 2005, he organized the first Drupal conference in Antwerp, Belgium, with Drupal founder Dries Buytaert. John has contributed several modules to Drupal including the actions, workflow, publish, subscribe, and pubcookie modules and has been instrumental in the design of Drupal's Content Construction Kit. John's day job is as an entomology professor and systems analyst at Iowa State University, where he teaches undergraduate courses about insects. In his spare time, when not hacking on Drupal, John enjoys squash hunting and raising children.
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Entities: Every data element in Drupal is now an Entity (Nodes, taxonomy, users, comments). This was huge shift and probably could get its own chapter. Found barely a mention of this.
Database: I was glad to see some mention of the OOP aspects of the database API. One major absence was EntityFieldQuery. This is a huge D7 feature that developers will need and I don't recall seeing it mentioned.
RDF: Resource Description Framework is in core. This needs a chapter (or a book). Enough said.
Renderable Content: All content in D7 is treated similar to FAPI (form API), via a renderable array. This new feature didn't get nearly enough of the attention it deserves.
I respect the authors work and gave them my $[...] bucks for the book. That being said, I'd really wait for (hopefully) the next edition of this book as it is missing too many key features of D7 for me to fully recommend. If you are already hardcore into D7 development definitely hold out.
Probably the biggest shortcoming of "Pro Drupal 7 Development" is the inadequate coverage of Fields API. One major change of Drupal 7 was the integration of CCK (now known as Fields API) into core. While the book explains how to define fields in the UI (which is off-topic for a book on programming) and how to create custom fields, it lacks an explanation of how to work with fields programmatically. Consequently, it remains unclear how to migrate content based on custom node types from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7.
Other major changes of Drupal 7 include Entities, which unify nodes, users, and comments into one common concept, and Render Elements, which radically change the way theming works. Alas, neither Entities nor Render Elements are even mentioned in this book.
It is obvious that "Pro Drupal 7 Development" was rushed to market. The index is sketchy, some flow diagrams of the second edition have been replaced by blurry jpegs, and code examples are formatted sloppily (wrong indentation, poor word-wrapping). Many chapters refer to the Drupal online documentation for "up-to-date information".
For Drupal module developers who already own the second edition and who just want update their knowledge for Drupal 7 the book "Drupal 7 Module Development" by Matt Butcher is a much better choice.
The code examples are full of errors, but there is no errata:[...]
Apparently, Apress lost all the submitted errata information because of no backup.
I honestly don't understand how a book like this can pass through a process of technical review, and even get the recommendations of Dries Buytaert in the foreword. I love Drupal, but this book is going to be bad for the community. I really think Apress owes us a revised edition.
I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone already owning the second edition. Instead buy "Drupal 7 module Development". It is not an easy read, but at least it is up-to-date.
First of all: For a development book, there are just too many coding mistakes in the code printed. The authors provide an online errata ([...]), but even that directory of errors doesn't cover everything. Unfortunately, only the code examples for the first 2 chapters are available online, so the only option to get the code running is typing it in. With 50 conceptual code errors (and counting), that process is very frustrating as it's unclear why a certain piece of code isn't working correctly.
Drupal 7 provides a number of exciting conceptual changes, but rather than explaining what these changes mean for a programmer, the authors merely updated the chapters from the 2nd edition without revising the structure of each chapter. In some cases, the documentation in the code still refers to the the code in the 2nd edition.
I purchased this book before it was released, as it was the de-facto standard developer book for Drupal 6. For the 3rd edition, I wish the publisher and technical reviewers would have spent more time before putting this book on the market.
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