Leveraging Drupal: Getting Your Site Done Right by Victor Kane – Superb book

April 19, 2009 at 4:32 am 4 comments

Hi Guys,

Today I would like to review a new book that I gladly review lately (Specail thanks to Ashley Evens for making this happen).

The book: Leveraging Drupal, by author Victor Kane.

Now, in creating web sites, there will be those who will find their strength in the Theming/User Interface side, and those who are wizards at functionality, creating modules that add yet more capabilities. I would consider this book best for the project manager or small shop developer who has to oversee the entire process while interacting with clients, developers and designers, and wants a thorough approach to successful use of Drupal for any size application.

While relatively new to Drupal, I have designed and developed web sites since 1995. I believe the most common problems or bottlenecks come not nearly as much from the question of the software chosen or even the design, but resolving what the site is supposed to do, who is going to use it, and how it will be managed and maintained. This became a greater issue when non-technical administrators took over the mundane tasks of refreshing content, approving users, etc., through the use of user-friendly content management systems. Development expanded and widened in scope, and content management systems are now complex applications.

As Drupal has risen in popularity through its flexibility, scalability and stability as a CMS platform, a good number of books have come out to help developers jump on board, some with a focused approach on building functionality or designing themes, while others offer more general instruction on setting up and getting a site online. Victor Kane\’s book falls somewhere between both, but adds two components that often are not accounted for in this kind of “how to” book.

First, he explains how to create a framework for approaching software/web site development that begins with client-oriented goals. He specifically advocates the use of an Agile approach, dedicating the first chapter not to Drupal per se, but to putting a plan in order before unpacking the software or installing a single module. He consistently refers back to this approach as he guides the user through the development of a model site (an On-line Writing Workshop), returning to Agile development more deeply in Chapter 11.

Second, while many development teams attached to IT departments in larger companies or agencies are used to keeping track of revisions when a job is split up between many programmers, the “one-man team” can learn best practices through the software examples given in the book that explain the hows and whys of keeping a web-based tracking system for Drupal site development. More than just mentioning this as good advice, he puts it to practice throughout the book. I haven’t seen this discussed in most books about open source CMS development, and I think it’s worth noting. You will learn about Version Control nearly as much as you will learn about Drupal from this book!

Where there might be more than one way of doing something, such as installing Drupal onto a home system for testing or loading it onto a shared host, he will give as many as two or three different ways to do so. There is little he doesn\’t discuss thoroughly, and he invites the reader to join him in expanding and improving the lessons in the book through a web site he has set up to continue the learning/mentoring/sharing process that is a hallmark of the Drupal community\’s approach to \”world domination\”.

As with other books on Drupal, you might want to have some books on PHP around, along with a little background in Unix/Linux shell commands, CSS and HTML for reference. He adds a chapter on jQuery and is probably the first in print with some content on Drupal 7, which is projected to arrive in late 2009.

It’s a great addition to the growing number of books on Drupal, and stands out for his unique discussion of planning and versioning, which is applicable to any web project.

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Entry filed under: Books.

Building Online Communities With Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress – Old but still a nice read O’Reilly is coming to the scene, finally.

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. drupal_geek  |  April 22, 2009 at 4:43 am

    do u have an idea whether this book is avaiable as an ebook?

    Reply
    • 2. drupalmeister  |  April 22, 2009 at 7:44 am

      No, I’m not sure about that. You want to try to go to the Wrox press site, and inquire about that.

      Thanks

      Reply
  • 3. BigShot  |  April 22, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Kudos,

    Lookin’ goo’…

    Reply
  • 4. Joey Williams  |  April 23, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Thanks for the review. Gotta check it out.

    Reply

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