Book Review: Drupal 7 First Look

Last month I received a ditigal copy of Drupal 7 First Look, by Packt Publishing. I have been waiting for the official release of Drupal 7 to come out before posting the my review and now is the time. The subtitle is Learn the new features of Drupal 7, how they work and how they will impact you, so I will be reviewing the book in that light. Tackling a new version of Drupal in 256 pages is a tall order, so let's see how it all unfolds. This book isn't exactly for Drupal newcomersas as some prior Drupal knowledge is assumed, but if you are completely new you can get by nicely.

Briefly, the author, Mark Noble, owner and operator of Turning Leaf Tech, has been working with Drupal for a couple years. He is also the author of Drupal 6 Site Builder Solutions, and runs http://drupalbyexample.com.

The book broken into seven chapters, progressing from what is new in Drupal, installation/upgrade, initial site building and administration. The last three chapters dive more deeply into the APIs for theme developers, the database layer and for developers.

Chapter 1 goes through a decent list of changes from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7. If you aren't familiar with Drupal this will help you get up to speed about where Drupal came form and where it is going. Chapter 2 hits on the basics of installing Drupal 7 or upgrading from Drupal 6. Many screen shots are include to speed you through the process. If you are familiar the install profile ideas, Mark places some code to show how you can create and use an new install profile. Handy for anyone install numerous sites that need a generic starting place.

Things really pick up in Chapters 3 and 4 as Mark expounds how to create content and new content types. WIth CCK now Fields in core, the Field API is introduces along with images, taxonomies and commenting. CHapter 4 focuses on non-content administration of users management, sites settings, module selection, search, reports and other items.

From Chapter 5 onwards the book takes a more technical bent as more code examples and API code definitions appear. CH5 focuses on new and change theming items including template files, new JavaScript abilities, CSS and Theme API changes.

Chapter 6 hits on the major database update the Drupal 7 introduces. The code samples are great, detailing how to call and step through the results of a database query.

Chapter 7 ends a bit abruptly, as does the whole book after covering the many change and new API hooks available for developers to use. Considering this isn't a cookbook or dive deeply into development I have to say that if you need a crash course is what Drupal 7 can do out of the box and a quick primer on how to drive a Drupal 7 site, this book does fine.

Drupal 7 First might be compared to Foundation Drupal 7 by Apress, though I have read the Apress book yet. If you need more core API and module development insight, try grabbing Drupal 7 Module Development by Packt or Pro Drupal 7 Development by Apress.