I enjoy being on the cutting edge. As such, I picked up Pro Drupal 7 Development by Todd Tomlinson & John VanDyk expecting to be introduced to all the new features, frameworks, and goodies that Drupal 7 has that Drupal 6 does not. I was, sadly, disappointed: the book seemed very similar to the previous Pro Drupal Development book by the same company but with added Drupal 7 functionality thrown in.
After reading it for a longer time, however, I realized I wasn’t their target audience: Tomlinson and VanDyk are writing for an audience that is approaching the development platform for the first time. That said, the book is actually a great introduction to professionally developing in Drupal; it doesn’t focus on the Drupal 7 additions because it’s not a reference book and does not purport to be. Instead, it throws in new Drupal 7 functionality and frameworks only when they are relevant to the book’s focus, which is to show developers how to professionally develop in Drupal.
Given that, this book is actually very good for what it does. It is a solid foundational text, integrating some of the newer features of Drupal 7 while keeping the same basic structure of the previous version. It deals with working from Drupal from the ground up; it teachers the reader how to wind their way through the often-confusing Drupal development process: from modules to databases, the book covers pretty much everything that a Drupal developer needs to start on his own. I particularly liked that the book has a section on best practices and writing secure code; too many books focus just on the specifics of coding and don’t offer a section that really gets solid coding foundations for that particular platform under a reader’s belt.
While all praise is due to the book for its development methods, I can’t help but point out that the authors are not entirely free from the criticism of a rushed Drupal 7 book; there are certain Drupal 7 features that seem important and are left out in the book. Much of the RDF, Ajax, and other functionality that is quite different from Drupal 6 is left out even though they’re quite important to Drupal 7’s operation; the only logical conclusion I can draw is that the book was slightly rushed out of the gate in order to capitalize on the Drupal 7 launch and as such was lacking in a few areas that it could’ve used more polish in.
That said, however, the book itself is still a sound update to the excellent Pro Drupal Development book that was its predecessor; it lacks nothing the first had, and is certainly an excellent introduction and foundation text to developing in Drupal 7. A must for any web developer looking to add a new CMS to his box of technical tools!Our Rating: