Michael Ross writes "An online store is one of the most common use cases for a website nowadays. For those web developers and business owners who choose the current version of Drupal as a basis for such an e-commerce project, the canonical solution is Drupal Commerce. There are numerous online resources for learning Commerce, and yet for the longest time no printed book. Now we have Getting Started with Drupal Commerce, written by Richard Jones." Read below for the rest of Michael's review.
Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.
Michael Ross writes "With the advent of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) decades ago, most of the commercially-available software transitioned from command-line usage to point-and-click interfaces, with the majority of these applications completely phasing out all command-line capabilities, or never implementing them in the first place. But for programmers — most of whom are comfortable working on the command line — performing administrative actions within a GUI can become tedious and time-consuming, and there is a growing movement toward adding command-line support back to software development applications. An example of this is Drush, which is a command-line interface for the Drupal content management system. Drush, whose name is derived from "Drupal shell," was originally developed six years ago, and is seeing a resurgence within the Drupal community. However, what appears to be the primary information resource for Drush, the community documentation, currently has a status of "incomplete." Fortunately, there is now a book available that provides more extensive coverage, Drush User's Guide, authored by Requena Juan Pablo Novillo ("juampy"). The book was released by Packt Publishing on 10 April 2012, under the ISBN 978-1849517980. The publisher's page offers descriptions of the book, its table of contents, a brief author biography, the known errata, the example code used in the book, and a free sample chapter (the third one, "Customizing Drush"). This review is based upon a print copy kindly furnished by the publisher; an e-book version is also available." Read below for the rest of Michael's review.
Michael Ross writes "Of all the open source content management systems used for building websites, Drupal has a reputation for being one of the most flexible and powerful available, but not the easiest for web designers to use. Drupal version 7 has made some strides in alleviating those flaws, but there is still much progress to be made. During the past few years, a number of books have been published that explain how Drupal designers can do custom theming, but they tend to focus on the technical details of the theme layer, and not the practice of web design when using Drupal as a foundation. That rich yet neglected subject area is the focus of a new book, Drupal for Designers: The Context You Need Without the Jargon You Don't." Keep reading to see what Michael has to say about the book.
Michael J. Ross writes "If you need a theme for a web site based on Drupal 7, then you have a few options for obtaining one. You could go with an existing theme, but the current crop of prebuilt themes is even more limited for Drupal 7 than its predecessor. You could hire a dedicated Drupal themer to create one for you. Or, to avoid the expense, you could try to build your own. In that case, you will need to get up to speed on the changes in the Drupal presentation layer. Unfortunately, most of the Drupal 7 books devote only one or two chapters to the topic. Several Drupal training firms offer video instruction, but the bulk of their material is still geared to version 6, or even 5. The online documentation is of little help. Yet there is a book that is wholly dedicated to the topic: Drupal 7 Themes, authored by Ric Shreves." Read on for the rest of Michael's review.
Michael J. Ross writes "Most computer and web programming books are written entirely by a single author, while the remaining are written by more authors, typically with each one tackling several chapters. The latter approach can suffer from redundant material undetected by editors, and inconsistency in the writing style from one chapter to the next. Yet it offers the significant advantage that the subject matter of each chapter can be presented by an authority on that topic — who can focus on making that explication the best possible, without the burden of completing an entire book. That was one of my first thoughts (and hopes) when hefting the 1112 pages and 4.1 pounds of the Definitive Guide to Drupal 7." Read on for the rest of Michael's review.
Michael J. Ross writes "In the evolution of the Web, one of the most significant improvements was the general transition from static websites based only upon HTML, to dynamic websites based upon scripting languages. But even then, each website was much like a silo, with no publication of content beyond the pages provided on the site itself. That all began to change with content syndication through RSS, and the development of web application APIs. Nowadays, a growing number of organizations are publishing online content through web services, as well as consuming content published by others. These sites can be built using Drupal, an open-source content management system (CMS). Drupal Web Services, a book authored by Trevor James, aims to help web programmers do that sort of development." Read below for the rest of Michael's review.
Michael J. Ross writes "Years ago, technologists and consumers alike could only dream of surfing the Web using the (increasingly ubiquitous) mobile devices available, such as smartphones. But that is now commonplace, resulting from a convergence of several trends: the standardization of wireless access protocols, greater carrier coverage and bandwidth, the popularity of mobile apps, and more powerful mobile products — featuring embedded keyboards and pointing devices, greater memory, hardware miniaturization, and larger screens with better resolution. For the typical website nowadays, the primary impediment to the site working well on leading mobile devices is that the site was never intended for them in the first place. Web developers and other site builders using content management systems, can now learn how to build for mobile accessibility, with help from resources such as Professional Mobile Web Development with WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal — authored by James Pearce, who is quite active in the mobile development space." Read on for the rest of Michael's review.
Michael J. Ross writes "With the growing interest in Drupal as a platform for developing websites, the number of books devoted to this CMS has increased from a handful to now several dozen. Consequently, intermediate and advanced Drupal programmers may wonder which one of those books would be their best choice as a single resource for learning how to create custom Drupal modules and themes. Ever since its first edition in April 2007, the Pro Drupal Development series from Apress is more frequently cited as the best candidate than any other." Keep reading for the rest of Michael's review.
Michael J. Ross writes "Of all the better-known content management systems, Drupal is oftentimes criticized for having the steepest learning curve. Yet that would only be a valid charge as a result of Drupal's great power and flexibility — particularly in the hands of a knowledgeable Drupal developer. But how can the interested programmer begin gaining those skills, as quickly as possible? One approach is to read and work through the examples of an introductory book, such as Foundation Drupal 7, written by Robert J. Townsend (except for a chapter contributed by Stephanie Pakrul)." Read on for the rest of Michael's review.
Michael J. Ross writes "While it is possible to create a simple website using a base installation of Drupal, the real power of this content management system is achieved through the use of modules, which can be thought of as add-ons that extend the capabilities of Drupal in specific ways — oftentimes in conjunction with other modules. These modules are developed and contributed by PHP programmers who understand how to use one or more of the Drupal application programming interfaces (APIs) to access information stored in a Drupal database, such as content, user profiles, and theme settings. These APIs have changed with Drupal version 7, and thus Drupal coders could benefit from a book that explains how to create Drupal 7 contrib modules." Read on for the rest of Michael's review.
Michael J. Ross writes "In the past, a Web developer tasked with building an online store would most likely do so using a dedicated e-commerce system, instead of a content management system (CMS), because even though the leading CMSs offered more features and flexibility, they did not provide robust e-commerce capabilities, such as product listings, bulk import, pricing in multiple currencies, a built-in shopping cart, and integration with tax and shipping information sources. Since that time, e-commerce systems have become more like CMSs, by adding features such as blogging and forums. At the same time, CMSs are continually expanding their e-commerce potential, usually in the form of developers adding plug-ins. For developers using Drupal, there traditionally have been two major e-commerce plug-ins (known as "modules"): Ubercart and e-Commerce. The former has emerged as the leader, and is explored in Drupal E-commerce with Ubercart 2.x." Read on for the rest of Michael's review.
Michael J. Ross writes "Of the leading content management systems used by developers for creating websites, Drupal is highly regarded for many characteristics, including a much smaller initial footprint, compared to Joomla and other CMSs. Yet some developers find this a disadvantage as well, because one of the most common criticisms leveled against Drupal is its lack of built-in support for images and multimedia elements — thereby forcing new Drupal developers to choose from the thousands of contributed Drupal modules those that would be optimal for implementing their websites' multimedia functionality. Aaron Winborn's book Drupal Multimedia is intended as a guide to help such developers." Keep reading for the rest of Michael's review.
Michael J. Ross writes "Among the more popular and better-regarded content management systems (CMSs), Drupal is distinguished partly by its building-block approach, in which a website's functionality is built up in pieces, each of which is a module (either core or contributed). The opposite approach — using far fewer but more encompassing modules — is generally preferred by non-developers who do not relish integrating a sizable collection of modules or trying to modify the underlying code. Nonetheless, anyone who wishes to build a Drupal-based social website, can learn how to do so in a new e-book titled Drupal 6: Ultimate Community Site Guide." Read below for the rest of Michael's review.
Michael J. Ross writes "Content management systems (CMSs) are created largely by Web developers using back-end programming languages (such as PHP, by far the most common choice). The free CMSs are built as open source projects, by volunteers who have many demands on their time. As a result of both of these competing factors, far less time is devoted to the front-end aspects of these CMSs. In turn, the "themes" that define the appearance of a CMS-based website are typically substandard, in the eyes of many Web designers and, most likely, countless users of those sites. This criticism has been leveled even against Drupal, although the situation is improving. A new book, Front End Drupal: Designing, Theming, Scripting, is intended to help Drupal designers everywhere speed up that process of improvement." Read on for the rest of Michael's review.
Michael J. Ross writes "Every major content management system (CMS) offers considerable functionality for building Web sites out of the box. But to get the most out of any CMS, its functionality must be extended through the addition of modules, most of which are created by third-party developers. For instance, a given CMS may need to be supplemented by an e-commerce module in order to use that CMS for building an online store. Joomla, one of the most widely used CMSs, is no exception. Web developers interested in creating their own Joomla extensions can read Learning Joomla! 1.5 Extension Development, authored by Joseph LeBlanc." Read below for the rest of Michael's review.
Michael J. Ross writes "After installing and learning the basics of the content management system Drupal, many Web developers do not know how to best proceed from there. They may realize that much of the programming potential of Drupal — and thus the earning potential of Drupal developers — is derived from the use of community-contributed modules that greatly extend Drupal's power. But there are thousands of such modules, with no objective direction as to which ones are best suited for particular tasks, and what bugs and other flaws could trip up the developer. These programmers need a thorough guide as to which modules are the most promising for the development of the most common types of Web sites. A new book, Using Drupal, aims to fill this need." Keep reading for the rest of Michael's review.
Michael J. Ross writes "Most Web developers are familiar with one or more content management systems (CMSs), and how they can be used to create Web sites more efficiently than by hand. These developers may have deep knowledge of how to install, configure, customize, and extend a CMS. But far more rare is knowledge of how to develop a CMS of one's own, and the programming considerations required to do so successfully. These are the main themes of Martin Brampton's book PHP5 CMS Framework Development." Read below for the rest of Michael's review.
Michael J. Ross writes "Of all the content management systems (CMSs) that a Web developer could use for creating a new site, the best ones allow the developer to extend the chosen CMS's capabilities, by adding new functionality, in the form of third-party modules. This is one of many reasons why Drupal is growing in popularity: Developers can choose from hundreds of Drupal modules but not all functionality that a developer might want has been captured in a module, and many of the modules are unfinished or otherwise limited in capabilities. Fortunately, PHP programmers can create their own modules, and one way to get up to speed is Learning Drupal 6 Module Development, authored by Matt Butcher."
Michael J. Ross writes "Many Web developers wish to create e-commerce sites that also support collaborative editing of content, community forums, and other features that can increase traffic to the sites. But most shopping cart products do not include those capabilities, or, if such third-party add-ons exist, they may be quite limited in functionality. Similarly, most if not all content management systems (CMSs) lack native e-commerce capabilities. Yet that barrier is being overcome, because a handful of e-commerce modules have been created for the most popular CMSs. Perhaps the most promising pairing, at this time, is Drupal and the e-Commerce module — a combination covered in the book Selling Online with Drupal e-Commerce by Michael Peacock." Keep reading for the rest of Michael's review.