Drupal 6 Social Networking – Book Review
I have just finished going through the book Drupal 6 Social Networking, authored by Michael Peacock and published by PacktPub. This is a book that anyone, whatever their level of proficiency in Drupal is, can use and appreciate. Drupal 6 Social Networking shows you how you can use Drupal to create a social networking website where users can register, share information, and interact in various ways.
The one thing I appreciated the most about this book is how newbie-friendly it is. I’m all about newbies on this blog because I know how crippling and confusing it can feel to be new at something, to hear words and wonder what they mean, to know that there’s a secret language there that you don’t get just yet. Michael basically takes you by the hand and walks you through using Drupal in such a way that even if you’ve never heard of Drupal before, you’ll still be able to make good use of this book. He doesn’t rush through the preliminaries, but explains everything from the install process, to the configuration, to what all the options in the admin settings mean, and how to change and configure them.
Even as someone who is pretty familiar with Drupal I learned some new stuff and had some information clarified for me because of Michael’s easy but thorough approach.
Here is an outline of the chapters that Drupal 6 Social Networking covers:
Chapter 1 is your door into Drupal and social networking. It discusses what Drupal is, what social networking is all about, and why Drupal is suitable to create a social networking site.
Chapter 2 will walk you through the installation process, and also through planning your social networking site. I like this a lot because a lot of books skip the planning part, which is essential to successfully building the site.
Chapter 3 covers User content, focusing on the contributions of your users, via forums, blogs, comments, and files as well as taking a brief look at user management.
Chapter 4 picks up where 3 left off and looks at how to manage users and roles. This is sweet chapter, covering Blog themes and OpenID.
Chapter 5 is all about enabling user interaction on the site with Organic Groups and using the Friends Module.
Chapter 6 goes through how to communicate with users directly, through mailing lists, Twitter feeds, and in-page messages.
Chapter 7 illustrates how Drupal can be extended to match the needs of almost any social networking site, by creating a custom module for the site. This is a great entry point into developing your own modules, and while this book doesn’t delve much into that, it’s a starting point.
Chapter 8 is about design, and customizing your theme to make your site look unique. It also introduces to making your own themes. There are entire books out there on themeing, so this chapter just acts a primer.
Chapter 9 covers deploying your Drupal installation, securing it, and maintaining it, along with combating spam and looking at the reports Drupal generates.
Chapter 10 looks at how to promote your site with SEO, marketing, and social/viral marketing and a brief look at making some money from your site… nice!
This book doesn’t aim to teach you how to build another Facebook. No book can do that. What it does show you is just yet another way you can use Drupal to do stuff. Even if you have no interest in building a Social Networking Site, Michael’s book is valuable because it teaches you more about how Drupal works for a specialized application, how different modules do their thing, and even has a chapter on themeing.
The way to learn is to do, and this book walks you through doing. Definitely a great addition to my library. I highly recommend it.
You can grab your copy (hardcopy or ebook, or both) from Packtpub for a 10% discount! So hurry and grab your copy!