Book Club: Pro Drupal 7 Development

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm currently playing catch-up in discussing all the good books sent my way this past year. Many of the books have been sent by the authors and publishers themselves for review and some of the books I've bought on my own dime. There should be no further evidence that I'm a procrastinator in posting book reviews than this particular review of Todd Tomlinson and John K. Vandyke's Pro Drupal 7 Development. This book was published almost a year ago, and I'm only now finding the time to blog about this book.

Cover of Pro Drupal 7 DevelopmentWhile it has been close to a year since this book was published (about just as long since Drupal 7 was released), I marvel how relevant Pro Drupal 7 Development remains as a valuable resource to me. This book and its previous versions have saved my hide so many times that I have lost count. This book may have been sitting on my desk for a year but I assure you it hasn't been collecting dust.

If you're going to get any Drupal book in print this is the book you should get if you're going to do any development with Drupal or simply need to troubleshoot your way out of a Drupal related problem. I realize there are a lot of resources available online from the Drupal community that contains much of the same material found in this book. However, this book organizes the material in such a thoughtful manner that I find the looking up material via the book more efficient than seeing it out though online search.

Pro Drupal 7 Development updates the most popular development reference for the release of Drupal 7. With several new and completely-rewritten essential APIs and improvements in Drupal 7, this book will not only teach developers how to write modules ranging from simple to complex, but also how Drupal itself works.

  • Learn the Drupal APIs and major changes in Drupal 7
  • Learn how to write Drupal modules using the APIs
  • Learn proper development practices and how to become a contributing community member

As I mentioned before, I'm more a Drupal user than a Drupal developer. However, I do find myself at times needing to tweak a contributed module or writing a script to insert data into a node. It is during these times that I pull Pro Drupal 7 Development off my bookshelf. Also, this is the third edition of this book and still my favorite part of the book is the Database Table References found in Appendix A. I don't care how well (or in some cases not so well) Drupal and Drupal's contributed modules are written...after running a Drupal site for several years you're going to find yourself run into an occasional issue with your database. This book continues to give me a better understanding of the Drupal database structure so I find myself able to resolve issues with my tables in minutes rather than in hours.

This book aims to teach you several things about Drupal development including:

  • How to get started with writing basic modules
  • The flexible Drupal APIs and how they interact with modules
  • How new features in Drupal 7 make modules even more powerful and sophisticated
  • Best practices when developing in Drupal (coding standards, help developer modules)
  • How to write safe, secure, and tested code
  • How to contribute modules back to the Drupal community and maintain their modules using the Concurrent Versions System (CVS)

So although Drupal 7 and this book have been around for a year, I still encourage you to buy Pro Drupal 7 Development if you don't already have it on your bookshelf. I of course am hoping we see a Pro Drupal 8 Development book when Drupal 8 is also ready to be released. I would be lost without my Pro Drupal Development book.

If you're interested in browsing for additional Drupal books, you should take a look at the fantastic list of books that have been compiled at