Book

The Best Drupal and Joomla Comparison of 2013

Sitting on my desktop the past few weeks has been an eBook from the Aluent Group, Drupal and Joomla!: A Comparison of Project Processes and Costs. I probably would have not read this eBook if it wasn't for an acquaintance of mine, Justin Kerr, letting me know that he was a co-author of the book. I'm lucky to have read the book because I think Justin Kerr as well as co-authors Robert Nowak and Jet Pixel have hit a home run in their review and comparison of Drupal and Joomla.

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.

Book Club: MODX The Official Guide

At this moment, I have a tall stack of unread books related to content management systems sitting in front me. Publishers and authors apparently like my review style because new books continue to be sent my way. However, reading a book from cover to cover for a review (the last one being six months ago) takes time and I just haven't been able to keep up with the required reading.

Review of Drupal's Building Blocks

A couple weeks ago my family spent some vacation time at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. If you have ever been to a Disney theme park then you know full well that it takes a lot of work in those parks just to have fun. Some of the most popular rides in these parks have waiting periods of up to two hours due to the long lines of people wanting to get on board. Luckily, my wife brought a Disney tourist guidebook that gave our family the helpful hints, recommendations, and information we needed to beat those long lines.  In the end, we ended up with a very enjoyable trip (so enjoyable that we got to ride Space Mountain twice!). That travel guide was a valuable asset to my family's vacation. 

Mastering Drupal is very similar to visiting a theme park as it takes some effort on your part to ensure you get rewarded for your effort. If Drupal is the amusement park then consider Drupal's modules as the park's attractions you're wanting to ride. With this line of thinking, I easily recommend that you let Earl and Lynette Miles' book, Drupal's Building Blocks, be your valuable tourist guide into the wonderful world of Drupal. I only review a few books each year and this is a book I gladly invested my time reading.

Drupal's Building Blocks is a tutorial, reference, and cookbook for some of Drupal's most valuable modules including CCK (Content Construction Kit), Views, and Panels. The primary purpose of this book is to give you the quickest route to mastering the modules as quickly as you can in order to help you create more powerful, flexible, usable, and manageable Web sites. The audience for this book isn't only for Web developers or designers, but also site administrators, content architects, and consultants. There is some code in this book, but what is there isn't the scary code you often find in a developer's library.

Although I've worked with Drupal for more than half a decade, I am still among the newbies who struggle with how best to use Drupal's contributed modules. I've built several sites using CCK and Views but I've always ran into hurdles that keep me from fully discovering what these modules can do for me and my sites. This book will provide you the information you need to realize the full potential of these modules. Anybody who has seen Drupal, CCK, Views, and Panels mature over the years can't help but read this book and enjoy not only the author's technical expertise but also the author's cultural and historical understanding for how the module came to be in Drupal. 

In the first chapter of the book, "Introducing CCK and Nodes", there is a section titled "Quest for the Grail: How CCK Was Born". This section alone reads like an adventure story that starts by talking about the challenges site administrators originally had with Drupal needing to acquire development skills just to control the form content would take in Drupal. The story continues with Drupal 4.4 and how a contributed module named Flexinode gave non-developers the ability to create new content types yet limitations remained. I was reminded that with Drupal 4.7 CCK became Flexinode's replacement and with each successive release of Drupal the module continues to improve. For someone like me who started with Drupal 4.6 and watched Drupal 5, 6, and now 7 evolve this book spoke to my inner geek. I simply found this book to be good bridge to the more technical aspects of CCK, Views and Panels.

Three IT/CMS books on my 2010 reading list

At the start of every year, I like to resolve to read a number of IT, CMS, and business related books. The Internet is a good resource, but perhaps because I'm too old school I still like to learn a thing or two from a book. So far I have three books on my reading list for 2010.

I plan to review each of these books at a later date but since I'm a slow reader I thought I'd share them now. Links to the books go to Amazon for a possible purchase are our available in CMS Report's Amazon store.

Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization's Toughest Challenges
By Andrew McAfee

Enterprise 2.0 by Andrew McAfeeI waited for much of 2009 to see this book get published. This is the book for companies and organizations wrestling to understand the impact Web 2.0 and social media applications can have on their business. I had hoped to have read the book by now, but the holidays were too busy. You can expect that this will be the first book I'll review in 2010.

McAfee brings together case studies and examples with key concepts from economics, sociology, computer science, consumer psychology, and management studies and presents them all in a clear, accessible, and entertaining style. Enterprise 2.0 is a must-have resource for all C-suite executives seeking to make technology decisions that are simultaneously powerful, popular, and pragmatic.

MODx Web Development Book

MODx Web Development is a new book from Packt which will help users create a powerful, dynamic website by using the individual elements of MODx. Written by Antano Solar John this book is an example-driven tutorial, which will take readers from the installation of MODx through to configuration, customization, and deployment. It will enable them to build a fully-functional, feature-rich website quickly and without any programming language.

Reviewing Barrie North's Joomla! 1.5 book and video

Barrie North has a problem. He can't stop talking about his favorite content management system, Joomla!. So last year, he decided to write his own Joomla book titled appropriately, Joomla! 1.5: A User's Guide. The problem is that people like North are never willing to let that be enough. As Joomla! 1.5 continues to evolve since its initial release so too has North's offerings. Two weeks ago North's publisher, Prentice Hall, sent me a second edition of Joomla! 1.5 as well a new video from their LiveLessons series, Fundamentals of Joomla!. Unlike last year, I decided to actually review the book as well as watch the video.

Let me first say, I'm a reluctant book reviewer. There is nothing that weighs on a person's busy day than having publishers send me a steady stream of content management related books for review. Eventually, those technical books begin stacking up on my desk and secretly I know half of those books aren't worth my time or your money. Luckily for all of us, North's Joomla 1.5 book and Fundamentals of Joomla! video are well worth the purchase. I can't help but give two thumbs up to both North's updated Joomla! 1.5 book and new video.

New SilverStripe book expected in August 2009

SilverStripe LogoEarlier this year, SilverStripe core developer Ingo Schommer and German tech-writer Steven Broschart wrote a magnificent book for SilverStripe CMS developers.  When the book was released, SilverStripe's Sigurd Magnusson stated that this book "provides a more structured and comprehensive set of SilverStripe technical documentation than what is currently available at doc.silverstripe.com".  But there is one tiny problem with the book.  If your only language is English then you likely will have difficulty reading the 450 pages in SilverStripe – Das umfassende Handbuch because the book is written in German!

English reading SilverStripe developers will be glad to note that an English version of the book is expected to arrive in August of this year.  How do I know? Just minutes before this post was released, Sigurd posted the details on his blog:

One of the world's largest book publishers, Wiley, has agreed to license our 450-page German SilverStripe book (pictured) from the German publisher and translate it into English. The effort of updating and translating the book is being done by our core developers, including Ingo Schommer who co-authored the initial book.

The book is targeted at professional developers with existing knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and object-oriented PHP5. It provides insight into our web development philosophy and explains the theory underpinning our Sapphire framework and our CMS. It balances this with frequent practical code examples, all of which will be offered for download to make learning quicker.

The aim of the book is to teach the reader how to create websites with rich, slick, and sophisticated features, customise the CMS administration interface heavily, and create extension modules.

The book will sell for £29.95 (a little over USD40.00) online and in major bookstores worldwide.

Amazon has already reserved a place for the English version of the SilverStripe book on its United States site as well as the UK site.

With the release of the new book in English, SilverStripe fans and developers should have something to celebrate in the coming months.  Let's also not forget that the SilverStripe staff are planning some great SilverStripe meetups in both the United States and United Kingdom. The SilverStripe staff wants to meet face-to-face with developers and organizations interested in SilverStripe's software and business. Sounds like a good opportunity if you're a developer wanting to learn more about SilverStripe.