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Drupal 7

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Book Reviews 85

Trevor James writes "Drupal 7 is currently at beta 1 stage with 11 critical issues remaining to be fixed before an official release version. The question arises whether we should all be writing about Drupal 7 now and so soon, when it's still in its beta phase. I argue we should be writing about it. It can only help introduce new users to the Drupal application and the Drupal community and get new people involved to help test Drupal 7. This will ultimately help improve the software for its official release and on. This helps to build the Drupal community of users and developers. It helps spread the word to everyone about this flexible and robust content management system. We want Drupal to be used. So this is one way of getting it out there and in the public sphere." Read on for the rest of Trevor's review.Some nuances: most developers and Drupal users adhere to the rule that if you plan to run Drupal 7 as a production site and on a production server right now you need to be aware that there may still be bugs in core Drupal 7 that will cause issues on your site. But this doesn't mean you can't use Drupal 7. You can certainly download the beta 1 release and install it on your development or localhost server and use it. And you can improve it by using it now.

Which brings me to David Mercer's new book Drupal 7. This is the second edition of Mercer's popular Drupal 6 book, and here Mercer has had an early opportunity to update his text for Drupal 7. It's a good and important book to help promote Drupal 7 and spread the word about the Drupal project and the Drupal community to both experienced and new users. Mercer knows Drupal - remember that he's already proven himself with the Drupal (back to version 4.x and 5.x) and Drupal 6 titles previously published by Packt. The original edition of Drupal was published in 2006 so Mercer has been devoted to this subject for over 4 years.

The Drupal 7 title is good for Drupal beginners and novices who are just starting out with Drupal but it also has a wealth of information and resources for more intermediate and advanced Drupal users and developers. It gives you the full run down of Drupal core as well as details of many advanced Drupal topics including an entire chapter on the Views module. The book starts with a solid introduction to the Drupal 7 framework and community and shows detailed install instructions using the XAMPP installer. Mercer highlights the new installation profile functionality that ships with Drupal 7 (both a standard and minimal install profile) and even gives you tips on troubleshooting your install if something goes awry.

Chapter 2 outlines the details of Drupal architecture and structure including installing modules, enabling blocks and setting up menus. The highlight in this chapter are two new features in Drupal 7 that allow you to install contributed modules directly from their FTP URL/path on drupal.org; or by uploading the tar.gz archive directly via the Drupal administration interface. For anyone maintaining Drupal sites this will should be a well received enhancement.

Chapter 3 covers Drupal 7 site configuration and reporting mechanisms including setting up actions and triggers; creating shortcuts; managing the file system; configuring site performance; setting up site RSS feeds; and viewing site reports. One highlight in this chapter is the new shortcut functionality that allows you as a Drupal site admin to create sets of shortcut links for your fellow content editors and site admins. Another new feature in Drupal 7 is the ability to upload your attached files (images, PDF, doc, etc) to private folders on your site. In Drupal 6 you could restrict access to all uploaded files but not to specific files by content type (without having to install contributed modules to extend this functionality). In Drupal 7 you now have the ability to restrict access at the file field level per content type. So specific files attached via a content type can be uploaded to a private folder.

Chapter 4 explores Drupal 7 access control with a detailed walk-through of Drupal roles, permissions and user access. Mercer also includes a tutorial on using the OpenID Web service to provide single sign-on login functionality for your Drupal site.

Chapter 5 looks at setting up content workflows on your Drupal 7 site and describes all the Drupal core content types (Article, Basic page, Blog entry, Book page, Forum topic and Poll). Mercer covers content related modules including Aggregator and Book so anyone interested in setting up Web service based aggregated feeds; and multi-layer paginated content will get a lot out of this chapter. Chapter 6 deals with advanced content outlining the process of creating your own custom content types and adding custom fields; and integrating taxonomy with your content types.

Chapter 7 looks at integrating multimedia with your Drupal 7 site including images, and other types of embedded media. Drupal 7 now ships with the Image field in core so all you have to do is add an Image field to your content type. The image field now supports rotation and desaturate effects so besides scaling an image you can now rotate your images by a specific number of degrees.

Mercer includes an entire chapter on integrating the Views module with Drupal 7. The Views section even goes into detail on setting up advanced Views using arguments and relationships and shows you how to theme your Views. This is a real bonus for an introductory level book on Drupal. Anyone using the Views module even with Drupal 6 will benefit from reading this chapter.

Chapter 9 deals with Drupal theming both from the theme layer and the CSS perspectives. There is a lot of detailed information on theming using the Zen starter theme so anyone using Zen will learn some best practice theming solutions from this chapter. Chapter 10 introduces methods of integrating and using the Panels module with Drupal 7 as well as discussions of advanced theming techniques.

In general the title covers the Drupal 7 interface in much detail and points out the many new features of Drupal 7's administrative interface including the overlay admin screens; the simplified and re-named core content types including Article and Basic Page; the built-in CCK module (now part of core Drupal); the enhanced ability to install modules directly via the admin interface; and a look at the new core Drupal themes. Mercer covers best practices for deploying Drupal sites from staging locations to a production server; backup processes, and even a discussion of SEO best practice. The book even comes with quiz questions and exercises provided via the author's Web site. So you can use this title as a model for teaching Drupal 7 (and I would argue even Drupal 6) to new users. Short story - the book is loaded with good information and practical hands-on exercises.

Here's the main reason I'll recommend purchasing this book or at least knowing about it. Those 11 critical issues in Drupal 7 need to be tested, reproduced and fixed before we can use D7 on a production site and feel comfortable about with it's stability and security. We as users and developers need to help with this testing process. We can help to fix those issues by testing and reporting our findings back. This book will help us to do that by showing us how to install D7 and get rolling with it. For that I'm thankful it's been released now as opposed to 3 months from now. This is a good manual for us to use to test and bugfix this next great version of Drupal.

You know it's also just a great book and manual on using Drupal period — even the 6.x version of Drupal. You'll learn a ton about the Drupal framework from this title regardless of the version you're currently using to power your Web site.

Finally, the benefits of releasing this title now is that it will encourage both the Drupal community project and other Drupal authors to write more detailed documentation and instruction on how to use and develop with Drupal 7. We can raise Drupal 7 to a higher level by supporting its release with excellent documentation, tutorials and books.

Let's get Drupaling and help the community now by downloading Drupal 7.

Trevor James is a Drupal developer based in Maryland, USA.

You can purchase Drupal 7 from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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85 comments

Seriously? (2, Insightful)

KingFrog (1888802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964268)

Excellent! I'll run right out and install and use it...just as soon as you actually tell us what the heck it is! Your article isn't very helpful if you don't already know what you're talking about.

question (2, Funny)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964330)

It is a new kind of sword based on black silicon.

Re:question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33964752)

This is sort of true. Drupal is the French equivalent of Excaliber.

Re:question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33965648)

Except that Drupal is NOT french... it's belgian...

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33964346)

It does says: A pragmatic look at the steps necessary to get a website up and running using Drupal 7

Then again, there's no mention of PHP anywhere in the review, which I thought was strange! :)

Re:Seriously? (0)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964362)

It's a book review, not a product review. If you don't know what the subject of the book is, why do you care how good the book is?

Re:Seriously? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33964796)

"this flexible and robust content management system."

Was this not in the first paragraph earlier?

Re:Seriously? (0, Troll)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#33965226)

WTF is a "content mangement system"? Is this Drupal thing one of those toys people who can't program use to create web sites? (Not trying to troll, I genuinely don't know).

Re:Seriously? (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33965404)

It's a tool people who don't want to bother with programming their own website can use to build their own website. I've been a programmer for years, and I have done web development, but I really don't want to deal with the aggravation of programming my own site (the cobbler's children have no shoes and all that). So, I use Drupal to do it for me. Sure, there's still some effort in getting things to work right, and it's never going to win any awards for innovative design, but it's about a hundred times less irritating than doing everything from scratch.

I do have to question the wisdom of the submitter when he suggests the perfect way to get new people into using Drupal is to have them help test Drupal 7. That seems like exactly the wrong way to do it. If someone who has never seen Drupal before is first exposed to it via a buggy development release they're going to throw it out in frustration and try something else. Betas are for people already interested in and/or using your product, not for people you're trying to convert.

Re:Seriously? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#33965498)

Hmmm, I thought Wordpress was the tool of choice for blogginabout funny pictures of your cat? But I guess I get what you're talking about - thanks!

Re:Seriously? (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 3 years ago | (#33980058)

Hmmm, I thought Wordpress was the tool of choice for blogginabout funny pictures of your cat? But I guess I get what you're talking about - thanks!

Just as there is more than one web browser (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, etc.), more than one operating system (Windows, OSX, Linux, Solaris, etc.), more than one word processor (MS Word, OO, etc.), more than one desktop publishing program (InDesign, QuarkXPress, MS Publisher, etc.), there as also more than one CMS, and many have overlapping functionality and overlapping niches.

The big three names in opensource CMS's are WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. They certainly overlap in functionality, and for many simple websites, one could pick any of the three to do the job. For websites with more specialized needs, however, one of the three might stand out as better than the others. WordPress has a reputation of being the simplest of the three to set up, and is ideally suited to personal blog sites. Joomla has a reputation of producing some of the nicest looking websites as many of the contributed themes are developed by artists and designers (think of it as the Macintosh of CMS's). Drupal has a reputation of being the hardest to learn and administer, but the most flexible, especially if you are willing to write your own modules.

Of the three, I've used only Drupal, and I can attest to the steep and long learning curve! But in the end, it did get the job done.

Re:Seriously? (1)

shugah (881805) | more than 3 years ago | (#33966164)

Yes - in the same way that GCC is a tool for programmers who are too lazy to write their own compiler.

One off re-implementations of commonly used tools is a waste of programming time in most organizations. Why would anyone write a content management system (CMS) from scratch? A web site is a communications tool for organizations. It is not reasonable that everyone in an organization who needs to communicate with the public (or internally on an Intranet) be a programmer or have their content implemented by a programmer (who in most cases is unskilled in the art/science of communication).

A CMS is a tool, that depending on how well it is implemented, attempts to break content creation, design/presentation and information taxonomy/structure/layout into separate roles and skill sets so that those skilled in those particular disciplines can focus on their own domain and maximize efficiency.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33968172)

I agree with what you wrote, but Drupal is for much more than just building your own website/blog. You can build a powerful, sophisticated custom web application on top of Drupal, and there are a lot of reasons to do so.

Drupal, out of the box, handles user authentication/registration, indexing, caching, searching, taxonomy (tagging), security, content management, file upload/retrieval, navigation, database abstraction, and more. Drupal is modular (in reality, not in the advertising buzz-word sense) and there are thousands of GPL modules that can add functionality without writing a single line of code. Just download and install.

Then there are custom modules, which are an absolute pleasure to code. The event handling is the most impressive I have ever seen within a PHP application. Drupal has a hook-based architecture, which allows you to hook in to any other module and modify almost anything during almost any events, without modifying the code of any other module, or core itself. This is critical for a web-based app, because you can update Drupal core or any module with the latest version, even if you have modified the functionality with your module. Which allows you to stay nice and secure.

Re:Seriously? (1)

akayani (1211810) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970558)

That's what science is all about standing on the shoulders of those that have gone before you. Drupal is a fantastic example of that.

Re:Seriously? (2, Informative)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 3 years ago | (#33966242)

eln is basically correct, but a good content management system does so much more. Typically you can create templates for use in your site (some you can program with code, PHP, asp.net, etc). Then you use those templates to allow users to create pages for the site, say you want to create a site like newegg or amazon, you have a basic template for displaying items (picture, summary, details section with 3 tabs, user comments/ratings, etc). Then a user can input the item code, description and upload a picture, and give the page a status of "complete". Someone else can take a look at the page, and change it's status from "complete" to "reviewed". Then perhaps once a day someone else takes all the reviewed pages, and changes their status to "test". You can then acccess the test site and work with all the pending changes, and once it's been tested, you flip a switch and all test pages now become live. You can also make pages that change based on the time of day, or day of the week, or what ever.

In a nutshell, not only does it manage the content, but also it also encapsulates live, test, and development pages (multiple versions of a page), and the workflow that is involved in going from one to the other.

Re:Seriously? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33966678)

Umm...get off your lazy arse and type drupal.org?

Just another whiny lib looking for a handout.

Re:Seriously? (1)

silanea (1241518) | more than 2 years ago | (#33967266)

WTF is a "content mangement system"? Is this Drupal thing one of those toys people who can't program use to create web sites? (Not trying to troll, I genuinely don't know).

No. It is one of those mature software packages people who do not want to reinvent the wheel every time they have to create a website use so they can focus on programming those parts that are actually unique to one website.

Re:Seriously? (1)

KingFrog (1888802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33965636)

Come now - the point of the summary is to summarize. The summary does a remarkably poor job of that. Just for reference, I have a content management system under my bed. It's a bunch of plastic containers on wheels...

Re:Seriously? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33964936)

It says "this flexible and robust content management system". I'm going to go ahead and make a huge guess that it's come kind of content management system.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33966586)

Yeah it's not like any big websites are using it? www.whitehouse.gov/tech If you are a /. commenter and don't know what Drupal is.....seriously tits or gtfo.

Re:Seriously? (1)

mike260 (224212) | more than 2 years ago | (#33967322)

When you read an article that assumes knowledge of something you've never heard of, why not treat it as a prompt to go learn something new, rather than a personal affront?

Re:Seriously? (1)

KingFrog (1888802) | more than 2 years ago | (#33967454)

*sigh* there is no room for humor, or the pointing out of small issues, anymore on the internet. I cry a little tear. ALL I was doing was pointing out - DUDE! If you want to post some huge-ass thing about this software, take ONE SENTENCE SOMEWHERE and tell us what it is. That's all.

Drupal Drupal ... Drupal. wft is Drupal? (1, Insightful)

lindseyp (988332) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964364)

I can tell from the book title it's something to do with websites, but it hardly helps to "spread the word" when you don't even mention in TFS what Drupal is or does?

Re:Drupal Drupal ... Drupal. wft is Drupal? (0, Offtopic)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964524)

You should be able to tell by looking at the sample cover. It's about growing flowers.

Re:Drupal Drupal ... Drupal. wft is Drupal? (3, Informative)

VValdo (10446) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964536)

Drupal Drupal ... Drupal. wft is Drupal?

Sounds like you're singing The Drupal Song [youtube.com], which conveniently explains what Drupal is while infecting your brain. (Unplugged [youtube.com]).

Or you could try Wikipedia [wikipedia.org].

W

Spoiler (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33964562)

Drupal is people.

Re:Drupal Drupal ... Drupal. wft is Drupal? (5, Informative)

oatworm (969674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964570)

Let me Google that for you [lmgtfy.com].

Seriously, though, Drupal is one of the more popular web content management systems out there. You can think of it in the same space as Wordpress, Joomla, Plone, Alfresco (sort of), and so on. The idea behind these systems is to build web sites and manage web site content without having to hard-code everything. Each system does it differently with different focuses on specific parts of the web site content creation process. Wordpress, for example, is a moderately simple system that's popular for blog creation - though it has some extensibility, ease-of-use has always been its primary goal. Drupal, meanwhile, is sort of the "Linux" of the web site creation world, in that you can customize it via specialized modules to make it do whatever you want, but it doesn't do you a whole lot of favors right out of the gate. Joomla is probably closer to Drupal than Wordpress, Alfresco's primary goal is document management (automating workflows, permissions, etc.) so it treats web content accordingly, and I don't know enough about Plone to talk about it even remotely intelligently.

So there you go.

Re:Drupal Drupal ... Drupal. wft is Drupal? (0, Troll)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964610)

If I wanted to Google it, I wouldn't read the fucking summary.

Re:Drupal Drupal ... Drupal. wft is Drupal? (1)

oatworm (969674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964684)

Luckily for you, I explained what Drupal was in the second paragraph of my comment.

Re:Drupal Drupal ... Drupal. wft is Drupal? (0, Flamebait)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964846)

You can think of it in the same space as Wordpress, Joomla, Plone, Alfresco (sort of), and so on.

So basically, it's a fuming great big pile of shit?

Re:Drupal Drupal ... Drupal. wft is Drupal? (3, Informative)

oatworm (969674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964968)

Yes, in much the same way that Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows are fuming great big piles of shit compared to a set of skilled engineers hard-coding in machine code against a motherboard.

They're generalized solutions to complex problems. Like all generalized solutions, they're more bloated than a more specialized solution for a specific problem because they contain code that solves problems you don't necessarily need solved. On the other hand, they usually take less time to deploy and they might solve a few problems that you don't even know you have.

Re:Drupal Drupal ... Drupal. wft is Drupal? (0, Flamebait)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 2 years ago | (#33967554)

nail on head. I tried to help[ a site that was getting thousands of hits a day but had built their entire siter on Drupal with it's homemade version of ORM. They needed lots of many-to-many tables and everytime you do that in a NORMAL RDBMS, you only need two tables and one joining table. But in Drupal's infinite Wisdom, it creates 5 tables to do the same thing and similar situations with one to many. Over time your database becomes a nightmarish solution to manage and is sluggish and slow due to a poorly automated solution rather than a DBA having creating a structured relational DB.

Hell even Hibernate is a million times better than that mess. Makes you wants to cram a espresso steamer up a Drupal developers nose and foam whats left of their brains. Yes I need my coffee and yes I'm from Seattle.

Re:Drupal Drupal ... Drupal. wft is Drupal? (1)

oatworm (969674) | more than 2 years ago | (#33967786)

Right, 'cause it's creating the overhead it needs to convert those tables into objects that Drupal understands (nodes) and mapping the relationships between those objects using methods that Drupal understands (taxonomies and such).

Right tool for the right job and all that.

Re:Drupal Drupal ... Drupal. wft is Drupal? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33971694)

I can't speak to daily maintenance but I can tell you that it's easier to get up and start producing actual content on a site that looks like what you want with Drupal than with any of those. Drupal has had some huge wins lately in taking over sites, like The Economist.

The maintenance is pretty easy too except that upgrades are insufficiently automated.

Re:Drupal Drupal ... Drupal. wft is Drupal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33964708)

The summary manages to cram the word 'Drupal' in seven times in it's nine sentences. So yes, it is heavy on the word 'Drupal".

The summary also tells you what Drupal is:

"It helps spread the word to everyone about this flexible and robust content management system."

Re:Drupal Drupal ... Drupal. wft is Drupal? (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964754)

Wow, this is like the 4th Drupal book review on Slashdot in less than a year. I've never tinkered with it, but I've yet to talk to anyone who has had any problem getting it up and running, let alone needed a book. How about a few book reviews on something we aren't familiar with?

Re:Drupal Drupal ... Drupal. wft is Drupal? (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#33966838)

Wow, this is like the 4th Drupal book review on Slashdot in less than a year. I've never tinkered with it, but I've yet to talk to anyone who has had any problem getting it up and running, let alone needed a book. How about a few book reviews on something we aren't familiar with?

The learning curve for Drupal was more than I could be bothered with. I ended up going with Wordpress and had my site up and running within half an hour.

Re:Drupal Drupal ... Drupal. wft is Drupal? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33971746)

The learning curve for Drupal was more than I could be bothered with. I ended up going with Wordpress and had my site up and running within half an hour.

That's funny, I couldn't get Wordpress to install by following the instructions, and had Drupal up and running within half an hour. I've been running it for years now. Useless anecdotes FTW!

Fuck you all, assholes... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33964770)

I'm not happy..

Adverts make the front page now? (2, Insightful)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964394)

This seems an awful lot like an advert to me. Should it really be on the front page?

Re:Adverts make the front page now? (3, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964660)

There's a fine line between "product news" and "astroturf".

Hint: if you local news channel is doing an in-depth week-long series of segments on botox, you can bet they didn't film or write a word of it, and aren't relying on ad revenue to pay for it.

Re:Adverts make the front page now? (3, Interesting)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964982)

It's bit too convenient that there are all these reviews of Packt Publishing books coming out from one off reviewers giving the books 9/10. If it smells like a shill review and reads like a shill review it's probably a shill review.

Re:Adverts make the front page now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33971168)

Packt distributes books to select people and asks them explicitly to post a review on Slashdot.

Remember when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33964398)

Remember when most of the web was static pages, and they didn't suck?

Can Drupal 7 get us back to that?

Re:Remember when... (1)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 3 years ago | (#33965874)

I don't remember that at all. I remember when it was static pages that did suck.

Oh, you must be talking about when the internet was called a book.

What is Drupal? (2, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964432)

What the heck is Drupal? Are we meant to know? I've never even heard of it?

Re:What is Drupal? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33964532)

Drupal is a php web framework, and the bane of a server admin's existence if you are supporting lots of installs. Upgrade paths are historically long, painful and confusing, EVERYTHING is stored in the database, so if something messes up in the DB, errors are obtuse and not helpful.

I've heard of companies running it well if everyone is competent, but it's a nightmare supporting a myriad of installs with many half-competent users.

Re:What is Drupal? (1)

phyrz (669413) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970096)

For managing lots of Drupal sites (even across multiple servers) try the Aegir project, its close to a 1.0 release but is stable enough for production use now.

http://groups.drupal.org/aegir-hosting-system [drupal.org]

Kind of related, check out Drush, which lets you manage drupal sites from a linux command line & drush_make which lets you create make files for drupal sites.

Drupal is very powerful, but its not for the faint-hearted.

Re:What is Drupal? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33965740)

What the heck is Drupal? Are we meant to know? I've never even heard of it?

OK... who are you people? ;)

Finally! (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964468)

The last major release (6.0) was in February 2008. The Drupal 7 core has been rewritten heavily along with the UI, particularly in the area of the database interface and content storage. I wouldn't be surprised if the final 7.0 release will be almost three full years after 6.0, but as far as I can tell the wait will have been worth it.

Re:Finally! (2, Insightful)

fremen (33537) | more than 3 years ago | (#33966234)

I've been telling people that Drupal 7 is coming real soon now for two years! We've developed and redeveloped entire sites, all the while hearing from our developers that Drupal 7 was coming out and that we would need to think about our upgrade path.

As far as I can tell it's vaporware. Release it already.

Re:Finally! (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#33967692)

The unstable version is pretty solid, and only has a handful of significant bugs remaining, so it's not vaporware.

However, I agree that the release cycle has been stretched way too long. There should have been at least one, possibly two major milestone releases in 2009-2010. People tried to squeeze too much into this one release.

One problem I can identify in hindsight is the mistaken belief that the introduction of unit testing would shrink the post-code-freeze time by making regression testing easier. Instead it just meant that more bugs would be discovered before release.

That is a good thing: Drupal 7.0 will certainly contain fewer undiscovered bugs than 6.0 (which had a glaring security flaw discovered almost immediately upon release). But it didn't speed up the process, and the delayed code freeze and major changes meant people spent forever on bugfixing (as well as writing unit tests, which is extra overhead).

Re:Finally! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33971706)

However, I agree that the release cycle has been stretched way too long. There should have been at least one, possibly two major milestone releases in 2009-2010.

Why? Drupal 6 is working fine.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33982674)

Releasing new features as stable attracts more interest though. Firefox and Ubuntu release once and twice a year, respectively.
Drupal made at least 3-4 major improvements each of which might have been worth its own release, but since their development was concurrent and overlapping, that would have been tough to do.

Don't bother (5, Insightful)

kc8jhs (746030) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964616)

I think it's getting kinda ridiculous how authors and many books about Drupal 7were pressured into publishing early. There have been books published about software that didn't even exist at time of publication, such as Panels for Drupal 7 (they used the version from 6). Several others are publishing when there are APIs being changed to fix critical issues, and tons of new API additions still occurring. I am not even sure if Drupal 7 is in string freeze yet, and I know that visual considerations to the new themes are still on the table as well, causing all screenshots and reference to onscreen options to be at risk of being outdated. I wouldn't buy or recommend any Drupal 7 book that comes out before the release.

I was in talks over a year ago with an acquisitions editor at a another major publisher that had only done 2 Drupal books at the time, and they wanted to get started on Drupal 7 books early since they say that Drupal books were really picking up (or that their competitors were putting lots of energy into Drupal books). The problem was, that the folks of course know nothing of the open source software ecosystem and require deadlines and schedules which are simply impossible to predict with volunteer software development. My editor wanted to have my chapters by March of 2010, so they could hit the shelves and announce at DrupalCon San Francisco in April. They were convinced that a release of D7 would happen in Fall of '09. I told them, that the release would never happen in 09 and probably not in Q1 of '10 and that getting a comprehensive API reference (I was estimating around 800-900 pages) by that time would be a stretch. They ended up passing on the offer, since they felt the timeline was wrong, and that Joomla and Wordpress downloads were better.

I am also sick of all these books that cover Drupal 7 or other similar software are a very cursory level. I'd much rather wait for Pro Drupal Development 3rd edition to come out, when it's a book whose authors have spent thousands of hours maintaing community contributions, and they have hundreds of patches to Drupal itself.

Re:Don't bother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33982346)

I've heard that Pro Drupal 7 Development, 3rd Edition (Apress) is going to print before Drupal 7 ships. And Drupal 7 Module Development (Pact) is going to press early because Pact wants to beat Apress.

WTF (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33964772)

What in God's name is wrong with whoever wrote that top paragraph. I tried to parse it and it actually made me want to vomit. Worst. Writing. Ever.

11 critical issues (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964790)

What are the 11 critical issues? Or more precisely, could they ruin the book?

I can imagine, perhaps, one of them being RSS feeds written in Klingon with backdated pre 1970 timestamps having the wrong rules of Klingon punctuation. That's all very fascinating, but since I don't care, I won't mind that the book doesn't cover that particular critical issue.

But what if one of the 11 critical issues is some deep core framework type of thing that will require changes in everything?

Inviting a newbie to learn on a buggy system just annoys the newbie. So unlike the review, I'd suggest a newbie learn on a fully patched version 6 Drupal. Getting stuck and not being able to figure out if its my code or a Drupal 7 prerelease bug is an excellent recruitment tool for RoR, not for Drupal 7.

Re:11 critical issues, is it lack of cold fusion? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33965212)

Seriously, acting all mysteriously won't help us.

Is it stuff like record locking issues, mishandling of input strings so that it's so hackable a Chinese baby could hack it, or is it stuff nobody cares about like field locking or only being able to run on machines that have less than 64 cores on an 8 blade server and not addressing more than 2000 terabytes of memory space.

Re:11 critical issues (3, Informative)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#33965256)

I can't say what the critical issues are with drupal 7, but from my experience of drupal 6 - their most critical issue was they relied on modules written by amateurs who couldn't be bothered to correct their mistakes when they came to light, making many of the modules I wanted to use useless. The degree of amateurishness was such that I spent days or weeks under the (false) impression that it must be me who didn't understand what I was doing.

On that basis, I have no intention of porting across to drupal 7 for at least 6 months - maybe longer, until the 11 known "critical" errors have been fixed and all the so-far undiscovered critical errors fixed. Once bitten.

Re:11 critical issues (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#33968240)

^this. Gosh, darn, almighty is that true.

Also, no connection pooling. When I googled on it, I got lots of references to using Tomcat (true story).

Re:11 critical issues (4, Informative)

yelvington (8169) | more than 3 years ago | (#33965320)

The list of issues currently blocking a release candidate [drupal.org] is publicly available.

Re:11 critical issues (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33965400)

OK, so "Security harden stream wrappers by defaulting them as remote" sounds like a major one, "Cannot install on PHP 5.3.2" sounds like it would be hilarious for newbie abuse aka RoR recruitment, and "Do not enable the management menu by default" sounds like one of those "Klingon language RSS bugs" that I mentioned.

So are stream wrappers a pretty big topic in the book and if so is this a dealbreaker for buying the book?

Re:11 critical issues (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33971714)

So are stream wrappers a pretty big topic in the book and if so is this a dealbreaker for buying the book?

Why not try reading the fine issue [drupal.org]? They're just going to change them to default to remote type instead of local type. A tiny change really, which needs to be rested regressively hence becoming a big deal in the queue.

Critical is perhaps the wrong word (2, Informative)

Bozovision (107228) | more than 2 years ago | (#33966908)

The issues are critical because they are blockers to releasing a polished product. There will be no fundamental API changes. And chances are that most of these won't affect you in any way if you build a site using Drupal. Drupal 7 is already being used on production sites - some of them quite major - but we can't yet recommend you use it. The list of issues at the moment is:
  • "Do not enable the management menu by default". This is about removing some on-screen duplication that wastes pixels.
  • "Cannot install on PHP 5.3.2". I have a working version on 5.3.2. This is a false positive - something to do with the reporters set up. D7 needs PHP PDO extension, which is part of the default PHP. Most likely not enabled for the person who reported the bug.
  • "Links are needlessly unable to fully participate in D7 AJAX framework" Making sure that the Ajax framework is orthogonal with respect to content types, I think.
  • "Security harden stream wrappers by defaulting them as remote" We worry about security. This would subject streams to the level of scrutiny that remote data is subject to. If allow_url_include in php.ini is false, then Drupal should not allow remote streams as content.
  • "Skip to main content" link doesn't work correctly in the overlay" We are screen-reader friendly by default. We also have a new mode of operation - overlaying a screen with things that need to be done before you can continue with your original task. This should work for screen readers too, so the link needs to point to the 'topmost' content.
  • "All fields are hidden after the administrator newly configures a view mode to not use 'default' display" Oops! It shouldn't be possible to get into a state where critical stuff seemingly disappears. A feature that's central to D7 is fields - that is, all content is extensible with new fields. It should always be possible to set fields to display correctly.
  • "Some schema code incorrectly rely on the generic type instead of the engine-specific type" D7 supports storing data in different storage formats, including several database engines. There's some small inconsistency; the schema (and things that manipulate it) should use the column types specific to a particular engine - for instance it's AUTO_INCREMENT in MySQL, but Serial in PostgreSQL, and different rules apply to how each is used.
  • "Clean-up the upgrade path: UPGRADE.txt" If you are upgrading from Drupal 6, we'd like it to be a smooth ride.
  • "Screen reader users need a clear, quick way to disable the overlay". Not all the screen readers will like the overlay system, so there should be a ridiculously easy way to stop using overlays, which is immediately accessible from a screen reader. "Allow dashboard to limit available blocks" Users can configure their own dashboard, but not everything that is displayable makes sense on the dashboard page, so it would be sensible to limit what can be displayed. The User Interface for this is being tested.

And I'd like to take this opportunity to advertise - Drupalcon Chicago [drupal.org] will be in March 2011. And if you are in Europe, I have it on reasonably good authority that you can look forward to the announcement of the location of the Autumn conference either later this week or next week. And this week we moved the Drupal.org site redesign [drupal.org] live.

Alright, alright, I'll let you talk about it... (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 3 years ago | (#33964884)

I read the summary, and all I see is someone looking for excuses to talk about Drupal. Please, talk a bit more about the beta! I'll read the article, don't worry, but please give me something tangible.

I know it's the back end for 43rddems.org (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33965184)

Other than that, my main objection to this review is that it lacks sufficient keywords so that anyone could figure out what it does.

Keywords are your friends.

Proselytizing won't work if you don't say what it does.

Re:I know it's the back end for 43rddems.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33965886)

Other than that, my main objection to this review is that it lacks sufficient keywords so that anyone could figure out what it does.

If by "it" you mean the review, what the review does is talk about a book. But you probably already knew that if you read the headline.

If by "it" you mean the book, what the book does is talk about Drupal. But you probably already knew that if you bothered to read the review.

If by "it" you mean Drupal, what Drupal does is organize crap for a website. But you probably already knew that if you're bothering to read reviews of Drupal books.

CMSs are Evil (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33965954)

>>The question arises whether we should all be writing about Drupal 7

Don't. CMS's are evil and lull "designers" into thinking they are developers and cms developers into thinking they are programmers, snarf, snarf!

Which version to really use? (2, Informative)

meustrus (1588597) | more than 2 years ago | (#33966332)

I'm planning a new Drupal installation, and will be using Drupal 6. Even if 7 was released today, I'd still go with 6. The fact is that as a Framework, Drupal's strength is in its contributed modules. While many of the most popular contributed modules pledge to have a Drupal 7 version on release day, I expect that roughly half of the modules I want will not have a Drupal 7 release for up to a year. Not to mention the inevitable headaches from version *.0 of any software. So while it's nice to think about how awesome and shiny Drupal 7 is, it's just not realistic to be considering it for real websites at this time.

Now, if I was just setting up a blog about my cat, there's probably plenty of functionality for that out of the box. But then, wouldn't it be easier to use a more targeted system for that, like Wordpress?

Grumble...and I thought /. knew something I didn't about the actual release, not some stupid book. Who reads software books anymore anyway?

Re:Which version to really use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33968872)

Check out pressflow, which is basically drupal 6 with some custom improvements by fourkitchens.com . Many of these improvements will make it into the drupal 7 release.

pressflow lets you put a web proxy like varnish or squid infront of your drupal site so you can gain a massive performance increase.

The only con I can think of is that it only supports Mysql and not postgres.

Packt Publishing Website has eBook version on sale (1)

dowdle (199162) | more than 2 years ago | (#33967050)

I really wanted this book since I'm a Druapl user and want to find out about the upcoming changes / features in Drupal 7. I found out that the Packt Publishing website has a special going... and I was able to pick up the electronic release for $9.99. I bought myself a copy. They let you download a PDF that has your name and address embedded in the footer of each page. I like to have printed copies so I fired it off to the laser printer. Great value. Of course you can order the print version, or the print / ebook combo from them too if desired.

svg yet ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33967866)

I tried to set up svg display in drupal6 but couldn't do it. The only software I can find to accept svg is Mediawiki.

Drupal 7 is already 80 weeks overdue (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 2 years ago | (#33968046)

And while the odds are it will be released sometime soon, it's going to be too late. They cry for help over there. They scream when you point out a bug. So I tried to help. I posted a few patches, on active issues. I opened new issues and posted patches. Ignored. Totally.

And the bike shedding? Holy crap.

And look out if webchick makes a decision that affects 1000s but scratches her itch! I don't know how sun and chx do it, commit to core that is.

Prediction: Drupal 7 will launch sometime soon, but it will still have broken code from the 4.6 series, and they'll just blame those pointing it out.

Re:Drupal 7 is already 80 weeks overdue (1)

FredMenace (835698) | more than 3 years ago | (#33971398)

Hear, hear. I especially like the series of bugs that they refuse to acknowledge because they think that's how it should work. Look people, I don't care if you categorize them as "intentional design flaw bugs", they're still bugs.

Problems keeping it up to date... (1)

dfuess (72488) | more than 3 years ago | (#33971970)

Well, let's hope they are better at keeping up with PHP versions with 7 than they were with 6. Using Drupal 6 with PHP 5.3.2 was worse than any beta I have ever participated in. Core features failed, plugins would not run, things just did not work. Still it was the most promising environment we have encountered for integrating Lucene, Solr, and Alchemy for an advanced NLP research workstation. If 7 is well behaved enough then we may even attempt a GATE integration.

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