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Book Review: Drupal Web Services

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

Books 63

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.Released by Packt Publishing on 24 December 2010, under the ISBN 978-1849510981, this book is the only one currently on the market that focuses on how to "integrate social and multimedia web services and applications with your Drupal Web site" (to quote from the book's marketing copy). Its 320 pages are organized into a dozen chapters and one appendix. The publisher makes available a web page with a description of the book, its table of contents, and a sample chapter (Chapter 9, "Twitter and Drupal"). The page notes that readers do not have to have any programming expertise, but should be familiar with the use and administration of a Drupal site. The book covers Drupal 6, as version 7 had not been finalized and released until a couple weeks after the book's publication. Visitors can also read the reported errata (of which there are none, as of this writing), and download the example code used in nine of the chapters. (This review is based on a print copy the publisher kindly provided. An e-book version is also available.)

The first chapter serves as an introduction to web services at a high level, including remote procedure calls (RPC), as well as some of the most commonly used protocols, with some focus on Representational State Transfer (REST). The author then gives several examples of web services that can be consumed by a Drupal website, and others where the site provides the service. This material is a fine overview, although nonprogrammers may be scared away unnecessarily by the inclusion of coding details, such as the Mollom service requests. Also, the writing style is rather repetitious in some places, e.g., "it will cost you to sign up for it. It's not a free service" (page 16). More amusingly, on page 9, the author states, "The computer that contains the application [] can be anywhere in the world," and then adds, "It could be sitting on a server in the US, Europe, Asia, South America, or somewhere else" — as if any reader might be unfamiliar with the major regions of the world. On the other hand, some readers may appreciate a slower narrative pace. Yet most troubling of all is the claim (on page 12) that many of the popular web applications are based on PHP (as is Drupal), and thus we have the advantage of "a common programming language." That contradicts the whole point of web services, namely, sharing data and other resources among websites regardless of those sites' underlying technologies. A typical web service does not transmit source code, hence its language is irrelevant, as is the language of any other website with which it interacts. (This so-called advantage is never substantiated, or even explained, anywhere in the book.)

The next four chapters take a detailed look at how a Drupal website can consume third-party web services, beginning with the use of Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) in general, and two contributed modules in particular (the SOAP Client module, and the FedEx Shipping Quotes module — which depends upon the Ubercart shopping cart module). The discussion of the topics is complete and straightforward, with screenshots as needed to show what administrative forms need to be filled out by anyone following the instructions. This approach is followed in the subsequent three chapters, which show how to use the web services of Flickr, Amazon, CDN2, and Kaltura. Chapter 5 discusses video, and thus its coverage of the Media:Flickr module for turning photos into slideshows should have been placed in the third chapter, which was devoted to Flickr.

Chapter 6, which focuses on the use of the Services module, essentially begins the second part of the book, because the reader starts learning how to make a site provide web services, i.e., no longer acting solely as a client — although there are some cases where web services are consumed at the same time as they are offered to outside clients. The Services module works in conjunction with other Drupal modules that implement web service methods (SOAP, REST, JSON, etc.). All of the examples are helpful, but the photo_service_all() function on page 136 is odd, because the author states that it returns an array of nodes, but the code suggests instead that it returns the nodes' content, concatenated together as a string. Similar to the first part of the book, the remaining chapters in the second part focus on specific web services: CAPTCHA, reCAPTCHA, TypePad, Mollom, Google Docs, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Chapter 12 explores the authentication services OpenID and OAuth, but strangely ends by stating that it is time to test the OAuth connection, with no explanation as to how to do so. Incidentally, to Drupal administrators unfamiliar with the use of the Views module, the first sentence on page 205 will likely be quite confusing, because it conflates fields with filters. (The phrase "filters in" should be replaced by "includes" or "uses.") Also perplexing is that on pages 209-210, the author advises the use of "http://" instead of "www." in short URLs, but two pages later the results show the opposite. The phrase "FBML is now considered by Facebook" is baffling; considered what by Facebook? Lastly, the author states that OAuth will be tested with Digg (page 259), but that is not covered.

The book's sole appendix briefly presents each of the major contributed modules used, organized by chapter. For each module, there is a brief summary of its purpose, the current maintainers and version, and links to its project page and usage statistics. Two passages in Chapters 7 and 8 suggest that the book's appendix was not finished as intended: The author states (page 150), "I've attached the code for the recaptchalib.php file as an appendix in this book," but that does not appear to be the case — which is fortunate, because the book should not be made longer by including source code that is easily available to the reader. On page 177, we are told that the appendix explains how to install Acquia Drupal, but it does not.

The figures used in the book are, for the most part, quite handy, to see the results — especially for the reader following along who does not want to implement all of the instructions. However, the first screenshot on page 103 and the second screenshot on page 114, were incorrectly swapped for one another, and thus do not match the respective descriptions in the text.

Even though the writing quality of this title is a bit better than the typical programming book nowadays, there are some problems. Countless verbs are prefixed by the (useless) phrase "go ahead and" — to the extent that the reader will be sick of it by the time he reaches the end of the book. Occasionally the phrasing is rather puzzling. For instance, on page 131, the screenshot shows that a list of field names should be separated by commas, with no spaces. The author's explanation is "Make sure to not avoid spaces"

There are a couple instances in the book where critical configuration settings are not introduced or explained until after the reader is told that he will see results from following all of the earlier steps (which include most of the configuration settings). For example, in Chapter 4, the author instructs the reader to install the Amazon, CCK, and Features modules, and test everything using the Amazon Examples module. Pages later — possibly after the reader has been frustrated in trying to get the example scenario to work — he is told how to configure the Features module to enable the Amazon Examples features.

As with most Packt titles, the copyediting is quite poor, with inconsistent punctuation and plenty of errata that should have been caught in the production process: "and and" (on the "About the author" page), "at [the] time" (page 3), "try and access" (page 11; should read "try to access"), "a RPC" (page 15), "[a] server API" (18), "APress" (22), "is a not a" (25), "delivery Information" (43), "on how" (70), "to to" (89), "you [c]an" (94), "extention" (97), "the the" (106), "user Drupal user" (184), "se e" (198), "CMS(" (232), "both the methods" (252), "Try it both methods" (258), and "sign [in] to" (259). There are countless places where the term "the" is missing, e.g., twice on page 16. The menu path delimiter used is sometimes ">" (e.g., page 226), but usually "|," which makes each menu path look too much like page links in a footer.

However, the main problem with the narrative is that the author repeats information — in most cases not just once, but numerous times. For example, in the second chapter, we are told three times that the author will present the SOAP and FedEx shipping quotes modules. By the time the reader reaches page 33, he likely will already be tired of being told the same information. But on that page alone, the author goes over the same ground two more times. In fact, the beginning of the second paragraph sounds like a copy of the first. Compounding the problem, the author will frequently take some of the material from the main section where it is discussed, and add it to the tail end of the previous section — somewhat like a preview, but wholly unnecessary. Packt Publishing's content editors should have caught and weeded out this redundancy. Each chapter ends with a summary, which add no value and exacerbate the repetitiveness of the chapters' main content. One glaring example of redundancy, in the last chapter, is the second go-round of how to define a Twitter application, which had already been covered in Chapter 9.

Yet one advantage to repeating explanations, is that no reader will miss key instructions. This would be most advantageous to readers skimming the material at a fast pace, or anyone new to administering a Drupal website and consequently lacking in confidence. Anyone reading this book will likely be impressed by the way that the author patiently steps the reader through every process. Due to the detailed explanations, each chapter stands on its own, thereby making it possible for the reader to learn a particular topic without having to read any of the earlier chapters. This also makes the book valuable not just as the tutorial, but for reference purposes.

With clear and thorough explanations, Drupal Web Services would be an solid resource for anyone who wants to connect a Drupal-based site to any web service, including the major social media applications.

Michael J. Ross is a freelance website developer and writer.

You can purchase Drupal Web Services 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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Welcome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36453390)

... To 7 years ago

Re:Welcome! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36453550)

You know what is so funny. Any time you attempt to have a rational discussion about something like illegal immigration in the US you won't get very far. See, immigration is all about respecting a country's laws. It's about not trying to be where you are not wanted because no one owes you a goddamned thing. It's about not permanently moving to the US unless you plan to become an American, just like I'd never consider permanently moving to Mexico unless i planned to become a Mexican. I'd also never permanently move to Mexico unless I knew that its citizens, through their government, actually want me to be there and have allowed me to come.

But this is the only widespread criminal behavior that is routinely excused. Even drug users don't have legions of bed-wetters making excuses for them and telling you that you're a bad person for wanting our laws to be respected and the fucking drug laws don't make half as much sense as the immigration laws.

But the second you want the Mexican invasion to be stopped you're immediately a "racist". You're a "racist" even if you are happy to have Mexicans come to this country so long as they do it legally. Figure that one out. Just try. A real racist who had a problem with Mexicans wouldn't want them here under any circumstance. But the emotional nancyboys who scream "RACISM!" don't see the contradiction. They just keep talking about "brown people".

Well here's some facts about "brown people". Ever notice that all of the problem areas of the world are populated by brown people? Mexico, what a lovely place -- nothing like drug cartels with military hardware! The Middle East, well, need I say more? How are things in South America, places like Columbia and Venezuela, how'd you like a permanent visa and a free one-way ticket so you can go live there? How much free speech do you think you'd enjoy in Peru? What's wrong, got a problem with "brown people?"

Or hey, maybe it's got nothing to do with race and everything to do with appreciating that USA is one of the few non-shithole places to live in the world and maybe we'd like to keep it that way, Maybe we can take in thousands or even millions of people who want a better life but maybe, just maybe, we can't single-handedly save the entire fucking world from its own corruption and mismanagement. Maybe we already do more than our fair share of that. Maybe some of those "brown people" should try putting together a prosperous free nation so that sneaking over somebody else's border becomes less important to them. There's a thought. Oh but that's so racist, and so is anything else you don't want to hear that happens to be the fuckin' truth, it's all just horrible terrible racism. Yeah.

Ever think that the failure to face the truth combined with the childish tendency to scapegoat every real problem by blaming some kind of "ism" is the reason nothing ever gets better? Did you ever think that immediately bring race into every possible issue makes YOU the racist? Do you bleeding-heart pansy-ass bed-wetters ever get enough contact with reality to entertain that notion? Would you know what reality was and have the guts to face it if you saw it?

Re:Welcome! (-1, Troll)

funkelectric (931604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36454654)

Can someone mod parent down and troll ASAP please.

Re:Welcome! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36455120)

Can someone mod parent down and troll ASAP please.

If you were honest here's what your post would have said: "I don't personally like what that AC said. I want to find a way to censor it. I know the mods won't do my bidding just because I don't like something so I'll need a facade. Hmm... hey wait, I got it! It's off-topic. Alright! Hah, I found a way to make my desire to censor look legit." Yes, I am sure your intentions are pure and you are just a real purist when it comes to the rules. You call the police when someone does 57 in a 55mph zone too right? You cry for off-topic down-mods when you really like and agree with a post that deviates from topic too, right? Of course you do, you bastion of non-hypocrisy you.

Nevermind that other people found the post Insightful and modded it accordingly, demonstrating that not everyone agrees with you.

Finally, this whole discussion is a blatant flagrant Slashvertisement. Do you honestly believe it deserves to stay on-topic? Is padding Packt Publishing's sales figures through dishonest methods really such a worthy topic of discussion for you? Or is it all about your selfish convenience, where it's worthy for you the moment something else offends you? I think you're one of those self-centered morons who needs to suffer because someone plays the "I'm offended!" card on you before you will understand the cowardice it represents.

You know there are plenty of things people say that I don't like either. I don't look for ways to censor them. It's called being a man. Try it sometime.

I know you don't see it or understand it, but people like you are why the world is such a fucked up place. Yeah the world has problems and always has. People like you are why they never get better. You and your ilk vastly outnumber tolerant, principled people who don't wait with their fingers crossed for someone else to break a rule (that is at best a guideline) so they can selectively call for its enforcement. Welcome to the society you and your kind have created.

Woot! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36453394)

Woot! More Packt Publishing shill reviews! Once again receiving the standard 8/10 or 9/10 rating. Go samzenpus! *cha ching!*

Re:Woot! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36453572)

Slashdot is franky shit now. What are the alternatives?
I mean something that is actually news for nerds, and has a decent user moderation system.

Re:Woot! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36453594)

Moreover, this is third book review [slashdot.org] this year that is about drupal.

What is this? News for Web Developers?

Yet Another Drupal Book Review (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36453466)

I was wondering why there was a lack of Drupal Book Reviews, was the person responsible for submitting them to Slashdot and bribing the editors sick or something?

Re:Yet Another Drupal Book Review (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36453852)

I was wondering why there was a lack of Drupal Book Reviews, was the person responsible for submitting them to Slashdot and bribing the editors sick or something?

It warms my heart to see that every (imo) biased shillish (/imo) book review posted to this site turns into a trainwreck of comments protesting said review. I haven't seen a single comment about the book review. I've seen many about how fed up people are with this spammish bullshit. That's the way it should be. How embarassing this must be for Slashdot staff. You fuckers are going to need your infinite mod points on this story.

Oh, and while we're being honest with each other, the next time I pull up Slashdot.org and see a phony "503 Service Unavailable" error message, the kind that magically goes away when I switch to Tor, I'll smile. I'll smile because I will know an editor read this and it stuck in his craw. I'll smile because I'm right, the editor knows I'm right, but doesn't have the FUCKING BALLS to admit it, so he feels a need to take out his nerd rage on me. There's no such thing as a ban that cannot be worked around, so have fun and enjoy yourself, you fuckers. Moving along...

Hey publishers! Here's a little free marketing advice for you. When you have a crowd like the Slashdot userbase that is NOT composed of mindless sheeple who automatically believe the bullshit you try to spoon-feed them, and you treat them like mindless sheeple anyway, GUESS WHAT?! No really, you'll never guess in a million years what happens next. I can tell because you still haven't figured it out.

So I'll fill you in. What happens next is you PERMANENTLY ALIENATE THEM. They remember that you treated them like a bunch of dumbasses. Now, I know this may come as a surprise to you, but treating your potential customers like a bunch of dumbasses makes them NOT want to BUY from YOU. Many of us, myself included, make up our minds that we won't ever buy anything from you. Not even if you make the finest books available (tho it would seem you don't). Many of us, myself included, tell everyone we know to buy from your competitors because we're sick of this shit. Some of us, myself not included, have a great deal of influence over the purchasing decisions of others. You'd do well to remember that.

Now I'm not such an idealist. I know that you won't stop treating people like shit because that'd be the decent thing to do. I know you won't stop because you wouldn't want to be insulted and belittled like that. I know you won't stop because you know it makes you an asshole. Maybe this will get your attention: YOU ARE LOSING SALES BY DOING THIS AND YOU DESERVE TO LOSE MORE SALES!!

You're not fooling anyone. You're transparent as all hell. You seem a little thick so I made this as plain as I could. No charge at all.

Re:Yet Another Drupal Book Review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36460572)

The MO for Packt is to contact random webdevelopers (whom they know to use a certain technology) and then give them (a) free book(s) provided they post a review on Slashdot specifically.

Quality is poor, which is why many people refuse to participate in this. Serious developers need good books, not paperweights.

Sorry for bringing this up (1)

tulcod (1056476) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453472)

But isn't the point of a book that you /read/ it? Instead of skimming over the pages? I, for one, know very well what I'd like to learn from a book, so why does the author decide for me?

Not that I would read a book on Drupal, of course..

Re:Sorry for bringing this up (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36453526)

Freelance web site developers are the used car salesmen of IT

Re:Sorry for bringing this up (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453598)

And Packt is the Yugo of book publishers.

Re:Sorry for bringing this up (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453784)

But isn't the point of a book that you /read/ it? Instead of skimming over the pages? .

I have many reference books where I read only a few selected chapters after skimming to find the information I'm interested in. I often skim through entire chapters to see if it's got the information I want. I almost never read a technical book cover to cover - it's not a novel and I don't treat it as one.

I, for one, know very well what I'd like to learn from a book, so why does the author decide for me?

Isn't that the whole point of skimming the book? I may not care about how to integrate Drupal and Myspace so I can quickly skim over or skip those chapters, and then concentrate on those areas that do interest me.

lolwut? (5, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453514)

As with most Packt titles, the copyediting is quite poor, with inconsistent punctuation and plenty of errata that should have been caught in the production process:

So thus clearly worthy of the 8/10 rating. Is this a fucking joke? A book that has poor writing, poor copy editing and has "plenty of errata" and it's given an 8/10? And people still think these reviewers aren't being paid off?

Re:lolwut? (1)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453548)

You're overlooking the possibility that its an inverted logarithmic scale.

Re:lolwut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36453620)

You forget /. only understands linear scales.

ie, "How many pages is this book"
a) 1 page
b) 2 pages
c) 3 pages
d) 4 pages
e) 5+ pages
f) cowboy neal pages

Re:lolwut? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453876)

I think it's a symptom of inflated opinion about the topic. I don't care about Drupal, although obviously the review author cares. Sort of a halo effect from drupal to the book.

Somebody into ancient religions would 8/10 that kind of stuff in ground breaking discoveries. For example:

As with most dead sea scrolls, the copyediting is quite poor, with inconsistent punctuation and plenty of errata that should have been caught in the production process:

However, this latest Packt book is not an ancient religious document worshiped by millions (as far as I know). Maybe if Packt would republish some Ayn Rand, after adding in some typos for authenticity.... Or maybe they could print and publish the "heads up VIM in 24 hours for dummies" as a box set with an emacs manual...

Re:lolwut? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#36454898)

I think it's a symptom of inflated opinion about the topic. I don't care about Drupal, although obviously the review author cares. Sort of a halo effect from drupal to the book.

Yes, there are people who are unaware of such tendencies as bias, favoritism, and the halo effect. It renders them unable to dispassionately apply objective criteria.

Such people also have no business writing book reviews and submitting them to a large audience.

Really, it's okay that someone isn't qualified to write a quality review. Not everyone can do everything and that's normal. I'm not qualified to perform brain surgery myself. The difference is, I don't insist on practicing neurosurgery because ... wait for it ... I'm not qualified! The reviewer can't handle this simple reasoning?

Re:lolwut? (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#36454174)

A book that has poor writing, poor copy editing and has "plenty of errata" and it's given an 8/10?

I don't know, seems like it fits in quite well with Drupal.

Re:lolwut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36454758)

No. That sounds correct. I would have given this an eight, too. You need to learn the Slashdot Book Rating System

Rating < 9, avoid this book like the plague.
Rating = 9, get this book only if you are particularly interested in the subject.
Rating > 9, run to the book store and get 2 copies.

Re:lolwut? (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36454830)

It's possible they're grading in comparison to Slashdot editing. On that curve, my 5-year-old's assorted crayon scribbles rate 6/10 with a special mention for creative use of colors.

Re:lolwut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36455602)

it's an attempt by PACKT and the authors to stay true to the source material, namely the festering bug heap that is Drupal. Bravo I say.

I read the summary (4, Insightful)

Pop69 (700500) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453644)

So, if the summary is correct, it's a six month old book that was out of date a couple of weeks after it was published and it scores 8/10 ?

Wonder if they have a pile of stock gathering dust that they needed a slashvertisment for ?

Re:I read the summary (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453668)

Not only that but it is apparently also poorly written, poorly copy edited and has "plenty of errata".

Re:I read the summary (1)

Pop69 (700500) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453788)

Well shit, I missed that bit.

Should have been a 10/10 with those extras included.

Re:I read the summary (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36455128)

Yeah, exactly. It is actually far worse than you originally thought. It's an admittedly below average book yet it is given what seems to be an above average rating.

More drupal whoring (1, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453660)

every month at least one drupal story. why arent other open source cmses pimped in the same way here ? is one of the site administrators drupal contributor ?

Re:More drupal whoring (1)

SimplyGeek (1969734) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453690)

I use SugarCRM extensively and would like to see some articles published about that. Granted, it's not a strict CMS in the Drupal/Joomla fashion, but it's OSS and used in much the same way.

Re:More drupal whoring (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453710)

Then you better get someone to whip out their checkbook like Packt does. They don't give out slashvertisements for free.

Re:More drupal whoring (1)

RagingMaxx (793220) | more than 3 years ago | (#36456386)

Well why don't you start submitting stories about SugarCRM to slashdot then?

Personally, I can't wait for the people who bitch about Drupal's code quality to chime in on that trainwreck of a system.

Re:More drupal whoring (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 3 years ago | (#36458014)

If only I had mod points I would give you a "+1 Damn Fucking Right".

Re:More drupal whoring (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36454080)

Says the guy whoring his own framework in his sig with every single comment.

Why not just ignore these threads? Seems to be a personal crusade of yours to sling mud at Drupal whenever it is mentioned. You don't like Drupal. We get it.

Re:More drupal whoring (2)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36456746)

at least, i am 'whoring' what i myself have produced, in my own signature. if my signature was a place which hundreds of thousands were beholding per day, i would start being just and equal in whoring out open source projects.

yes, its a crusade of mine to point out such whoring out of a single cms as opposed to many out there. you call it mud slinging, i call it calling out.

I despise the misuse of "consuming". (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453734)

Microsoft started it... at least that was my first exposure to it, in the context of application "consumers" of messages or services. But it's not correct, and I cringe every time I see it.

For one thing, the reason it isn't proper in the current context is that "consuming" implies that the thing being consumed is being used up. Obviously, someone who "consumes" web content in the context given, isn't using it up. Therefore "consuming" is not the correct word.

Re:I despise the misuse of "consuming". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36453878)

I think the term "consumer" (and thus "consuming") was around long before Microsoft. You're just an odd little troll with an odd little brain who's little bitty logic got twisted in a long fall rain.

Re:I despise the misuse of "consuming". (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453902)

Obviously, someone who "consumes" web content in the context given, isn't using it up. Therefore "consuming" is not the correct word.

Should we use "source" and "sink" instead?

Re:I despise the misuse of "consuming". (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453922)

Microsoft started it... at least that was my first exposure to it, in the context of application "consumers" of messages or services. But it's not correct, and I cringe every time I see it.

For one thing, the reason it isn't proper in the current context is that "consuming" implies that the thing being consumed is being used up. Obviously, someone who "consumes" web content in the context given, isn't using it up. Therefore "consuming" is not the correct word.

Probably the same gang of geniuses that confuse digital duplication with the era of swashbucklers, wooden ships, and iron men.

Re:I despise the misuse of "consuming". (1)

lee1 (219161) | more than 3 years ago | (#36454214)

Really? I consume novels, furniture, power tools, and ideas, and yet they're mostly still there.

Re:I despise the misuse of "consuming". (2)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#36454222)

Microsoft started it... at least that was my first exposure to it, in the context of application "consumers" of messages or services. But it's not correct, and I cringe every time I see it.

For one thing, the reason it isn't proper in the current context is that "consuming" implies that the thing being consumed is being used up. Obviously, someone who "consumes" web content in the context given, isn't using it up. Therefore "consuming" is not the correct word.

Not only that, it's a straight-up insult.

Ever notice how people parrot each other with no thought given whatsoever to what they are actually saying? If you're a self-aware individual who doesn't derive a phony sense of self-worth (the kind that won't be there when you really need it) from imitating others then there's no way you wouldn't notice. So while it may not be news to you personally, I will explain the origin of the term "consumer".

It comes from the broadcasting industry. It comes from radio and TV stations that broadcast over the airwaves at no charge to the people who listen and watch. You see, the advertisers who purchase airtime for commercials are the stations' customers. They are the ones paying the bills. They are the ones who might take their business elsewhere if they become dissatisfied.

The consumers are the ones who listen to the radio shows and watch the TV shows. Since they are not paying customers, it does make sense to describe them with a different term. For the broadcasters, their only function is to provide enough ears and eyeballs to convince the advertisers to purchase airtime. They only matter in large numbers. They have little power to negotiate with the station about programming and scheduling because they are not the customer. Any value they have is indirect, not inherent. They take what they are given and like it, or they get nothing at all.

It's belittling to refer to a paying customer as a "consumer". A paying customer really can take their business elsewhere. A paying customer really can make demands that must be met in order to do business. A paying customer really can try to negotiate, bargain, and bring complaints to management.

If you look carefully at this kind of Newspeak, it's always in the direction of belittling, never in the direction of empowering. There is no movement to refer to real consumers as customers and to treat them with the same importance. It's funny how people love to pretend that words and language have no meaning, that this trend has no deliberate purpose, that there is no psychological effect from using the lesser term to refer to the greater thing, that you should smile at people who insult your intelligence by regarding you as less than you are.

I for one say fuck that, and fuck the mindless drones who perpetuate any kind of Newspeak like this with no critical thought whatsoever.

Re:I despise the misuse of "consuming". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36456478)

That's an interesting narrative on the modern usage of "consumer". I'm not fully persuaded of its truth, but it's definitely interesting.

If you look carefully at this kind of Newspeak, it's always in the direction of belittling, never in the direction of empowering

This is wrong. If you believe that people only adapt their language to facilitate "belittling", then you're not looking very hard. Take off the tinted glasses -- the world isn't quite so dark.

If your Content Management software.... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453806)

Requires a 320 page book to learn how to use it.....

It's an epic fail.

All of them are far harder to use than they need to be. Why the hell is there not a OSS version of what they use at Squarespace out there? any fool can create and maintain a web presence that looks great with their software. And that is what I want, I need to set up the customers site and hand it off to them to maintain the content. Let the receptionist do it... Just pay me my $50.00 a month maintenance fee for updating the software and rooting out the nasty...

Re:If your Content Management software.... (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#36453942)

If your Content Management software requires A book to learn how to use it, it's an epic fail.

Re:If your Content Management software.... (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#36454664)

If your Content Management software requires A book to learn how to use it, it's an epic fail.

Likewise, if your book review "Slashvertisements" backfire every single time, producing discussions where 80-90% of all comments are complaints about the questionable nature of the review, and you continue to do these Slashvertisements without ever changing anything, that's an epic fail. That's a real epic fail.

That's a real "the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over, shocked and amazed it produces the same result" epic fail.

I really like this site but here's a thought: when something fails every time it is tried, it's time to move on. Here's a thought: let the success or failure of a venture decide whether it should be repeated. Apparently that's an advanced technique.

Like Bill Hicks said, these things become more clear when you talk them out.

Re:If your Content Management software.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36454008)

First part of your comment: You are not learning how to use Drupal in this book. You are learning how to do webservices. It's software engineering if you like or not and that requires a lot of material. There are plenty of books about Perl or PHP. Doing advanced things Perl-way requires a lot of knowledge. Doing advanced things Drupal-way requires a lot of knowledge as well. Second part: There is http://drupalgardens.com/ [drupalgardens.com] which is an SaaS platform wher eyou can easily create a site in a Squarespace-style. If you decide to leave DG, you can export the site and get both database and code - there is no lock-in.

Re:If your Content Management software.... (1)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 3 years ago | (#36454082)

Called "Wordpress". Head and shoulders above Joomla/Drupal in usability. No ridiculous "Oh, you want [basic functionality]? That's in a community-supported module. That is out of date and broken. Have fun!"

Re:If your Content Management software.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36456472)

Oh, but you want it to be sorted that way? Wordpress can't do it, sorry. Unless you want to build a new module! I would just conform if I were you.

Re:If your Content Management software.... (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 3 years ago | (#36458056)

Wordpress is for blogging, and hands down that capability isn't close to matched by Drupal. If you want to do something other than blogging you should not be using Wordpress. Of course if you are doing something other than blogging and you need a CMS you should really do yourself a favor and look at solutions other than Drupal.

Packt Publishing (1)

Stephen Gilbert (554986) | more than 3 years ago | (#36454064)

I don't know what Michael J. Ross thinks he is accomplishing with these reviews, but I do know that I will never buy a Packt title.

Conflict of Interests (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36454340)

Because a review a web developer (Michael J. Ross) who earns a living making Drupal website is completely objective and unbiased.

Re:Conflict of Interests (1)

lee1 (219161) | more than 3 years ago | (#36454502)

I probably shouldn't bother challenging an AC, but I just don't understand your objections. The only useful reviews of Drupal books are going to be written by people who use Drupal. That doesn't make them "biased" in any meaningful way. Packt publishes a lot of Drupal books, so the fact that a reviewer might publish through the same company is not surprising or automatically some kind of conspiracy. It's frankly ridiculous say that it's a "conflict of interest" to review a book if you happen to have published a book with the same company.

Re:Conflict of Interests (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#36455256)

I probably shouldn't bother challenging an AC, but I just don't understand your objections. The only useful reviews of Drupal books are going to be written by people who use Drupal. That doesn't make them "biased" in any meaningful way. Packt publishes a lot of Drupal books, so the fact that a reviewer might publish through the same company is not surprising or automatically some kind of conspiracy. It's frankly ridiculous say that it's a "conflict of interest" to review a book if you happen to have published a book with the same company.

I'm not the AC but I'm tired of the useless book reviews myself.

You sound like you want to see some kind of 3-story tall, crimson, illuminated, flashing red flag with blaring sirens and text stating "THIS REVIEW IS NOT LEGITIMATE" before you are willing to consider the idea. Problem is, biases and conflicts of interest tend to be subtle. It takes a bit of discernment to realize they are present.

To cut to the quick of it, riddle me this: if not all books are excellent, and therefore some books are below average, why are there no Slashdot book reviews that give scores lower than 5/10 and recommend against purchasing the book? With all the hundreds of reviews Slashdot has hosted throughout the years, you would think you could find just one fitting my criteria. As others have pointed out, why does this particular review criticize the book's content, usefulness, and editorial quality while STILL giving it a very good score of 8/10? None of this seems just a little strange to you? None of it is in need of explanation in your mind?

Even if you still disagree, can you at least understand why others would ask these questions? Especially in a cynical time where most people are in fact trying to sell you something and really have no qualms whatsoever about deceiving you so long as they don't technically break (the letter of) any of the laws against fraud? Please tell me you can see it.

Re:Conflict of Interests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36455380)

Because promoting the benefits of a product you make a living off or promoting other products from a company which you earn money from is not a conflict on interest? If I sell accessories for the iPhone it's in my interest say the iPhone is great.

Re:Conflict of Interests (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36455450)

Let me get this straight. You don't find anything weird with a book that the reviewer admits is poorly written, poorly edited and is apparently filled with "plenty of errata" yet they give it an 8/10? Any normal person would find something odd about that.

Re:Conflict of Interests (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#36456344)

Let me get this straight. You don't find anything weird with a book that the reviewer admits is poorly written, poorly edited and is apparently filled with "plenty of errata" yet they give it an 8/10? Any normal person would find something odd about that.

The old saying is that there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

Re:Conflict of Interests (1)

lee1 (219161) | more than 3 years ago | (#36457936)

Three replies, yet they all argue against straw men and fail to address what I actually said. I read another book review [theatlantic.com] today, in the Atlantic, by Christopher Hitchens, reviewing Joseph Lelyveld's new book on M. Gandhi. The review was fascinating. The book happens to be published by Knopf. Should I check who published Prof. Hitchens' many books to make sure none of those were also published by Knopf or a company that owns Knopf or is owned by them? If it turns out that they were, should I worry about a "conflict of interest" because of that? I fail to see how that wouldn't be ridiculous, and a ridiculous reason to impugn someone's character.

Re:Conflict of Interests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36458978)

. I read another book review today, in the Atlantic, by Christopher Hitchens, reviewing Joseph Lelyveld's new book on M. Gandhi. The review was fascinating.

Except these reviews aren't fascinating, they're mediocre at best but still give high scores and they have these connections. That's the whole damn point of why these reviews are bullshit.

Re:Conflict of Interests (1)

dolmen.fr (583400) | more than 3 years ago | (#36460454)

May be the real problem is that no other author still submit book reviews to Slashdot?

Bitcoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36454634)

Dear slashdot, can I use bitcoin to buy Packt titles?
That would make a great combination!

Re:Bitcoin (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36455172)

You spent all that time mining bitcoin yet you want to use them to buy shit quality books?

Good luck getting Drupal to as an RPC server using (1)

crivens (112213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36457174)

Good luck getting Drupal to as an RPC server using json. I spent days trying to get this working with my Python client and failed terribly.

Re:Good luck getting Drupal to as an RPC server us (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 3 years ago | (#36458038)

Rails will do everything in JSON for you with just a few extra lines (you basically just enable an extension). There are Rails based CMS's as well, such as Refinery. We actually just switched a project from Drupal to Refinery and JSON interaction was one of the reasons... you know other than Drupal being slow as carpet, buggy as hell, and generally just a huge pile of terrible code. Yeah, call me flamebait there but f* it - I hate Drupal and I'm loving Rails/Refinery.

Sounds like a decent book but... (1)

CampingTips (2306924) | more than 3 years ago | (#36565860)

Is it really a 8 out of 10!? It looks like it's not well structured and how the hell can you rate it that high when it has so many mistakes in it? Well I guess compared to all the other shite out there on the Kindle for instance, I wouldn't be surprised if this might still be one of the best in it's niche. Standards are slipping. Too bad.
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