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Friday, April 25, 2008

Building Powerful and Robust Websites with Drupal 6: Review

Building Powerful and Robust Websites with Drupal 6, authored by David Mercer and published by Packt Publishing ( is a welcome addition to the literature on open-source software.

Drupal is an open-source content management system. It helps one create, manage, modify, delete information such as objects (images / documents / files).

The code is available for free at According to many programmers, Drupal code is excellent. It's easy to set up, intuitive, flexible, and scalable.

This book guides users and helps them create

1. Community portal sites
2. Intranet sites
3. Directories
4. Share/discuss pages
5. Social networking
6. Educational learning communities

The book leads the reader through a step-by-step process of setting oneself to be the administrator of the content management system. The process is perhaps a bit daunting for the novice, but an experienced network or server administrator will probably not have any problems in installing server-side software (Apache2Triad).

The book goes through Drupal's functionality: modules, blocks, links: how to manage modules and workflow.

It also discusses site configuration, with directory structure, in order to maximize the unique attributes of Drupal and its power to effectively manage, manipulate, and deploy content. Drupal can accommodate a wide range of content types, including blog entry, book page, forum topic, page, poll, and story (which could be short-lived announcements or other kinds of ephemera).

In addition to delving into how best to manage basic content as well as advanced content, Building Powerful and Robust Websites with Drupal 6 explores image and aesthetics. It also works with the management of backups.

This book is indispensable for anyone who needs an open-source content management system and is willing to invest in creating one from the ground up. Nevertheless, not everyone will have the time to devote, and would benefit from a small library of pre-prepared solutions. If the book came bundled with a few templates, or an access code for downloads on the web, many of the barriers and obstacles that face programmers as they weigh open-source vs. commercial solutions would be overcome.

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