10 Things That Make Front End Drupal a Must-Have Book

Several months ago Ryan Price interviewed Emma Jane Hogbin, one of the authors of Front End Drupal, for DrupalEasy Podcast 10. At the time I hadn't received a review copy of the book, so I made a mental note to check out the book based on the interview.
 Designing, Theming Scripting
Six months later, the folks at Prentice Hall were kind enough to send me a copy, and I was not disappointed.

Emma Jane Hogbin and Konstantin Kafer have written Front End Drupal in a way that makes it a valuble resource for virtually anyone who uses Drupal in one form or another. The strength of the book lies in the fact that it explains core concepts and best practices of how sites are built in Drupal, with an empahsis on theming.

Rather than writing a full-on review for a book that has already been reviewed more than a couple of times elsewhere, I thought that I'd provide a list of 10 things that this book covers really well.

  1. Organizing Your Content - most Drupal books jump right in and assume that your site's content is already organized in a logical form that is ready to go. Front End Drupal provides almost an entire chapter discussing the various ways to think about your content in a way that makes sense for the web. For someone new to content managment systems, this is invaluble.
  2. Drupal Terminology - Emma Jane and Konstatin make a concerted effort to take the mystery out of all the Drupal-specific terminiology that everyday Drupal users take for granted.
  3. CCK and Views - many Drupal books talk about how to use CCK and Views, but Front End Drupal discusses why these are 2 of the most widely-used modules before jumping into implementation details.
  4. Theme Pre-Process Functions - not surprisingly, for a book that is geared towards themers, it does a fantastic job of describing the role of pre-process functions. There are countless examples of how to name, use, and extend them. Outstanding.
  5. Template Naming - usually a topic that requires a bit of digging on Drupal.org before it is fully understood, the authors go into great detail about how to name your theme's template files to target the correct content.
  6. Javascript and jQuery - rather than going into every single detail about Javascript and jQuery, the authors devote one chapter to each in order to cover the basics before moving on to a third chapter that discusses how each is used in Drupal. I usually (probably unfairly) judge Javascript books by how well they explain prototypes - Front End Drupal does just fine. The authors cover enough material in the 3 chapters to satisfy probably 90% of themers (the rest should check out Matt Butcher's Drupal 6 Javascript and jQuery).
  7. Theming Forms - an entire chapter is devoted to this topic. What more can I say?
  8. View Theming - there's an entire section devoted to figuring out what is the correct template to override to theme your views.
  9. Template Variables - when I teach Drupal theming, I often begin with the "anatomy of a theme" and discuss the various files that make up a Drupal theme and how they are all related. This book does an exceptional job of doing the same thing, including going into great detail on many, if not all, of the various page variables that are available.
  10. Not Just For Themers - after I completed the book and had a few days to think about it, I realized that this book isn't just for themers. There are several chapters that any Drupal site admin, content admin, developer, or hobbist should check out. They provide a great (and necessary) background to how Drupal is put together and the terminiology that is often misunderstood.

I hope that Emma Jane and Konstatin are working on a Drupal 7 version...


Bought this book because of this podcast

Thanks for bringing quality info.

Kudos to Emma Jane and Konstatin on a good book

Submitted by Stan F (not verified) on Thu, 04/01/2010 - 13:40

[...] curso para continuar estudiando este sistema. Y también están los libros (acabo de cruzarme con una buena recomendación).  El punto es que hay abundante información sobre Drupal dentro de la web (junto a una gran [...]

[...] curso para continuar estudiando este sistema. Y también están los libros (acabo de cruzarme con una buena recomendación).  El punto es que hay abundante información sobre Drupal dentro de la web (junto a una gran [...]

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