What Pro Drupal Development is, and What it Is Not

As copies of Pro Drupal Development, Second Edition hit the streets, I'd like to take a moment to clarify what the book is and what it is not.

What it is not

  • A complete and comprehensive guide to using MySQL with Drupal
  • A detailed howto on integrating Drupal with Sphinx
  • The ultimate reference on using jQuery/AJAX/JavaScript with Drupal
  • A step-by-step tutorial on building an ecommerce site with Drupal
  • ...

What it is

The target audience of Pro Drupal Development is smart people who know PHP (or other languages; PHP can be picked up pretty easily) and are looking for an overview of how Drupal core works. It achieves this by walking through Drupal's major systems: users, nodes, filters, triggers, themes, etc. One of the challenges in writing the book was knowing when to stop. Take theming, for example. To do justice to Drupal's theming system would take a 400-page book in itself. The same goes for working with multimedia files, or optimization, or jQuery. The idea of Pro Drupal Development is to lay down the basics in each of these areas so that the reader is oriented and can then go on to use other resources, or to just better understand the code itself. Other books are being written that will provide great detail in specific areas, and I'm glad to see that -- it's a sign that Drupal is maturing and becoming well-known enough that there is a demand.

Pro Drupal Development was written to provide an on-ramp for intelligent people starting with Drupal so they can avoid months of feeling dumb in irc or having to piece together the big picture from a blog post here, a doc page there, a README here (that's the way I learned Drupal, and it's a frustrating way to learn). If the book fulfills this goal (and from my conversations with new developers it has) then I am satisfied.

When you find errors in the book, please post them as errata so that others can benefit. I'd recommend that when you get the book, go through the errata and make notes in the margins so that when you use the book for reference, you'll see the corrections. With the first edition, we were able to correct a lot of the errors in the second and third printings.


I ordered mine from Amazon 2 days ago and it has been dispatched. I can't wait to start reading it.
Thanks for all your effort.

I'm not a smart person, but the first edition of this book was the best £30.99 I ever spent.

It saved my employer spending thousands of pounds on an outside developer, because it gave me the confidence to give it a go myself. Happily it all paid off, I look forward to reading the second edition!

Hi John,

Congratulations on the release of the book. I am a student from India, and I want to buy a copy of this book.

However, for this book there has been no Indian reprint, and the dollar to Indian rupee conversion is very high. As an author, can you please push the Apress guys to have an Indian reprint? I am emailing Apress myself too.

If any other readers of this blog would like to help me out, it'll be great - e.g. Indians who frequently travel to USA. I'm more than happy to pay "Indianized" price for the book - about Rs. 300-400.

Thank you very much!

(Sorry for repeating this comment, but I guess the older post isn't catching much attention, and I am eager to get the book :D)

Just got the 2nd edition today! The book is so much thicker. That made me immediately excited. Looks like much of the book has been updated and a lot of new stuff too.

Thanks for coming out with this book. While there are other good Drupal books out there, this is the only one I know of that covers a wide range of topics related to Drupal development.


Hey John,

Great book. I've got both editions, and they've been really helpful. Thanks.

One of the best programming books ever, IMHO.


ps I met some of your fellow 'bots this past summer at a workshop...great team. A lot of talent there.