The Definitive Guide to Drupal 7: Semantic Web, Security and so much more

I’ve been quiet about my involvement in this daunting project, but now that the book is finally complete and has hit the book stores, it’s time to talk about it. It all started more than two years ago when Benjamin Melançon (the instigator of this crazy project) asked me if I would be interested in helping him write a book on Drupal. It was when I was traveling on the East Coast spreading the word about Drupal and RDF (around the time of DrupalCon DC 2009). I was honored and agreed to participate. Things were very much up in the air at the time, and Ben didn’t really have any plan yet on how this would become real. In any event, by the end of the year Ben had put me and a few others in touch with some Apress folks. At the beginning of 2010, we had a contract and a list of about 10 authors, with an initial table of contents. Every few weeks or so we would see the list of authors increasing (with some dropping out and being replaced by others). Ben would surely have more insight into all the work he did to recruit authors, but that’s what I saw from my standpoint. I found it interesting to see so many authors on the same book, and wondered how all this bazaar of expertise would eventually turn out to fit in the same book. Each chapter was written by only one or two people, so that made it easy to break down the tasks and keep the authors organized.

I originally came on board to write on the topic of the Semantic Web, RDF and RDFa in Drupal, this is Chapter 28: “Spice Your Content Up With Tasty Semantics”. I’ve tried to cover the RDF core API as much as possible. Covering RDF in contrib was challenging given how fast it evolves, but I’ve put in enough pointers for people to find up to date information when they get to the chapter (including the new RDF Extensions and the merge of SPARQL Endpoint into the main SPARQL module). Thanks to Jeannie Finks, Ed Carlevale, Lin Clark, Oshani Seneviratne, Nick Maloney, and Boris Mann for their review and inspiration on this chapter.

As I was reviewing some other chapters of the book, I felt something was missing. Being a member of the Drupal Security Team, I could not find any reference to security in the list of chapters. Some chapters touched on the topic, but none really dealt with how the Drupal project and its community deals with security. That’s how I ended up with a second chapter on my plate, Chapter 6: “Security in Drupal”, which covers what to do to keep your site secure, how to react when you discover a vulnerability in a module, etc. Thanks to Greg Knaddison, Ben Jeavons, and Nick Maloney for reviewing this chapter.

I want to really thank my wife, Diliny, who has been very supportive throughout the entire time, making time aside so I could focus on the book, sacrificing many evenings and weekends. Thank you Diliny!

Among the chapters I have reviewed, my favorites are Jacine’s chapters on theming (chapters 15 and 16). Don't get me wrong, no offense to any other authors, I've been pleased with the content of the other chapters I've read! Plus there are some chapters I haven’t had the time to review (though others did). Given that I’m not a themer, I learned quite a lot from these theming chapters: they helped me to glue together some knowledge of theming which was scattered in my brain and needed some bigger picture to make more sense.

If you want to buy a great book about Drupal, with a wide range of expertise from the community condensed into 38 chapters, 9 appendices, 1000+ pages, buy our book! See all your purchase options at http://definitivedrupal.org/purchase

The Definitive Guide to Drupal 7 at DrupalCon London

If you’re in London this week, you can meet some of the authors of the Definitive Guide to Drupal 7 at DrupalCon and get your copy of the book signed! If you want to check out the book and see how much it weights, look for the Wunderkraut booth, on the first floor on the left of the Acquia room (marked as booth 20 on the venue map), or ask Florian Loretan. I hear there will even be a book give away everyday for the winner of the Lego Bootstrap game organized at the Wunderkraut booth.

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