Learning Drupal is one of my main technology learning goals for 2012, so I was interested in reading Drupal Development Tricks for Designers by Dani Nordin. While I am not a designer, I was interested in ready a Drupal book directed at the non-coding masses since I am learning Drupal. The first thing to get out is that this book isn’t about design but rather walks designers how they can create a development environment for their Drupal projects. I am a believer in self sufficiency on tech projects so I am down with the aim of this book and think Nordin really hits the mark with this book.
Assembling your own development environment is great for the sake of self-sufficiency and giving designers a broader understanding of how their end product functions in the larger scheme of the project. Nordin breaks down the setup of a local development environment using MAMP (and providing her reasons why she went all Mac for Drupal development) and ventures into working on the command line. This chapter taught me the most in the book and I plan to put some of what I learned to work in my own Drupal site development efforts. Her chapter about Drush, a Drupal Shell, is another reason to buy this book and I hope to put what I learned in that chapter to work along with the command line options I learned in Chapter 2.
Just like any other moderate to overly complex development effort, version control is integral to a Drupal development effort and Chapter 4 provides easy to understand and well-rounded coverage about getting started with version control. The chapter’s methodical approach and writing style are going to be very helpful to designers wanting to setup their own version control with little to no help from their IT group.
The book ends out with some really practical and well written chapters about setting up a workflow including the Drupal Features module (yet another thing I learned about in this book!) and working with Drush Make and Install Profiles to help enable the reuse of Drupal modules again and again across your projects.
If you are like me and not a designer or a programmer much less a system administrator but trying to learn more about Drupal, go out and get this book to help shore up your development practices. The book’s the coverage of the local development environment has helped me fine tune my own setup and shown me how to be more productive by moving to the command line and Drush.