iPhone development isn’t really all that much fun, but the end results can be very cool. Dave Mark and Jeff LaMarche have written a really nice introduction which makes the whole process seem just about manageable. Almost cool and quirky even.
Importantly, it successfully captures the key to the iPhone’s success as a development platform: anyone with sufficient determination (yes, you!) can get through the unnecessary and bizarre horrors of Objective-C and the iPhone SDK, and can produce something that people might pay some money for. It’s something you can almost impress people with at parties. Almost.
Of course the book has an online forum and downloadable source code – de rigeur for coding books these days, but good to see nonetheless. In summary, if you want to try your hand at some simple iPhone apps, you really will need this book.
If you want to get at all serious about taking Drupal beyond a simple installation, Pro Drupal Development is going to be a massive help to you. If you’re anything like me you’ll come back to it again and again for reference and to try out some new ideas.
It covers all kinds of development areas such as building your own modules, the form API, themes, and even best practices. All this kind of stuff can be found online, but it’s a big help to have it all clearly explained in one place. Sometimes you just need someone to guide you through the maze of options that Drupal offers.
Much of the book isn’t for the faint-hearted. You need a good working knowledge of PHP and some MySQL. Most books start you off nice and easy, but here the early chapters are very much a leap into the deep-end. There’s a certain amount of reliance on just accepting fairly esoteric Drupal stuff until it’s explained more clearly later in the book.
The book also comes with plenty of examples, which you can download for free from Apress. These really help you get your head around some of the trickier ideas (I found one or two of the examples didn’t work as described – but to be fair there are some errata by the author on the Apress site).
In summary – this book is an excellent buy if you want to take Drupal to the next level but don’t know where to start.
Using Drupal is a great little book if you’re just starting out with Drupal, and want to know which modules could be useful for you. If you’re getting into true development stuff and want to play around with Drupal a bit more, the excellent Pro Drupal Development by John VanDyk would be a much better choice.
This book was written by members of the Lullabot team, who do Drupal consulting and development work. They really know their stuff, so you feel things they suggest in this book (like choosing module x over module y) are worth listening to.
The book itself guides you through typical scenarios you might want out of a Drupal website, like wikis, a shopping cart, workflow, multilingual sites, etc, etc. Each section has some useful tips and ideas, but doesn’t go into a massive amount of depth. So again, great if you’re just starting out and want a flavour of what’s possible.