"Drupal Rules How-To" Book Review

A week ago Packt Publishing approached and asked me to review their new book called “Drupal Rules How-To” written by Robert Varkonyi. I like getting books for a review, because it motivates you to read. With my working schedule it’s hard to find time for another tech read, but when you give a promise to someone, you can’t retreat ;) So I agreed, read the book and here is my unbiased review.

The book is about Rules (http://drupal.org/project/rules) module which is an indispensable tool for any Drupal developer. In simple words Rules lets you fire different actions on your site which are based on different events and conditions (for example, show “Have a nice weekend” to all users on Friday, when they visit frontpage.”). You can create different workflows without writing any code, by just clicking stuff in user interface.

The book shows in full how to work with Rules and how to make them do what you want. It consists of 19 chapters which are labeled by one of three difficulty levels: Must know (beginner), Should know (Intermediate), Become an expert (Advanced).

In “Must know” labeled chapters you will get useful information on how to display messages on a site, how to send notifications to users if someone comments on a node, how to reuse rules sets and how to debug Rules. Also in this chapter you will get introduced to a nice addon to Rules module called Rules scheduler. It can be used to fire actions based on date and time conditions.

“Should know” part of the book is a bit more advanced. There you’ll get info on how to use custom php code in conditions and actions and how to subscribe to node comments by leveraging Rules and Flag module integration. My favorite part is about Views Bulk Operations and Rules integration. This couple will give you the power to create impressive administration interfaces for your website.

Chapters labeled as “Become an expert” are mostly about custom code. There you will find out how to fire Rules programmatically and how to create custom events, actions and conditions which actually gives you limitless possibilities.

The book is not a long read (only 60 pages), but it gives you lots of useful information about Rules. All chapters are easy to follow and repeat: they are written in step-by-step style, text is supported by screenshots and snippets. I advise you to learn by doing: recreate everything what’s written in this book (don’t just read) and you’ll get a good understanding on how Rules work.

To sum up, Drupal Rules How-To is a good read for every Drupal site builder and developer. It is not long story, so you won't get bored. In the end, you’ll get a solid understanding of how Rules work along with a bunch of nice recipes which are ready to use in your current web projects.

You can get the book from Packt (http://www.packtpub.com/drupal-rules-framework/book), or

you can get the book from Amazon straight to your Kindle or as e-book (Kindle/e-book version of Drupal Rules How-To book), or

if you like reading real books, then you can get a paperback version from Amazon too (Paperback version of Drupal Rules How-To book).

Comments

Submitted by Johan Falk on Thu, 2013-01-24 08:17

Nice review!

If anyone is interested in one more opinion, my take on the book can be found here: http://groups.drupal.org/node/277563

I am a bit harsher, but I too think the book is pretty good. I also compare the book to some other (free) sources for learning Rules.

Cheers!

Submitted by Tim on Thu, 2013-01-24 11:10

Thanks Johan, nice review too :)

Submitted by darrylri on Thu, 2013-01-24 16:35

Does the book cover the finer details regarding what it takes to instantiate entities and fields, and what tests work in these cases? I'm thinking of the struggle I went through trying to test for a Profile2 profile entity, for example. It turned out that you couldn't pass an empty profile as a parameter to a rule set.

Submitted by Tim on Fri, 2013-01-25 00:42

there is nothing about test in this book unfortunatelly...

Submitted by alex.barylski on Tue, 2013-10-22 17:12

Hmmm...maybe I should pickup on rules. Every day I work with Drupal I learn yet another way to do something in Drupal...it's both it's blessing and blemish. :)

Thanks for the great blog and drupal code snippet site.

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