Beginning Drupal – an amazing book!

Review: by Gregory West
gregory@alternatecloud.com
VP Sarnia Computer Users’ Group
CEO AlternateCloud.com

Learn Drupal the easy way

This book is a must have for everyone webmaster

Beginning Drupal

by Jacob Redding
Published by O’Reilly Media Inc
ISBN: 978-0-596-80660-6
Pages: 480
Formats: ePub, Mobi
Price for eBook: $25.99

There is no question that Drupal web creation software has a steep learning curve. I personally can vouch for this statement. While in the very early days of learning Drupal I quickly came across a stumbling block where I found myself stuck. I could not create links to any of my webpages.

I have taken online Drupal courses, checked out YouTube video tutorials and I regularly visit the Drupal community and its forum for ideas and help. This time, even with the help on a fellow Drupal user in the forum, I came close to fixing my problem, however I just did not understand what it was the forum people were suggesting.

Armed with a bit on knowledge know, I opened up Redding’s “Beginning Drupal” book, went to the third and fifth chapters with the ease of keyboard click in this eBook and there it was…Step-by-step to get me back on track with my website using Drupal.

The book itself is very well laid out for beginners like me who know very little about Drupal software. The author explains this book is for “people who want a robust website and are not afraid to get their hands dirty.” The book begins with a history and full explanation of what exactly Drupal is and where you can get extra help. From there Chapter 2 takes us right into the install stage. The final chapters cover advanced topics and a “preflight checklist” to ensure you are on track.

What I really enjoy about this book is two-fold. The first is at the beginning of each chapter is a list of “What you will learn” and at the end there is an exercise of questions to make sure you got what the author was explaining. Also, there is a final statement of “What you have learned in this chapter.”

This book is well thought out and is the perfect reference book to keep beside your computer as it is definitely geared to ensure your Drupal journey is a smooth ride.

Book Review: Web Eyetracking

Review: by Gregory West
prospector16(at)gmail.com
Member of the Computer Operators 
of Marysville & Port Huron (COMP)

eyetracking websites

excellent info on web design and what works and why and how

Eyetracking
Web Usability

by Jakob Nielsen and Kara Pernice
Published by New Riders
newriders.com
(an mprint of Peachpit)
ISBN-13: 978-0321-49836-6
Pages: 437
USA: $59.99 / CDA: $71.99

Have you ever wondered why certain parts of a website catch your eye and you ignore or completely miss others? Whether you are designing a corporate website, simply working with a private site, or setting up a blog for the first time, this book will take you into the world of design and what works.

Authors: Neilson and Pernice take us on a detailed journey demonstrating what works and grabs your attention longer than a split second. Eyetracking technology allows you to see what people see on mainstream websites.

This book’s main focus is “to study look patterns and how they relate to Web usage”. It is “not a general book about Web usability”, although it gives an excellent insight into why people go to certain areas on a page. Throughout the eight chapters, we learn how “Eyetracking” technology works. Also, you will find a summary covering human behavioral patterns, resulting from these extensive studies.

The second chapter is a little dry as it explains how this technology works, data collected, fake tests, study participants and cost evaluations. Other chapters get into the heart of page layout, navigation design elements and images. Chapter seven covers advertisements which is a major aspect of the Internet. Everything, from when people look at ads to the impact of ad placement, is detailed in a quite interesting fashion. Here is where you find out what works and what fails.

The authors point out the need for corporate executives to stand aside and let the professional graphic designers do their job. They show how upper-level management employees who know nothing about design and graphics can destroy the design due to ignorance of “web usability” and drive customers away.
Not contained in the book keeping “this book at a manageable size” are two “separate reports” made available online:

Eyetracking Methodology: How to Conduct and Evaluate Usability Studies Using Eyetracking: http://www.useit.com/eyetracking/methodology and How People Read on the Web: http://www.nngroup.com/reports/reading

If you are, in any way, part of a team that works on websites, or if you have your own personal blog and want your sites to work, this book is something that you will keep going back to as a reference guide. There is an excellent Table of Contents in the front and a well laid out Glossary in the back to make sure you find exactly the topic to research and learn.

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