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7 Books You Need When Starting To Learn Drupal 8

7 Books You Need When Starting To Learn Drupal 8

When I first heard that Drupal was going to be a fundamental change in the entire architecture by being based on the Symfony framework for version 8, I was a bit concerned that I would not be able to get up to speed on the new features quickly. I actually sat on the sidelines about remaining in Drupal development during the alpha and most of the beta phases. I dabbled in some of the releases but didn't know enough about Symfony and the articles I found online were usually written about some now obsolete API as the CMS went through many, many, many API changes during the five years it was in development.

As the API's started to solidify, you started seeing a trickle of books from well known tech publishers like Apress, Packt, and O'reilly. Once these books started being released, I figured it was now safe to invest time and money into learning about the new architecture. Here are what I consider to be the best places to start (in no particulary order) and  what I used to create my first Drupal 8 module, Astronomy Picture of the Day. I learn best by doing and all of these books got me pointed in the right direction as quickly as possible so I could start building cool stuff again.

This post contains affiliate links for each of these books. I was in no way compensated by any of the publishers, authors, or by adding them to this listing. If they are here, it's because I personally own them.

Drupal 8 For Absolute Beginners
Author: James Barnett
Publisher: Apress
Published: September 2015

I bought this book because what I had read online was that Drupal 8 was a total shift in thinking about everything I was doing in Drupal, so I wanted something to help get me grounded in the new way of thinking about Drupal. In my opinion, this book is geared more for the site builder setting up and getting familiar with their first Drupal 8 site and less of a development perspective. But, this book did give me a solid understanding of what I was getting into and I was more than comfortable installing and building simple sites after reading this book.

Drupal 8 Development: Beginner's Guide Second Edition
Author: Neeraj Kumar et al
Publisher: Packt Publishing
Published: June 2016

This book covers all of the basics of developing for Drupal 8. Some of the better topics in this book, for me at least, are the chapters on custom module development (chapter 2) and the Field API (chapter 4), and advanced views (chapter 9). These three are getting a lot of traffic by me while I'm in the process of porting my scuba dive log module to D8.

Mastering Drupal 8 Views
Author: Gregg Marshall
Publisher: Packt Publishing
Published: May 2016

Views is probably the most heavily used module in Drupal 7 and when the module was rolled into core for Drupal 8, this allowed for a lot more capabilities out of the box. This book gives you several basic recipes on using Views for sorting and filtering, using contextual filters (correctly), and relationships. It also covers some advanced Views topics that allow you to customize the data and the themed output.

Packt's cookbook series have always my favorites because you can take bits and pieces to build the end product you have in mind.

Drupal 8 Development Cookbook
Author: Matt Glaman
Publisher: Packt Publishing
Published: March 2016

Drupal 8 Development Cookbook covers a wide variety of development topics in Drupal 8. With this book, you'll learn the basics of the Views module, using the Form API to create custom forms, configuration management, and the Entity API which I consider the soul of the CMS.

Drupal 8 Theming with Twig
Author: Chaz Chumley
Publisher: Packt Publishing
Published: March 2016

I had never used the Twig templating engine so I wanted a very concise reference of it in the Drupal context. This book delivered on my expectations. It begins by covering the basics of theme administration and progresses and dissecting a theme to understand how the parts all fit together. Then, it takes you through creating a custom theme step-by-step.

Drupal 8 Configuration Management
Authors: Stefan Borchert, Anja Schirwinski
Publisher: Packt Publishing
Published: March 2015

Another of the big changes in the way Drupal works in version 8 is the way configurations are stored. In D7, everything was stored in the database and exporting those configurations to code relied on contributed modules such as the Features and Ctools modules. Drupal 8 changes this. Configuration still stored in the database, but everything is now exportable to make moving content types, views, fields, etc. to different environments much easier.

This book dives in by covering what configuration is and how to manage the different types. It walks you through the different types of configurations in detail and shows you how to create them. It also covers how and why you would want to override configurations.

Symfony2 Essentials
Author: Wojciech Bancer
Publisher: Packt Publishing
Published: September 2015

If you are new to the Symfony2 framework as I am, this book is a must. It will take you through the basic concepts of the modern object-oriented framework including Twig templating, routing, security, forms, using AJAX, and a host of other essential topics. By working through the examples, you will have a good understanding of how and why things are done in Drupal 8.