It can be a difficult task to boil down a complex topic into something understandable to the newbie. While multi-site configuration is fairly simplistic for experienced Drupalers, it is a broad and complex topic to master. Let’s face it, the bulk of multi-sites IS configuration. There isn’t a pretty UI waiting at the finish line to reward the reader with an easy chapter or two. In Drupal 7 Multi-sites Configuration, Matt Butcher has done a splendid job of segregating the topic into logical and manageable bites, especially given a limited page count such as that of the new Packt Drupal Mini Books.
More pages would have allowed him to spend more time on some topics, but he manages to cover enough to guide you through the process, and refers you to where more information can be found. For example, the installation process has nearly limitless permutations, so Butcher approaches it by selecting and presenting the most likely scenarios, and making assumptions regarding them.
Despite the limited space in which to cover multi-sites, Butcher doesn’t succumb to the temptation to skim over difficult topics. He takes head-on the thought process in deciding whether multi-sites will benefit your site, the installation, the configuration and how it affects the normal Drupal directory structure and updates, and even the challenges introduced by having a multi-site environment.
The only thing I feel should have been added is a graphic that depicts the multi-site environment. Trying to give someone a clear picture of a complex topic without a picture is akin to doing it verbally while drawing in the air. For users new to multi-site, Butcher delivers a must-have tutorial and reference. For those used to setting up multi-site environments, there are some possibly new topics to be had, such as using Bakery, Vagrant, and Services in this context.
I give Drupal 7 Multi-sites Configuration 4 horns.