Saturday, 30 April 2011

Learning Drupal

When i started with Drupal, it was a stuttering start, I installed drupal on my wamp development machine and voila it just worked. Woo hoo, there was a ready framework with built in login and authentication, and i could create content see it appear on the front page, with a little bit of tinkering i could change theme, download themes from the website and all looked swell.

After a while i realised, things werent moving much, i was soon struggling with finding a way to remove the login block, once i did that i was struggling with accesing the login page without the login block. took me a little while before i found what requires to be done. it was then that it dawned on me -It was not going to be easy, but boy i was going to enjoy it. This was Drupal 5 and Drupal 6 was just about to come into being, there were not a lot of drupal books, not much on the internet.

For drupal starters there has never been a better time. Drupal 7 is here, there are a lot of books available, the drupal community has worked very hard on documentation and lots of good books are around, for the more hardcore drupal developers and for drupal enthusiasts. It is quite easy to go 0-60 in a few seconds, and whip out a x.module file and start to code, it often helps to sit back and start from thinking what you want to do. Here are a few tips to help learn drupal 7 development.

  • Install Drupal on your development machine, take it for a spin - see the power of CMS for yourself, familiarise yourself with the admin options, managing users and roles, create content and content types.
  • Start with a good book like 'Using Drupal', this shows you the ins and out of the drupal system, how things are accomplished, there are a lot of case studies for some common websites. This point can never be underestimated, you do not want to invest great time and effort and later find there is a module or a combination of modules already that does what you want to do. No surprise, there are close to 9000 modules available.
  • Use the example modules, that list a lot of examples of how to do things the right way. a very good tutorial as you can see these bits of code in action and see what is behind. I have found them incredibly helpful.
  • Ask questions on drupal forums, keep a good list of blogs and websites for drupal information.
  • Read, Read, Read
Drupal has a steep learning curve, but believe me it is worth it. Hope you enjoy your time with drupal like i do.

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