For the past week or so I’ve been expanding my horizons and started using a new CMS (to me at least), it’s name is Drupal. Now Drupal has been around for many years, originally known as ‘Drop’ until it was renamed to ‘Drupal’ in 2001. The CMS is now on version 6 (with alpha versions of 7 available from the download page). As I’ve only just started using this extremely powerful CMS I thought I’d put together a quick list of links and tips of what I’ve learnt so far. Hopefully other beginners like myself will find them useful.
- Lynda.com: I can’t stress enough how useful Lynda.com has been while learning Drupal (or any other piece of software for that matter). It has 3 superb sets of screencasts available that will take you from a complete beginner a fairly competent Drupal developer. They aren’t free but they are well worth the money!
- Learn by the Drop: Another set of brilliant screencasts that you can use to get up to speed on how to use Drupal. The site contains both premium and free videos for the ‘want to be’ Drupal developer.
- Stack Overflow: Now I know this is a bit of a catch-all site as it can be used for any programming language, but you will often find many questions you have, have already been answered on Stack Overflow. The Drupal specific questions are available here.
- Drupal Snippets: Drupal Snippets is a whole site dedicated to…. erm… snippets for Druplal. I must admit I’ve yet to use the site, but I bookmarked it as soon as I found it as I’m sure it will come in extremely useful after learning the basics.
- CCK: Download and install this module and developing dynamic websites in Drupal becomes so (so!) much easier. CCK (Content Construction Kit) is a module that expands Drupals native Custom Content Types functionality opening a whole world of possibilities for your site and users. In essence CCK makes it easier to ‘push’ data into your site in any way you see fit. It’s even being included into the core of Drupal 7.
- Views: Over the past couple of days I’ve been blown away by the power and versatility of the Views module. Where CCK is used to push data into your site database, Views ‘pulls’ the data back out and display it in any format you like. It’s quite intimidating at first as there are tonnes of options and settings, but once you get your head around it, the Drupal world is your oyster. A free screencast on how to use it is available here.
- Pathauto: Coming from WordPress I’m used to its fantastic permalink functionality, once setup it just works. Drupal doesn’t seem to come bundled with anything similar (please correct me here if I’m wrong!) so installing the Pathauto module will plug that gap. The module automatically generates a path for various content types without you having to worry about it.
- Zen: If you are a Front End Developer like myself you will be wanting a solid foundation with which to build and style your site. You could just edit one of the bundled themes if that’s your thing, but I prefer to start a fresh. The Zen theme is a fantastic theme with which to base your styling off. One big tip, don’t edit the main Zen folder, create a sub-theme by following these directions (I learnt that the hard way).
So there you go, hopefully fellow Drupal beginners will find the links above useful. Any that I’ve missed off or that you’d recommend? Leave a comment below.