Where's Drupal's welcome mat?
I was on Skype when my jaw dropped. This wasn't the first time that an acquaintance asked me to take some time so he could "pick my brain" about Drupal. And it wasn't the first time that I realized someone had somehow broke in to Drupal via some sort of window, and missed the welcome mat.
He wasn't the first person I spoke to who had missed CCK & Views. These two modules enable a Drupal user to create unique content types and create custom queries to list selected content on-the-fly. After Drupal core, they are the two most popular modules (See Drupal.org/projects/usage).
Without those two, and a few other essential modules, Drupal will just seem like an empty sock on your server. The core Drupal you download doesn't "do" much. Anyone reading this who knows Drupal might be thinking: "well, DUH". And anyone closer in the center of Drupal knows there is a rolling, ongoing discussion about this out-of-the-box problem. But to a new user—missing CCK & Views is like, well, missing the point of Drupal. Getting familiar with this Drupal double act is essential for everyone. This includes people who are new to CMSs and experienced web developers and experienced programmers who will soon learn to leverage CCK and Views in their own creations.
Why isn't it glaringly obvious when people come to Drupal? In big NEON lights! Get your custom content and custom displays right here!
Drupal needs a clear welcome mat, and we have one: If you are just starting Drupal, download Acquia's DAMP stack. It has a selection of some of the most popular Drupal modules, including CCK & Views. If you would like to try out Drupal 7, the upcoming version of Drupal, make a site on Drupal Gardens. There's your Drupal welcome mat and introduction.
Over the next week, I'll be posting some thoughts about those first few moments with Learning Drupal, and trying to unpack the notion of a "steep learning curve" and why Drupal is notoriously a tough nut to crack. And of course... I'll be handing out the nutcrackers.
Here's some link love:
- Take Acquia's Drupal in a Day & Site builder training and get in the door with Drupal
- Watch Learn by the Drop's videos, add fields with CCK and Introduction to Views (In Drupal 6)
- Next step, try this tutorial on Node reference, CCK and Views at DrupalSN.
- Get familiar with the Top Drupal Modules at Got Drupal
- View Drupal Easy's 45 Modules in 45 Minutes: The Best Modules You're Not Using
Photo Welcome To Interaction by Craig M Dennis on Flickr (cc)