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A writer joins Acquia

Today marks my first day as Acquia's Director of Content and Communications, although I've been following the company since its birth. I started using Drupal in late 2007 -- right around when Jay and Dries were founding the company -- to build a site that would promote a book that was soon to be published.

Mr. Men and the Google Doodle

Drupal Commons: Then and Now

Drupal Commons 1.0 was released almost a year ago, in early August. I was an intern at Mediacurrent at the time, and as the author of several social networking modules, I was intrigued.

Acquia Podcast 31: Barry Jaspan and Richard Jones on Acquia Dev Cloud

Acquia's Dev Cloud platform is one of Acquia's newest offerings, and it offers a complete cloud based development platform for professional developers. In this episode we talk to people on both sides of this platform; the provider and the user. First, Barry Jaspan of Acquia talks about the platform itself, including its goals, components, and features, and then Richard Jones of i-Kos, a user of Dev Cloud, talks about how his company uses Dev Cloud, and the benefits that it has provided to them.

Drupal Commons brightens up with new themes and user experience changes in release 1.6

This morning is an exciting moment: Drupal Commons version 1.6 is released! This release brings some really exciting new advancements:

  • Two new themes. (Yay!)
  • Usability improvements
  • A collection of smaller, yet important feature advances

A Drupal Safari in London

As those that attended my last talk at DrupalCon know, I (and others before me) intend to change the way sessions are presented. In Chicago, I let the audience pelt me with 100s of Nerf Darts to describe the concepts of caching. Armed with a large blue shield aptly named "The Cookie Monster", about 20 participants fired on cue.

Acquia Podcast 30: Lev Tsypin on MailChimp Module

One of the needs any large site has is to be able to send email to members using tools such as mailing lists. MailChimp is a service that allows you to do just that very easily, and the MailChimp module integrates the MailChimp service with your Drupal website. In this episode I talk with Lev Tsypin, author and maintainer of the module as we discuss everything MailChimp in Drupal, including some exciting new features in the D7 version.

Acquia Drupal Courses in Boston

As one of the first things I'm doing as the new Director of Learning Services at Acquia, I'm proud to announce some (close to) FREE Drupal courses in Boston!

We'll will be holding two 2-day workshops in Boston (still nailing down exact location - check back for an update on that front).

Learning Drupal: Back to basics

a picture of some cool pipes by tinou from flickr's creative commons by attribution listings

Drupal is powerful, it's undeniable. What's worrying is that you can get pretty far without understanding much about web development. This poses some challenges for novice web developers.

By simply installing the Acquia Dev Desktop you can quickly mock up a great new site with a dizzying array of features which would take you probably thousands of hours to code by hand. That is also not counting the years it would take you to build the relevant developer skills. The Dev Desktop includes a web server, scripts, database software, libraries - and all the components of Drupal itself wrapped into a nice little control panel package.

And that is the cool (also scary!) thing about Drupal, you can really hit the ground running if you're brand new to web development. What you want to avoid is hitting the ground with your face.

Recently, I received a question from a new Drupal user.

I am able to access my website from my computer Acquia Drupal Control Panel at localhost:8082 How do I pull my domain name example.com to localhost:8082 so the public can access? Also I would like to build multiple Drupal websites with different domain names. How do I accomplish this goal using Acquia Dev Desktop?

I've seen similar questions before. This person is a novice in web development and possibly just starting on a new career. While they have created a possibly magical and amazing website with Drupal, they are stuck because they don't know how to get it online. Or later, after they do get a host, they don't know how to maintain and update the site.

What do you need to know first?

When I get asked questions like this from novice, I am taken aback. So... where should we start? Even if you use the web everyday, no one expects you to understand how it works. I relate this to my knowledge of plumbing. OK, I can turn on the faucet, but I haven't got a clue of how that water gets from the reservoir.

However, as a novice web developer you need to start understanding the plumbing of the web as well. There are so many great resources about learning Drupal which jump right into using it as an end product, and don't carefully explain that underlying plumbing.

I made this short video to explain some of the concepts underlying Drupal to a novice developer. Sorry about the sound in the beginning, it gets a bit better. Before you watch this one, you might also want to check out this quick video from Doug Vann about How the Web Works.

Acquia Podcast 29: Ben Finklea on SEO in Drupal

One of the strong points of Drupal is its built in search engine optimization capabilities right out of the box. Ben Finklea is the founder and CEO of Volacci, a firm that specializes in SEO for Drupal sites, and in this episode we talk about SEO in Drupal, the SEO Checklist module, the status of the Drupal 7 version of his book on SEO in Drupal, and some upcoming SEO training Volacci is doing with Acquia.

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