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learning drupal

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.

Drupal Adapter: A podcast about converting to Drupal

Author: Heather James @learningdrupal

This is the first in a series of podcasts where I'll be talking to people who have converted to using Drupal. I've chosen to name it to 'Drupal Adapter' to extend the notion of plugging into Drupal from another system. It isn't always easy- let's share experience and help others find their way. Drupal wins when people bring their experience and knowledge to the project.

Introductory Drupal Training - Austin, Texas

Join LevelTen for Introductory Drupal Training in Austin in From January 19th-January 28th, 2011. This week and a half long training is suitable both for those who are brand new to Drupal- or with some experience in Drupal looking to expand their skills in development of both themes and modules.

You can take part in the entire week, or choose which events suit your needs best. See each course description for details.

Training by:

LevelTen Interactive

Drupal Theme Development Course

Learn how to select, install and configure modules to gain control over Drupal's output and create custom visual designs using Drupal's theme system. Read more about Drupal Front-End Development and Theming Course.

Location:

Leuven, Belgium

Date:

02/21/11 - 02/22/11

Cost:

Dates scheduled - details to be confirmed. Sign up to find out when registration opens.

203 people tell What I wish I knew when I started Drupal

We had 226 respondents to a survey about roles in the Drupal community. Though we pilot tested the survey and honed down the questions, the findings were inconclusive, though we could draw one result. Apparently we use terms like "themer" or "module developer" yet these platonic ideals seem to only exist in our heads. In reality, a person on a team will find themselves handling many roles. In the context of a larger organization, Drupal is one tool in a larger set to be integrated with. In a smaller dev shop, Drupal is again, one tool of many which are used. Slicing up Drupal developers into roles turned into a muddy exercise.

However, there was one interesting outcome. Of the respondents, 203 individuals replied to the open-ended question: "What do you wish you had known when you started Drupal"? It's taken me this long to code and analyze this information so we can make some use of it. I think it can give people within Drupal some insight on how we can improve our welcome mat. And for those who are new, I hope this gives you some good tips and advice!

Drupal training in Austin with LevelTen

You’re invited to join LevelTen for one of our upcoming Drupal Site Builder training in Los Angeles. These trainings were designed to help Drupal users to learn best practices and practical skills from top Drupal experts in the industry. Attendees will participate in a combination of hands-on and practical exercises where they will develop the skills to build effective websites with Drupal.

How to learn Drupal

Though it's not always a linear process, hopefully with training, we can make the learning process a bit smoother for you, by connecting you to development expertise.

What do you do at your Drupal Meet up?

At DrupalCon, Barry Madore & Allie Micka from Advantage Labs organized a BoF: Drupal x10 inspired by Dries’s keynote. There were some interesting examples given.

Volunteers for a more visual Drupal

Would you like to help make Drupal documentation more visual? Communicating Drupal visually will be a chance to create some good contributions to Drupal.org and the community.

We need a few good people on the day of DrupalCon in Copenhagen to help organize a fun workshop. My co-presenter, Stella Power, had an argument with gravity, and lost! Wish her a get well when you see her :)

The presentation is in two weeks, Wednesday 25. August 2010, Time: 10:00-10:50

You will help us:

  • Plot, plan and prep at a short meeting the day before the event
  • Greet people as they arrive and hand out stickers to help folks self-categorize
  • Encourage people to take visual notes during the presentation
  • Help organize the mixed groups & distribute materials
  • Collect outcomes after the event
  • Process and interpret visual works into a reusable format
  • Promote the outcomes to the community

We have a great chance at DrupalCon to locate pain points turn them into learning opportunities.

With your help, we can help make some great resources for the Drupal community.

Contact me, if you can help! Contact me via
http://heather.drupalgardens.com/contact or @hjames on Twitter or below.

Image (cc) Color Pencils by scui3asteveo

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