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5 Tips for Drupal Newbies

April 12, 2012

The attendee list at this week’s Atlanta Drupal Meetup group ran a wide gauntlet. There was a mix of business owners, newbies, marketers, and even someone with a ID under 1000. We broke up our normal presentation format and had informal talks about Drupalcon Denver, the job market, and trends. As usual, we went around the room and allowed for introductions and announcements. When one of the attendees, we’ll call him “Jack”, was in the hot seat, he gave a typical hello, but then broke the introduction format and asked a question back to the crowd. He asked, “I’ve only been working with Drupal for a few weeks, what tips do you have for those that are just starting out?”

You should have seen the room light up with excitement. I saw the same look on my wife’s face when she converted a friend into a Hunger Games fanatic–the look of “let me tell you how wonderful this is.”

Below is a summary of the tips the group provided to this new Drupal’er:

  1. Read Planet Drupal – A great aggregator site for all things Drupal. They have a content upload policy, so you know all the material you will be reading is “the real deal.”
  2. Dig through – Where all Drupalers go to gather information, review modules, themes, groups, etc. Also, when looking through modules on, one tip provided by Kent Lester, was look at the number of downloads. The larger number of downloads usually correlates with a better quality module.
  3. Start with Drupal 7 – This answer came when Jack asked if he should start a new site with Drupal 6, or just begin with 7. The resounding answer was start with Drupal 7.
  4. Read Pro Drupal Development – According to the group, immerse yourself in the book. It teaches you how to create modules, develop themes, and produce filters. It also covers the inner workings of each key part of Drupal, including user management, sessions, the node system, caching, and the various APIs available to you.
  5. Watch DrupalCon/DrupalCamp Session videos – There are videos all over the web from previous DrupalCon’s and DrupalCamps. You can watch all of the 2012 DrupalCon Denver’s videos online. In addition, many of the past Atlanta DrupalCamp videos are hosted on the Mediacurrent site.

Lastly, here’s a personal tip I offer to all of you that are new. Get involved in the  Drupal community. There are hundreds of Meetup groups, Co-working days, Camps, Cons, (I even heard someone through out a Drupal Paintball day) that you can participate in. Absorbing what others say and listening to experts in the community will grant you a great knowledge of this powerful open source platform.

What other tips do you have for those that are new to Drupal? Leave a comment and help us compile a comprehensive list.

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