PHP Meetup - Drupal Basics
Last night I gave a presentation on the basics of Drupal at the PHP Meetup group in Columbus Ohio. I am attaching my very simple Powerpoint outline to this page and will list here links to some of the modules we discussed during the presentation.
The CCK module (Content Construction Kit) is one of the most popular Drupal modules and allows you to easily create complex content types without the need to do any programming.
The Views module allows you to create various views for your content without any programming. Other modules can expose their fields to the Views module for filtering or sorting purposes. For example, a popular module is the VotingAPI module which allows users to rate content. You could create a page that will list only the Blog posts that have been rated and sort them from the highest rated to the lowest rated. The Views module can be very confusing at first, but is very powerful once you get the hang of it.
The Excerpt module is a very simple module that allows you to explicitly create teasers for your content. Out-of-the-box Drupal creates teasers automatically by truncating your Body text. With the Excerpt module you can paste in exactly what you want to appear in your teaser, even if it is not a part of your body text.
The PathAuto module extends the usefulness of URL aliases (AKA the Path module which is a part of Drupal core). Instead of manually creating your URL alias for each content page you create, the PathAuto module allows you to create logical rules to create these aliases automatically. You can even have PathAuto update the URL aliases for content already on your site with just a single click.
The Zen Theme was created to provide a highly flexible starting point for creating your own custom theme design using CSS. It adds all kinds of helpful CSS classes to your HTML template so that you can style the front page or various node types differently by just modifying your stylesheets.
The Drupal Dojo provides a venue for Drupal developers to share their expertise by doing live video presentations on a variety of topics. Most of these presentations are archived as screencasts so you can browse and view topics of interest to you. Most people are visual learners to watching some of these screencasts could really boost your Drupal skills in a short amount of time.