Learning Drupal

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For the last couple of weeks, I have began playing around with Drupal because I’m so sick of fighting proprietary CMS. The proprietary CMS suffers from the vendor updating only updating the CMS when convenient for them and this ends up holding the purchaser hostage. Rolling your own CMS is a terrible idea when there are at least 100s of other CMS that often include 100s of plugins that can perform a lot of the needed functionality.

So far, I haven’t really found anything negative with Drupal’s community or documentation. I am very impressed with the Drupal Handbook and so far have found it sufficient for most of my needs. Drupal doesn’t seem to really suffer from a lack of documentation found in open source software or seem to have any large splits in the community.

So far, I really only have two major complaints or issues with Drupal and both are really more of my fault than anybody else’s. I haven’t exactly found documentation or examples on how to migrate from a different CMS or WordPress: I’m hoping to move away from using a separate templating engine and a separate WordPress blog and combining them in a single instance of Drupal. Migrating completely to one system should allow me to have a single website instead of two distinct entities that only share a domain name: I never really planned to ever have a blog and sort of just bolted it on in hopes of doing something later on.

Drupal’s core is extremely well documented if you happen to start reading the documentation first. I sort of just glanced over the documentation quickly after I did my first install and started tinkering, adding modules, modifying settings, etc. I always seem to learn best by doing. My learning by doing always results in me heading into completely unknown territory and potentially damaging things that already work but again this really helps me to learn a lot about how the software or code performs. I was a little disappointed about the structure of drupal’s core being in multiple “root” folders and thought it would have made more sense to be in a folder like /core to discourage programmers to modify the files. Immediately, I started dropping modules I wanted to use in /module and only realized after reading a little more about the core that modules shouldn’t just be added to /modules and instead should be added to /sites/SITENAMEHERE/modules

Overall, I know that drupal has enough of the functionality that I need in modules and the core to significantly improve the efficiency of my programming and possibly offer a large learning opportunity on software architecture.

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Brian is a software architect and technology leader living in Niagara Falls with 13+ years of development experience. He is passionate about automation, business process re-engineering, and building a better tomorrow.

Brian is a proud father of four: two boys, and two girls and has been happily married to Crystal for more than ten years. From time to time, Brian may post about his faith, his family, and definitely about technology.


  1. especially with the sites issue, those are common peculiarities when coming to drupal.

    You might want to look at the Feeds module (http://drupal.org/project/feeds) in order to import your content from WP. It basically takes the RSS feed from your site (or other sources) and imports it very easily. I just used that on a few thousand articles on http://handsonnetwork.org

    Let me know if I can help you with anything else!

    • Brian R Cline

      Trevor, thanks for your help so far. I should hopefully have a theme done tonight. 🙂

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