Welcome to Drupal Essential Training
Running time: 7 hours | MP4 | 521MB
Drupal is a free, open-source content management system (CMS) for a variety of platforms. It has a robust user community and easy-to-use administration features. Drupal Essential Training covers all the important aspects of installing, configuring, customizing, and maintaining a Drupal-powered website. Instructor Tom Geller explores blogs, discussion forums, member profiles, and other features while demonstrating the steps required to make Drupal perform. He also teaches fundamental concepts and skills along the way, including installation, backups, and updates; security and permissions; flexible page layouts and CSS; menu navigation; and performance monitoring and disaster recovery.
He also discusses how to select and install the community-supported modules that further expand Drupal capabilities, and gives experienced PHP programmers tips on customizing page templates. Example files accompany the course.
Lynda.com, a provider of educational materials which consists of an “Online Training Library”, recently released a 7 hour video course entitled “Drupal Essential Training” authored and narrated by Tom Geller.
Most of the courses at lynda.com are for graphic-arts software like Photoshop. The Drupal course was designed to be useful to — and understood by — the lynda.com subscribers. As such, it assumed no prior understanding of system administration, programming, or other skills that you’d find in a different sector of Drupal users. The course, as well as all other lynda.com courses, is available as part of a $25/month subscription, and will also be released on DVD [edit: DVD version now available].
This course covers basic concepts of content management and content management systems. Tom compares Drupal to other popular content management systems such as Joomla, Wordpress and MediaWiki and gives advice on when to use Drupal and when not to use Drupal.
Feeling that one of the biggest challenges for new users to Drupal, Tom focused an entire section to installation. “About 45 minutes of the course is dedicated to installation… and even that doesn’t touch on the many, many, MANY things that can go wrong”, Tom told us via
As Tom digs into further chapters in the video, he gives an overview of how Drupal works, technical requirements for running the software, and some basics of how to configure Drupal.
Tom also told us that he would like to see “a true, MAMP-like, platform-specific, one-click installer for local development. In other words (for example), “Drupal for Mac”, which would be available from all the Mac download sites. It would include MAMP and Drupal (with poormanscron); perform all permissions foo; create the database; and set up Clean URLs”.
As an aside: hmm, does this already exist? Has anyone tried out the Drupal JumpBox or any similar Drupal appliances?
There is a lot to know about Drupal and in an introductory title, it is impossible for Tom to go into depth on these topics. However, he provides important pointers on where to go for more information and how to get help with Drupal either through the online forums or commercial support. He encourages the viewer to get involved in the Drupal community.
There were a few places where his advice or topics covered threw up
Many modules can be added to Drupal to alter its functionality, but Tom neglected to introduce some important modules which are necessary for most sites. For example, he left out the Views module and other modules that add additional features such as multi-media and image support.
On the whole, this was a good title. I would have liked to see the author go into more detail in some areas, such as the importance of taxonomy beyond the basics of just using it to tag content. But he did a good job of introducing Drupal and the Drupal community. If you are new to Drupal, or if you have the joy of introducing Drupal to others, this title may help you. If you are looking for in depth explanations of how to set up particular modules, or how to build niche sites, this title will disappoint you.
In Tom’s own words, the audience of this training course is most useful to those who:
a) Are trying to understand what a CMS is
b) Want to see how Drupal works, in order to decide whether to use it
c) Have decided to use Drupal and want a step-by-step guide to making it do what they want
d) Want to do something specific that’s covered in the course (such as setting up forums, or modifying CSS in a theme).
Introduction to Drupal jargon
Introduces other resources such as the Drupal forums and groups.drupal.org
Encourages the viewer to contribute to the Drupal community
Introduces the Drupal Association
Occasional inaccurate advice (see: “very high-traffic or mission-critical sites”)
Choice of module coverage is weak
Does not cover certain key topics deeply enough