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Drupal 7 Essential Training shows how to get the most out of Drupal, the content management system (CMS) that powers over a quarter million web sites. The course demonstrates how to download and install Drupal, add content and graphics to a site, change layout and design elements, control visitor interactions, and expand the site's capabilities beyond what’s available in Drupal core. Discussion of established best practices in each step to ensure that a site remains streamlined, secure, and up-to-date. Exercise files are included with the course.
I've put the computer away because I would like to talk about some general practices that will help you build, maintain, and even hand off your site when you're done with it. First, consider your motivations. I know now that you have the skills to create a Drupal web site, you can't wait to go out and do it, but stop and step back for a moment and ask yourself a few questions. First off, why you are building this site anyway? Is it for personal glory, to sell a product, to encourage interaction, to demonstrate an idea? Your answer will determine how you build the site.
For instance, many sites don't have any kind of membership system. You browse as a visitor and that's it. But Drupal encourages membership-based sites, even it might be inappropriate. So before you begin, picture the perfect site for your purpose and then work toward that. Second, design before you build. When most people hear the word design they think of graphic design, but here I am talking more about feature design. Make a list of features you want, then sketch out where they'll appear throughout your site.
You will find some tools to do this in a free white paper I wrote called "Building an enterprise class web site" for the Drupal design firm Media Current. It's on their web site at mediacurrent.com. Also I recommend you check out James Williamson's lynda.com course, Web Design Fundamentals, in particular the first few videos. Third, remember to budget time for site maintenance. If your site is basically just an online brochure, you'll only need to keep the Drupal software up-to-date, as you learned in the video "Updating Drupal," but if you allow the real world to interact with it, whether through comments or forums or user profiles or whatever, expect to spend some time making sure that it's all going as you like.
Finally, keep your Drupal knowledge up-to-date. There is no better way to do that than by getting involved in the Drupal community. You will learn how to do that in the video, "Joining the Drupal community," but really, all of these tips, boil down to one thing, stay involved. A web site is a living, highly complex organism. Ongoing love and care will keep it healthy.
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