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By Tom Geller | Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Making data dance: A peek into the new Drupal course

Tom GellerTom Geller here, author of lynda.com’s Drupal Essential Training, which I posted about in my blog. The success of that course suggested that we bring out another—but on what subject? We decided to try a new direction, and the result is Drupal 6: Online Presentation of Data.

“Presentation of data… isn’t that what Drupal does already?” some might ask. “Doesn’t that describe every Web site?”

Well… yes and no. Every page, blog post and comment is, technically speaking, data. But beyond such narrative text is a world of other applications that enliven both business and personal Web sites—and that Drupal does exceptionally well. Consider collections of data such as membership lists, photo galleries, catalogs, and maps.

Each of these applications is a collection of entries (called “nodes” in Drupalese): people, images, products, and locations, respectively. Each node contains multiple fields: For example, a point on a map might contain not only its latitude and longitude, but also its street address, name, image, and description of why it’s important.

In Drupal 6: Online Presentation of Data, I’ll be showing how to assemble these “atomic” pieces of data into useful, engaging, and attractive forms. Mostly this was done through two add-on modules for Drupal, called Content Construction Kit (CCK) and Views. But I also get a chance to show off how to plan such applications from the beginning, and some advanced techniques for creating calendars and charts.

As with Drupal Essential Training, it was a blast to work with lynda.com producer Kirk Werner and everybody at the lynda.com office. I look forward to its release later this summer, and to creating the next one!

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