Meeting the Drupal community
Meeting the Drupal community
One of Drupal's strengths is its extensive community of users and developers who use Drupal every day and are ready to help you through the tough spots. As Drupal is open source software its community is also a good place to gain experience, credibility and connections for your contributions to the project. Finally, the Drupal community can be a gateway to jobs, especially as Drupal grows in popularity in organizations, and in the enterprise market. This video will show you where to find these resources and how to take best advantage of them.
But, first let's talk about how Drupal got to where it is today? Drupal started as a project of the Flemish-Belgian student Dries Buytaert. In 2000, he was a student at the University of Antwerp and he wanted a way for himself and his friends to transfer information back and forth, and so he created this Bulletin Board System and he called it Drop. And if you go to archive.org you can see the original drop.org website which we can see right here from 2000. He decided to make an open source project and gave it the GPL that is the GNU Public License in 2001. By doing so he is allowing everybody in the world to contribute to it, and to extend it as they like, and from there of course it took off as many open source software projects too and by the end of that year it already reached version 3.0 at which point he also renamed it Drupal.
As I am making this video Drupal is at version 6.3, the oldest version that's still supported at this time is version 4.7 which came out in 2006. There are still people using version 4.7 and they are quite a number of people using version 5. Every year Dries Buytaert releases statistics of how many people have downloaded the Drupal project, and you can see that on his website it buytaert.net. In July of 2008, he released the statistics for this year and they showed that in the previous year there had been about 600,000 downloads of the Drupal core.
In this year they were about 1.4 million and as you can see from change in color which represents a change in version number quite a few people have downloaded version 6, which is a good sign for the Drupal community. The first place that you should be going to is drupal.org. This is the site where pretty much everything happens. One of the advantages that Drupal has is that everything goes through drupal. org if you need contributed code to help make your site better, you can find it on drupal.org if you need help and so forth. More specifically let's take a look at some other things that are on drupal.org.
Starting with documentation, there are Getting Started guides, so if you just need to get up and running very quickly, you can do that there. In addition, there are some very detailed installation and configuration help in this beyond the basics area. Once again, you can get there by going to Documentation and Detailed Installation Help here below Beyond the Basics. Additionally, there are more beyond the basics things here, which will give you, for example, contributed code that will help you add functions to your site without having to install an entire new module and so forth.
The Download section has many useful things that can be brought to your computer. The two most important of which are Modules and Themes. Modules are little plug-ins that you can put into your Drupal site to give it additional functionality, and as you can see there are many categories of modules. All you need to do is grab them, put them into your Drupal folder and enable them and we will show you how to do that in another video in this series. Themes will change the way that your site actually looks; it will change the entire face of your site. If you have ever played with any games or used any programs that have skins it's very much like a skin to your site.
For example, looking down the page you see screenshots of the different kind of themes that you can download and make your Drupal site look very much like these. From there you can of course, modify them as you like, and the thing about this is all of these themes are contributed and free and available for you from the drupal.org website. But let's say that you come across a problem that you're not able to solve. Well, that's what the support area is for. First of all they are all those Drupal handbooks that we mentioned earlier. There are also forums where you can go and ask your question directly.
What I would recommend you do before going in and just asking a question blindly is to search the drupal.org site. drupal.org very often has a search bar up here where you can search the site, however, whenever the site is under a high load it will take off to make it possible to reach the site without weighing it down with a lot of searches. If you need to search for something and the search box is not there on drupal.org you can go to google.com. And I am going to do that right now. And do your search, but first add sites: drupal.org and then you might search for.
For example cck, which is a certain kind of module in Drupal. And there you have it, it searches only the drupal.org website. Again, that's not necessary if the drupal.org search box is on the page and it will show up somewhere up here. Continuing on after you've gained some Drupal skills, you might want to give something back to the community, one way you can do that, is you could go into the forum and answers some of those questions that people have been asking. Another way is go to Contribute. The Contribute page shows a number of different ways that you can give back to the community. First and foremost as I say in the forums, second of all there are other ways to give user support, those are detailed here under user support.
If you are coder of course you can do quite a lot in development. Both the Drupal core, which is the main program, and additional modules all need people to help maintain them and your contributions will be very much appreciated there. If you are not a coder however there are still many ways that you can contribute. For example, do you speak another language? If so, may be you can help translate the Drupal core so that people in another countries can help use it. You can do that under this link here for translations. If you are a Writer you might be able to help with Documentation or Marketing or Testing, no matter what your field is, there is a way for you to contribute to the Drupal project.
So you can see that if you actively start creating sites based on Drupal you certainly will not be alone. A large and vibrant community of developers and fellow users is out there to help you find your feet and to build the best Drupal site possible. All that you need to do is reach out through the drupal.org website.
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