In Part 1 of Learning Drupal we looked at learning considerations, seeing what Drupal can do and being inspired, diving in, local user groups and DrupalCamps. In Part 1.5 I shamelessly plugged a Drupal themer / developer position we had open (what better way to learn Drupal??). We now continue in Part 2. Wondering about the picture? That's the Broco Magi, the most educated and revered of all the vegetable people, and the official mascot of the Learning Drupal series. Hey, I was playing with my food, ok? You'd rather have another fuzzy picture of some training class or the partially photogenic LevelTen team?
For many people, a formal training class is the way to learn Drupal. At $300-$400 / day for a public class it isn't cheap, but for a Drupal expert to shovel wisdom and experience into your brain for 6-8 hours, it isn't that expensive either. Especially if your company is paying for it :) Two training systems to consider- Acquia and Chapter Three. Acquia offers courses like Drupal in a Day and the two-day Sitebuilding with Drupal. Chapter Three has Drupal Fundamentals and Development Best Practices. Various companies offer the Acquia training (including LevelTen!) Take a look at Acquia's calendar and see if there's something near (or maybe somewhere you'd like to go, like New Orleans?) ChapterThree also has a schedule online. For a larger group you might want to consider private training. That is, having a trainer or two come to your company and do one or more courses with your team. It's likely cheaper than sending the entire team across the country and most training companies will provide this service. Drupal.org keeps a list of companies offering training services here.
With 13,000+ modules available for Drupal, you'd think there would be 13,000 detailed and articulate usage and how-to documents available, right? Well not quite, but there are plenty of written docs out there. Never for the module YOU need though it seems. Being a community-sourced project, Drupal has highly-variable quality and quantity of docs. But there are a few good places to find them: drupal.org/documentation : the home base for general Drupal docs. You can find guides for Understanding and Installing and Sitebuilding with Drupal, detailed developer and API guides, code chunks, video, slide decks, and much more. This is community documentation, which means you can add and edit it as well. drupal.org/forum : With 137,000 topics and half a million posts in the first forum alone, the Drupal.org Forum is a busy place. And filled with useful information. Search the site first before posting a new question, and be sure to read through the hints before you do anything else. individual projects : many individual modules and themes have a "Read Documentation" link embedded right on its project page. Again, community sourced, your mileage may vary. Some projects have entire mini-sites dedicating to helping you with implementation and usage, other projects have zippo. Community means you can add to the docs - please do!
Like web blogging in general, there's lots of great Drupal blog posts out there, and lots of abandoned blogs. First off are a couple of aggregators you could start with: drupal.org/planet : Planet Drupal aggregates 417 "broadly appealing, Drupal-related blog posts pertaining to the community at large". The front page changes frequently, so be sure to check it 40-50 times a day. Your boss will understand. drupalfire.com : Same idea as Planet Drupal, but with few hundred title links on the front page, rather than a down-the-page teaser view. Does not cover as many blogs, but they are all generally high quality. As for individual and Drupal shop bloggers, you should definitely be following:
- Our Leader, Dries : buytaert.net
- The Drupal XO, Angie : webchick.net
- Merlin of Chaos : angrydonuts.com
- Eric London : thedrupalblog.com
- Chapter Three : chapterthree.com/blog
- Lullabot : lullabot.com/ideas/blog
- LevelTen : leveltendesign.com/blog (oh come on, I had to!)
The Broco Magi says that's enough for Part 2, so we'll give you some time to check out all these great resources. We will look at books, podcasts, videos, and more in Part 3 and beyond.