The Drupal Cookbook (for Beginners) helps Drupal "newbies" by providing a walkthrough of a common Drupal Setup. You might also be interested in this whirlwind video.
This handbook was originally written for Drupal 5. While the information is generally transferable to Drupal 6, some buttons, links, and menu items have been renamed or moved. Every attempt is made to keep these handbooks current.
The intent of the Cookbook is to help the new Drupal user create a typical site. At that point the user will be better equipped to diving deeper into more advanced features.
This cookbook requires a basic understanding of the General Concepts of Drupal. Additional resources for understanding terms used in Drupal include:
- Terminology (Terms).
- Drupal Jargon.
The Cookbook and other documentation on drupal.org uses the following standard for indicating site navigation:
Administer >> Access control >> User management >> Roles.
The above example tells the user to click on "Administer" in the navigation menu, then "Access control," then "User management," and then "Roles".
Working with Drupal
Here are some general recomendations:
- Use a test site that uses the same Drupal version and modules as the target site. Use a copy of the live database. Avoid development on a live site.
- Don't try to make the "perfect site" on the first attempt. Muddle through for a while. Stressing over the perfect solution can lead to frustration.
- Start by learning the basic functionality of Drupal. Find out what Drupal can do before working towards a specific goal. Once comfortable with the "core" features and behavior, move on to more complex contributed modules such as Views, CCK, and Organic Groups. These modules and some others require a good bit of understanding to master. The power and flexibility of Drupal and its modules will become apparent over time.
- If you need a custom theme, customize one of the default themes before creating starting from scratch. Refer to the Drupal 5 theme guide or Drupal 6 theme guide.
- Limit the number of blocks, images, and graphics that clutter the page.
- Participate in the forums, the Documentation Team, and IRC.
Things to keep in mind
A common mistake when approaching a solution to a problem in Drupal is to make an assumption about how Drupal works. Drupal is a unique and powerful platform that is probably quite different from other solutions you may have encountered.
Start simply by making something visible, then celebrate what you have accomplished. Taking one small step at a time will lead to a better site. Don't indiscriminately add many contributed modules right away. Get comfortable with modules one at a time. Modules that are not appropriate or used should be disabled and uninstalled.
As with most things worth mastering, there is a learning curve with Drupal. But there is lots of support available as well.