The Drupal Community

One of the most important resources you will need in the coming days, weeks, months, and years is the Drupal online community. Unlike other open-source projects, which are sometimes criticized for their lack of coherent and in-depth support structures, you will find that Drupal is very well done and fairly easy to learn your way around. There are a host of categories ranging from information, polls, forums, and news to support, which can be found at the home page: http://drupal.org.

It will be assumed in the rest of the book that you have taken some time to familiarize yourself with how the site works.

It is strongly recommended that you regularly make use of drupal.org and constantly use different elements and sections in order to become proficient at extracting the information and software you require to run your enterprise—especially since the Drupal site will change from time to time! For precisely this reason, you might also notice that there are small differences between this book and Drupal itself.

All the information contained in the site is well organized and easy to access from the main navigation bar at the top of the page, as shown here:

Each and every tab in the navigation bar has a host of its own links and pages although there are some categories that contain inter-related topics. You should note, that when we refer to community in this book, we are talking about the entire Drupal community, including all the support structures, developers, users, and so on—not to be confused with the Community tab on the front page that refers more to the different Drupal communities around the world (more on this in a moment).

At any rate, let's go through each and every one quickly to see what they have to offer.

Support

To begin, the Support section can be regarded as a kind of catch-all page, and actually contains a number of links to the various other community pages, many of which can also be opened by using their tabs in the main navigation bar. For example, you can navigate to the Drupal handbook (to be discussed shortly) from the Online documentation section if you need to find out some basic information on Drupal, as shown here:

Introduction to Drupal

Support

Online documentation

Take a look at the Drupal handbook if you want to learn more about Drupal or if you need help installing Drupal.

A list of common problems and their solutions can be found in the Troubleshooting FAQ.

Security_

Drupal-related security advisories are posted on the security page. If you setup or adminsiter Drupal sites, we strongly advise you to subsribe to the security announcement mailing list by e-mail or RSS. If you identified a security issue, you can contact the security team using the contact form.

Forums and Support

If you are stuck and need help, the forums are the best place to browse and ask for help.

Chances are your questions has been asked before so make sure to search the archives first. Please also consult the Tips for posting to the Drupal forums.

Other languages

Looking for support in your own language?

• Drupal Hungary (Magyarország)

• Drupal Italia (Italiano)

• Drupal Brazilian Portuguese (Portugués)

Professional services and hosting

If you are looking for a Drupal consultant or Drupal hosting, consult the services page or check the services and hosting forum.

Bug reports_

Please help us squish those pesky bugs, First, search the bug list to see if someone has already reported it. If not, submit a bug report.

Feature requests_

Until Drupal washes your laundry for you, it is incomplete. You may review outstanding feature reguests and new ones too.

Mailing list

If you prefer e-mail, you can subscribe to our support mailing list.

IRC channel

For IRC-based support, join #drupal -support on the FreeNode IRC network (irc.freenode.net). For theme development, join #drupal -themes.

Developer support

We have a handbook, and module developer's forum, a theme designers forum, API reference, and a development mailing list ready to inform and support you.

Drupal.org problems

Briefly, in this section:

Documentation and help facilities are provided in the Online documentation section, and include help on some common problems as well as installation and general information.

Links to security advisories and announcements as well as the option to subscribe to the security announcement mailing list or RSS feed are provided under the Security section.

Links to the forums, in case you need help, are provided under the Forums and Support section, as well as archives and a Tips for posting to the Drupal forums link.

If you are not an English language speaker, or your community predominantly speaks some other language, then it is worthwhile checking out some of the other language sites under the Other languages section, which includes German, French, Spanish, and Afrikaans.

Links to a number of professional services related to Drupal, including hosting and consulting, are provided under the Professional services and hosting section.

Bug reports can be sent in by visiting the Bug reports section. Please be aware that you should always check whether or not a bug has been reported before submitting your own report. Any submission incurs a cost in terms of man-hours because someone has to look over it, and the time wastage can be substantial if everyone keeps reporting the same bug over and over again.

The Feature requests section gives you the opportunity to look over what other people would like to see incorporated into Drupal as shown here:

Of course, you can also submit your own requests.

• There is also an interesting option to obtain support over an IRC channel. IRC, or Internet Relay Chat, allows for real-time, typed discussions over the Internet. Joining a group like this is obviously a great advantage in that it immediately gives you access to many other Drupal people.

• There is a support Mailing list section that you can join, a Developer support section, and a forum to raise issues about the actual Drupal website under the Drupal.org problems section. Recently, a new section entitled Books about Drupal has been added too.

If in doubt as to where to go, the Support page is probably where you should start off. More often than not though, you will have a fairly good idea of what you need, and should be able to go straight there.

Introduction to Drupal

Handbooks

This section is a great repository of information, catering for a wide variety of different needs. The content is gathered into five main sections as shown here:

About Drupal

Drupal.org README first

Is Drupal right for you?

Support

Accessibility

Download

Community

Installation and configuration

Introduction to Drupal terminology

System requirements

Installing Drupal, modules and themes

Basic site configuration

Drupal modules and features

Best practices guidelines

Customization and theming

Manage inconsistency in themes Site recipes

PHPTemplate Theme Snippets

Developing for Drupal

Contributing to Drupal Mailing lists Coding standards CVS

Drupal's APIs

About Drupal documentation

Background

Donating to the Drupal project Marketing resources

Themes and modules used on Drupal.org Drupal version numbers or which version you should use

Troubleshooting FAQ Upgrading from previous versions Tuning your server for optimal Drupal performance

HOWTO: Advanced user's guide Migrating from other software

PHP snippets SQL snippets Theme developer's guide

Module developer's guide

Drupal enhancement proposals (DEP)

Drupal.org site maintainers

Translator's guide

Bazaar-NG

• Most popular handbook pages

Each of these categories contains a series of links to informative pages (that often in turn contain links to other pages) that do a good job of explaining their respective topics. It's worth pointing out that a block appears on the left-hand side of these pages, containing links to related topics under the same category heading in order to help you navigate through the information with ease. The following screenshot shows the Is Drupal right for you? page:

^ Is Drupal right for you? | drupal.org - Microsoft Internet Explorer

J File Edit View Favorites Tools Help

0 * S © à IP5"'* S"^ Favorites © | 0 - £ H ' □

Address |.di] http://drupal.org/node/22963

mnESi

Support Downloads Handbooks Contribute Community Forum Contact

Search w

About Drupal

Drupal.org README first Is Drupal right for you? 0 Gallery * Case studies 0 Feature overview 0 Typical Drupal applications y Rolling your own system vs. using Drupal Background Community

Home About Drupal

Is Drupal right for you?

If you are new to Drupal, you will probably have many questions about its capabilities and suitability for your applications. The information in this section is intended to help you decide whether Drupal is appropriate for your needs.

The Case studies section examines typical uses for Drupalj and presents some examples of sites using Drupal for each of the types of web-site discussed. This section includes a listing of hundreds of known Drupal sites,

In the Feature overview we survey some of the most important and commonly deployed features of Drupal.

A discussion of the merits of using Drupal over writing a custom Web-application framework to support your project is presented in Rolling your own system vs. using Drupal create content projects my account recent posts news aggregator log out

~rrr

New forum topics

■ E-commerce: deleting a product

■ Lost access to module list in admim

■ admin-funct ionality on create

| Internet zl

You are urged to look through at least the first section before moving on to the following chapter in order to learn as much about Drupal as possible. It is also a good idea to use these handbooks in tandem with this book so that you can complement the practical advice and experience you gain here with reference-type material presented on the site.

Forum

The forums are probably your single greatest problem-solving resource and information-based asset. Unlike the other types of information on the site (with the exception of the Freenode Drupal IRC), which are largely static, written answers or guides, the forums provide you with an interactive environment in which you can learn and extend your knowledge. Of course, they also provide you with a medium for sharing whatever you have learned as well.

At the time of writing, there were approximately 100,000 support-related posts alone. This should give you a good idea of how widely used these forums are. The following screenshot shows the Forum home page as well as the first few forum categories. From the large number of posts you can tell that this is already a fairly large repository of knowledge and hopefully you will take the time to add to it yourself.

Introduction to Drupal

Looking at the entire page, there are three main forum categories—General, Support, and Development—that in turn have a number of subcategories to make navigating the structure fairly easy. You will also notice that there is a block on the right-hand side of the page containing a list of the most recent posts. As well as this, you can also use the search tool, shown at the top right-hand side of the page or at http://drupal.org/search/node, to search for relevant information or users.

Finally, assuming you are a registered (and logged-on) Drupal user, you can also post new topics to the forum using the link given under the page's main heading as shown here:

Home

Forums

• My forum discussions.

• Active forum discussions

Before you start posting off hundreds of questions and salutations, please be aware that there is a certain etiquette to using these forums, and it should be followed at all times. Look at the following page before you begin making any posts to the site: http://drupa1 .org/forum-posting. A quick summary is as follows:

• Make sure you have searched the forums for similar posts already. Use those posts instead of creating redundant information.

• Make your forum post titles informative and meaningful.

• Ensure that you submit a good amount of system-specific information in your support queries—for example, mention the Drupal version you are using along with the database and database version.

• Bear in mind that not everyone using the forum is a native English speaker; so some posts may be construed as rude or abrupt even when that is not the intention.

• Remain polite and reasonable—even if you are frustrated over a particular problem.

• Donate some time to responding to and helping other posters.

• If you would like, enable your contact tab so that people can offer support via email. You can do this by editing your contact information as shown here:

-Contact settings-P Personal contact form

Allow other users to contact you by e-mail via your personal contact form. Note that your e-mail address is not made public and that privileged users such as site administrators are able to contact you even if you choose not to enable this feature.

Some of you may have noticed the link entitled Active forum discussions in the screenshot before last. Clicking on this link brings up a list of the topics that have recent posts, as shown here:

recent posts

Type_Post_Author

Replies Last post forum Specify upload folder in topic upload.module new battra

Weight for free tagging terms per node? new

1 2 rnin 21 1 new sec ago forum topic doq

3 4 rnin 7 3 new sec ago

Multiple links displayed (for each edit) new copian

4 min 12 sec ago

Opening an empty folder new sanduhrs

4 min 36 sec ago forum topic

Marketing Offensive new [email protected]>ww...

S min 38

15 new sec ago

If you would prefer to view the discussions that you personally have contributed to, then click the My forum discussions link instead.

Introduction to Drupal

Downloads

We will be visiting this section again in the following chapter when we begin to set up everything in preparation for the development of your site. However, there are a few interesting points to note before we get there. The first is that you need to be quite careful about the Drupal version, or indeed modules and themes, you download because each successive version makes changes and improvements on previous versions, but also sometimes messes up compatibility with other features

For example, you can see that the downloads page provides us with some interesting information on compatibility with PHP from the following screenshot:

Drupal project

J browse by name | | browse by category | | browse by date |

Filter by version:

Drupal

Drupal is an open-source platform and content management system for building dynamic web sites offering a broad range of features and services including user administration, publishing workflow, discussion capabilities, news aggregation, metadata functionalities using controlled vocabularies and XML publishing for content sharing purposes, Equipped with a powerful blend of features and configurability, Drupal can support a diverse range of web projects ranging from personal weblogs to large community-driven sites,

Note: Drupal 4.5 and earlier versions will not run on PHP 5, but Drupal 4.6 is PHP 5 compatible.

If you are using Internet Explorer and Win Zip, save the file first, as otherwise IE will corrupt the file's extension.

Download ' Find out more ' Bugs and feature requests

As you can see, Drupal 4.5 will not work with PHP 5. Now, this in itself is no great problem because it is quite likely that your hosting services will remain with PHP 4 for some time yet. However, at some stage most service providers will upgrade to PHP 5 support since PHP 5 is a far more sophisticated language than its predecessor. Knowing this, you might immediately say that this doesn't worry us because Drupal 4.6 is available (and so is 4.7).

That's quite right, but if you decide to add a module (by this I mean that at some stage you will want to add a module) then viewing the projects page at http://drupal.org/project, or by clicking the Downloads tab gives:

Project types_

• Drupal project

The contributed modules are not part of any official release and may not work correctly, Only use matching versions of modules with Drupal. Modules released for Drupal 4.5 will not work for Drupal 4,6.

• Theme engines

The contributed theme engines are not part of any official release and may not work correctly. Only use matching versions of theme engines with Drupal. Theme engines released for Drupal 4.S will not work for Drupal 4,6,

The contributed themes are not part of any official release and may not work correctly. Only use matching versions of themes with Drupal, Themes released for Drupal 4,5 will not work for Drupal 4,6.

• Translations

To install these translations, unzip them and import the ,po file through Drupal's administration interface for localization. You will need to turn on locale,module if it's not already enabled. You can check the completeness of translations on the status page.

You can see from the notes presented on this page, if you happen to need a module that was developed for Drupal 4.5, and you are using version 4.6, then you are shortly going to experience no small amount of frustration—this is especially valid at this time because 4.7 is brand new, and hence many modules have yet to be updated.

Problems like this can occur because modules are developed separately from the core, which means that it is up to the individual module developer to keep up to date with any changes coming from the main development team.

Naturally, not everyone will keep the modules up to date in a timely manner because often these developers are not getting paid and are under no obligation to do the work at all. They are simply providing us with the best code they can deliver when they can deliver it, and we should obviously be grateful for that.

In terms of how to use the download pages, it is worth noting that there are three links given at the bottom right of each downloadable item's box. These are Download, Find out more, and Bugs and feature requests. Obviously the first option is pretty self explanatory, but you should always take a look at the Find out more option before downloading anything to ensure that you are getting precisely what you want.

Introduction to Drupal

For example, the Find out more page for the Acidfree project contains information on Known limitations, a history of Updates, and plenty of material on Releases, Resources, Support, and Development—all pretty useful if you are not sure what Acidfree does to begin with.

That aside, the point of this section is that you should try to think carefully about what you want from your site before you go ahead and begin downloading everything. In the next chapter we will put words into practice and make use of this section to obtain a copy of Drupal.

Contribute

At first glance you might be forgiven for thinking that there is very little you can meaningfully contribute to the Drupal community while you are still learning the software. As this is not entirely true, it is worthwhile seeing what there is available to us:

Contribute

Below you'll find a collection of handy links to be used by Drupal contributors.

Help with support

• Support forums

• Support mailing lists

• Bug reports and feature requests

Help test Drupal

• Bug reports and feature requests

Help translate Drupal

• Contributor's guide

• Translator's guide

Help document Drupal

• Documentation mailing lists

• Recent handbook updates

• Documentation writer's guide

Help market Drupal

Help with development

• Contributor's guide

• Module developer's guide

• Theme developer's guide

• APIs and functions (Doxygen)

• Drupal project page

• Usability suggestions

• CVS log messages

• CVS repositories

• Developer mailing lists

Donate money

Make a donation using the Paypal button, or read more

« Marketing resources

For starters, the easiest way to support Drupal is by making donations—I can all but hear the sighs and groans as you read this, but bear in mind what you are getting is absolutely free. You can also help market Drupal by writing reviews, or incorporating the Druplicon onto your site and so on. There is also always a need for people to help test, translate, support, and document Drupal.

[ PUBLISHING i

Finally, once you have gained some experience and feel confident enough, you can look towards helping with Drupal development. Whatever you choose to do, you will find that any information or help you require in order to become pro-active within the community is readily available under the Contribute section.

Contact and Community

These two sections are fairly self explanatory so I have lumped them together. The Contact page simply allows you to send an email off to the Drupal team, and you need to remember that no technical support queries will be addressed here—you must use the support forum for that. Simply ensure you select the most pertinent category from the drop-down list provided and away you go. An example is shown here:

contact us_

You can leave us a message using the contact form below. Technical support reguests that are sent using this form will be disregarded, please use the usual support channels. If you message is about a specific page on the drupal.org website please include the URL in your message for reference. Thank you.

Your name:*

David Mercer

Your e-mail address:*

[email protected]

Subject:*

Category:*_

| Newsletter suggestion

Message:*

Hi Folks,

David Mercer here! I am nearly finished writing the new Drupal book and wondered if you would be interested in receiving a few review copies and adding the good news to the

V Send me a copy.

Send e-mail

That's easy enough to do! Moving on to the Community page, you can see that this gives you access to the various international Drupal communities as well as a few aggregated resources and tag services that you might find interesting to read:

Introduction to Drupal

Community Drupal.org

Local communities

• Drupal.org forums

• Drupal.org mailing lists

• Drupal events

• Drupal newsletter

Web watch

Planet Drupal aggregates Drupal-related blog posts of many Drupal developers, users and supporters.

Drupal talk aggregates lots of Drupal resources, ranging from Usenet posts, forum posts, blogs, malllngllsts and lots more.

Drupal Drupal Drupal Drupal Drupal Drupal Drupal Drupal Drupal Drupal Drupal Drupal Drupal

Hungary (Magyarorszég)

Italia (Italiano)

Brazilian Portuguese (Portugués)

Spanish (Español)

Russia (PyccKkiñ)

Afrikaans (Afrikaans)

Germany (Deutsch)

French (Français)

Belgium (Netherlands)

Polish (Polska)

Romania (Romania)

Tags

Drupal tags are available In many tagging services, e.g. del.icio.us, Flickr and Technorati.

Incidentally, a tagging service is simply a bunch of pages that have been associated with various keywords. This makes it easy to find content based on a user-defined categorization—doing things this way is also very flexible as you no longer have to pigeon-hole content into predefined categories. You can find more information on tags and tagging at the del.icio.us site: http://de1 .icio.us/help/tags.

That about wraps it up for our coverage of the Drupal community. You should feel fairly confident that you can use the site efficiently and that you can find help if needs be. Before we continue on to the next chapter, though, there is one more important issue we need to discuss ...

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