Getting Help

It's easy to focus only on the functionality you get for free with an open source application. But it would be a mistake to forget that the Drupal community itself is another vital building block for your website!

As you go through the hands-on examples in this book, you might run into some issues particular to your installation. Or, issues might be created as new versions of modules are released. Fortunately, the Drupal community has a wealth of resources available to help troubleshoot even the nastiest error you might encounter:

• The Drupal handbooks at http://drupal.org/handbooks contain a wealth of information on everything from community philosophies to nitty-gritty Drupal development information.

• The Getting Started guide at http://drupal.org/getting-started contains some particularly useful information to help get you through your first couple of hours with Drupal.

• The Troubleshooting FAQ at http://drupal.org/Troubleshooting-FAQ has useful tips and tricks for deciphering error messages that you might encounter.

• For more one-on-one help, try the Support forums at http://drupal.org/forum/18 for everything from preinstallation questions to upgrade issues.

• If your question is about a specific module, you can post a "support request" issue (or a "bug report" if it's a blatant problem) to the module's issue queue, which reaches the module's maintainer. A helpful video on how to maneuver around the Drupal.org issue queues is available from http://drupal.org/node/273658, and issue queues are also discussed in Appendix B.

• There's a #drupal-support IRC channel on irc.freenode.net if you're more of the chatty type.

Unlike #drupal-support, the #drupal channel on irc.freenode.net is not a support channel. This channel is a place for developers to get coding help and for other contributors to actively brainstorm and discuss improving the Drupal project as a whole. By all means, participate here to get involved in the community, and ask your coding-related questions, but remember that questions like, "Where is the option I toggle to do this?" and "What module should I use for that?" will make people a bit cranky.

When asking for help, it's always best to do as much research as you can first, and then politely ask direct, to-the-point questions. "Foo module is giving me the error 'Invalid input' when I attempt to submit 'Steve' in the name field. I tried searching for existing solutions, and found an issue at http://drupal.org/node/1234 filed about it, but the solution there didn't fix it for me. Could anyone give me some pointers?" will get far better, faster, and more meaningful responses than, "Why doesn't Foo module work? You developers are useless!" or "How can I build a website with Drupal?" Oftentimes, you'll probably find that during the process of typing out your question in enough detail for someone else to answer it, you come up with the solution yourself!

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