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Free Preview: Beginner's Guide to Building Sites With Drupal

Introduction

01:36
  • Overview
  • Transcript

Creating websites is hard. It takes a lot of code to build a website, but a lot of it is similar from site to site. Clients rarely ever want the same things, but when we are building content-driven sites we have a secret weapon: using a content management system (CMS). With a CMS we can reuse the same code over and over again for different projects. And if the site is simple enough, we might not even have to do any coding at all!

Drupal is a special CMS. It is easy enough to pick it up and be productive in it quickly, and it is flexible enough to handle all the customizations your client demands. In this course, Derek Jensen is going to show you how to go from no knowledge of Drupal whatsoever to building a fully functional, production-ready website to call your own. Follow along as Derek shows you all the tricks of setting up a Drupal site with custom content and views. By the end of the course, you'll have built a full-featured, Drupal-powered site for hosting information about developer conferences!

Build on your Drupal skills with our courses How to Build a Custom Theme for Drupal 8 and Code a Custom Drupal Module.

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction

Hey there folks, my name is Derek Jensen and I am a web developer, that's it I admit it. But there do come times in my life when I just can't stand the thought of having to build another website and go through all of the ins and outs of creating all those basic little pieces of a website, just so I can get to a point where I can show something to my customers and to my clients. I really just wanna be able to sometimes use a tool to very quickly and easily build a site that they're going to be happy with. And without having to get into all the back end code. Well I'm here to tell you today that Drupal my friends is the answer. Drupal is one of the easiest ways to build a site from scratch going from zero to a full production level website in just a matter of moments. It's very easy to get up and running very quickly. But you can have the power and the flexibility to tweak things and customize it to your heart's content. So over the duration of this course, we're going to assume that you have never heard of Drupal and have no idea what a content management system is. And we're gonna go all the way to the end where we're gonna build a fully, flashed out production level website to help track developer conferences, user groups and speakers at these conferences and show our customers some upcoming conferences that they might be interested in. Sound like a lot of work? Not really. So with a couple of tools and learning some basic fundamental skills of Drupal, you're gonna be able to build full websites just like this in just a short amount of time. So what are we waiting for? Let's get started.

1.2 Prerequisites

Typically at this point in the course I would take you through the process of understanding the prerequisites, and the required knowledge, and maybe the tools that you'll need to be able to follow along with me in this course. Now this course is a little bit special because there really technically aren't any tools depending on how you wanna follow along. Now I say how you wanna follow along because there's a couple different paths that you could go. And depending on which path you take, there may be some required software for a piece of this course depending on what you want to do. So before we start getting into those types of things. Let's go ahead and talk a little bit about Drupal itself. Drupal is an open source content management system, or CMS. Which is really just a fancy way of saying that it is an online tool that will help you to build customized websites to present content to the end user. So that seems fairly simplistic, but what is Drupal really good for? Well, Drupal is really good for creating personal and business websites where content is king. That is really where it shines and really where there's a lot of flexibility for you, as the creator of the website. And possibly also the content to be able to present things to the end user very quickly, very easily without actually needing to know how to write code. Now there are certain instances where you can write some code or some markup if you would like but it's not required. Which is kind of a nice thing so I'm not gonna tell you that you need to know how to write code or know how to read and write HTML in order to follow along with this course. Because honestly, you don't, which is very nice. Now, what about if you are a seasoned web developer, will this be good for you too? Well I would argue yes, because I have been doing software development and ultimately web development for over the last ten years. And I have to say that there do come times in my life where I need to create websites for customers. And I really don't want to spend the time going through and creating all that boilerplate code, and doing all those little repetitive things over and over again, to create very simplistic sites that are just really there to display content. And from my perspective, if I ever have the opportunity to use a CMS. To use some out of the box functionality to be able to get these things up and running very quickly, and then get feedback from my customer, and ultimately their customers. Then all the better for me. So I would definitely argue that having some sort of trusty CMS in your back pocket is very, very useful and helpful. So now let's talk a little bit about following along with this course. Now the best way to follow along with this course is to head over to Drupal.org. And you'll see at the very top here you're going to see the Try Drupal button. So let's go ahead and click on that. And you're gonna be taken to another page about try Drupal. Now there's a couple different ways that you can do this. And the interesting thing about this is that they definitely recommend that you use some sort of web host. And that's why these gigantic buttons and descriptions for these web hosts are out here because that's the way that they're pushing you to go. And the reason for that is because typically not everybody has access to a web server. You can set up your local machine to be able to do this, and we'll talk about that in a few moments. But it's much easier to have a readily accessible, maybe Cloud platform somewhere that I can very quickly and easily install. Drupal either myself or with the help of that web host which is definitely user friendly when it comes to getting these things up and running. So that's kind of one of the big draws to be able to install Drupal either manually or automatically on a web host. So that's actually what I'm going to do. But I'm not gonna use any of these three. And I'm gonna show you what I'm going to use and why I'm going to use it in just a moment. Now if you are more so inclined to want to run Drupal locally. And really get a feel for what the source looks like, and the directory structure, and really control all of those things. That's absolutely fine. You can definitely do that. If you take a look at the Try Drupal section here in this little paragraph, you'll see a Get Started link. So if I click on that it's gonna take me over to the download and extend page where I can then download the latest and greatest version of Drupal. Which at this point just so happens to be 8.2.5. So I'm gonna go ahead and click on that button. And now I'm going to be taken to the actual Drupal core release page. So like I said the latest version is 8.2.5, I can either download the tar file or the zip file. Now that I have it though, what do I do with it? How do I install it? Well if you take a look over to the right, you're going to see a link here that says learn how to install Drupal. Well, how nice is that? So I'm gonna go ahead and click on that. But now we've come to the first little misleading piece of information. And that is going to be you who were just now taken to a page that tells you how to install Drupal 7. Well, we didn't download Drupal 7, we downloaded Drupal 8 and that's the one that I want to install. So in order to get to that documentation, simply come up to the address bar here and change this seven to an eight. So that must have just been an oversight or something on the Drupal site here where it's taking you actually to install version seven as opposed to version eight. But it's a very quick and easy fix. So, you're going to see a little bit of information here about how to install Drupal 8. You could read about what you should be doing before your installation. It's also going to tell you a little bit about one click installations of Drupal. Which is what I mentioned before by using some web hosting companies that provide those types of services which is what I'm going to be doing. And you can follow along that way as well. But if you would like to install it locally, you can come down to the bottom under Related Content, Chapter 3 installation. And that's actually going to take you to the Drupal 8 user guide which is going to be incredibly helpful and I would highly recommend you bookmarking this page. Just so that you can go back and read and learn more about all these different types of topics. And really getting into much more detail as you continue to learn about Drupal and increase your knowledge level. So here for the installation you're going to learn about the system requirements. We'll learn about additional tools, preparing to install, as well as running the installer. These are all good things to know, and very important things to follow if you want to install Drupal locally. Also, if you wanna install Drupal locally, then I would highly recommend you getting a hold of some sort of text editor that you like, and that you're familiar with. Now it could be anything from something built into your operating system, to some fancy open source text editor out on the internet. Either way, it doesn't really matter. But you are going to need one for one of the early lessons as we talk about getting in behind the scenes and doing some upgrading and updating things with Drupal. So that you will definitely need if you are running locally. Now, if you are going to follow along with me and install this as a one click application out in the cloud, then a text editor isn't going to help you as much.. But what will be nice, and I'm gonna show you why in an upcoming lesson, it would be beneficial for you to have some sort of SSH client. Now with a lot of Mac and Linux type distributions, you're gonna have some sort of SSH tools installed on your operating system in your terminal or in your console. And you can absolutely use those or you could once again you some sort of third party SSH tools for either one of those platforms or Windows like WinSCP or something along those lines is going to be very beneficial for you. And once again, like I said, I will show you why in an upcoming lesson. So that is if you want to mostly follow along with this course on a local development machine. I, on the other hand, am going to use a droplet from DigitalOcean. Now DigitalOcean just so happens to be one of my favorite web hosts strictly for the fact that I can very quickly and simply spin up a virtual machine. I can install whatever my favorite operating system is on it in a matter of seconds. I believe, the last time I looked, it said that it can do all of these things in 55 seconds, so under a minute. And I can also use some one click installations to install whatever software I would like, already to go and preconfigured, up and running in about a minute. As well as the fact that it's fairly inexpensive. So, it'll basically cost me less than $10, not any more than 20, depending on how long I want to play with this VM. Which I think is perfect for learning purposes. And so I'm gonna show you how to actually set up a droplet on DigitalOcean using a one click installation of Drupal to get things up and running extremely quickly to help you to hit the ground running. So once again, in the next lesson I'm going to show you how to get started creating this droplet on DigitalOcean.