Control a spaceship with obscure modules, or how I fought Drupal

    Inspired by this post .

    In the 80s, everyone dreamed of a Japanese tape recorder. In the beginning of the 90s, other equipment appeared on the market, and Bang & Olufsen kind of teased:

    - If you want your tape recorder to look like the dashboard of a spacecraft, buy a Japanese tape recorder. If you just want to enjoy the music, buy our equipment (the quote is not accurate).

    Ever since I began to study Drupal, all the time I can’t get rid of the feeling that I’m behind a dashboard of immense size, that I never know exactly which button to press, like that alien from the cartoon Pixar .

    Here's what the simple list setup page looks like:

    What is not a spaceship? At what I did not figure out how to sort this list. There are many buttons, there is little sense.

    First acquaintance with Drupal

    In April last year, with the submission, Habrahabr attended the Drupal workshop in Masterhost. I was constantly let down by the timing of my programmers and simple sites, I decided to do it myself on some CMS-ke. And here is just such an event! I barely managed to sign up, got.

    Alexander Grafov and his comrades very carefully described all the advantages of the system, about how universal it is, how advanced, reliable, updated, and so on. Then the educational program went, but not in the Drupal area, but in the CEO area. They talked about the benefits of taxonomy. One participant said that for two days he was trying to figure out how the taxonomy is done. To which there was an answer:

    - Well, what did you want to understand in two days! Especially in taxonomy.

    It bothered me a little. If only taxonomy has been dealt with for so long, then what will happen next?

    Next, we were shown a proprietary technique: ease of installation Drupal. That is the initial simplicity. We fill in the source code on the host, run the index file, enter the MySQL data - that’s all, Drupal is installed. This surprised everyone very much and made a strong impression: so easy! Alexander Shvets then used this technique and recorded his screencast on how easy it is to install drupal.

    But, ease of installation, it is not easy to set up. If you think that you have already built a house, there are only finishing works left, you are mistaken - you have not even done the marking for the foundation.

    Hello World!

    It so happened historically that learning a programming language begins with displaying the words “Hello, World!” Drupal is not a programming language, but still, let's try to display this simple phrase on the first page on the newly installed CMS. Already this should be done simply at a time.

    Do you think there is some “Change” tab for administrators on the first page? Nothing like this. You need to find the menu item “Create Material”, then decide what type of material you are going to do, “Page” or “History”, then select “Page”. Finally write “Hello, World!”, But that's not all. Because the created page is somewhere inside, and not on the first one, at that you will not find in the menu an item leading to it. Now we must somehow understand where it is indicated that this particular page should be the first. No where you will find in the Drupal itself how to do this. But googling on, it turns out that on a certain page it can be noted that this page should be displayed as the main page. And here it is happiness: on the main "Hello World".

    What I can say is very characteristic of Drupal. Any action that should be done easily is difficult. And you must google it for sure, without this, no matter how.

    Drupal Resources

    In RuNet there are quite a lot of resources about Drupal. Of course, , a good resource , also , , the famous already . Everywhere a lot of materials. And everywhere ... google it! Neither of which order nor where not. Everywhere there is a tape that talks about something in fits and starts, but it is not always possible to get an answer to a question. If the answer is obvious and should lie well just on the surface, on the first page, then somewhere in the distant forum you will find the answer. You can wait for the answer to questions of medium difficulty, but you can not wait. Difficult questions will remain unanswered.

    The general approach of Drupals is this: we are developers. We don’t need any dumb blondes here. If you are a serious developer, you will easily master everything yourself.

    Normal Drupal Tutorial

    He is simply not there. There is a level for dummies , the simplest things, how to install, how to translate, how to add a module. They will tell you how to install the module, but for what - dig yourself.

    And there is a level for the advanced: how to solve already very private problems, after everything is built, but somewhere something does not work. The huge part in the middle is simply torn out. The beginner must make the jump through the void himself.

    If we continue the analogy with building a house, then we can say the following: there is a textbook on how to fence a place for construction with a fence, and then scattered notes on how to hang curtains on windows, how to fasten the latch to the bathroom door, how to care for ficus. How to lay the foundation, build a box - you will not find.

    When did the resourceDrupal API and it was proposed to translate the whole world, I was delighted. I thought I’ll translate, and I’ll learn at the same time. There it was. This is a dry documentation for advanced, not a step-by-step tutorial.

    A Brief History of Mop

    Swabrashvabr dot ru was born right before our eyes during the April workshop. Previous speakers overspent their temporary resource and Romke had 15 minutes to build on the basis of Drupal social network such as Habr. Of course, no one understood anything, and to the credit of Romka he later released a good screencast on this subject. Well done.

    But here's the problem: the Vote Up Down module didn’t work for me personally. And he’s almost key there. Googled, and found out that I'm not the only one. We did not receive any answers. Asked a question on, on - no answer.

    Further more. The news appears: there is an article on how to do the same on the 6th Drupal. I look at the article: very superficial and formal, it is not clear to whom it is written. Not for those who really want to do something. At they ask Romka - how to build it yourself? He answers - do the 5th, only look for the other modules yourself ...

    What is CCK?

    So, the simplest things about Drupal can be found. But what makes Drupal so attractive?
    - Views,
    - CCK,
    - taxonomy,
    - and so on, so on, so on.

    Where to learn this? No where. Poke yourself.

    How to make your own theme? You can take someone else's and remake for yourself. You can just change the CSS. And if you want to make a normal theme with your layout? Poke yourself. Open the above resources and google, google, google. Collect fragmentary information, maybe you're lucky.

    Are we fighting for a project, or are we fighting Drupal?

    There was a small holivar here on the hub: " I do not like Drupal " " I love Drupal ." Neochief , as the defender of Drupal, said that the attitude towards Drupal is going up and down and up and down. The problem is down, the problem is solved - up. And the question is: are we fighting for the project, or are we fighting Drupal? The feeling that with Drupal.

    As in the old joke: we love to overcome difficulties, and therefore we create them for ourselves.

    Is it so hard to write a textbook?

    The one whose name in Runet can not be called , created a language for creating good sites . I am not a programmer, but in 6 simple lessons I suddenly realized that I know the language. I wrote my site with a large catalog of goods, an admin panel for it, and managers now use this admin panel. There are no extra buttons, sections, everything is done simply and easily. Intuitively, it is fashionable to express oneself.

    The original ease and comprehensibility of the language gave rise to a good textbook, together they gave rise to an easy and understandable project. He spoke somewhat pathetic, but what to do if it is so.

    And heaviness and an attempt to grasp the immense immediately gave rise to shapeless projects about everything and about nothing.

    Who's guilty?

    From my topic it may seem that I blame the above-mentioned Alexander, Romka and Alexei (Neochief) for not writing a good step-by-step textbook. It would be easy and pleasant to simply blame someone and shoot , but actually we do not have the right to do so. Alexander, Romka, Neochief did a lot to popularize Drupal in Russia. And it is their right to popularize the way they do it. So I honestly thank them for the work done. The fact that I personally lack some textbooks, my personal problems.

    It seems to me that the problem is somewhat deeper. Drupal was originally a system about everything and nothing. Wordpress is based on a blog, and everything is already hung on it, so it’s easier to learn. And Drupal - like a blank sheet, draw what you want. Therefore, when someone tries to establish at least some order in the presentation, a mess immediately forms in the head.

    Even the book about Drupal, which I honestly bought on Ozone , does not begin with installation, not with customization, but with ... writing your module! That says a lot. Drupal is not for ordinary users, but for programmers. And it is built according to the logic of programmers: it would be the core, and the interface can always be screwed! As a result: I saw very few easy-to-understand interfaces on Drupal.

    In addition, another paradox pops up - most web programmers do not like Drupal, consider it a system for underestimates.

    As a result, it turns out that Drupals are not listed among programmers, and among beginners too. They are somewhere on the sidelines.

    What to do?

    I understand that advanced Drupal earn money, and there’s no other way to spend time training. I understand everything, honestly.

    But I want to remind you that Drupal is cool in many respects due to the huge number of people who write modules for Drupal for free. The more these people are, the more fresh ideas there will be, the more popular Drupal will be, and in the Russian-speaking part too.

    Writing a good step-by-step tutorial, with a description of the main functions and modules, is necessary so that programmers stop brushing off Drupal, such as: “Let's write our own on PHP-tamplate”. And this is necessary to attract those who are not very versed in programming, but who can make websites: copywriters, bloggers, photographers and other creative professions.

    While the Drupal keep themselves inside their party, potential Drupal fans leave for Wordpress, Jumla, and so on.

    What has appeared since the publication of the post

    Ivan Grishaev was not too lazy and translated an excellent primer for beginners , with a description of the important Views and CCK modules. Download it in PDF here . Recommend.


    Text writer Vadim Galkin. When publishing the text, please link to my personal page .

    The picture of the alien was taken from the official website of the Pixar studio .

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