Training and Development for Drupal

Helping You Help Yourself

We throw around the psychologist metaphor because teaching technology isn't a cut and dry science. Time was we could teach programming language and off one went to create programs - when now the purpose and context of development mean so much to a project. Before we provide training we learn a lot about a client, get to know them, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and help them set realistic goals. Like therapists, we facilitate, discuss, coach, laugh, cry and breathe with our clients as they face their various challenges. So, that's our modus operandi.

Drupal is adopted by new users every single day and many of them are newcomers to the web applications arena. Figuring out Drupal from scratch can be a tough job. To help, we offer guided training sessions in developing and administering Drupal sites so that you don't have to do it all on your own. Clients emerge with increased capacity and knowledge and are confident in setting their next course.

Therapy works. Let us coach you through the tough parts.

Announcing "Booster Shots" for Drupal 7

Yes, we here at Drupaltherapy know you're so excited to roll up your sleeves and get dirty with Drupal 7. The only thing holding you back are a few nasty bugs. Well, before you start sticking your nose into features and code it's never been in before, you should take a couple of proactive steps to make sure your experience is a healthy and productive one.

Drupaltherapy announces Booster Shots for Drupal 7, a series of half day courses designed to keep beginner and intermediate Drupal users in the know on changes in Drupal 7. All Booster Shots take place in Boston, MA, on September 17, 2010, in two identical training sessions with your trusted Drupaltherapist, Sean Effel.

Consider this your immunization against shock, surprise and confusion when you see the new admin interface. You may likely avoid lightheadedness and fainting when you see D7's baked in field and file support, not to mention the native image handling solution. We can help you be prepared for the new season of Drupal development ahead of us rather than let this new environment get the better of you.

Please take a moment to see our offerings, Booster Shots or otherwise.

Vindicated by History (maybe)

About two years ago, I filed a common complaint about the muddiness of Drupal's terminology. So that blog post was addressing the lack of clarity of terms like story/page/post/content and some other things like the "content construction kit" that doesn't actually make content. As a trainer I get to explain these terms over and over again.

Well, I was thinking back to that post while perusing the admin menus of Drupal 7 and I was pleased to see some of the changes (for the better) that have been implemented since May 2008. I noticed that the "Story" content type is now called "Article", CCK's port into core is now called Fields, and even the area that was called "User Management" is being called "People" which was a thought I suggested that earned me a hearty scoffing. That's fine, I've gotten used to taking a little heat as one of those guys that works at the intersection between developers and other people, but I feel relieved that these terms will make it easier for my trainees gel their understanding of the concepts.

No doubt the people joining the Drupal project now can thank all the usability testing that the Drupal Association facilitated, as well as the influence of the D7UX effort, for not having to suffer through some muddy times.

Of course, there are new terms to use and learn - like the difference between "Entities" and "Bundles" in the Fields API. Let's see how my students approach that vocabulary on May 24.

Drupaltherapy workshops in San Francisco

Announcing our TWO San Francisco Drupal trainings on:

Sunday, Nov 15, 2009, 10AM-6PM
Monday, Nov 16, 2009, 10AM-6PM

These two intensive all-day workshops will arm new and novice level Drupal users with basics in:

  • Installating and configurating Drupal 6 core (D7 as needed and/or ready)
  • Drupal core systems and functions
  • Top contributed modules (Views and CCK, again D7 as needed and/or ready)
  • Theme basics

If you want a one stop kick-start to the Drupal project, this class will give you a dizzying overview of all the aspects and help set you on course to better understanding of Drupal. If you've enjoyed the Drupaltherapy screencasts, then this is your chance to spend a day with the same level of instruction in an awesome learning environment. We provide high quality Drupal instruction in a price bracket that non-profits and small businesses can afford.

These classes book full very quickly, so register early! Deadline to register is Nov 8, 2009.

Drupaltherapy gets married, uses Views and Feed API

Drupaltherapy has been on the back burner for a good couple of months while I prepared to get hitched on September 12, 2009. It was a nice affair, held at an outdoor education and retreat center equipped with canoes, kayaks, archery, zip lines, kickball fields, square dances, and a whole bunch of other things that make weekend weddings fun for family and friends.

What is making us very happy right now is our use of Drupal as the platform for our wedding website and the use of some specific modules that are doing some cool things for us, too.

We asked guests to share their photos from the weekend using Flickr and our sanctioned wedding tag. We are using Feed API to pull down incoming Flickr posts and create nodes based on each new item, following the steps in my Feed API screencast, and then leveraging Views to make a neat display.

Flickr already provides nice photostream displays and I suppose guests could just look to Flickr to see the collection of tagged photos, but we wanted to draw our family and friends to a central place where we could control more of their experience ourselves. So, to replicate some of the Flickr features we slapped in a Views Slideshow, a recipe also found in one of my screencasts.

We also tried to harness Twitter for something useful wedding-wise, and the best we could come up with is more Feed API tricks to get similarly tagged tweets into one place. We thought that our friends could possibly communicate with Twitter through our site, so we built a little interface that pulls down tagged tweets into nodes with Feed API and also gave anonymous users the ability create nodes direct through our site.

The only people who used this were the two of us and on occasional luddite family member, so it didn't go according to plan.

There probably are a bunch of tricks that I could have pulled to make this move smoother, but yeah, I my head was in other places. I did want to put it out there that many of the features found in Drupal and in some contrib modules really go a long way for nailing down the basics of a wedding site and I would be happy to talk to anyone who wants to try it out. Connect with us on the Weddings Group and we can talk there.

Anyway, you'll be seeing more of Drupaltherapy now that the big day has come and gone, starting promptly with a new set of Drupal training sessions in San Francisco on not just one day, but two!.

Drupalcon Tweets from Friday as Wordle

Ditto from yesterday, these are the tweets from Drupalcon DC from the day-until-now. Pretty neat. Find it in full size here.

Thursday Drupalcon tweets as Wordle

Wrapping up today at Drupalcon by pushing 12 hours of tweets tagged with #drupalcon into Wordle. I did have to reduce the instances of "drupalcon" and "2009-03-05" in order to make the other words large enough to be legible, but this is the only processing I did of the tweets themselves. Turned out a pretty sweet image and to get it in a big format then just click.

Reviewing: Drupal 6 Site Builder Solutions

I've just read Drupal 6 Site Builder Solutions by Mark Noble and think it's got a lot of good things going on. This book, like a lot of Drupal books out there, presents some basic methods for installing and setting up a Drupal website but what it does differently is look at every tutorial and example through the lens of a small business.

In fact, the whole book is tutorial after tutorial of setting up Drupal with this same small business in mind. The example business is described as a restaurant with a well known chef, with specific clientele, particular menu, etc. The whole book is a great example in assessing the needs of this business and then working out Drupal solutions to get there. Granted, I don't know think there are many famous chefs are out there building their own websites, but this is besides the point.

I've got a background in technology training, including training for Drupal, and I am definitely sensitive to the prospective reader's learning needs. Technical books can sometimes advertise themselves to the wrong audience and leave some new learners in the dust. But, I'm happy to say that this one passes my learner sensors without any difficult issues.

Like a lot of the books coming from Packt Publishing, the preface lays down some assumptions on who the book is intended to help and what tools readers will need to follow along at home. The author's got a pretty good workflow for configuring a newly installed Drupal website, and moves from basic to advanced at a appropriate pace. The path through the Drupal principles is, for the most part, clear and well designed. The lessons were concise and easy to grasp.

There were only a few parts where I though some principles were presented out of order, like right in Chapter 2 there is a small segment on installing and enabling new modules smack in the middle of a bigger section on creating pages. But these diversions aren't terribly distracting and do manage to inform the task at hand for first time readers.

Some of the chapters and topics don't get the depth that they deserve and have the chance to leave a reader stranded. Chapter 9, for example, deals with the ecommerce package known as Ubercart, but is very seriously abbreviated. This topic, and ecommerce in general, is one that probably requires a whole additional book to fully teach and grasp and there is at least one Drupal ecommerce book on the market right now.

All told, the book reads just as advertised and makes good on its promise of "building powerful web site features for your business." If anyone is looking for a book with great practical examples and very accessible scenarios, then this would be my recommendation.

If you are looking to buy this book, I suggest you look for it first on the Drupal Books page. Buying books through the affiliate links on that page will give back some small amount of your purchase to the Drupal Association, a caretaker organization for the Drupal project and brand: http://drupal.org/books

Date + Calendar Screencast (Drupal 6)

FAIL (the browser should render some flash content, not this).

(If you are looking for Date + Calendar instructions for Drupal 7, look here.)

If you like this screencast, you can show it by pitching in to a special fundraising effort. (And here's why.)

Here is a fast screencast covering the Date and Calendar modules for Drupal 6. This recipe illustrates one way to let your users post their own events (like parties, appointments, meetups, etc) that include date information stored in a field. Then you can see how to display these dates on a traditional calendar layout with all the events sorted into the correct days. read more »

Another review for Drupal Multimedia

I should definitely write up this review since half of the screencasts I have done include some module that Aaron Winborn wrote.

Drupal Multimedia, available from Packt Publishing, is a great roadmap for Drupal users getting to know the multimedia terrain. As the author describes in this book, support for images, audio and video is not provided in the core release of Drupal 6 and the multimedia contributed module landscape is still pretty rocky. In spite of this fact, or simply because of it, the author has done an excellent job in presenting some of the best multimedia methods available to Drupal site developers.

Aaron Winborn is an expert and his contributions to the Drupal project are testaments to his knowledge and skill. He has written or contributed to many of the Drupal modules presented in this book and his experience with those methods is very clearly displayed. His biography section points out his experience teaching youth in classrooms and this shows through in the writing. I think many people will appreciate his presentation and style of teaching. read more »

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