At the monthly Drupal Users Group meeting last night, ten “show me something useful” plebes of various ages and ethnic heritages listened to a major league heavy hitter flex his super-nerd intellectual muscle. (Not either of the duo seen here.)
For an hour, my toes touched bottom no more than for a few fleeting moments and, my ego is relieved to report, I was not alone in the deep end. Repeated blank looks were the only answer to the presenter’s occasional, “Are there any questions?”
Apparently seeing that his hour-long display of super-nerdiness had sufficiently cowed all us newbies, he deigned that someone else would now be permitted to take the keyboard of presentation and, with it, do something else.
After a little floundering amongst the second tier, one of them suggested we review someone’s list of “30 modules you can’t do without”.
Aha, I thought, I sort’a know what a module is – it’s a piece of software that does something useful like collect a password or display a calendar – and the “you can’t do without” status, after mentally untangling the double-negative, made them sound, uhm, useful.
Eager for change, the head nodding was enthusiastic.
And sure enough, thirty minutes later I had three pages of notes and a dozen questions ready but it was 8:30PM and apparently time for the super-nerd’s Mom to take him home for bedtime Oreos and milk. The meeting ended.
It would be entirely accurate to say that I picked up no more than a few valuable nuggets but, since they were some of the “nuggets” I was actually hoping to find, the evening was profitable even if disturbingly humbling.
So do you have a Drupal site up or at least started?
Yes, http://www.arizonapistol.com/ is a Drupal web-site I brought up and continue to enhance. I got the calendar going recently and switched to SSL (https:) because, down the line, we will do on-line event registration and the taking of money by credit cards. (At the site, look in your browsers URL bar — there should be a “lock” symbol meaning the SSL security is current and complete.) But before that, the next major addition will be a database of scores for competitors. (Online registration and money-taking is a few months off.)
I’m very impressed with Drupal — it runs several very sophisticated web-sites including http://www.yellowsubmarine.com/, http://www.mskcc.org/, http://www.tnt-tv.nl/ and http://www.idt.com/ to choose four VERY different places.
The modular nature of Drupal allows web-site designers to build an astounding number of different kinds of things that look and behave utterly different.
I started with books on Drupal, however, and I highly recommend the same approach. Drupal can be very intimidating and mysterious at times. But if you go slow and have a good test environment in which to play, the results can be mind-blowing.
Drupal is a professional-grade tool. As with all power tools, you should mind your fingers and toes, and wear hearing and eye protection. Frequent backups and copious notes are also essential.
But I will add that, for plain blogging and a couple of static pages, WordPress is far, far less complicated. It just depends on what you want, I think.