Drupal – When to Code and when NOT to….

I have found a really great book for those who want to do Drupal development from O’Reilly.Programmer’s Guide to Drupal. This isn’t really a book for those who want to lhaveearn PHP though. It’s for those who are already comfortable with coding and want to apply those skills to Drupal.

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What this book does really well is to show you when to start writing your own code and when not to. It also recommends that a novice Drupal developer learn to build sites in Drupal without any custom coding at all in the beginning. With something like 24,000 modules out there, there is always a good chance that someone has already written code for the very purpose you have. Or that judicious use of core modules will allow you to get where you need to be.

Check this book out: it is AWESOME!

http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920027799.do

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Inexpensive Drupal Books – Packtpub.com

Packtpub is having a great sale until january 3th. All eBooks and Videos are on sale for $5.00. Very good deal. This includes all their books on Drupal, and they have a LOT of them. I’ve reviewed several of them and they are all really good. Check it out, it is an awesome deal! Find it here!

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How to write a working Drupal Module

The power of Drupal can only be leveraged best if you learn how to write your own custom modules. If you know a bit of PHP and aren’t intimidated by functions, elements, arrays and the like, this is the best place to start. Drupal.org Community Docs. This tutorial will take you through the ins and outs of writing a basic but very functional Drupal module. This tutorial will, in great detail, explain all the steps needed to create a module that will allow you to show a configurable number of posts in a block, create a configuration menu option for the module and include a Help page.

I’ve looked at many online tutorials on how to write basic modules and this one is the best. It has the most thorough explanations and is rigorous in its adherence to Drupal commenting standards, coding standards and naming conventions. As well as the Drupal specific functions that make developing for Drupal easier. If you want to learn Drupal PHP development, this is the place to start.

https://drupal.org/node/1074362

The (almost) free web site – and learn Git too!

This is not a Drupal post. But I do have to share this anyway. I needed a site for the consulting side of my business but I don’t want to shell out much cash. OK, no cash at all.

So, i went digging and found that Github allows you to post a small site for free. No strings, no garbage. No database either so you can’t have a Drupal site. This isn’t the only site that will let you do that but it is one of the only ones that will also let you have your own domain name too. So, I spent two hot US quarters (50 cents) and bought as domain name for a year. I then used that name to establish my new site Lande Tech.

The only piece of the puzzle missing is DNS. Enter freedns.afraid.org, a free service that will allow your domain’s dns needs to be hosted for free.

You won’t get your new domain’s email out of this (although afraid.org will host your mx record) but you will get your own site and domain name for SUPER cheap!

Plus, you have the added benefit of using Git for the transfer of your data to Github Pages. Git was developed by Linus himself and is more or less the standard VCS (Version Control System) for Open Source development. I talked about Pantheon earlier – They use Git for their platform. If you do Open Source, you need to be familiar with Git.

Try out Pantheon for free Drupal hosting

There are a lot of good Drupal hosting sites out there. But Pantheon stands out because it offers FREE hosting. Are there caveats? sure, but that is to be expected. The two biggest are ads on your site and a domain name under their root.

Right now, I have a client who is sitting on the fence about a new site. I have a somewhat vested interest in his success so my plan is to develop a site first and then sell it to him. Now this is a weird use case sure. But it wouldn’t be possible without Pantheon’s offer of free hosting. And my client can choose a payment plan down the road with his own URL and no ads once he commits.

Pantheon offers some really cool features too. Either SFTP or Git access, Drupal distributions and a really easy install requiring nothing more than some mouse clicks.

They also offer a cool multistage dev/test/live environment that really allows you to develop safely in a multideveloper environment. Add Git to the equation and you have a distributed local environment with version control.

The first site that I am doing is called Landetech. So the urls from Pantheon are:

dev-landetech.gotpantheon.com

test-landetech.gotpantheon.com

live-landetech.gotpantheon.com

With the Pantheon control panel, you have clear and concise control over changes committed to each environment. Very cool stuff.

Pantheon also uses Varnish for caching for greatly improved performance, something that Drupal usually needs. Check them out.

https://www.getpantheon.com/