I attended DrupalCon last week, and the various speakers pointed to a variety of Drupal resources that are of interest to Drupal users of all skills sets.  Following is a breakdown of the various resources speakers at the conference crecommended.


For the beginners who know very little if anything about Systems, Frameworks, API’s and are only interested in front end layout design, Drupal Developer and speaker Addison Berry has compiled a list of handy tools that will allow you to dive into Drupal theming through CSS and HTML styling.

  • Firebug add-on for Firefox. This plugin gives you the ability to modify cascading style sheet properties on most webpages.
  • Web Developer add-on for Firefox contains various tools which give you full control over how a website is displayed on your browser.
  • Colourlovers.com is a site dedicated to designers who struggle to find matching color themes. There you will find support and ideas that will help you in your design work.
  • The handy Devel module can display what is happening in any section of the site to an administrator. It can be very useful when debugging a block in Drupal.

The following Drupal specific resources are great places to learn some basics, and to ask for help if you need it.

As you progress in your Drupal theming, there are some important API’s that you will at one point or another need to work with at theme level, such as Menu and Form. Drupal’s Menu system, as opposed to Drupal’s Menu Module, is the main backend gear system that allows Drupal to be useable in a practical fashion. It performs actions such as telling Drupal what a url is supposed to link to. Learning how to wield the power of the Menu API is essential to creating a robust and well structured Drupal website. More on this API can be found here , which is Drupal’s centralized repository for most of the frameworks functions which you as a developer will need.

Form API will be used whenever an input form is used in Drupal. This particular API handles the form elements, validation, and submission actions. This API automatically builds a large PHP array then converts this into an html form. While its autonomous features are very handy, there are particular cases when a developer will want to create a custom form. Reinventing the wheel is not a popular concept in the Drupal community, thus the creators of the framework and API’s such as form built the system in such a way that allows you to dissect powerful API’s like Form and modify it to suit your needs. With a php function like hook_form_alter(), it is possible to quickly make a custom module display a form with the fields or custom validation that you have written. More on this can be found here and here.

For the more advanced Drupal developers, there was a fascinating case study presentation on multilingual modules and how they have recently been used in large Drupal sites such as http://www.beyonceonline.com and http://www.britney.com.  As our societies becomes more intertwined and nations share their culture with the rest of the world at a breath taking pace, multilingual information systems are becoming essential to the success of any large organization. Drupal is so widely used, that developers have donated their time to make Drupal as multicultural and multilingual as possible by contributing modules such as the i18n module. However, even though Drupal is already very capable in the field of multilingualism, it does not have the inherent ability to automatically deliver country specific content to a user simply by the means of IP detection. For this, the teams behind the aforementioned sites used a multitude of techniques and tools that allowed visitors from all over the world to visit a site and have a blog post presented to them in their own particular dialect.

The potential for this is great, and the documentation on how the developers achieved this is now on the Drupal website and can be read here.