Drupal User's Guide

Drupal User's Guide coverFinally, Drupal Made Easy: A Step-By-Step Guide from Planning to Finished Site. The open source content management system Drupal offers amazing flexibility, sophistication, and power. The catch? Many first-time users find it difficult to get started, and most Drupal books don’t help with the initial stages. Drupal™ User’s Guide is different: easy to use, fun to read, practical, and complete!

Long-time Drupal site developer Emma Jane Hogbin guides you through every step of building sites with Drupal, from installation and site planning through launching your first site. Drawing on her experience teaching thousands of beginners, she covers both Drupal and Web design tasks, showing exactly how they fit together.

Drupal™ User’s Guide shows how to use Drupal 7’s newest improvements to build more modern, manageable sites for any business or organization. Hogbin covers crucial topics other Drupal books ignore, including search engine optimization and accessibility.

  • Walk through installing Drupal on Mac OS X and Linux Web servers
  • Get comfortable with Drupal 7’s new administrative interface
  • Build a basic site in minutes
  • Create S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) site goals
  • Audit your existing content so you can make the most of it
  • Explore, choose, and customize Drupal themes
  • Walk through building a community site with private discussion area
  • Build a complete business association directory site
  • Use Web forms to capture and display any kind of content
  • Take advantage of Drupal’s powerful Views module
  • Choose the right Drupal and third-party modules to build virtually any site
  • Optimize your site for Google and other search engines
  • Use advanced techniques to improve your visitors’ experiences

If you want to create great sites with Drupal–with no hassle, no confusion, and no degree in computer science–this is the book for you!

UPDATE: Drupal™ User’s Guide is now available for Kindle readers.
UPDATE: Drupal™ User’s Guide is now available as a PDF for download from InformIT.
UPDATE: Drupal™ User’s Guide is now available from Amazon.com and better bookstores around the world.


In a nerdy Star Wars-esque fashion, I think of this book as the prequel to my first book, Front End Drupal. It assumes you want to build a Web site without having to learn any code. It is structured to help you jump right in and start building your own Web sites. If you are new to Web site building you may find it useful to start at the first chapter and work through to the end of the book. If you are a little more experienced with site building, you may use this book as a reference and jump around to suit your needs. Wherever possible the topics are cross-referenced. Don't feel that you need to read every single word in this book. Skip the parts that you don't need (or you're not ready for). Learning Drupal shouldn't be stressful, and I promise not to quiz you on whether or not you read about such-and-such before proceeding to so-and-so. When you need to have specific skills I'll let you know what the prequisites are and where you can find them within the book, or online.

Part 1: Quick Start

The first four chapters of the book get you up and running with your first Drupal Web site. Chapter 1 introduces you to the kinds of Web sites that are built with Drupal. Chapter 2 covers the installation of Drupal on OSX and Linux-based Web servers. Chapter 3 covers the new administrative interface for Drupal 7. In Chapter 4 you will build your first basic site with core modules.

Part 2: Planning

With the basic understanding of the key Drupal concepts, we'll take a step back and do some planning. Chapter 5 steps you through the basics of creating SMART goals. Chapter 6 focuses on the people your site will be serving. Chapter 7 walks you through a content audit (assuming you have some content that you know you want to put into your site). Chapter 8 gives you the shortcuts you'll need to choose great themes for your site.

Part 3: Case Studies

Two in-depth case studies show you how Drupal modules fit together to make complete sites. In the first site build you will learn, step-by-step how to create a community site with a private discussion area. In the second example site you will create a business directory. These are two of the most common types of sites I've built over the years for community groups and business associations.

Part 4: Build Anything

This part of the book provides you with the foundation to build any Web site using Drupal. Chapter 11 covers important information about core and contributed modules. Chapter 12 shows you how to use, extend and create Web forms to capture and display any kind of content you can imagine. In Chapter 13 you will learn how to create lists of content—from navigation to tags to the very popular Views module, this chapter explains the Drupalisms so many experienced site builders take for granted. The wrap-up chapter in this section (Chapter 14) includes short recipes which point you to the best combination of modules needed to build any type of Web site.

Part 5: Extend Drupal

There are a few more topics which aren't about site building but are none-the-less critical to a successful Web site. Chapter 15 covers the basics of creating your own Drupal themes. Chapter 16 teaches you the ins-and-outs of Search Engine Optimization. Chapter 17 covers the importance of accessibility with tips on improving the experience of your site visitors.


In this book there are two themes referenced. They can be downloaded from Drupal.org at:

  • Vert -- used in Chapter 9, the community site case study
  • Domicile -- used in Chapter 15, the introduction to theming