As a developer at Oneupweb, I work furiously day in and day out on WordPress websites, but wanting to lend a hand with the fewer Drupal-platformed sites that come in the door of our agency, I asked to take a training session.
A while back, I got the opportunity to do some one-on-one training with Drupal 8. The training, provided by Evolving Web and paid for by Oneupweb, consisted of three screen-sharing tutorial sessions, each lasting for a few hours.
If you ask me, the best way to learn a new CMS platform is not to jump right in. You should always start with a good idea of how the system is structured first, and how to operate/work within it.
What I Learned Day One
So I was happy that the first day’s focus was entirely on the backend of the CMS. What did the code look like? How was it organized? Where are the different pieces of code kept? It was a solid, top-to-bottom introduction on the core structure of Drupal. The first day also covered the differences between previous versions of Drupal and the most recent major release version.
As with anything new, there’s a difference between learning about something as a concept and learning about it with the intention of being hands-on with it.
What I Learned Day Two
The second day consisted of learning how Drupal organized the content. Being that it is a content management system, they figured it made the most sense for me to have a higher perspective of how it manages the content. By default, all content is either an article or a page inside of Drupal, but the possibilities of how you categorize it are endless.
We also heavily focused on the admin area of Drupal. What are the common modules that people add on so they can use the admin area more efficiently? Where are things located inside the admin area, how to set up proper permissions for users, and just all-around management for a website.
What I Learned Day Three
The last day of training focused on themes and modules. There are always quirks with different types of code structures. We looked at making sure my info files had accurate spacing, so they’d render properly. I created my own simple theme and extended various regions from the default Drupal themes.
During the entire process, we worked on a sample site side-by-side with my training. My instructor wanted me to have a practical demonstration of how all the pieces would come together once I went to develop my own website. I spent my evenings after class working on a custom theme and website for my own independent work, so that way I could come to our meetings with questions and get help in any area where I was stuck.
My Biggest Takeaways
One of the things that makes Drupal 8 different than its previous versions is that the Modules and Themes you build or customize now follow a similar structure and file setup as each other. This wasn’t the case in previous versions, and I think it will benefit the creators and maintainers of the communities themes and modules.
All in all, it was a great hands-on experience. I also got copies of all the training manuals we worked on because it was way too much information to remember, even though I took excellent notes.
The Drupal training I received has made me more comfortable handling the tasks that have been assigned to me. First-hand training is invaluable and always a better option than teaching yourself. I am incredibly thankful to work in a place that values my learning and helps me train in more areas.