Drupal is powerful, it's undeniable. What's worrying is that you can get pretty far without understanding much about web development. This poses some challenges for novice web developers.
By simply installing the Acquia Dev Desktop you can quickly mock up a great new site with a dizzying array of features which would take you probably thousands of hours to code by hand. That is also not counting the years it would take you to build the relevant developer skills. The Dev Desktop includes a web server, scripts, database software, libraries - and all the components of Drupal itself wrapped into a nice little control panel package.
And that is the cool (also scary!) thing about Drupal, you can really hit the ground running if you're brand new to web development. What you want to avoid is hitting the ground with your face.
Recently, I received a question from a new Drupal user.
I am able to access my website from my computer Acquia Drupal Control Panel at localhost:8082 How do I pull my domain name example.com to localhost:8082 so the public can access? Also I would like to build multiple Drupal websites with different domain names. How do I accomplish this goal using Acquia Dev Desktop?
I've seen similar questions before. This person is a novice in web development and possibly just starting on a new career. While they have created a possibly magical and amazing website with Drupal, they are stuck because they don't know how to get it online. Or later, after they do get a host, they don't know how to maintain and update the site.
What do you need to know first?
When I get asked questions like this from novice, I am taken aback. So... where should we start? Even if you use the web everyday, no one expects you to understand how it works. I relate this to my knowledge of plumbing. OK, I can turn on the faucet, but I haven't got a clue of how that water gets from the reservoir.
However, as a novice web developer you need to start understanding the plumbing of the web as well. There are so many great resources about learning Drupal which jump right into using it as an end product, and don't carefully explain that underlying plumbing.
I made this short video to explain some of the concepts underlying Drupal to a novice developer. Sorry about the sound in the beginning, it gets a bit better. Before you watch this one, you might also want to check out this quick video from Doug Vann about How the Web Works.
Acquia Cloud will be adding native support for git soon, but it is already the version control system (VCS) of choice for many developers.
On Monday we made a series of module and service releases to bring Acquia Search to Drupal 7:
- The Apache Solr Search Integration project version 7.x-1.0-beta4 includes a number of new features, API improvements, and fixes, including changes to the Solr schema.
- Acquia Network Connector project version 7.x-1.1 now includes the Acquia Search module which integrates the Drupal 7.x version of Apache Solr Search Integration with the Acquia Network
- The Acquia Network was updated to auto-detect your module version and use the correct set of Solr configuration files when you first enable Acquia Search
- The Acquia Netowrk also now offers a settings page where you can manually select from a list and your selection will be propagated to the Solr servers.
This release of Apache Solr Search Integration sets the stage for the virtual code sprint starting this Friday, April 8. The sprint will encompass topics including integration with Facet API, integration with Views, UI improvements, and expanded test coverage. Sign up to participate in the Sprints group. If you look at the CHANGELOG.txt you'll see that we had at least 58 different issues that we worked on for this release. If you are running Apache Solr yourself, you will need to update your configuration files and re-index your content.
This screen shot shows the administrative UI with Acquia Search enabled:
It is very common for people to have a hard time starting out with Drupal and gradually improve their relationship with it–I mean both the software and the community! I'm going to take the liberty here of sharing some of the insights I have gained over the years that can help you in and help you through the tough spots.
We are very proud to announce today the launch of a revamp of the Acquia Network. The Acquia Network has been at the heart of our offerings to customers since the founding of the company. This launch is the start of a massive upgrade in the software and services Acquia provides to help our customers be successful building and maintaining Drupal sites.
Building on feedback from our customers, we have refocused the Acquia Network on providing value to our subscribers in three ways;
Do you have a site which is 2 years old, and you’re not sure if your site is ready to upgrade? We can help. Our team will deliver a course on upgrading Drupal, the day before DrupalCon. In the day long course, you’ll get expert advice and feedback from Jacob Singh (Engineer), Joshua Brauer (Client Advisor), and Erik Webb (Technical Advisor) from Acquia on Upgrading Drupal. You can learn about what's new in Drupal 7 and how it will affect your site upgrade.
You can register for our webinar about this course: Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 1:00 PM EST
The standard 14 step instructions outlined in UPGRADE.txt for Drupal 6 are simple to follow. Many of the steps are common sense; update contributed modules; back up your site; test restoring from backup; verify and test your new upgrade...
Yet each Drupal site is unique with many contributed modules and modifications which make the process more complex. Our PS team reports that larger sites have on average 80-100 projects installed on their sites. Before a major upgrade, each one of those must be updated to the latest 6 compatible version. But are all of those projects on your site ready with a Drupal 7 upgrade path?