Greetings everyone!

First and foremost, I love drupal and its community.

Here's a brief description of who I am, where I am going, and what I am looking for from you folks.

- A few years ago I came up with an idea for a business.
- No experience with web development. I started with dreamweaver, got into php, watched videos from lynda.com, and then discovered the all mighty Drupal.
- Eventually got "stuck" with a few modules and customization. I tried educating myself and then decided it took too much time and I knew enough to describe what I wanted and hired some guys from India and the Phillipines. Huge language barrier. So I went to US developers, most of them were out of my budget and those that are cheap were a scam. I lost over $4000 so far...
- I recently decided to take this into my own hands, no matter how much time it takes, to learn drupal and php so that I can do this on my own.

Here are my specific issues with development.

- amazon module and amazon store module. I know rfay did a LOT of work for it and it is not currently maintained... I have having trouble adding the extra amazon panel panes to the item detail page. I want to be able to figure this out. - where to look, what to change, etc... I would also like to extend the modules to offer more information by working with the amazon API. For example, Associate o matic (http://www.associate-o-matic.com/) does EVERYTHING that amazon has to offer - related products, best sellers, sub categories, recommended products, etc. Here is one of my sites that use AOM ( http://theubersource.com/shop.php ) Only problem with AOM is that they use ioncube to hide all of their code so I cant take its code and apply it to drupal and it is very difficult to use AOM's block system to implement features from drupal. So... I know the features AOM offers are available for drupal, its just a matter of finding out how and do the work.

- Working with youtube API. I had a dev from india create a custom module for a D6 site of mine. but now I am trying to get a D7 site going and transfer the custom module.

- Converting a wordpress plugin to drupal 7.

Here's what I am looking for from you folks.

- I would like recommendations on what and where to learn drupal.

- About a year ago, I read Learning PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, and CSS: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Dynamic Websites. It was about a year ago so I have since forgotten most of it. At that time I also became frustrated as it didn't have examples of how this applies to drupal.

- I watched several videos and became frustrated when many of them cover the basics of drupal. I know how to start a drupal site, moderate users, change themes, install modules, etc... I bought Lullabot's complete video package for drupal 6. Those videos take a long time to go through and again were not satisfying.

- I have searched for drupal virtual training like Acquia and others that I found in Drupals training section. However most of them are for groups of people or on-site training.

So, do I go back and read the book on php? is there another book you would recommend? Do I hire a mentor? is there an online virtual training class I can attend?

Your advice is much appreciated!

Comments

For basic php check out phpercises.com. for learning javascript check out codeacademy.com. For building modules there are some good tutorials on this site, and a few books, for example Drupal Pro Development. For basics of the API there is currently a series of blog posts starting with http://www.webomelette.com/weekly-examiner-of-drupal-hooks . For basic Mysql queries not using Drupal's API there is sqlzoo.com. For Views and Panels module there is Drupal's Building Blocks (book). All these are potentially good depending on your needs and level. Oh, and if you are not already using drush, be sure to learn it. There is loads of good stuff out there but it does take way longer finding exactly what matches your needs without a bit of guidance.

Awesome! those are some great referrals.

You're right, there is a TON of stuff out there. So much that my head starts to go numb!

I am looking for guidance and you have provided some very good info.

Do you or anyone else recommend hiring a Drupal mentor? Someone to investigate my needs and prescribe a book or lesson to learn and help me put what I have learned into practice. Where should I look to find someone willing to dedicate a few hours a week to my drupal education?

Hi jstreifel,

My favourite way to learn Drupal was watching Scott Tolinki's excellent Video Series on youtube. Here is the link.. His videos are short and easily digestable, no rambling on for 15 minutes to show you how to add a block. If you want to Learn CSS (and SaSS which is a compiler for CSS) Scott covers that very well in some of his other series. CSS is found here
However the best way t learn CSS in regards to layout, which is the theory part that hurts a lot of new people, is this website:
Learn layout . This clearly and interactively teaches you how to use CSS for layout and design purposes such as box-model etc.

I recommend you Download the videos using a service like KeepVid because it is very helpful later on and covers a lot of the more important modules and how to build the structure of a website.

As for Books, I first discovered Drupal by reading a Project Management book on how to manage Drupal Projects (I'm a Project Manager so there are relatable skills in managing other CMS projects). However your local Library should be FULL of Drupal books, I have had since devoured them. It's useful to have them as a references when trying to building complex Content Types and stuff like that.

For PHP and MySQL learning, CodeAcademy is considered one of the best (named one of the top 50 websites last year) because it is interactive, you can learn with friends which drastically lowers the barrier of entry for a lot of people. As for Drupal specific, honestly I've never coded a Drupal module before. The documentation is available however if you haven't got strong PHP, SQL understanding yet you should wait before reading documentation on that I suppose.

API development helps when you have cheat sheets to learn off of. Here's an epic collection overapi.com/ . Other than that, the best way to learn is actually to "play", keep tweaking. Having lot's off resources available like a Video on how this module work or the documentation. I am personally not *that* strong of a developer, I had to learn it for University and any developer I've managed is significantly better than I am; however I learned so I could relate. I'm sure there's a lot of functionality you could achieve with Drupal before even touching the PHP yourself.

Goodluck, I hope more people provide great learning references in this thread because it would help others in the community.

Peter Macinkovic, Project Manager

My personal website proudly built on

Codecademy.com is the best thing since sliced bread... seriously

It REALLY makes a difference when learning with a hands-on/interactive method.

Now if there was only a website that did this with Drupal... =]

www.code.org seems to be built with Drupal.

Hello, first I want to thank the OP for this excellent question. I too am in the beginning stages of learning Drupal. I am also learning PHP and MySql as well. I have a steep learning curve ahead, but am willing and excited to move forward knowing some of what I am in for...

I also want to say thanks for the replies from the community to the OP since it has helped me also. I was going to enter a similar request, but after finding this thread, will hold off...

I have no knowledge of Drupal, PHP, or MySql but would like to pass on a couple of books I have found. I haven't received them yet, and one still hasn't been released yet, but will definitely be one I will buy. Here are the two books I think might help the OP as well...

PHP and MySQL Web Development (5th Edition)
http://www.amazon.com/PHP-MySQL-Web-Development-Edition/dp/0321833899

To read reviews of the prior version go here:
http://www.amazon.com/PHP-MySQL-Web-Development-Edition/dp/0672329166

For Drupal, I am buying this book since it got such good reviews...
Using Drupal:
http://www.amazon.com/Using-Drupal-Angela-Byron/dp/1449390528

Hope this helps the OP and other who are in the same boat as I... a Noobe. :o)

Belief cannot change Reality.

Codecademy.com is the best thing since sliced bread... seriously
It REALLY makes a difference when learning with a hands-on/interactive method.
Now if there was only a website that did this with Drupal... =]

Best way to really learn Drupal would be to write it! You can add it to the Codeacademy API track.

I highly recommend this ebook http://befused.com/master-drupal/. Worth every penny.