If you’re involved in websites and digital marketing in any aspect it’s more than likely that you’ve already heard about Drupal through various articles, blog posts, tweets and possibly the odd neighbour over the garden fence (if so your neighbours are much cooler than mine!). There’s a number of reasons for its popularity but there is probably one that appeals to all levels of technical expertise – that is the vast amount of Drupal community support available from the community who use the platform. I often find myself talking to potential clients about why they should be using Drupal as their CMS, well… taking for granted that it is flexible, scalable and cost effective, if you still need convincing then read on and find out about how becoming a Drupal member will give you access to a global network of support, expertise and guidance.
Without knowing for sure I would probably assume that the geniuses who first dreamt up the interweb saw it as place where information could be exchanged freely, bettering the world for everyone through an altruistic desire to offer their skills and experience. In no small way the Drupal community have made those dreams a reality through creating a licence free content management system which has countless functionality modules pre-built and ready to install cost free. But that’s not all, they’ll even help you whether you are an amateur or seasoned web development veteran. As an agency we strongly believe that helping our clients to make the most of their digital platform means allowing them to be hands on with their websites – which fits in well with the Drupal philosophy, they always have us for the more complicated development and for those moments when they just need to pick up a phone and get things resolved quickly.
We can all benefit from receiving or offering a little advice, here’s a few ways in which you can interact with the community:
Firstly there is a huge array of documentation available which has been written by the community, for the community with no cost at all. The guides can help take the user from understanding the very basic building blocks of Drupal right through to the really complicated stuff. The sections are split into Community Docs, installation guides and administration guides. You can also find a handy glossary of terms as well as helpful code snippets if you’re interested in making some back end changes.
There are a number of Drupal forums which you can view for helpfully information but to truly benefit from using them you’ll have to register to the site so you can pose questions directly to the community. You can search the forum as a whole to find what you are looking for or there are particular bug reports you can visit to keep a track on how issues are being resolved. The forum work s as any other but if you haven’t used one before visit the forum tips section to get ideas on how to get the best responses.
Internet Relay Chat may sound really fancy but essentially it’s just your average everyday chat room, except in this case you’ll get to speak to lots of interesting Drupal experts about specific problems that you’re having or work together to successfully understand how to improve your respective sites. Like any chat facility there are different rooms which are kept separate for the purpose of keeping conversation topical, and you can even set up your own rooms if you can’t find one that fits your needs. Again there are guidelines for newcomers and the main point to remember is not to be shy and to dive right in!
Events & Meetups
Not all of Drupal support is conducted online, the community often hold meetups and events without cost and might be found taking over a coffee shop near you. Since the community is global and widespread it won’t be difficult to find a meetup close by and the handy ICAL widget means you can follow your local group and have their events automatically added to your online calendar. There are also camps and Training sessions you can get involved in too
The Drupal team and community members have several mailing lists which cover general information things applicable to all users. For example security announcements are something which it would be wise for site administrators and developers to follow but you can also join mailing lists for specific modules, infrastructure news, themes and lots more. There are also regional specific lists so you can follow updates from your meetup groups too.
Drupal News, Planet Drupal, Drupal Association
The community regularly posts news articles on the all Drupal versions that are currently being supported and you can keep in the loop through subscribing through a handy RSS feed. Planet Drupal is an aggregation of some of the numerous Drupal blogs articles out there, the tea collect the best articles place them in one handy location. The Drupal association news covers a number of different functions such as calling out for support on specific development work for the community and notifying people of global training events, the next one for new and beginner users is on June 22nd.
The aim of this section of the community pages is to highlight specific members or teams within the community. Essentially this gives you an insight into some of the more involved community members and teams as well as their back grounds and areas of expertise, it’s a great way to get to know some of the countless community members out there.
Our first point with any of our clients is to be there to help support and guide them with any and all of their website requirements and we pride ourselves on the level of service that we offer. However, we feel that it is a great bonus for clients to have such a wealth of information and resource available to them via the providers of the CMS itself and the people who use it. For those who are already using Drupal we hope this post has illustrated some further ways for them to interact with the community who imagination powers the platform used by some of the web’s top sites. Another key to keeping the community going is to contribute to it as much as you take making sure that there is never a shortage of useful information available as the number of members grows.
If you found this article useful or have any other ways for Drupal users to interact with the community please let us know via our comments section below.