September 2011

Sep 27, 2011

New to Git and the command line? Need to get everything into version control so you can sleep at night? Do you crave a sane release workflow? 10 NEW free videos from Build a will help get you started.

This week we're releasing the entire first chapter of a new series called "Change Management and Version Control" for free. I'm super excited about this series because it puts some very powerful tools in the hands of both new and experienced Drupal developers, and smoothly transitions the viewer from one topic to another by using practical, connected examples. By the end of the series, viewers will:

  • Have a solid grasp the scalable techniques you need to sanely manage or work within a team of developers engineering a single Drupal site, and even how to create a sane, stable workflow for a one-person project.
  • Know how to use Git to manage release cycles to a production (i.e. live) site.
  • Have every valuable piece of work, both in code and configuration, captured in version control for peace of mind using Features, Selenium IDE and a variety of other techniques.
  • Be able to do (and just as importantly, undo) on any level with Git, a powerful version control system.
  • Be able to work faster using the command line and Drush
  • And more. Lots more? Oh yes.

This first chapter sets the groundwork for the rather exciting examples to come. In it, we help you get Git installed, demonstrate how to use the command line and explain what 'version control' is to the uninitiated (oh man, you uninitiated are in for a treat!). Even though we're about to dive into some advanced topics, this chapter will help level the playing field between those who are just starting out and those with more experience.

Welcome to "Change Management and Version Control"
This is a quick overview of the coming series and a pep talk for those ready to dig deeper into some of the most powerful tools available for managing a Drupal engineering and deployment workflow.

How to install Git on Windows with mysygit
In this video we help you get Git installed in a Windows environment, along with a nice cross-platform graphical Git app called SmartGit. We use the mysygit package that includes great command line tools that will allow you to follow along with the rest of the series.

How to install git and SmartGit on a Mac
We take you through the straightforward steps of installing Git and the free (for non-profits) graphical tool SmartGit on a Mac.

How to create a Git repository and add a complete Drupal site to it
Bam! We jump right into getting a Drupal project on version control by adding the whole thing to a new repository. Don't know what a repository is? No problem, we'll talk you through it.

Why the command line can be scary, and the benefits of conquering your fear
Before we go too deep into Git, we take a little detour to introduce you to the various commands you'll be using throughout the series. But, we before we do that, we validate any fears or discomfort you have about the command line and explain what's in it for you.

How to navigate file structures and stop processes on the command line
The start of a straightforward, 4-video overview of using the command line. With these videos, you'll be able to get 80% of what you need. This first video covers how to find out where you are, how to get somewhere else, and how to stop everything if you get stuck.

How to edit and save text files on the command line with VIM
If you've never edited text on the command line, I envy you a little. But, it's hard to get around it when you're using version control. In this video we tell you just what you need to know to get in, make your changes, and get out without too much fuss.

How to use built-in help on the command line
The command line isn't all about masochism and penance. There's actually a ton of great help if you know where you find it (and how to read it). In this video we show you how to do just that.

How to create, move, copy and remove files on the command line
While you probably have a file explorer of some kind to get you through the process of shifting file structure around, this will show you just how easy it is to do on the command line. And maybe, just maybe, you'll kind of like it.


If you feel any lack of confidence in your development and release workflow, either as a single-do-everything-er or a member of a vast development team, this new series will clear it up. Really. And the approach is friendly to all levels of experience while still staying incredibly focused at each step.

Enjoy these videos and keep an eye out for new free videos in the "Change Management and Version Control" series coming down the pikes over the next several weeks.

Chris Shattuck

Sep 20, 2011

New series for advanced users, "Change Management and Version Control" plus 7 new site building videos

Wow! It's been a long time coming, but finally we're releasing the final installment of "Build Your First Drupal 7 Web Site". If you've been following the series as we've released it over the last several weeks, then congratulations! Completing the series and wrapping your mind around Drupal's various parts and how they all move together is no trivial task. And now you have exactly what you need to embark on awesome new projects using nothing but the Drupal front end. But, if you're starting to get curious about what's going on under the hood, we definitely have some videos to help you with that, too. :)

Before I talk a little about the next series being released on Build a, here's a list of this latest set of site building videos:

Drum roll, please... "Change Management and Version Control" series will start rolling out next week!

For those of you advanced users that have been waiting patently through all the intro site building material, your patience is about to pay off big time. This next series is one I'm super excited about because it will cover some of the most powerful tools out there for Drupal development workflow management. I'll be talking more about it in the coming weeks, but here are some highlights:

  • What version control is all about, and how to use the Git version control system to deploy live sites, create stable release cycles and allow team members to work together without toe crushage.
  • How to use both simple and more complicated Git branching workflows to manage any scale of project.
  • How to use the command line (and why it's okay to be a little scared of it)
  • How to upgrade Drupal and patch modules.
  • How to use the Features module to version control many aspects of your site that aren't normally version control-able.
  • How to use Drush to speed up your development and deployment process.

To demonstrate the slew of tools and features we cover in this series, we'll be using very practical examples and will work on a single, consistent project all the way through.

The tools we'll cover are tremendously useful for both Drupal 6 and 7, and most aspects will be applicable to Drupal 8 when it releases as well. It will also enhance your development process regardless of the size of your team or the size of your project, which means that the tools will scale as you scale.

Starting next week, we'll be releasing new videos in this series as streaming additions to online video library, which you'll be able to access with a membership. We anticipate releasing the full series on DVD and for download within the next 2-3 months.

Enjoy the anticipation and have a amazing week!

Sep 13, 2011

In this first part of the last chapter of "Build Your First Drupal 7 Web Site", we work on integrating tools to make it simpler for editors to work with content on the site. Specifically, we explore using IMCE - a media manager tool - to embed images into a Wysiwyg-enabled field, and we configure the Wysiwyg module to CSS class selectors. Along the way, we solve an issue where content displays differently on the site than it does in our Wysiwyg.

If you've been following along with this series as it's been released, then you know we've just about completed our project. Throughout the process of building this site to match the mockups and requirements we were given at the beginning of the series, you've learned an amazing amount of material, so give yourself a huge pat on the back (but don't hurt yourself). You're familiar enough now with the essential building blocks of Drupal that you will be able to create other incredibly functional web sites without ever having to touch code. And from here, you can build on what you know to explore new modules, adjust the look and feel of cookie cutter themes to look unique and site-specific, and move on to other exciting aspects of Drupal like theming or diving into the community.


Build a featured on last week's DrupalEasy podcast

This last week I was a featured guest on the excellent DrupalEasy podcast. If you're interested in hearing me talk about some of the ideas behind Build a or thoughts on Drupal training innovation, you can fire up the podcast here. The hosts of the podcast, Mike and Ryan, are great at distilling some of the biggest news and movements in the Drupal community into an entertaining, useful dialog, so definitely stick around after my bit is done and consider subscribing.

Get Free DVDs and Memberships for Your Event

Just a quick reminder that you can get free DVDs and membership certificates to give away and Drupal and other tech-related events. Just fill out the form here letting us know more about your event (this includes user group meetings) and we'll hook you up with something nice. :)

Sep 6, 2011

How to Evaluate Modules Chapter Released

This week we're releasing the second-to-last chapter in our "Build Your First Drupal 7 Web Site" collection. These 11 videos take you through the process of evaluating whether a module is a good fit for your project, and if it's going to work for you in the long run. We also introduce you to IMCE, a useful media manager and talk about troubleshooting permission issues.

One-on-one mentorships

If you have some Drupal skills you want to share in the form on a mentorship, or could use an experienced Drupal mentor as you work through a complicated project, we've set up a page to be able to connect you to the right person. The videos on Build a provide a great framework of learning resources that you can leverage to enhance the mentorship and optimize time.

If you would like to be a mentor, simply fill out your profile on your user account page, and if you want to see a full list of mentors, go to the One-on-one Training page.