March 2012

Mar 13, 2012

Our next collection starts releasing next week!

This week we wrap up our Change Management and Version Control collection. This collection was a lot of fun to do, and many of our viewers have expressed that it's been their favorite so far. While it might seem a little sad, finishing up one collection also means something awesome: we're about to start releasing a new collection, and next week we'll release the first two videos as a teaser.

Are you excited? Me too. Want to know what the collection is about? Stay tuned next week!

To celebrate this slew of awesomeness, we're also offering a special 25% off the Change Management and Version Control series as a download or DVD. To claim the discount, just use the code CMAVCDONE when you check out.

New Drupal videos on creating our own Drush commands and a couple other useful utilities

How to install and use the Drush sandwich example command - 4:09

The Drush sandwich command is a built-in example of extending Drush, and though it may be a little contrived, and completely inedible, it serves as a great example of how we can add new, useful commands to Drush. In this video we install it and give it a run.

How the Drush example custom sandwich command works - 4:51

In this video we break down the components of the Drush sandwich example and pull out the pieces we need for the next video.

How to perform SQL queries in Drush and quickly set variables - 3:23

Before we wrap up this series, here's a nice demo of two additional Drush utilities - the ability to run SQL queries through Drush and modify variables in the variables table.

New FREE Drupal video tutorial of the week

How to create a custom Drush command - 5:20

Creating your own Drush commands can be very empowering and increase your productivity significantly. Plus, it's a great way to get some street cred with other command line nerds. We walk through the process of adding our command in this videos.

Mar 9, 2012

Post-DrupalCon sale, get 20% off everything!

To celebrate the infusion of information and to give hungry brains some great next steps for learning after DrupalCon, this next week (from March 27 to April 3), get 20% off your entire purchase. That's good on all our DVDs, downloads and memberships*

To redeem your discount, just use the code POSTDC2012 when checking out. Enjoy!

5 more videos from PHP Programming Basics released FREE!

In these introductory videos, we learn a bit about the stack of technology needed to get your PHP scripts to work. For quick and easy installation, we're using Dev Desktop. Even though our examples don't use Drupal directly, Dev Desktop will help you later on as you start to dive into the Drupal examples.

Overview of the AMP stack (Apache, MySQL, and PHP) - 1:59

Understanding what each part of the AMP stack does is an important foundational step in PHP programming. In this video, we briefly explain what each part of a typical stack is for.

How to install Acquia Dev Desktop on a Mac - 2:20

To set up our development environment, we're using an application from Acquia called Dev Desktop. In this video we show you how to install it on a Mac.

How to install Acquia Dev Desktop on Windows - 2:42

In this video, we demonstrate installing Dev Desktop in a Windows environment.

How to import a default Drupal site on Dev Desktop - 2:55

Dev Desktop comes with the ability to quickly spin up Acquia's distribution of Drupal, but it's also good to know how to get the default version of Drupal running. Even though the examples aren't going to be using Drupal directly, this is an important piece of working with the Dev Desktop stack, and it sets the stage for where we put our PHP examples.

Setting up our example folder and creating our first web page - 4:06

In this video we set up the folder we'll be using for our examples and test it out with a simple, HTML-based web page. Don't worry, we'll be getting into the PHP soon!

Did you know every video is transcribed?

If you're not a member yet, you might not know that every video on Build a has been transcribed. When you log in with a membership account, you will see a 'transcript view' on the right hand side of the video that allows you to read ahead and to navigate to different parts of the video by simply clicking on the text.

Our members love this feature because of the time it saves and the additional insight it gives to the content. It also makes it possible to quickly scan or read through a video without watching it in a traditional sense.

Quick tip: Hide all but one collection

On the video index page on Build a, the sheer number of links can be overwhelming and a lot to scroll through. This last week we added a oft-requested feature that allows you to show just the collection you're working on and hide all the rest.

To use it, just over over the collection and click the green tab that displays above the collection title that says "Show just this collection".

Mar 9, 2012

Announcing "PHP Programming Basics"

PHP Programming Basics

Without programming experience, jumping the gap from Drupal site builder to developer can be incredibly tricky. We've heard from many of our viewers that there's a need for a solid resources focusing on PHP basics, and we're happy to announce that our next collection does just that.

  • Learn PHP from scratch (no experience necessary)!
  • Set up a quick local development environment
  • Grasp of all the variable types you'll be using for Drupal development
  • Learn how to create functions and structure applications
  • Great, practical examples
  • Tons of tips and tricks for organizing code and logic!

In PHP Programming Basics, we begin with the building blocks of PHP programming, including working with strings, variables, arrays and objects. We then start to manipulate these with useful, native PHP functions (it's okay if you have no idea what that means). Once we have the basics down, we begin writing our own functions and building up simple, fun and practical scripts to develop a feel for the architecture behind a typical PHP application.

In our final example, we bring everything we know together to build our own CMS platform. Even though many developers end up using Drupal, several began the process by building their own CMS, and the experience has given them tremendous insight into how the Drupal architecture works and how to manipulate it. In this series, you'll fast-forward through this process and develop an understanding of the robust structure of Drupal while honing your new PHP skills.

Our first two intro videos released FREE!

Welcome to PHP Programming Basics - 3:02

In this video we introduce you to the new collection and give you a preview of what to expect throughout the series.

What programming is and tips for following along - 5:14

This video is a must-see if you're new to development. In it, we give you an approachable way to think about programming, and give you some ideas for getting the most out of the extensive examples used throughout the series.

Come see me at DrupalCon!

If you're at DrupalCon, there's still a lot of fun left to be had. And, if you want to say hello and share some ideas you have for Build a, or just shoot the breeze, there are a couple places you can find me.

Wednesday 1-2pm I'll be giving my talk Building Beautiful, Dynamic Forms in Drupal 7 in room 401. If you're trying to improve any of your Drupal user interfaces to be more usable and fun, there are some great tips in this talk.

Wednesday 3:15-4pm I will be signing DVDs at the DrupalCon bookstore. Feel free to stop by just to say hello, even if you don't have one. DVDs will be for sale, but come by even if you don't plan on picking one up. I'll be giving away some "Become awesome" stickers as well.

Mar 6, 2012

On Friday, March 23rd, to support the amazing DrupalCon sprints this year, Build a is donating it's entire 610+ video library for free, all day long. Sometimes sprinters don't know everything they need to know to help out, and the amount of time available for direct mentorship is limited and competes with actually getting work done. We see two major benefits to supporting the sprints this way:

1. Sprint organizers can maximize mentoring time

For those sprinters who need a little background on various aspects of Drupal, be it awesome APIs, the theme layer or even basics like how taxonomy works, there's likely a video available on Build a to help them learn it. Sprint organizers can delegate to these videos when they don't have the time to directly mentor their sprinters, which in turn should help maximize the amount of work that gets done.

2. Remote sprinters can still get mentorship

Would-be sprinters who weren't able to make it to DrupalCon this year can still spend some time on the sprint day helping out, and since they won't have access to the direct mentorship that's available at the sprints, they can still ramp up on important Drupal skills - enough to make a valuable contribution.

How to get access

To get a free pass to Build a, just go to on Friday, March 23th, create an account if you don't have one, and click the button to get a free 24-hour pass.

If sprinters or sprint organizers have any questions, please feel free to send them my way.

Happy sprinting!

Mar 6, 2012

Build a DrupalCon Schedule

If you want to connect with me at DrupalCon, I'd love to meet you or say hi again or whatever we normally do when we see each other. Below are some predictable times where we can run into one another:

Every DrupalCon day

  • Build a will have all 6 of our DVDs available at the DrupalCon Bookstore for at a 20% discount. Drop by and check it out, along with other great Drupal products (I hear there will be a ton of great schwag there)
  • I will be walking around, sometimes maybe with a giant backpack with a flag. Feel free to stop me and say hi anytime.

Monday, March 19th

  • All day training - Of course, most of you have heard that I will be conducting a full-day training along with 10 (yes, 10!) other amazing, experienced, wonderful Drupal trainers. If you haven't signed up, and are at least a little interested, take a minute to read through the description and watch the video.

Wednesday, March 21st

  • 1:00 - 2:00pm - Watch me present Building Beautiful, Dynamic Forms in Drupal 7. In it I'll walk you through a ton of technical tips for making forms more usable and fun in Drupal.
  • 3:15 - 4:00pm - I will be doing a DVD-signing at the DrupalCon Bookstore. If you want to say hi, get a DVD signed, grab a "Become awesome" sticker, or just lurk about, please come!

I and several other folks who have conducted Mentored Trainings will be getting together for a Birds of a Feather (BoF) to discuss some ideas. If you're interested in conducting one yourself, or you want to give your 2 cents, keep an eye on the BoF schedule. I will also be sure to tweet about it, so feel free to follow us on Twitter.

New Drupal videos on extending Drush

How to review and filter Watchdog log messages with Drush - 3:53

Isn't it a pain to have to fire up the Drupal user interface every time you want to track down some recent activity in your Drupal logs? And your also a little limited in your ability to filter messages and control the type of output. Well, in this video we show you how Dush makes this quick and easy.

How to extend Drush with PHP scripts and run arbitrary PHP on-the-fly - 5:01

Being able to run your own PHP on a Drupal installation on the fly is something that Drupal users have found all kinds of kludgy ways to do, but Drush makes it painless and extensible, and we'll show you how.

How to pass arguments to a custom PHP script for use with the Drush php-script command - 5:42

Being able to run PHP on demand is great, but there be a whole new layer of awesome if you could pass parameters to the PHP via the command line, just like any other Drush command? Well, I hope your awesomeness receptors are at the ready, because here we go...

New FREE Drupal video tutorial of the week

How to add, remove and manage users with Drush - 4:43

Sure, you can wade through clunky forms and exhaust your mouse-clicking finger adding new users, blocking your spammers and pruning those old accounts. Or, you can watch this video and learn a set of more more rapid user management tools that may win you some geek points with command line enthusiasts.