Survive the Drupal Jungle !


Hi there,

My name is Nicolas Bouteille, I am a French engineer specialized in the web. Not just development, I also do graphical design, digital marketing, SEO... and I also write articles and train people. 

I started Drupal in 2010 and since then I only do Drupal, and I only want to do Drupal because I love it and it rocks :)

In this video I'd like to make you realize that Drupal requires from anyone wishing to use it that he or she attends a consistent training before trying to build any project with it. Drupal is awesome but Drupal is no joke so don't think you can just start a project with it and expect to just be able to discover the beauties of it as the project goes.

If you haven't watched my previous video about why Drupal is the best web creation tool in the market in my opinion, I really encourage you to do it first because some reasons I give to support that, are actually the same ones that make me say that: no one should try and start a Drupal project before mastering it first and just expect to discover it on the fly. 

One thing I explained in the previous video is that if you need one specific feature, with a CMS like Wordpress, you would just need to find a plugin that would provide you with something close to what you need built-in, whereas with a framework like Drupal you need to use its modules to actually create the feature yourself.

So let's compare it to needing a new table for example. With a plug and play CMS like Wordpress, it would be like going to Ikea buy a table and go back home assemble it. So it's a pretty easy process and cheap as well, but if you have a specific table in mind this won't work for you and also if you expect more than standard quality, something a little bit sophisticated maybe well, you won't find it with Wordpress.

With Drupal you can dream big. You can achieve anything you want, but, Drupal is more of a framework. So you would need to actually build the table yourself using multiple modules that are like tools. Now hopefully I'm not talking about low level tools like a hammer or a screwdriver... using those would be like coding the whole table yourself... no... Drupal modules are more like big powerful magical machines that allow you to specify what material you want for your table, its dimensions, its shape, and so on... So you can ask for whatever you want and actually get your dream table in no time. Awesome right? But as you can imagine, this comes with a price... such magical machines are not easy to come by. There are many things to know about each module, and you are actually going to need one module to fetch the proper material, one module to specify the dimensions and a third one to shape the table the way you like it... So before you can do those things with Drupal, you need to learn which tools you'll have to use in each situation and more importantly how to properly use them. Only then can you deliver high quality websites in no time. 

If you don't do that, well, when you'll face a problem, you won't know what to do, but you also won't know where to go from there, where to look for a solution, and you'll get stuck, like many people before you. So if you go ahead and start a Drupal project planning to figure out what to do as the project goes, you will get trapped into dead-end situations that will prevent you from delivering in time if not preventing you from delivering at all... or you will make bad choices to keep moving on but you'll have to pay for them later on, believe me.

Simply put, starting a project with Drupal without knowing Drupal first is like rushing headlong into the jungle without any weapon and any knowledge about what you can eat and what is poison, which animals are dangerous etc... And just so you know, bringing along with you a book like "Surviving the jungle for dummies" won't help you in the field. You need to actually read that kinda book and prepare yourself to such an adventure before you do it! 

 "Ok but how long does is take to master Drupal then?" you may wonder... Well obviously this depends on the faculty one has to learn stuff on his own... But from my own experience and the one of the other Drupal developers I know, I'd say that without any help, you should expect to wait about a year before you can have a good survival instinct regarding Drupal. Which does not mean that you will know everything at that point, but that you won't find yourself stuck into dead-end situations anymore because you will know where to look for solutions and also how to avoid traps for example. And that's exactly where a consistent training could take you, in just a few days.

One year is a long time, especially if Drupal is supposed to become your new business strategy quickly. The good news is, receiving a consistent training can really speed things up for you! After the proper training you should be able to dive into the Drupal jungle with no fears of what awaits you.

Now don't take me wrong... I'm not saying that after attending a few days of training, as consistent as they may be, you would end up having the same knowledge as someone who has already been working with Drupal for years. A training will never exempt you from needing to learn on your own a lot of what there is to know about Drupal. Because, no matter what, taking the time to read thoroughly about technical stuff and practice on test projects will always be the only way to truly incorporate new skills. That being said, a training can really help you to reach that state where you won't find yourself trapped into those dead-end situations.

What I mean is that, in only one week for example we don't have time to cover all the plants there is in the jungle and tell you for each one of them if it is edible, or if it is poison, if you can use it for medecine and how, or if you can make some clothes with it... But we can do exactly that about a limited number of plants: the ones that you will find the most and also the ones that are the most useful even though they are hard to find... cause I would tell you where to find them as well. I can't tell you about all the dangers of the jungle but at least about the ones you will face for sure and especially the ones you would not recover from! Like building a Drupal project without ever backing up your database...

I will teach you essential things like how to build a fire, but I may not have time to make sure you can tame or kill a tiger yourself before you go. However, I can at least tell you how your supposed to react when you face one, I can show you how I would deal with that kind of threat and also give you tips on how not attract them like confining food into a box so that they cannot smell it for example... And the day you really find yourself in a place where there are many tigers, that will be the right time to open the Documentation to learn all there is to know about tigers... so it's not a problem if we don't cover it know.

You know... I heard something very true recently... that nowadays, people don't remember specific things like phone numbers because our phone does it for us. Instead, what we remember is how to find that information when we need it. So it's not that we don't use our memory any more, it's just that we use it differently and by doing so we actually gain access to even more information. So yes, I won't have time to give you too many details about each module or each Drupal technique... but by telling you about the most important ones you will be aware of their existence and you will know how to find more information about them when the time is right.

I really want to talk to you about the problematics I have faced during those past 6 years and tell you what was the right decision to make in the end after tearing my hair out for hours so that the day you face that exact same situation you actually know what to do and you don't waste time like I did.

I wanna tell you about the weird things that are unique to Drupal, that will mess up with your head at first just like it did with mine, unless I warn you about them first.

I want to give you tips, share my experience, make you understand the Drupal way of thinking things, let you know about the good practices you need to follow if you want to avoid any troubles. I want to give you an overview of all that Drupal has to offer but also implies so that even if you cannot remember all the specifics, you will remember that some solution or some problematic exists. And when you will need to dig deeper about each one of those, you will know where to look and you will find what you need quickly. You will not make mistakes that you would have paid for later on had you been on your own, because you will remember that you're not supposed to do something that way but in another way instead, a way you won't really remember in detail but this will be enough to make you read more about it before moving on.

I want to give you enough weapons and enough knowledge about what awaits you, that you can actually survive that jungle that is Drupal. And I truly believe that after such a training you should be able to actually find your way through it and discover Drupal progressively, on the fly, without fear of ever getting stuck and not meeting deadlines or goals.

So I am sincerely convinced that going with such a training would be your best option, I guess I made my point and I hope after watching this you will feel like contacting me so that I can be the one to prepare you for your Drupal adventure :)


Take care.