Drupal.org is home to the Drupal project and its community of users and contributors. Sounds simple enough, right?
Here's the thing...Drupal is HUGE, and as the infrastructure that supports it, Drupal.org is a massive site full of software downloads, collaboration tools, documentation, content, and more. It is critical to successfully learning and using Drupal, but its sheer size can make it intimidating and difficult to get started with.
In this post, I'll introduce you to some of the major resources on Drupal.org, complete with links to some of the most helpful pages. Tip: make yourself a bookmarks folder for your browser and bookmark these pages as you go along. Go ahead, I'll wait.
If you're looking to dip your toes into building or developing with Drupal, this is probably how you ended up on Drupal.org for the first time. You can jump right to downloading the most current version of Drupal by clicking the Download & Extend link in the top navigation, but I suggest clicking the green Get Started with Drupal button.
Along with the download links, you'll also find a nice set of getting started resources including links to popular modules and themes, book suggestions, and key documentation pages. (Even if you're not new to Drupal, this is a mighty handy page.)
Contributed modules, themes, and distributions
If you ask someone to tell you about Drupal, it won't take long for them to get to, "OMG, there are a TON of modules you can use!!! And they're FREE!!!"
This is a wonderful, wonderful thing, but having so much available can make it tough to stay focused on--and find--what you really need. This topic is big and important enough that I'm going to give it a post of it's very own sometime soon, BUT, let's take a quick peek.
Now click that Download & Extend link. On that page, you find links to lists of modules, themes, and distributions (we'll talk about those another time, too) sorted in various ways. You can also find past core releases and language translations from here.
Documentation on Drupal.org can be daunting to sift through, especially if you first come across it through a search engine or a link on a project page (that's the page with the details for a module or theme). Fortunately, the folks running Drupal.org put up a landing page that organizes all the documentation into guides.
Do yourself a favor. Click Documentation in the top navigation (or this sentence) and bookmark the page for future reference.
Each contributed project has an "issue queue"--basically a ticketing system and discussion forum where users and maintainers work together to identify and fix problems. If you think your module or contributed theme is broken, the issue queue is a good place to look and see if someone else has had the same problem. It's also an opportunity for you to help others out with advice, collaborative troubleshooting, and code patches.
You can get to the issue queue by looking in the right sidebar and clicking on the link for open or all issues.
Stay tuned for more on using the issue queues, it's one of my next blog posts!
Groups.drupal.org (aka GDO)
This a key collaboration and social hub for the Drupal community. On groups.drupal.org, you will find self-organized groups of Drupalists sharing ideas, planning events, and posting jobs. Look for your local user groups and those that appeal to your interests, and start engaging with others working with Drupal!
The Drupal Association provides critical support for the Drupal project by maintaining the Drupal.org infrastructure, organizing and promoting major events like DrupalCon, and providing funds to help local community initiatives. It is funded through a combination of member dues, sponsorships from corporate partners (like us!), event revenue, and other incremental sources.
On their site--association.drupal.org--you can keep tabs on the latest news about Drupal core, Drupal.org, the Association, and major Drupal events around the world. You can also sign up for email newsletters and become a member.
But wait, there's more!
There's still so much that we haven't talked about.
Want to see where another user works and what projects or groups they're involved with? Click on their name and check out their user profile. (Don't forget to sign up and fill out your own!)
Need inspiration? Check out the extensive collection of case studies to see how others approach creating Drupal sites. The most complete case studies include lists of key modules and descriptions of how they were used. Have a project you would like to share? Sign in to your user account and contribute your own case study.
Visit the Marketplace to find Drupal service providers including agencies, hosting services, and training providers.
Finally, pop in to Planet Drupal as often as you can to scan the latest in knowledge sharing from Drupal bloggers around the world. This aggregated feed of blog posts draws from hundreds of verified blogs and is updated several times a day.
We missed some spots
As long as this post is (thanks for staying with me!) we still haven't covered everything hiding in the far corners of Drupal.org. If you are serious about using Drupal, spend some time exploring Drupal.org and its subdomains. In the coming weeks and months, I'll do more posts focusing on specific aspects of Drupal.org and how you can use and contribute to them.
In the meantime, do you have a favorite Drupal.org resource that didn't make my list? Something you would love to see a post about? Share it in the comments!