Guide

Build Drupal Sites for Drupal 7, 8, 9, and 10

Build Drupal Sites

Interested in taking the Acquia Certified Site Builder Exam? Prep for the exam

What will you learn

  • Create and configure content types and fields
  • Build custom lists with Views
  • Design site navigation with menus
  • Set up access control with roles and permissions

Overview

Site building is the Drupal role that everyone should know, as it's the core Drupal competency for site creation. Site building involves getting Drupal up and running, and configuring the options to build a functional site. This covers tasks such as creating content types, lists with Views, menus, and setting up roles and permissions.

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a site builder is that you can build a very powerful site without writing a single line of code. By understanding the many contributed Drupal modules and how they work together, you can build a complete site, or take a key role as part of a larger team that customizes on top of the foundation laid by the site builder.

Site builders will need to know how to install Drupal, configure core, and add new features with contributed modules. Over time, you'll learn to assess new modules you're reviewing to be able to find and choose the best one for your needs.

The most important prerequisite for Drupal site building is a general understanding of how the web works and how to follow steps to install a dynamic web application. Although being familiar with code is not a prerequisite, knowing HTML and CSS can be very helpful, even if you don’t apply the knowledge regularly. Knowing how to set up a Drupal site manually or using an application or service is also an important prerequisite skill for a site builder not only to learn Drupal but to test out configuration changes before deploying or configuring them on a live website.

Check out the What is a Drupal Site Builder? podcast for more insight into this role.

Drupal 9/10

Background and prerequisites

Drupal 7, 8, 9, and 10
More information

Development environments provide a sandbox where you can work on your application without affecting the live site.

More information

HTML and CSS are the foundational languages for how browsers display web pages.

Essential lessons

Categories
Basics, Site Building, Site Administration, Community
Drupal 8, 9, and 10
Drupal 8, 9, and 10
More information

How to search and evaluate modules on Drupal.org.

Categories
Drupal 8, 9, and 10
More information

Drupal's configuration system helps to solve the problem of moving changes in configuration from development to production. It does this in two ways: by providing a unified way to store configuration and by providing a process by which configuration changes can be imported and exported between instances of the same site. The configuration system is the result of work completed within the Configuration Management Initiative (CMI).

In this introduction, we'll provide:

  • An overview of Drupal's configuration system
  • Key concepts that you should know about

Advanced concepts

More information

A reliable backup will allow you to restore your site if something goes wrong.

More information

Learn about Drupal’s configuration system and how to manage configuration with both the administrative user interface and command-line tools.

More information

Content modeling consists of identifying and constructing the different building blocks of data that compose the information on your site.

Entities

Topic
Drupal 7, 8, 9, and 10
More information

Entities are the fundamental building blocks that make up any Drupal site. Having a good understanding of the Entity system is an important part of ensuring the data model of your Drupal site is set up properly.

More information

Many sites require the ability to upload, manage, and display various assets like files, images, videos, and audio.

Layouts

Topic
Drupal 7, 8, 9, and 10
More information

A layout can describe how various components are arranged on various levels—from an entire page from the header to the footer, to just the “middle” where the dynamic content goes, to individual components. It can apply to templates for managed content or one-off designs for landing pages.

Drupal 8, 9, and 10
More information

Overview of distributions, which can be used to set up websites for specific purposes.

Learn command line tools

More information

Composer is the preferred dependency management solution for PHP, is used by Drupal core, and is becoming increasingly popular for managing the modules and themes used for a Drupal project.

More information

The Git version control system can help you keep track of changes in your codebase and make sure you don't unintentionally lose work.

More information

Drush is a command line interface that enables you to interact with your Drupal site without clicking around the graphical user interface (GUI).

Drupal 7

Background and prerequisites 7

Drupal 7, 8, 9, and 10
More information

Development environments provide a sandbox where you can work on your application without affecting the live site.

More information

HTML and CSS are the foundational languages for how browsers display web pages.

Essential lessons

Advanced concepts

More information

A reliable backup will allow you to restore your site if something goes wrong.

More information

Composer is the preferred dependency management solution for PHP, is used by Drupal core, and is becoming increasingly popular for managing the modules and themes used for a Drupal project.

More information

Content modeling consists of identifying and constructing the different building blocks of data that compose the information on your site.

Entities

Topic
Drupal 7, 8, 9, and 10
More information

Entities are the fundamental building blocks that make up any Drupal site. Having a good understanding of the Entity system is an important part of ensuring the data model of your Drupal site is set up properly.

More information

Many sites require the ability to upload, manage, and display various assets like files, images, videos, and audio.

Layouts

Topic
Drupal 7, 8, 9, and 10
More information

A layout can describe how various components are arranged on various levels—from an entire page from the header to the footer, to just the “middle” where the dynamic content goes, to individual components. It can apply to templates for managed content or one-off designs for landing pages.

Drupal 8, 9, and 10
More information

Overview of distributions, which can be used to set up websites for specific purposes.

Learn command line tools

More information

The Git version control system can help you keep track of changes in your codebase and make sure you don't unintentionally lose work.

More information

Drush is a command line interface that enables you to interact with your Drupal site without clicking around the graphical user interface (GUI).

Learning tips

While development skills are typically not involved in site building, you’ll need to have broad knowledge about using Drupal contributed projects, and the best practices for building a Drupal site. As you become familiar with all the options Drupal has to offer, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • There are many modules that expand on what Drupal core can do. This is the real power of working with Drupal. Take your time learning best practices to quickly find the right modules. See Extend Drupal with Modules for more curated resources on this topic.
  • When learning to build a site, set up a test environment to purposely make mistakes. If you find yourself with a blank white screen, just start over.
  • There's a wonderful service called simplytest.me that allows you to quickly and easily create a Drupal site with a module installed, so you can try it without building your own test site first.
  • Take advantage of services that allow you to create and destroy your own Drupal installation for free. Many shared hosting providers also provide a "1-click Drupal install".
  • There are many resources where you can find help and share solutions. Become familiar with resources like the Drupal.org forums and Drupal Answers on Stack Exchange. Check out Getting Help with Drupal and the Drupal User Guide Chapter. 14 Final Thoughts, to learn more about the resources that offer support.
  • If you are interested in taking the Acquia Certified Site Builder Exam, you will also definitely want to work your way through our exam guide.

Broaden your skills

There are many ways to grow your skills and knowledge outside of tutorials. Here are some of our favorite resources for exploring Drupal site building.

Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to hear from others in the Drupal community about current events and hot topics. Here are a few of our favorite podcasts produced by members of the Drupal community that you might find interesting as a site builder.

Community Events

DrupalCon sessions and other local/regional events are a great way to get up to speed on the latest in Drupal development. All DrupalCon sessions are recorded and are available for free on the Drupal Association’s YouTube channel. Many Drupal "Camps" (local or regional Drupal community events) also record sessions. For DrupalCon and many other Drupal events, the recorded sessions are embedded on the session description pages on the event's website.

Meet some site builders

Get to know more about what it means to be a Drupal site builder through these interviews:

“Drupalize.Me has trained thousands of Drupalistas. Their video lessons help to address our constant need for more Drupal talent. Drupal needs training like this to support its growth.”
Dries Buytaert
Drupal Founder and Project Lead
Photo of Dries Buytaert
“They’re easy to understand. They’re thorough. They’re funny. They’re always entertaining, and it makes it easy to learn parts of Drupal and how you can integrate it into your workflow and learn more and have a good time doing it.”
Roger Carr
Drupalize.Me Member
Photo of Roger Carr
“The mission of the Drupal Association is to foster and support the Drupal software project, the community, and its growth. Drupal education, like that provided by Drupalize.Me, is important to this mission.”
Megan Sanicki
Former Exec. Director, Drupal Assoc.
Photo of Megan Sanicki

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