Guides > Build Drupal Sites

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.

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

Drupal 8

Background and prerequisites

Essential lessons

While this is a Drupal 7 series, creating and working with Views is very similar to Drupal 8, so you can apply many of the lessons to Drupal 8.

Advanced concepts

Learn command line tools

Drupal 7

Background and prerequisites 7

Advanced concepts

Learn command line tools

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 like Acquia Cloud and Pantheon, which 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 8 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:

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Roger Carr

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