Drupal advice?

I'm thinking about using drupal for my site, which is currently just plain ol' html coded with notepad++. (http://vjchambers.com)

I don't know php, but am willing to teach myself. Anyone have some resources you used to get drupal up and running? I'd like to be able to customize as much as possible. (I really, really don't want a site that looks just like everyone else's. I've looked into wordpress, too, but I kind of like the fact that drupal is GNU and all that.)


I've used Drupal in the past; there are a number of tutorials and introductions available on their homepage. It's a pretty great system--a little intimidating for the newbie, though. One of the obstacles with using Drupal is that it's designed to do anything you could ever want it to do--which means it requires a lot of thought if you want to do one very specific, simple thing. My own experiments with it lead me to mediums more specialized for the purpose of posting serials online.

One cool thing about Drupal--everything in it is integrated with everything else. So rather than having a forum and a comment thread for each chapter, your forum can *be* your comment thread for each chapter. Etc. But, again, it's a bit rough. You also don't necessarily need to know PHP to use Drupal, but it helps for designing your own templates.

My current job is developing a system in Drupal. Unless you really need something Drupal particularly offers (like integrated forums), go with WordPress. It's way easier to learn and modify. And WordPress is open source, too.


My web site is Drupal, and it is much much better, if you want your website to be a lot more than just a blog.

The books module is (obviously) perfect for writing!

There is a bit of a learning curve, so if you're happy with that and like control over your web site I say go for it!

I don't really know any PHP, and installing Drupal 6 is a breeze, plus any problems are usually answered at Drupal.org.

Hmm... Okay, so the thing with Wordpress that I don't understand is that you have to like...pick a theme, right? And some of them are free and some of them cost lots of money.

How difficult is it to take a free Wordpress theme and essentially remake most of it, with a custom header and other stuff? I really like MCM's set up, which is wordpress (http://1889.ca) and Tonya Moore's (http://www.tonyamoore.com/), but I don't know what her site runs on. My feeling is, however, that neither of those guys are really designing those sites themselves.

Mmegh. This is probably the wrong place to be asking stuff like this anyway. Off to do more research, I suppose. :)

Thanks all!

You have to pick a theme with Drupal, too -- and the same free/cost thing happens there. The only difference is that modifying a Drupal theme is a lot more difficult than modifying a WordPress one.

You can easily modify the header of a WordPress theme -- generally there will be a file called "header.php" which will contain everything above the content. It's definitely something you'll need some PHP for, but that is only more true for Drupal.

Feel free to continue to ask questions here, and I'll do my best to answer them. Also, if it will help, I can give you the theme I use for fiction.courage-my-friend.org, which I've made a bit easier to control without changing code.


P.S. I don't know about Tonya's site, but MCM does all his own design and coding.

As a web developer with some experience with both Wordpress and Drupal, I'd like to echo Chris.

Wordpress is easier for beginners. Drupal is wonderfully flexible. Both require choosing between free themes (or paying for non-free). Both are open source.

One thing you might want to keep in mind is where you'll get free help from. Meilin Miranda, Char, and Irk all have experience with Drupal. MCM, Chris, and Amber Simmons all have experience with Wordpress. Probably other people have experience too. Also, you might want look into the technical support available in terms of documentation, ease of installing plugins etc...

Personally, I find the Wordpress documentation easier to work with, but that may be due to using it more often.

Anyway, I'd say the choice between the two is largely a choice between flexibility and ease of installation/use. Which do you need more?

Thanks Chris and Jim!

Yup, I think I'm heavily leading towards Wordpress. My web designer friend and my boyfriend were both like, "Drupal?! Really?! You should use Wordpress." So, um, yeah. :)

And Chris, after I play around a bit, I might take you up on that. Thanks again.

Another option is Textpattern (textpattern.org). Haven't used it in a long while, but, looking it over today, it might suit online fiction well.


OMG--I hate Wordpress. I spent hours and hours on this thing:


Which I HATE with a fiery passion. I'm beginning to wonder if I don't just want to find some free php templates I can download and embed, and screw this entire blog software idea.

I'm discouraged and exhausted.

Sorry to hear it's been so difficult. :-( Web design is certainly not one of my favourite activities, either.

Is it customizing the template that is causing you the grief, or something more general?


I just feel overwhelmed, I suppose. And the CSS was more complicated than I'm used to, although not impossible to figure out.

Now that it's morning, I'm a little less freaked. Sleep is good. :)

It's a steep learning curve, but now that I think about it, it took me a good long while to be able to build my own website using html, so I guess this will take some time too.

I'll probably keep playing with it. I am nothing if not stubborn. Would you recommend using a WYSIWYG editor?

I tend to use a WYSIWYG editor for doing the visual work on the initial design, but use a text editor for looking through things for bugs. For me, at least, I find that the visual editors so often give you nice visual cues where you screwed up (and sometimes recommended code).

Text editors seldom do, but they do a great job of making code easy to read and make it easy to notice where you failed to close a tag.

For text editors I can recommend jedit. For WYSIWYG... Well I was one of the two people in the world who liked Adobe GoLive (since discontinued), but Dreamweaver is good too. For free, open source stuff, Kompozer/nvu is okay, but sometimes inserts code I don't like without asking me first. This doesn't happen often, but between a text editor or Kompozer, I mostly choose a text editor unless the page is already set and I'm only editing actual, viewable content.

Any ideas for easy ways to upload all of my chapters to wordpress posts without having to copy-paste each one?

I'm wondering if there's a way to generate an rss or something which could be converted to wordpress format?

Thanks for all your help, everyone. I'm using this theme called Arras, which is real simple looking and super easy to customize. I kind of really, really like it right now. :)

There's an Import item in the Tools section. If you are using one of the supported systems, it should be able to help you.


Yeah, I was able to import my blog that way, but I'll need to get the html sites to be converted to a wordpress export file...don't know how possible that is.

Success! I found this plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/import-html-pages/


If you run into any more problems with Wordpress, let me know. ME and Wordpress? We're like *this*. :)

I'm soooooooo glad you decided against Drupal. I've used both and I can think of very, very few scenarios where the average person needs anything more than Wordpress. Drupal is great for the right circumstances, but my guess is that your website wold not be the ideal candidate.

So, yay for you! And hit me up if you need help.