Drupal Developer’s Toolbox


After publishing the recent WordPress Developer’s Toolbox1, there were several Drupal developers calling out for equal coverage. In this post you will find a thorough collection of all kinds of resources that will aid designers and developers working with Drupal-powered websites. This collection is intended to simplify your tasks and save you time when working with Drupal.

This post covers essential resources related to Drupal — the basics, modules, Drupal design inspiration, Drupal themes, tutorials, starter themes, blog editors and Drupal-projects.

1. The Basics

Just getting started with Drupal? Looking for some general resources to have bookmarked for when you need them? These resources will help you cover the basics of Drupal and provide documentation for much of your future work with the platform.

The Drupal home page and location for downloading the latest version.


Drupal Handbooks4
If you’re new to Drupal or just looking to learn something new, this is a collection of helpful handbooks to keep at your side. A good place to start if you’re new to Drupal (written for Drupal 5).

Theme Developer’s Cheat Sheet5 (for Drupal 5)
A helpful PDF that you may want to refer to from time to time.


Drupal API Reference7
Get everything you need concerning the API from the official API reference.


Drupal Taxonomy, Drupal Nodes and Other Terms – What Do They Mean?9
Confused by some of the terms you’re reading about Drupal development? This post may clear some of that up.

Drupal Code Search10
A helpful resource for developers. You’ll be able to search the source code of thousands of Drupal modules and themes.


Drupal Whitepapers, Cheat Sheets and Free Books12
This post is a collection of other useful resources that may interest you. Some of them are written for older versions of Drupal.


WordPress vs. Drupal14
When should you use WordPress and when should you use Drupal?


2. Modules

Drupal developers and users alike need to be familiar with modules (plug-ins). There are countless modules available for a wide variety of purposes. The collection here includes some basic resources for working with modules, and also some links to various popular and useful modules.

Drupal Modules16
The main page for finding available modules, according to category.


Core Modules18
Get the documentation on the modules that ship with Drupal core.

A community-powered rating and review service dedicated to helping you find the best Drupal modules for your project.

Drupal e-Commerce20
An open-source package of modules to help you set up an e-commerce website with Drupal.


Top 10 Drupal Modules22
One user’s choice of favorite modules.

Nice Menus23
If you’re looking for an easy way to create drop-down or expandable menus, try Nice Menus.


This module integrates Moxiecode’s popular TinyMCE WYSIWYG editor into a Drupal website for editing advanced website content.

Front Page26
This module makes it possible for users to show a different front page or splash page to visitors.

Clean URLs27
If you’re creating Drupal websites, you’ll want to be able to create friendly URLs. This module can help.

FlashVideo will expand the upload module to accommodate video uploads, plus it will automatically convert it to Flash format.

Content Construction Kit (CCK)29
CCK allows you to add custom fields to nodes using a Web browser.

Global Redirect30
Help your website’s SEO with Global Redirect, which makes some subtle, but important, redirects.

Easily create contact forms, questionnaires, registration forms, surveys and polls with Webforms.

Module Developer’s Guide32
If you plan on developing modules, this is a must-read resource that will get you started.

3. Drupal Design Inspiration

When working on a Drupal-powered website, you may find it helpful and inspiring to see what others are doing with Drupal. Fortunately, there are some great resources for showing off the work of other designers.

The best source of Drupal design inspiration, with over 2,000 websites being showcased.


A social network to showcase Drupal-powered websites.


Dries Buytaert37
The blog of Dries Buytaert includes a number of inspirational Drupal websites.


31 Remarkable Drupal Powered Websites39
Earlier this year, Six Revisions published a mini-gallery of inspirational Drupal websites.


4. Themes

Whether you’re looking for free themes to customize, premium themes to take your projects to the next level or places to distribute your own themes, the Drupal community has several options available.

Themes at Drupal.org41
Drupal.org includes a gallery of free themes that are available for download.


A marketplace of Drupal and WordPress themes, both free and premium.


All Drupal Themes45
Nine free themes to choose from.


Top Notch Themes47
Sells themes for Drupal 5 and 6.


20 Great 2-Column Drupal Themes49
A nice collection put together by Mashable.


20 Great 3-Column Drupal Themes51
If three-column themes are what you’re after, Mashable has another collection for you.


5. Tutorials

The Drupal community provides plenty of tutorials to teach you just about anything you want to learn about development with Drupal. Here is a categorized list of some excellent tutorials.

5.1 Developing Themes

How to Make a Drupal Theme53
This tutorial will explain the basic files that make up a Drupal theme and will help you code your first theme.


Drupal Theming for Designers55
This is another tutorial that looks at the basics of building a Drupal theme and the files that are involved.


Create a Killer Band Site with Drupal: A Six-Part Tutorial Series57
An awesome, in-depth tutorial from GoMediaZine that takes you the whole way through by building an example website for a band.


Drupal Theming59
A standards-based approach to custom Drupal theme creation.


From HTML Mockup to a Full Drupal Site: A Tutorial – Part I: Introduction and Installation61
This is the first of a three-part series on taking a design from mock-up to fully-functional Drupal theme. Also see Part II: Site Setup, Content and Modules62, Part III: Template Theming, Integration and Finishing Touches63


5.2 Modules

How to Install/Enable Drupal Modules65
If you’re a Drupal developer, chances are you’re familiar with installing modules. If you’re a new Drupal developer, here is a basic tutorial.


Drupal’s Forum Module67
A look at how you can avoid duplicate content when using the forum module.


Turn a Plain Jane HTML Template into a Drupal Theme with the Theme Generator Module69
Instructions for using the theme generator module, which may save you a lot of time in development.


5.3 Performance

Scaling Drupal – An Open-Source Infrastructure for High-Traffic Drupal Sites71
For those developing larger websites, scaling will often be a concern. This tutorial goes through some of the things you can do to help Drupal’s performance under pressure.


Improving Drupal’s Page Loading Performance73
Looking to speed up a Drupal website? Try following these steps.


5.4 Taxonomy

Taxonomy: A Way to Organize Content75
Learn how to better organize your content and use vocabularies, terms, menus and more.


Drupal Taxonomy Tutorial77
An introduction on how to use Drupal’s taxonomy system.


5.5 SEO

Basic Drupal SEO: On-Site Optimization79
SEO should be a consideration for any developer, and this post takes a look at how it applies specifically to Drupal-powered websites.


Drupal SEO: How Duplicate Content Hurts Drupal Sites81
Learn about a few potential areas of duplicate content and how you can solve the problem.


Drupal and Robots.txt83
A look at some customizations that can be made to the standard Drupal robots.txt file.


5.6 Forums and Wikis

Private forums in Drupal: Forum Access vs. Taxonomy Access vs. Taxonomy Access Control Lite85
If you want to take Drupal a bit further and use it to power a forum, read this tutorial.


How to Create a Wiki with Drupal87
This post takes you through the basic steps of setting up your own wiki.


5.7 Galleries

How to Make a Photo Gallery with Thumbnails in Drupal89
A 10-step process for setting up a simple photo gallery.


How to Build Flickr in Drupal91
This tutorial will show you how to build a Flickr clone powered by Drupal. (Note: this tutorial is 2 years old, but still interesting.)


Building a Better Drupal Photo Gallery93
A gallery that is built to be used by clients who need to create new galleries and upload images.


5.8 Navigation

Tutorial on Basic Nav, Hierarchy Nav, Blogroll, Separate Blocks for Nav for Newbies95
Effective navigation is key to any website. Here are some Drupal-specific tips for improved navigation.


Theming Drupal Primary Links with Child Sub-Menus97
A simple tutorial for improving the navigation on your website.


5.9 General Tips

50 Drupal Tips and Tricks99
A nice, big collection of quick tips on theming, development, JavaScript and more.


45 Screencasts to Get You Kicking Ass with Drupal101
This post contains links to screencasts on a variety of subjects on working with Drupal.


Take Control of Your Drupal Theme103
Learn how to use a custom front page, a stand-alone log-in page and more.


5.10 Other Tutorials

Customising the User Profile Layout105
A useful tutorial if you want to use Drupal to build an online community.

Creating a Custom Homepage in Drupal Using Views106
On many projects, you may want to use a custom home page. This tutorial takes a look at a solution.

6. Drupal Starter Themes

Starter themes can save you a lot of time in development by eliminating some of the common tasks that you do with each new theme you create. If you’re always starting from scratch or customizing an existing theme, give a starter theme a shot and see if it improves your workflow and productivity.



Blueprint is a starter Drupal theme meant to make development of custom themes faster; alternative: Zengine Starter Blueprint Grid Theme110

7. Blog Editors

A Firefox extension that will give you a blog editor within your browser.


BlogJet is a Windows blog client for managing multiple blogs. The cost is £29.95.


A popular free offline editor that supports a number of blogging platforms, including Drupal.

Ecto is a feature-rich desktop blogging client for Mac OS X. The price is $17.95, but there is a 21-day trial version.

If you’re building an e-commerce website, Ubercart is an open-source solution that fully integrates your online store with Drupal.


Acquia is dedicated to making Drupal more useful for developers by providing value-added software products and services. One of their projects, Carbon, focuses on social publishing applications and making it easier to develop community-oriented websites.




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  7. 7 http://api.drupal.org/
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  20. 20 http://www.drupalecommerce.org/
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  26. 26 http://drupal.org/project/front
  27. 27 http://drupal.org/node/15365
  28. 28 http://drupal.org/project/flashvideo
  29. 29 http://drupal.org/project/cck
  30. 30 http://drupal.org/project/globalredirect
  31. 31 http://drupal.org/project/webform
  32. 32 http://drupal.org/node/508
  33. 33 http://www.drupalsites.net/
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  35. 35 http://drupalsn.com/
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  38. 38 http://buytaert.net/tag/drupal-sites
  39. 39 http://sixrevisions.com/design-inspiration/31-drupal-content-management-system-cms/
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  41. 41 http://drupal.org/project/Themes
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  43. 43 http://www.osskins.com/main/
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  49. 49 http://mashable.com/2007/09/19/drupal-2-column/
  50. 50 http://mashable.com/2007/09/19/drupal-2-column/
  51. 51 http://mashable.com/2007/10/04/drupal-3-column-themes/
  52. 52 http://mashable.com/2007/10/04/drupal-3-column-themes/
  53. 53 http://tips.webdesign10.com/how-to-make-a-drupal-theme
  54. 54 http://tips.webdesign10.com/how-to-make-a-drupal-theme
  55. 55 http://neemtree.com.au/drupal-theming-designers
  56. 56 http://neemtree.com.au/drupal-theming-designers
  57. 57 http://www.gomediazine.com/tutorials/create-a-killer-band-site-with-drupal-introduction/
  58. 58 http://www.gomediazine.com/tutorials/create-a-killer-band-site-with-drupal-introduction/
  59. 59 http://www.nerdliness.com/article/2007/09/10/drupal-theming
  60. 60 http://www.nerdliness.com/article/2007/09/10/drupal-theming
  61. 61 http://nicksergeant.com/blog/drupal/html-mockup-full-drupal-site-tutorial-part-i-introduction-and-installation
  62. 62 http://nicksergeant.com/blog/drupal/html-mockup-full-drupal-site-tutorial-part-ii-site-setup-content-and-modules
  63. 63 http://nicksergeant.com/blog/drupal/html-mockup-full-drupal-site-tutorial-part-iii-template-theming-integration-and-finishing-touches
  64. 64 http://nicksergeant.com/blog/drupal/html-mockup-full-drupal-site-tutorial-part-i-introduction-and-installation
  65. 65 http://www.siteground.com/tutorials/drupal-tutorial/drupal_modules.htm
  66. 66 http://www.siteground.com/tutorials/drupal-tutorial/drupal_modules.htm
  67. 67 http://drupalzilla.com/module/forum
  68. 68 http://drupalzilla.com/module/forum
  69. 69 http://nicksergeant.com/blog/drupal/turn-plain-jane-html-template-drupal-theme-theme-generator-module
  70. 70 http://nicksergeant.com/blog/drupal/turn-plain-jane-html-template-drupal-theme-theme-generator-module
  71. 71 http://www.johnandcailin.com/blog/john/scaling-drupal-open-source-infrastructure-high-traffic-drupal-sites
  72. 72 http://www.johnandcailin.com/blog/john/scaling-drupal-open-source-infrastructure-high-traffic-drupal-sites
  73. 73 http://wimleers.com/article/improving-drupals-page-loading-performance
  74. 74 http://wimleers.com/article/improving-drupals-page-loading-performance
  75. 75 http://drupal.org/handbook/modules/taxonomy
  76. 76 http://drupal.org/handbook/modules/taxonomy
  77. 77 http://drupalzilla.com/tutorial/taxonomy/drupal-taxonomy
  78. 78 http://drupalzilla.com/tutorial/taxonomy/drupal-taxonomy
  79. 79 http://tips.webdesign10.com/basic-drupal-seo-on-site-optimization
  80. 80 http://tips.webdesign10.com/basic-drupal-seo-on-site-optimization
  81. 81 http://blamcast.net/articles/drupal-seo
  82. 82 http://blamcast.net/articles/drupal-seo
  83. 83 http://drupalzilla.com/robots-txt
  84. 84 http://drupalzilla.com/robots-txt
  85. 85 http://www.lullabot.com/articles/private_forums_in_drupal_forum_access_vs_taxonomy_access_vs_taxonomy_access_control_lite
  86. 86 http://www.lullabot.com/articles/private_forums_in_drupal_forum_access_vs_taxonomy_access_vs_taxonomy_access_control_lite
  87. 87 http://cwgordon.com/how-to-create-a-wiki-with-drupal
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  89. 89 http://www.learndrupalcms.com/how-to-make-a-photo-gallery-with-thumbnails-in-drupal
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  91. 91 http://www.lullabot.com/articles/how_to_build_flickr_in_drupal
  92. 92 http://www.lullabot.com/articles/how_to_build_flickr_in_drupal
  93. 93 http://www.primalmedia.com/blog/building-better-drupal-photo-gallery
  94. 94 http://www.primalmedia.com/blog/building-better-drupal-photo-gallery
  95. 95 http://drupal.org/node/241980
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  97. 97 http://nicksergeant.com/blog/drupal/theming-drupal-primary-links-child-sub-menus
  98. 98 http://nicksergeant.com/blog/drupal/theming-drupal-primary-links-child-sub-menus
  99. 99 http://www.lullabot.com/audiocast/podcast-50-drupal-tips-and-tricks
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  105. 105 http://drupal.org/node/35728
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  108. 108 http://drupal.org/project/zen
  109. 109 http://drupal.org/project/blueprint
  110. 110 http://groups.drupal.org/node/9314
  111. 111 http://www.scribefire.com/
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Steven Snell is a Web designer and blogger. In addition to maintaining his own blog and writing for a number of other top design blogs, he also manages an online shop that offers premium graphic design resources.

  1. 1

    Superb post. I was actually looking for such tutorial. Thanks alot. And keep up the good work.

  2. 102

    Thanks, this is article is usefull..

  3. 203

    I’m starting a new band resource site and this article seems to give me some help on helping my customers. Would like to collaborate with you on future articles.

  4. 304

    Thanks for the valuable info….I find it one of the best CMS till now.


  5. 405

    Build a Better Website

    June 30, 2009 1:15 pm

    Thanks for the information. Yore post was helpful and inspiring

  6. 506

    Grate I found everything about Drupal in one place thank you for posting nice article.

  7. 607

    You have done Drupal and WordPress. What about Movable Type now? It is second only to WordPress as the most used blog-oriented CMS.

  8. 708

    First time today that I hear about Drupal, so this valuable article will be helpful to teach me how to build a Drupal site if I decide to do so. It seems like a lot of info to absorb but worth digging into it seems.

  9. 809

    I just found this website a good resource for drupal theme, recently they have launched drupalmags these guys really did nice job, hatts off to them.

    Check this http://www.drupalmaster.com


  10. 910

    very nice tips collection! :) tnx

  11. 1011

    For someone new to Drupal such as myself, this is a nice collection of tips and tools all available in one post. Thanks for this.

  12. 1112

    When it comes to (open) source cms web applications. Drupal rocks . We currently choose drupal as main work

  13. 1213

    So do we! Drupal has an easy setup, once you know the right modules for the job.

    I’m eager to learn how to make a Drupal theme, so this post was very useful!

  14. 1314

    Dr Claude Windenberger

    January 24, 2010 9:46 am

    I have been checking out a few Drupal resources (since I am considering Drupal for one of my upcoming sites), but this blog tops the list so far. Thanks for the clear exposition found here.

  15. 1415

    Johnathan Gravelin

    March 29, 2010 7:57 pm

    this is one of the nicest sites I have seen in a while, thanks for not wasting my time with pointless drible that I find on a lot of other sites. Good work.

  16. 1516

    Darwin Betancourt

    April 9, 2010 7:27 am

    Great post!!!

    Maybe can update this post for Drupal 6.x.
    Coming soon Drupal 7.x (This version Drupal have RDFa) for Semantic Web.


  17. 1617


    Maybe can update this post for Drupal 6.x.

  18. 1718

    Thank you for your research, I really appreciate your work. Keep this kind of posts comming. Sincerely, Mike

  19. 1819

    Many Drupal themes are easy to customize. I enjoy this CMS.

  20. 1920

    Check our Drupal Dreamweaver extension for theme creation and also check our articles on Drupal Dreamweaver http://themegenie.net/

  21. 2021

    nice work.. thank you for sharing the report.. my thoughts is very very easy to theme customization in Drupal. because last 4 years am working in Drupal. Drupal is amazing CMS & user friendly..

  22. 2122

    Sergio Cerrutti

    July 28, 2010 3:01 pm

    I have depeloved a very simple tool which generates automatically your Drupal theme’s .info file, just fill few inputs and get the code! It’s in beta version!



  23. 2223

    very informative!!..you brought it all,well-organised & straightforward like always..Thanks.

  24. 2324

    Thank you for your great tutorial, this one is given clear report to all.. from this post i analyzed one main thing, in a single post you did explain everything basics about drupal.. so time is totally save.. so I’m spending 2 min for put a single comment. i this is can one drupal web developer expert..

  25. 2425

    I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I find a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your thoughts are outstanding.

  26. 2526

    Thank you for this resource. I feel that you left out significant things from your SEO section. (I realize that this is quite an old article, still, it’s quite popular.) As a Drupal SEO aficionado, allow me to offer a few suggestions to your audience to help improve Drupal SEO:

    1. Drupal SEO Checklist Module – This module provides a checklist of good Drupal SEO best practices. It provides a checklist that helps you keep track of what needs to be done. First, it will look to see what modules you already have installed. Then, all you have to do is go down the list of unchecked items and do them. When all the items are checked, you’re done!

    2. Drupal 6 Search Engine Optimization – This practical, step-by-step book takes the mystery out of Drupal search engine optimization (SEO) by showing you the tricks of today’s top marketing pros to achieve top ranking in the search engines. This isn’t a book of Drupal SEO theory – it’s a practical guide showing you which modules to install, which settings to use, and dozens of the most closely guarded “tricks of the trade” to get your web site optimized, higher in the search engines, and more profitable.

    3. Drupal SEO DVD – Learn from the foremost expert and become a Drupal SEO guru! In this video, Ben Finklea of Volacci.com explains all the ins and outs of configuring Drupal and its various modules in order to maximize your site’s Search Engine Optimization.

    I hope this helps.

  27. 2627

    Some posts are just mean’t to be commented on, this is one. Thank you for an superb read, so challenging to discover these days.

  28. 2728

    A loyal fan is born. well that is what i really feel after reading your post.


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