Need a Drupal Expert?
I get a lot of calls and emails for Drupal work. Often many more than I can handle. It's common for these companies to complain about how hard it is to find a "Drupal expert". So what can these companies do to find the right Drupal programmer for their project?
First of all, what is a Drupal expert? Good question. Drupal is a very complex framework. Although you can use it "out of the box" and turn on a bunch of third party modules for tons of functionality, this is often not case for those companies calling me. Typically they need a level of customization that requires an in-depth understanding of the Drupal architecture.
Here are some things that someone with deep Drupal expertise should understand:
1) Basics - all the required things needed for installation and basic configuration such as setting up databases, clean urls, installing modules - this is the stuff that a junior Drupal developer should know how to do
2) Standard Features - most websites will require the typical Drupal modules such as cck, views and pathauto - junior to mid-level Drupal developers should know how to create content types with cck, create basic custom views, and configure pathauto
3) Third Party Modules - there are tons of third-party modules on drupal.org (a good site with reviews is http://drupalmodules.com) - an experienced developer can determine which modules to use based on the desired functionality of the website
4) SEO - unfortunately a lot of programmers (Drupal or not), do not know much about search engine optimization - setting up good Drupal SEO should be required for any Drupal expert
5) Custom Modules - a good Drupal programmer will know how to create custom modules to enhance or alter existing functionality - they will understand what Drupal hooks are available and how to use them
6) Custom Forms - Drupal has a "form API" for creating custom website forms - if there are custom forms on the website that cannot be handled with existing modules, a developer can create these utilizing the form API
7) Theming - although there are people who specialize just in theming, a seasoned Drupal programmer will know how to do this as well - they may not create all the look-and-feel/CSS for you, but will know how to take mock-ups and CSS and integrate it into a custom Drupal theme
8) Performance - a seasoned programmer should know how to write efficient code and follow best practices for making the Drupal website perform well
So, now that you know what a Drupal expert should understand, where do you find one? There are many contributors at drupal.org who are very experienced developing Drupal websites. You can post a job directly to the http://groups.drupal.org/jobs board, or you can seek out talent by finding the most popular Drupal modules and contacting their maintainers directly (click on the contact tab on their profile page). Even if they are busy, they may know someone they think is good who is available.
Here are also a couple companies I've worked with that have Drupal expertise. I will add more as appropriate:
I've integrated code from these Drupal developers:
- Nancy Wichmann - http://nanwich.info - Nancy contributed some of her code to my seo_friend module for the referrer report
And here are some well-known Drupal companies:
- Acquia - http://acquia.com
- Lullabot - http://www.lullabot.com
- Chapter Three - http://www.chapterthree.com
If you know of a Drupal expert, please leave a comment below or contact me.
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