Development & Performance
Experience level: 

Like an AMC Gremlin, a good site-builder can get you where you want to go, but you’ll look like a dope pulling up to the Oscars in one. Sometimes you need a convertible Aston Martin with a supercharger. Drupal gives you all the tools you need to build a beast like that, but you’re sure as heck not going to drive one off the third-party module lot.

Sometimes you need to write your own modules.

Don’t worry: You don’t need to be Dries to do this! There’s a tremendous amount of utility to be had at even a fairly basic level, and I can show you how to unlock it.

I’ll walk you step by step through the development of a bike mileage log, into which you can create, edit, and delete daily entries, and view the results in a themed table. This is the sort of thing you could pull off with a content-type and a view, but our version will be much leaner and much more user-friendly. Moreover, I’ll show you how to include some slick Ajax functionality without writing a lick of Javascript.

You’ll learn:

- The basic structure of a custom module
- How the hook system works
- How to debug Drupal modules, custom or otherwise
- How to use Drupal APIs, including the Form API, the Schema API, and the Database abstraction layer.

Even if you wind up never writing a full-blown custom module, knowing this material will make you a better Drupal developer, better equipped to solve problems with the modules you do use. Which, in turn, will drive a better reputation for our chosen platform. We all win!