Five Resources To Learn Drupal PHP

I often get emails from beginner Drupal developers asking "Where to learn PHP for Drupal or Drupal PHP?". Actually, "Drupal PHP" is an interesting term, that in the language of beginners means "how to learn writing custom modules and do customizations and understand Drupal internals" that equals to learning and understanding Drupal API.

There are two flavours of Drupal developers: those who can install modules and click trough UI interface. Well, we call them site builders, not developers, but often these two meanings get mixed into one. And there is a second type of developers, that I call true Developers. These guys don't afraid of doing customizations, can override any theme/form, write hooks and if there is no usefull module or module can't do what you want, they can quickly jump in and write their own stuff.

If you want to be that second kind of Drupal developer, here is list of five resources that are indispensable to you:

  1. Pro Drupal 7 Development book. IMHO, that is the only Drupal book you need to read to understand how things work inside:
  2. Videos from ( Especially I do recommend Drupal 7 Development Core Concepts and Drupal 7 Theming Essentials. The narrator has a great style and explains everything very well.
  3. There's a great Examples module that has common dev tasks solved in code: Study its examples and you'll understand a lot.
  4. Drupal API at This should be your Bible. The main documentation hub for all Drupal Core functions.
  5. Drupal snippets repository at - place where you can store Drupal snippets and find snippets submitted by others. Has lots of useful stuff to discover.

So this is a bullet proof list of resources that I strongly recommend to study if you want to become true Drupal Developer.

Good luck!


drupal planet


Submitted by Peter on Thu, 2013-07-04 18:33

Hey Tim,
Pro Drupal Development is awesome but another resource i've found useful for actual module development is Drupal 7 Module Development by John Wilkins, Matt Butcher, Larry Garfield and Ken Rickard. It is more about actually developing code than the Drupal API framework like in Pro Drupal Development. Lullabot's is also a great resource, it has a lot of free videos that cover development related topics (I highly recommend the series with NodeOne on developing code to integrate with the Rules module).

Submitted by Yusuf on Thu, 2013-07-04 19:51

Tim, this is very nice article about drupal development and it nicely wraps up the Drupal - Php - developer terms. Do you know any resources to learn drupal 8 api ?

Submitted by Alan Burke on Thu, 2013-07-04 20:55 - top notch resourse

Submitted by JacekG on Mon, 2013-07-08 21:06

That's for me;) Thanks

Submitted by Chris Shattuck on Wed, 2013-07-10 08:23

Hi Tim! Thank you so much for the kind words about BuildAModule, I appreciate it (Disclaimer for readers: I'm the creator).

I got started learning Drupal 5 with Pro Drupal Development, and it was an awesome introduction to a ton of important concepts. I wanted to build on this, so the first videos I ever made were about Drupal development. It can be a complicated process to put all the pieces together, and looking over someone's shoulder while they code can answer some questions. Video gives you that, which is nice.

The piece that's I think is still missing with both book and video learning is the ability to talk to experienced people when you get stuck. In my learning process, sometimes talking to someone in my Drupal User's Group helped me grok a concept I'd been working on wrapping my mind around for weeks. To capture this kind of effect, I put together a free model of training anyone can use to get people together in any community or organization and use the videos on BuildAModule as a curriculum while having real people nearby to answer questions.

I think this same model could be used with book learning as well (or with other videos), like a study group that meets weekly or twice a month. The only prerequisite would be that the material needs enough structure to keep the group moving forward in a meaningful way together.

Thanks again for putting this resource together, and for your dedication to Drupal! I'm looking forward to crossing paths!

Submitted by Tim on Thu, 2013-07-11 12:27

Hi Chris, you're welcome and thanks for your great materials! I'm looking forward to crossing paths too! :)

Submitted by Aimy Wilson on Fri, 2013-10-25 08:31

Thank you very much for sharing this useful list to learn drupal php

Submitted by AnnyIngram on Thu, 2013-12-19 11:09

Now days, Drupal PHP is the fastest growing technology in the world. I want to learn PHP but I have confusion between Drupal and Joomla. Can you suggest me which one is best to learn between Drupal and Joomla with PHP?

Submitted by Robert Mening on Fri, 2014-02-28 00:46

Hi Tim,

Thanks for the resources. I've read the drupal book (built my first drupal site using that book :P), but the other 4 resources are quite new for me.

I'm not sure if that fits with your audience, but I recently published a simple step by step guide on how to build a drupal site. It's very basic, but I think it might be useful for a beginner :)

Anyhow, It's located here:

.. and oh, feedback is also much appreciated :)


Submitted by Jared Whitehead on Tue, 2014-07-08 20:23

Great list! I was searching through them and couldnt really find any case studies or webinars really. I think that you should add appnovations resources to this list "" their webinars are a great source of information!

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