Getting Started

I'm beginning to move email queries to this discussion board so that I can share comments with more people. Here's an email from a reader:

What do you suggest to minimize the learning curve with Drupal if I have deadline in 2 - 3 months to get a site (intranet) prototyped?

Here are three points that have been useful to me.

Test Site

I've said it before, but set up a test site. When I first started working with Drupal, I found that it took me five sites to be really comfortable at setting up a site quickly (that is, less than 10 minutes). One key is to use the structure that you'll use for your production site (that is, same relative file structure).

Search and Ye Shall Find

For specific questions, search the Drupal site but also (maybe primarily) search with Google. It will pick up Drupal postings as well as off-site information. Be sure to check the date and version for postings--tips for doing things with Drupal 4 are often irrelevant or not necessary now. 

Think Drupal

Most important, don't translate. Unless your mandate is to do an exact duplicate of an existing site in Drupal, think of what you want people to be able to do with the site, and not so much about what is where and what it looks like. If you think about how you would implement it in HTML and then translate it into Drupal, you'll take more time and skip over some of the most interesting out-of-the-box features in Drupal.