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Drupal Node Overview

Drupal provides an elegantly designed and powerfully implemented mechanism for storing content as extensible, modifiable objects with various properties called nodes. Every major release of Drupal contains many enhancements and new features but the node system, at its core, has seen very little change due to its straightforward and simple design. For this very reason, a strong understanding of how Drupal’s node system works is important to understanding Drupal itself, both as a developer and an administrator. It can, however, be difficult to understand just how nodes work. In particular, administrators and developers tend to have a difficult time wrapping their heads around the ways in which Drupal modules can modify the node structure.

This session is an important step for any potential Drupal developer to quickly get up to speed with what is arguably Drupal’s most important feature - its node system. Many potential Drupal developers have used the node system for years either without knowing it, or without fully understanding it. An understanding of the basic features of Drupal’s node system, how and when nodes are modified, and being able to identify where and when that modification happens are key objectives to becoming a better Drupal developer. This session helps lay the foundation required for Drupal developers to write modules and themes that work with Drupal’s node system.

Contents
Introduction
Program Content and Purpose
Program Objectives
Getting Started
Thinking of nodes as objects
Key attributes of nodes
Practice
The devel module
Enabling the devel module
Using the devel module
Practice
Modifying the node structure
Creating a vocabulary
Introducing hook_form_alter
Introducing hook_nodeapi
Practice
Appendix: Resources
EDT502: Jeff Beeman
Node attribute definitions
Understanding hook_nodeapi and hook_form_alter
Useful Links

Drupal Node Overview