I am new to Drupal. I have a guitar lessons site that I want to convert to drupal. Guitar lessons are a container that contain exercises, and lessons are categorized - I set up taxonomy). Exercises contain text, and media: audio, video, an image or two. Main image (tab) will automatically be displayed, audio will have link, and video would appear in tab, as would secondary image (fretboard diagram). So the media could be imagined as having its own mini horizontal panel or something below the image. Some audio/video will be designated as accessible to registered users only. On left there would be block that lists exercises in the current lesson. In lesson page there would be navigation (next exercise, etc, as well as a show all exercises option).

Not sure how to create this container-exercises relationship. And since I want people to be able search on exercises by themselves, apart from a lesson, I need a way for exercises to not only be attached to a lesson, but to be categorized and accessed on their own. I suspect taxonomy is the key here.

I have been reading about Panels as a way to control layout without editing themes. Also read about Views and understand the query function they play as well as perhaps display of results. So I understand these will be key. I have set up the exercise content type, adding custom fields. But now I am at a dead end. I don't know the process flow to make Drupal display the content the way I am seeing it in my head. And I don't know to what extent the tools will get the job done vs me having to code. I know PHP very well, CSS so-so, and Javascript so-so. I am trying to avoid coding if possible, except for minor tweaks. From building my site in postnuke some years back and doing an insane amount of coding, I know I don't want to repeat that!

Any tips on how you would go about this design with taxonomy, panels and views (or other tools) will be very appreciated. I would even be willing to hire someone to help me get started (apology if that is against the posting rules!).

2 Answers 2


This is a very broad question Brian, but I think it boils down to 'how should I handle relationships between entities'.

Take a look at the Entity Reference module. With that you can create links between your various nodes so that you can display them on the same page.

For instance let's say your main content type is exercise, on each exercise node you could use the module to create links to a video and a fingering diagram (or several). Then for each other thing you wanted to display on the page, you create a view with a contextual filter that looks for the node id of the exercise which is being displayed.

I highly recommend finding some reading or videos on how contextual filters in views works.

Panels makes the handling of contexts a little bit easier in the long run. There's an excellent tutorial on Page Manager.

  • Ok, I went ahead and downloaded the module and started experimenting - pretty iseful! Thanks for the tip. I also learned of the books module, and since my lessons can be viewed as tutorials in a sense, maybe that will be a good approach. But I want to take the most flexible approach and not sure how much books constrains things. With your approach, should I not use taxonomy? Regards Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 6:31
  • I think of taxonomies as descriptors, or common themes that can be shared by different content types, typically not representative of a 'thing'. A book is a 'thing', it probably has an author, genre, barcode etc... As such I would make that a content type. However if all you are interested in is the title of the books that are required, taxonomy is fit for purpose.
    – Darvanen
    Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 1:40

If you're new to Drupal, you might have a hard time getting your head around the (amazing) Panels module, and things like "context", etc. Don't take my word for it (yet). Instead watch the videos about Learn Page manager, which is an interesting (and amazing) set of videos. They contain various topics related to the Panels module. After you reviewed these videos, you should understand various features that come with the Panels module ... but also its challenges.

Maybe you should give it a try to see how far you can get with any (or all?) of these modules:

  • Display Suite (a typical alternative for using Panels).
  • DataTables used in combination with Views (especially because of its client side search facilities).
  • You might want to check also to what extend the features provided by Organic Groups module might help in your case.

What you probably haven't thought of, but which I think you should look at for sure also, is the Rules and Flag module.

If you'd add taxonomies where appropriate, you could already get pretty far. Probably you'd also want to consider using "Term Reference" fields then. If you do, be aware that some say that Term Reference will be deprecated and potentially removed from Drupal (in favor of the "entity reference" field).

Video tutorials

  • These great tips will keep me busy! I had downloaded Rules when I saw it was one of the most recommended modules, but haven't examined it yet. Also I learned of Entity References which might be a good way for me to get the parent-child relationship squared away between lessons and exercises. Right now I am overwhelmed with all these modules and their interrelationships. But I guess it is like learning a language - in time I will be able to think in this drupal language! Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 8:41

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