Living, Breathing, Drupal: The Biology of the Request

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Taken in its simplest form, Drupal is a linear system that starts at line 1 of index.php and executes its code line-by-line until it outputs what a user asked for. What if we could visually explore that process to help us understand exactly how Drupal core actually works? Join webkenny and his zany cast of explorers as we take this journey together and learn the inner workings of the drop.

During our journey into the belly of the beast we'll learn exactly how the system executes a request from the moment a user requests to the end result displayed in the browser. We'll take an in-depth tour through the rivers of the hook system, explore the caves of the theme layer, traverse the sands of update.php, and tear apart the world's best CMS until it's nothing but totally approachable and easy to extend.

We will also take a detour along troubleshooting cove to learn how our journey can benefit us in our day-to-day debugging and site building.

Warning: Travel at your own peril!

While this talk will focus primarily on Drupal 7, most of the material will be applicable to Drupal 6.

Intended audience

Existing Drupal developers who want to understand the system and graduate from roadie to rock star.

Questions answered by this session

What is the bootstrap? Laying the groundwork in index.php

What is the hook system and how does it work?

How does a preprocess preprocess its preprocessors? The theme system.

What is update.php and how does it "know" what to do?

Who cares? Using this information to build better sites.

Comments (5)

rated this all five stars

webkenny is one of the best presenters in our community, bar none. He keeps the subject on track all the way to the end of QA. I bet this one took a very very long time to put together. Thanks wk!

Fun session...

The storytelling style that Kenny used for this presentation was great and helped keep the audience engaged. His slides were entertaining as well as educational. One of the best Drupal presentations I've seen. :-)


This is the only way to define this session. Great slides. The only ones I did not find boring.

Crystal Quest

Thanks for going through the "Dries gets to the Castle & beats the Kitton" game into the presentation!

very interesting

It sounds very interesting giving you an overall picture of the Drupal platform.

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