Beginner Tutorials

I decided it might be a good idea to create a centralized place for the different series of beginner tutorials that are available at the Coding Pad in the different categories, so that they would be easier to find.  I will be working on more beginner series tuts on different topics, so keep checking this page and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog.

MODx Revolution Beginner Series

MODx is an extremely flexible and powerful content management framework that is capable of producing amazing results.  This series of hands-on tutorials takes you from the very beginning, introducing MODx Revolution, teaching you how to install it, and goes through templating and more in detail and with lots of screenshots to guide you along. This is a very hands on tutorial and at the end you will not only have a fully functional website, but you’ll have learned skills that you can use to work on your own projects.  If you’re a complete beginner, I recommend that you work through the parts in the order presented here for the most benefit.  No knowledge of MODx is assumed, but it would be helpful to have some basic knowledge of HTML and CSS.  Full knowledge of PHP is not necessary will get you a long way when it comes to doing custom snippets and building custom functionality into your website, but you won’t need it for this beginner series.

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Installation
Part 3: Basic Configuration and Installing Extras
Part 4: Working with Templates
Part 5: Working with Chunks
Part 6: Working with Template Variables
Part 7: Working with Snippets
Part 8: Using Wayfinder to Create Menus
Part 9: Using FormIt to Create a Contact Form
Part 10: Using getResources to Aggregate Content
Part 11: Using getPage to add Pagination

MODx Evolution Beginner Series

NB: I initially wrote these tutorials for MODx Evolution but if you’re using Evolution 1.o+ they will work just fine.  There are some changes in terminology, and you can get a basic idea of the differences by watching this screencast that I created.  If it makes you more comfortable you can work through these tutorials using and then upgrade your website to 1.0+ following the directions on this screencast.  These tutorials will NOT work for the Revolution 2.0+ branch of MODx.

Part 1: Introduction to MODx
Part 2: Installing MODx
Part 3: Working with Templates
Part 4: Introducing Chunks
Part 5: Introducing Snippets
Part 6: Introducing Template Variables
Part 7: Introducing Ditto
Part 8: More Ditto
Part 9: Adding Contact Form using eForm
Part 10: Adding Search Functionality using ajaxSearch
Part 11: Adding  Comments with Jot

This series is currently ongoing and more will be added to this list as it grows. Also, don’t forget to check out the list of MODx resources on the web, and the MODx Web Development book.

Drupal 6 Beginner Series

Drupal is another powerful and highly extensible mature content management system that has been used for building a large number of websites.   One of the main complaints about Drupal is that it does have somewhat of a steep learning curve when you’re starting out.  The goal of this beginner tutorials is to ease that learning curve for you by taking you step by step from the very starting point of installation and configuration to adding modules and themes, and adding useful functionality to your Drupal website.

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Installing Drupal 6
Part 3: Configuring your Site
Part 4: Playing with Blocks
Part 5: Playing with Modules
Part 6: Playing with Themes
Part 7: Installing Modules and Themes
Part 8: Pathauto, Content, and Content Types
Part 9: Users, Roles, and Permissions
Part 1o: Reports – Keeping Track
Part 11: Managing Spam and Comments
Part 12: Formatting Content

This series is currently ongoing and more will be added to this list as it grows.

Beginner’s Corner
This is a series of screencasts for the complete beginner on the very basics that will allow you to get started with a lot of the tutorials on this blog on your own computer.  If you have any requests for complete beginner tutorials please leave a comment and I will do my best to oblige.

Part 1: Setting Up a Local Development Environment
Part 2: Creating Projects, Databases, and Users
Part 2-2: How to Set Up Virtual Hosts on your Local Host
Part 3: Installing Scripts – WordPress, Drupal, etc.
Part 3-2: How to Install MODx CMS

28 thoughts on “Beginner Tutorials”

  1. Thank you so much Mary! It is becoming very rare these days when professionals share valuable info on MODx installation and that for free. We had to end up hiring a pro to do the work for us which turned out to be very expensive, wish I’d found your tutorial sooner 🙁 anyway, great job!

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  3. hi,
    thank for the guide, proving very useful.

    I was wondering if you could show or point to where one can get info on using ditto for creating forums. or forums in general…

    thank you,

  4. Thanx for this tutorial Mary!
    Only wondering why you choose to have this site made in WordPress though…
    I’m a visual designer with pretty solid knowledge of html & css but want to take the prototyping further to development – hopefully MODx is just my cup of tea. I tried WordPress with the Thematic Framework, but after one real production it weared me off. Now I’m working together with a developer on TYPOlight. I certainly going to learn me MODx as well – so to compare.


    1. peter
      thanks for the feedback. The reason I use WordPress for this site is because I believe when it comes to blogging, WordPress simply rules. Since this is just a blog, I couldn’t think of a better option. MODx and Drupal are extremely powerful platforms but when it comes to creating a blog, you simply can’t beat WordPress. I’m a strong advocate for the point of view that there isn’t one BEST platform, but that there’s a tool out there for every job, and our job as developers/designers is to try to work with the best tool for the job at hand.

      Good luck with learning MODx, it’s a great tool!


  5. Thanks for the tutorials! The beginner’s tutorial, though, needs updating for the latest version of ModX Evolution. It’s very confusing and slow reading to have to guess how the old commands got translated into the new commands and how the new GUI relates to the old GUI.

    Headings for paragraphs would also help. Sometimes a paragraph starts off sounding like something is to explained in the next sentence, and the user struggles to see how the next sentence accomplishes the announced intention, when eventually it is seen that the intended action isn’t accomplished until the end of the following paragraph. Working with the Swansong template is an example. It helps to stand back a ways, forget what you already know, and then to see the material as a neophyte does and determine if you say enough to get that neophyte from point A to point B without his having to know what you already do.


    1. Tim
      Thanks for the feedback. Much as I would like to update all the tutorials, I really don’t have the time since I do this in my very scarce free time and unfortunately, it doesn’t pay the bills 🙁 However, regarding this particular issue, I did record a screencast on the differences between and 1.0.2 and linked to it in the very first tutorial and also to the Beginner Tutorials page. I’m not sure what commands you’re referring to as the commands have not changed, only a few naming things. The only big changes have occurred between MODx Evolution 1.0.x and MODx Revolution 2.x, and I state clearly that these tutorials are not for Revolution.

      The second is really a matter of perception. Everyone learns differently, and everyone teaches differently, and every neophyte is at a different stage. Some know HTML/CSS already, some know PHP already, some know none of the above. I have done the best I can to make the material as clear as I possibly can. The feedback I’ve received so far tells me that it’s worked for at least some of my audience. I am refining my tutorial writing skills as I go and hopefully, if you stick around, you may find things get better.

      Like I said, this doesn’t pay the bills, but I like to think I invest enough in it that it’s helpful to someone out there. Hopefully you’ll pick something up from my tutorials that will help you in your learning journey, or else find links to resources that are more suited to your needs and style of learning.


  6. Your tutorials are very helpful. I am so happy to have found resource this online. You explain everything so simply. Thanks for organizing and presenting this information for us. Great job and it really shows your expertise in this subject!

  7. I had a problem with my email not arriving. First I blamed google apps, because I’m using that for my email. But with a little research I found out that my mailagent still believed that the email had to localhost so the email was still on my local server and not on the google mailserver.

    For more indept information and the solution I refer you guys to the official google apps admin documendation:

  8. Great source of information!!!
    I really appreciate the time you have taken to share all this stuff with the community.
    I havent actually used any CMS before, I have made my websites all on HTML with a few PHP lines (I am not code-expert really). But I realized that my site is become a little big and too uncomfortable to keep updated, and looks like MODx would be a great way to get into the CMS level.

    Great website… KEEP IT UP!!!

  9. Hi Mary,
    given limited resources in time and energy to invest, if you were starting today, would you put it into MODx Revolution 2. 0 and just ignore MODx Evolution 1.0.x?

    I ask the question knowing that MODx Evolution has obviously been ’round longer hence has more likelihood of support and tech documentation resources. That being said, has MODx Revolution 2.0 reached a point where it’s got “enough” to start into it over bothering with MODx Evolution.

    Thx in advance for any comments you might have on this question….and like the others voiced here, thank you very kindly for sharing your thoughts, insights and knowledge.


  10. Thanks Mary
    Wow!… just been watching your wamp screencast it’s like a mist has just cleared and I can see some of the problems that I have incured and how to avoid them.

    Keep up the good work …. Mark

  11. Hi, I’ve created a page (Prices & events) and I’ve created a menue heading. The two don’t communicate even though they are enabled i.e., I click on the menue I don’t get the page!

    Help this beginner please!!

    1. Yogi, it’s hard to know how to help since I’m not sure exactly what you’re referring to. Are you using just HTML or HTML and PHP or MODX, or Drupal, or…? If you can be more specific, and perhaps post your question on the related tutorial (if there’s one) it would be easier to help you.


  12. I have used way finder to create a ‘category’ side menu on my site.

    Looks like this:

    Phones (Parent)
    Nokia (Child)
    Samsung (Child)

    When the user clicks ‘Phones’ all phones are displayed. When the user clicks ‘Nokia’ only Nokia phones are display and so forth.

    The thing is, I want to replace the text for ‘Phones’ to say ‘Show All’. So it will look like this:

    Show All (parent)
    Nokia (child)
    Samsung (child)

    Is this possible?

  13. Mary, you are the best!
    Thanks for the tuts, for sharing so much fantastic information in easy to digest chunks.

  14. Hi,
    Is it possible to build a website in the program Magix websitebuilder and afterwards connect it to the CMS of MODx?

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