Mengyu Zang's Experience with Islandora

Hello! My name is Mengyu Zang and I am a third year Computer Science student at the University of Prince Edward Island. I am currently working with the Islandora RDM Team as a Student Developer. For me, the most exciting part of this job is to participate in this local born project and to contribute to an ever-growing international community. I would like to share my learning experience during my first 8 days on the Islandora RDM  project.

My first step was to gain a basic understanding of Islandora [1]. I spent a few hours Googling it and found some useful materials [2] among which there was one picture[3]:


Islandora - Mengyu 1


This picture reminded me of what I have learned in my UPEI  Database class. In this case, the collection of data is the database; MySQL and Fedora are the database management system; Drupal is the database application; our clients are the users; and Islandora is a set of tools that enable Drupal to communicate with a different data provider.

My second step was to set up a local development environment on Windows and to get familiar with Drupal. Since Islandora was built to work on Ubuntu, I downloaded it from the Microsoft Store and followed the set up instructions [4].  I then watched training videos for Drupal beginners on the O'Reilly Online Learning Center [5] and developed my first Drupal module “Hello World” [6].


Islandora - Mengyu 2


I am still learning about Drupal modules [7], themes, and additional files. If you are also a beginner and want to develop complicated functions, PHP and JavaScript is the next thing to learn.

The last thing I want to share is about communication. I am lucky to work with great team and a patient supervisor,  who provides me with the time to answer my questions. If you are a beginner like me, don't be afraid of asking questions.

Some sources and examples I mentioned above:

  1. Islandora Website:
  2. Islandora Intro Video:
  3. Islandora Overview:
  4. How to Set up a Development Environment: playbook/blob/master/
  5. Drupal 8 for Beginners from the O'Reilly Online Learning Center:
  6. Drupal Modules: