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Author Tom Geller demonstrates how to create and publish a complete web site with the powerful tools in Acquia's hosted service, Drupal Gardens. The course shows how to leverage the pre-built page layouts and add custom styling using the ThemeBuilder tool; integrate rich site features, such as surveys, user ratings, and media galleries; and push content to Twitter and Facebook. The course also covers transitioning from a Drupal Gardens site to a self-hosted Drupal site. Exercise files are included with the course.
One thing I love about Drupal Gardens is how easy it is to get started. If you went through my Drupal essential training course, you know how much trouble it can be to get core Drupal installed and running. In that course, I didn't talk much about how to work your Internet hosting provider because every one is different. It would have simply been impossible to cover all the variations among them. With Drupal Gardens, you simply don't have to worry about it. Let's walk through the process of getting signed up. I'm on the Drupal Gardens site here, at drupalgardens.com, and I'm not logged in.
I am going to create a new account by clicking here at Create a free site. The site I'm going to create is called explorecalifornia.drupalgardens.com, and it checks to make sure that it is available. My username will also be explorecalifornia. Of course, you enter your password and your e-mail address. Down at the bottom, you have to type in the word that you see here. That's to prevent automated systems from signing up for account after account over and over again, and then sending spam through it or creating spam sites.
If you've got it right, it will show a check, and then just click Continue. The next screen that you see is some of the options that you have to start your Drupal site. You can change several at once by using this dropdown menu. There is a Campaign template, Product, Blog, and then a custom template. In addition, once you've chosen one of these templates, you can turn on or off different features. And as you hover your pointer above any of these features, it tells you a little bit more about what the feature is. I'm going to leave it on exactly as it is, Campaign template.
Scroll down to the bottom here and say Create site. This will take a few moments for Drupal Gardens to set up your site, and the site has been created. It's now real and live. Anyone on the Internet can access this site immediately by going to explorecalifornia.drupalgardens.com, as you see in the address bar up here. However, if you scroll down, you'll notice this text here: "Check your e-mail to complete registration." In short, if you create a site but then don't confirm your e-mail address within ten days, Drupal Gardens will delete your entire account, including all the sites you created.
That sounds like a pain, but it's a necessary precaution to prevent spambots and malicious users from just signing up site after site with fake e-mail addresses. If I go to this e-mail account that I created, we could see the e-mails that I received as a result of setting up that account and that site. There are three e-mails here, and when you get yours, of course, you should look through them. Basically, they are to say that you've now signed up for Drupal Gardens, and you've now created this site. In order to verify, I have to go to this Please verify and click on the link that it sent me.
Once I've done that, my site is up and running, and it's here in my Site manager list. I'm going to go back to my site now by clicking on that link, explorecalifornia.drupalgardens.com. You might notice a difference between the site now and a moment ago. I'll go back to the screen we were just on. We have this little tooltip up here when we first create the site, and you can go up to this Help button and get more help from the Drupal Gardens site. I'm just going to close it out, and in fact, I'll close out this window entirely and go back to this other screen.
That's actually all you need to do to get started. You've now created a site, and since you confirmed your e-mail address, that site isn't going to go away. I know the site is full of fake information, like these fake blog posts and headlines and so forth, but I'll show you how to change that throughout the rest of the course, particularly in the videos about creating and managing content. But I do want to show you just one more thing. In another video in this course about what Drupal Gardens is, I mentioned that it's a multisite system, and that you can create as many sites as you want from one account.
That's actually quite easy to do. What you do is you go up to My sites here, and that brings you to a list of sites. Then just click on Create a new site. Type in a name. I'm going to say this is explorecalifornia2 and click Continue. You then go back to the screen that you saw earlier where you can choose a template, turn features on and off, and so forth. While we're here, I just want to show you one or two other features. One is when you choose a different template, for example, Product template, some of these switches turn on and off.
Go to Blog template. Many of them turn off because blogs are simpler than campaigns or product sites and so forth. It's sort of a set of themes and features and other bits of content that would be appropriate for that kind of site. But once again, once you're in there, you can customize it entirely to your own preferences. I think Drupal Gardens really underlines something about Drupal's maturity. One of the reasons that Drupal, in general, has lagged so far behind WordPress among casual site builders is that WordPress is so much easier to set up than core Drupal.
Now, I've set up as a WordPress site or two, and it's really not easier than setting up a site on Drupal Gardens. Oh! You have a few more choices, such as for the template and features, but the sign-up procedure is basically the same, and after you get started, as you'll see, Drupal Gardens lets you do much, much more than WordPress ever could.
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