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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.
Opening your site for membership expands its possibilities for interacting with the public. Through membership people can establish identities that let them carry on processes from one session to the next. So, for example, they can set site preferences and have ongoing discussions. First, I'll show you how you can control who signs up to your site, then I'll show you what the member sign up procedure looks like from the user's point of view, and finally I'll show you how you as the site owner can invite people to join. The first thing to do is to take a look at how people are allowed to sign up for your site.
Those settings are under Configuration and Account settings. There are several settings here, but the one that's most important is here, Who can register accounts? By default, anybody who comes to your site is allowed to register an account. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that they can do things on your site. You define that with permissions, as you'll learn in a later video about permissions. But if you wanted to restrict who can become a member, you could choose only those invited by you, or you could say that visitors can apply but that you have to approve their application.
I am just going to leave it on Visitors for now. So let's take a look at how somebody actually might sign up for your site. To do that, I am going to switch to the Google Chrome browser, where I am looking at the site as a visitor, somebody who is not already a member. By default, there is this link in the left-hand column, Login or Register. Clicking it brings up this little window. If the person is already a member of Drupal Gardens, they could simply enter their username and password here, and then your site would be added to their list of sites that they're allowed to access as a member.
If not they have to sign up as a Drupal Gardens member by going through the usual sign-up process. I am going to call myself califanjoe, and I have already set up an e-mail address for that. I would then read through the terms of service of course and then click Create new account. In order to be sure that I have a true e-mail address, instructions to complete that application are sent to the e-mail address I put in. So I'm going to switch over to that e-mail account, and there is the message I received, and I simply click on the link--or in this case I'm going to copy it--go back and paste it into my browser.
I'm then allowed to log in as my new user, califanjoe. I then set my password and save. I've now done two things. califanjoe is both a member of Drupal Gardens and a member of this explorecalifornia site. To find out about that, I can go up as califanjoe and click My Account, and here, I see my membership on explorecalifornia.
Now let's go back to the Administrator view and see what that looks like when we look down the list of people. I'll switch back over to my administrator page. Then I click People up here. I now see my new user, califanjoe. It shows how long that person has been a member, and I can go in and actually edit their user profile if I like. If I don't want them to be a member, I could simply change this to Blocked and then say Save, and that will stop them from being able to access my site as a member.
But let's say that you as the administrator would like to invite people to your site--that is, you don't want to rely on them going to the site and clicking the link and going through all of the steps. You can do that by clicking on People and then clicking this link at the top, Invite people. I happen to know another person who I want to invite, califandan, and I know their e-mail address. You can then click Send invitations, and they'll get a message very similar to the one that you saw when you signed up for the account on your own volition.
You can actually change the message though by clicking this View/edit invitation message. Inside this message or a few what are called "tokens," which are filled in with the name of the site, and you see a list of those tokens down here if you wanted to change what the message said or perhaps remove the name of the site or remove the URL, things like that. But we'll just leave it as is, and we'll say Send invitations. So califandan will receive that e-mail, and it will look very similar to the one that califanjoe got when he joined the site on his own volition.
Now once you have users on your site, you can give them more access to what they're allowed to do by clicking on Permissions and giving them an additional role. You could make them a blogger or editor or even an administrator. We will talk more about this in the video about adjusting user permissions. Let's go back to our list of people very quickly and take a look at some of the things we can change on califanjoe's account by clicking Edit next to his name. As I mentioned before, you can block it or keep it as active. You can add roles here.
You can change whether or not they received e-mail in response to comments of that post on the site, and you can give them a personal contact form. This is something very interesting I just want to show. If we go back up and take a look at califanjoe's user account, you'll notice that there's a tab here called Contact. If we want to send an e-mail to that person, we click there, and it's very much like the site-wide contact form that you saw in an earlier video. The My follow links tab is very much like we described in the video about taking advantage of social media.
This way califanjoe is able to enter the Facebook account, MySpace account, all of these other accounts, so that when he post things to the site, people can then look up more about him on those social networks. The Shortcut tab we described in the video about shortcuts earlier on in this course. In short, the controls you have over users on a Drupal Gardens site are really quite extensive, well beyond what is possible in most other web site-building tools. You'll get even more control by changing settings that affect what users are allowed to do on your site, and you'll learn more about that in the video about adjusting user permissions.
Finally, I would like to urge you to go back, log out, and look at the site from that point of view from time to time, but especially whenever you make a change in membership policy. This is something that a lot of administrators forget to check, but it really makes a difference in user experience and can help keep your site safe.
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