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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.
Now we have our site set up to tell the world... well, whatever it is you want to tell it. But we haven't talked about giving the world a way to talk back. This video looks at how you can do that through contact forms. Our site actually has one already, as you can see when you click the Contact link. When someone fills out this form, your site sends a message to whatever address you entered when you first created this site, as you saw on the video "Getting Started with Drupal Gardens." That's the e-mail address of the site owner, which in this case is me.
But right now that form isn't as flexible as it could be. Here's how to make it a little bit better. To do so, go up to Structure and down to Contact form. There is one category already set up, Website feedback. That's the one that we saw already. You can go over and edit it by clicking on the Edit link here. Here at the top, you enter the category. I'll talk about that a little bit more in a minute. The second area is where you enter recipients--that is, whoever it is you want to receive the e-mails that are sent through the contact form.
You can actually enter multiple e-mail addresses here by simply putting a comma after each one and then typing in the rest of the e-mail addresses that you want to receive it. The third area here is an auto-reply. That's something that gets sent back to the person who enters information into the contact form--that is, the sender-- and something that you might want to enter there is "Thank you for your message! We'll respond soon." That just gives them a little bit of feedback, so they know that their message didn't go into a complete black hole, and then we'll just go down and click Save.
But there's more to the contact form than that. You can add other categories, so instead of just having a simple website feedback, you might have something-- since this is a California site, we could say, "Ask a question about California," and then again the recipients could be anyone you like. I'll just say admin@ example.com, and again you could put an auto-reply here if you wanted. "Thanks for your message! We'll respond soon." And save it. Now we'll come back to what the Selected means and the Weight in just a second.
It's actually easier to see when we go back to our list of different categories. So now we have two different categories. I am going to take another look at the contact form and then come back here and start monkeying with them, but I think it'll be clearer when you look at the form itself. We'll let the page reload, and there is a new pop-up menu here: Website feedback or Ask a question about California. And as you might guess, when I fill out this form and select which one of these categories, it determines which recipients would receive that e-mail sent through this form.
Before going on, I want to point out one small difference between this form as it's seen by an authenticated user--that is, someone who is a member of your site-- and somebody who is just visiting and hasn't become a member. It's this little Send yourself a copy box. I am going to switch over to Google Chrome where I'm visiting the site as an anonymous visitor--that is, someone who's not logged in. I will click the Contact button up here. I see the same pop-up menu here. I see a place for name and e-mail address, although it's not filled out, since of course the site doesn't know who this anonymous visitor is. And there is no check box down here to send yourself a copy of the message.
The reasons for this should be obvious. You don't want people using your contact form as an anonymous e-mail server. If you did, somebody could be malicious by entering an enemy's e-mail address up here and then putting in threatening messages or whatever and then send message. They won't be able to do that because the only place an anonymous visitor can send e-mail to is you. But let's get back to those different categories. Once again, we go up to Structure and Contact form. Now you'll notice Ask a question about California is at the top, and it's not selected.
I am going to change this. So instead--it's a little bit further down-- I'll make it have a heavier weight. These weights make it sort of sink like a stone to the bottom of the ocean, and I'll make it selected as yes and then click Save. What that did is it made at the second option, but it's the one that's selected. If we go back to our contact form, it's still selected, but it sank to the bottom of the form. You can only have one selected for obvious reasons.
When you change one of them to yes, the other ones all change to no. So now we have a contact form that will direct e-mails wherever we want. Take a look at the URL up here. It's simply our domain/contact, and sometimes it'll have the little Pound sign here depending on where we came from, but generally, it's just contact. We can actually direct people to this contact page from anywhere else on the site we want by writing that as a URL. You might remember we did that in an earlier video about working with blocks. And in fact, here's the block we created with a link to this contact form.
If these contact links aren't enough for you, there is one way to add one that's even more prominent. It requires turning on a module called Gardens feedback. I'll do it very quickly here, but if you want to learn more about how to enable and disable such features, see the video about adding and removing functionality. Very quickly though, just go up to Modules. I'll scroll down to the Gardens feedback module, which is fairly far down here, turn it on and then Save configuration.
Now when I close that overlay, the screen will redraw, and we'll see this Feedback link over here. Clicking that also takes you to the contact page. Finally, there is one last thing I'd like to show you how to do, which is only allow registered users to access your contact form. By default, Drupal Gardens lets anybody who casually comes across your site send you e-mail. That's great from a customer engagement point of view, but you might want to make it more restrictive to prevent spam, because there are spam robots that seek out Drupal Contact forms and simply send garbage through them.
You can fix that by taking away anonymous members' permissions to send you mail through the contact form. I'll show you how to do that very quickly, but a much better understanding of users, roles, and permissions is in the video about managing users and the one about adjusting user permissions. To get there, we go up to People and Permissions and scroll down to Contact and turn off the site-wide contact form for anonymous users, scroll to the bottom and click Save permissions.
Contact forms are an effective way to get valuable feedback, but they're not the only way. If you want to make things even more interactive, consider also letting your users talk to each other directly. You'll learn how to do that in the video about starting discussion forums. Forums are much more heavyweight solution because you have to keep an eye on them to make sure they're not being abused. Contact forms, by comparison, are pretty simple, and they're trouble-free, and best of all they are real sense to set up.
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