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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.
So, before you start with Drupal Gardens, you might be wondering, why should I use it rather than WordPress or any of the other dozens of hosted CMS programs? This video will look at both Drupal's advantages and disadvantages to help you figure out whether Drupal Gardens is your best option. To start with, let's talk a bit about the software Drupal Gardens is based on. Drupal was created in 2000 by the Belgian Computer Science student Dries Buytaert to help him and his college buddies share information. People kept asking for more features, and he couldn't keep up with the demand by himself, so he released the software, renamed, Drupal as free software under the GNU Public License in 2001.
A technology site named kerneltrap.org was the first site outside of Mr. Buytaert's university to use it. From there, the word spread. As a matter of fact, KernelTrap is still using Drupal to this day, ten years later. It now runs many high-profile sites, including the United States Government-- for example, at commerce.gov--the Canadian Rail Service at viarail.ca and many others, including quite a few artists on Sony Music. A good place to see who is using Drupal is on Mr.
Buytaert's own web site at buytaert.net/tag/drupal-sites. Here you see quite a few, and he keeps adding them. Every week there is a new one, pretty much. I want to reiterate that this software is completely free. You can download it from drupal.org, and install it as often as you like. And you want be alone; Drupal gets about 300,000 downloads every week. Well, that's the history. But how does Drupal work? Well, I'll show you. I'm using the original version, often called core Drupal, that I've already installed on my computer.
This isn't exactly what's used in Drupal Gardens, as I'll explain in the video "What is Drupal Gardens?." But core Drupal and Drupal Gardens are very, very similar. Learning one will help you do what you want in the other. If you want to learn core Drupal better, watch my series from lynda.com, "Drupal Essential Training." I'll show you how to do something very simple in Drupal. This is core Drupal, once again. I'm going to add some front-page content. Right now, there is nothing. There is just this basic default page that comes when you first install the software.
To do so, I'll click on Add content, and I'll also a Basic page. Just say "Hello, world!" In the body, "Hello again, world!" Go down to the bottom, publish it on the front page, and save. Now when we go to our front page, there it is. Besides being able to change content into Drupal, you can also change the way the site looks by going up to Appearance and scrolling down and taking a look at all of the other different ones that are available with Drupal.
In addition, there are quite a few other appearances available on drupal.org. These are called Themes. In Drupal Gardens, you can change from one theme to another, but then you can also modify themes quite a lot. You'll see how to do that later on in the course. By the same token, you can download and extend Drupal by using modules, which you download from Drubal.org. That's one difference between core Drupal and Drupal Gardens. On Drupal Gardens, you have only the modules that they allow you to use. On Drupal, you can extend it quite a bit.
A similarity between core Drupal and Drupal Gardens is that both excel at mixing up static content-- that is, like that page we just created, which says the same thing no matter when you visit it--and dynamic content, which is things like latest content and who is online right now and so forth. I can show you that by going to Structure > Blocks, and then down toward the bottom we have quite a few choices here: Recent content, Recent comments, and we can make those appear on the page in a variety of locations. Finally, Drupal is a multi-user system, so you can build a true online community.
In both core Drupal and Drupal Gardens, you do that by going up to People, and then you have a list of all the people who are available. It works a little bit differently in Drupal Gardens than it does in core Drupal, as I'll show you later in the course. Additionally, you can separate people according to their roles, so that some have more permission on your site than others. That's really useful, because let's say that you've built your site, and it's too big for you to handle by yourself. You could, for example, create a role that lets somebody else add content or manage users while you handle some of the more technical aspects of the site.
If you go up to People and then click on Permissions and scroll down, you can see all of the different permissions that you can change. Again, we'll discuss this more later on in this course. I know that was a whirlwind tour, but I hope it gave you a sense of how vast your web-creation abilities become when you use Drupal--whether that's core Drupal or Drupal Gardens--and how different they are from other systems you might be used to. I didn't talk about how Drupal interacts with your web server or database server, any of those other system-level things, because you never have to mess with any of that with Drupal Gardens.
The video "What is Drupal Gardens?" will tell you more about the differences between it and core Drupal.
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