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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.
Acquia, the company that runs Drupal Gardens, is extremely active in the Drupal community, and it's always tweaking the Drupal Gardens software to make it better. That's good for you, but it also means that the interface and features change quite a bit over time. So some of the things you see in this course won't look quite the same as what's on your screen. We re-recorded the most important parts in late 2011, but we left alone those differences that are mostly just cosmetic, or where the difference wouldn't essentially change how you'd build your website. For example, what used to be called Articles is now called News Items; I thought you'd be able to figure such things out as they go by.
This video mentions a few of those small changes that just might throw you if you're not expecting them. One of the first things you'll notice occurs when you create a piece of content. I'll do that by going up to Add content and adding a basic page. I'll put in a title of Test and a body of Test. We'll be deleting this page anyway. When I scroll down to the bottom, this button previously said Save, and there was a different arrangement of these other buttons.
Now we can publish it or save it as a draft. The difference between the two is when I publish it it's actually going up as published, and saving as draft creates the node, but as an unpublished node. I'll click Publish so you can see the difference. Now if I go back and edit that node, I scroll to the bottom, and you'll see there's now an Unpublish button and a Save button. It reflects the fact that this is now a published node. For us though, I am just going to delete it.
Another place you'll notice some differences is when you create your site's name and slogan. You can see that by going into Configuration and Site information. Here we have some instructions on how to hide the site name and also the site slogan. Previously there were check boxes here to do that, but there was an architectural change so that each of these pieces is now actually part of a block. I can show you that by going up to Structure and Blocks.
As I go down all the way to the bottom, since I have these disabled, you see Main site logo, and around here there is also a Site slogan, right down there. You'll hear more about the function of blocks in the video "Working with blocks." Going on, the Theme Builder is still one of the most important parts of Drupal Gardens, and it has gotten even better since we first created this course. To see it, we close out our overlay and then click Appearance.
The first change is quite obvious. It used to be that these Themes link was the first tab that you saw, but the folks at Acquia realized that usually when people used the Theme Builder, the first thing they did was they went around and styled different parts of their page, so they made that the first tab, and it's the default one you go to when you first open the Theme Builder. Another difference, which we don't see right now, occurs when you turn on the Font Management module. A new link shows up here, Configure Professional Fonts. If you want to learn more about that, see the video "Using fonts from outside sources." The Themes tab itself has also changed quite a bit.
It used to be that you saw a list of pre-made themes here, but now you see the custom themes first. If you want to choose a pre-made theme, you click Choose a new theme, and there you go. To get back to the list, simply click Cancel. The way you select a theme is slightly different as well. When you hover over a theme, you have Publish, Duplicate, and Delete. These should be obvious, and I'm sure that as you work through Drupal Gardens sites, you'll figure out exactly how they work. The last thing in the Theme Builder is something really neat in this Advanced tab.
It used to be that you simply had Custom CSS, you entered it in, and it worked, and that was great. Now you actually have a history of the CSS that you've changed, and if you want to, you can hide different parts of it and see how that affects your site. For example, we just turned off all of the header images--very cool and very useful for figuring out which CSS directives are changing which parts of your site. Finally, there have been some changes in subscription levels and the options that affect some overriding qualities of your site.
You'll notice this most when you look at the list of all the sites you control. To demonstrate this, I am going to switch to another one of my accounts where I have sites under a variety of subscription levels. You see this list by clicking My sites. And as you can see, there are several different subscription plans. Depending on which subscription plan a particular site is on, that changes the options that are available here. For example, my Professional site, I can only duplicate or export it, whereas with my Gratis subscription, I can also delete it or transfer ownership to somebody else.
That covers the high points, but as I said, there are a lot more little tiny changes that I didn't discuss. Some of them only change the interface by a little amount, but they actually represent quite a lot of work by the folks at Acquia. If you want to follow all of the changes, go to drupalgardens.com/blog. As you scroll through here, you'll see all of the things that they're constantly adding to make Drupal Gardens better and better.
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