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Drupal is a free, open-source content management system (CMS) for a variety of platforms. It has a robust user community and easy-to-use administration features. Drupal Essential Training covers all the important aspects of installing, configuring, customizing, and maintaining a Drupal-powered website. Instructor Tom Geller explores blogs, discussion forums, member profiles, and other features while demonstrating the steps required to make Drupal perform. He also teaches fundamental concepts and skills along the way, including installation, backups, and updates; security and permissions; flexible page layouts and CSS; menu navigation; and performance monitoring and disaster recovery. He also discusses how to select and install the community-supported modules that further expand Drupal's capabilities, and gives experienced PHP programmers tips on customizing page templates. Example files accompany the course.
Drupal's poll module gives you a way to present simple multiple questionnaires to visitors and then tabulate their responses in useful ways. You can limit how long a poll will run which is useful for making group decision and who can vote on it. As elsewhere in Drupal, we turn on polls by going into Administer, Modules, and then click to turn on the Poll Module. There we go, and then we will go down to the bottom and say Save Configuration. Now we have turned on polls, but there is one other thing we should do as we do with many other modules when we turn them on, we have to make sure permissions allow people to vote on them.
So we go down to Permissions in the Administration interface and then scroll down to Poll Module. The most important one in here is whether or not people can vote on polls. I am going to let all authenticated users do that, and remember contributing users are also authenticated users. You can also allow people to inspect votes to see how everybody has voted or to cancel one's own vote. The other poll permission options are for creating polls and of course you can turn those on and off as you think is right. We will scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Save Permissions. So now we have turned on and allowed all of our regular users to vote on them. But how do we create a poll? Well, a poll is really just content. So we go up to Create Content and Poll. We are going to create a poll that's relevant to our site.
So how about, which condo developments do you prefer? First choice is going to be let's say Soggy Acres. The second one will be Mildew Point and then we will add another choice right here. You can keep on adding choices as much as you want. The third one is Hudson Mews, and the forth one is Mark Twain's Riverboat Graveyard. Now, you will notice something unusual on this right-hand side, which is that you can actually cheat on the poll. That is you can have it start with Soggy Acres having 13 votes, Mildew Point having 25 and so forth. We are going to do that just so that we have some votes in the record and you can see how it tabulates responses.
As we go down, here are the time settings. We decide has the poll actually started or not? This is very useful if you want to design the poll first but not actually launch it until a certain event is passed. Like let's say a primary or midnight on a certain day. But for us we will say it's active and we are going to have it go just for one week. Scroll down further and you will some settings that you have seen in other content types. For example you can make this menu selection that shows up in the upper right hand corner in the screen or in navigation menu on the left hand side. You can set it so that each time you revise the poll, it keeps a copy of the old one.
Let's actually give this one a path setting. We will call it poll_condos. Comments, do you want people to be able to comment on this? For polls, that's usually turned on to for read and write because people not only want to say yes or no to an issue, they want to talk about it. Finally, authoring information can be changed as usual and publishing options, by default it is promoted to the front page. Let's save that and see what it looks like. There we are. If we go to the front page as the administrator and scroll down, it becomes like a story at the top of our nodes. Of course this one up here is sticky, so it's stays at the top of everything.
Now I should mention, that Drupal polls give a lot of power to the administrators. The administrator can for example change the poll questions after the poll has started which can be of course quite dangerous in making people say things they don't mean to. The Drupal administrator can see how people voted. However, the Drupal administrator cannot directly change the vote of the individual members. If you want to make your polls more open, what should do is check that permission that allows members to see everything about who has voted. In that way they can say, "Hey, did you really vote that way? Hey wait. I didn't vote that way." And they can complaint if they want to leave the site or anything like that.
So we have created our poll. Now let's try voting on it. As the administrator, I am going to vote for Mark Twain's Riverboat Graveyard. There we go and it tells me that my vote was recorded. Let's scroll down again and you will see something interesting. We can't vote again. See, it shows us the results, but doesn't give us the choices. Even if we click here to show the node, we can't change the vote. Furthermore, let's go back to our ordinary user, fishyjoe, who I have running in another browser. We will reload this page so that fishyjoe also sees the poll and we scroll down. Now you will notice fishyjoe can vote this even though the administrator voted and saw the results, fishyjoe can still vote. Well, I see Mildew Point is the best. So there we go.
Now of course fishyjoe sees the results. In short once you have voted once, you can't vote again. The only other way that you are forbidden from voting is if you have not being given permissions. Typically that's done for anonymous users, because otherwise anonymous users would just come and vote from different computers would clear their cookies, might really stack the desk. As with other content types such as forums and blogs, you can see and of the polls that have been posted by going up here and using the URL Poll. Once you have learnt how to use menus, you can create a menu selection that will go directly to that page, but let's take a look.
There we are, we have a list of polls and of course if we had more polls they would all show up here. It tells us how many votes and whether it's still open. If we were to come back to this page in eight days, it would say closed, because we only set the time limit to be a week. Click on it and again, we see the node itself. One other thing happens when you enable polls which is that a block is automatically created that you can move to different parts of the site. Let's switch back to our administrator's interface and see how that works. We will go to Administer, Blocks and scroll down until we see most recent poll.
Here it is, let's put that in the right-hand sidebar and say Save. There we have it. If we hadn't answered this poll, of course we would be asked the question and it would look just the same as it did on our main page. This is a very good way to keep content on our site fresh. That is put the most recent poll or the most recent blog post, the most recent comment in that right hand column or somewhere else on the page where it's obvious. It gives your site a sense that it's always fresh. Let's see what that look like on an ordinary user's page. So we will switch back to fishyjoe, click on the logo, which brings us back to our homepage. And there you have it, polls are especially good for encouraging interaction, because voting is much easier for visitors to do then writing a blog post or a forum comment. In addition, polls frame issues by giving limited choices and their collective nature creates a sense of a common goal.
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