Video: Choosing DrupalChoosing Drupal provides you with in-depth training on Web. Taught by Tom Geller as part of the Drupal 6 Essential Training
Choosing Drupal provides you with in-depth training on Web. Taught by Tom Geller as part of the Drupal 6 Essential Training
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.
- Understanding the inner workings of Drupal
- Creating stories, pages, blogs, forums, and polls
- Managing users and comments
- Setting and customizing themes
- Exchanging content via RSS
- Stopping comment spam with a CAPTCHA
- Launching a site and joining the Drupal community
Out of all the CMSs out there, is Drupal right for you? Here is a general overview of what Drupal does best, as well some things that are more appropriate for other website creation systems. First, let's start with Drupal's advantages. First of all it's somewhere in the middle between ultimate customizability and the out of the box ease that you get from some content management systems, that is, you don't have to program everything, but you can do a lot. Second of all, Drupal has proven insecure, it's been around for several years and it's been used by thousands of different sites. Although it does occasionally have security updates it is generally a secure enough system to use for pretty much anything.
Third of all, Drupal has very strong community support and we will show you little bit of that community support now. First of all, Drupal has many pieces of software that are available as plug-ins to the main Drupal program. These are called Modules and they add additional functionality beyond what the core Drupal program provides. These are divided into many categories, for example, there are content categories which lets you display the things that you write and produce in different ways. There are all sorts of administration plug-ins, which let you change the way that you manage your site.
All the way down to e-Commerce modules which lets you connect to existing systems you might have for credit cards for example or PayPal. Another part of the Drupal community is in its themes, themes let you change the way that your Drupal website looks, and as you go through this page which is at drupal.org/project/themes, you can see snapshots of many of the different kinds of pages that you can make your Drupal website look like. These are all provided by people from outside in the Drupal community and almost without exception they are available for free.
Thirdly, the Drupal community is very active in talking with itself, so that if you have any problems with your Drupal installation or after your Drupal installation you can go in and you can get your answers very quickly for free from other people who have faced the same problems. Fourth, Drupal is an open source project, which means it's built by many people in the community. In this case it's built on two additional open source projects PHP as the programming language and SQL, which is the database language.
Finally, there are numerous commercial companies out there supporting Drupal. One of those companies is Lullabot, which offers workshops and training, writes articles and blog posts that will teach you more about Drupal and so forth. They also do commercial support for Drupal. Another commercial support company for Drupal is Acquia. This is a company that was actually founded by the original person who wrote Drupal. There are numerous sites out there that are built on Drupal. Some of the largest ones are The Onion at theonion.com, Amnesty International at amnesty.org and Popular Science at popsci.com, so you can see a great variety there. The first one is a humorous magazine, the second one is an international organization and the third one is a popular magazine that's been around for dozens-and-dozens of years and has made the move online using Drupal.
Now that we have talked about some of the good things about Drupal, let's talk about some of its disadvantages. First of all Drupal has greater technical knowledge requirements than you would have if you were just writing a website by scratch in HTML. You need to have access to the server and you need to have certain permissions on that server. In addition that server has to have certain programs already installed, most notably PHP and SQL database, preferably MySQL and the cron program. Finally although you don't need to know HTML or any of the other traditional web skills to customize your Drupal site, it does help to have HTML, CSS and certain graphics editing skills in order to bring your Drupal site to its full flower.
Drupal has certain design biases. If you go and take a look at sites that are built under, well, you'll notice the very often there will be a left column and a right column and a content in center and a header at the top and it tends to be the same from theme-to-theme. The good news is that all of that can be customized; the bad news is you may have to do a certain amount of work to make that customization happen. So when shouldn't you use Drupal? First of all, if it's going to be overkill, there is no need to use Drupal. A site that doesn't change much doesn't really need Drupal, because what Drupal is good at is letting you bring in new information at any time and change what's already there.
Sites that are just plain static sites that don't have any sort of community interaction don't really need Drupal. You can build sites like those in Drupal, but you don't need to. Drupal is also overkilled when you have solid simpler alternatives or once that are built more specifically to your purpose. For example, there is a Wiki plug-in, a Wiki module for Drupal, but if you are going to build just a Wiki, you might as well use MediaWiki, which is built specifically for that purpose. You shouldn't use Drupal when you don't have the technical help or abilities that you will need to install and run it, and we will talk more about what you need to run Drupal throughout the course.
Finally you shouldn't use Drupal if it's going to be an extremely high-traffic or mission-critical site. If it's necessary to have this site online in order to save lives you should probably use something else or at least use something else as a backup. If you are going to run something that's going to have millions and millions and millions of page views probably Drupal is not the right solution. Although I should mention, Drupal does run very popular sites. I hope this video has given you a sense of when Drupal is best for you and when to look for a simpler or more heavy-duty solution.
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Drupal 6 Essential Training .
Here are the FAQs that matched your search "" :
- Q: While following along to the installation instructions in the “Installing WAMP and Drupal on Windows” chapter in the Drupal Essential Training title, an error occurs when attempting to open the local host page. Nothing appears except for an error reading “WAMPSERVER server offline.” What is causing this?
- A: There is a known problem with some versions of WAMP that include a version of PHP (5.3) that some versions of Drupal is not compatible with. See http://tomgeller.com/content/tips-running-drupal-windows-using-wamp#comment-831 for more information.
If that is not causing the issue, reference the tips at http://tomgeller.com/content/tips-running-drupal-windows-using-wamp.
If you don't see the solution at either of those links, try using another AMP stack, such as XAMPP or the Acquia stack installer. See http://tomgeller.com/content/what-hells-wrong-drupal-wamp for discussion about these.
- Q: After installing XAMPP and running Drupal for the first time, the Administration menu does not appear. What is the reason for this?
- A: There are several possible problems. Here are some likely solutions. (These may also solve problems encountered with other AMP stacks.)
- Increase XAMPP's PHP allocation.
- Check to make sure all XAMPP's paths are correct and that permissions are correct. If the database information appears, but not Drupal's supporting files, and an included theme is being used, the supporting files will be in the /modules folder.
- Another solution is to not use WAMP or XAMPP. One option is to use Acquia's Drupal Stack Installer ("DAMP"), which can be found at http://www.acquia.com/downloads. However, that installs Acquia Drupal, which is a version of "normal" Drupal extended with additional modules. If only core Drupal is desired, see the instructions at http://acquia.com/blog/kieran/try-drupal-7-alpha-your-laptop-or-desktop. (The instructions are for Drupal 7, but will work for Drupal 6 as well.)
- Q: In the "Using the example files" movie, the method of importing information to the database is shown, using the backup in Chapter 10. When attempting to do this, the following error is shown: "No data was received to import. Either no file name was submitted, or the file size exceeded the maximum size permitted by your PHP configuration. See FAQ 1.16." The system is running the latest versions of Apache, PhP and MySQL, on Windows Vista. What could be causing the problem?
- A: This is probably caused because your AMP stack allocates too little memory to PHP.
That's especially true if you're using WAMP, which only gives PHP 2MB of memory, when it really needs at least 16MB.You'll see the issue if you go to the MySQL-controlling phpMyAdmin screen (probably at http://localhost/phpMyAdmin) and click "Import": The maximum file size allowed is 2,048K. That's only 2MB, and the databases for most Drupal sites are much larger than that. (The example site for Drupal Essential Training gets as big as 5MB.) The video "Installing WAMP and Drupal on Windows" shows (at around 3:30) where the php.ini file is, but here are some more-complete instructions to increase that memory limit.
- Click the WAMP icon in your system tray.
- Select "PHP". In the side menu, select "php.ini" to open a file containing PHP's configuration options.
- Search for the line, "upload_max_filesize = 2M".
- Change it to "upload_max_filesize = 32M" (or whatever you like).
- Save the file and restart WAMP. (Better yet, restart your computer entirely to be sure. I'm frankly not sure whether it makes a difference.)
- Now go back to that "Import" screen in phpMyAdmin: You should notice that the limit has changed.
- Q: I don't remember the default username and password used demonstrate Drupal.
- A: The default username used in the course is "admin"; the default password is "booth".
- Q: How can I change Drupal's administrative username and password?
- A: If for some reason the default exercise file username (admin) and password (booth) don't work, you can change them in the database itself using phpMyAdmin. (This technique is demonstrated in a video from Chapter 8, "Recovering from disasters".)
- Open your Drupal database with phpMyAdmin.
- Go to the "users" table. Click the Browse icon.
- For the row where uid = 1, click the Edit icon. (Note the value under the "Name" column: That's the administrator's username.)
- In the "pass" row, select "MD5" under the "Function" column
- In the same row, enter your new password under the "Value" column.
- At the bottom of the screen, click the "Go" button. You should now be able to log in with that username and new password.
- Q: In Windows Vista, the WAMP icon disappears from the system tray after a certain amount of time. How do I get it to reappear?
- A: To make the WAMP icon reappear (so that you can access localhost, phpmyadmin, php.ini, etc.), you have to activate the "start WAMP server" icon (from start menu, desktop or wherever). The system tray icon will reappear.
- Q: My .htaccess file disappeared. What caused this?
- A: A few times during the Drupal Essential Training video series, the instructor says to copy a Drupal installation by selecting all the files in the folder and then "dragging and dropping" them, either to a server or another location on your local computer. This is not the best way to do so, as the hidden file ".htaccess" will not be copied.
There are two ways to get around that problem:
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- When installing Drupal for the first time: Instead of copying files from the Drupal folder, move the entire folder to its target location and rename it. This is the easiest solution for those without experience with Unix.
- Use the command-line interface to copy the .htaccess file.
- Q: In the video, the instructor says the current version of Drupal is 6.3, but on the drupal.org site, the latest version is 6.17. Which is the newer version of Drupal?
- A: Drupal 6.17 is newer than version 6.3. For some reason, the the version numbers go 6.3, 6.4... 6.9, 6.10... 6.17. It’s counter-intuitive, but that’s the order.
- Q: My WAMP phpMyadmin will not allow me to upload the exercise files. It returns this message: "No data was received to import. Either no file name was submitted, or the file size exceeded the maximum size permitted by your PHP configuration. See FAQ 1.16." There was no previous database to drop, so what do I need to do to make this work?
- A: This is a common problem, caused not by Drupal, but by WAMP. WAMP only allows you to upload files of 2MB or smaller, which is much too small. The solution is detailed at http://tomgeller.com/cant-import-a-drupal-site-in-windows.
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