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Over 25 years ago, the point and click interface catapulted home computers from something that was just used by hobbyists and grudging businesspeople to being a fun and useful device for ordinary people at home. Drupal has been undergoing a similar transformation over the past few versions, becoming less text and programmer- centric and much more graphical. Drupal 7 introduces several nice features that make administration even more graphical and intuitive. We already saw one of them in a video earlier in the series about the Dashboard where you can rearrange blocks on a page by dragging and dropping them.
Now, we're going to take a quick look at another one. Contextual link controls. This is really a very simple thing to show, but it has some subtleties. I'll show you over here on this search block here. I'm logged in as the administrator, so when I move my cursor over it, you see this little widget that shows up. We click that and we can Configure it. We see that it's a block. When you click on Configure block, we just goes straight to the place where we can say where exactly it goes on the page and change the title and so forth. That's pretty obvious. What's not quite as obvious is that the contextual link control changes depending on what sort of thing you're pointing at.
For example, here we have management, which is actually a menu. When we click on the link control here we get not only Configure blocks, since it does appear on the block, but also we could edit the menu to change it's name or list the links. And when of course add them and remove them the way we normally would in any other kind of menu change. Finally, I'll show you what it looks like on a node. I'll just add new content and just say it's an article and just say Test node. It doesn't really matter what it says. Scroll down to the bottom. It's going to be on the front page. Then we'll say Save and go back to our front page.
Now, as I hover over this one we see our link control we can actually go in and edit or just simply delete that node. Now I want to mention that only shows up when you're looking at the node in a list view such as on the front page. If I were to go to the node itself we would just have to click on the View or Edit tabs. I'm going to go back to that front page and just quickly delete this. Done! Contextual link controls are a simple little trick, but what's important is that the code that makes the impossible is actually built into Drupal's core.
That has a bigger implication then you see here because it means that people who develop modules for Drupal, and there are a lot of such people out there, can take advantage of these contextual controls. The upshot I think is that as time goes by a lot of modules are going to have the same sort of point and click convenience that this little widget offers. And that's going to make Drupal much more accessible to the public as a whole.
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