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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.
One sign of a professional quality website is that it gives ways for its visitors to provide feedback to the administrators and other members in a controlled and helpful way. In order to turn on contact forms, you first go to Administer and then to Modules. From there you will scroll down until you see the Contact Module, which is off by default. If you haven't done so, just click it like so, scroll to the bottom and save your configuration. Once you have turned on your Contact Dorm Module, you then administer it by going to Administer and Contact Form.
Right now, we have no contact forms already installed. We will add them by adding a Category and then filling out this form. The Category describes what sort of form it is. For example, we will have Website feedback and that will go to the email@example.com. You can also indicate an auto-reply, which will send e-mail back to the sender whenever they use this contact form. We are not going to do that now, so we will pass that.
The Weight pop-up lets you reorder your contact forms so that some will appear at the top and others lower down in the list. We will leave it as it is now since we only have one contact form. Finally, the selected pop up lets you determine which contact form will be turned on by default. We will say Save and we have created our first contact form. But what exactly does that look like? To find out, we go to the page that's created within Drupal, which is your website address followed by /contact. And there we have the contact form. This is what somebody would see if they wanted to send an e-mail to the administrator. It already comes filled in with the sender's name, that is to say, their username on the Drupal site, which they can change if they like, their e-mail address, again they can change that and the subject and message which they would fill in. I will just say, Feedback on the site. It looks great! They have an option to send themselves a copy if they like so that they can remember exactly what they have sent to the administrators and then send e-mail and it's done. They get a message that confirms that their message has been sent. But we only have one contact form here.
Let's say that you have a large organization and one person handles the website and another one handles enquiries in to the business and so forth. Let's go back and add one. Since we are a real estate company, we will add one for Property information. Go to contact form, Add another category, We will call this Property information. For recipients, we will add several people, we will say, it should go to admin@ example.com, but it should also go to firstname.lastname@example.org. To add more than one address, you put a comma in between them and then in this case we will have an auto-reply that says, Thanks for your message. Again, we will ignore Weight, but we will say Selected as Yes. That's going to make this the default, that shows up when people go to that contact form and click on Save. Now we have two separate contact forms.
Let's take another look at what the user would see. Here we are again. It has the name and the e-mail address of the sender. They enter a subject. Here you will see an additional choice, which is, which Category does this message fall into? Is it Website feedback or Property information? Since we had Property information as the default, it shows up as checked and then the person would enter their message and do exactly as they did before. So far, so good. But there is one more thing we have to do to make it so that members can actually use this form. Go to Administer, scroll down to Permissions and then scroll down to the contact module. We have to make sure that authenticated user is allowed to access the site-wide contact form. If not, it does no good; they simply can't reach it. You could also add other roles that are permitted to send e-mail this way by clicking in their boxes, in this case we added a type of roll called Contributing user. We could add them if we wanted.
You could allow anonymous users to send e-mail via the contact form by clicking here. Personally, I would recommend that you not do that because that opens the door to abuse from people who haven't actually signed up on your site. If they to want to, they could send many, many messages or abusive messages and you would have no way of knowing who they are, since they haven't signed up. We will leave that unchecked for now. Once you have done that, scroll to the bottom and Save your permissions. Let's take a look at what this would like to an ordinary user. To do so, we are going to switch over to Firefox, where I have already logged in as fishyjoe, who is an ordinary user and not an administrator. Once again, they would go to Contact and they see pretty much the same thing that the administrator saw.
There's the pop up. Send yourself a copy, all the other options. There is one other thing that happens to ordinary users though. When you turn on the contact module, they get an individual personal contact form, which allows other members to send e-mail to them. They can turn that off, if they like, by going to My Account, Edit and unchecking the checkbox Personal Contact Form. In this case, fishyjoe wants to receive e-mail from other members, so we will just say, Save.
There is one more thing we could do to make this easier for all the members. We are going to put a link up in the right hand corner that says Contact Us, that leads back to the administrator's contact form. To do that, we will go back to our Administrator interface, go to Administer and then to Menus. You can add that link to any one of the menus, the Navigation menu is over here on the left hand side, Primary and Secondary links are up here in the right hand corner in this theme. We are going to add it to Primary links. There is another video about Adding menus, which goes in to this function in greater detail. But for now, we will just say Add item, we wanted to go to the contact page and the link title should be Contact Us. For description, let's just say, Tell us what do you think! We will ignore these other options for now and click on Save. There, we have added the link. Remember that description, if you hover above it, it gives you that description as a little tip. Now for anybody who clicks on that link, they go straight to the Administrator Contact page.
Contact forms are great for providing a venue for customer service and increasing visitor engagement in your site. They have one other advantage over plain e-mail addresses that might show up in your site, which is that, if you that, it opens the door to abuse because many spammers will just scrape it from your website and send massive amounts of spam and abuse to that address. So Contact forms avoid that by forcing all members who want to send you messages, to go through this form interface.
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