Drupal 6 Essential Training
Illustration by Don Barnett

Creating contact forms


From:

Drupal 6 Essential Training

with Tom Geller

Video: Creating contact forms

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.
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  1. 4m 36s
    1. Welcome
      49s
    2. Using the example files
      3m 47s
  2. 28m 50s
    1. Drupal is a CMS
      7m 43s
    2. Choosing Drupal
      5m 31s
    3. Checking Drupal's requirements
      4m 26s
    4. Understanding the inner workings of Drupal
      4m 32s
    5. Meeting the Drupal community
      6m 38s
  3. 11m 26s
    1. Learning key terms in Drupal
      5m 19s
    2. Touring Drupal's interface
      6m 7s
  4. 34m 28s
    1. Installing WAMP and Drupal on Windows
      9m 41s
    2. Installing MAMP
      4m 34s
    3. Setting up the database on a Mac
      2m 1s
    4. Downloading and installing Drupal on a Mac
      6m 32s
    5. Troubleshooting installation problems
      3m 49s
    6. Automating updates with cron
      7m 51s
  5. 25m 34s
    1. Setting up clean URLs
      5m 51s
    2. Backing up your Drupal site
      3m 31s
    3. Restoring your Drupal site from backup
      4m 18s
    4. Wiping your Drupal installation clean
      2m 6s
    5. Updating Drupal
      9m 48s
  6. 15m 35s
    1. Using the Administration menu
      6m 20s
    2. Setting site information
      4m 50s
    3. Setting the theme
      4m 25s
  7. 35m 6s
    1. Understanding security and permissions
      7m 2s
    2. Controlling site access with user management
      3m 39s
    3. Creating users
      7m 57s
    4. Setting user profiles
      9m 40s
    5. Creating contact forms
      6m 48s
  8. 19m 18s
    1. Creating your site's basic info pages
      7m 12s
    2. Understanding page layout
      5m 40s
    3. Creating a flexible layout with blocks
      6m 26s
  9. 15m 34s
    1. Monitoring performance
      4m 51s
    2. Recovering from disasters
      7m 37s
    3. Improving administration skills
      3m 6s
  10. 41m 1s
    1. Understanding nodes
      6m 49s
    2. Creating basic content: Stories and pages
      7m 9s
    3. Enabling other content types
      9m 22s
    4. Adding blogs
      3m 48s
    5. Adding forums
      6m 56s
    6. Adding polls
      6m 57s
  11. 34m 48s
    1. Exploring content categories
      7m 44s
    2. Exchanging content via RSS
      9m 47s
    3. Using input filters
      7m 40s
    4. Managing comments
      9m 37s
  12. 38m 5s
    1. Configuring your theme
      11m 27s
    2. Changing your theme's graphics
      4m 59s
    3. Finding and installing a new theme
      8m 56s
    4. Understanding Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
      5m 56s
    5. Deciphering CSS files
      6m 47s
  13. 22m 38s
    1. Finding modules
      6m 52s
    2. Unpacking and installing modules
      6m 29s
    3. Configuring modules
      3m 49s
    4. Implementing complex modules
      5m 28s
  14. 32m 10s
    1. Ensuring automated updates with poormanscron
      3m 10s
    2. Defining custom content types with CCK
      12m 53s
    3. Stopping spam using a CAPTCHA
      10m 43s
    4. Using a WYSIWYG text editor
      5m 24s
  15. 22m 18s
    1. Getting around with multilevel menus
      7m 26s
    2. Building custom menus
      5m 42s
    3. Creating easy-to-navigate books
      9m 10s
  16. 20m 18s
    1. Changing page templates with PHP
      8m 15s
    2. Using PHP in content
      5m 20s
    3. Implementing PHP snippets
      6m 43s
  17. 10m 14s
    1. Launching your site
      5m 51s
    2. Joining the Drupal community
      4m 23s
  18. 15s
    1. Goodbye
      15s

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Watch the Online Video Course Drupal 6 Essential Training
6h 52m Beginner Aug 25, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • 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
Subject:
Web
Software:
Drupal
Author:
Tom Geller

Creating contact forms

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 webmaster@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 properties@example.com. 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.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Drupal 6 Essential Training .


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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.)
  1. Increase XAMPP's PHP allocation.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 

  1. Click the WAMP icon in your system tray.
  2. Select "PHP". In the side menu, select "php.ini" to open a file containing PHP's configuration options.
  3. Search for the line, "upload_max_filesize = 2M".
  4. Change it to "upload_max_filesize = 32M" (or whatever you like). 
  5. 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.)
  6. 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".)

  1. Open your Drupal database with phpMyAdmin.
  2. Go to the "users" table. Click the Browse icon.
  3. For the row where uid = 1, click the Edit icon. (Note the value under the "Name" column: That's the administrator's username.)
  4. In the "pass" row, select "MD5" under the "Function" column
  5. In the same row, enter your new password under the "Value" column.
  6. 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: 
  1. 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. 
  2. Use the command-line interface to copy the .htaccess file.
Sorry for the error.
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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