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Creating easy-to-navigate books

From: Drupal 6 Essential Training

Video: Creating easy-to-navigate books

Drupal's built-in page and story content types are fairly straight forward, each single page of contents stands on its own but Drupal includes another content type that lets you combine a series of pages into a sort of online book with single click links to go back and forth just like turning the pages of a real life book. This content type is especially handy for sequential, instructional material and is in fact used on the drupal.org web site to presents its tutorial handbooks. Let's take a look at that site now to understand how books work. We have gone straight to the Drupal 6 handbook, which you can see at getting-started/6. The book itself is divided into two sections Install Drupal and Administer Drupal; if you click on either of these you will see the chapters that it contains, if you click on up you will go back to your original page. This is like going into the pages of a chapter, if that chapter is subdivided into sections, you can see how there is a multilevel hierarchy. You can also page through the book by going to the right like this and this and so forth. I am going to go up again and up one more time and you can also add additional pages by adding child pages. Once again in the hierarchy, the child is the one that's immediately below the level that you are looking at. This will become clear as we go along.

Creating easy-to-navigate books

Drupal's built-in page and story content types are fairly straight forward, each single page of contents stands on its own but Drupal includes another content type that lets you combine a series of pages into a sort of online book with single click links to go back and forth just like turning the pages of a real life book. This content type is especially handy for sequential, instructional material and is in fact used on the drupal.org web site to presents its tutorial handbooks. Let's take a look at that site now to understand how books work. We have gone straight to the Drupal 6 handbook, which you can see at getting-started/6. The book itself is divided into two sections Install Drupal and Administer Drupal; if you click on either of these you will see the chapters that it contains, if you click on up you will go back to your original page. This is like going into the pages of a chapter, if that chapter is subdivided into sections, you can see how there is a multilevel hierarchy. You can also page through the book by going to the right like this and this and so forth. I am going to go up again and up one more time and you can also add additional pages by adding child pages. Once again in the hierarchy, the child is the one that's immediately below the level that you are looking at. This will become clear as we go along.

The big difference between Drupal books and the way you think of real life books; is that in the real world books have a variety of parts, there is a cover, a chapter title, subtitles and body text. Some of those parts don't actually have any content, for example the cover doesn't tell you anything expect the name of the book, it doesn't contain a lot of information just the name. In a Drupal book every part is equal and has both a title and the body. I know that doesn't make much sense now but you will see what I mean in a minute. Let's switch back to our site; to make books you first have to turn on the module book, to do so we go up to Administer and Modules and then scroll down until we see Book. Turn it on by clicking it; scroll down to the bottom and Save Configuration.

As with most modules there are permissions associated with the book content type, lets go to Administer and Permissions and search for the word book by hitting Command F on the Mac or Control F on a PC and we see that it creates its permissions inside the book module. We could for example allow our users to add content to books if the drupal. org site allows and then we could have contributing users be able to create new books and so forth. We are not going to change any of the default Permission, so we can just go back up to the top of the page if we like. Okay, so let's create our book, to do so go to Create content and then click on this new link, Book page. For our Title we are going to say Home Repair.

One thing that maybe confusing is that you see a Body here and that might make you think that you have to enter it but it doesn't have the red asterisk; this is not a required part of the page, you can just leave it blank. We scroll down further and we see have a new choice here Book outline. The main part that we change in the Book outline is what Book it belongs to. In this case we are going to create a new book; this will be like the title page or the cover of a real life book, create a new book and then say Save. Great, now that we have done that, we are going to add four sections to our book; these will be called Roof, Foundation, Electrical and Plumbing.

We do all of these as children of the book that's called Home Repair, as though these are chapters. To do so click on Add child page, the Title is going to be Roof and again we don't need any Body; going down a little bit to Book outline, we want it to be in the book Home Repair, now the reason it shows up by default as Home Repair is because we clicked on Add child. So it automatically filled in this field and this field; click on Save and we will do that three more times. First we have to go back up to Home Repair and add another child page, title will be Foundation. Once again we scroll down, make sure that yep it's in Home Repair, Save. Go back up so that we are at our Home Repair page, add a child, Title Electrical, Save that. Go up to our book, add a child page and Plumbing; go down and Save.

Great, now if we go back up we see that we have this book Home Repair which has four sections but where is this book, how can we actually look at it? As it happens when you turn on the book module a page is created at /book, there. Now we see our book; if we had created more than one of course we would see a list of books. Click on it and we go right back to where we were. As I look at this book, I think I want to divide this into sections, I think Electrical and Plumbing should be in Systems whereas Foundation and Roof should be in Structure, lets do that. It may be natural to think oh well how do I create a container for those two things but remember everything in a book is a page.

So we are going to go ahead and just add a another child page here and we will call this Systems and once again go down make sure its in the right place, yep its in Home Repair and Save. Once again we will go up, create a child page, and call that Structure and Save it. So now we have six pages that are really all on the same level and we want to create a hierarchy; to do so go to Administer and Books. Now we see our book with this Operation, edit order and titles; click on it and you see that familiar little icon with the arrows. We are going to put Electrical into Systems like this, by dragging it down and then in a little bit so you can see the hierarchy. We will move Plumbing into the same area, not as the child of Electrical but as a child of Systems. Roof of course goes into Structure and Foundation also goes into Structure like that. Click on Save Book Pages.

Now we have given our book some structure, lets take a look at how that looks by going back up to /book. Click on Home Repair, now we only see the two top levels, we click on either one of them; say Structure, now we see the two ones that are underneath it. There is one big weakness about this structure though. You don't really see a hierarchical list ; you just have to go in drilling down and drilling down. You can also use these forward and next pages but its still not very clear, for example this Foundation section, we see Roof comes next and Structure comes previous but that doesn't tell us about the hierarchy.

In order to see the hierarchy we are going to add this book as a block. To do so go to Administer and Blocks; you see every book that you create, creates a page that is some place that you can go by going to /book and then clicking on the link. It also creates a block, which I am about to show you, and it creates a menu, we will go through both of those now. We are now in Administer, Blocks, if you scroll down to the bottom you will see Book navigation block. We will take that and we will put it in the Left hand sidebar and Save Blocks. As with other blocks it gets put at the bottom and we can move it up if we like, let's do that just for the moment, we move it up and Save Blocks, there. Now we see our Home Repair book and of course if we had other books we would see those as well.

When we click on it, now we can see the structure a little better, click on Structure, there is our hierarchy. Let's go back to Blocks and take that one out, so I can show you menus. Go to Administer, Blocks and turn off Book navigation by going to none and saving. Now we will go to Admin and Menus. Once you are in the Menus page, click on Navigation and we see all of the things that are in this Navigation menu. If you scroll to the very bottom, you will see this- Books (disabled). Let's enable it by clicking here. You can see it's in the Enabled column and saving the configuration. Now at the very bottom of your Navigation menu you see Books, when you click on it, it just goes to that book page, not as useful.

In my opinion Drupal's book structure really needs the Block to make it worthwhile and once you are in a book, it's not as easy or obvious as it could be. But you do get some nice benefits from books, for one numerous people can create book pages with one editor rearranging them as needed, in short books are best for content that's intended to be part of a cohesive whole with multiple contributors and central moderators that's why drupal.org is built on books and if it's good enough for the Drupal project, its good enough for me.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Drupal 6 Essential Training
Drupal 6 Essential Training

66 video lessons · 31388 viewers

Tom Geller
Author

 
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  1. 4m 38s
    1. Welcome
      50s
    2. Using the example files
      3m 48s
  2. 28m 55s
    1. Drupal is a CMS
      7m 43s
    2. Choosing Drupal
      5m 32s
    3. Checking Drupal's requirements
      4m 26s
    4. Understanding the inner workings of Drupal
      4m 35s
    5. Meeting the Drupal community
      6m 39s
  3. 11m 28s
    1. Learning key terms in Drupal
      5m 20s
    2. Touring Drupal's interface
      6m 8s
  4. 34m 35s
    1. Installing WAMP and Drupal on Windows
      9m 41s
    2. Installing MAMP
      4m 34s
    3. Setting up the database on a Mac
      2m 2s
    4. Downloading and installing Drupal on a Mac
      6m 37s
    5. Troubleshooting installation problems
      3m 49s
    6. Automating updates with cron
      7m 52s
  5. 25m 37s
    1. Setting up clean URLs
      5m 52s
    2. Backing up your Drupal site
      3m 31s
    3. Restoring your Drupal site from backup
      4m 19s
    4. Wiping your Drupal installation clean
      2m 7s
    5. Updating Drupal
      9m 48s
  6. 15m 37s
    1. Using the Administration menu
      6m 21s
    2. Setting site information
      4m 50s
    3. Setting the theme
      4m 26s
  7. 35m 8s
    1. Understanding security and permissions
      7m 2s
    2. Controlling site access with user management
      3m 39s
    3. Creating users
      7m 58s
    4. Setting user profiles
      9m 40s
    5. Creating contact forms
      6m 49s
  8. 19m 19s
    1. Creating your site's basic info pages
      7m 13s
    2. Understanding page layout
      5m 40s
    3. Creating a flexible layout with blocks
      6m 26s
  9. 15m 35s
    1. Monitoring performance
      4m 52s
    2. Recovering from disasters
      7m 37s
    3. Improving administration skills
      3m 6s
  10. 41m 3s
    1. Understanding nodes
      6m 50s
    2. Creating basic content: Stories and pages
      7m 9s
    3. Enabling other content types
      9m 22s
    4. Adding blogs
      3m 49s
    5. Adding forums
      6m 56s
    6. Adding polls
      6m 57s
  11. 34m 50s
    1. Exploring content categories
      7m 45s
    2. Exchanging content via RSS
      9m 47s
    3. Using input filters
      7m 41s
    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 41s
    1. Finding modules
      6m 53s
    2. Unpacking and installing modules
      6m 30s
    3. Configuring modules
      3m 50s
    4. Implementing complex modules
      5m 28s
  14. 32m 12s
    1. Ensuring automated updates with poormanscron
      3m 11s
    2. Defining custom content types with CCK
      12m 54s
    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 19s
    1. Changing page templates with PHP
      8m 15s
    2. Using PHP in content
      5m 20s
    3. Implementing PHP snippets
      6m 44s
  17. 10m 15s
    1. Launching your site
      5m 52s
    2. Joining the Drupal community
      4m 23s
  18. 14s
    1. Goodbye
      14s

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