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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.
Most of what you will do in this course looks at your site from the point of view of an Administrator. But now it's time to step across the threshold and see what the site looks like from the other side, that is, from that of a visitor. We will do this by going through the sign up procedure as it's defined in Drupal's default configuration and then we will look at some of the options that you as the administrator have, to change that membership process. First, we are going to log out, so we are no longer the Administrator. If I was someone coming across your Drupal website like this for the first time, I might be able to create a new account. Here I would put in my proposed Username, let's call me fishyjoe and my e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org and Create new account. You will notice this message up here that tells us that further instructions have been sent to that e- mail address. Now I am going to go in to my site as the Administrator to see what happens when a user tries to create an account. Admin -- to do so, we go to Administer, down to Users and here we have the member fishyjoe. Let's take a look at some of the options that we have to edit. We can change the Username, if for example, they have put in something obscene or unwanted, their E-mail address, we can change their Password, their Status, so if for example, we have some reason to block them, we can do that here. We can also give them a role. We had previously created this one contributing user, so let's say we know who fishyjoe is. We can say Oh! Yeah and we know that we want that person to be a Contributor, we can click that.
They will automatically be an authenticated user because that's what all members become. And let's just say Save here. By default on Drupal, the user will receive an e-mail to the address that they gave saying, we understand you would like to become a member, please click on this special link to finish your registration process. The reason that's done is because so many people will enter false e-mail addresses and that's one way that abuse happens on websites. So this makes sure at least that the e-mail address is proper and true. If the person doesn't have that e-mail address, then they would never receive the message that would give them their secret link. So the users can create their own accounts but the Administrator can also add users as they like. It's on the same screen, which again is Administer and then Users by just going Add user. Let's add fishysue and the e-mail address email@example.com. Once again, you would set a password. Oops! I didn't set it the same so let's try that again, password again. Good, the passwords match, although it's not a very high password strength. This is an automatic feature in Drupal 6, it checks to make sure, you are giving the best passwords possible. And again, you can set certain features, I don't know why you would set a new account that would be Blocked, but you have that option. Finally, if you like, you can notify the user of new account in which case, it will send an e-mail to that firstname.lastname@example.org address in our example here. You might not want to do that, if for example, you have spoken to that person and said here, you are sitting right here, I'll just create your account there. You don't really need an e-mail to tell you that you have this. And then you just say Create new account, there. We have a new account created.
You can also prevent people from entering certain types of user names or registering e-mail addresses from certain domains, say for example, your competitors. You can do that by going to Administer, Access rules. Let's add a rule that will let us see what sort of options we have to block. First you can choose to only allow addresses and user names and so forth that meet a certain pattern or by default, you can deny them. Let's say that we want to deny all people with user names that contain squid in them. These special characters down here let you block certain kinds of wild-card patterns. The % sign blocks all strings, no matter how long they are. So for example, if I didn't want squidsue and joesquid, I would say % squid% and then Add Rule. Now if I want to check to see what sort of names I can add, we will do Check rules. Say username jimmythesquid and check the username, Aha! It's not allowed. However if I were to do tomtheoctopus, and check that username, that is allowed. Let's go back to our list and just delete that one.
You have many more options of how users register for your site. Let's go to Administer and User Settings to see exactly what those are. This is a very long screen. It has many, many options in it including long texts here that you can edit. But really, it's only broken down in to four sections. At the top you have basic registration settings, the first set of radio buttons lets you make it so that only you can create user accounts, it takes away that link that says create your own account. The second one, which is ON by default, lets visitors create their own account and you don't have to approve everyone. The third one lets visitors create accounts but only will become members if you say yes.
Again we talked about e-mail verification and the third section lets you put some help texts. So for example, You can't use the word squid in your username, for example. That will appear above the form when people are signing up for their accounts. The user e-mail settings let you change what sort of e-mail people get when they sign up for the site. There are several different options here, one is if the user is created by the Administrator, that's a different message from if somebody has created their own account which is another different message from if somebody has created an account but it has to be approved by an Administrator. The third section, lets users put in Signatures at the end of their user profiles. Then for example, they could comment on forum posts and at the end of all of their comments, it would have some small block of text. By default, it's Disabled. Similarly, the picture section lets people put a little user picture next to their account, which can show up next to forum posts, for example or comments or just in their profile. We will say Save Configuration here. Now let's Log Out again and say Create new account.
Remember how we said, you can't have the word squid in your username? Well, there it is. Let's log back in as the Administrator and let's take a look again at our list of users. One final thing that you can do here is once you have been online for a long time, you'll have a long, long list of users and you may want to do the same thing to all of them. For example, block several of them, or delete several of them. You can do that by checking them as I have just done and then choosing the option that you want from up here. You can also change the roles that they have, so let's say that fishyjoe and fishysue have been very good members and you want to say, yeah, I want to make them a contributing user, you can do that very easily that way and then click Update. Additionally, you can show only those people who are contributing users, by clicking on the role and then clicking on Filter with Contributing User selected and so forth with permissions and status.
As you can see, Drupal gives you considerable control over how people register for your site and what they can do on it and there's further control available through third party modules that are available for download. Through these tools you can manage how users go from being an anonymous user to an authenticated user and then in addition, give them other permissions as is appropriate for them.
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