Defining custom content types with CCK
Video: Defining custom content types with CCKDrupal's default installation comes with only a few basic content types that, truth be told, do not differ much one from the other. A Blog post is very much like a story which in turn is very much like a page. The Content Construction Kit, or CCK Module, is your gateway to expanding content types tremendously, incorporating not only plane text, but also email address, dates, durations and so on. We have already downloaded and installed this module. If you need help doing so, see the video in this series entitled 'Unpacking and Installing Modules'.
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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.
- 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
Defining custom content types with CCK
Drupal's default installation comes with only a few basic content types that, truth be told, do not differ much one from the other. A Blog post is very much like a story which in turn is very much like a page. The Content Construction Kit, or CCK Module, is your gateway to expanding content types tremendously, incorporating not only plane text, but also email address, dates, durations and so on. We have already downloaded and installed this module. If you need help doing so, see the video in this series entitled 'Unpacking and Installing Modules'.
CCK is indispensable for anyone who wants to build a specialized Drupal site. For example, a catalog or a resource directory, but it takes a little getting used to. The first thing that we are going to do is to create a new content type. That is the one that we are going to be playing with, when we use CCK. We will go to Administer, Content types and Add Content type. The Content type will be called Property Listing. The Type will be property_listing. Remember the type is machine readable, so you have to limit exactly what characters go into it and the description will be, Underwater properties offered for sale.
Scrolling down further we click on the Submission form settings, change the Title field label to Headline and the Body to Description of property. We will also change the workflow settings, so that a new revision is created each time and note that it is promoted to front page, so everything we create as property_type will show up on the front page. And under Comment Settings we will disable them, so that people cannot comment on property listings. Scroll down to the bottom and Save content types. Now we are ready to start adding CCK fields, but first let us take a look at exactly what CCK does. We will go into Administer and Modules. We have installed the Modules, but we have not turned them on. Let us see what they look like. At the top you see this group CCK. Just by installing that one module we have all of these different parts that we can turn on or off.
The only one that is necessary is Content. We are going to turn on only that one, then scroll down to the bottom of the page and Save Configuration. We are going to edit the Content type called Property listing. To do so go to Administer and then to Content types and down to Property listing, but you will see that there are two new fields here called Add Field and Manage Fields. We want to add a field, so we will click on add field. It did not work; the reason is that although we added the CCK Module and the content part we have no specific CCK types that we can add. So we will go back to Administer and Modules and in our case, we are just going to add two more, Number and Text. The other options in the CCK area define either CCK types such as Number or Text or they define certain things like Permissions or how CCK fields can be grouped on the page.
You can read more about these in the documentation for CCK. In addition you can download other CCK types at drupal.org in the Modules download area. But for now, we will just go down to the bottom of the page and save our configuration. Now we will go back to Administer, Content types and Property listing and we will try adding a field. Now we can add a field. The first field we are going to add is bedroom since obviously if you have a property listing you want to know how many bedrooms it has.
We will call it field bedrooms; the label will be Number of bedrooms. Here we have a choice, what sort of field we want it to be? The reason we have these four choices because we turned on the Number and Text CCK types. The first three obviously are numbers. Decimal means with a decimal point in it, like 3.5. Float means a floating-point number, which is used in computing. Integer is a whole number; 3, 6 negative 5 and Text obviously would be a plain text field.
Since you can only have a whole bedroom, we will change it to Integer and then click Continue. Depending on what we selected in Field type our next options are going to vary. Under Widget type we only have option of Text field. Again as you add more CCK types you may have other choices. We click on Continue and have several options. The first is Help text. We can say to people, "Please put the number of bedrooms in this area." We do not really have to do that because it should be clear, number of bedrooms is the number of bedrooms.
You can also enter a Default value. For example, let us say that you live in a condo development in which everything has to two bedrooms except for five or six properties. Then you might have a default value of two and then let people change it to something else when that exceptional case occurs. We will click on that and you can see, you can enter your default there. You can also enter PHP code depending on circumstances that you can interact with in a PHP program that is well beyond the subject of this course though. Going down you can require that field to be entered. If it is not checked then people can just leave it blank. We are going to require it. You can indicate a Number of values, so people have to enter five different types of bedroom, obviously that does not make sense here, so we will not include it. You can have a Minimum and a Maximum and a Prefix. We will show you what the Prefix means in another field that is coming up.
Along with the Prefix, you can have a Suffix and finally you can limit the values to a list that you define. For example, let us say, that you never deal with properties of more than five bedrooms, but you also never deal with properties of three bedrooms. You could limit it to one, two, four and five bedrooms by typing in 1, enter, 2, enter, 4, enter, 5; one per each line. Again you can enter PHP code for that as well. We are just going to save the field as it is now. Now we see a list of all of the fields and something interesting is here. We see the Headline and Description of property. Those were built-in to the Property listing even before we installed CCK. We change the names that were titled in body but CCK exposes the fields that are already built into Drupal.
Similarly Menu Settings is one of the built in fields that CCK exposes. Continuing on we are going to add a few more fields by clicking Add Field. This one is going to be bathrooms -- number of bathrooms. For Field type, we are going to leave it as decimal because you can actually have half a bathroom, if there is a toilet and sink and no shower for example. We click on Continue and again we have this Widget type which at the moment the only choice is Text field, so we will just click Continue. We will scroll through here and for this, we do need a Help text to explain to people exactly what half a bathroom is. So we will type in, use decimals to show partial bathrooms, 0.5=toilet and sink but not bathing. 0.75=sink and bathing facilities but no toilet. Again we do not have a default value; we are going to require this field. We only want one field to be entered. No minimum or maximum.
The Precision popup comes into play, if you are dealing with math mostly. The minimum precision is 10, which is more than enough for most purposes. We only need three places of precision since we can only have 1 or 1.5 or 1.25, we will never have 1.333. In any case 10 is more then enough. For Scale we know we will never need more then 2 to the right of the decimal, so we can leave it at 2. You have a choice of what sort of decimal marker you want. This one is depending on what country you are in. Some places in the world use a comma or a space instead of a decimal point. Since we are doing this site for US audience we use the decimal point. Again Prefix and Suffix, Allowed values we showed you. Click on Save filed settings.
All right, we are getting there. The third field we are going to add is going to be Price. We will just call it price, the Label is Price and the field type is Integer. We are not going to let people charge pennies on there houses. Click on Continue, again Widget type is Text field, Continue. We do not need a Help text. We are going to require this and we are going to require a minimum of 1, so that people can say this property is whatever you decide to pay me. We are going to make them name a price. For Prefix, we are going to put in the $ sign, so that every time somebody enters the number it will come out with a $ sign ahead of it.
Skip Allowed Values and Save field settings. There is just one more field we have to add and that is the Address field. Go up to Add field, we will call it address. Under Label we will call it Address and for Field type, we will say Text and Continue. Now this Widget we have multiple selection for the first time. We can either have text field, which is single line, or text area, which is multiple rows. You would use the second if you wanted to allow users to enter an assay for example. But one line is good enough for us and we will click Continue. We do not need a Help text; we do not need a Default value. We do want to require a value. Keep scrolling down and you will see an additional option, Plain text or Filtered text in which case you could say for example, choose whether this it should HTML or PHP or something, but we are just going to use Plain text. Once again we do not need to check Allowed values and save field settings.
There, now we have our new CCK content type. Before we start working with it, I would like to point out a few things and adjust it a little bit. First for each field that you create you will notice links at the top of this page. If you click on anyone of them you can go back and edit certain characteristics about that field. There are some that you cannot edit however, for example, the Widget type, unless you click on change basic information in which case you back a little bit earlier. We are not going to do that now though. We are just going to go back and click on Manage Fields which the screen we were on before. From here as in other places in Drupal, you can change the order in which these appear. I think I want to have the Headline up top, then the price. You do that by clicking and dragging on that little arrow icon, the Number of Bedrooms, the Number of Bathrooms, the Address and then the description of property and we do not need the Menu settings until the end and in fact that is really just for Administration anyway. The ordinary user would not see that.
You will notice that this does not take, until you click on Save, so now we do that. Terrific we have created our Content type. If we want to allow ordinary users to able to enter it however, we have to go up to Administer and Permissions. On the Permissions page, you have to allow authenticated users to enter information in that Content type. You can search that whole page or you can just a find and do a search for the name of the content type which in this case is property. Property and there it is, property_listing. We are going to allow them to enter their own properties by clicking here.
Scroll to the bottom and say Save permissions. Now we are going to switch over to our ordinary user fishyjoe and he is going to add a property. We switch by holding down Command Tab to get the Firefox in which we have already logged in fishyjoe. Fishyjoe can go up to Create Content and he sees this new content type called Property listing. He clicks on it and he gets a form exactly as we would expect it to appear. Let us make a property here, Beautiful home among the coral reefs. The price is $35000. Well it is not very expensive; it is full of water. Number of bedrooms is 2, number of bathrooms is 1. The address is 1572 Briny Deep, Sandy Beach, CA (offshore) and for description we will just say, a lovely little starter home, very few barnacle.
You will notice that that Help text that we entered earlier about number of bathrooms shows up underneath the field itself. So anything you enter while defining that field will show up in this way. We will scroll to the bottom and say Save. There is our Property listing. You may remember that we had this as promoted to the front page, so we will go back to the front page and see it there. CCK really opens up Drupal to all sorts of applications. For example, I want to prototype a dating site on Drupal and its centerpiece was of course personal ads. The Personal Ad Content type was created with CCK to include all sorts of relevant information and that allowed people who they were and what they were looking for. Similarly you can use CCK for fulfill unusual needs in Drupal.
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.)
- Increase XAMPP's PHP allocation.
- 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.
- 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.
- Click the WAMP icon in your system tray.
- Select "PHP". In the side menu, select "php.ini" to open a file containing PHP's configuration options.
- Search for the line, "upload_max_filesize = 2M".
- Change it to "upload_max_filesize = 32M" (or whatever you like).
- 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.)
- 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".)
- Open your Drupal database with phpMyAdmin.
- Go to the "users" table. Click the Browse icon.
- For the row where uid = 1, click the Edit icon. (Note the value under the "Name" column: That's the administrator's username.)
- In the "pass" row, select "MD5" under the "Function" column
- In the same row, enter your new password under the "Value" column.
- 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:
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- 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.
- Use the command-line interface to copy the .htaccess file.
- 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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