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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.
If you have been impressed by Drupal's default installation, hold on to your seats because there is a lot more available for Drupal to extensions that are known as Modules. The central repository for all Drupal Modules is, like some many other things for Drupal, at drupal.org. Once on the site click on the Download tab and then on Modules. Hundreds of Modules are available here all for free. Let us take at some of the ways they extend Drupal's functionality. When you first arrive at the Modules page you will notice a list of categories for the different modules. The number next to them tells you how many of that particular category there are. However I should mention that these are for all versions of Drupal and a module that is written for version four or five would not work for version six.
However, most modules that are built for 6.1 will work for 6.2 and continuing on up. I would be sure to filter by Drupal core compatibility however. You can do that up here, but first you must log on. I am going to do using an account we created. I suggest that you do the same by creating an account. You can do so by clicking on this Create New Account link, but for right now we are going to log in ourselves. Now we are logged in and as you can see we can filter by Core compatibility. I go down to 6.x and say Filter. You will notice the number of modules available has changed. I should mention that some modules fit in more then one category.
For example, a module that protect against user abuse, might be find in both Security and User management. You can find a specific module by going up to the search box bar and searching for it. Let us look for bitcache, which I happen to know is the name of one of the modules. And there it is however we should mention that sometimes drupal.org will turn off the search box when the load is too high. So we will go instead to Google search for bitcache and if you want to search just on the Drupal site you can do site: drupal.org.
And there it is. If you want to be even more specific you can say, search for drupal.org/project. That will leave out some of the pages that might be for example in documentation. But let us go back to the drupal.org page and take a look at some of those categories. To get there again we go to drupal.org/project/modules. Most of these categories are self explanatory. I am going to talk about some that are not quite as clear to the first time user. The first one is CCK. This refers to something called the Content Construction Kit which lets you create your own Content types with special type of fields for example, for location or time or date. We will be talking about that more in a separate video. A second category whose name is not completely obvious is Organic Groups. Organic Groups allow members to create their own online clubs.
For example individual members of a site about cars might set up affinity groups for owners of electric vehicles or thunderbirds. This is a common feature of such popular non-Drupal sites such as Facebook, Myspace, triab.net and Live Journal. Another category that is not completely obvious to the first time user is paging. Modules in the paging category change the way the pages are displayed and many of the modules in here are also in the content display category. The RDF category stands for Resource Description Framework. This is a very geeky system for data sharing and you almost certainly would not be using these modules unless you are already an Advanced Developer or Data Manager.
Finally there is a category called Views. Views offer different ways to display information from multiple nodes in an organized way. We will be showing you how to use views in another video. Let me show you an example of what a module can do. For this I am going to go to my own web site, savemyhomebook.com and from there I am going to go to Events. On this site a keep a calendar of upcoming events and as you scroll down you can see that I have a speaking engagement on the 23rd. When you click on that it goes to a note that describes more about that speaking engagement. This entire calendar was created using a module. The module itself is called calendar. Let us go there now. We will go back to our Modules page and find it in Content display. As we scroll down on this page, there it is.
We can find out more about the module by clicking on Find Out More or of course we could download it directly from that download link. I do recommend that you read up on the module before you download and install it because unlike themes modules can actually cause some real problems with your site. Further some modules are not completely obvious about how they work, that is they do not have a clear interface within Drupal. You may have to download other modules to expose what that first module does. So reading up is a good idea. Finally for any of these modules you should scroll down and make sure that the compatibility is what you want, what you are looking for is an up to date module that is not still in development that is it is been released it is been tested by the people who have programmed it and by it user.
We will scroll down on this one and make sure and this one in fact is in beta. There are few different levels there is beta, alpha, RC which stands for Release Candidate and DEV which stands for Development. As a guide the Developers will put a check mark if they feel that it is ready for prime time that is if it is safe to download and install. If they are not really sure they might put one of these warning triangles and if they feel that this it is not supported any more or might be dangerous to use they will put it in red. So be careful of those.
When you are looking at modules you might be overwhelmed by the selection that you have. So, which one should you use ? Well there are two ways to find out. First you can look for modules only when you have a specific problem that you want to solve. Second you could consider the most popular out there and those that are recommended by the other people and for that I recommend the web site drupalmodules.com. There you will find a directory of top favorites that is the once that people have said I like this the most and those that have been downloaded the most. But for now let us go back to our web site. Once you start dipping in to the pool of modules you will come to see Drupal's default installation as being only a very bare bones plot of lands on which to build your castle.
I encourage you to experiment with modules but, and I have to emphasis this, only on a test site. Some modules can conflict which each other and in any case adding lots of unnecessary modules will complicate your site both from the users prospective and from yours. But on your test site be bold and make backups.
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