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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.
They say that well organized person can be comfortable anywhere, even in hell. Along those lines a well-planned menu system makes a world of difference to the comfort of your site's visitors. Drupal comes with three built-in menus and allows you to create new ones. We will show you how. To change your menus, go up to Administer and Menus. As I mentioned Drupal comes with three menus built-in, Navigation that is the menu along this left hand side, Primary links which is the menu up here and Secondary links, which is another level that goes right near the Primary menus.
Menu links only appear if you have permissions to use the links. For example here is the Administrative user; we see this link called Administer. However the ordinary user fishyjoe does not. We can take a look at that by switching to Firefox where we have fishyjoe logged in. To change the programs we hold down the Command key and hit Tab on the Mac and you see there is no Administrative menu here. We will switch back to your Administrator now. Let us take a look at how these Menus are constructed by clicking on the Navigation link here. As you can see it is a hierarchical menu. So for example we have a link for Blogs and then inside it My blog. Now that particular link is disabled. We will be enabling it later, so you can see how that affects the Menus.
You can move these items around, so for example right now we have Feed aggregator underneath Create content, but let us see want to put it top. We will go down and find Feed aggregator, there it is and grab the little arrow icon and drag it above Create content like so. That little asterisk tells you that it would not take effect until you hit Save. We do that by going to the bottom of the page and clicking Save Configuration. There, now you see exactly as we expected Feed aggregator is above Create content, but what about the Blogs item here. We click on enabled if you we want to turn it on and scroll down to the bottom and save one more time. And now we see Blogs up here. You will notice that Blogs is different from My Account because has this little turned down triangle next to it. What that means as when you click on Blogs you can see an item underneath it.
But what if you always want to see that item underneath it? Let us go back to Administer and Menus and Navigation to affect that menu. This item here Expanded means it will always appear open so you can see its child items. We will click on Expanded, scroll to the bottom again and click Save Configuration. There now no matter where we are in the Menu we see My Blog underneath Blogs. Let us go and edit that menu item by clicking on edit under Operations. As it happens Blogs is one of the menu items that is built-in and in fact all of the items under Navigation are built-in since we have not added any of our own custom menu items. You can also tell a built-in item because you cannot change the path. It is hard coded in to Drupal.
However you can change other item such as its weight that is to say, where it appears in the hierarchy whether the top or bottom. Its description, which is text that appears when you hover over the link, and some other things, again Enabled and Expanded. You can also change its Parent item. If for example we wanted to put Blogs underneath My account, we would click on this drop-down menu, go down to My account and click on Save. We do not actually want to do that. So we are going to change that back to Navigation and click Save. While we have this hierarchical structure in the navigation menu we do not actually have the same thing in our Primary links.
Let us take a look at that. We will do that by going back to Administer Menus or just this little shortcut here Menus, then click on Primary links. Here we see the two items that we added earlier. Let us say that we wanted Contact us to be underneath About Us. What we would do as with other screens in Drupal where you can drag and move things about is grab that arrow icon move it inward a little bit, so it creates a hierarchy. Click on Save configuration and because we do not have a hierarchy in the Primary links, it simply disappears. You cannot reach it. We are going to move it back out again, so you can see it. The changes that you make here will affect all users.
So let us switch again to fishyjoe and take a look at what his menus look like. To do so we reload the page by going back to the Home Page and you could see now he has Blogs and My blog and of course clicking on those take you to the places that you expect. Let us switch back to the Administrative interface again. There is another place that you can enter items to put into Menus and that is when you create content. I will show you how to do that. Click on Create content and then let us say, a Blog entry. You have the Title and Blog post categories. Let us just create a very simple thing here. My thought about the recent election and we will have that under Lifestyle. And we would enter in the body whatever it is that we are going to enter there. But first let us take a look at Menu settings. We want this to be in a menu that is up at the top. That is why I think it is very important that is goes up here, but instead of being at the same level as Primary Menus we want it in the Secondary links.
So we will change this Parent item to secondary links and let us say election thoughts. We will leave the Weight alone for now. Go down to the bottom and click Save. Now we have our Election thoughts link right up here and clicking on it goes to the page as we expected to. I am going to go back and edit that up. We can edit any menu item by going back to Administer and Menus. That one since it is in the Secondary links will be under here and then of course it is easy to edit or delete by clicking there.
As with everything else on Drupal it asks us to confirm before we delete. We say, yes and as you notice it is gone. There is one another thing to cover. In Administer and Menus and that is this little tag up here, Settings. As you can see it is a very short page and the second two items Primary links and Secondary links here are usually not changed because of course you want Primary links to go to Primary links and not Secondary links or Navigation unless you are doing some custom theming. However this first one is the place that the Menu will automatically go unless you change it when you create new content and decide that you want to put it into a Menu. I will show you that by going Secondary links and Save configuration and then Create content again, Blog and Menu settings. See now the default is Secondary links. Menus are especially helpful when you are building authoritative content driven sites when you want specific content very accessible to members in a Menu.
Menus are great for helping things on your site stand out, but as with all neat toys in Drupal be careful not go overboard. If you put too many menu choices on your site they all blend into a gray mass and nothing stands out, but with restraint a few judiciously placed menus make important information and your site much more accessible.
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