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Drupal's built-in data presentation tools offer several ways for web designers to clearly and attractively package their data. In Drupal 6: Online Presentation of Data, Tom Geller explains how Drupal handles data so users can set up intelligent structures and implement them with Drupal's Content Construction Kit. Tom also shows how a data-driven web site can improve its interactivity by using geographic data to connect real-world addresses to maps. Exercise files accompany the course.
One of Drupal's current weaknesses is that it's not all that great at exchanging nodes or users from one Drupal site to another. The Views module however, has some terrific utilities in this area. So you can share views from one site to another fairly easily or clone views within a site for faster development. There are a few gotchas though, so here's an overview. First, let's go to our list of views and we'll talk about a few links we haven't really talked about yet. We know what List does. It gives us this screen and we know what Add does. It creates a new view.
What we're going to talk about in this video is the Import and the Tools link. There are few other links too. If we edit any view as we're going to do now by editing the People view, we also see Export and Clone. Import, as you can imagine, brings in a view from another site while Tools lets you do various things to your views overall. Export and Clone act on an individual view. Let's actually go ahead and clone this People view. We'll click on Clone and we once again see that Setup screen. Let's change the name to people_clone and People Clone. However, you can't do all the things you can when you first add a view.
For example, we can't change it from a Node to a Comment view type because obviously, we're taking something that's already a node type view. Scroll to the bottom and click Next. Now we've created this new view and it has all of the criteria and all of the facets of the old view, which we called people. However, it's not yet saved. If we were to leave this screen now, we would lose it. In order to save it, you have to go down and explicitly click on the Save button. Now if we go back to our List, we see we've this people_clone view. I would like to mention one other thing that people often forget. The page, when we cloned it, it also has the Path people. So what will we actually see if we go to that page, the two will have to battle it out.
So be careful not to create multiple views with the same path unless you've a plan for handling that. You might have one view that's only seen by authenticated users and another that's seen by anonymous users who haven't signed in to your site. So that's how cloning works. We don't really need this people_clone anymore, so I'll delete it. I'm sure you can see, however, that it's a completely separate view and you could make completely different changes and in fact, turn it into something without affecting that original people view. The next thing I would like to show is exporting a view. There are two ways of doing it. One is by just clicking on Export here in the List view or if you go into Edit you have that link here again, Export. They both work exactly the same way. Let's click it and see what we get.
The result is something that looks very much like PHP. In fact, it's sort of PHP-like and it cuts down the code into a format that Views natively understands. Once you get this Export view in front of you, you simply click it. Select All on the Mac. That's Command+A and on the PC, it's Ctrl+A. Then you could paste it into a text file or you could paste it directly into another Drupal installation if it's running on the same machine. I am going to go back and show you how you can then import that exported view.
We'll take it, Edit > Copy and then go back. As you might guess, it's fairly easy through this Import tab. Click on it and then you'd name the new view. Let's call this Person clone. Click down here and paste and Import. There it is. Once again, go down and Save. And when we go back to our List, we'll see we now have people and person_clone. I'll delete person_clone once again. However, now we come to gotcha I mentioned. An exported view will make reference to whatever CCK fields were included in the original view. So for example, on our people view we had a reference to date of birth and so forth.
What if we had copied that to a text file and brought it over to another Drupal installation and imported it, but that person hadn't actually created that Date of Birth field? Simply put, it won't work. You'll get a series of errors that explain that the CCK field isn't available and the import will fail. So importing and exporting views isn't a perfectly simple process, because you have to make sure that all of the fields match up. There is one other way to export views, although it's mostly of use only to advanced level developers and system administrators. But even if you are not in one of those groups, it makes sense to at least see what it is. You'll find it under the Tools tab.
Once on that Tools page, you'll see a Bulk export tab. Click on it and you can select which views you want to export, including those ones that were built-in to Views. You would check these boxes, type in the name of the module you would want to create because this will actually create a Drupal module and then click Export. Again, it becomes quite complex implementing that module, so we won't go through that process. But as long as we're on this page, let's take a look at some of those other tools on the Basic tab. Again, nearly all of these are of use only to advanced developers and system administrators and they are all explained in the Help text below each setting.
So we won't go into them. The one setting that I'll mention because I do change it sometimes is if you scroll down to Do not show hover links over views. You know those little ghost menus that you see as you go over a view as I'm doing here in the left-hand column? Sometimes those menus will interfere with your ability to click on information inside the view. If you wanted to get rid of them, just click on that box and say Save configuration. We'll leave it on though. The last thing to point out on the Tools page is this Convert tab. This is only of use if you used Views 1 and again, that went out of style a while ago.
So for new Drupal users, it doesn't come into play. If you had stored any Views 1 views they would show up here and you would be able to make conversions. I just have to say one more time. Views main author Earl Miles is really a genius. And this ability to import and export views just proves the point once more. It's not perfect. Certainly the Bulk export feature is more difficult than it needs to be but considering how complicated views can get, it's a real time-saver to be able to reuse your work through cloning and the import-export process without having to figure everything out again.
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