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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 this course has addressed specific features of Drupal. Now, I would like to give you a few additional tricks, learnt from experience that will help you administer your site well. These are all optional, you can take them or leave them, but I found them to be helpful. First tip, for speed, I suggest getting used to the exact URLs of the administration pages. For example, we go to Administer and of course we know that is /admin. One of the more common ones that you might use is let's say Blocks that is /build/block. All of the administration pages are first by their category and then by their name and after you have done this a little bit you will see that your browser will auto complete. So let's try that I am going to localhost/admin/build, I could just use my arrows up and down to go to the one that I want. I find that saves me a lot of time.
The second way that you could quickly to go an area of the administration interface is to click on Administer and then instead of scrolling up and down hit Command+F and just type in the name of the thing that you are looking for. For example, Contact form and in this browser, which is Safari, it lights up, so it's very easy to find and then you can click on it. The third tip is to sign up as another user and then leave that user logged in, in a different browser entirely. So here we are in Safari with the Administrator logged in, but I am also logged in as an ordinary user, fishyjoe, in Firefox. This is good because it shows you exactly what the site looks like from the outside. It's easy to get tunnel vision as the Administrator.
The fifth tip is to follow the twin laws of sufficiency and necessity. By that, I mean add only those modules and features that you think you are going to use and then leave it alone. Try to avoid the temptation to overload your site with features that ultimately will complicate matters. However, if you do need a certain feature or a certain theme or something else like that don't be shy to add it. For my sixth tip we will have to go back to the Administration interface and from there to Permissions, which I'll find a way I just showed you by typing in Find and Permissions and there we are. Get to know this page and get to know it well. So many times when something is not working on your site it's because Permissions actually haven't been set correctly. It's a large page, but it could be made easier if instead of coming here you go to Administer By module and then go to the Configure Permissions you need for the particular module.
However, I do suggest going and taking a look at the Permissions screen from time to time just to make sure that things are right. If anything goes wrong you know you can usually fix it here. My seventh tip, I have repeated time and time again in the course, but it bears repeating. If you ever have problems or you need more information or you want to stay in touch with the community go to drupal.org, it's the centerpiece for the entire community. Finally, I can't stress this enough, backup regularly and occasionally practice restoring from your backups. A backup is no good if you don't know how to restore from it. Administering any system can become a full-time pursuit for the obsessive person. Fortunately, Drupal doesn't usually require that much attention, but the more time you spend playing with it and touring the resources on drupal.org the better off you will be.
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