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Installing themes and modules

From: Drupal 7 New Features

Video: Installing themes and modules

I think that one of Drupal's biggest barriers for many users has been that it's demanded a fairly high level of system administration skills. Getting Drupal installed is the first hurdle. Then if you want to add any modules or themes, you have to go back to the server and mess around with UNIX commands and all that. Even if you're already a UNIX wizard, you might not have sufficient permission to use the commands on your server. And so with earlier versions of Drupal, you're pretty much stuck. But Drupal 7 let's you perform some of the most important tasks through the Drupal interface itself.

Installing themes and modules

I think that one of Drupal's biggest barriers for many users has been that it's demanded a fairly high level of system administration skills. Getting Drupal installed is the first hurdle. Then if you want to add any modules or themes, you have to go back to the server and mess around with UNIX commands and all that. Even if you're already a UNIX wizard, you might not have sufficient permission to use the commands on your server. And so with earlier versions of Drupal, you're pretty much stuck. But Drupal 7 let's you perform some of the most important tasks through the Drupal interface itself.

After Drupal is installed you almost never have to touch the server. This video will show you how to install new themes and modules using these techniques. You can still install them the old way, but after you see the new way I think you'll agree it's much, much easier. Now the procedure you're going to see is the same for both themes and modules. They are both quick, so we'll go through both of them. First, we'll start with themes. Go up to Appearance, and of course, as you know, you see the list of themes here, enabled ones at the top and disabled ones at the bottom. Up at the very top, we see this line "Set and configure the default theme for your website" or "Alternative themes are available." If you click that Alternative themes, and I am going to do this in a new tab, then you see the theme page for Drupal.

I am going to filter for Drupal 7 compatibility, since you can only use Drupal 7 themes with Drupal 7. So, I do that and Search, and there we go. We now have a selection of Drupal 7 themes. Since I'm making this before Drupal 7 has actually been released though, a lot of these themes are in developer stage and I've looked through many of them and they're not quite working. There is one in particular toward the bottom of the screen here that I know does work, so I am going to use that for my example. It's called Corolla, and it's way down here. Now, with Drupal 7 you could click Download and put it on your local machine and then put it on your server, or you can actually download it directly into Drupa, and I'll show you how to do that.

I am going to right-click on Windows or Ctrl+Click on Mac to bring up this contextual menu and say Copy Link Location for the Download link. Then I'll switch back to Drupal 7 and here I click Install new theme. I have a choice now of either uploading the file I downloaded, if I downloaded it somewhere, or I can install it directly from a URL. So, that's what I'll do. I'll paste in the URL that I just grabbed and say Install, and that's it. There is one strange thing right now, which is that it takes away the administrative overlay when you install a theme this way.

That maybe changed in later versions by the time you see this. But for now I want to switch to that theme, so I'll go to my administration pages and then go to Appearance. Then when I scroll down, I'll see Corolla right there. Very often they are installed disabled. So you'll want to look for it both in the enabled and the disabled area. I say Set default, and now I have my new theme when I go back to my homepage, and that's it. Corolla has now been installed. I am just going to switch it back to Bartik, since we don't really need to leave it that way for the rest of the course.

There is one thing you should know. Although you can install themes this way and you can disable themes this way, as I will do right now by just saying Disable here, you can't actually delete them off the server. For that, you still have to go onto the server and pull off the files themselves. This technique installs modules and themes into the All folder, so they're available for all of your Drupal sites in a multi-site installation. If you only want them available to specific sites, you'll have to do that manually on the servers using the old-fashioned method.

I'll show you how to do that. First, I'll switch back to my desktop where I have Drupal 7 installed. So, here's our Drupal-7 folder. I'll open that up and look in sites and all, and there's our theme. Now, if I actually want to delete it, I would just drag it to the trash. But as I said you could also put it in a specific site if you want, by putting it in that particular folder. Now, we are going to try the same thing with modules. For that I'll switch back to my website and from there I'll click on Modules. You see in the Modules page the same thing that you saw in the Appearance page.

You have this link to contributed modules, which I am going to open this again in a new tab, will show you all of the modules that are available for Drupal. Again, you can filter by compatibility, so we'll just see the 7.x modules. I am going to install one of these. First, I'll find one that I know is stable already and the token is fairly simple and it's stable. So, instead of doing the direct download into Drupal, I am going to download it as a file this time. So, I click on Download and Save File and then close that. Now, I go back to my download area, which is my desktop in this case, and there it is.

Now if I go back to my site, here we are, Drupal 7 New Features, and click Install New Module. I could then upload it by clicking Browse and going back to my download area, which in my case again is the Desktop, and Install, and there we go. Then if we go to our Administration pages and again to Modules, we can scroll down and see the Token module that we just installed. I won't turn it on since we won't be using it for the rest of the course. Finally, I want to mention a place you can go to install either a module or a theme. Just click on Reports and Available updates, and here you have a choice of installing either a new module or a theme.

Drupal is clever enough to figure out whether you want to install one or the other and will put it in the correct place. If you're used to installing themes and modules the old way, I think you'll agree that this is much easier, and Drupal's developers really deserve a lot of credit for making it work. If you've never installed themes and modules the old way and you're curious about all the pain you're missing out on, you can relive it all by watching the videos in Drupal 6 Essential Training, named "Finding and Installing A New Theme" and "Unpacking and Installing Modules."

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Drupal 7 New Features

29 video lessons · 7875 viewers

Tom Geller
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