Joining the Drupal community
Video: Joining the Drupal communityLike other successful open source projects, Drupal has coalesced into a community of people who both develops sites in Drupal, and develop the Drupal software itself. Such communities are tend to be programmer heavy and marketing light and Drupal is no exception. However, the Drupal project has been fairly successful at giving less experienced members ways to get involved. Here are some ways you can get involved regardless of your level technological skill. As always the place to go to become involved in the Drupal community is www.Drupal.org. Once there you will notice one tab that's especially important, the Contribute link. Let's click on it and see what's here.
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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.
- Understanding the inner workings of Drupal
- Creating stories, pages, blogs, forums, and polls
- Managing users and comments
- Setting and customizing themes
- Exchanging content via RSS
- Stopping comment spam with a CAPTCHA
- Launching a site and joining the Drupal community
Joining the Drupal community
Like other successful open source projects, Drupal has coalesced into a community of people who both develops sites in Drupal, and develop the Drupal software itself. Such communities are tend to be programmer heavy and marketing light and Drupal is no exception. However, the Drupal project has been fairly successful at giving less experienced members ways to get involved. Here are some ways you can get involved regardless of your level technological skill. As always the place to go to become involved in the Drupal community is www.Drupal.org. Once there you will notice one tab that's especially important, the Contribute link. Let's click on it and see what's here.
This is an overview of several ways you can contribute to Drupal project. Of course, you could donate, but also even if you are not a developer, if you don't know how to program. You can help with documentation and translations. If you are a graphic designer, you can help out with themes, and each one of these links will lead you to more information about how those projects are running. Finally the testing part is very important, and they need less experienced Drupal developers. The problem with such project is that they tend to attract people who already know Drupal well and don't really remember what it was like for a new user. If you're that new user, they need you for both testing and especially for usability.
Let's go back up to the top. Once you start looking around the Drupal site, you will want to get a user login. You do so by clicking on Create new account. I already have an account so I am going to log in now. Once you have logged in, you will notice this link here, My Account. When we go there we can edit many different things that will help others to determine whether we might be right for their projects and then they can contact us directly. We can also change the way this home page looks to us by adding and subtracting certain blocks. I recommend that you take a good look of all the different tabs up here and fill out as much as you can and start showing your face within the Drupal community that way.
Another way that you can get to meet other people within the community is by taking part in groups. Some of them meet face-to-face while some are special interest groups that take place only online. The place to go for that is www.groups.Drupal.org. Notice that this has a separate log in, so you will have to create an account here, if you want to take part in discussions and so forth. Incidentally, when you do start taking part discussions, records of the comments that you make and the contributions that you make to the software and documentation projects attracts.
Let's go back to Drupal.org site and see how that works. When you go to My Account you will see this link here, Track. If you have made any public posts, it will show exactly what they were and it will show if there have been any replies. Through this tab you can keep track of all of the different things you are doing and how is talking to you as well as what groups you have taken part in. Another website you should know about is the Drupal Association. This is not-for-profit group based in Belgium whose goal is to build and promote the Drupal community. It's at association. Drupal.org. The first thing that the Drupal Association does is it accepts donations. So even if you do nothing else, you can give a small donation which we will go a long way. Since there is a no paid staff in the Drupal project all of your money will go towards hosting and other infrastructure points that are necessary to keep the Drupal project going.
Let's go back to the Drupal.org website. Finally there is one document that I recommend that you read. It's under About Drupal and Welcome. It's this, how to enact change within the Drupal community. It gives several tips about the Drupal community. Read this see what's being done already and then jump in. While the Drupal community can seem overwhelming now, it's started under the direction of just one person. The Flemish student Dries Buytaert who, by the way, is still at the helm. It grew beyond his circle of friends by accretion.
Like a pearl it added layer upon layer rather than through any sudden explosion of growth. It's a lopsided prowl to be sure. The software side is particularly heavy, but on the whole the community has gone through these seven or so years remarkably well without splits or major acrimony. It's a diverse community and it appreciates the contribution of its members. I know that I will appreciate yours.
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Drupal 6 Essential Training .
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- Q: While following along to the installation instructions in the “Installing WAMP and Drupal on Windows” chapter in the Drupal Essential Training title, an error occurs when attempting to open the local host page. Nothing appears except for an error reading “WAMPSERVER server offline.” What is causing this?
- A: There is a known problem with some versions of WAMP that include a version of PHP (5.3) that some versions of Drupal is not compatible with. See http://tomgeller.com/content/tips-running-drupal-windows-using-wamp#comment-831 for more information.
If that is not causing the issue, reference the tips at http://tomgeller.com/content/tips-running-drupal-windows-using-wamp.
If you don't see the solution at either of those links, try using another AMP stack, such as XAMPP or the Acquia stack installer. See http://tomgeller.com/content/what-hells-wrong-drupal-wamp for discussion about these.
- Q: After installing XAMPP and running Drupal for the first time, the Administration menu does not appear. What is the reason for this?
- A: There are several possible problems. Here are some likely solutions. (These may also solve problems encountered with other AMP stacks.)
- Increase XAMPP's PHP allocation.
- Check to make sure all XAMPP's paths are correct and that permissions are correct. If the database information appears, but not Drupal's supporting files, and an included theme is being used, the supporting files will be in the /modules folder.
- Another solution is to not use WAMP or XAMPP. One option is to use Acquia's Drupal Stack Installer ("DAMP"), which can be found at http://www.acquia.com/downloads. However, that installs Acquia Drupal, which is a version of "normal" Drupal extended with additional modules. If only core Drupal is desired, see the instructions at http://acquia.com/blog/kieran/try-drupal-7-alpha-your-laptop-or-desktop. (The instructions are for Drupal 7, but will work for Drupal 6 as well.)
- Q: In the "Using the example files" movie, the method of importing information to the database is shown, using the backup in Chapter 10. When attempting to do this, the following error is shown: "No data was received to import. Either no file name was submitted, or the file size exceeded the maximum size permitted by your PHP configuration. See FAQ 1.16." The system is running the latest versions of Apache, PhP and MySQL, on Windows Vista. What could be causing the problem?
- A: This is probably caused because your AMP stack allocates too little memory to PHP.
That's especially true if you're using WAMP, which only gives PHP 2MB of memory, when it really needs at least 16MB.You'll see the issue if you go to the MySQL-controlling phpMyAdmin screen (probably at http://localhost/phpMyAdmin) and click "Import": The maximum file size allowed is 2,048K. That's only 2MB, and the databases for most Drupal sites are much larger than that. (The example site for Drupal Essential Training gets as big as 5MB.) The video "Installing WAMP and Drupal on Windows" shows (at around 3:30) where the php.ini file is, but here are some more-complete instructions to increase that memory limit.
- Click the WAMP icon in your system tray.
- Select "PHP". In the side menu, select "php.ini" to open a file containing PHP's configuration options.
- Search for the line, "upload_max_filesize = 2M".
- Change it to "upload_max_filesize = 32M" (or whatever you like).
- Save the file and restart WAMP. (Better yet, restart your computer entirely to be sure. I'm frankly not sure whether it makes a difference.)
- Now go back to that "Import" screen in phpMyAdmin: You should notice that the limit has changed.
- Q: I don't remember the default username and password used demonstrate Drupal.
- A: The default username used in the course is "admin"; the default password is "booth".
- Q: How can I change Drupal's administrative username and password?
- A: If for some reason the default exercise file username (admin) and password (booth) don't work, you can change them in the database itself using phpMyAdmin. (This technique is demonstrated in a video from Chapter 8, "Recovering from disasters".)
- Open your Drupal database with phpMyAdmin.
- Go to the "users" table. Click the Browse icon.
- For the row where uid = 1, click the Edit icon. (Note the value under the "Name" column: That's the administrator's username.)
- In the "pass" row, select "MD5" under the "Function" column
- In the same row, enter your new password under the "Value" column.
- At the bottom of the screen, click the "Go" button. You should now be able to log in with that username and new password.
- Q: In Windows Vista, the WAMP icon disappears from the system tray after a certain amount of time. How do I get it to reappear?
- A: To make the WAMP icon reappear (so that you can access localhost, phpmyadmin, php.ini, etc.), you have to activate the "start WAMP server" icon (from start menu, desktop or wherever). The system tray icon will reappear.
- Q: My .htaccess file disappeared. What caused this?
- A: A few times during the Drupal Essential Training video series, the instructor says to copy a Drupal installation by selecting all the files in the folder and then "dragging and dropping" them, either to a server or another location on your local computer. This is not the best way to do so, as the hidden file ".htaccess" will not be copied.
There are two ways to get around that problem:
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- When installing Drupal for the first time: Instead of copying files from the Drupal folder, move the entire folder to its target location and rename it. This is the easiest solution for those without experience with Unix.
- Use the command-line interface to copy the .htaccess file.
- Q: In the video, the instructor says the current version of Drupal is 6.3, but on the drupal.org site, the latest version is 6.17. Which is the newer version of Drupal?
- A: Drupal 6.17 is newer than version 6.3. For some reason, the the version numbers go 6.3, 6.4... 6.9, 6.10... 6.17. It’s counter-intuitive, but that’s the order.
- Q: My WAMP phpMyadmin will not allow me to upload the exercise files. It returns this message: "No data was received to import. Either no file name was submitted, or the file size exceeded the maximum size permitted by your PHP configuration. See FAQ 1.16." There was no previous database to drop, so what do I need to do to make this work?
- A: This is a common problem, caused not by Drupal, but by WAMP. WAMP only allows you to upload files of 2MB or smaller, which is much too small. The solution is detailed at http://tomgeller.com/cant-import-a-drupal-site-in-windows.
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