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Letting users delete their accounts

From: Drupal 7 New Features

Video: Letting users delete their accounts

Some problems in life are easy to solve, while some are really hard. You can't always tell the difference from looking at them. A dirty window could just be a swipe on the inside with a soapy sponge or you might need to lower yourself from the roof on wires. The issue of letting users to lead their own accounts from a Drupal site was one of those deceptively hard problems. It was a feature request first filed in - wait for it - 2001. 8 years before it was finally solved. In fact, it was node number eight on the drupal.org web site, which now has almost a million nodes.

Letting users delete their accounts

Some problems in life are easy to solve, while some are really hard. You can't always tell the difference from looking at them. A dirty window could just be a swipe on the inside with a soapy sponge or you might need to lower yourself from the roof on wires. The issue of letting users to lead their own accounts from a Drupal site was one of those deceptively hard problems. It was a feature request first filed in - wait for it - 2001. 8 years before it was finally solved. In fact, it was node number eight on the drupal.org web site, which now has almost a million nodes.

But they did solve it and it's a small change in Drupal 7, but it's worth showing off because it was such a persistent itch. There is one other good reason to show it. In Drupal 6, when you delete a user, all of the content becomes attributed to the anonymous user, but as you'll see in Drupal 7 you have flexible options for that content. Here, I'll show you. In both Drupal 6 and Drupal 7 I am going to create a new user and I'll call that new user Fishy Joe with the email address fishy@example.com.

Password doesn't really matter and go down and Save. Again, we'll do the same in Drupal 6. We do that under Administer > User management > Users and Add. Again, Fishy Joe, email address is fishy@example.com, there we go, and Save. Great! So we have the new user on both. Now, let's delete that user. We'll go ahead and list it, this is on Drupal 6 mind you, scroll down, click in the checkbox for Fishy Joe and Delete.

It asks of course if we want to do that and say Delete all. Great! The user's been deleted, but that's really all that you can do. You can just delete and you don't have any real choices about what happens with the content that that person created. Now we'll do the same thing in Drupal 7. We've created the user. So now I'll go back in the list. Select Fishy Joe. Now, you see there is no choice for delete, because when we say Cancel we will have additional options there. Say, Cancel and Update and here are all of the options that we get. We can disable the account and keep the content exactly as it is, unpublish it, and so forth.

You can also require the user to confirm that they really want to cancel the account. We are not actually going to cancel this one because there are some other things I want to show you with it. But, this shows you the power that you as an administrator have when you delete an account. But in Drupal 7 you can now give the user more power as well. To do that you go up to Configuration and Account settings. Much of this page is similar to Drupal 6, While some other parts of it I'll show you in other videos, but let's get down to the important part, registration and cancellation. You notice down here, When canceling a user account, you have all of those options that you saw in the previous screen.

This will be the default option that you set. In other words, if you delete somebody and don't change what was there, what happens? Another interesting part of it and the more important part is under this permissions link. Let's click on permissions and scroll down all the way to User. In the User section, we have this Cancel own user account. I am going to grant that to the authenticated user. In other words, every logged in user such as Fishy Joe, and save it. Now, I'm going to go and log out as the administrator and log in again as Fishy Joe so you can see exactly what happens if I decide to delete my account.

I'll log out, log in as Fishy Joe, and my password. Great! I am in. I am going to go my user screen and Edit and as I scroll down I see that I have a new option, Cancel account, that wasn't in Drupal 6. I click it. It asks me for confirmation and it's done. Again, it's a small change, but it does give power to your user and that helps them trust your site more. I didn't mention this earlier, but letting users delete their own accounts could actually be considered legally required, depending on how you interpret directives from various national and regional governments.

Well, no worries. With Drupal 7 you have the power and so do your users if you give it to them.

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Drupal 7 New Features

29 video lessons · 7922 viewers

Tom Geller
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