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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.
Even when your site seems to be up and running smoothly it's a good idea to take a look at a few things to now then to make sure that you are not missing an important software update or a broken site component. Fortunately, Drupal 6 includes some handy ways to check for common issues through its administrative interface, specifically, under the Report section. We are going to go there by clicking on Administer, and then scrolling to the bottom, and Reports. The first one is Recent Log Entries. This will show you all of the unusual things that have happened on the site and by unusual, I mean it doesn't show you every time somebody accesses a page but rather if a cron run has completed, or if somebody searched for a page that wasn't there, or so forth.
There are several things you can do to make this page easier to understand. For one thing, you can sort based all the various criteria in this table. Click on Type for example and it sorts according to the type of action that happened. Click on Date and it shows it to you either reverse chronological order or in forward chronological order and so forth; you can also sort by User. Secondly, you can filter based on the sort of log message that you want to see. I like to filter by Severity. In our case we don't have any emergencies that have happened on our site yet for which we are very lucky or alerts are critical, but if you look at the warnings and click on Filter, you will then see all the sorts of warnings we have gotten.
This kind of thing can be useful if you want to see if there are patterns. For example, do people keep searching for certain things and getting bad page. Are they trying to reach pages that don't exist? That could be a sign of a link that doesn't work, for example. Let's go back and see our entire log though by clicking on Reset and there we are. You will notice that there is Operations column down here. Only some of the items in the log have this View link here. Click on it and you will get more information about the Operation that caused the log entered to appear and we can go back just by clicking on our browsers Back button.
Finally, we can click on any one of these messages and get more information. For example, where exactly the person was and where they had come from. All of this information appears just on one page and again we can go back by clicking on our browser's back button. There are other reports available as well, besides this general log. Click on Administer and again we could scroll down to Reports or just click on Reports here and go to Top Access Denied Errors. In this case, we don't have very many, but we could see where somebody was trying to go and was denied access.
The third kind of Report is the Page Not Found error. Again, we see what, sort of, page they were trying to reach; in this case perhaps somebody had their catwalk on the keyboard. The fourth kind of report is Available updates. Right now, everything that we have is up-to-date, but if it weren't instead of seeing green and up-to-date up here, you would see it in red and it would tell you exactly how to get the update that you need. You can check manually at any time by clicking on this link here. Incidentally, after you have installed some contributed modules they'll be included in this page and this page will get longer and longer as your site becomes more complex, but don't worry because it all appears in one place and by clicking Check manually, it checks for all of the modules you've downloaded.
Let's also take a look at the Settings here. Drupal will automatically check for updates both for the core and for contributed modules on a schedule that you define. You can choose to have it check either Daily or Weekly and then have it tell you about All New Versions or only those one that are going cause a security problem if you don't upgrade. Further, if you want to, you can specify an email address to mail you whenever one of those updates is available. That's very useful for system administrators who are managing may sites. We'll just keep it the way that it is and click on Save Configuration.
The last kind of report is the Status Report and this is perhaps the most useful page of all. It includes the status of all of the important parts of your Drupal system, whether or not all of the components are working, for example; the last time that cron was run and by the way if you have any trouble setting up cron, I strongly recommend coming back to this page once in while and making sure that cron is actually running because it will tell you how long ago it's has been since cron was run. It should be at least once an hour in my opinion depending on how you set it up.
The Status report page includes several links that can also be helpful. For example, we see here that on MySQL database is this version 5.0.41. If we click on that version number, we get more information about that SQL database. This is probably more than you need unless you are an SQL administrator, but it's good to know that you have it. You have other means besides these pages to make sure Drupal is running well. For example, the logs on your system or a third-party monitoring system such as Google Analytics. Further, there are several Drupal modules available from drupal.org, which remains, as always, your best source for such information.
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