Drupal 7: Reporting and Visualizing Data
Illustration by John Hersey

Planning your site's data structure


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Drupal 7: Reporting and Visualizing Data

with Tom Geller

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Video: Planning your site's data structure

I am going to show you different ways that you can split up data that you already have. The way you split it up, defines how much work it takes to get the data in but it also defines how much you can get out of the data later. The examples we will use are only for this video. We are going to start with a fresh installation of Drupal right after we are done with this. So don't worry if your site doesn't look like this. We are not going to continue on with it during the course. I have already put some information into the site from the exercise files. If you have them you can do the same, using information from the video using the exercise files.
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  1. 13m 51s
    1. Welcome
      50s
    2. What you need to know
      4m 50s
    3. Using the exercise files
      8m 11s
  2. 12m 58s
    1. A yoga studio
      3m 18s
    2. A national organization
      2m 51s
    3. An entertainment company
      4m 3s
    4. An organization with hyperlocal branches
      2m 46s
  3. 40m 43s
    1. Planning your site's data structure
      3m 31s
    2. Creating record templates
      5m 40s
    3. Understanding Drupal 7's data-template model (entities)
      4m 27s
    4. Creating categories using two methods
      6m 14s
    5. Creating unusual field types
      6m 38s
    6. Reusing and grouping fields
      6m 25s
    7. Looking at Drupal's database
      3m 50s
    8. Migrating custom fields from Drupal 6
      3m 58s
  4. 20m 47s
    1. Connecting two fields using references
      5m 36s
    2. Importing data using Feeds
      8m 48s
    3. Changing the appearances of fields
      6m 23s
  5. 53m 11s
    1. Understanding why views are useful
      5m 1s
    2. Learning from built-in views
      5m 52s
    3. Creating and deleting a simple view
      5m 42s
    4. Diving into the Views interface
      8m 43s
    5. Surveying field types
      6m 16s
    6. Adjusting the settings of individual fields
      5m 31s
    7. Sorting and filtering data
      8m 11s
    8. Changing Views' administrative options
      7m 55s
  6. 33m 33s
    1. Varying how a view appears in different displays
      10m 10s
    2. Formatting views with grid, list, table, and jump menu appearances
      6m 43s
    3. Rewriting field output for interesting results
      4m 21s
    4. Creating multipart views using attachments
      6m 8s
    5. Styling the output of views
      6m 11s
  7. 33m 56s
    1. Importing and exporting views
      6m 21s
    2. Controlling access to data
      6m 44s
    3. Adding dynamic filters to views
      5m 41s
    4. Extending views with relationships
      6m 24s
    5. Improving data administration with Views Bulk Operations
      8m 46s
  8. 29m 43s
    1. Understanding locational data
      4m 43s
    2. Setting up the Location module
      9m 42s
    3. Displaying basic maps with the GMap module
      8m 37s
    4. Displaying custom maps
      6m 41s
  9. 23m 50s
    1. Exporting data in simple text form
      7m 4s
    2. Adding dates and calendars
      8m 32s
    3. Displaying content in a slideshow
      8m 14s
  10. 1m 20s
    1. Next steps
      1m 20s

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Watch the Online Video Course Drupal 7: Reporting and Visualizing Data
4h 24m Intermediate Nov 17, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Tom Geller demonstrates how to use the Views module and other add-ons in Drupal to present dynamic, data-rich content. This course examines several real-world examples of effective data visualization and describes the Drupal data-storage model. The course also shows how to create, format, and style views; control access to data; improve data administration with Views Bulk Operations; and display content as custom maps and slide shows.

Topics include:
  • Planning the data structure of a site
  • Creating record templates with custom field types
  • Connecting fields using references
  • Sorting and filtering data
  • Varying how a view appears in different displays
  • Formatting views with grid, list, table, and jump
  • Creating multi-part views using attachments
  • Importing and exporting views
  • Extending views with relationships
  • Understanding and using location data
  • Exporting data
Subjects:
Developer Web
Software:
Drupal
Author:
Tom Geller

Planning your site's data structure

I am going to show you different ways that you can split up data that you already have. The way you split it up, defines how much work it takes to get the data in but it also defines how much you can get out of the data later. The examples we will use are only for this video. We are going to start with a fresh installation of Drupal right after we are done with this. So don't worry if your site doesn't look like this. We are not going to continue on with it during the course. I have already put some information into the site from the exercise files. If you have them you can do the same, using information from the video using the exercise files.

I have set this up so that we see the same information in three different ways. First, in what I call a flat format, where you have the name then just all of the other information. Then we have it split out a little bit more so we have the name, separate from the Home address, from the Office address and then from the Office phone. The third version breaks it out even further. We have the First name, Last name and so forth. Each of these three methods has its advantages and disadvantages. And this video, is mostly to talk about what they are so you can plan your own site a little bit better.

When we look at this flat format, it's very easy. We have all of the information there in one place. However, there's no way to sort by let's say last name or first name. You just have the information as it is. Unfortunately, you might have existing information already in your company or organization and you have to massage it a little bit in order to separate which the home address is and the office address and so forth. If we go to Employees with addresses, this is a little bit better and in fact, it is useful information now. But again, since we haven't split out the names into first name and last name, we can't sort based on only the last name.

However, the advantage of an intermediate step like this is that it's fairly simple to read and understand. In this version, we have split out the bits of information quite a bit more but we could still go even further if we wanted. For example, we could split out the number of the street from the street itself. And so would have to ask ourselves, is that really useful to us or would it just mean that we're going to have difficulty when we start entering this information, because the more fields you have the more fields you have to fill out. Now in our application since this is an Employee directory, it's not really so useful for us to sort, for example, on the street number.

But if we were the county assessor, we might find that more useful. We might want to see who is between street number 20 and 40 on East Lorain Street. One nice thing about Drupal is the way that we created these tables is the same. It's actually quite simple once you get into using views as you will throughout the rest of this course. Another nice thing about it, is that sorting comes built-in. So no matter how you split up your data, you can then sort it however you like. For example, you could sort by city or by state or even by Extension in the company phone system.

So how much detail do you need for your data? I am afraid I can't answer that. You will have to balance the amount of work it takes to enter the data, along with your ability to keep it all straight, against what you hope to get out of it, because once more the more fields you add the more you have to fill in. You might also have to deal with data that you already have and measure how hard it would be to split it up the way you want before importing it. In general, the more detailed the data, the better. You can always combine it later into useful formats using views, as I will show you later in this course.

There are currently no FAQs about Drupal 7: Reporting and Visualizing Data.

 
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