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Drupal 6: Online Presentation of Data

Putting it all together in an attractive package


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Drupal 6: Online Presentation of Data

with Tom Geller

Video: Putting it all together in an attractive package

I hope this course has both impressed you with the vast array of data presentation possibilities in Drupal, and shown you how to take advantage of them quickly and easily. We've seen how to do a lot of individual tricks to put your information into useful and attractive forms, but I think it's just as important to see how it all adds up to create a site that gives visitors a clear and data rich experience right from their first visit. So in this video, we're going to put together a lot of what we've learned right on the front page. Since we have so many small pieces of information we want to display, I'm going to to start by downloading and installing the acquia marina theme, which gives us a lot of block regions to play with. You can get it at drupal.org/project/acquia_marina. If you need help installing it, see the video on lynda.com's Drupal Essential Training Series called Finding and Installing a New Theme.
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  1. 12m 56s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. Reviewing requirements
      3m 35s
    3. Using the exercise files
      3m 11s
    4. Touring examples of data visualization
      4m 58s
  2. 27m 56s
    1. Planning data structure
      8m 26s
    2. Importing and manipulating data
      6m 40s
    3. Looking at Drupal's database
      6m 13s
    4. Deciding whether to store personal data as nodes or users
      6m 37s
  3. 1h 13m
    1. Understanding the Content Construction Kit (CCK)
      4m 57s
    2. Creating new content types with CCK
      7m 26s
    3. Hiding the Body field
      2m 46s
    4. Reflecting CCK field data in the Title field
      7m 28s
    5. Managing CCK field placement
      7m 34s
    6. Exploring CCK's other features
      8m 22s
    7. Using other CCK field types
      3m 25s
    8. Adding date information as a CCK field
      8m 43s
    9. Including images as CCK fields
      10m 23s
    10. Connecting content to existing nodes
      5m 58s
    11. Using taxonomies to categorize and group data
      5m 59s
  4. 53m 54s
    1. Understanding why views are useful
      6m 12s
    2. Using SimpleViews to create basic content views
      5m 49s
    3. Diving into the Views interface
      11m 16s
    4. Adding fields to a view
      7m 12s
    5. Understanding iconic controls in the Views interface
      7m 15s
    6. Surveying the Sort, Filter, and Field options in Views
      5m 40s
    7. Adding view displays as pages, blocks, and RSS feeds
      10m 30s
  5. 43m 34s
    1. Overriding default settings on view displays
      8m 56s
    2. Attaching more information to views
      10m 57s
    3. Improving view appearances with grid, list, and table formatting
      9m 20s
    4. Surveying other basic display settings in Views
      11m 3s
    5. Altering a view's appearance through CSS
      3m 18s
  6. 55m 8s
    1. Importing, exporting, and cloning views
      6m 9s
    2. Controlling access to views
      7m 19s
    3. Learning from built-in views
      5m 52s
    4. Creating views that aren't based on nodes
      10m 6s
    5. Extending views with arguments
      10m 17s
    6. Extending views with relationships
      7m 2s
    7. Going further with relationships
      8m 23s
  7. 46m 40s
    1. Understanding geographic data
      4m 26s
    2. Setting up the Location module
      16m 20s
    3. Entering geographic data with the Location module
      10m 10s
    4. Displaying basic maps with the GMap module
      6m 43s
    5. Integrating the GMap module with Views
      9m 1s
  8. 54m 21s
    1. Exporting data in tabular form
      11m 25s
    2. Planning with the calendar modules
      11m 31s
    3. Using the Charts module and Google Charts
      7m 11s
    4. Graphing data with Open Flash Chart
      4m 50s
    5. Making important data pop out with tag clouds
      7m 46s
    6. Putting it all together in an attractive package
      11m 38s
  9. 36s
    1. Conclusion
      36s

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Drupal 6: Online Presentation of Data
6h 8m Intermediate Jul 01, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Drupal's built-in data presentation tools offer several ways for web designers to clearly and attractively package their data. In Drupal 6: Online Presentation of Data, Tom Geller explains how Drupal handles data so users can set up intelligent structures and implement them with Drupal's Content Construction Kit. Tom also shows how a data-driven web site can improve its interactivity by using geographic data to connect real-world addresses to maps. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Importing and manipulating data in Drupal
  • Presenting date-formatted information in calendars
  • Understanding Drupal's data-query interface, "Views"
  • Improving view appearances with grid, list, and table formatting
  • Importing, exporting, and cloning views
  • Extending views with arguments and relationships
Subjects:
Web CMS Web Development
Software:
Drupal
Author:
Tom Geller

Putting it all together in an attractive package

I hope this course has both impressed you with the vast array of data presentation possibilities in Drupal, and shown you how to take advantage of them quickly and easily. We've seen how to do a lot of individual tricks to put your information into useful and attractive forms, but I think it's just as important to see how it all adds up to create a site that gives visitors a clear and data rich experience right from their first visit. So in this video, we're going to put together a lot of what we've learned right on the front page. Since we have so many small pieces of information we want to display, I'm going to to start by downloading and installing the acquia marina theme, which gives us a lot of block regions to play with. You can get it at drupal.org/project/acquia_marina. If you need help installing it, see the video on lynda.com's Drupal Essential Training Series called Finding and Installing a New Theme.

We're going to turn ours on right now, by simply going to Administer > Site Building > Themes. Since we've already downloaded and installed it, we see it right here in our theme's list, click Enabled and Default, scroll to the bottom and save configuration. And immediately you notice a huge difference. The first thing I'm going to do from here is to get rid of this Admin block which takes up so much space and makes it hard to visualize the page without it. Usually people only have that block which is known as the Navigation block. When they're building a site, then they get rid of it and start bringing in their own home built blocks. The problem with getting rid of it is you'll no longer be able to click on the administrative links.

As I advised in the Drupal Essential Training Course, and also earlier in this course, it's a good idea to learn what all the URLs are for the administrative pages for your Drupal site. If you ever get lost, you can just go to /admin and find all of the controls right there. For us, we're going to /admin/build/block and we're going to get rid of that Navigation block. We scroll down a little bit, and away it goes. Remember how I said the acquia marina theme has a lot more block regions? You can see that here, because there are so many to choose from. We're just going to drag this one to none, to get it off the screen, and then scroll down, and click Save. Then I go home by clicking lynda up here our homepage.

The next thing I'm going to do is I'm going to throw a lot of blocks back on to the page just to see what we've created and then not used. I'm also going to look at some of the views I created, and decide which ones need to have blocks added, which ones don't need blocks and so forth. So once again, I'll go to /admin/build/block, I'll scroll down to that None area at the bottom of the page. Then I look through. Who's new, Author information. These were all created by Drupal. I'm looking for the ones that I created specifically.

Now this is interesting. I have two labeled calendar. That's because we created two calendar views. We'll come back to that in just a moment. Right now though, we'll put both of those inside bar first. The way we'll clean it up is we'll actually get rid of one of the views, and then the one that remains will have the block in the correct place. Tags in relationship to family, we created that one in the video about making tag clouds, so I'll put that there. Upcoming is related to the calendar, and I'll show you how to use that in a moment. I'll put that in sidebar first. Same with the other upcoming. Scroll down a little bit more. I believe we created most recent visitors. I'll put that in the bar, and I think that's good for now. Save blocks. Okay, now we have a good sense of what exactly we're working with. This upcoming block doesn't look right. It's showing all of these nodes and it doesn't make sense. So I'll click on Edit, Edit view calendar. Let's see, published. All the things that are published.

Let's go back to our list, and see what that view calendar actually is. Scroll down a little bit. Now I remember we created a calendar using Date tools, and that was called calendar_temp_date. The other one, were just called calendar, and in fact, we didn't make any changes. We can tell that, because it says disabled here instead of revert. I'll just disable it, and then go back to our homepage. The block is still there. I'm going to go to /admin/build/block. Once we go to that page, you'll notice it disappears. This should underline the importance of cleaning as you go. If you don't and you end up with extra views as we did here, it actually can clutter up many other screens besides the view screen. I'm going to go back to our view screen, at admin/build/views, and continue cleaning up. Scroll down.

One thing we could do is to change this calendar_temp_date to a name that we like, but remember you can't change the name. So what I'll do instead is I'll clone it and call it event_calendar, and call the description Event calendar. Scroll down, click next. Scroll down and click Save. Now when I go back to the list, I can get rid of that calendar_ temp_date, just to make sure I do have an event calendar which is absolutely identical because we've just cloned it. So I revert it and the disable it.

Scroll down a little bit more so we can see the rest of our views. We didn't use the Archive view. So I'll revert it and disable it. Now we have a much better sense of all of the views we did create. We have our map, we have our events and so forth. I found for most views, you want to create a page and a block. That's not always true, but if you have it, you can always take one away. So I'm going to look through and see which pages don't have blocks, and which blocks don't have pages. Chart-of-households, I'll open that up in a new tab just to see what that is.

So I right click on my mouse, or hold down Ctrl on the Mac, and click, go to a new tab. That's right. That I think would look good as a block. But we don't have a block for it yet. We only have the page. So I'll edit, add our display block, scroll down a little bit and give a name to our block. We'll call this Chart-of-households by state, and click Update and then again Save. Now let's go back to our block page. We'll do that by going to once again admin/build/block, and scrolling down to the bottom where we have all of our disabled blocks, and there it is. Now I'll bring that backup and see how that looks in sidebar first. Save block, scroll down a bit. Ooh, it would be good there, but it's way too big, so I'll edit it again.

Then I'll click on the Style options, scroll down, and change it to say 100 high by 200 wide. Update the default display. Yeah, that looks a little more like it. I'll save. Now when I scroll down that looks a little better. I could go even further by changing this New York into NY, and Ohio into OH, by changing that field. You remember you could choose between the province name or the province code. But that's good enough for now. I'll scroll back up, and I think I'll go back and take a look at our views.

The point I'm trying to make is when you're done creating views think about how you're going to use them. I know that's not always possible, because you don't know until you've completed the site, and see how all the pieces mix together. It's an iterative process like so much of design. You change the view, you change the block, you move the block into one place, you go back to the view and so forth. I'll go back to the views right now, and see what else we might have that could look better. Scrolling down, let' see what other views don't have both, a page and a block. Well, there is this events. But we do have a block for events_calendar. So I'm okay with that. We have a page for events, but we have a menu that goes to it. Click on Page. We do. It's this Events menu right up here. That's good.

Scrolling down more, Family map. We have a page. We have a link to that. Click on Edit, click on page, scroll down. Aha! There is no menu. We created the view, but forgot to put a menu up here along with events and people. I think I want one, so I'll add it, scroll down a bit, and add normal menu entry, and call it map, scroll down and primary links. Update, save, and let's go to our homepage.

There, scrolling down a little bit further, this page is a little bit long. I think there are too many people here, and I could have sworn we had more people than that. So I'll click on Edit, see our page for family. Aha! There are two problems here. The first is we're only displaying the first ten. I'll scroll down and change that. Well, I could have it show everything by changing it to 0, but I think I'll make the page shorter, by only showing 4. Update default display and Save.

Problem with that though is now I only see 4 people total. I have to add a pager. Go back, Use pager, scroll down, Full pager, because it doesn't take that much space, scroll down further, Update and Save. Now I'll go back home, scroll down to see how that looks. Yes, I'm starting to like how this is looking. There are only two last things to do. First, I'm going to see how this is going to look to an anonymous user, i.e., somebody who is not logged into this site, and make sure that everything is okay there. Secondly, I'm going to change the name of the site, sort of as the capstone to the whole course.

To see how the site looks to an anonymous user, I could just log out, see it, log back in. What I usually find even easier is to switch browsers. So one browser is logged in, and one is not. The browser I'll use to not be logged in with is Safari on the Mac. I'll switch over to Safari and reload my page. Aha! See I find something out immediately. This User login block in my opinion should be above tags, and in fact, tag should probably be a lot further down. So I'll go back to the Firefox browser, go back to my blocks, admin/build/block, scroll down a little bit, and I'm actually going to move that Tags in relationship to the family, all the way down to this postscript area, at the bottom of the page. I'm also going to move this Chart-of-households down, because it looks sort of strange in that column with all of the animation next to still text. I'll go down and save, preview it again for a logged in user, looks pretty good, switch over to our not logged in user, and that looks better.

Scroll down just to see. Yeah, I really like that. We have our map, our events. It all looks good. So finally to finish off the course, let's give it a name. That's it. Admin, Site Configuration and Site Information. I'm going to call this the de Nada Family Website, scroll down and Save. Friends, I believe we're done. You might not agree that this is an especially attractive or useful website, but I think you get the point that the data handling capabilities of Drupal gives you a tremendous amount of power. If you've followed along through this entire course, congratulations! You now have the ability to do everything you saw on this video, and far far more to make your own website absolutely astounding.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Drupal 6: Online Presentation of Data.


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Q: The exercise files for the course appear to be missing.

A: Full exercise files for this course were not provided because of the unusually large amount of images, modules, and other files that would have to be installed in specific places, in addition to the database. We hope to have a solution for future Drupal courses that installs all items in their correct places.

Q: During the course the author makes reference to being able to add data via the exercise files; however, the data is not in the exercise files.
A: During the recording of the title, some of the exercise files were removed, since the frequent updates to Drupal itself and to the modules that are needed to run the exercise files cause them to break.

The data referenced in the video consists mostly of names and addresses, which will need to be typed by hand.
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