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Drupal 7 New Features

Reviewing what is lost from Drupal 6


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Drupal 7 New Features

with Tom Geller

Video: Reviewing what is lost from Drupal 6

Professional authors have a saying, "Writing is easy; editing is hard." But good editing is often what makes the difference between a good work and a great one. Drupal 7's developers apparently knew this too and removed a few things that were either confusing, or underused, or poorly implemented. Only a few things got the axe though, and chances are pretty good that you never use them in Drupal 6. We'll start with one that I'm sure you've never used, because it didn't actually do anything. The Related terms feature for taxonomy.

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Drupal 7 New Features
2h 38m Intermediate Oct 07, 2010

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In Drupal 7 New Features, author Tom Geller demonstrates changes to the Drupal 7 administrative interface and other enhancements that have come out of its three-year development period. This course covers its simplified installation process, new themes that will help kick-start design projects, the customizable shortcut bar that puts often-used commands in easy reach, update procedures that leverage its browser-based interface, and a new way of defining fields to create complex content types without additional modules.

Topics include:
  • Configuring the new Dashboard
  • Using contextual link controls
  • Exploring new themes
  • Reviewing the new modules
  • Understanding the expanded block system
  • Using images in content
  • Allowing users to delete accounts
  • Testing modules with the Testing module
  • Building themes using Drupal Gardens
Subjects:
Web CMS
Software:
Drupal
Author:
Tom Geller

Reviewing what is lost from Drupal 6

Professional authors have a saying, "Writing is easy; editing is hard." But good editing is often what makes the difference between a good work and a great one. Drupal 7's developers apparently knew this too and removed a few things that were either confusing, or underused, or poorly implemented. Only a few things got the axe though, and chances are pretty good that you never use them in Drupal 6. We'll start with one that I'm sure you've never used, because it didn't actually do anything. The Related terms feature for taxonomy.

I'll show you how it worked, or rather didn't work in Drupal 6. Here is our Drupal 6 site. I'll go to Administer > Content > Taxonomy. I'll create a vocabulary. I'll just call it Color names, and save that. And then we'll start adding terms. Just say yellow, Save, and red. Now if we go down here to Advanced options, we see this Related terms.

But it didn't actually do anything. It exposed the terms to each other, but when I asked the developers what it actually did, everyone said, "Well, I don't actually know." So it disappeared from Drupal 7. The second thing that disappeared from Drupal is a setting that lets you require at least a given number of words in posts. The original idea was a good one. It was to prevent people from creating small insubstantial posts, as for example spammers will often do. But apparently very few people were using it, because there was almost no outcry at all in the discussion about removing it.

Again, I'll show you in Drupal 6. Once again, we go up to Administer and Content. And then we go to Content types. To see it, you edit any content type. I'll just edit Page here. Then down here, under Submission form settings, you have this Minimum number of words selection. That's just gone. If you'd like to read the discussion about how that feature got removed by the way, go to drupal.org/node/522184. While we're on the subject, Drupal 6's Post settings page has disappeared.

The functions it held haven't left us though. They're just spread among other screens, and in some cases, they've been improved. In Drupal 6, you found that under Administer > Content Management and Post settings. If you'd like to learn exactly where those commands went, you could see that in the video "Finding commands." Moving on, there was an Access rules feature in Drupal 6 that let you block people from registering as users based on their usernames, e-mail addresses, or hosts. That was at Administer > User management and Access rules.

Drupal's developers figured that the username and e-mail addresses were just far too easy to spoof, and few people use this feature anyway. So in Drupal 7, you can only block people by IP address, which is more secure. You do that in Drupal 7 by going to the IP address blocking function. Under Configuration > IP address blocking, and there it is. Finally, we come to three core modules that were simply thrown away. We can see those in Drupal 6. The first one is called Blog API. We get to that by saying Administer > Site Building, and Modules.

As we scroll down, we see this Blog API. That was originally meant to allow people to make blog posts to Drupal through another site such as Blogger or MovableType. Not many people use the Blog API module anymore. If you're curious, you can read about it at drupal.org/node/295 and you could read about how it got removed at drupal.org/node/537434. Nowadays, you'd use the Feeds module to do much of what the Blog API module used to do.

You can get the Feeds module at drupal.org/project/feeds. I got to say it's a great module. I definitely recommend that you take a look at it. Another module that was removed is called Ping. This one made sure that your Drupal site notified others when you had new content. Again, few people used it. If you really want the functionality it offered, check out the Multiping module, which is at drupal.org/project/multiping. If you want to read the discussion about removing that Ping module, just take a look at this other URL, drupal.org/node/231437.

The Throttle module was originally designed to improve performance by choking back your site when it got hit with more traffic than it could handle. But there were improvements in such things as how Drupal caches data, so that sort of made it obsolete. You can read the discussion about removing it at drupal.org/node/245504. If you want to learn more about getting better performance out of Drupal generally, take a look at the other URL on your screen, at groups.drupal.org/high-performance.

Now I know that I've been saying that these features haven't been much used, or that they've been replaced by something else. But I know there are going to be people who've used Drupal 6 and who are going to watch this video, and then go try Drupal 7. They'll look for some important feature, and be unable to find it and think it's one of the ones that disappeared. That's perfectly natural, because a lot of features moved around in Drupal 7. In fact, every administrative path is changed. But don't worry. If you're looking for something important, you can bet that it's still in Drupal 7. The things that I mentioned here really were the ones that were either not used very much, or have been obsoleted by better technologies.

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