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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.
We are at a point here where Drupal is now installed and ready to go. At this point, you could simply start adding your content. You have a fully working Drupal website. But there is one little tweak I would like to recommend before going any further. While it's optional, it makes your site more friendly to both search engines and users. That is configuration for Clean URLs. This section can be somewhat difficult and technical and much of the information that you are going to need will be on the drupal.org website. I'll show you how to find that information, but I will also show you how to go through the process in one certain way. You might not be able to do this on your computer, but with any luck it will work just fine.
When you first installed Drupal, you might have noticed those choices you had, to either use Clean URLs or not. If you can click those radio buttons at that point then you should turn them on, there is no reason not to. However, for most of us we weren't able to do that because there wasn't something on our server that needed to be changed. I'll show you how to change that now. You can also find out whether you can use Clean URLs once the site is already loaded. To do so go to Administer and scroll down until you find Clean URLs, I will click on there, oh it look likes I can't because I can't click those radio buttons. That's okay; I will show you how to do it.
The first place to go is the drupal.org website, I will create a new window and go to drupal.org. To find the page that you want you will click on Documentation and then scroll down to Beyond the Basics. Then go to HowTos and finally to the Installation, Migration and Backup section. Once there, the second choice is Clean URLs. We will be coming back to this page frequently as there is a lot of information on it that we need. However, first I will show you where the file is that you will need to change in order to make Clean URLs work. I will show where it is on the Mac computer, although if you are on a PC, it will be in a different place, but it will have the same name.
We will go to the Finder and hide everything else so we can see what we are doing. Create a new window by hitting Command+N on the Mac and go to the Applications and then to our MAMP installation folder. In the MAMP installation folder we go to conf, apache and there it is httpd conf. If you are on the PC again, you will have to search for that depending on how you did your installation. I am going to make a backup of that by hitting Command+C, copy and then Command+V for paste, again on the PC it's Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. Remember that we have this copy in case anything goes wrong. We are going to open the original file, which is called httpd.conf. Once we have it open, we can make the window a little bit larger, so we can see what we are doing.
We are going to look for something called mod_rewrite, I will do Command+F or Ctrl+F on the PC mod_rewrite. Good, we need to have this line uncommented. In some httpd conf files, you will find a # sign in front of it which means that it's turned off, you want to make sure that it's turned on by backspacing a few times and taking away that # sign. You can also find out if the mod_ rewrite module is turned on in Apache, by going back to MAMP or WAMP, opening up your start page and hitting phpinfo and then doing a search for rewrite there. There we are.
We actually have mod_rewrite already turned on, if it isn't turned on in your installation, the place to go again is the Drupal page I mentioned earlier which will tell you a little bit about how to turn it on. So we have mod_rewrite turned on, why can't we use Clean URLs. It turns out that some additional changes have to be made to httpd.conf or to another file. I am going to make them to httpd.conf although again, there are few different ways of doing this and you can find out on the drupal.org web page.
My favorite way though, is if you scroll down, you will find a little snippet of text here, you can copy, Command+C or Ctrl+C and then go back to that file and paste it pretty much anywhere in the file. I like to put it anywhere in the file. I will like to put it somewhere around the LoadModule part. I will paste it. Then one other change has to happen which is you have to change the path to your Drupal directory. For us that's Users/tomgeller/Sites/drupal. We save that file with Command+S or Ctrl+S. Then we have to do one more thing go to MAMP stop the servers. We need to enter our password for that, start the servers again and then let's see if it works.
We will go back to our site, reload this page, and hurray! We can now use Clean URLs. I will show you what Clean URLs actually does, by turning it on and then saying Save Configuration. First you will notice how we have this ?q= blah, blah, blah, blah. Save configuration, it's all gone. Now we just have /admin/etcetera. That's true throughout the entire site. If we go to, let's say Administer instead of saying ?q= blah, blah, blah it just says admin.
It can be very difficult to set up Clean URLs and believe me I feel for you. I have done this many times and had many problems doing it. Unfortunately, we can only show one path to troubleshooting this, since there are many different ways that it can go wrong. But it's well worth setting up Clean URLs as you can see. If you need any more help, cash in your, you owe me a favor chip with the system administrator friend you have down the street or once again go back to drupal.org and get help there.
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