Drupal 7: Reporting and Visualizing Data
Illustration by John Hersey

Understanding Drupal 7's data-template model (entities)


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Drupal 7: Reporting and Visualizing Data

with Tom Geller

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Video: Understanding Drupal 7's data-template model (entities)

You already know a fair amount about data in Drupal. To recap, you define data models using something called content types. And you can see a list of those by clicking Structure and then clicking Content types. Here we see the Article and Basic page that come with Drupal by default, as well as the Employee content type that we created. If you click Manage fields, you can see that each content type comprises a bunch of fields, including several that we added in the last video.
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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

Understanding Drupal 7's data-template model (entities)

You already know a fair amount about data in Drupal. To recap, you define data models using something called content types. And you can see a list of those by clicking Structure and then clicking Content types. Here we see the Article and Basic page that come with Drupal by default, as well as the Employee content type that we created. If you click Manage fields, you can see that each content type comprises a bunch of fields, including several that we added in the last video.

Content types form templates for nodes, which you then create by clicking Add content and here we see the same fields. But as it happens, the model that you just saw goes well beyond content types and nodes. You can also create templates for people, comments and taxonomies. That might be a little confusing right now but don't worry. It's easier to show than to tell. We will start with people. And we go up there by clicking People. If we look at any one of these at the moment we only have one user myself admin and click Edit.

We cane see that it's a group of fields, the Username, password, email address, and so on. Some of these are built-in. You can't add or remove them because they're essential to Drupal's configuration and the way that it works. But you can add fields to that. I can show you that by going up to Configuration and Account settings. This Setting screen which you see in the tab up here is very much like the edit screen for a content type. You have some control over basic information. Otherwise you can see the two screens are quite different. Where Content types and Account settings are the same however, is that you can add fields to both.

You do that by clicking Manage Fields. I am going to Add a field here. It will say what committees that an individual person is on. Let me call Committees and it'll be a List of Text items. And we will just leave it as Select list and Save. As usual, there are a whole bunch of options that we could enter for that particular field. I am going to allow only a few values.

These are the committees that I want people to be able to join. I will go down and Save field settings. And then I have some additional settings that I can make. I am going to Display this on user registration forms. That means that when people join the system, they can say what committees they are on. And I will scroll down to the bottom and Save settings. We can see the effect that had by looking at our own user profile, go up to Hello admin. Remember we are admin and Edit. As we scroll down, we now see that Committee selection list right here.

And I will say that I want to be on the Hiring Committee and Save. If we go back to that Account Settings, again we click Configuration and Account settings. You can go back and edit that field if we want. For example, I can change how many values it allows. I am going to allow people to join as many committees as they want, scroll down, Save settings then go back to our profile to see that. When I scroll down, I can now Command+ Click or Ctrl+Click on Windows to select as many as I want, just as expected.

As I said, there's a similar interface for both taxonomies and comments. I will just quickly show you the taxonomies one. To get there click Structure and Taxonomy. We already have one Vocabulary in here called Tags. If I edit that vocabulary, we see the same Manage Fields and Manage Display tabs up here. So we could actually keep adding fields to Taxonomies in very much the same way. So you see how you can store data in any of these four things which are called Entities. That raises a question.

Why not build our employee directory using people instead of nodes? That's really an architectural decision and it's full of subtleties that you will start to learn after you start spending time with people and nodes and taxonomies and so forth. I'm going to use nodes throughout this course. But you could build it by adding fields to people. That way, each employee could sign in and manage their own records more easily. I'm doing it in more of an administrator focused way and I want the administrator to be able to control all of the nodes without the employees being able to control them.

The point is that Drupal is very flexible and how it stores data. That's good in the long term, but I know it can be a little confusing when you first come across it. Don't worry. I'll show you all about how the system of entities works, as we go through the course.

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