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This course shows how to build an online store using Drupal Commerce, a set of modules that extend Drupal. Author Tom Geller teaches the basics of configuring a store, processing a payment, and charging for shipping and taxes, as well as creating, displaying, and categorizing products. The course also explains how to integrate a store into a Drupal site, customize a store's appearance, and increase site traffic using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.
One thing that a content management system like Drupal does is to compartmentalize your site's structure into logical patterns of information that are easy to work with. Drupal calls these entities. Now, describing entities can get a little bit confusing, and even metaphysical at times, but if you listen through it, you will find that you may understand your site's structure much better. In core Drupal, there are four kinds of entities: content, which Drupal calls nodes, users, categories, which Drupal calls taxonomies, and comments.
Let's just take a look at a node. By default, nodes have only two fields, a title, and a body. But when they're displayed, a node actually pulls in parts of other entities. For example, the name that gets connected with that node comes from the user entity. There may be tags at the bottom of that node; that comes from the taxonomy. And finally, Drupal allows people to comment on nodes, and those come from a different sort of data store; the comments entities. If you've used Drupal 7 before, this is all old-hat.
You can add fields to any kind of entity, and then reference them from other entity types. For example, you could add a picture to a person's profile, and then that could show up in the node. But back to Drupal Commerce. It adds several more entities. Besides the four that are in core Drupal, it also adds products, customer profiles, line items, and payment transactions. And most of these work pretty much the same as they do in core Drupal.
If I switch back to our site, I will show you that. First, let's look at core Drupal. If we go up to Structure, and Content types, and then take a look at Product display, we can change the fields that go into Product display pretty easily, and you have seen this already in this course. Similarly, if we go up to Store, and Products, we have Product Types. And once again, we can add fields to those. As we go on, we can configure our store, and look at our Order settings, and actually add fields to orders. So when somebody goes through the whole order process, you could make them for example, add additional information.
Let's say their age, if it's some sort of age restricted item that you are selling. These types -- content types, product types, and so forth -- are like templates. So if you're selling shirts, you create a product type that includes an image, and a field for color, and a field for size, or you might do that all through taxonomy, but once again, you are just adding fields to entities. And, as I mentioned earlier, Drupal Commerce often references one entity's field from another entity. That's why you are able to see product information in your product display nodes. And your product display nodes can also reference the person who created them, and so forth.
I know this is pretty conceptual stuff, but it will all become clearer the more that you work with Drupal Commerce, and having this understanding will help you to avoid becoming confused as you go forward.
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