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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.
Now we move on to the meat of the matter: configuring Drupal through its browser based administration menus. Except for those changes that require mucking about on the server, to add or remove files for example, pretty much every change you make to your Drupal site will happen through this interface. Fortunately, these menus are fairly self-explanatory and if you are feeling adventurous you could just start playing around with them, but here are a few tips and tricks to make your administration experience easier, safer, and more efficient. You will need to be logged in as the Administrator to go through this video.
The first thing, that we're going to do, is to go to the Administer menu in the left hand column. If for some reason this menu isn't working, that is to say if your installation is having problems, there is another way that you could reach this menu, by typing ?q=admin. That will always get you back to this menu even if you're having problems with your Drupal installation, as long as Drupal is actually running. The administration page contains links to many different parts of Drupal that are available for you to change the settings; you can reach them through two series of links.
The first one on the left side is by category. Each of these categories is then expanded in the main part of the screen here. If, for example, you click on Content management, you would see the same links that you see here in this box under Content management. Click on it, it shows you those and it also expands them here. Personally, I prefer to just go to the main Administer link and then use Find to find what I am looking for. Let's say, for example, I wanted to change the Site information, I will hit Command+F or Ctrl+F on a PC and if I wanted to, say, see Site information and there we go. It highlights down here, I can click on it, and go straight there.
Another way that you could look at the links that are available for Administration - go back up to the top of the Administration page and click on By module. Each one of these blocks refers to different module, that's installed in Drupal. Drupal is actually a series of modules, the main one of which is called System and you can see its Administration here. We are going to look at the files that make up the Drupal installation and see what those modules actually are. We'll go to Hide Others and to our Drupal installation folder, which in our case is in Users/Tomgeller/Sites/Drupal.
You can find modules in a few different places. The first one is in the Module's folder. These are the modules that came with the Drupal installation. If you have installed any additional one's they would be in Sites, all, and then there would be folder called modules or sites default and a folder called modules. If we look here, we see System and Taxonomy and if we go back to our Administration and scroll down we see System and Taxonomy. We'll discuss modules and how to add additional modules in other video in this series.
For now, let's go back up to Administer by Task. After you've been using Drupal for a while, you might find that all of this extra text isn't necessary, because you know what Comments is and Content and Blocks and so forth. So, you can hide the descriptions to make that page much more compact. Many administration pages change as you alter the site's capabilities. For example, if you add a module, it may actually change, what another module's page looks like. Let's take a look at a few different types of administration page. Towards the bottom here, we have a special type called Reports. This actually shows all of the things that have been happening on your Drupal system. The most important of these is Status Report. This is just an informational report, it doesn't actually have very much that you can set. Although, it does give you links to various places that will help you in your Drupal administration.
Another report that's useful is Recent Log Entries. This can be very helpful, if you have been having problems with your Drupal installation, because it will tell you exactly where the problem started to happen and what the cause was to some extent. After a while as you could expect, this list will become extremely long and you can filter it. For example, by the severity of the problem and also by the type, whether it was caused by user action or by an action of cron and so forth. Let's take a look at a more complex Admin page; going back to Administer we will look at Blocks. This is a list of different things that you could put on your Drupal site; for example, in this top area here, called the Header or in the two sidebars or at the bottom, what's called the Footer; or actually in this main area here, on every page, or on selected pages.
Each one of these lines represents a different block and these could, for example, be moved around. Let's take this one, Who's Online, for example. We can click and drag it by that little arrow symbol and let's put it on top of Navigation here. You will notice the little asterisk, which says that it's not saved until you click on Save Blocks and there we are. Now we have this extra block up here for online users. In addition to being able to click and drag these blocks, you can use the popup menu, to change the where they appear or you can further configure them by clicking on the configure button.
You can also change the way that you see the site beside when you are administrating it. Let's go back to Administer, there is a special link down here, called the Administration theme, this changes the look only when you're administrating it that changes what the Administrator see, from what the regular users see. To do that you just change the popup here and let's change it, let's say to Chameleon and go to Save Configuration. Instantly we have a different look for the Administrator. Now, if as we Log out as the Administrator, which we can do down here, you will see the original theme, which is different from the Administration theme. Other videos in this series will show details on some of these Admin screens in the Core Drupal installation and the chapter on Modules shows you how to configure some other more popular third-party modules. I urge you to just spend some time wandering through the Admin screens with all of Drupal's capabilities and options it's easy to forget where important settings are hiding. The more time that you spend in these Admin screens, the faster you will remember where they are.
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