Drupal 7 New Features
Illustration by John Hersey

Using the revised Dashboard


From:

Drupal 7 New Features

with Tom Geller

Video: Using the revised Dashboard

A big part of the Drupal 7 redesign was to make the administrative interface less intimidating. Drupal 6's main administration page was notoriously confusing. Here I'll show you. The way you got there on Drupal 6 was you clicked Administer and then you see this page which has 32 links. Yes, I counted them. 32 links in five categories. Remember, if you will, the first time you saw the screen, many people will just throw up their hands and run away. Now, compare that with the main administration page in Drupal 7, which we get to by clicking on Dashboard. Ah, much cleaerr.

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Watch the Online Video Course 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
Subject:
Web
Software:
Drupal
Author:
Tom Geller

Using the revised Dashboard

A big part of the Drupal 7 redesign was to make the administrative interface less intimidating. Drupal 6's main administration page was notoriously confusing. Here I'll show you. The way you got there on Drupal 6 was you clicked Administer and then you see this page which has 32 links. Yes, I counted them. 32 links in five categories. Remember, if you will, the first time you saw the screen, many people will just throw up their hands and run away. Now, compare that with the main administration page in Drupal 7, which we get to by clicking on Dashboard. Ah, much cleaerr.

It's not only clearer; it's also very customizable. This video will show you how to make it dance to your tune. Now, as you just saw you can get there by clicking on Dashboard. Once you're there you have two additional tabs: By Task which actually looks a lot like the old administrative page on Drupal 6, and By Module, which actually was similar to Drupal 6 By module. If you scroll up to the top of this administrative page in Drupal 6 you have By module. Turn back to Drupal 7 now. Let's go back to By Task.

Now, instead of being 32 links and five categories, we have 27 links in seven categories, so they're a lot more itemized I would say. And when you click on the header of any of these, such as Appearance, you then have some of those sub tabs there Update and Settings. I've showed this in another video as well, so there is no need to recap all of that here. Let's go back to the Dashboard itself. From the beginning it shows what the most recent content posted is, who's new on the site, what users are new, and also lets you search the site, but you can customize this however you like.

The way we do that is by clicking on Customize Dashboard. At the top of this page we have a number of different things that we can place into the Dashboard. We already have some things here, the Who's new, Search form, and Recent content as I mentioned. You can remove these if you want as well. The way you do this is by dragging and dropping. And interestingly this is the only place in the Drupal administrative interface where drag-and-drop works as you would expect in a graphical program. I'll show you how that works. Let's say we wanted to put Recent comments underneath Recent content. We just grab it, drag it, and there it is.

We could also drag it above Recent content just like that. Now, in our case we don't have any content or comments, so we won't see very much there. I am just going to drag it underneath Recent content there and click Done, but we do see that that's where it would be if we had content. Let's go back to that customization again. So you see these things, Syndicate, Shortcuts, Powered by Drupal, and so forth. If these sound familiar it's because here is a secret. They're all just ordinary blocks. I can prove that by going up to Structure and clicking on Blocks and then scrolling down here to our disabled blocks.

See we have our Syndicate. Somewhere up here we have the Powered by Drupal block. There it is in the footer. And in fact if I create a new block, I'll just this call this Temp block and do with the title Temp and the body Temp, scroll down to the bottom and Save the block, then I can go back to my Dashboard and customize it and there is our Temp block. We could just put it in any part of the Dashboard that we want. Then when we say Done there it is. Now, I'm just going to take that out again, the Customize Dashboard, drag it out, or in fact we could just go back up say Done go to Structure > Blocks and delete it, just as we did in Drupal 6.

This new Dashboard is a big change for administrators. In a way it helps move Drupal from something for a hard-core system administrators to something that everyone can manage with a few clicks. With this Dashboard, you as the administrator can actually set up a control panel for your other administrators on the site that they can understand. That makes it a lot easier for you to really customize the administrative interface on Drupal 7. We click up here on Dashboard and we immediately get the information that we really need right away without having to do a lot of clicks.

There are currently no FAQs about Drupal 7 New Features.

 
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