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If you've just installed Drupal 7 for the first time and tried clicking on just about any link you see on the initial page, you've seen the administrative overlay. Hre I'll show. Click on Configuration and it pops up. That's this white part that goes over the page below it. And basically it pops up whenever you're doing any kind of administrative task. Well, the page you are looking at is visible, just barely underneath it. Some people love it. Dome people hate it. This video will show you how to use it, avoid it, and even turn it off altogether if you want.
Now that we have got it up, I'll first show you how to close it. You just click on this little x up here. I'll show you around some of the features of the administrative overlay. I'll go back up to Configuration and Account settings, and here we see the first one. We have these tabs up here at the top, when you click on any one of these it doesn't refresh the entire screen, just the administrative overlay, just like so. And as you can see just barely underneath we still see our title of the underlying site. When you scroll through the administrative overlay, the underlying site does not scroll.
You can see that by noticing this blue area up here at the top of the underlying site, which is separated from this white area. And as we scroll, the underlying site doesn't actually change. It is sort of like having two pieces of paper on the desk, and you're only moving one on top of the other. To show this a little bit more clearly, I am going to quickly create a page. I'll close out the administrative overlay and click Add Content, which by itself brings up the administrative overlay. I'll just save Basic Page. This is just going to be called Junk Node and I'll just fill up the body with blah, blah, blah, and copy that over a whole bunch of times.
There you go. I'll save that, so we now see this in the background with all this blah, blah, blah. Now when I raise up the Configuration page, underneath it all you can see, down here the text of the underlying page is still showing through. I'll close that out again. Now one thing that's interesting when you click on anything that raises the administrative overlay is what happens with the URL. If we go back to our homepage here, if you look up here, we just see our basic domain. Remember we're running this off of our own computer so it's this local name, d7nf, and then the port which we get from the DAMP AMP stack.
When we click on anything that creates the administrative overlay like the Structure link right here, we now have a URL in two parts. here's the first part. Then we have this #overlay=, which shows us the part that hovers above it. If you want to show either the underlying page or the administrative overlay just by itself you remove that part that you don't want. So for example, if I remove this overlay =admin/structure and also remove that pound and hit Return, we go right back to that page. Once again, I'll bring up an administrative overlay page and I can actually remove this #overlay= part, hit Delete and Return.
Then we see what was on the administrative overlay, but only as the basic page itself. that is it's only at one level. So that's one way that you can get rid of it, if it's annoying you. To get it back again, just go back Home and then if you click again on Configuration, it'll show up again as an administrative overlay. But let's say you really dislike the administrative overlay entirely. There is a way to turn it off. Just go up to Modules, scroll down to Overlay, uncheck that box. Scroll all the way to the bottom and click Save configuration.
Now the administrative overlay will never show up, and I'll show up that by I going to my homepage here, going to Content, which would normally pop up the Overlay, and it doesn't. And as long as we are on Content, I am actually just going to delete that node. The administrative overlay has an interesting history. One of the biggest User Interface differences between Drupal and its competitor Joomla! is that Joomla! enormously differentiates between what the administrator sees and what ordinary users see. That wasn't true for Drupal 6, and that in fact irked some people who wanted to feel a wall between those two worlds.
Lots of discussions and lots of study led to this solution, and personally I think it's pretty good, especially since you can turn it off if you don't like it. Frankly the first time I tried it, I really didn't care for it because I used to navigate around the administrative pages by typing their URLs up here and it bothered me that I had to type #Content and whatever it was in order to get the pages that I wanted. But after a few days of using it, I found myself clicking around a lot more than I did in Drupal 6, and in the end I was able to use it faster.
And if for some reason I ever want to go back to typing URLs, I still can. That's one of the features of Drupal 7 is that it gives you a lot more choice than Drupal 6 did, in matters of interface.
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