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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.
The last two sites we looked at were pretty low budget, that's fine I'm guessing that very few people watching this video have enormous budgets for their own web site projects. But now let's see how data visualization fits into a site that spent a lot of money and time on making their graphics pop. For this, I chose the site of one of the most visually rich properties around, the Star Wars game; it's at swtlr.com, Star Wars, The Old Republic. Now I'm not going to get into the visual stuff.
As you know, lynda.com has lots of videos that'll show you how to get results like this. And the course on Drupal theming will help you to integrate those into your Drupal site. Now we're going to look past the Flash, and you'll see that the data portion of this site is actually quite simple. In fact, I'll tell you how to do all the data manipulations you need before the end of this course in order to make a site like this. Let's start with this latest news part down here. In this block we have three things to click on at the top, latest News, New Media and Recent Updates.
Each one of these is a collection of stories and we can click on any of these links to go to that story itself. Like so, and, like so. This is giving us a little teaser of what's behind the node and if we click the Read More, we see the complete node, and in fact, if we look at each of these, we'll see a very similar format between all of them, they have all of this body text up here and maybe some images, and then down at the bottom they have tags, as well as a link to Comments. That's one way you can tell if you're looking at a data driven site.
If all of the formats are the same on similar pieces, probably they're defined by a content type, but let's go back and scroll back down to the bottom and there we are. This group of node is probably done through a view, and in fact, this thing where you can switch from one tab to another was probably done using something called Quick Tabs. You can find it on drupal.org, at drupal.org/project/quicktabs. I actually use it on my own site as well, tomgeller.com. This is the same exact thing, it's the same Quick Tabs that they're using on Star Wars, The Old Republic, of course, theirs is more dressed up, but it's the same basic technology.
Now let's go back up to the top and take a look at some of the other parts of this site. We have this Community menu, let's go down to Events. As we scroll down, we see only two events here, this one, October 21st and November 24th. This could be done in a view with different fields for the title and the logo here, and so on. Then again, it might not be, and one hint that I have that it might not be is that the titles aren't clickable. Now that can be done in views, but usually people leave it in the default, so that when you click the title, it goes to a node.
Perhaps the reason they're doing this is because it leads to another company's property, and if we click on Paris Games Week, we see that it actually goes to another site, and we get a warning telling us that, let's cancel out of that. Finally, let's go to Community and Awards. Once again, we have a very good-looking page and this might or might not be done with a view. It would be very good to do in a view, because as we add a new award, all we have to do is create a node that contains it, and then the view automatically adds it to this list.
Again, we can't click on the title, and in fact, there is nothing that we can click on in most of these. So that tells me maybe it's not a view, but maybe it is. That's something I'll tell you about as we go through the course. Although it focuses on doing these data collections, sometimes it makes more sense to just do things in a standard node. Now I don't know about you, but I always find good graphic design intimidating. I know I don't have the skills to pull all of this together by myself, but here's the great thing. After having spent a bit of time deconstructing how the data structure probably works, I know that I have what it takes to team up with a designer and an implementation specialist to make a site that's this good.
Professional quality sites like this are usually a team effort and it's gratifying to understand enough about the data portion to know that you could be a valuable part of that team.
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