Join Tom Geller for an in-depth discussion in this video Investigate Drupal's inner workings, part of Drupal 8 Essential Training: 1 The Basics.
- [Voiceover] Once you've installed and configured your Drupal site, chances are you'll never need to touch the machinery that makes it run. But just as mechanics have a special understanding of the cars they drive, it's useful to know what's going on under the hood of your Drupal site. Sometimes that knowledge will help you fix problems, but even when you can't, you'll be able to communicate the issues better to someone who can. Let's start with Drupal's technical requirements. There are two places where you can find out what these are. First, if you go to the web root where you have Drupal installed, there's a file in the core folder called INSTALL.txt.
So we open Core, and there it is. I'll open that up in a text editor. When you have that file open, if you scroll through you'll see this Requirements and Notes. A lot of this text is also on the Drupal.org website at drupal.org/requirements. If you scroll to the bottom of that page, you'll see links to a lot more information. So if you're installing Drupal on a web host and it says you can't install here, go through these links, you'll find a lot of information. But if you were able to install Drupal then you've already met all of these requirements.
So let's look at Drupal itself. As I've mentioned before, it's divided into two parts. A set of files, and a database. We'll look at the database first. To do this, we go back to Acquia Dev Desktop, and click the Local database link. If you know MySQL, you could go through here and look at all of these tables, but I have to warn you, you should never change any of the information in the database directly, unless you have a specific reason to do that. Doing so confuses Drupal, and it could crash your site.
Now let's move on to the files. To do that, I'll go back to Acquia Dev Desktop, and click the Local code link. That takes us back to the folder we were just in. This Core directory that we opened up earlier contains a lot of files, and this is basically core Drupal. You should never change anything that you find in here, unless you are an experienced developer. And even then, there are better ways to do it. However, you will find some useful text files in here, such as that INSTALL.txt file I pointed you to earlier.
Going down, we have the Modules folder, and also the Themes folder that we saw in a different video in this course. This is where you put modules and themes that you've added to your site. There are also alternate places where you can put those modules and themes. And if you open these up, you'll find a README.txt that gives you all of the details. Looking at the other folders, we have this Profiles folder, which is empty right now. This folder is for people who are creating distributions, that is, specialized versions of Drupal. For example, it's possible to create a profile that lets people install a real estate agent site, let's say, by simply writing the correct profile file, and putting it in this folder.
The Vendor folder contains a lot of sub-parts of Drupal. These are things that are necessary to make Drupal run the way that it does. But, again, you should never touch anything that's in the Vendor folder. Finally, we come to the Sites folder. This is where your individual site actually lives. And more specifically, it generally lives in this Default folder. Remember when we uploaded a file earlier in this course? Well, you'll find it in this Files folder. In this case, since I did it in January of 2016, there's that birds image that I uploaded.
By the way, Drupal also automatically creates smaller versions of this image, and those go into the Styles folder. So Styles, Large, Public, and there's the date again, and there's a different version of the same image. The last file that I want to show you in your web root folder, is this settings.php. And that's inside Sites and Default. This is perhaps the most important file in your entire Drupal installation, because it tells Drupal how to connect the files to the database. If I open that up, and scroll all the way down, there's the information.
If you have trouble launching your site, you may have to change this. Now, once again, nearly everything you do with Drupal will be done through a web browser. There are pretty much only two times you're ever gonna play with these files, or the database, or the server configuration directly. The first time is when you install Drupal, and the second time is when you need to move your site between two computers. Advanced Drupalists sometimes also reach into Drupal's guts to fix complicated problems, or set up custom configurations. But for our purposes, it's always best to stick with the web-based interface that you get through Drupal itself.
This course is the first of the series. No prerequisites are required beyond basic computer skills! These easy-to-follow tutorials show how to install Drupal and other necessary components on a Windows or Mac computer, navigate Drupal's web-based interface, configure the settings of a new Drupal site, create content, and move the site to a server. Every step includes best practices to ensure your website remains streamlined, secure, and up-to-date.
Watch Drupal 8 Essentials 2: Building Out Your Website to find out how to finesse your site with categories, comments, custom styles, and other special features.
- Comparing Drupal to other software
- Getting help with Drupal
- Installing Acquia Dev Desktop on Mac and Windows
- Installing the Drupal database, modules, and themes
- Creating basic content
- Establishing your site's look and feel
- Adjusting security settings
- Adding images and metadata
- Adding a sidebar
- Moving your Drupal website to a server
- Backing up a Drupal site