Touring Drupal's interface
Touring Drupal's interface
If you looked at several Drupal built sites, you have probably remarked on the amount of visual variety there is among them. But under the hood, there are a lot more similarities than differences. That's to your advantage because once you've built one Drupal site, it's easy to figure out how to manage any Drupal site. This video will show you some of those similarities. We will be working on a site that you can create by importing the database, that's in your example files. If you need to know how to do that refer to the other video in this series on working with the example files.
We will be working with a site that you can create yourself by importing the database and graphics files that are included in your exercise files. If you need help doing that see the separate video in this series on importing the exercise files. In order to do this video you'll need to be logged in at the Administrator. We're already logged in the Administrator here. The first thing to know when you are administrating on Drupal site is your way around the Administer Menu, which is almost always found in the left-hand column of your Drupal installation. Click on it now, and you will see a list of different parts of Drupal that you could administer from within that menu.
In the main section of this screen all of the different parts are listed individually. These are also in categories, which are separated in these blocks of gray or along the left-hand side in these individual links. If you click on Content Management for example, you'll see a list of all of the different things that you can administer from within Content Management. If we go back you'll see the same sorts of links that you saw in the gray box. When you are on the Administer screen I often found it easier instead of searching for a specific part that you want to administer by just using your browser's Find function. So for example if I want to say, oh! What are the permissions instead of scrolling down and looking for the word Permissions among all of these I'll just hit Command F or Ctrl+F if you are using a PC and type-in permissions, and there we go, once we are there we can just click on Permissions and go straight to that administration screen.
Now, let's go back to the main administration page. After you have been working with Drupal for a while you'll realize that you don't need all of this descriptive text, and in fact, it makes you scroll down a lot to find things. You can hide those descriptions by clicking up here where it says High descriptions. That makes your screen much more compact. We are going to show those descriptions again, since we are not quite that good. Let's take a look at one of these administration pages. A fairly simple one is if you scroll down toward the bottom and look at Site Information, this is a place where you can change some of the basic things that make up your site. For example, the title when you type that in here it appears up at the top of the page on every page. There is also a place for a Slogan and a Mission Statement.
These can show up on your page as well depending on what your theme settings are. At the bottom of virtually every administration page, you'll also find a Save Configuration and Reset to Defaults button. Obviously, this one cancels what you have been doing while the Save Configuration button saves it. Whenever you saved something or if there is an error you will see a message at the top that will tell you exactly what's happened. Be careful because it's easy to miss this message if you are not looking for it. As you can see, Site Information is only one of many administration pages and they vary somewhat in how they work. We will look at some other types of administration pages elsewhere in this series, but you can generally figure out what's going by using Drupal's built-in help system.
For example, let's go up to this By module tab. This shows many of the administration pages in a slightly different form depending on function. For example, the Block administration page has the Blocks menu right here which is the same as on the previous page, but it also has a link to show how to set permissions which will allow you and your users to do certain things within that block module. On this page you'll also find a Get help link from any of these modules. When you click on that you will get additional information, and the amount of information that you get depends on the module. That's one way to get help. But there is one other.
In the left-hand column under Administer you'll notice there is Help link right here. This will give you help pages for all of the modules that are installed. That's very useful especially when you are first starting out. At any time you can get to the front page of this site, by clicking either on the logo or on the title of this site. Both of those who will bring you to your homepage. Drupal stores its content in parts called Nodes and each node can be edited if you have the permissions to edit it. For example, this story up here at the top was created as what's called the Page. A Page is a type of node and you can edit it as with any other node by clicking on the title of the node, right here. If you have the permissions to edit it you will see this little Edit tag here, if you don't you'll only see the node itself.
So now you have seen a few things about the Administrator's interface. Let's logout to see how an anonymous visitor to your site will see it. There, now you've noticed a few things, first of all, it no longer says Admin up here instead it has a place for the user to log-in. Also the Contact Us link is no longer up here, that's because anonymous visitors to the site are not allowed to contact the Site Administrator by the way that we set up our permissions. The administrator of a Drupal site actually has a lot of control over what an anonymous user can and can't do and can even segment registered users so some have certain permissions while others don't.
So while Drupal's interface is pretty consistent overall, it changes quite a bit depending on how much you or the Site Administrator have given anonymous users and registered users. Are you starting to feel more comfortable with Drupal? If not, try going to some Drupal-built sites, such as drupal.org or amensty.org, and you'll start into it commonalities among them, and of course poking around the administrative interface if your own group of site is the best teacher of all.
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