Using Drupal

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9780596515805: Using Drupal

With the recipes in this book, you can take full advantage of the vast collection of community-contributed modules that make the Drupal web framework useful and unique. You'll get the information you need about how to combine modules in interesting ways (with a minimum of code-wrangling) to develop a variety of community-driven websites. Each chapter describes a case study and outlines specific requirements for one of several projects included in the book -- a wiki, publishing workflow site, photo gallery, product review site, online store, user group site, and more. With Using Drupal, you will:

  • Get an overview of Drupal concepts and key modules introduced in each chapter, with a bird's-eye view of each module's specialty and how it works
  • Explore various solutions within Drupal that meet the requirements for the project, with details about which modules are selected and why
  • Learn how to configure modules, with step-by-step recipes for building the precise functionality the project requires
  • Get information on additional modules that will make the project even more powerful
  • Be able to access the modules used in the chapter, along with other resources

Newcomers will find a thorough introduction to the framework, while experienced Drupal developers will learn best practices for building powerful websites. With Using Drupal, you'll find concrete and creative solutions for developing the exact community website you have in mind.

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Review:

Using Drupal cuts out a lot of the research time and helps you dive headfirst into Drupal. It does an excellent job of explaining how to rapidly assemble a wide variety of websites using some of Drupal's most commonly used modules. Whether you're new to building websites or an experienced programmer, this book is full of useful information. By the end of Using Drupal, you'll be much more prepared to build the Drupal site you've always wanted.


Is That Site Running Drupal?
By Angela Byron
Various attempts at "fingerprinting" a Drupal site have been tried in the past, none of which are completely foolproof. These range from *super* easy stuff like checking for CHANGELOG.txt to checking the source for a reference to "drupal.css" (Drupal 4.7) to checking for common paths like taxonomy/term/1, and /user, (which might be aliased to something else with something like Pathauto/Path Redirect module), and so on. However, since Drupal 4.6, there's a super geeky trick you can use to fingerprint a Drupal site that works 90% of the time.

1. Get Firefox.

2. Get the Live HTTP Headers extension.

3. After restarting Firefox, click Tools > Live HTTP Headers. This'll pop up a little window to the side.

4. Visit a website you suspect of being Drupalish.

5. Highlight the Live HTTP headers window and type "exp", looking for the following in the output:
"Expires: Sun, 19 Nov 1978 05:00:00 GMT"


"Classic" Web Problems, Solved
Drupal version: 6.x
By Jeff Eaton

A lot of energy in the Drupal world goes towards solving complex problems: giving administrators ways to build publishing workflows without writing code, integrating with cool new APIs, automatically translating site content into Klingon... You know. The usual. With all of that energy focused on complex architectural problems, it's easy to lose sight of the simple solutions that Drupal provides for really common "classic" web problems. This really hit home the other week as I sifted through an old Zip disk with archives of sites I'd built for clients in the heady days of the late 90s. One by one, I started ticking off requests my clients had made that today's site-builders can solve in minutes with Drupal modules--no wacky configuration, no complicated recipes. Just a simple, "Yes!" when a client says, "Can you...?"

"...Make a splash page for the site?"
No problem. Drop in the Splash module, and you can use any page on your site as an interstitial splash page. It's also smart enough to tie into contextual information Drupal provides--only showing the splash screen to anonymous users, creating section-specific splash pages, and more.

"...Let visitors print out copies of the pages?"
While any web browser can print a simple copy of the current page, and custom style sheets can help clean up color schemes and images to make a page look printer-friendly, sometimes, things need tweaking. For example, embedded web links will look like simple underlined text if you rely on style sheet tweaks. Drupal's Print module generates printer-friendly versions of any page, including the creation of URL footnotes at the bottom of each printout. It can also generate downloadable PDFs of any page, and send-this-article-to-a-friend email links.

"...Show visitors a Terms Of Service page before they sign up to post on the site?"
Letting users sign up to post comments, subscribe to newsletters, and so on was just catching on when I handcrafted those old-school sites in the '90s. The Terms of Use module handles one of the tricky parts: requiring users to explicitly agree to terms of service before they can create an account. It lets you maintain your terms as a dedicated page on the site that users can read, and present it to them with an 'Approval' checkbox when they create an account.

"...Add a chat page where users can talk in real-time?"
Setting up chat rooms on web pages was always a pain in the old days. Even today it can be tricky, and there are quite a few different ways to do it. Flash, AJAX, Java applets, and more are all ready. The Mibbit module for Drupal lets site visitors chat on a custom IRC channel using a simple AJAX interface. Since it uses IRC as its backend, it can point to custom private discussion channels, or public ones like #drupal on the freenode IRC network.

"...Keep other sites from stealing my content using Frames?"
This one went out of style for a while, but when Google's AdSense and other advertising networks up momentum, some enterprising individuals resurrected the concept of "wrapping" other sites in HTML frames, presenting ads in the sidebars while leeching the original site's bandwidth and content. JavaScript can help: script snippets can force your page to open in a dedicated window instead of a frame, and the FramePrevention module makes that trick automatic.
None of these modules are crazy, groundbreaking tools that get their own articles and tutorial videos. Like many of the tools in the Drupal world, though, they do the heavy lifting that lets us focus on the really complicated tasks. Looking back, it's hard not to sigh and wonder how much time could've been saved if I'd had them at my disposal in The Olden Days...

Book Description:

Choosing and Configuring Modules to Build Dynamic Websites

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