- Drupal to Build a Website – Step by Step
- What is Drupal?
- Pros of Using a CMS
- Drupal is Open-Source
- Drupal – The Beginning
- Drupal is Volunteers!
- Who uses Drupal?
- Top 10 Drupal Pros:
- 8 Step Process to Building a Drupal Site:
- 1. Plan your Drupal Site
- 2. Install Drupal
- Drupal Install Tips
- 3. Content for your Drupal Site
- Content Tips
- 4. Website Building with Drupal
- 5. Extend Drupal for your Site
- 6. Layout your Drupal Site
- 7. People and your Site
- 8. Manage your Drupal Site
- Drupal Content Types
- Content Types Explored
- Article and Basic Page – Difference Between These Two Content Types:
- Creating a Custom Content Type
- Content Types and Menu Settings
- Adding Fields To a Content Type:
- Image Resolution with Drupal
- Introduction to Taxonomy
- Drupal CMS
Drupal to Build a Website – Step by Step
To begin with, Drupal is an amazing tool for creating advanced websites and applications. With the release of Drupal 8, it even gets better. Don’t worry… even if you have never setup a website before, we will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the process, step-by-step.
What is Drupal?
Pros of Using a CMS
It seems that with a CMS, if you need to update one-thousand pages of a website, you can use Drupal to update a logo, for example, it is easy. You can update the logo in one place, and the entire website will be updated within an instant. In the old days, if you had designed your website with HTML, it could take a lot of time. Every page would need to be updated, which is very time consuming and inefficient.
A CMS gives you unbelievable advantages. It comes with a great deal of software built-in so you don’t need to replicate it.
Drupal is Open-Source
Drupal is open-source, so therefore it is free. That’s the nature of open source software. You can download, change it and re-distribute (if you want).
Drupal – The Beginning
Drupal was originally built by a college student in his dorm room in Dries Buytaert in 2000. It was created originally as a chat client while he was a student at the University of Belgium. Dries is still the driving force behind Drupal today.
Drupal is Volunteers!
See, when you decide to be involved in the Drupal community, you do so as a volunteer. The modules are free for people to use. Your contributions to core are done at your own free-will. It works and it works very well. The really stable and popular version of Drupal came in 2007 and was version 5.0.
Who uses Drupal?
See, there is a huge community around Drupal. A massive world-wide movement with tens of thousands of people attend Drupalcon every year. The White House, Weather.com, Harvard University, the Dallas Cowboys and even Lady Gaga uses Drupal. It’s very powerful. There is a learning curve, however.
Top 10 Drupal Pros:
- Open Source.
- Flexible – it’s adaptive and works well with sophisticated websites.
- Mobile Ready – right out of the box, you can view and administer every page on your website with any device.
- It’s fantastic for large projects.
- Drupal is friendly, social, and searchable.
- It’s safe and secure – Drupal keeps your sites safe with regular security updates and a whole lot more.
- If you need more – there’s more. With Drupal, you can extend your site if needed. You can have multiple themes or versions of a theme on the same site. You can build sites that your clients’ will love.
- If you need help, there’s a fantastic community out there that is active and supportive.
- Large and experienced companies rally around Drupal – large, small and freelance shops are out there to help.
- Drupal is everywhere and currently powers 1.2 million websites – 3% of the entire web – and 15% of the top 10 websites. It’s very popular with government and non-profit websites.
8 Step Process to Building a Drupal Site:
1. Plan your Drupal Site
– Every content type, field, taxonomy, path, display, view, feature, layout, menu, role and permissions will need to be thought-through prior to the installation of Drupal.
2. Install Drupal
– Most important, you will need a web host that supports Drupal. We recommend a host that offers cPanel control panel. The easiest way to complete the Drupal install process is to use cPanel’s easy, click-to-install application library such as Softaculous. This process is actually pretty simple. For this reason, we will not go any deeper into the installation of Drupal – because it’s a simple, straightforward process. The requirements include:
- mySQL Database 5.3 or higher,
- PostgreSQL Database 9.1.2 or higher
- or SQL Lite Database 3.6.8 or higher
- Php 5.5.9 or higher
- “magic-quotes” must be turned off
- PHP Data Objects must be installed on the web server
Drupal Install Tips
Most professional web hosting firms will have the proper configurations in place so that this step is a no-brainer for you. If you want to see the fill list of requirements, go to drupal.org/requirements
If you install Drupal, you are getting plain vanilla Drupal. This is what we recommend for your perfect starting place. Install it in the root directory of your web hosting account. For example, install it in yoursite.com rather than yoursite.com/somefoldername. It’s a cleaner method and we prefer it. The installation script will create the necessary database for you.
Once you are done, you will be presented with a link to click which will take you to the installation window. Choose the standard profile and save to continue. The next screen will ask for the mySQL, PostgreSQL or SQLite database. The database name, which will already be entered, so just accept the defaults and we usually choose mySQL. You will need to configure your site with fields such as site name, site e-mail address, the site maintenance account, password, etc.
Be sure to use a strong password. There are a few other fields you will need to define such as your default country and time zone. Leave the box “check updates” to continue. That’s it. You will now be directed to your new Drupal site.
3. Content for your Drupal Site
– Hence, if you don’t have a site, you will be starting from scratch. You will be user1 which is the super user and has full privileges to your new Drupal site. We like to start by setting up the shortcuts to make it quick to move around. Click “manage” and from there click “content” and choose “article”. This is where you will add a new article to your website. Click the star next to “create an article” so that the link will be added to your shortcuts screen. This makes it really quick to move around the Administration interface of your Drupal site. You will see that there are many tabs within your Administration screen. These are section tabs. They might have sub-sections and every Drupal content item is called a “node”.
When you click on “content” you will be taken to a dashboard that lays out all the content in your Drupal site. You can create, search, publish content here. The tabs and sub-tabs are here. The comments and files will be presented here. Click “add content” and you can begin to create a welcome article and image for your new Drupal website.
You will be asked to enter “alternative text” for your image and it’s a required field. This is what screen readers see which is very important for accessible websites and for this reason, the alternative field is required. Congratulations – you have created your very first Drupal node!
4. Website Building with Drupal
– Most of your site building will be done in the “content” and “structure” area within the interface. Within the “structure” tab, you will see there many items:
- Block layout – you can place blocks on many place in your site and the locations available are based on your theme. Create a custom block and it can be placed in your sidebar. After you create a block, scroll down to “layout” and this is where you “place block” into the sidebar, for example. This is part of the site building process and the block may not be perfect and in the exact spot that you like, but that is OK. You can change it later.
- Comment types
- Contact forms
- Content types
- Display modes
We will not touch on each of these items, but it is important for you to know that most of your website building for your new Drupal site will be done within the “content” and “structure” menu items. In your Administration tool bar, next to the “content” and “structure”tab, you can manage the look and feel within our site in the “appearance” tab. Furthermore, this is where you will see the themes that are available, check for updates and setup the global settings. This is where you manage the look and feel of your site, depending on the theme you have selected.
5. Extend Drupal for your Site
– The “extend” menu gives you an overview of all the features within your site. You can see what is enabled and what is no yet enabled. You can search for modules, for example, such as the “telephone” module and install it here. This will add a telephone field to your contact info.
6. Layout your Drupal Site
– The “configuration” menu is only available to the site administrators. Because you are logged in as the super-user (user1), you can see this option. Here you configure all the different information of your site such as: site information, account settings, text formatting and editors, image styles. One of the great things about a content management system is that when you make changes to the site details, it will make the change site-wide. What a big improvement over static HTML. Be sure to submit and save your configuration.
7. People and your Site
– When you click “people” on the administration tool bar, it takes you to the people area of your Drupal website. Here you can create user accounts and manage permissions to control roles so only certain people are able to see or do certain things. You control what people can see and administer on your website.
8. Manage your Drupal Site
– The “reports” menu item in the Administration tool bar is where you can see, for example, if there are any updates available, top search phrases, and some of the plug ins users might use. Available updates is something managed by cron on your server (from within your cPanel control panel) but you can do this later. For now, you can manually install updates. You will want to keep a close look on the reports section of your site, especially if you are the person responsible for managing the Drupal website.
Drupal Content Types
Also, in Drupal, content types are critical. This is one thing that sets Drupal apart from other content management systems. Most CMS simply have a title and a body within their content types. This is inadequate and a reason that Drupal stands tall among other content management systems. The workflow of content types are:
- Content types
- Add Content
- Manage Display
- Set Permissions
Most noteworthy, with Drupal, you can use “views” to customize your content using content types. It doesn’t make sense to shove all your data into default content types, and with Drupal, you do not need to. This is the real advantage of Drupal’s content types. An example of content types that you can customize are new “user groups” and a new “event” content type.
Content Types Explored
Two types of content types that come with Drupal out of the box are:
- “Article” and
- “Basic Page”.
Within article content type, there is only one required field: a title. Of course, you will want to add text to the body as well. You can add text in basic HTML or text format. On the right of the screen within the create article screen, you will see that you can specify visibility and publications settings. This is used when you want to have a version control of the article you are creating.
See, you can also add an article to a menu link. You can turn comments on or off on a particular node or determine the URL alias (which you can leave alone and let Drupal create for you). These settings are setup when you create your content type. Once you finish out your articles, be sure to save and publish or “save and unpublish”.
Article and Basic Page – Difference Between These Two Content Types:
- Basic Page – no commenting on a basic page. An example is an “About Page” that rarely changes on your website. When you create a basic page, you will be creating a node.
- Article – time sensitive content like news, press releases or blog posts
Creating a Custom Content Type
See, events and user groups are two examples of custom content types that you might want to create. Of course, this is dependent on your specific website. If you click “add content type” from within “structure” > “content types”, you can create an “events” custom content types.
This is, for example, where you can track all the events for your organization around the world. For this custom content type, you the “submission form settings” you can change “title” to “event name”. In “publishing options” you can check “create new revision”. This way, every time a node is edited a new version will be created. In “display settings” you can turn off “display author and date information”.
First of all, the recommended setting for every content type, in “menu settings”, un-check all the menus in “available menus”. Do you really want your content editor adding a thousand events to your menu structure and making a mess? Un-check these boxes and you can manually add an event to a menu item later, if you like. Save your content type.
Since, you can edit your “event” content type and change the label to “event description” label from “body”. Its more helpful. Save your settings. Congratulations! You have just created your custom content type in Drupal.
Adding Fields To a Content Type:
Since, it is possible to add fields to your events content type. Some examples include event link, date, topics being covered, and entity reference. To add a field, click the “manage fields” tab and then click “add field” button. There are many settings and fields that you can use to customize your content type. Again, this option makes Drupal shine among other content management systems.
Image Resolution with Drupal
With Drupal, you can specify image resolution. This is important if you have users, for example, who are browsing your site using a mobile devise. You will not want to force your visitors to download an image and use too much of their data. This could frustrate people!
Furthermore, set your maximum image resolution to 1000 x 1000. Make the minimum image resolution to 100 x 100. The maximum upload side could be, for example 80 KB. This is an important practice for developers to specify so that you are taking into considerations users who are on their mobile devise. Consequently, be sure to examine the settings of your images before uploading them.
Introduction to Taxonomy
A taxonomy is nothing more than a category. A taxonomy could be, for example, under “movie genre” you can define the following taxonomies: “action”, “adventure”, “comedy”, “drama” and “romance”.
While, tagging widgets are great for adding tags on the fly, there could be problems. What if, for example, someone adds a tag and misspells it? Topics can end up no longer correct lying relating to one-another if you misspell the tags. So be sure to watch your spelling.
As a result, a closed taxonomy can prevent this problem. With a closed taxonomy, people can not add too many tags and misspell them. Sort views with taxonomy to filter data.
Finally, one of the great things about Drupal is that you have a lot of options! With Drupal, you can control more features of your data and your website than other content management systems. If you need more help, visit the numerous Drupal communities online. OSTraining.com is one of our favorites.