Drupal – a flexible and intuitive CMS – Pt. 1

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As I had been occupied most of my time by this great open source CMS lately, I would to share my experiences withyou. If you use, you will learned to value drupal at least for its vast amount of extremly useful modules, flexible user management and easy-to-handle content editors.

As basic requirements one needs a hosting account which has php (version 5.2 or higher) and mysql installed. Download the latest versions here, I’d recommend to choose version 6.x as most of the modules and themes are not available for 7.x, which is still in development status, but will come up with neat features.

On first hand you will have to set up a mysql database, no worries you will just have to specify just the database name, a username and a password! Now you upload the drupal core file into a folder in your webspace. After doing so you reach your drupal installation via www.yourdomain.com/[drupal installation folder]/install.php .

The setup is really easy, you will just have to complete these steps:

  1. After uploading you have to copy ./sites/default/default.settings.php file to ./sites/default/settings.php (read/write attributes have to set to 766, you must change that right after the installation, due to security reasons) and create a new folder called “files” in ./sites/default/ this folder and its future subfolders must have to be writable (write attributes have to set to 766).
  2. Start the Installation, here you have the the chance get a check whether there is a drupal version translated into your language. If you’d like another language, you will have download the translated version and upload it to your server. Anyway you might wish to have a multilanguage site, then the english version will be fine you can install different languages via the i18n module.
  3. Indicate database name, username and password of the database you created before.
  4. Create your Administrator login access data by providing a username, password and emailadress. This very first user will have administrative rights, so you should use a secure password.
  5. That’s it!

Now it’s time to tune up your brandnew drupal site a little bit… This will be done by installing modules!

Do not upload the module files into the module folder in your drupal root dirctory. If doing so one might encounter problems while updating the drupal core files or the modules themselves. Non-core modules should be installed in “sites\all\modules”

Here’s a list of modules I’d recommend to install up front, no matter what kind of site you are intending to create:

Pathauto

This one creates nice URLs derived from the titles of your content pages. As you know this good for SEO purposes and you do torture your user with cryptic page titles. Requires the token module to be installed and activated in advance!

CKEditor – WYSIWYG HTML editor

A big helper! Especially if you’re building a site, whose content has to created or edites by not so web experienced fellas, I think you know whom I’m talking about. As an addition you should install the ckfinder filemanager, so you are able to offer no-brainer file integration and upload to your site. Before your content editors have the pleasure of the easy working with This fine editor, you have to pain to install and configure it. Now I will not offer a step by step manual, I try to deliver it later on. You will have download the drupal module files and copy the core files of the editor into the “” folder in the drupal module itself. The essential editing software files you can download at ckeditor.com. If there are serious problems just post a comment and I try to help you out!

Backup and Migrate

This should be self explaining, just to put you on the save side. You can schedule backups and store them on your or you can download them. Saved my sorry ass several times ;-)

Google Analytics

You could also paste the google into the template files, but this modules makes this procedure needless.

Internationalisation

If you like the setup your site and backend in several language, this module will do the trick. You will have to lookout for language packs afterwards and you get them here, including an overview far the translations are finished. Addiditonally I’d check out the Language Icons Module, providing you nice litte flags for every installed language pack.

Sitemap

Using the sitemap module you can add an automatically generated sitemap, including all your subpages, categories or menues.

So, that should fine as a starter, soon I’lltry to give an outlook about more sophisticated modules like views or content construction kit and how add and modify themes. Have fun creating sites with drupal!

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