Setup up email and your Database Before you finish your install on Drupal

•May 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Before installing drupal, you will want to make sure you have a few things setup.  One is your email.  Make sure you have a default email address to send your sites mail to.  You can always do this later but it is easier to do this at setup time.  Next is you will need to have your database configured on the server.  If you can do this yourself through a control panel great. Just setup a new database user and password then setup your new database.

If you are unsure of how to do this consult with your web host.  Most will allow you to have a database Mysql is preferred.  They should also help you set it up.  From there its on setting up your config file on the site.

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Drupal for Seo

•May 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So functionally Ive talked about why Drupal makes sense, but lets talk about something that is probably just as important, seo.  Seo is search engine optimization, google yahoo etc.  I love using Drupal for my sites for many reasons but one of the most important to me, is that the sights get noticed.  They always get indexed pretty thoroughly even without tons of extra help.  I add the nodewords module and sometimes add the sidebars to the right but thats about it.  Drupal gets eaten up in a good way by the search engines.  This reason alone is worth the extra headache (if there is any) of using it over a rival cms.

Drupal theming is easier than you might think.

•May 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Ok Im going to switch gears here a little bit and take a break from the install talk.  Its all categorized so dont worry we will get back to Install.

Ive heard a lot of talk about theming in Drupal and how hard it is.  You need to know php, html, css.  Well all of this is only sort of true.  You should know some of this stuff but in reality just knowing some css and html and almost no php will get you by.

Take a look at this quick drupal theme tutorial its got a great but brief explanation on what you should know about the theme files in Drupal.  Knowing this information is a must, but once you grasp how the files interact you will realize that theming a Drupal theme is little more than taking a static web page and using it as your template, and inputting a few php snippets within that template.  Okay well talk about drupal themes in more detail later just wanted to get you thinking about it.

Uploading Drupal to your Server

•May 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Now that you have the files located in a place on your desktop you will need to upload them to your server.  To do this I use an ftp program called core ftp.  It has a free version you can download, just do a google search and you should find it.  Download it, set it up to work with your ftp account from your host provider.  (Typically you can put your domain address in and your ftp username and password into coreftp and your ready.)

Now once you login coreftp will take you to your root folder for you on your server.  You will probably see a public html folder or something similar and a few others like certs or cgi-bin.  You will go to the public html folder and this is where you will upload all the files for drupal.  Just find them in your ftp window, open the drupal folder on your desktop and highlight all the files inside (including the folders like the includes folder etc.) click the top file and scroll to the bottom file hold shift and click the bottom file you will then have all files highlighted.  Now just click the arrow or upload button to send them to your public html folder.

You have uploaded the files to the server and your just about ready to get your site going.  So well do a quick couple things first before you start your new site.

Download the Drupal Software

•May 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Okay you decide you want to use Drupal for your next web site.  Where should you get started.  You have your domain name and know where you are hosting the site right.   You will need an mysql database, so your host provides this for you.  Now You need to start by downloading the program.  The best place to do this is directly from Drupals site Drupal.org .   So you head on over their and you will see right on the front page, a downlad  area title drupal 6.12 and 5.18 released.  These are the versions that are current as of this writing,  Lets get the 6.12 version or 6. whatever version is there.  You might as well start with 6 because it is a later version although if 7 pops up at some point I would stay with the latest 6, because when drupal releases its versions the addon modules usually are lagging behind and developers need time to upgrade their modules to meet the latest release of drupal.   Drupal 5.x versions only work with modules for drupal 5 and drupal 6.x versions only work with modules for drupal 6.  Ok well talk more about that later.

So download the latest version and put in a file on your desktop.  Now you can use your favorite zip utility and unzip it into the folder.  Now you have a copy of Drupal unzipped on your system.  Some would say keep it zipped and upload it to the server that way, although faster especially when doing large files its more difficult because of unzipping files on your server can be confusing for newbies so, because this blog is for rookies we will stick with the easier stuff.

Next post will talk about uploading it to the server.

Drupals Themes and Templates

•May 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

When first getting drupal installed you have a basic looking site, with more function than a normal site of course.  The look and feel of the site is determined by the sites template or in Drupals case its theme.  The reason they call it a theme (this is an opinion) is that each theme has several template files in it, made up of a mixture of php and html.  Plus they will have a stlyle sheet.  Calling a theme a template might confuse the template files with the full on theme of a site.

Your out of the box install comes with several themes, mostly plain looking but not bad and the default theme is garland.  So if you want to make a quick overhall to the look of your site you simply need to head over to your admin theme section and choose a different theme.

You could always design your own template/theme or take a quick look at the drupal community sites they have plenty of them, most of them for free.  There is a fairly new site out as well that has tons of free drupal themes.  It has a bunch to choose from all free and no back link  (on the bottom) required.  Anyways the point is that with a few quick searches you can have a great looking site simply by changing drupals themes.

A WordPress blog about Drupal

•May 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Ya ya I know the blog is about Drupal and how great it is, why am I using a wordpress blog to talk about it.  Well, its a matter of getting to know and keeping involved in other areas of the trade.  All though the blog is about Drupal, that doesn’t mean all other cms’s are bad.  Drupal is great and in my opinion one of the best, if not the best open source cms system available.  But so is wordpress and so is joomla.  I like to keep active in other systems because keeps me learning and more importantly it gives me something to compare to.  For just a blog I definitely would say use WordPress. For someone that might need the most features out of the box because they have very few programming skills or general knowledge of websites then joomla might be better, but with a little work and a small learning curve later, I think Drupal is the answer especially for a site that might forever expand.