Introduction to Drupal: basic functionalities

Dr Andres Baravalle

Introduction to Drupal: basic functionalities

  • Before the installation
  • Installing Drupal

Before the installation

What is Drupal?

Drupal is a Open Source content management system (CMS). Drupal's main features include user registration and maintanance, page creation and management, menu management, RSS feeds, taxonomy and page layout customization.

The features are not dissimilar from other CMS as Wordpress, Plone or Joomla.

The latest version of Drupal is version 8 (released November 2015) - but we will be using version 7.

Working with Mastodon and with MySQL

You may need access to your database server to troubleshoot the installation of Drupal and/or Drupal modules.

An interface to phpMyAdmin is available on Mastodon; the link is on Moodle.

If you have problems with Mastodon, please refer to Mastodon's documentation.

Activity #1: Using phpMyAdmin

Log in into phpMyAdmin and explore the interface by completing the following tasks:

  • From the front page, find the libmysql version in use
  • From the Variables tab, find the value of the default table format and of the query cache limit
  • From the SQL tab, run the command "create database uXXXXXX" (replace with your student number)
  • From the SQL tab, create a second database (any other name). What does it happen?
  • From the SQL tab, drop your database and then create it again (you need to be able to drop databases, just in case you need a fresh start)

General requirements

A minimal Drupal 7 installation requires:

  • A web server with PHP support (e.g. Apache, Nginx or Microsoft IIS)
  • PHP 5.2.5 required, PHP 5.3 recommended
  • Database server:  MySQL 5.0.15 or higher, PostgreSQL 8.3 or higher, SQLite 3.3.7 or higher (Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle are supported by additional modules)

PHP requirements

  • Memory limit that is 32MB or higher
  • PHP libraries required by the most common modules include GD, Hash, JSON, PDO and XML (normally included and enabled by default)
  • .htaccess enabled (to override Apache settings)

Installing Drupal

Activity #2: upload Drupal

Now you are ready to upload Drupal on your web server:

  • Download the Drupal archive from the web site; download the last stable release from the 7.x branch.
  • Decompress it locally
  • Upload the files in the web root of your account (the folder public_html, in your case)

Remember that you can upload your files to mastodon only from within UEL.

Activity #3: ready to install

Point your browser to and follow the instructions to complete the installation.

You cannot use the default database name - you must install Drupal using the database settings as per Activity #1.

If you have any trubles, follow the documentation here.

Core folders and site folders

Drupal comes with a set of core folders (used by core drupal) and site folders (used by your specific web site).

Core folders

The main core folders include:

  • includes: common functions used in Drupal, such as the bootstrap process, caching, database, and session management
  • misc: core image fi les and JavaScript files
  • modules: core Drupal modules
  • themes: core themes

Do not edit code in the core folders - use the site folders instead.

Site folders

The Sites folder is where your Drupal website stores database settings, modules, theme and anything specifi to your website.

This is also the folder that makes it possible for Drupal to handle multiple websites from one installation.

Each site folder contains a settings.php file, where all Drupal settings for your web site are stored.

Default, all and named sites

  • If you are going to run just one web site on your Drupal installation, you can use the folder named default
  • The folder all contains modules, themes etc. available to all Drupal web sites in your installation
  • You can have additional folders for the other web sites - but this will not work with the configuration in mastodon.

This work

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