10 Cool Things You Can Do With Drupal (without programming)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


  1. We need topics for the future, especially for next month.   Ideas: a) not serving beginner web devs, we should go through different technologies (hand-coding, Dreamweaver, Drupal, etc.); b) open discussion about the above
  2. have to re-register with new UA webdev site to get member access



10 Cool Things You Can Do With Drupal (without programming)

Presentor: Tracey Hummel

Drupal is a content management system that allow content management by non-technical users. Drupal is free, open-source, community-supported. UITS offers some support -- workshops, tutorials, tech support, themes

Resources can be found at drupal.arizona.edu. This site is WebAuth-protected.

#10: Create web pages without learning any technical stuff.

  • Pages can be edited and added from within a web browser.
  • A distinction is made between site admins and content managers.


#9: Create access 'roles' and assign users to those roles.

  • Roles can be allowed to view, add, edit and delete items from modules.


#8: View the number of hits each page gets and other useful statistics.

  • Including broken links, top pages, recent hits, top referrers, etc.
  • There are 23 other modules that can be added to Drupal to do more advanced statistics.


#7: Allow users to submit comments or vote.


#6: Create Your Own Style Templates or 'Themes'.

  • You can use a pre-existing UA Drupal Theme.
  • You can modify the above using CSS.
  • You can build a theme starting with the framework theme.
  • You can also start with HTML and CSS, and replace statuc content with Drupal variables.
  • You can ask UITS to Drupalize your design for free if youÅ•e willing to share. You have to pay if you don´t want to share your theme.
  • Question:  Does External Relations want all our websites to move toward a standardized look?
  • Answer: If you want, but only the banner is required.
  • Question: How many themes are in the UA Theme Library now?
  • Answer: Just 1 for 6.x.
  • Question: How hard is it to port 5.x themes to 6.x?
  • Answer: Don't. Start over with Framework theme or HTML/CSS.
  • Drupal 5.x has security issues with allowing PHP in content. This is fixed in 6.
  • Drupal has drastically improved menu management. It is drag-and-drop instead of weights (or in addition to).
  • Question: Does the content manager have to have Drupal installed on their computer?
  • Answer: No, it runs on the server.
  • Drupal can run on w4, but you need to let Tracey know. There is also an auto-install process.
  • UITS will offer hosting at some point including patch maintenance (for pay). This is good for departments without any Unix gurus.
  • Difference between 5.x and 6.x: cron will check for new module versions.
  • Question: Can Drupal run on something other than Unix?
  • Answer: Yes, it runs on Windows as well, though that´s not as popular.


#5: Create your own type of content.

  • You can also customize how it is displayed and who can access it.
  • E.g., a faculty bio.
  • Question: Does this require CCK module?
  • Answer: Yes.


#4: Add a site-wide search box, calendars, and RSS news feeds.

  • Question: Does the Drupal use a search engine?
  • Answer: It does a database query.
  • Content is stored in a database, not in pages.
  • All of this is covered in the workshops.
  • Question: Can protected content be searched?
  • Answer: Not sure. CAS (WebAuth) can protect pages which should still show up in search.


#3: Easily set up surveys and forms.

  • Forms and surveys are handled without coding. The analysis is automatic also.
  • Question: Does the webform module validate content?
  • Answer: Yes, for emails and URLs. Also text is checked for PHP.
  • Question: Can the survey be anonymous?
  • Answer: Yes.
  • You can also add blogs, forums, polls and many other functionalities.


#2: Use stuff other people created (legally and for free).

  • See Downloads on drupal.org.
  • There will hopefully be a UA Drupal module soon that pull LDAP information into user profiles.
  • Question: Are companies using Drupal also or is it just for educational institutions?
  • Answer: Many companies use it.
  • Must have modules: Advanced help, calendar, CAS, CCK, contemplate, Date, link, email field, Webform, tiny MCE, views.
  • UITS offers support for core and a limited set of modules.


#1: Categorize content (then automatically display it based on its category).

  • You do this by creating vocabularies and adding terms to them. Content can then be categorized by those terms.
  • Views can then be used to display the content in different ways.
  • Question: Can you protect certain taxonomy terms?
  • Answer: Yes.
  • Question: Is AJAX built in?
  • Answer: Yes.


Best of all: It´s free and supported by UITS!

  • Question: How many UITS people are supporting Drupal?
  • Answer: About 5. Tracey is the main person right now.
  • It reduces load on IT people.
  • There is a Drupal Brown Bag next Thursday.