A passion for web development



Drupal UI


Drupal user interface is pretty simple you should be see by default the administration navigation that hold the Content , Structure , Appearance, People, Modules, Configuration, Reports and help. I will describe briefly what each section is used for.


1- Content

This section is straight forward and that is for dealing with content such adding , editing , removing and viewing.


2- Structure

This section is managing blocks, views, panels and other modules that has core or optional Drupal functions such as pages. The block section is for adding blocks and assigning blocks to regions. Regions in drupal are more or less the main structure of the theme design. Meaning blocks are inside regions and one region can contain more than one block. To add a block, you can go to /structure/blocks then simply add your block then assign it to a region. Regions examples are header, footer, main content, navigation etc. Region are declared in the theme .info file. A block is simply a container that can be used as a stand alone function. Example of core blocks shiped with drupal is the log in form block. Often modules develop their own blocks, for example newsletter enables a block by default upon installation. The block has a visibility option which constructed of three settings a)page visibility b) Type visibility, c) Role and User visibility.

The database structure for the block as follows :

block {bid, module, delta, theme, status, weight, region, custom, visibility, pages, title, cache} this table is the main definition of the block such as the theme region the visible within custom Flag to indicate how users may control visibility of the block. (0 = Users cannot control, 1 = On by default, but can be hidden, 2 = Hidden by default, but can be shown). visibility Flag to indicate how to show blocks on pages. (0 = Show on all pages except listed pages, 1 = Show only on listed pages, 2 = Use custom PHP code to determine visibility) and pages which Contents of the "Pages" block; contains either a list of paths on which to include/exclude the block or PHP code, depending on "visibility" setting. The three fields are linked.

block_custom{bid, body, info, format} Holds the body of the block, description and format such as html filter, text and php filters
block_node_type{module, delta, type} Module and the type of the module
block_role{module, delta, rid} Delta is the data collected in an associative array.
cache_block{cid, data, expire, created, serialized } This table is responsible for catching data for the block. cid is Primary Key: Unique cache ID.

I am going to explain more about creating a block using the code but for now I hope I gave you a good picture of how the block is structured in drupal. Understanding the data behind will ease your experience through the user interface. Now experiment with Blocks.

You can manage menus under the structure section , the menu section is a very interesting area that I will be discussing later. The primary and secondary menus are your main menus, the navigation menu is for administration and you can use the user menu as your secondary menu. New menus can be created, edited or deleted. 

You can manage views by creating a page or a block but the views module has to be installed first.


Also you can manage taxonomies and  more. 


3- Appearance

The appearance section is the area where you can manage your themes.


4- People

In this section you can manage users, role and permission


5- Modules

Module installation, uninstall.


6- Configuration

There you have the wide option to manage various module related configuration for example, clean url, feeds, site information, performance, text filter, media type and many more.


7- Reports and help

Reports are information generated by the system such as update status. The help is what it says it is.


Drupal user interface is simple for IT professionals as well as flexible, however it can be very complicated for non IT person. It is different to other CMS user interface. The major difference with other cms is that drupal admin theme and user theme can be the same theme while for example in Joomla the admin theme is always different from the user theme.

A major advantage of using drupal is that it has a very complex user interface compared to other systems because it provide so match features and this complexity is in fact the simplification of very complex processes , example wordpress user interface is limited if compared to drupal, views alone puts wordpress out of league. 

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