You’ll need a localhost LAMP or XAMPP environment to follow along with the examples here. If you don’t have one set up, I recommend using the Acquia Stack Drupal Installer: http://acquia.com/downloads.
Once your testing environment is configured, download Drupal 7: http://drupal.org/drupal-7.0-alpha6.
Save the installer to your localhost Drupal /sites folder and extract it. Set up your MySQL database using your preferred method. Note to developers: D7’s new database abstraction layer will theoretically support multiple database types including SQLite, PostgreSQL, MSSQL and Oracle. So if you are running Oracle you may be able to use D7.
Now load the installer page in your browser (note I renamed my extracted folder to drupal7): http://localhost:8082/drupal7/install.php. The install process is about the same as D6 – you’re still going to need to copy your /sites/default/default.settings.php file and re-name it to settings.php. Also make sure to create your /files folder. Make sure the file has write permissions for the install process. Once you do this and have your db created, it’s time to run the installer.
One immediate difference with the installer is that D7 now offers you a Standard or Minimal install profile. Standard will install D7 with common Drupal functionality and features that you are familiar with. Minimal is the choice for developers who want only the core Drupal functionality enabled. I’ll leave it set for Standard profile.
Navigate through the installer screens choosing language; and adding your database information.
With D7 installed what are the immediate noticeable enhancements? The overall look and feel of the administrative interface now uses overlay windows to present links to sections and content. Navigation in the admin interface now runs horizontally along the top of the site. Directly under the toolbar navigation is a shortcut link navigation. You can customize this by adding your own shortcuts pointing to various admin functionality.
In the toolbar, Content points to your content lists. Structure contains links to Blocks, Content types, Menus and Taxonomy. CCK is now built into Drupal 7 so you can create custom content types and manage custom fields without having to install modules. If you want to restore the user interface to look more like D6 you can do this by disabling the Overlay module or tweaking role permissions for the Overlay module.
Two content types are enabled with Drupal 7 core. Article replaces the D6 Story type. Basic Page replaces the D6 Page type. Developers hope these more accurate names will help new Drupal users understand how to add content easily to their site.