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Q: What is Drupal?
A: Drupal is an Open Source Content Management System used for building dynamic websites.
Q: Why should I use Drupal and not any other CMS?
A: By building on relevant standards and open source technologies, Drupal supports and enhances the potential of the Internet as a medium where diverse and geographically separated individuals and groups can collectively produce, discuss, and share information and ideas. With a central interest in and focus on communities and collaboration, Drupal’s flexibility allows the collaborative production of online information systems and communities.
Q: What are the minimum requirements for Drupal 7?
A: Drupal 7 requires PHP 5.2.0 or later to run the Drupal code. You will also need one of the following databases to run Drupal 7:
- MySQL version 5.0 or later
- PostgreSQL 8.3 or later
- SQLite 3.4.2 or later
Q: Where can one download Drupal 7 from?
A: Head on over to http://drupal.org/project/drupal and click on the Drupal version number you wish to download—in this case it is Drupal 7. Click on Download and then save it to your C: drive or your My Documents folder (or wherever you want).
Q: What’s new in Drupal 7?
A: There are several key functionalities that made it to Drupal 7. Some of them are as follows:
- New administration toolbar and overlay administration: After installing Drupal 7 you will notice the new administration toolbar (shown in the following screenshot) that appears on all pages if you have the permission to administer the site:
(Move the mouse over the image to enlarge it.)
The toolbar groups commonly used tasks together making it easier for new administrators to learn how to configure Drupal and making it quicker for experienced administrators to get to commonly-used functionality.
- New Field API: The Field API allows site administrators to add additional attributes to a node type. It also supports translatable fields to allow for multi-lingual sites.
- Added context information to messages during translation: Drupal 7 adds an optional context for the translation to allow developers and themers to make translatable strings less ambiguous.
- Built-in automated cron functionality: Drupal 7 includes a new cron system that does not rely on running cron from the Unix cron system. The mechanism used is similar to the one used by poormanscron except that it runs from an AJAX request rather than delaying the response time of the page triggering cron.
- Added a new plugin manager: The plugin manager allows automatic updates of your Drupal installation.
- Seven theme for administration: A common complaint of Drupal administrators in previous versions was the look of the administration interface and that it could be difficult to tell when you were in the administration interface, since it used the same theme as regular content by default. To fix this, Drupal 7 has added a new administration theme called the Seven theme that is enabled by default.
- New Stark theme: The new Stark theme that is designed to make it easier to learn how to build a custom theme.
- Rewritten database layer (DBTNG): The biggest change in Drupal 7, at least for developers, is the new database layer, also called DBTNG (short for Database Layer: The Next Generation). DBTNG is a big change for developers since it changes how modules interact with the database.
- Queue API for long-running tasks: Drupal 7 adds a Queue API to manage long-running tasks. In general, any task that takes more than 30 seconds to a minute would be an excellent candidate for the Queue API.
- New test framework: Drupal 7 adds a comprehensive test framework called testing that allows developers and site administrators to run tests against an existing Drupal installation to ensure that it is behaving properly.
Q: How has the installation process improved in Drupal 7?
A: Drupal 7 has a new installation routine. It is designed to make it easier for new Drupal users to set up Drupal. The new installation offers two types of install—the regular installation and a minimal installation.
The Minimal installation is similar to previous versions. The new Standard installation automatically enables commonly-used functionality during the installation to save time after setup.
Q: How has the interface for creating content and new content types improved in Drupal 7?
A: Improved interface for creating content: A big, but welcome, change for editors is the redesigned and updated interface to create and edit content. A sample of the interface is shown in the following screenshot:
The redesigned screen makes it easier to quickly navigate to specific sections within the content.
Improved interface for creating new content types: The interface for creating content types has been redesigned to keep all of the options in a smaller space so navigation is easier and all information can be quickly accessed.