Apr 21, 2013

Ketan Patel

Tips for New Drupal Developers

  (1) Basic URL Structure for Drupal Content

After you have completed your drupal installation, in next step you are supposed to  create new content.For that navigate directly to this URL (where yoursite.com is your domain name):



Content within a Drupal site are called nodes. A node may be an image, a page, a story, an announcement, a poll, a web form, or a job listing — In general you can consider node as a single unit of content. For example, if you want to create a new page, you can go to the following URL:



Once you create content, you can find its nid (node ID), its a unique identifier for that node, in the URL. You can easily determine the nid through the URL,see the following url , where [nid] is the node ID of that page:



(2) Setting Up Basic Site Information

Some standard information gets collected and displayed on your basic Drupal setup, such as the name of the website, the e-mail address for any system messages, the slogan, mission statement, and text in the footer message.This information can then be called using the Drupal API in case you need to print them out on certain Drupal pages.
You can set and view these through Admin > Site configuration > Site information or by navigating directly to this URL:


(3) Understand User Roles and Permissions

User Roles and Permissions is one of the best features of Drupal. After you have created the content types and installed all the modules as per your requirements , then you may specify what types of users ("roles") you’ll have on the site and which permissions those roles have.You can configure user permissions via:


The default Drupal user roles are as follows:
•    anonymous user – a user that is not logged in
•    authenticated user – a user that is logged in and has an account on your Drupal site
•    admin user – a user that is logged in, has an account on your Drupal site, and has rights to administer the website

(4) Customization of Error Pages

When your users will navigate to a web page for that they don’t have permission to view or a page that is not found can be intimidating and not really useful.You can configure your 403 Access Denied and  404 Page through this URL:


(5) Managing Navigation Menus

Drupal comes pre-configured with three menu blocks: 
1. Navigation links – the main interactive menu with personalized links
2. Primary links – major sections of the site, typically like the tabs across the top of the page
3. Secondary links – an additional set of links for items like legal notices, contact details and other less-important navigational elements
To edit  these menus manually ,go to :
  Administer > Site building > Menus > List menus or navigating directly to:


Alternatively, you can add a new node, and from the data entry page, you may add that new node directly to the menu: just specify the desired menu and the text to appear within that menu.

(6) Flush Your Cache , When Something Goes Wrong

Drupal creates caches of your content so that every time a page is requested, it doesn’t have to generate it dynamically all of the time, reducing the amount of PHP processes and SQL queries being made, which in turn increases the performance of your Drupal site.

However, if your site acts strangely or you can’t see your theme edits during development, use the Flush Cache function. Flushing your cache clears out your Drupal cache and allows the site to rebuild itself with up-to-date information.


(7) Setting Up Clean URLs

Drupal, by default, uses unfriendly system URLs to refer to your web pages. For example, navigating to a page may look like this: http://yoursite.com/?q=node/1. Not very user-friendly or indicative of what the content is. It is also not very good for SEO.
To solve this issue, enable Clean URLs by going to Administer > Site configuration > Clean URLs or navigating directly to the following URL:



(8) Troubleshooting the "White Screen of Death" 

It may happen to you,when you navigate to your Drupal site and you see nothing but a white blank screen, its called “ white screen of death”, it typically means that Drupal encountered a PHP error. Many things can cause this, and it usually has to do with a development error. Even a missing semicolon can trigger the white screen of death.Better thing to do when you face this, just enable PHP error reporting so you can find where the issue is being encountered. For more information, read this tutorial called White Screen of Death.

(9) Basic Theme Development Concepts

There are hundreds of themes available for free download, and paid download, or for unique customization from a design comp created by your web designer. A theme is made up of these major parts:
•    .info – has information about the different regions of the page.
•    page.tpl.php – the default template for pages
•    node.tpl.php – the default template for how a specific node will display
•   template.php – pulls the layout together and calls different functions into the overall layout of each page
•    style.css – all custom CSS for the site
There may be some additional *.php files such as block.php and/or comment.php if you decide to specify the layout of those elements.

(10) Back Up Your Database in a Safe Location

The Backup and Migrate module is perfect for grabbing an SQL dump of your database for storage or if you need to move it from one host to another or even you are planning to make many changing in your site.I recommend to make this your habit before any big alteration to your site.

(11) Google- Your Best Friend

From the beginning, you may have installation errors, mostly because your local development environment, i.e. your installation of Drupal in your computer, may be different from your remote hosting environment, i.e. where your Drupal site will be hosted.

Whenever you encounter a Drupal issue, Google is your friend. Copy and paste the exact error message, and consider putting the search term inside double quotes so that Google does a literal search.


Ketan Patel

About Ketan Patel -

I have developed a wide range of websites using CorePHP, Opencart, CakePHP and CodeIgniter including sites for startup companies and small businesses. Apart from my blogging life, I like to read Novels, Listening music and Net surfing.

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