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Configure the Contact module

April 29, 2010 by Steve

The Contact module is an optional core module. It allows you to set up contact pages for users and a site wide set of contact forms. I am not using the per-user forms, but I want a contact form for the site so that people can let me know of broken links, point out errors in my content, and send me messages saying how great the site is.

Head over to the Site Building > Contact Form > Settings page. This lets you configure the message people will see on the contact page. Edit the "Additional information" text to your satisfaction. I also made sure to uncheck the "Enable personal contact form" box. Save those changes.

Now click on the Add Category tab. Drupal lets you set up multiple contact forms through this same interface. I only want one, though, so I made a category called "Et Melius feedback". I put my email address in under "Recipients", and put in a simple thank you message under "Auto-Reply". If you have more than one category of feedback, you can set the weight for each one, that will determine what order they appear in the menu. (Heavier weights fall to the bottom of the list.)

Make sure "Selected" is set to yes, then Save. That page should now be available at the my-site-name/contact URL. Now we need a link to the contact page from the main page.

Select the Site Configuration > Site Information page from the admin menu. Add a link to your name in the copyright area leading to the contact page. Now when people click on your name, it will take them to that page and they can send you a message.

You will also need to give Anonymous users permission to use the contact form. (Time saver: here's the step where I set all the permissions at once.) If you want to set them now, go to User Management > Permissions, find the Contact module permissions, and select "access site-wide contact form" for Anonymous users. Save your changes.


April 29, 2010 by Steve

There is an ongoing and vigorous discussion at the about the term Taxonomy. People focused on making Drupal more understandable to first time users often argue that the word "taxonomy" is too formal and should be changed to something more common like "categories". People who are strict about definitions point out that the word "categories" does not mean exactly the same thing as "taxonomy", and that taxonomy is correct. Don't expect the name to change any time soon.

Apache server setup at 1and1

April 29, 2010 by Steve

The default settings for the Apache servers at 1&1 need to be overridden. Drupal provides a .htaccess file which takes care of most settings. You will need to modify that further to get everything working.

Making a Tutorial

April 28, 2010 by Steve

I like the idea of the tutorial ending with a discussion of how to make a tutorial. It is really pretty straightforward, since we only need to turn on one more core module to get the basic functions.

How to add advertising

April 28, 2010 by Steve

Websites should look nice. Site designers go to a lot of trouble to make websites pretty and functional at the same time. People should enjoy looking at the site, not wince because everything they look at is blinking at them and asking for money. I much prefer the internet without advertising, but the simple fact is that hosting a site, even with the cheapest hosting I could find, still costs something. With that in mind, I decided to include some ads on the site. Sorry about that.

Installation at 1and1

April 28, 2010 by Steve

At this point, you have downloaded the latest Drupal 6 package and the contributed modules that you want to use. You have them un-tarred and un-gzipped, and you have them running on your local machine or transferred them all to your web host of choice (or both). There are so many other tutorials covering those steps, I'm going to assume you can get that far without me.

Tools and Jargon

April 27, 2010 by Steve

I use these tools to make it easier to test my site on my home computer and roll changes out to the live site. (I will not provide any support for these things, they all have their own websites. I'm just listing them here for reference.)

  • Firefox - You need a bunch of browsers in order to do cross-browser testing of your site, but this one is my favorite for daily use. For development, it is essential, because of the Firebug addon.

First, lots of downloads

April 27, 2010 by Steve

Go to and download the latest release of Drupal. (At the time of this writing, that is Drupal 6.16, which is what this site is based on.)

To make this site, you'll also want to start with all of the following modules. (I'll add more later for very specific purposes, but this is what I consider essential for starting out.)

Why this tutorial?

April 27, 2010 by Steve

It is fairly easy for programmers to extend the core functions of the Drupal software and add functions that the main package leaves out. This can be good, because the open nature of Drupal has given us a vast array of quality themes for free, and modules like Views, which allows you to make just about any page you want out of your available data. But this flexibility has a cost: there might be three different ways to configure what you want out of your website, and who knows how many menu options you'll have to tweak to get there.

Build a website with Drupal 6.x

April 27, 2010 by Steve

Drupal is a powerful and flexible Content Management System (CMS) running thousands of sites across the internet. It is a fanatically maintained open source project with a lot of structure for revision control and code review, regular conventions worldwide, and an ambitious roadmap for the future. It is not always obvious, however, what you need to do to get what you want from a Drupal site. That's where this series of mini-tutorials will help.


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