User's Guide

About Drupal

In Layman's Terms...

Drupal is a collection of software that helps build and display a website.  It is a Content Management System (CMS) - like the old website - because it helps collect, organize, display, and create content.  One of the advantages of a CMS is that users don't have to understand how to code in order to produce content on the web (think about facebook, twitter, blogging, and wikis - you don't have to know code!).

Unlike the old website software, this particular software is more easily customizable and is more flexible.  Part of the strength (and weakness) of Drupal is that it is open source.  That means it is free and generally available to the public.  Thousands of programmers donate time and resources to create new functionality that plugs into Drupal to extend the functionality.  Additionally, new code is constantly coming out that fixes bugs and security risks, which is always a good thing.

Creating Content

You will find a tab on your administration menu called Create content.  This is where you will go to create new pages, blog posts, news items, events, and more.

Content Types - (You may or may not have access to all of these)

  • Blog Entry - a blog post.  These posts will go into a "feed" that can be grouped by date or category.
  • Event - This is is typically a gathering of some sort, but the idea is that it happens on a day, or range of dates, and it will show up on the calendar and a news feed.
  • Tier 2 Page - a regular page with a default banner.
  • Webform - a customizable form with fields that you can create on the fly.  These forms collect data and can can even send emails. (The Contact Us form is an example)

Using the Editor

Graphic Services has prepared a very useful reference guide.

Your custom solution has a few very important pieces to be aware of when creating or editing content.  Be aware of these items so content doesn't get "lost".


This text will show in two places:  at the top of your browser window, and at the top of the content area.


This text will show up in the main area of the window.  If you are familiar and comfortable with HTML, you can click on "Disable rich-text" below the editing text box to switch to an HTML code view.  Use the reference guide for more information on the editor window.

*Vocabularies - Access
  • Public - this content will be available for anyone in the world to see.
  • Restricted - this content will be available to anyone with a login account. (currently only staff can see this information.  This information will not show up in searches.
  • Private - this content will only be available to people in the selected groups. (see below)
*Vocabularies - Groups

This is a list of departments/groups in the school.  You can select multiple items by holding ctrl as you click. Selecting a group does three things:

  1. Tags the item with that group's name
  2. Gives that group permission to edit the content
  3. If Access is set to private, only the selected groups can see the content. (see above)

WARNING: If you select a group that you don't belong to, or forget to select a group that you do belong to, you might not be able to access your content.  You would have to contact your site administrator in order to have your content restored to you.

Menu Settings - Menu Link Title

This is text of the hyperlink that will show up in navigation that goes to your page.  Generally this is the same or similar to your page title.  Try to keep it short, though, in order to prevent the text from getting wrapped in the navigation bar.

Menu Settings - Parent Item

This is the page that the current content will show up beneath in the site hierarchy. 

About Images

You can upload any size image to these fields; however, there is no guarantee that the image will look good.  The system will do a little bit of scaling and cropping on its own, but it doesn't have your critical eye.  The best way to ensure that your image will fit the area appropriately is to scale and crop it yourself.

About Documents (File Attachments vs Linking to a Document)

We have given you the ability to upload documents directly to a page, but this can lead to problems.  You should always ask yourself before you upload a document to a page, "Does it make more sense to have this in the document library?"

The reason is simple:  Its always best to have a central location for a document to ensure that all versions are correct.

As soon as a document is linked from another page there will be a problem because at some point in time the document will be changed and links will be broken.  Another scenario is that two users upload two versions of the same file.  Which one is correct? Is anyone aware that there are two versions? What if they have conflicting information?  Who is responsible?  There are several problems that can arise, so always determine if adding the document to the document library is the best solution before uploading it to a page.