My in-depth look at Drupal7

This is a real TECHIE post today. I take you step-by-step through the process of installing and configuring Drupal7.
I hope you enjoy it.

I went to the Drupal Project Page and downloaded Drupal 7.0-Alpha. I placed all the files in the webroot of my localhost, then created a database to use for the install. When I visited the site I was greeted with an unexpected option. “Select an installation profile” The choices were STANDARD, Install with commonly used features pre-configured, and the other was MINIMAL, start with only a few modules enabled. I chose STANDARD. After submitting that page I was given the single option to use the “built-in” ENGLISH language OR follow a link to learn how to use other languages. After choosing English I was shown a Status screen that indicated that the server environment was suitable for Drupal. However the familiar warning that there was “No settings.php file” had me heading over to the default/files dir to remedy the situation. After that I was given the three options of which database type to use; MySQL, PostgreSQL, or SQLite. I chose MySQL and entered my database credentials. After submitting the credentials the installer showed the progress of tables being created and data being imported.

We’re used to seeing some basic configurations after successfully installing Drupal. Some of the new settings I found were Default Country, and an option to receive email notifications about updates to “installed components.” I presume this means that if core OR contrib. modules have updates, I will receive an email to the address entered earlier in this form.

New Welcome Page:
Drupalers have LONG complained that the welcome screen of a fresh Drupal install is a DEAD-END where many a curious sole say, “Huh? Now what do I do?” then slink off and say that they “Tried Drupal once but didn’t care for it.” Well. That has changed in Drupal7!
Across the top is a new set of menu options consisting of Dashboard, Content, Structure, Appearance, People, Modules, Configuration, Reports, and a very handy option named Help.
In the main content area the big welcome message has been replaced with an notice that “No front page content has been created yet.” Below that are 2 links; Add New Content, and Change The Default Front Page. The closest thing you will find to the old Administration menu is the left sidebar link to labeled Administer.
It’s also important to note that selecting any option opens up a modal box which is similar to a lightbox popup. Subsequent interaction with that box keeps your original page open in the background until you close the modal box.

Installing Contrib Modules! (Here’s where I get excited!)
OK. We finally have what the others have had for a while now. Now you can just copy the URL of the module or theme you want to install and paste it into the Drupal interface and install the module! If need be you can point to a local file and install the module that way as well.

Drupal7 will destroy many of the barriers to entry that have turned off so many developers, designers, and users. Those of us who are already savvy will take advantage of the UI improvements to give our clients a more intuitive means of managing their own sites.
I for one look very forward to updating all my future presentations to show off the amazing progress so visible in Drupal7!


Hey Doug,

Thanks for writing this intro. I've been developing sites for clients with Wordpress for the past year or so. I really like Wordpress, and won't move completely away from it, but I've been wanting to do some work with Drupal. This is a great intro to the new opportunities of version 7.

Do you know if version 7 is going to have an auto upgrade option, something compared to what Wordpress has? I have a couple of Drupal sites and I'm scared to death to attempt to upgrade them to the next release. If version 7 has something like this, I think it will bring many new web folks to Drupal.

Thanks and great job!

Chad McCullough

I just installed version 7 on my test domain, The install went very well. My php memory is set to 32M and the installer recommended changing it to 40M. I didn't do that because I think I need to contact the host for this change. Not sure I can do this from the cPanel. The install finished just fine without the change, though. I'm looking forward to "playing" around with this, a little.