Drupal, Start Here!

I have recently endeavored to write a technical book title Drupal, Start Here! Having recently finished Chapter 2, I wanted to start sharing some short tutorials or helpful tips that are excerpted from the book. I hope all readers find them helpful and possibly even entertaining.

What's in a Drupal book?

I have to admit that I hadn't played with Drupal 6 all that much until most recently. So some of the cool whiz-bang features had been lost on me until then. I had ready about them on the development lists, but had not actually used them until the last month or so. The updates to the Book module, though not groundbreaking or technically cutting edge, are great usability improvements.

For all who haven't used the book module, it is a handy tool to structure a number of pages into sequentially ordered set of pages. Previous and Forward links are automatically included and a table of contents is constructed for each major part of the book, as shown below.

Book pages also have Printer-Friendly layouts for printing as well as a quick link for adding a new book page. These features have been present in Drupal books for many releases. What follows are my pleasant discoveries for Drupal 6.

One smaller update found in the book page editing form is that the listing of books and the pages inside of a book have been split into two areas. In Drupal 5, all the books and child pages would be placed in one rather large listing. Now the books are listed, and as the book is selected the listing of pages in the book is updated to represent that book only. Quite fun and a lot more usable than before.

But the really fun part is the improvement of the book outlining tools in the Administer > Content > Books page. From here you can drag and drop pages and even whole sections into the new order of the book you want. You can also edit all the titles at one time if you desire too.

Lastly, I am glad to see this drag and drop functionality used consistently in the admin interface. Updating blocks, menus and even vocabularies through drag and drop is just great. Things like this really help add the 'ohh that's nice' factor that sways corporate types into using Drupal.