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Installation, Upgrades, Updates
Installation, Upgrades, Updates

Like any CMS, Drupal requires a process for Installation, Deployment, Upgrades, and Updates. Here are my quick notes.

Drupal Latest Version: 5.1

Note that new major versions of Drupal don't necessarily have backwards compatibility, so there is some major work related to those and a requirement to update and upgrade all modules. Usually there is a path forwards, though.

Tips and Tricks

These are a few things to remember to ensure that your site is easy to both deploy, repurpose, and move back and forth between a production, development, test, and staging servers (as appropriate for your environment).

  • Relative URLs - Whenever hardcoding, always, always, always use relative URLs.
  • Caching - Always turn on caching and use whatever flexible micro settings may be available. This reduces server load and allows more users.
  • Taxonomy - used by categories, nodes, etc., you will want to understand this important piece.
  • CCK (Content Construction Kit) - this is now the foundation of Drupal and allows administrators to configure additional content data for each node.

Installation

Drupal

Installation is quite easy overall. Load the files into the directory you want to use. Then browse to that page. Then enter the information, and voila! [Note: Unless you have your own hosting, you will likely need to have the database already setup with a login access to it.]

You will then need to protect the configuration file. Here are some other issues that need to be worked on to make Drupal easy to use and successful for a site:

Administration Settings

You will want to review and tweak a number of important settings for your site:

  • Administer | Site Configuration
    • Site Information
    • Clean URLs (SEO friendly URLs)
    • Cron Jobs (to run cron.php)
    • Default Time Zones
  • Administer | User Management
    • Roles, rules, etc
    • User Settings
  • Themes
  • Custom 403/404 Pages

You will also want to setup a robots.txt file on the server and review it as appropriate as well.

Modules

Installation of modules is easy, however you should check the notes included with each module to see if there are any special instructions. Generally, I avoid modules that have hacks and such, but sometimes....

To install the modules, copy the files to the DRUPAL/modules directory. Then login as an administrator and go to Administer | Site Building | Modules and enable the module.

Updates

System

If you plan to update your system, my suggestion is that you first copy your site to a development server, update the system, each module, make sure it all works, and then deploy to the production server as above.

I haven't had to upgrade a Drupal site yet, but when I do, notes will be dropped in here.

Module

I'm getting there, but not quite yet....

Deployment and Upgrades

First, if you are deploying an upgrade of any type, backup your files and your database

in case you need to restore. Deployment should be relatively easy with Drupal as with any CMS. Here are the basic steps:
  • Copy the files to the production (or test or staging) server
  • Update/overwrite the database with the new one
  • Update the configuration file with the appropriate settings for production
  • Verify

 
Comments are solely the opionion of the author and not to be construed as the opinion of anyone else.
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