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Drupal Content Management Programming: Articles setup from scratch, YAML and PHP Development

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Drupal Development

Drupal is free, open source software that can be used by individuals or groups of users -- even those lacking technical skills -- to easily create and manage many types of Web sites. The application includes a content management platform and a development framework.

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Drupal Content Management Articles setup from scratch, YAML and PHP Development

Drupal Programming leverages the power YAML to limit running PHP code. YAML is a human-readable data serialization format that has been widely adopted in various use cases within Drupal. YAML uses a modular approach to file manipulation, it structures data, defines routes, and manages content. A developer can still write PHP classes to interact with YAML code but a lot of the heavy lifting is handled by YAML.

YAML, PHP's Programming Structure Wingman

YAML, with the help of PHP, helps developers build objects used for creating articles in Drupal. YAML facilitates the creation of blocks to subdivide theme sections in a Drupal application. Blocks are individual pieces of the Drupal site’s web layout, placed inside the regions of a current/usuable theme, and can be created, removed, and rearranged in the Block Layout Property through the (admin/structure/block) administration page. YAML provides different types of blocks, custom blocks and base blocks. There is a base block that allows for block configuration settings to be edited and maintained using YAML but this block does not require administrator rights to push through messages or static information to end users. Some custom blocks do not require an administrator interface, YAML data are parsed into variables that can later be used to render a custom block information. Custom blocks that do require an adminstrative user interface allow developers to make available form fields for user interactivitiy, or to provide Drupal back-end information that may have been submitted by the user, or pushed through based on administrator settings.

Drupal Blocks for User Content Interactivity

Since Drupal relies heavily on YAML to do a lot of the background file structute and even administrative tasks, developers can concentrate on writing fancier and more efficient PHP classes that complement the presentation layer of Drupal sites, thus, the user-defined and security-enabled blocks in the design that users will interact with. So, writing YAML and PHP code to create blocks used for articles in Drupal is part of a grand plan to create interactive Drupal websites. This is what happens on the user interface front. Behind the scenes, Drupal adminstrators also perform tasks such as approving user access to pages, blocks, writing and editing content, or even writing or editing comments within each article posted. When creating a Drupal site therefore, a developer must plan ahead to decide whether the Drupal application will be used by the genral public or a subset of approved users. What this means is, the developer or administrator can better manage request for user access if there is an understanding of the volume of users the application will be receiving when released and running in production.

Data Sharing with Respect to User Types

In accordance with efficient Drupal web development, developers must also account for the types of data that will be consumed by specific types of users, especially when dealing with internal vis-a-vis external user interactions. Furthermore, the developer should also determine right at the outset what format the data will be presented as to users and what vehicle will be used to fournish the data. At this point, if a developer is already creating blocks that are manipulated by YAML and PHP processes, the Drupal installation being used is most like already attached to a MySQL back-end. In which case, the installation might either be housed on a platform such as XAMPP or other open source cross-platform PHP development tools. Perhaps, instead, the developer might be using a Drupal-specific tool like Acquia, or the installation could be hosted online. Whatever the case may be, some form of MySQL back-end is serving the site's front-end. And if that is the case, users whose accounts have been aprroved by a Drupal administrator will be able to view, add, edit, delete data, depending on their permission level. Internally, depending on the type of data being served, users might consume their data through a JSON file.

Leveraging JSON for Data Sharing in Drupal

Natively, Drupal offers two functions for encoding and decoding JSON. To encode an array into JSON use drupal_json_encode() and to decode a JSON object into an array use the drupal_json_decode() function. We can look at encoding and decoding JSON within Drupal as well as creating a JSON endpoint for content some other time, but you get the point here. Similarly, external users could also get their data by consuming JSON through a URL, as one example, or directly from the MySQL database, provided that the site is outward-facing and users have been approved to access the Drupal the back-end. We will go deeper into Drupal in a different document, we will dive into the systematic approach by which users access content from Drupal applications and the work needs to be done on the administrative side to make it all flow securely and smoothly.

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Download in computer networks, means to receive data from a remote system, typically a server, such as a web server, an FTP server, an email server, or other similar systems. This contrasts with uploading, where data is sent to a remote server. A download is a file offered for downloading or that has been downloaded, or the process of receiving such a file.

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Make your work count, add comments and instructions to your code, thoroughly test your samples before submission (mention what may still need additional testing), try not to be a litter bug in your community or forum, help save time and effort. Be Green! After all, what is the purpose of your submission if it cannot be used or comprehended. Might be a good idea to also mention, or at least give credits to works being used in your submissions.