Drupal Tips and Tricks

The installation, configuration and the work with Drupal obviously brings some challenges. Within this section you find some Tips and Tricks which shall help you to make your work easier.

Use the Drupal CAPTCHA module to avoid spam on your website

A CAPTCHA is a challenge-response test most often placed within web forms to determine whether the user is human. The purpose of CAPTCHA is to block form submissions by spambots, which are automated scripts that post spam content everywhere they can. The CAPTCHA module provides this feature to virtually any user facing web form on a Drupal site.

Theming contact form:

#contact-site-form fieldset {
border: none;
}

Google is your best friend

If you have a problems or questions related to Drupal it is usually very easy to find the required help online. Copy and paste the exact error message, and consider putting the search term inside double quotes so that Google does a literal search. Alternatively you can ask a question like "How to create a sub theme in Drupal".

Google example search for Drupal "How to create a sub theme in Drupal"

Use Browser Shots to test the browser compatibility of your Drupal website

Browsershots makes screenshots of your web design in different operating systems and browsers. It is a free open-source online web application providing developers a convenient way to test their website's browser compatibility in one place. When you submit your web address, it will be added to the job queue. A number of distributed computers will open your website in their browser. Then they will make screenshots and upload them to our central dedicated server for your review.

"Clear all caches" when something goes wrong

During the development of your site it might happen, that you can't see changes in your browser or that the site acts strangely. Frequently the problem can be very easily solved by clearing the cache. To do so go to Configuration > Development > Performance and press "Clear all caches".

Drupal Clear Cache

Customize your site’s error pages

The default error messages Drupal gives your users when they navigate to a web page that they don’t have permission to view or a page that is not found can be intimidating and not really useful. Thus you have the possibility to configure specific Error pages.

Drupal Error Pages

Use these Modules

I use these modules on almost every Drupal site I build: Views, PathAuto, References, Display Suite, Panels, Chaos tool suite (ctools), BUEditor and Backup and Migrate.

Ask questions

If you have a problems or questions get help from the Drupal community. Ask questions on drupal.org/forum or on famous howto sites such as http://drupal.stackexchange.com/.

Drupal Answers

Use Disqus to build an active community

Usually it is essential for the development of a website to encourage user interaction. If you use the standard Drupal function “Comment” you will quickly realize that it is nice as a start but very limited too.

If you want to use an advanced service to build an active audience commenting your content I recommend you disqus.com: Disqus is a comments platform that helps you build an active community from your website's audience. It has awesome features, powerful tools, and it's easy to install.

Use distributions for a quick installation

The classical way to install Drupal, is to download and install the latest Drupal Core from drupal.org. If you want to save time, I recommend you to get familiar with the Drupal Distributions, which make it possible to quickly set up a complex, use-specific site in fewer steps than if installing and configuring elements individually.

Drupal Distributions

Troubleshoot error message after update/installation of module/theme with "undo"

Occasionally it might happen that you get an error message or even a fatal error after updating/installing a module or theme. If so, try to undo the recent changes first.

Issues page for Drupal Views

Pages

Drupal themes to be compared