Drupal at Warp Speed

Need to setup Drupal CMS but don't have the time to learn how? Try this 30 minute quick start guide.

Doesn’t it give you a warm feeling when you’re asked to do a week’s work in twelve hours or less? It should. It should give you a warmer feeling when you can do it in far less time. Give your C-Level suitors this one in under an hour and they’ll think you’re as magical as Mr. Scott aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. Mr. Scott often surprised the always demanding Captain Kirk with his ability to fix just about anything within the very tight time constraints placed on him. Instead of dilithium crystals and altered phaser electronics, you’ll have to work with Ubuntu and Drupal.

As of this writing, the latest version of Drupal is 7.0 and the version that installs to your system via the default Ubuntu repositories is 6.18. The speed of setup should sufficiently offset the fact that the software isn’t the latest available.

The Basics

This installation involves Ubuntu 10.10. Your mileage may vary with other distributions and versions. Prior to your Drupal installation, install MySQL or PostgreSQL. During the Drupal installation, you’ll have to provide the administrative user’s password for the database system that you install. Other dependencies should download and install with Drupal.

The installation is simple but you should search your distribution’s repository for the correct name for Drupal’s package.

$ sudo apt-cache search drupal

aegir-provision - backend of the Aegir hosting system
dh-make-drupal - Create Debian packages from Drupal modules and themes
drivel - Blogging client for the GNOME desktop
drupal6 - a fully-featured content management framework
drupal6-mod-i18n - i18n module for Drupal 6
drupal6-mod-inline - inline module for Drupal 6
drupal6-mod-ldap-integration - ldap_integration module for Drupal 6
drupal6-mod-masquerade - masquerade module for Drupal 6
drupal6-thm-arthemia - arthemia theme for Drupal 6
drupal6-trans-ru - Russian translation for Drupal 6
drush - command line shell and Unix scripting interface for Drupal
khmerconverter - converts between legacy Khmer encodings and Unicode
qtm - Web-log interface program

A quick search reveals that drupal6 is the name of the package you need.

$ sudo apt-get install drupal6

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  apache2-mpm-prefork curl dbconfig-common libapache2-mod-php5 php5 php5-cli
  php5-common php5-gd php5-mysql wwwconfig-common
Suggested packages:
  php-pear php5-suhosin postgresql-client apache apache-ssl
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  apache2-mpm-worker
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  apache2-mpm-prefork curl dbconfig-common drupal6 libapache2-mod-php5 php5
  php5-cli php5-common php5-gd php5-mysql wwwconfig-common
0 upgraded, 11 newly installed, 1 to remove and 84 not upgraded.
Need to get 8,369kB of archives.
After this operation, 24.6MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]?

As soon as your Drupal package installs and begins its setup, you’re prompted with the screen in Figure 1 with some post-installation instructions. You must restart Apache and direct a browser to the configuration page (install.php) to complete Drupal’s setup.

Figure 1: Drupal Post-Installation Instructions
Figure 1: Drupal Post-Installation Instructions

For quick setup, select Yes as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Automated dbconfig-common Prompt. Just say, 'Yes.'
Figure 2: Automated dbconfig-common Prompt. Just say, ‘Yes.’

Figure 3 prompts you to choose your preferred database (mysql or pgsql).

Figure 3: Selecting the Drupal Database Type
Figure 3: Selecting the Drupal Database Type

Next, you’re prompted to enter the password for the database’s administrative user. See Figure 4.

Figure 4: Supplying the Database Administrator Password to the Installer
Figure 4: Supplying the Database Administrator Password to the Installer

The screen shown in Figure 5 is a bit confusing because it looks as if the system requires you to enter the MySQL administrator password again. This prompt is for a password to manage the Drupal application within your database server. As stated in the prompt, if you don’t enter one, the installer will generate a random one for you.

Figure 5: Entering the Database Application Password for Drupal
Figure 5: Entering the Database Application Password for Drupal

If you decide to enter your own password (recommended), the installer prompts you to confirm the password you entered. See Figure 6.

Figure 6: Confiming the Database Application Password for Drupal
Figure 6: Confiming the Database Application Password for Drupal

At this point, the installer completes its tasks and drops you back to a shell prompt.

Finishing the Installation

Now, you’re ready to proceed with the second half of the Drupal install process. Do you remember the two post-install tasks? The first one is to restart the Apache web server.

$  sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
[sudo] password for khess:
 * Restarting web server apache2
 ... waiting                                       [ OK ]

Open a browser and point it to your new Drupal system’s install page: http://drupal-server/drupal6/install.php to continue. See Figure 7.

Figure 7: Starting the Second Half of the Drupal Installation
Figure 7: Starting the Second Half of the Drupal Installation

Click Install Drupal in English or click Install how to install Drupal in other languages. This demonstration uses the English installation option.

Figure 8 is the Drupal configuration screen. Here, you’ll need to enter your site name, site e-mail address, and a Drupal administrative account name, e-mail address and password. Scroll down and select Save and Continue.

Figure 8: Configuring Site Specifics for Drupal
Figure 8: Configuring Site Specifics for Drupal

Figure 9 notifies you of any problems* encountered during this phase of installation and that Drupal is now installed. If your installation was generally successful, click on the your new site link and check it out.

Figure 9: Completing the Drupal Installation
Figure 9: Completing the Drupal Installation

See Figure 10. Congratulations, you’ve successfully installed Drupal. From here, you can customize your Drupal site by adding users, installing new modules, creating content, and satisfying your chain of command.

Figure 10: Preparing for Drupal Customization and Administration
Figure 10: Preparing for Drupal Customization and Administration

You’re not done yet but either you can take it from here by yourself or wait until next week for a Drupal 6 configuration tutorial. If you need to wait until next week, don’t overcommit yourself, Mr. or Ms. Scott, or you might find yourself in a red shirt** with the landing party.

* My ISP doesn’t allow SMTP or POP3 services on home accounts. Yes, I’ve thought of protesting it.

** Every real Trekkie knows that if you’re wearing a red shirt and you’ve beamed down to the planet’s surface with the landing party, your chances of survival are pretty slim.

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