Building the Site

To test the design, you need content. Remembering that data does not lie, use real content. Far too many sites are built with entries consisting of placeholder text (sometimes called lorem ipsum because of the text that is often used) that breaks when real text for the site is inserted. Use content that has the features that you will need. It has to be your data with all of its complexities (or at least as many of them as you can find). With Drupal, there is a simple way to begin to create content for your site even before the design is complete. Assuming that you have followed the steps in this book so far, you will have an empty Drupal site, and you will be using the primary user account to enter data. Almost certainly, you will eventually choose to display at least some of the content on formatted pages, and you will want it to be reachable through menus.

Until you have a certain amount of content, it is impossible to create formatted pages and very difficult to create menus. The reason has to do with a strength of

Drupal's design: Drupal sites are often built from the bottom up. For example, you can create a node and then place it on a formatted page. If you create a formatted page and have no nodes to place on it, it will be blank. Likewise, you can create a node and then assign it to a menu. It is not easy to create a menu that has nothing in it, although it is possible. If you are used to designing a website by creating empty menus and pages, you may be somewhat frustrated. The easiest way to begin to build your site is to create some content—about a dozen nodes of various types. Then, you can experiment with assigning them to menus and formatted pages. (Remember to use real data wherever possible.)

Drupal's default settings for node creation make all of this easy. For each node, you must provide a title, and you usually provide content. If you leave the default settings, that is all you need to enter, but remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page to the Save button.

By default, Drupal will publish each node you create to the front page, just as blogs do. That lets you create your content and view it quickly.

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