Thursday, September 27, 2012

Drupal: Overview of the Process of Upgrading

Various features and functions are provided by distributions for specific sites and can be customized accordingly. The ways of Utilizing, Upgrading and Customizing are discussed below.

Utilizing Distribution
Distributing Drupal is mostly the first step done by a Drupal developer during the process of developing a site. The easiest way to use a distribution is by starting the installation process in Drupal from the scratch without having any leftover data from the last installation.

Once the initial installation is done the Drupal developers can access other sources and migrate in content from them. The Drupal developer may use one or more already existing websites too, to carry content from.
Migrating content from various assorted pages to the pages present in the new website is almost as simple as copying data from the old site and pasting it to the new site. But for sites which have content above the average size then scripts to customize the process of migration have to be written or even already existing modules of Drupal such as Migrate, Feeds etc can be used. 

Methods of Upgrading
An already existing Drupal page with huge content or/and a database of users with customizable elements can be carried over by directly upgrading the site by the Drupal developer in such a way that it can use the distribution directly. This process used by some of the Drupal developers has helped them in saving a lot of time taken to migrate content. But the Drupal developers faced certain challenges when this type of process was employed. Drupal programmers recommend the process of upgrading the content only if the Drupal developers have time to troubleshoot and customize the migrated content.

Tackling Issues during Upgrading
Configurations of a Drupal site can be exported to another as most distributions are built using the module called ‘Features’. These configurations include content types, fields, views, and so on and these components are integrated into the code which will enable these components on multiple sites.

When components like content types and fields are being exported by the Drupal programmer to a new site then these components have to be marked with labels called as ‘Machine Names’. This Machine Name given by the Drupal programmer will remain the same for these components in whichever site they are integrated on and this is a way to keep a track of these components as well as to avoid inconsistencies in naming.

When a distribution is installed from the scratch then the Drupal programmers can be sure that an inconsistency will not arise due to conflict but if the Drupal programmer has converted a site into a one which is based on distribution then an inconsistency may arise due to the conflict created by two components with the same name. To avoid adding a component with a name which an already present component has, the Machine Name is used. When such an error happens then the task of resolving the problem for the Drupal developers becomes extremely toiling. When distribution creates a field with a new field name and if the new field name is used by an already existing field of a different type than the one being created newly by the distribution.

If these issues are addressed properly then upgrading distributions can be vitally utilized.

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