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Drupal for Designers by Dani Nordin

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Chapter 11. Putting It in Practice—Setting Up a Local Development Environment and Installing Drupal

When I first started working in Drupal, I created all my sites on a staging URL (http://newsite.tzk-design.com) that lived on my studio website. Updating a module meant downloading the project from http://drupal.org, unpacking and uploading it to the staging URL, and then running updates manually on the server. Theming meant making changes to a file, uploading it to the server, and refreshing the page to see changes.

While this is a totally reasonable way to work, there were a few problems with it:

  • Depending on my Internet connection or the size of a file, uploading files to a server took a significant amount of time—particularly when you add up the time spent tweaking little bits of CSS and checking the results.

  • If I had no Internet connection (e.g., when traveling) or if the connection was spotty, I was screwed.

  • Perhaps most importantly, everything I was doing could conceivably be found by someone else on the Web. This left me constantly worried that people—particularly clients—would end up randomly finding my half-finished work all over the Web. And while there were certainly ways to avoid that, such as HTTP authentication on the server,[39] that alone didn’t solve the first two problems, which are much more annoying.

When I finally figured out how to set up a local hosting environment on my laptop (thanks to a few wonderful friends in the Drupal community, including developer Ben Buckman, ...

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