Preface – Drupal 6 JavaScript and jQuery

Preface

JavaScript: It's not just for calculators and image rollovers.

Drupal 6 is loaded with new features, not all of which are necessarily implemented in PHP. This unique book, for web designers and developers, will guide you through what can be done with JavaScript (and especially with jQuery) in Drupal 6.

With the combination of the powerhouse jQuery library, with its own robust set of JavaScript tools, Drupal 6 comes with a pre-packaged killer JavaScript environment. Cross-platform by nature, it provides all of the tools necessary to create powerful AJAX-enabled scripts, gorgeous visual effects, and view-enhancing behaviors. In addition, Drupal developers have ported some of its most powerful PHP tools (like a theming engine and support for localization and language translation) to JavaScript, making it possible to write simple scripts, where once only complex PHP code could be used.

This book gives you the keys to the toolbox, showing you how to use Drupal's JavaScript libraries to make your modules and themes more dynamic, interactive, and responsive, and add effects to make your Drupal site explode into life!

If you've dipped your toe in the water of theme or module development with Drupal 6, this is the book that will make the look and behavior of your work something special. With it's project-based approach, this book is carefully constructed to guide you from how JavaScript fits into the overall Drupal architecture, to making you a master of the jQuery library in the world of Drupal themes and modules.

What this book covers

Chapter 1 focuses on various languages and technologies used in Drupal. We will have a high-level overview of the Drupal architecture followed by an examination of some key Drupal concepts such as users, blocks, and nodes. From there, we will move on to developers tools and learn about a few utilities that can expedite Drupal JavaScript development.

Chapter 2 covers the basics on how JavaScript can be used within Drupal 6. We will begin by exploring how JavaScript is included in Drupal pages, and then create our first script for Drupal.

Chapter 3 focuses on jQuery. Initially, we will look at jQuery independently of Drupal, and then we will take a closer look at how jQuery is integrated with Drupal.

Chapter 4 focuses on Drupal Behaviors and the major utility functions provided by drupal.js, which provides functions for behaviors, translation, theming, as well as other utility functions.

Chapter 5 focuses on the translation system in Drupal, and the JavaScript tools that are used in conjunction with that system. We will look at installing and configuring multiple languages using JavaScript functions, and then extracting and translating strings.

Chapter 6 focuses on the JavaScript theming system. We will look at the JavaScript theming module, and examine some of the themes and user interface tools that it provides. We will implement our own template system based on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Chapter 7 focuses on the AJAX family of tools. We will learn to use jQuery's built-in AJAX support to get content from Drupal, and also use JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) as a JavaScript-friendly way of sending data from Drupal.

Chapter 8 focuses on module development. We will discuss how modules work, and will learn how to create modules and use them for adding JavaScript features. We will also learn to make our JavaScript available to other modules.

Chapter 9 focuses on advanced topics. We will look at integrating existing Drupal JavaScript tools with our own site design, and then we will see how to extend the JavaScript libraries with the jQuery UI library. We will also extend jQuery's library with our own functions, building a jQuery plug-in in the process.

Who this book is for

This book is for web designers and developers who want to add JavaScript elements to Drupal themes or modules to create more flexible and responsive user interfaces.

You are expected to know about the basic operation of Drupal, and be familiar with the concept of theming and modules in Drupal. No experience with creating themes or modules is required.

You will also need to know the basics of client-side web development. This includes HTML, CSS, but you should also have a rudimentary grasp of JavaScript syntax. Familiarity with PHP programming will be an advantage, since we will be writing PHPTemplate files and (at the end) creating Drupal modules. However, PHP is covered thoroughly enough that even the PHP neophyte will not find the text too demanding. The book also covers the jQuery JavaScript library and its use in Drupal, but no knowledge of jQuery is expected. You will learn everything you need in this book.

Conventions

In this book, you will find a number of styles of text that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles, and an explanation of their meaning.

Code words in text are shown as follows, "We can include other contexts through the use of the include directive."

A block of code will be set as follows:

Drupal.behaviors.countParagraphs = function (context) {
if ($('#lots', context).size() > 0) {
return;
}
else if ($('p', context).size() > 5) {
$('body').append('<p id="lots">Lots of Text!</p>');
}
};

When we wish to draw your attention to a particular part of a code block, the relevant lines or items will be made bold:

if(sel.id == txtareaID && sel.start != sel.end) {
txtareaEle.value = SimpleEditor.insertTag(
sel.start,
sel.end,
$(this).hasClass('bold') ? 'strong' : 'em',
txtareaEle.value
);

sel.start = sel.end = -1;
}

New terms and important words are introduced in a bold-type font. Words that you see on the screen, in menus or dialog boxes for example, appear in our text like this: "clicking the Next button moves you to the next screen".

Note

Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.

Note

Tips and tricks appear like this.

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