In this series, we are going to cover two modules that assist in laying out content when building your Drupal website: Context and Bean. We will cover advantages, disadvantages, and differences between Context, Bean, and Drupal core as a standalone product. Drupal works on what is called a "block system" that allows site builders and content creators to layout portions of their content into different areas (regions) of a given page. This is a great way to get the content you want in front of your viewer's eyes, but without the help of other modules, it is very limiting.
With the Context module we are able to create as many "contexts" that use "conditions" and "reactions" to determine when and where to display a block. These contexts bascially become rules you set based on the context of your site, whether not you want certain blocks to appear and where you want them.
With the Bean module we take core blocks to a whole new level. By making blocks Drupal entities we have the ability to have custom block types, much like content types. We also have the ability to add fields to blocks and utilize view modes.
Not only do these two modules offer greater flexibility when it comes to laying out our site's content, but the configurations we set are able to be stored in code and exported via the features module. We will also take a look at the options that are offered when we have the Features module installed and enabled on our site.
This week we kick the series off with the following videos:
- Introduction to Context and Bean (free)
- Why Use the Context Module?
- Install Context Module and Tour the UI
- Creating Your First Context
- Prepare Your Site by Cleaning up the Blocks Interface
- Creating User Role Dashboards with Contexts
- Exporting Context Configurations with the Features Module
Next week, we'll wrap-up our Context and Bean series.