Drupal social publishing software

Drupal is a powerful content management system and framework that makes building powerful websites possible for mere mortals. Some of the posts here will be syndicated to Drupal planet.

Eight web developer warning signs

Most of us have been there. You talk to someone who has had a bad experience with a site built on a popular web framework and then once you look at the code you suddenly understand why. So I decided it could be useful to create a little cheat sheet. If you find yourself thinking I've done that as you read along, it might be time to get back to bagging groceries, building beautiful houses, practicing law or whatever else you're good at so you don't harm more folks out there who are just trying to make a living.

So here's the list:

Setting up send to a friend for non-members

Was working on some modifications for the Print module's send to a friend functionality. In this case we have a legacy database that has several years worth of site registrations. If a user isn't registered for the site yet we want to send them an additional paragraph explaining how to get the registration code for the site.

By doing a hook_form_alter() on the send as email form it's possible to extract the submit function for the form and have our own processor handle it. Here's a way to handle splitting the members and non-members up for mailing.

Opting out of Drupal Planet

Sure the title is a little overly dramatic. Really I'm not opting out of Drupal Planet in its entirety but I am being more selective about what gets posted there. This has been on my to-do list for a while so it's easier to post some little notes about Drupal here and there for readers of the site without the self-imposed weight of making sure a post is up to snuff to take the time of all the Drupalistas around the globe. A post that was only tangentially related to Drupal being posted to Drupal Planet yesterday reminded me to finally get it done.

So as of this morning a few new views of Drupal information are available on the site. If you're a die-hard Drupaler and want to add a feed to your newsreader the Drupal Feed is available.

A few other subtle changes happened over the weekend.

This includes some cleanup of the "In Brief" section and getting rid of the Atom feed, mostly because the module that provides it has an overly-broad embedded link in page headers which limits more useful specific feeds from sections of the site.

Using Acquia Drupal as an image processor?

pipeline_in_trench.jpgCatching up on some blog reading today I picked up on a thread Dave Winer's been writing about. He's using ImageMagick to resize images and produce thumbnails. Throughout the thread I kept thinking this sounds a lot like a standalone version of the Drupal imagecache module. Perhaps, I thought, the answer could be setting up a Drupal site to do the conversion. Nah that's too much I said to myself.

Komodo vs. Coda

At the risk of starting the vim vs. emacs sort of flame war I'm curious what folks think about Komodo IDE vs. Coda for general use. I've been using Komodo for about a year and liking it but faced with two pretty equal prices for upgrading vs moving to Coda I'm starting to look at how I really use Komodo.

The main features I use are the dynamic function lookup and SVN integration. To a lesser extent I use the CVS integration but have generally moved away from this with the tendency to have confusion in the GUI over whether CVS or SVN is being used and some accidental commits etc.

It seems as though Coda has some friendlier features for FTP and managing sites on servers that aren't SVN capable. On the other hand Komodo has better debugging features, though I've often resorted to print_r vs the intricacies of making sure a xdebug environment is up and running. Wherever I am print_r and the devel module work, even when cool debugging environments do not.

So with that said I'm considering buying Coda instead of upgrading Komodo... What are folks' thoughts?

Views attachment display type

While doing some overhaul this weekend I had a plan to put a feature story on the front page of my blog and link to a number of shorter items in a series of blocks across the bottom of the page. This got me to thinking that James Walker, aka Walkah, had done something similar. But it turns out it's much cooler.

James posted how he was using the attachment display type in Views 2 to display two views at once. Sure enough the attachment display type is yet another awesome feature in the long line of cool new functions in Views 2.

The great thing is the workflow couldn't be simpler either. By default my blog posts are now not "promoted to front page" and instead go to the "In Brief" section of the page. When I put together a little longer post with a little more thought behind it then I can check one button and the story makes it way to the "featured" position on the front page. It took a very little bit of CSS styling to get the grid view with the in-brief section to do just as I desired but it was quite simple all and all.

Drupal wins best overall CMS for the second year in a row

For the second year running won Overall 2008 Open Source CMS Award in the Packt Publishing 2008 Open Source CMS Awards. With many great open source projects and several very good open source content management systems the award is even more meaningful.

"To win the Best Open Source CMS Award two years in a row is quite an achievement for Drupal," said Damian Carvill, Packt Spokesman. "In what were extremely close categories, with high quality finalists, Drupal's strength and power shone through for the judges. Particular praise was reserved for the development team's dedication to improving Drupal alongside building a loyal and passionate community, that has enabled its growth, adoption and advocacy. Congratulations from Packt both to the development team and to the community!"

The magical hour, Acquia launches Acquia Drupal and Acquia Network

Like many in the community my first exposure to Acquia came back in the first part of the year. It was an exciting time for the Drupal community and what we learned at Drupalcon in Boston suggested many great things to come. At the time I was running an independent Drupal development shop. The news that an organization like Acquia was going to come to the Drupal ecosystem was great news. Some had early concerns that Acquia might compete in the site development space. These fears turned out to be ill-founded and the entry of Acquia into the marketspace a great boon for small shops like ours. Now the future held the promise that we could continue to work on the development we were doing and help customers build great sites, while having a solid organization we could hand off day-to-day support on the back end.

What's Next? Acquia and Drupal social publishing

A year ago we were about to set out on our family version of Travels with Charlie. At the time our thinking was that we would be looking to move out of Southern Nevada in a couple of years. On our return to Southern Nevada we talked and chewed on the options. Finding no great reason to wait we packed up and moved north. Along with the move came a change in my focus. I made a great move from the world of running an information technology department to running a small Drupal shop. Along the way I've had many great experiences. From traveling to Drupal camps to having visited Boston for the first time for Drupalcon last spring.


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