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.

A fun jquery trick

Working on the Forum Thread module I came across a bit of a challenge. On one user's site the call to add an inline javascript file (drupal_add_js()) was being called from nodeapi twice. Since it is calling inline javascript drupal_add_js happily puts the script on the page twice.

In this case the script in question calls a "toggle" function to hide and show the comments on a given forum node. Since the script was there twice it obediently displayed and then immediately hid the comment body. Evidently users aren't keen on this method of speed-reading.

The solution then is simple. Use an external .js file. However, in this case to make the module easy to configure I wanted to allow users the choice of which css element identifies a "comment title". (An aside that the way this works is to hide and show the siblings of the title which does impose some requirements about how the comment is formatted.) So this makes it more complex because I want to include the proper selector in the script and still include it in a file.

To accomplish this I ended up splitting the jQuery function into a couple of separate calls. The first, an inline script, does an addClass to the user-identified comment title class. Then a file-based javascript acts on the newly added class to hide and show the comments as a website user chooses on each page.

It is possible to see the results in action.

Boise Drupal user's group meeting

Being the first Thursday of the month the Boise Drupal User Group meeting at the Eagle Public Library. We took a look at several cool projects members of the group are working on. Included among them are these great Drupal modules:

  • Mark it up
  • SuperNav
  • Many cool projects that folks are working on but not ready to have the traffic yet

Having a thriving local Drupal User group is great. Now off to start on getting the pancakes ready for Saturday's pancake breakfast.

Previous experience in web design is also required

Had this ad been posted on April 1st it would have been a really funny joke. Posted late in the month it is more funny sad than funny ha ha. Sadly this is not made up but a real ad posted by a real law school. This could turn into the right opportunity for someone with a solid Drupal developer. Unfortunately for the law school in question it does not bode well.

As is the case in many shops this will be a one-person web shop. By itself this is not a bad deal. The challenge will be getting a good person. Unfortunately the advertisement suggests the organization understands very little about what to expect from this position. What is best about this advertisement is the line "[K]nowledge of a web programming language is required
(ColdFusion or Dreamweaver)."
Sigh. If the school is really lucky they'll get a good Drupaler to apply and come explain in easy to understand terms what the school needs.

Senior Web Developer - Law School

This position will design, test, and implement websites, including
designing databases, web-interfaces, and reports for the Law School. While the
Director will be kept abreast of all activities (for purpose of approval,
particularly informational and/or content issues) related to Web resources,
most of the technological and operational aspects of the sites will be the full
responsibility of this position.

Requirements: Bachelor's degree in Information Technology,
Information Systems, Computer Science, Computer Engineering or a closely

The Drupal shop

aten Design Group has a great article on why they chose Drupal. I would be hard pressed to tell you the number of high quality shops who have made the same choice. Many of us have set about building a better content management system. One better suited to our particular needs or our view of how to do content management. As someone who has used content management systems dating back to Clay Basket and NetObjects Fusion as well as rolling my own, Drupal simply makes it possible to focus on doing the things we want with a content management system (and yes it's more than just a CMS) instead of spending weeks and years building one.

Mollom brings enhanced content protection

MollomMollom moved from a private beta to public beta today. I've been fortunate enough to participate in the private beta and can say this stuff rocks. There are plenty of methods of protecting sites from spam and bad content, but this is by far the best so far. The problem with many systems is they treat legitimate users as the enemy. At least with traditional CAPTCHA systems is that they challenge the user for an answer before the user has provided any information to suggest they should be challenged. Users pay the penalty for the bad behavior of the spam bots. There are systems that work around this and some like Akismet have done pretty well on this site. The problem, however, with many of these services is that they can still be gamed to a greater extent. And, since the spambots don't recognize that their attempts to add content have been unsuccessful they merrily pound away on the server. The other methods also generally call for administrators to monitor things pretty closely. With all the great spam tools there would still be a couple of spam posts a week that would slip through on this site. During the transition to Mollom a bot was actually attempt to post. In the few seconds the site was unprotected a couple of posts slipped through. In the weeks since nary a errant post has been made (aside from one on an article which should not have been configured to accept comments but that wasn't spam).

Back on the horse

So I'm slowly getting back up to speed following the post-Drupalcon bug that so many seemed to be catching. Easter weekend brought about releases in a couple of new projects. The Forum Thread module got a beta release. A few bugs have already come to light as have a few feature requests that will get on the list. Many thanks to http://fixingtheplanet.com/ for supporting development of this module.

Another project that I didn't start but have recently started to lend a hand with is a great theme project that started as a part of Summer of Code 2007. The Light Fantastic theme is a great theme that we use on the business website. The initial release has some bugs that need to be worked out and I'll be rolling up the changes I made to get it into shape for a release soon. This is a theme that lucksy created as a part of summer of code. (Hint! Hint! Summer of Code rocks... Be sure to read more about Google Summer of Code.)

It sucks to have the bug but it's great to be getting back on the fast track. Lots of yummy Drupal in the future.

College student looking for an awesome summer job? Read on...

Are you a college student looking for a cool summer job? Would you like a job that will put Google on your resume? Or would you prefer a job where you can work in the comfort of your own home while sipping coffee and ordering pizza? How about a job where you can make a big impact in a short period of time? What about a job where you can do all of the above?

Uncluttering conference bags

Conference bags have long been a source of frustration. Since my early days in the publishing industry I've been collecting, culling and donating them. It seems such a waste to have such nice and pricey bags go to waste or be used only a week before being recycled. Certainly there is somebody who gets use from it eventually but it has long seemed there must be a better way. Thanks to Drupalcon we now know for sure.

Drupalcon's bag, pictured here, was made of the lightweight material that makes up many reusable grocery bags. As a mater of fact, now that the conference is over I have another grocery bag. It would be great if more conferences would go this route. We will know real progress has been made when the disposable bags on trade show floors are replaced with reusable versions. Actually it will be real progress when the last trade show dinosaur is gone. But that's a topic for another post.

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