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.

Give a Drupaler a patch and you've fed them for a day

There's a rather well used Chinese proverb that says if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day but if you teach him to fish you feed him for a lifetime. I've recently been doing the Drupal version of this. It is one thing to help folks, especially those new to the community by providing patches to solve their itches. But it is entirely better if you teach them how to create patches and they post patches themselves. Perhaps with Drupalcon starting we should have a goal of creating at least 100 new patch submitters. Best of all it's very easy to teach because there's a very good handbook page on creating patches.

Boston bound...

Sitting in the late winter sun at Boise airport en route to Boston. A night of flying lies ahead and then an early morning arrival on the other coast and several jam-packed days of Drupal. Looking at the schedule I'm really excited. There are some great sessions on tap. I haven't decided yet how I'm going to solve all my double bookings but that will come in time.

Of course the alert just came through that the Boise to San Francisco flight is running 102 minutes late. Should still leave time for clam chowder at SFO. Between now and then I'll settle for watching the airplanes come and go on a blue-sky day. More time to work on modules and themes I'd hoped to get done before leaving.

Drupalcon Boston - Bigger and better than ever

Reading through RSS this morning I'd been meaning to post that Drupalcon is close to filling up. Well I missed the window. Drupalcon 08 is sold out with 800 attendees. It will be my first Drupalcon so I won't have the past conferences to compare to but I'm sure it will be wonderful.

Komodo's 4.3 Drupal Goodness and Wishlist

Andre posts about Drupal specific snippets coming with the next version of Active State's Komodo IDE. I started using Komodo after the 50 tips and tricks podcast and haven't looked back. Sure I still fire up BBedit for the odd job here and there, but for coding everything from PHP to HTML and CSS Komodo is my tool of choice these days.

With that said there is one Eclipse feature that I'm particularly jealous of. The patch handling features of Eclipse are outstanding. While the snippets will likely be handy there are already pretty simple ways of doing this using things like the module builder module or creating one's own templates in Komodo today. Perhaps some uber-patching features will be included in Komodo 4.4. Unfortunately it looks like that would be another year in the making if the past release schedule is an indication. Nevertheless Komodo will continue to be a tool that runs continuously on my computer.

Migrate a WordPress site to Drupal

Recently I've been helping a few folks convert websites from to . Presently this works for migrating to Drupal 5 so if you want a Drupal 6 site first migrate to Drupal 5 and then upgrade the site to Drupal 6.

There are a couple of different ways of approaching this task. In the distant past I've worked with . Those experiences are a distant enough memory that I can't speak to it one way or another. It does seem that it has been a while since that module was upgraded. On the other hand is undergoing active development. One user I worked with in IRC was struggling with wp2drupal and found Wordpress Import to be very simple. Also a note that the Wordpress Import module has been updated since I've used it so some of the steps may not be necessary.

The process really couldn't be simpler. Start with an WordPress export of an extendedRSS file. With this in hand you'll need a Drupal site setup. The site can either be new or an existing site but these hints apply to using a new site. The import process is very simple you select the extendedRSS file and tell Drupal which WordPress users map to which Drupal users. With that done the data now resides in the Drupal database. Things are pretty good but there are a few tweaks that make things better. The creation time for the items has been set to the creation time from WordPress. However, the updated time is set to the time of the import. This really matters most if you have search enabled on your site. Search results show the time changed in the display.

Drupal 6.0 makes content management better than ever

The Drupal project today released Drupal 6.0. This latest release of the leading content management system makes managing web content easier and more powerful than ever before. Drupal 6.0 includes many great new features that improve usability, security, setup, themeing, user interfaces and just about every part of the system. Thousands of hours of testing have gone into this new release. The inclusion of many new JavaScript tools and the jQuery libraries makes administering a Drupal site easier than ever.

I've used many of the beta and release candidate versions and this is by far the most exciting release of Drupal yet. For administrators things like managing menus are so easy and beautiful that it is tempting to spend hours just moving menus around because it is so much fun. The Theme Developer module makes writing Drupal themes easier than it has ever been.

AdSense module gets awesome API

The wonderful Drupal AsSense module received a great new update tonight. Ironically one of the notes I made on the plane was to look into whether a universal patch for hiding the currently selected AdSense ID from the user profile made sense. It probably wouldn't have made much sense. Instead I came home to find out that the AdSense module now has a great API and modules can do all sorts of things. In addition there are a plethora of options for integrating with UserPoints, setting ID's by content type or taxonomy terms. All and all an outstanding piece of work.

According to the post the download will be here. Upgrading is pretty straight forward. Remove your old AsSense module and install the new one. A visit to the admin/build/modules page will reveal that you need to enable one of the two included modules, either basic or revenue-sharing.

I've been working recently on a presentation about open source software. This great upgrade will be included as a prime example of where open source and the community behind projects like Drupal make software better than many a closed-source shop.

Preview of the Forum Thread module

Part of devoting my professional undertakings to has been to begin doing some more serious module development. Thus we have a preview of the Forum Thread module. It is a module that I'm developing for a sponsor and will be releasing on Drupal.org in the next couple of weeks. The design is to take Drupal's standard forums and in the most Drupalish way possible provide threaded forums that are more similar to the traditional forum look of or .

Dreamweaver vs. Content Management part II

My position on Dreamweaver is no secret. Last fall I was talking with a colleague and journalism professor about the need for journalism schools to teach content management principles as part of their programs. A communications professional who knows nothing about Dreamweaver can have a bright future. A communications professional who knows only a little about content management is in big trouble.

After we were discussing the course yesterday evening I opened up Google Reader and read Ken Rickard's post about Amy Gahran's wonderful Poynter Online article about just this topic. Here are some of the high points from Gahran's article:

Apparently, this j-school (like many others) offers little or no training in true CMS-based tools. Their online courses focus on Dreamweaver.

That's a big problem, because tools embody mindsets. Focusing on Dreamweaver teaches exactly the wrong mindset for online journalism: that your Web site is mainly an island unto itself.

Quickly adding imagecache and lightbox to posts on Drupal sites

Following up on yesterday's post this is a quick and dirty guide to adding images to blog posts using and . The effect of these together is to create an image like the one in this post. When clicked the image will display in an overlay on this page thanks to lightbox. Imagecache handles making a static copy of the image available and resizing the image to provide several predefined sizes.

It is possible to do similar things in much better ways. For example creating an image field and a template for displaying posts that include the image. This method is a quick and dirty method using a minimum of additional modules. With Drupal 6 the module will make this method even simpler.

The first step is to setup the necessary modules (imagecache and lightbox v2). The has some information about setting up presets for imagecache. The latest version of imagecache has new settings that deprecate some of the old settings. See the image in this post for a glance at what is in the newest CVS version.


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