Praising Coder, easing the Drupal 6 upgrade path

Doug Green, maintainer of the Coder Module, get all the praise this morning. On a quick vacation, I decided it was time to finally upgrade the two small modules that I maintain. I haven't used Coder in a while (though I will be using it much more now), but I knew that it had a helper for upgrading D5 => D6. And what a breeze Coder made upgrading my modules.

What's in a Drupal book?

I have to admit that I hadn't played with Drupal 6 all that much until most recently. So some of the cool whiz-bang features had been lost on me until then. I had ready about them on the development lists, but had not actually used them until the last month or so. The updates to the Book module, though not groundbreaking or technically cutting edge, are great usability improvements.

Drupal, Start Here!

I have recently endeavored to write a technical book title Drupal, Start Here! Having recently finished Chapter 2, I wanted to start sharing some short tutorials or helpful tips that are excerpted from the book. I hope all readers find them helpful and possibly even entertaining.

Drupal and other CMSs get no credit from Google

It is a bit tardy, but last month I attended the Google I/O conference. It was a two day conference where Google was able to showcase many of their open APIs, demonstrate how to use them, as well as having more general fireside talks about the future of HTML and a whole Social track highlighting Open Social, OpenID, and OAuth technologies. Chris DiBona gave his Open Source is Magic talk, which he gave as a keynote speaker at the Boston DrupalCon.

The main reason I am writing is that most of the speakers were mentioning how many installations of a particular API are out on websites, as a testament to how easy it is for developers to use their APIs. The thing that irked me is that many CMSs like Drupal have developed wrappers for their APIs, increasing the pool of potential users beyond developers, to Drupal users.

You know Drupal is taking over your life when...

So I just had one of those moments when I realized that Drupal is creeping into all aspects of my subconsciousness. Today, a normal ordinary word morph into a Drupal related abbreviation. On the Bay Area Drupal group mailing list an email just went out with this as the subject line, "[BDUG] re: Drinks"

My mind instantly wondered if this message would have some new cool links for Drupal resources.

Drinks - Drupal links

No I am not trying to redefine the word. I am just showing how pervasive Drupal has become in my head.

So many SoC projects for Drupal

So when I am trying to explain or evaluate the value or health of an open source project, the visibility of the project to the outside world is one key indicator. That being said, the Google Summer of Code (Drupal announcement, http://drupal.org/node/249455) is a great measure to evaluate how a project is doing, and maybe where it is going, especially when compared to other like minded projects. Here is a quick breakdown of the number of projects that Google is sponsoring for a few hand picked projects.

Drupal: 21
Wordpress: 8
Joomla: 15
Plone: 5
Zope: 5
Xwiki: 10
Wikipedia foundation (partial MediaWiki) 4
Moodle: 12
Django (a python framework): 4

I might have missed another CMS/CMF project, but once again Drupal is on top in the number of projects sponsored by Drupal (one more than last year it seems). I believe this establishes that Drupal has a well running community that crafts acceptable projects that are well staffed, both from the student and mentor side. So many sponsored projects by Google means they are confident Drupal is worth investing in, and will be around for a long time. Great job Drupal.

Drupal can be Pretty, a Religious Experience

Drupal sometime gets a bad name because designers have a hard time theming the site. It is true that you need to know more PHP than a designer ever wants to know, but if you get a good theme implementor, working along side your design, you can get sites look like this: Vintage Faith Church:
Vintage Faith Homepage
Vintage Faith Picture 3
My church needed a website that they could updated more easily than flat HTML files through Dreamweaver, and one that would use an in house designer, with custom art an photography donated by the community. They also have a Drupal developer willing to theme and implement the entire site. (Showcase page on DrupalCon, Boston, vote for the designer! (I just implemented it))

A Drupal Reference, jQuery in Action

Well, Drupal's visibility is surely rising. I bought a jQuery book for reading on the long flight home once Boston DrupalCon, 2008 is over (yes, I will blog about it later). In jQuery in Action in the introduction, the author is giving examples how jQuery is taking the JavaScript world by storm, 'winning the support of major websites such as MSNBC, and well regarded open source projects including SourceForge, Trac and Drupal' (emphasis added).

Three cheers for Drupal and for the start of another great DrupalCon.

DogParkUSA.com, A Drupal/Google Maps site on a dime

I have written up the complete case study/showcase description at http://drupal.org/node/224003. Here is the intro quote:

Dog Park USA is a testament to the leverage Drupal as a Content Management Framework (CMF) gives web site developers. With the large array of core and contributed modules, and a bit of experience, the short time it takes to get a functioning site up and ready for content contribution can be astonishing.

Since my wife and I are developing this site in our spare time, our limiting factor is time. Re-inventing the wheel is not something we want to do, and with the speed, breadth and depth of Drupal, its contributed modules and its great community, we didn't need to.

The article contains brief descriptions of how we created the desired functionality through Drupal's module, links to all the pertinent module, themes and support documents, followed by some points of customization that really made the site our own.

Boston DrupalCon will be great, best ever (until the next one)

Even though I will only be able to attend Monday/Tuesday and Wednesday until lunch (a company off-site is scheduled the same week), the proposed sessions were more than enough for me to make the trip out. Glad to know that Dries' State of Drupal will be on Monday, and I am hoping that the schedulers frontload Monday/Tuesday with the best sessions. There will be more than I can physically attend I am sure.

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