Drupal Articles

Simplicity Complex

Over the past few days, I've observed an isolated thunderstorm in my RSS reader. The first hints began when Don Norman blogged "Simplicity is Highly Overrated". Norman writes:

Now Free: 37signal's book, Getting Real

Hello Drupal world. I have reading material for you. Do browse the now free online version of 37signals' book, Getting real. Here's a taste:

Your app should take sides

Some people argue software should be agnostic. They say it's arrogant for developers to limit features or ignore feature requests. They say software should always be as flexible as possible.

Neutered Nodes: CCK's Dark Secret

Update 2 (march 1st, 2007)

Thanks to numerous improvements in CCK itself, and drupal 5.0, I now officially disagree with myself in this article. My criticisms last October no longer apply -- CCK now makes everything easier, and I've personally had an easy time pushing changes from development, to stage, to production using CCK. Consider this article a historical curiosity. (More info...)

Update: this is a fairly contentious claim, so be sure to read the discussion in the comments

When planning the development of a drupal site, be wary of using the content construction kit (CCK). While its one of drupal's most powerful modules, its also probably one of the most inappropriately used.

Call for Wishlists: Using Video in Drupal

Short attention span version: I'm working for a startup (stealth-mode for now) and am requesting suggestions, feature requests, and ideas on a video module we'll be releasing back to the drupal community. We are also very interested in module ideas, and features that do not necessarily involve video, but that you think would be useful to websites that have a lot of videos. Either comment, or use my contact form to put your ideas, or wishes in my work queue.*

Microsoft Introduces Desktop Blog Client

Amazingly, the very fact that you see this post means it works with Drupal's XML-RPC script. Its called "Windows Live Writer". But no gives a rats ass about the vaporbrand "windows live", so its probably just going to be known as Writer. [free download for Windows].. My impressions?

General:

  • I love blogging from my desktop. The experience is 10 times smoother.
  • TinyMCE WYSIWYG sucks. And while it might suck less than any available alternative it still sucks. It sucks because both javascript and browsers suck. I perfer this interface.
  • The desktop enviroment kicks AJAX's ass.
  • Why not use a desktop client?

Limitations:

  • No support for multiple content types
  • No support for categories
  • Does not interface with any existing content or files

Pure Speculation

  • Writer is probably a proof-of-concept for the next generation of Microsoft Word Products
  • Writer will come bundled with Windows in the near future
  • Microsoft is full of smart people

Unfortunately, the limitations I listed make the program impractical for drupal users. Sadly, this means I need to continue using tinymce. But seriously, Drupal should not shy away from the opprotunity to fully integrate with this program. Like it or not, I suspect you'll start to hear a lot more about Writer in the future.

Redstate Has Gone Drupal

Redstate.com has gone with drupal.org.
We made the decision to move to Drupal a while ago. It was clearly coming along as a robust platform, that met all of our needs. Why did we move from Scoop? Well my issues have long been documented, but mostly they revolve around the fact that the Scoop developer community is extremely small, relatively closed, and overwhelmingly liberal.
Redstate.com is one of the more influential sites that represents the followers of the American Republican party (many of them deny this, but these types deny a lot of thing). Word of warning to redstate.com about dealing with the drupal community -- you're probably going to want to keep your political leanings like you keep your shirts: "tucked in".Drupal is not merely an overwhelmingly artsy-fartsy and left-wing, "liberal, liberal, liberal" (in the words of Rush) community. Its much worse: it has Europeans. Some of which are even French.Redstate's political shortcomings aside, sounds like they did a great job in putting the site together.
For the Drupal geeks: It's Drupal 4.7.3 with some serious modifications in Views and CCK. The Drupal code base is untouched, but we have a custom Redstate module with some assorted functions.

And, at the very least, the redstaters are not idiots like some of the people who "strategize" for Democrats. On numerous occassions, I've tried to talk up drupal to Democract consultants, but they'd always say the same thing: "we're going with scoop!". I'd ask them why. I'd try to pick apart their argument. But they'd bark, "Kaus uses coop!" This apparently is an alpha and omega answer. Open and shut case, Johnson.Well gee. You can't argue with that. I asked them whether they truly believed the Daily Kaus's success was a result of the technology they used. They'd reply, "A good deal of it, yes."Thats when I knew they were idiots. Their argument (if that's what you call it...) is about as naive as it gets. They probably still think websites are magic tricks.

Hey Drupal and Moodle: Stay Out of Education -- Blackboard Got a New Patent

Michael Feldstein is sounding an alarm; and some good people are probably going to need to watch their back. Blackboard may have realized how crappy of an application it is, and now is seeking to crush all those teachers who've deceided they can develop their own solution. May I recommend that we colllectively instigate a lynching of blackboard? If lynching sounds strong, well... read the f#cking patent.
The ever-brilliant US Patent and Trademark Office has apparently granted Blackboard a patent for...well...pretty much anything remotely related to learning management systems. As I read it, Blackboard basically owns the patent on any sort of groupware at all that is used for teaching purposes.

I'd also like to point out that the hearsay I've heard about blackboard's owner was not inspiring. Apparently, he's very happy about being rich and young, and that's basically it. Education isn't his main concern, according to this hearsay. So, be aware.

The Road to Drupal Hell

Hell Opens Up New Exclusive Layer for Drupal Developers

(PRWeb) -- Lastweek, the Drupal Content Management System became the first opensource CMS to have its own layer of hell. Though many proprietary CMS's, most notably Vignette, have long had their own exclusive parts of hell, this was a first for open source.

Vincent Pendragoon, a spokesman for the Lucifer Ventures, described the new layer as a place for "Generally inexperienced, slothful, or overconfident developers who don't bother with things like APIs." When asked whether this meant hell would put a new emphasis on open source, Mr. Pendragoon replied, "Hell is merely acknowledging the amount of misery open source can inflict."

Drupal: Enterprise Edition

The title is an oxymoron, and half a joke. However, it seems that at times, websites require a very strict process of development. Typically the flow is development (either the developers localhost, or a communal crap site), to staging (where there's testing) to production. I'm going to go out on a limb here, and declare that drupal handles this kind of enviroment HORRENDOUSLY.

Today, I attempted to briefly map out how the hell one was supposed to manage updating a site's configuration without changing user generated nodes, comments, files, terms, accounts, or any other thing "non-configuration setting". This was my recommendation:

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