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Drupal Church Recipes


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Are you ready to learn some of our drupal building secrets? In this episode we dive into the drupal 6 modules we use and provide some recipes for how we combine and configure them to create the features we build into sites. Or, you can think of this as Rob giving away a bunch of his drupaly secrets.

Before we dive into this fun topic we talk about Free Mission Websites, a new Geeks and God community initiative to help missionaries with their web presence. This isn't just the Rob and Matt working on another project. This is something that every member of the community can get involved with. Curious how you can help? Head on over to ##########.com and find out.

Edit 12-Apr-2011 by micah: Link removed because the Free Missionary Website Project mentioned in this post no longer exists, and the domain name was taken by people with less than honorable intentions.

Cheap Domain Names

MyDomain.com has slightly lower prices for domains than GoDaddy. I have used them for 3 years and haven't had any problems.

VideoCast suggestions.

Hey Bob,

It would be really cool to take these recipes and demonstrate them on mustardseedmedia, then add them to the show notes here. Especially a CCK/Views/Date/Calendar workflow. That would be cool! Talking about the recipes is helpful, but a screen cast on how to assemble the recipe would be awesome!


In agreement

I would love to see a podcast about the calendaring workflow, too. Especially if it encompasses how to notify people about events and keep track of who's coming and who attended.

MP3 broken again

The MP3 is broken this week similar to how it was a couple of weeks back. This time it cuts off in the area of 16:22.

Can't Reproduce

Can you provide some more detail like what program you downloaded it with, how you played it, etc. I can't reproduce the problem.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

The great wysiwyg debate


While I totally agree that the FCK and TinyMCE editors are bloated and might not produce clean code, I disagree that the pseudo wysiwyg style like BUEditor is the answer.

Modern computer users have come to expect a real wysiwyg interface a la Word. Anything less is a step backward. I remember the days of using a pseudo wysiwyg word processor on the good old Apple IIe (what was it, Apple Works, Apple Writer? don't remember). It was not called pseudo wysisyg back then, but it was very much the same.

I am not happy with FCK and TinyMCE, but right now, they are the only things available for what today's users expect.
HTMLBox looks promising, but it needs image handling like IMCE integration.

IMCE brings me to another usability point of contention. While IMCE is the best option for easy inline image handling and management, it is FAR from being user friendly. IMCE (like much of Drupal) is obviously made by geeky developers.
For instance, to access IMCE from the FCK image properties dialog, you click 'browse server.' Many users don't even know what a server is, let alone if they want to browse it. Why not say something like 'find image'?
Also, in the IMCE browser, after selecting an image, you click 'send to FCKEditor' to insert the selected image. The end user has NO IDEA what FCKEditor is (not do they need to)! They just want to insert the selected image, so why not say 'insert selected image'?
Check this thread out for a good discussion and example of how the IMCE interface could be improved for usability: http://drupal.org/node/281967.

I think progress is being made here and more attention is being paid for D7. The WYSIWYG API module and Media Module are (I hope) evidence of that, and are mostly going in the right direction (I think).

Media Module

I agree whole heartedly about the user friendliness in drupal. Keep an eye on the Media module. I'm looking to see where that goes before I step out and do anything because they are already doing it (hopefully).

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host


What about the use of the Inline API and the Inline module? This expands what you can do to link images by their names (in much the same way you might in a wiki), using an input filter to replace the inline tag with the image.

I've also found Freelinking to be great when you want to get quick linking between pages in a site. Again, it works like linking a in wiki — which is not necessarily the easiest, but is quick to do when you know about it. It also lets you set alternate text for the link, so you can link to a node by its title but have the text rendered in the Web page be something else (so that it fits in a sentence better than the title might, for example).

Random Comments


Guys, awesome episode. Really got the creative juices flowing which is saying something--it's 3°F here--nothing flows.

I'm excited about Media Module, too. I used FCKEditor in the past but never liked it and ended up getting rid of it and hand-coding. Haven't tried out HTMLBox yet, but I'm thinking that's what I'll use meanwhile combined with Asset module.

Any plans to make the video of your live recordings available as a feed? Please?!

Yep, cold here too

I woke up to 2 degrees this morning in northwest Iowa.

At least it is not as cold a a couple weeks ago... -20 to -30 degrees F. And that was air temp! Wind chill was -40 to -60!!!!

Video Feeds

Here's a trick I use for rebroadcasting live feeds.

From Mogulus record the live stream.
Then download the FLV from the media manager.
Upload the FLV file to blip.tv
Embed the episode into a CCK node.

It seems silly to move the media to another streaming service, but Mogulus has yet to impliment a good media streaming of single episodes.

When I finish rebuilding my beta site I'll be putting a tutorial together of how I podcast our sunday services with audio and video.

Peter Awad

1Peter 4:10 ~ Are you using your gifts?


You all need to come visit Oz! (Maybe an international G&G Conference!).
Some state capitals making it over 40C (104F) this week!

Happy Australia Day to you all as well for Monday! :)

Paul Vaartjes

International Would Be Fun

I would love to go international. That would be soooo much fun.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

Simplenews Update


Loved the episode. Hopefully more of my comments will come in the form of some tutorials I've been meaning to write, but for now just a quick one.

I was just reading Gábor Hojtsy's report on the d.o upgrade sprint, and he said that the team "discussed migrating away from simplenews and standardizing on mailman (as we do with most of the mailing lists) - but did not implement this just yet."

Thought you'd like to know.


Upgrade Path

If they migrate away from simplenews there will be an upgrade path for others that want to follow.

Also, it's the 42nd most used contrib module out of thousands. I doubt support for it will be going away.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host


True, there will be a migration path. FWIW, thought, I just read that the current D6 test version of d.o us running Mailman. If anyone is interested, I noticed there's some discussion about this in the comments there.


I have run mailmain and

I have run mailmain and simple news. They are really two different animals. The integration the simple news has with a drupal site is really nice.

Mark Shropshire "shrop"
Geeks & God Forums Moderator

Awesome content

Great stuff guys. I love the fact that you're not holding back your tips & tricks to building sites. Also excited about ########.com, ping me if you need an extra keyboard.

Edit 12-Apr-2011 by micah: Link removed because the Free Missionary Website Project mentioned in this post no longer exists, and the domain name was taken by people with less than honorable intentions.

Jesus Geek: Technology, news and how-to's for the connected Christian
Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/theOJG



How could anyone deploy a drupal project without making backup an essential module? OK it's real easy; because I did it, and spent the last week paying for it.
Long story short I blew up one of my beta site drupal installs with no backups and here is my lesson for everyone else to learn from my mistakes.

Step 1 install drupal.
Step 2 install poormanscron (assuming you dont have a good server cron).
Step 3 install backup and migrate.
Step 4 configure backup and migrate for a backup every 24 hours and keep some backups.
Step 5 setup rsync from another computer to pull down a copy of your drupal install every day. Linux users use rsync, windows users use deltacopy.
Step 6 sleep soundly knowing that your drupal site is protected from server explosions, hacks, and idiot server admins :-D

If you have a really busy site run a manual backup BEFORE you tweak modules and core, it takes all of 4 mouse clicks. So spend a few minutes, learn from my mistake; it could save your site and your sanity.

Peter Awad

1Peter 4:10 ~ Are you using your gifts?

3rd party stuff???


First let me say. Wow!! Great podcast. no.. Fantastic podcast!!

I am very surprised you didn't talk about some of the 3rd party commonly used programs that I've been using for a while with Drupal.

Image management: Gallery2 http://gallery.menalto.com/

Blogging WYSIWYG image uploading: Scribefire -- (firefox plugin) Love it!!! drag-n-drop images.

Groups, Email newsletters, events, calendars, fundraising: CiviCRM : http://civicrm.org/

I actually havn't used CiviCRM yet, I was waiting for them to make it ready for Drupal6 before I tried it. But now it is and it looks very promising.

I'm really interested if you guys have tried these and what your opinions are about them.

Thanks again for the great podcast!
Peace and Blessings,


I'm also interested in how/if CiviCRM would fit into this, especially for calendaring. The feature list looks great, even though it seems complicated. But I'd want to make sure it was doing the "right" thing with respect to calendaring, using Date/CCK/etc. behind the scenes, rather than rolling its own solutions.

I use Gallery2 on a site, but

I use Gallery2 on a site, but problem: it doesn't include the galleries in searches. I'm planning to switch that site over to a normal Drupal gallery when I get to it.

I stay away from Gallery2 and CiviCRM

Not to be a killjoy, but I've used (or tried to use) both Gallery2 and CiviCRM, and I stay away from them. I tried Gallery2, and it was just so huge, it was difficult to use. There really is no integration with Drupal - the module just displays Gallery2 in Drupal and that's it. If you want to make them look the same, you basically have to learn to theme Gallery2 by itself. I prefer the method Rob and MF talked about with either Image module or the ImageCache/ImageField/CCK/Views/Thickbox combination.

I've been using CiviCRM for about a year, and I'm trying to get rid of it as fast as I can. It's probably good for what it's designed for (a back end for managing volunteers and donors), but it's terrible if you want to display the data to the public. Like Gallery2,its integration with Drupal is minimal; it's not done well like other large modules such as Ubercart. It doesn't use the Drupal theme system at all, so if you want to modify the theme, you have to hack the code. There are some ways in the way it's designed that just aren't good. I'm looking to replace what I have in CiviCRM with something like Ubercart for taking donations and registrations, and customized profiles for the member information in D6 (since Views 2 makes it easy to list profile information now).

CiviCRM is powerful, but is not for everyone

Hmm, interesting comments about CiviCRM. I have been a civi user for a couple of years, and my organization loves it. But Wonder95 is correct in several ways, like that its integration into drupal is limited. That is something that is improving however. The latest version exposes all of the fields to Views 2, which goes a long way in the data display department.

This all comes from the fact that it aims to be CMS-agnostic. I wish that they had thrown out this design goal, and built upon existing drupal modules from the ground up. But, its too late for that.

The reason we use it is that there is just nothing like it for heavy duty mass email management, mailing list management and client records management for nonprofits, in the free/open source world. Some of us use it only for the power of CiviMail. It just has so many powerful features for describing individuals and businesses, that I have never seen anywhere else. But it is beyond the skills of the average semi-technical church volunteer.

For whatever it is worth, there is an ongoing debate in the civi forums where people are complaining about lack of drupal integration. At this point tho, they have a significant number of joomla users who don't want to be left behind so I don't see them changing direction. I am just hoping that they continue to extend the drupal interface over time.

Free MIssion Websites

What a great idea. A friend of mine built the site http://missionaries.in. They don't offer individual sites to each missionary but they do offer a place to post journals and photos.

Mixa Mixa

The subject is something my kids say when they get to help mix up the pancake batter. Anyway, I get so stoked on podcasts like this cause it gets me thinking and reflecting on what I am doing with my sites.

BTW, is there a receipe to make an imageflow (coverflow) gallery work? I haven't found anything as far as a module or ideas to make this work in Drupal. I have it working in a WordPress (is that a dirty word here?) site.

Thanks for all your great work Rob and Matt. Your Tweets keep me laughing.

3 More Modules...and 1 more thought

Finally had a chance to listen to this one and wanted to throw out a couple of quick thoughts on module choices.

WYSIWYG: The wysiwyg api module has been really great for me on some projects. Bascially, you can just drop any editor (tinymce/fck and others) into the module folder and you're presented with a list of buttons to include on the editor itself. Makes it very easy to customize the appearance and functionality of any WYSIWYG for different roles/input formats (ie, no editing js). http://drupal.org/project/wysiwyg

Linktocontent: This one is just coming around for D6 (you have to apply some patches to make it work). But, it's maintained by the same guy who maintains WYSIWYG API so it requires both modules to work. If you're using Tinymce, linktocontent creates a popup allowing you to link to any piece of content you've already defined in it's settings (i.e. another page, blog, story, event, etc). I've used it on a site that has about 50+ definitions - really great for content editing people. http://drupal.org/project/linktocontent

MP3 Player: If you're not using all of SWF Tools, this is a great solution to just get the 1pixelout player onto your site for mp3. Also, you don't have to do anything with templates & themeing (but you can if you want). It allows you to simply select MP3player as one of the display options on a CCK filefield. Cuts down on all of the potential extras with SWF Tools. http://drupal.org/project/mp3player

Finally, I'll add to the CiviCRM discussion. I'm using this for a camp registration system for a local church. It's great because the event portion of civi allows a user to "add other registrants." So, 1 family can create 1 user account, but add unlimited numbers of campers for this summers' camps (each of their kids) - all in 1 registration form. I guess the same is true for adding multiple items in ubercart - but the features of CiviEvent seem to be meeting all of my needs wonderfully.



Wow, we totally needed to hear this. We are backed into a corner with our D5 site and attendant modules. No thought was given to future proofing the site, etc.

So glad you guys shared your knowledge. Invaluable stuff.

Thanks so much.

Trying to do the same...

With 2 family members (myself included) going on some short term mission trips this year I bought www.mymission.ca and have setup some Wordpress installs for each of the trips (ex. www.mymission.ca/zambia). I am starting to work/play with Drupal and so have setup the the main site area using Drupal. I hope to make the trips work through Drupal as well soon - need to figure it all out :)

BTW - I also did this 7+ years ago for youth groups www.youthpoint.ca - now it is dead with everyone using facebook :)

Sounds like a great project - trust God will bless your efforts!

Excellent podcast


Wow! I am so behind on these podcasts! Just listened to this one this week.

For me, this is one of the best G&G podcasts in a while. Great to get some insight on how you guys think about Drupal.

A few thoughts/Questions:

1. I agree with your assessment of event module vs the recipe with date, calendar, cck/views, etc. I used Event module for 4.7 and 5 sites. Works great, but I had to hacks some things from time to time. For D6, I am using your basic formula now. Works well and is more flexible.
2. Thanks for the info on podcasting. Awesome how one node can produce multiple feeds.
3. When you have a large media file, how do you handle the upload? ex: too large for html upload.
4. Is there a recipe to all you to create podcast feeds in Drupal, but host the mp3z remotely? I need this for my church big time. I understand that getid3 probably wouldn't work.
5. Rob, you crack me up! I went through the same thing with Image.module vs. the more complex recipe. I have image module + lightbox2 working great in a D6 site.

Thanks guys!

Mark Shropshire "shrop"
Geeks & God Forums Moderator


I have heard horrible stories on GoDaddy and Domains. I use Netfirms, have for 3 years, and they beat Godaddy on the reg price constantly. Just Paid 5.95 for a year of Drupalchurch.com


I like the new way of podcasting, but I would really like the the ffpc to allow to the number of times the episode it listened and the number of times it is downloaded.

I agree with you

Hey Miguel...
Yeah, I agree with you. However, we think it's not the job of FFPC to provide this (it's just a feed module) but other content-tracking type modules.

Since FFPC uses just a filefield, something like download count.module is the appropriate way to handle this. That, or something external like Podtrac.

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host



Thanks this was helpful! I really enjoy listening to your podcast. Keep up the good work


hello guys! this is my first post and first time that i hear an episode from you, i have downloaded it and, i like it! Thanks God for your lives.
P.S. My first language is not English, is spanish :)