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Maintaining Your Drupal Site


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MF dances to the G&G Theme Song

Ok, so...in theory you've got a drupal site up and running. It's all themed, functioning, and you're using cool modules. Right? Good. Now how do you keep your site from running away and getting out of control? That's what today's podcast is all about.

We talk about how to maintain your drupal site once it's up and running. We break this episode into two parts. First, we talk about good practices for creating content. We discuss using and installing a WYSIWYG editor, using taxonomy and CCK, and generally making your site 'idiot proof'.

Then, we talk about maintaining your actual installation. This means things like keeping drupal up to date, keeping your modules current, and making sure your site is running the latest security patches.

But, before all this, we get called out by one of our listeners for our website being broken on his mobile device (oops! time for Rob to write a mobile style sheet)...but he gets back in our good graces by providing us with a great, detailed review of a mobile LAMP installation. We also talk about continuing your drupal education over at our blogs (see the links section of this post).

And, finally, we need you guys to send in any drupal questions you have...this is your last chance. A future episode will be comprised of your questions. So send us an MP3 or call the voicemail...otherwise MF will just sing Neil Diamond for that entire episode...

elaborate more on captcha/textimage?

The captcha seems to work, but as you guys were talking about this week how spambots can do the math, I think I want to get textimage to work with captcha. I have them both installed. In admin for textimage it asks for a true type fonts path. How do I know what this path is? It shows the following for me:

Number of fonts found: 0
Number of background images found: 0
GD Version: bundled (2.0.28 compatible)
FreeType Support: True

Im guessing once I can figure out the font path I should be up and running with it.

Fonts & access control

You don't actually have to give it a font path (at least I didn't), but it is recommended because otherwise it may choose a font that's too large and letters will get cut off the image. What I did was I made a directory in my drupal site and copied several fonts into it, so that even if I do run into problems with it, at least one of them won't be that the server it's running on has different fonts (if any) than my own computer.

If you can't find where the fonts are located on your computer, you can just download some free ones from here.

Also, make sure you go into Access Control and enable textimage for the users that you want to be able to see it.

It is a little bit of a

It is a little bit of a pain. Ill pass for now on it. See how it goes with spam before making the move to enable it.

drupal spam

Drupal spam is a big bad thing! On my community site i have a few robots a day create accounts and verify them by email. Then they post nasty nasty stuff. Maybe they don't know math so ill try that. thanks for the help. also is there a CAPTCHA alternative that is accessible for the visually impaired?

robots targeting drupal

These days the robots are getting smarter. You are right, robots are directing their attacks at drupal sites. Though, this is not limited to drupal. Robots are attacking everyone including wordpress, Joomla!, all the other open source projects they can.

Working with the visually impaired is a trickie situation. Image captchas don't work with them but math captchas should be ok (please correct me if I'm wrong). Match captchas can be read by screen readers and there is a field for them to fill in the answer.

I just took a look at how blogger does it and they have an audio captcha for the hearing impaired. This is cool but not implemented for drupal. I don't see that implemented for joomla either.

Time to put in an feature request...

And, if you go with captcha use the version at http://drupal.org/node/110967. There is a way to bypass it and that's a bug but the newest release has a more annoying bug to the users. That should be fixed soon.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

Captcha Patch

You can fix the bug in the latest official release of Captcha with the patch at http://drupal.org/files/issues/captcha_7.patch

Dev Version

If you're feeling lucky than check out the dev release at http://drupal.org/node/127218. This is a complete rewrite of captcha that is more well written and shouldn't suffer from the problems of the previous. Granted it is a dev version.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

Spam vs. Akismet

Maybe I missed it in the podcast, but of the Spam and Akismet modules, which one do you recommend?

Pick Your Poison

I can't really recommend one over the other. They both have advantages. The Akismet module uses an outside service to do the filtering. The spam module doesn't. It uses basian filters and other configurable items.

Personally, I have used both and been happy with both. Anyone have a reason to pick one over the other?

One warning, when you use either of these there will be false positives so you need to regularly check the comments.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

Taxonomy listing

I think it would help people if you briefly mentioned on one of the next podcasts how to have a list of the topics on your site--similar to the ones on mattfarina.com and http://www.mustardseedmedia.com/blog.

More specific

Specifically, I'd be interested in making a page of all categories and subcategories, as well as a block of the topmost categories which when you click on one of them, takes you to a page with the articles in that category and a listing of subcategories.

More general

I'm looking over the list of taxonomy modules at drupal.org and seeing as how there are so many that look good but also that I don't want to take the time to try all of them, maybe--since taxonomy is such a huge topic--it would be helpful if you spent some time talking in general about what taxonomy modules people might want to use, i.e. which ones you think are the really good ones.

Final Drupal Podcast

You just gave me something to talk about on the final drupal podcast coming up in a couple weeks. Taxonomies are one of those things that can be used to do so many things. The way taxonomies work give so much flexibility in what you can you. They have been in drupal for a long time and were ahead of their time when they were put in.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

Final Drupal Show???

What a shame that the series has to come to an end. I am about a show and a half behind, but will get caught up soon, I hope.

My drupal project is on hold until life settles down. I hope to make the move this summer. If you are still looking for ideas or questions for the final show:

I can see our church growing and wanting to add more content, i.e. a site specifically for a particular ministry, such as youth. For example, church website at www.domain.com, a youth ministry site at youth.domain.com. Playing around I got a single code multiple domain install to work using one database, what is the best way to work sites together? Use one database and a module to allow usernames to be consistent? Or keep them separate and use two databases, but one code install? Or just two separate sites?

I have enjoyed the series.


Update Status Module rocks!

I am jazzed about the update status module. You had mentioned it in an earlier forum reply, but I hadn't had a chance to try it out. This weeks podcast reminded me about it, so I checked it out, and wouldn't you know, three modules in my test installation were already out-of-date. So thanks - this one is a good one.

As I'm designing the taxonomy for our church's site, I've made a few attempts and have needed to move a bunch of nodes to new categories as things develop and change. A module I found that was helpful for this is Taxonomy Mult Edit at http://drupal.org/project/taxonomy_multi_edit . It lets you re-assign a bunch of content to new categories all at once. Go to Administer->Content Management->Categories and there is a new entry on the Update Options pull-down-box: "Assign to a taxonomy term". Choose the categorie(s) and check the nodes you want to assign. A real time-saver.

This had been a troublesome module to install as it was partially converted from V4.7 and didn't fully work. When I installed Update Status, it picked up that a new version was ready. This shows Open-Source working at it's best!


Wow, Bob...This module sounds great. I'll have to check it out.

This module would be a great resource for someone who built their site and it got out of control (like we talked about)....they could go in and bulk-reorganize their content without having to open each node-edit screen.

Nice find...thanks for posting it.

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host

That would be me!

Yup, Rob - my test site got out of control! Necessity is the mother of module finding in Drupal, I'm learning. I had built, something like 25 nodes and realized that I needed to add a different category. Being somewhat lazy, I looked for a better way, and this was it.

Hey, here's something that would be cool with Update Status Module - if there was a way to get a RSS feed of your status, then you could just subscribe in your feed reader and know when it's time to update - hmmm! Firefox couldn't find any feeds for me on that page. Oh well...

Hey, I second the idea to cover more in-depth taxonomy on the final podcast - to me this seems to be the "crown jewels" of Drupal.


I too would love a RSS feed from Update Status. But, and there is a big but, that is not a good idea. Having an RSS feed would mean that you are putting out, to the world, what version of modules you have. If you have an outdated module with a security hole and you tell the world that you are telling them how to hack your site. That's not a good idea.

Now, that doesn't mean that it we won't get one or that it won't be good. Just that we need to approach it intelligently for securities sake.

There is an issue open to add this feature and you can find it at http://drupal.org/node/129941.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

Good Call!

Good insight! I think in my newfound like of RSS feeds, I am tending to try to apply them to everything w/o thinking thru all the ramifications. Maybe email notification would be better for this. I just am trying to find a way so that I keep on top the updates for my site w/o having to think too much about it.
Thanks for the good word!

Very nice. Thanks for the

Very nice. Thanks for the post on the module.

I'm just super bummed I was

I'm just super bummed I was more than a few months late to catch that youtube video of MF- where is that thing!

MF Dance

The MF Dance was last spotted as part of the loop at www.geeksandgod.com/live but it may have been taken out of rotation.

Never fear, I found it here:

YouTube - MF Dances