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Case Study: GeeksAndGod.com


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We've been asked how we created GeeksandGod.com a number of times and always shied away from talking about it. It's not that there was some deep dark secret or that we didn't want to share some super sweet technique. It was nothing like that at all. To be frankly honest, we just didn't think GeeksandGod.com was a very good example to share with people.

In this episode we take our case study in a different direction. We talk about how GeeksandGod.com started, where it has come, what we did, what that meant, and how we would do things different now. We, also, talk about a lesson that we hope every developer learns and we see embodied in GeeksandGod.com everyday.

Before we dive into another case study we talk about widgets. Those fun little programs that can actually have a purpose. Come join us for another fun filled and action packed episode of Geeks and God.


I just love hearing you guys say CAPTCHA.
It must be part of my fascination with Americans! :)

Good to finally hear all the inner secrets of this old beauty.

Paul Vaartjes

Paul Vaartjes

Ayuh! (Maine speak for I agree!!!)

You guys sound just like real lobster fishermen, but in Maine we would spell it, Captchah... =8)

An Encouraging Episode

Thanks for a very encouraging episode. I often find myself in analysis paralysis because I'm overly concerned that I'm going to pick the wrong way to do something. Combine that with the fact that I hate at least something about each of the Drupal sites I've done, and I often find myself unable to move forward with any of it.

I'm starting to learn to do as much as possible with core, CCK and Views, and not reaching for node-type modules until I have to.

I'm also learning that there are times when you just have to rip stuff out and start over. I'm in the process of migrating from the Image module to Image Field and Image Cache on a couple of sites. I'm also thinking about abandoning the Audio Module. These decisions aren't fun, but sometimes it has to be done.

Yeah, core profiles can be pretty lame, but they're not entirely useless, either. I don't really think they're a bad fit for this site. Is it really worth the effort to set up a whole bio module installation here. Like you said, many G&G users don't even upload a photo. You've given us the ability to post a link to our own profile pages elsewhere. Is there really a benefit to doing more on a site like this?

I know you didn't ask, but if I could change one thing on geeksandgod.com, it would be to enable the core tracker module. It's sometimes handy to see what posts and comments have been made by a given user, and for finding my own comments to see if there were any follow-ups.

One last thing, your "All Forum Topics Feed" is broken. I added your "Site Comments Feed" to Bloglines about a week ago and have found it to be quite useful.


Sweet Episode!

0) Our web team (two of us!) is in the middle of building our first drupal (due in large part to you folks!!!) site so this episode was encouraging and informative!!!

1) Picture added!!! (Can you make out any of the important details (shirt, hoodie, hat)!!!)

2) But I like the opening section!!! However, I can see that there are conflicting interests. Folks coming to a cast just looking for the raw info want to get right into the meat. But, I listen on a weekly basis and I like the opening because it is a bit more personal.


case studies Rock

Hey I just wanted to mention that this format of analyzing the construct of a web site build is in my opinion, your best episodes. Walking through a Drupal build (what modules used, techniques, best practices, etc...) is excellent. I learned more from these case study episodes than any other tech talk podcasts out there.

I would like to encourage you to do more of these case study shows. They are really good.


Cant wait to hear this one

Iv'e been away from G&G yet once again. Work and Life is keeping me so tied up. Believe it or not, listening to you guys actually help relax me. No, Im not saying your podcasts puts me to sleep :)
I enjoy just sitting back on the bed with my headphones on and soaking in all the G&G content you guys put up.
Thanks again for sticking with it. Thanks for everyone in this community for taking being here.
I'll try to stay more active here in the future, but please dont take it personally when I flake out once in awhile and disappear. I'll be back ;)

This week's show...

I thought this show was a bit confusing. As a guy who's wanting to start using Drupal, I love the case study idea.

First, why the show was confusing. You guys are constantly saying "Do it right the first time." But as an example, when you built this site, you didn't know what was right. How did you learn what was right? You did it poorly, but... you did do it, and you learned. I think you might be putting people off of trying Drupal. You also spent some time ranting about how you wouldn't hire a guy who built a fort as a kid to build a house for you. I've got a degree in computer engineering, but sometimes I feel like the guy who built the fort. Maybe I am the guy who built the fort.

It was also confusing because you guys will say Drupal is super easy, and then say you may have to pay a guy to do a custom module or a java script or write some PHP variables, but other than that... Is it really easy or not?

My real problem with Drupal has been theming. Everybody totally skips over it. Rob has said you have to know CSS. So I got a CSS book from Amazon today. I'm hoping that learning some CSS and starting my themes from scratch will be a breakthrough. I can use some of the modules but the output looks so terrible I can't stand it.

Anyway, I love your shows and almost always find you guys totally making sense. I think you were just way too self-deprecating over your site. It has been a blessing to you to learn so much. I wish I had that under my belt.


When we say it's easy but that's in a certain context. If you want to design a website you need to know xhtml and CSS. That's the language of webdesign/interfaces. If you want to add custom functionality to a dynamic website where there isn't a plugin/module that covers it in your CMS you need to know the language to create it.

But, when you want to create custom functionality it's easy. When you want to extend drupal so do something it doesn't already do it's not a difficult task. There are hooks that let you do it with a fair amount of ease.

If you want to work on drupal I'd suggest the drupal handbook at http://drupal.org/handbook.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

It's as easy as...

Is it really easy or not?

Hey Brian,

Drupal is a tool and a very powerful one at that. But like many other things, the learning curve is steep. I've found using Drupal is easy. Learning how to use Drupal isn't.

Jeff Robbins, an owner of Lullabot, wrote:

"I can foresee a time when a small village in Nigeria will be able to open their $100 laptop...click "make a website" and effortlessly put the pieces together...We have most of the modules already...What we are missing is the "effortlessly" part."

The whole idea of downloading free software and in a few hours (if you're Rob) or a few days (if you're me) having a fully interactive site is still revolutionary to me. Think of having to hardcode everything. It's been done!

I have several stories where I went searching for info...4, 6, 8 hours. But when the answer finally came, it was a very straightforward to implement. Drupal has given little 'ole me the power to create very powerful applications. However, everyday I find I am baffled by it. Drupal is rewarding and Drupal is equally frustrating.

You are not alone. Stick with it and it will amaze you.



Couldn't agree more NP.

Couldn't agree more NP.

Well put..


Mark Shropshire "shrop"
Geeks & God Forums Moderator

yeah... what he said!

Yeah.... totally agree!
Sometimes I feel as though I am on top of the game, and other times (like at the moment) I feel as though I really shouldn't be playing "in this space".

But that feeling soon passes - Drupal is an amazing CMS and well worth dedicating (many) hours to become competent in.


Doing it Right...

Hey Brian...Good thoughts here, I want to focus on one thing you said....

You Said:

"You guys are constantly saying "Do it right the first time." But as an example, when you built this site, you didn't know what was right. How did you learn what was right?"

How did we learn what was right? By building crappy sites. But that's not the same question as how can YOU learn what's right? Listen to people like us who have done it the wrong way, and learn BEFORE having to do it wrong. The fact is, when MF and I started building Drupal sites, there was NO help anywhere on how to 'do it right'. But now there is. G&G is just one place where you can hear from people who have been thru the trenches already (so you don't have to).

So, I think what we're saying is: Don't make the same mistakes we did by not gaining knowledge before starting to build. Take in all the info you can...learn how to do it right by learning from others and you won't have to do lots of things wrong before you learn how to do things right.

Now, you're also correct...it takes HANDS ON knowledge as well (and you WILL make mistakes, that's a given)...but minimize those mistakes and shorten your learning curve by putting in as much time listening/learning as you do building.

That's my 2 cents on what I think was a very good question...

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host

Cracking me up

As I was listening I couldn't help but laugh at the steps you started out using. Im doing several of those same steps now. Such as using feeder for the podcasts links and adding links or images actually inside of the body.
You helped me realized that I better start improving on drupal before sites start getting so bad its a total mess.
Thanks for all the tips in this episode. Very helpful