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Future Proof Drupal

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Is your website set to fit into the future of drupal development? When you create solutions for your site are those solutions aligned so you can easily update to the next version of drupal and follow the drupal trends of the day?

In this episode we explore this idea, provide you with some places you can follow the drupal trends of the day, and talk about a few trends that are current future of drupal.

Before we dive into the drupal goodness we talk about a few topics that even our non-drupal audience can appreciate. We start with more conference stuff, talk about podcasting software, dig into free screencasting software, and talk about securing your online persona. Come join us for another information packed episode of Geeks and God.

Lullabot Podcast, Drupal Association and Acquia

Good comments on the Lullabot podcast. One thing you didn't mention is that many of the Lullabots are directly involved in The Drupal Association. While the Association doesn't directly steer development, they do have a pretty good idea what's going on with Drupal, so their words can generally carry more weight. Check out the staff page for a list.

The Lullabot Podcasts (both audio and video versions) are well-balanced in difficulty level. The videos range from "how to sign up for a drupal.org account" to "how to port modules from 5.x to 6.x" and everything in between. I was pretty pleased with myself when I got through audio episode 61, where discussions about the Drupal API got pretty intense, yet I never actually got lost. Then turn around to episode 62, which was essentially non-technical, and it blew my mind because they started talking about using Drupal to do things I'd never considered. (Can you use the word paradigmatically in a sentence? I still can't.)

Another place to watch the direction of Drupal is Acquia. Founded by Dries, they're putting together a nice cereal-box package of Drupal with enterprise-level support. This will involve making key contributed modules polished and stable enough for use in a corporate environment. If there multiple modules to do the same task, I'd look to see which one Acquia employees are favoring. For example, the "What is Drupal?" video on their website talks about using Ubercart for e-Commerce. I'm waiting to see which direction they go for things like image handling and multimedia management.

Micah

I finally got around to

I finally got around to subscribing to the Lullabot A/V podcast and was frustrated that the video needs to be converted before putting on an iPod. Anyone know why they do that?

BTW, guys, have you considered adding the "Comment subscribe" module here? The RSS doesn't list follow-up comments to existing threads, only new nodes.

Dale
Cohost, CrossFeed Religious News Podcast
http://www.crossfeednews.com

In iTunes, right click or

In iTunes, right click or ctrl+click and choose the convert selection for iphone or ipod option. That should do it.

Yeah, I know, but it's a

Yeah, I know, but it's a pain, because it then has to be deleted manually afterward and takes time to convert. It just shouldn't be necessary, and I'm lazy. I've unsubbed several podcasts for this reason.

Dale
Cohost, CrossFeed Religious News Podcast
http://www.crossfeednews.com

Your Acquia link is a dead

Your Acquia link is a dead link

Fixed

The link should be fixed.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.innovatingtomorrow.net
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

upgrading to 6

Okay, so if I'm comfortable with using Drupal 5x should I go ahead and make the leap to 6x? My hosting service is providing the software install, so hopefully all will be well. What is the current version that's been tested and approved? 6.2? I'm neither programmer nor themer but I guess your advice would be that this would be a good time as any to get into themeing. Your thoughts?

Side note: Still going through the conference audio/video, great stuff and keep up the good work! Also, could you post or send out an RSS feed when you guys are live on Mogulus. We will have to see about getting you guys down to sunny South Carolina.

Stefan Holt
http://www.acktivemedia.com

Upgrade Status

Here's a nice nugget from the latest Lullabot videocast: Use the Upgrade Status module to see the 6.x status of your current D5 modules. It'll also show the current version of D6 core, which I believe is 6.4.

The current release of D5 and D6 is always shown on the Drupal home page. Since releases come only for security fixes, it's generally best to be running the latest version.

Micah

Did you mention IRC?

You mentioned several ways to keep up with what is going on with Drupal, but I didn't hear you talk about IRC.

IRC maybe more of a behind-the-scenes look at Drupal than you intended, but it is interesting.

I wouldn't suggest it

I wouldn't suggest IRC for keeping up on drupals direction. It would take a long time to read through the conversations and most of what's said isn't about the future of drupal but on the day to day development of drupal which is a bit different.

IRC can be fun and useful but I'm not sure it's useful for figuring out drupals path forward.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.innovatingtomorrow.net
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

1 thing lacking

When I first saw the title of the show, the first thing that came to mind never made it into your show. I know you talked about it in the past, but the question is where to put certain files/folders. I know the themes and other folders can be moved from place to place, but the question is, "Where should stuff be so I don't have to move it every time I upgrade?" I guess I'll have to go back and listen to previous episodes.

The reason this is important is that I really need to upgrade crossfeednews.com and lcmspastor.com to 5.x from 4.7.x. I thought about going to 6.x right away, but I'm not sure about the modules, and going to 5, I can use that Upgrade module to watch and see when it's time to jump to 6.

Right now, those sites are running fine, but I know 4.x isn't being updated with security patches anymore, so I really need to upgrade just for the security.

Dale
Cohost, CrossFeed Religious News Podcast
http://www.crossfeednews.com

sites folder

This isn't something that's future proofing your site. Where to put your files has been a drupal best practice for some time.

Modules and themes should be put in 1 of 3 different places depending on your situation. If you want them available to all you sites on a drupal codebase installation they should go in either sites/all/modules or sites/all/themes. If you only want a module on a specific site they should go in sites/example.com/modules or sites/example.com/themes where example.com is your domain. If you have the same module in more than one place the one in the example.com directory takes precedence.

If you are developing an installation profile/distribution there is a 3rd place you can put the modules and themes but i won't go into that unless someone needs to know. It's a rarer case.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.innovatingtomorrow.net
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

version upgrades

Quick follow up question on future proofing: Do church geek types try to keep their site completely up to date with all of the latest module updates? Now that we are up and running I see that there are updates available to some module or other every week pretty much, and sometimes there are updates for drupal itself available as well. I started learning on drupal 5.5, and now it is up to 5.10. The updates are for security sometimes so they recommend keeping up to date. But you can't just dump them in there, you have to test things to make sure it still works. When developers create a site, they don't come back every week for module updates, right? Just wondering how other folks handle this. Thanks.

Security Updates

Personally, I like to keep fairly up to day on the security releases. They are out there for good reason. When if comes to feature releases and bug fixes I am less on it.

I love that you want to test things out first. You are good to do that and most people don't.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.innovatingtomorrow.net
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Dev or No Dev?

The other day, Rob Feature posted a question on Twitter about development versions of modules.

Anyone know of a way to track new official #drupal releases(not hackish, unusable dev versions). The problem is, not all dev versions are bad

Since the question affects a lot of topics we've been discussing in the Churches Group, including conversations about building install profiles, I've decided to write about it there.

Dev or No Dev? | groups.drupal.org

Micah

working wtih jquery vs a module

Hi - I'm not sure if I should post this here or go over to mf's site or comment him on drupal, but I'll do it here because this is where I got the idea in the first place.

First, I want to have some kind of small block to display small pieces of text, quotes.

These is the Quotes module and that's another story. I'll might end up re-trying that module, but it's more complex than I need.

Then I saw something in jquery that gave me an idea - it was for images, but I had an idea that it would work for text as well. That was jquery.cycle.

Then I saw Matt's "view rotator" module. I have to tell you that the title made me think that it rotated text or a view 90 or 45 degrees on a page. But I read and re-read the description and followed some of the links and realized later what its intended purpose is. But, one of the links I followed was jquery.interfade - and that was 99 per cent perfect. That javascript is all I need. But how to get that working on a drupal page - that is the big question/puzzle that I haven't figured out. Matt, you made it sound so easy on the podcast - just put the .js in a scripts directory, drupal will find it, and all will be good. So far, though, I have not gotten that to work. I also tried putting the jquery.interfade.js file directly in the misc dir in core, but that hasn't worked yet either (and yes, I cleared cache). That little js is absolutely perfect for what I want - the content is a simple ul and I could update, add to, and style that anytime. (I used to script Quicktime and code html by hand so, I don't mind doing it in exchange for the simplicity and flexibility.)

I also tried your module, views rotator, without luck. I'm sure that's just me because I haven't really gotten well versed with views yet. I've created one view that worked but in that case I just made it work for that one thing.

Any chance you could show us how to make a js file work with a page in drupal? Or maybe a little how-to on using your module. Or just point me to some of the right places and I'll figure it out.

Thanks!
Peter

Views Rotator vs. jQuery

Hey Peter,

I've used the Quotes module before with success, displaying a series of Bible verse in the sidebar. However, I'd never do it that way again. Today, I'd accomplish that with a Custom Content Type and a View.

My suggestion for 'ya...Install CCK and Views, Create a Content Type, populate it, Create a View and place the View in a Block. If this block displays OK, then apply the Views Rotator. This will help isolate the problem. (I suspect it's with the view or block and not the rotator.)

If you're looking for help with Views, know Views (for 5.x) is significantly different than Views 2 (for 6.x). Bob did a nice View 2 Overview screencast. Google can help you find lots of 5.x tutorials.

Getting jQuery to work is a little bit more tricky; once you have your content displaying in a block, ensure the jQuery module you're using is the same version as your Drupal install (if not, consider jQuery Update) create a sites/all/scrips folder and add the .js file. Add drupal_add_js. to your template.tpl.php. Lastly, apply the script to your content.

Blessings!

-NP

PS: Only add folders or files to your sites directory. Placing anything anywhere else, although it may function properly, is shunned upon...this is "hacking core" and you only want to do that if you really understand what you're doing ("Never hack core" is a motto all but the most advanced should live by.). This is because it makes it very difficult to upgrade or receive support. When everyone keeps things organized the same way, it's much easier to work together.

Views Rotator

Hi NP,

Thanks for the quick reply! I wanted to test the VR out before responding back. I've done that now.

I didn't realize that there was a screencast component of the site. I watched the VR video and I noticed one thing right away that I didn't do the first time around. That was format in views. When I saw format, I thought, "I'll format in css later." I watched the video again and played and paused it again while I built the first rotation view.

It worked. But, a couple or three things about it that are unexpected:

1. This one is probably browser specific. I'm using Camino. The fade causes the text on the whole page, maybe I should say all of the main content text, to fade in and out at the same time as the rotation. This happens whenever I'm on Apple's site on the hot news page. I thought they did it intentionally, but now I think it's fading in and out with some other thing on the page.

2. This one is feedback for MF: The VR does not claim its own vertical space - even though I did specify and height in views (300px). I put in 2 text content nodes, each of different lengths. The longer one will simply display as an overlay on whatever is there. So, it is ok if I put it at the bottom of a column, but any where else it doesn't look good. I tried a couple of different regions and it's the same.

3. In an attempt to remedy #2, I tried placing a background image 240x240px hoping that this might create a space for the view. Did not work. It did not show up at all when I put it in the rt column. When I put it in a region between the bottom of the content and the footer, I could see the background image (plain white box) show up faintly, but hide behind the footer while the text displayed above it. I tried everything to make the background image show up, including putting it in the main css, the views_rotator css, and even commenting out the " z-index: 1000" section in the css file (since I wasn't using the hover function in VR).

4. Ultimately what I would like is for the view to show up in a fixed height and width container. Something like you'd see in a tabbed container. I thought I might use a base background image for it.

5. Feature I'd like to see: random start, and random selection.

6. Feature that might be asking too much for: ability to fine tune the fade in, fade out, time displayed - for each item (lol).

I got excited about this when I saw that interfade js - it reminded me of a time around the turn of the century. One could turn simple text files into scrolling text of any kind with Quicktime. All it took was placing timecode between each piece of text you wanted to scroll. Optionally, you could declare a font (and various attributes), and color. A font would inherit until you changed it. But the coolest part was that you could specify the time in, time out, speed, and where in the frame each piece would stop. You do something simple or you could get very fancy with it. You'd give the text file to Qt and it would compile it into a .mov file. Using the concept and a slideshow, I converted a hardcover children's book into a Quicktime movie with buttons to turn the page. Of course I'm not looking to do anything like that now. In fact, in the beginning of this, I was only looking for something that would show a different piece of text (quote, etc) each time a page loaded.

Yes, I'm avoiding the Quotes module. It's way too much machinery for what I need.

Yes, I'm using Drupal 6.4. This is fairly new site.

I may try using JQuery sometime - when I have more work done on the site. For now, I'd like to see the Views Rotator module working. If it didn't overlay on other content, I'd have it on the site now. (It is on now, but the view is set to show only to admin and the test nodes are disallowed in robots.txt. My testing formula.)

Oh, and yes, I know the rule about not hacking core. I figured dropping the js file in with all the others wouldn't hurt though. I've since removed the file.

Thanks everyone for all the help. I feel that I can use Views now with some confidence.

Peter

Using Views Rotator path forward

That's an interesting comment on the Camino browser. I don't use that anymore and I didn't even test it there.

In the next week there will be an update to the views rotator. This update should fix the problem of detecting and setting the height of your region. Before there is a formal release you'll be able to select if you want a random rotation, an extray delay on the start, and many more features. Those should be coming in the next month.

If you have feature requests please file them at http://drupal.org/project/issues/views_rotator. Please put one feature request in per issue so I can track them easily.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.innovatingtomorrow.net
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com