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Building Powerful and Robust Websites With Drupal 6

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Book Reviews 153

Michael J. Ross writes "For creating Web sites, developers are increasingly making use of content management systems (CMSs), any of which can provide the framework for a new site. But just as there are many similarities among all the leading CMSs, there are some significant differences, such as how easy they are to install, administer, and build upon, for creating new sites. If developer loyalty is any measure of the present and future success of a CMS, then Drupal should be considered a standout among other CMSs. For instance, its online documentation alone is often cited as a distinguishing advantage. But most developers would prefer learning Drupal from a book, such as Building Powerful and Robust Websites With Drupal 6, by David Mercer." Keep reading below for the rest of Michael's review.This particular book was published on 1 February 2008, under the ISBNs 1847192971 and 978-1847192974. It is one of the latest titles from Packt Publishing, a relatively new technical publishing firm that is nonetheless gaining a reputation for its support of the open source software movement, including open source CMSs such as Drupal and Joomla. The firm's "about us" page notes that, with the purchase of every book that covers an open source technology, they pay a royalty to that open source project. A recent article on the Drupal Web site states that the company has raised more than $100,000 through these open source royalties.

In his book's "About the Author" section, David Mercer mentions that this title is a follow-up to a first edition of the book, even though the publication information that follows the title page, mentions nothing about this being a second edition. Most likely he is referring to his 2006 book titled Drupal: Creating Blogs, Forums, Portals, and Community Websites, which covered Drupal version 4.7.

The publisher makes available a Web page devoted to the book, where readers can download the sample code, submit feedback, post a question about the book, read an online excerpt, and obtain a sample chapter, on "Advanced Content," as a PDF file. Readers can also purchase the electronic version of the book, which contains everything found in the print version. For any programmer who plans on developing Drupal sites on a laptop, while away from their home or office technical library, the e-book version could prove especially valuable and convenient.

Building Powerful and Robust Websites With Drupal 6 aims to cover all the major aspects of using Drupal, and is targeted at Drupal beginners, though the author does state in the preface that the book's broad coverage may be helpful to intermediate users. The information spans 380 pages, and is organized into 10 chapters and one appendix, covering: an introduction to Drupal, installation, modules and blocks, site configuration, user access control, creating content, advanced content, themes, advanced features, site management, and site deployment.

The first chapter serves as an introduction to Drupal, and explains the purpose of CMSs, the advantages of Drupal and other open source software, a brief history of Drupal, what Drupal offers to the site developer, and the many types of sites that can be built. The author discusses the reasons for keeping an unfinished site unavailable to visitors, the purpose of a placeholder page, and the importance of planning the intended site ahead of time. Especially useful to the beginner is the second half of the chapter, which discusses the support information available on the Drupal Web site, such as the well-regarded Handbook in the forums. The chapter concludes with a summary that, like all the others in the book, adds no value and could be cut, to make the book more concise. Newcomers to programming in general, and Drupal in particular, may find this chapter to be quite worthwhile; but experienced Drupal developers can skip it.

To the uninitiated, installing a substantial piece of software and getting it running, is usually the first hurdle, and sometimes the most difficult. Chapter 2 explains how to obtain and install Apache, PHP, and MySQL — in the form of Apache2Triad. This is preceded by a brief overview of the underlying needed technologies, which would be helpful to someone unfamiliar with them. However, the diagram on page 33 could certainly use better labeling of the inner components. Also, on page 47, the reader is instructed to look for the file php.ini in "C:\windows"; that may be the case for users of Apache2Triad, but for everyone else, the PHP configuration file is by default located in the PHP root directory. Nevertheless, the chapter explains not only the (relatively few) steps involved in installing Drupal on a Windows server, but also explains how to troubleshoot some of the more common problems that can be encountered. It concludes with an overview of the administration area, and how to create a simple homepage. The author provides the URL that a reader can use in case they accidentally disable user login (including admin login); but the URL (.../user/login) would only work if the reader succeeded in enabling clean URLs.

The critical topics of modules, blocks, menus, and links, are discussed in the third chapter, titled "Basic Functionality." It covers how to enable and configure modules, and how to find and install third-party modules. Three commonly used modules — Forum, Comments, and Search — are examined in detail, as is a third-party module that implements DHTML menus. They are put to use in constructing the sample Web site used throughout the book for illustrative purposes. The chapter's material is comprehensible, but the discussion of primary and secondary links, at the end, could certainly use clarification.

Chapter 4 is straightforward, and covers the fundamentals of site configuration. The author discusses clean URLs, error reporting, file uploading, system event logging and reports, high-level site information, and site maintenance. The subsequent chapter addresses the powerful functionality within Drupal for allowing site administrators to control user access to content — utilizing roles, permissions, users, registration, and access rules. It is a valuable discussion, marred only by a subpar illustration at the beginning (on page 117), and, at the end, the absence of a clear explanation as to the application of host type access rules.

All of the aforementioned topics would be of little value in a site that had no content, and in Chapters 6 and 7, David Mercer discusses simple and advanced content, respectively. The former chapter covers the various types of content, how to work with them, and how to administer content — with particular emphasis on two of the modules that are most applicable to content: Aggregator and Book. The illustration on page 152 does not include the "language" filter criterion mentioned on the next page. The biggest improvement that could be made to this chapter, would be for the author to more frequently specify how in the Drupal menu system the reader can go to the administrative section under discussion — similar to site breadcrumbs. Currently, the reader has to skip back, sometimes several pages, just to discover the steps needed to go to the specific Drupal section. In the subsequent chapter, the author explores taxonomy, the Content Construction Kit (CCK), and handling content posting using HTML and PHP. But the illustration on page 216 is missing the URL filter; the multi-page summary of HTML should be replaced with a few references to quality online HTML guides; the initial HTML code on page 227 is missing from the screenshot; and the image file path on page 228 should not have the localhost hardcoded.

Chapter 8 discusses Drupal's user interface and themes, at some length — in fact, too much length, as this is some of the book's most long-winded material. The CSS review section could be replaced with a few well-chosen links. It is stated that all five available themes have been enabled in the discussion, and yet that is not reflected in any of the screenshots. The penultimate chapter covers some advanced features — OpenID, actions, triggers, languages, localization, performance, caching, throttling, and JavaScript. Apropos of that last topic, the author several times advises the reader to "reload" a theme in order to implement any change to the .info file, but fails to explain how the reader can do the reload. For resolving this question, the book's index is characteristically unhelpful. The final chapter briefly explores Drupal site backup, task scheduling, and other site maintenance issues. The section on the Path and Pathauto modules should be combined with Chapter 4's section on clean URLs. The appendix explains how to deploy a site, and thus should have been located at the beginning of the last chapter.

Overall, the book accomplishes most of which it sets out to achieve. It provides a generous amount of information about Drupal, and discusses the material at an even pace that should not overwhelm even the most inexperienced programmer. Also, the book is packed with screenshots and other illustrations, so the reader can see the pages where they would make changes, and also see the effects. Nonetheless, readers will get even more out of it if they follow along and make the changes in a sample Drupal installation.

Despite the book's merits, it still has some areas of weakness. They include, as alluded to earlier, the index, which is missing some key topics, such as views and clean URLs, to mention only two.

In various places throughout the book, the writing could be markedly improved. Many of the sentences are awkwardly constructed, and consequently more difficult to understand at first glance. This is especially true in the first chapter, which has more high-level description and less technical detail. In addition, many of the sentences are run on, exacerbated by a lack of commas, which would alert the reader when to pause within the sentences. Dashes are frequently used where semicolons are called for. In some instances, new terms are incorrectly put in title case (e.g. on page 8). The terms "which" and "that" are sometimes interchanged incorrectly, as are "that" instead of "who" (e.g., page 126).

In general, the book is too wordy — on a large scale (chapter summaries, and entire paragraphs, that could be excised), and on a small scale (unneeded phrases here and there, such as "hopefully like contributing meaningfully" on page 34). The discussions, while friendly, could certainly use some tightening up and correction. Readers can do without the imagined musings of a Web server and a Google bot. In the aforesaid article on the Drupal site, the author notes, "...I have cut out quite a bit of the old text and trimmed that which remained..." Further cutting and trimming needs to be done.

Like most programming books nowadays, this one contains numerous errata: "DevelopmentEnvironment" (page i), "openID" (page 3), "Javascript" (ditto), "little to now experience" (page 4),....and many many more.

Some of the phrasing in the book is a bit awkward; for instance: "sell it on as" (page 28), "Meg" (for MB; page 35), "before last again" (page 84), and "remit" (presumably to mean boundaries; pages 116 and 117). There are some inconsistencies, such as on page 4, where, in the same CSS rule, we see both "#FF0000" and "#aaa." There are countless compound adjectives lacking hyphens (too many to catalog here). Finally, there are too many exclamation marks that serve no purpose.

This is the first book I have ever seen — and I hope the last — for which the title is never written in title case, but instead in sentence case. This may be of no consequence on the book's title page, where the nature of the title is obvious. But it becomes quite misleading when incorporated into a regular sentence, such as in the second paragraph on page 2, which causes the reader to initially conclude that the author is talking about the process of "Building powerful and robust websites..." Only later does it become clear that the author is not discussing any such building process, but rather the book itself.

Yet aside from these blemishes, the book does an excellent job of covering all the important topics that would be of interest to beginning and intermediate Drupal programmers. The author clearly has a genuine passion for Drupal, and frequently encourages readers to contribute to the Drupal community and its growing body of knowledge. Building Powerful and Robust Websites With Drupal 6 is a comprehensive, approachable, and valuable guide to making the most of Drupal — easily recommendable.

Michael J. Ross is a Web developer, writer, and freelance editor.

You can purchase Building Powerful and Robust Websites With Drupal 6 from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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Perfect timing for the release. (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253436)

In a related development to a story posted eariler today [slashdot.org] Taco has bought copies for the entire /. dev team.

Re:Perfect timing for the release. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253640)

In a related development to a story posted eariler today [slashdot.org] Taco has bought copies for the entire /. dev team.
Later that day, Taco also bought copies for all current Slashdot subscribers with good or better karma affected by the outage. Mr. Morgan Greywolf was quoted as saying "Wow! That was really, really nice of you, Rob! You are wayyy coool, Taco!!!!"

Reviewing the Reviewer (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253932)

I'm a writer... previously published a decade or so ago, and now polishing my skills once more to re-enter the market.

Michael J. Ross would be a perfect editor for me; he's ruthless and cuts right to the problems in a chunk of prose. However, judging by this article, I would pay a large sum of money to ensure he never reviewed my book.

If he has an overall favorable opinion, he should allow that to be the tone, with his reservations being an undertone, suggestions for improvement, and a notice to the reader that the book needs a little more polishing. I felt his tone was overly negative.

If you love something, or even like it, show this in your review...

Then again, perhaps I'm being overly critical.

*Note: This post contains some obvious cliches, grammatical errors, and dodgy spelling choices.

Re:Reviewing the Reviewer (1)

Jansingal (1098809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254498)

if you want to review the reviewer, perhaps make a point.

make sure you do then when your long awaited book comes out.

Re:Reviewing the Reviewer (1)

Jansingal (1098809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254862)

So you are a writer???

please provide a link to your writings.

Joomla/Mambo yes? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253552)

I tried Joomla and mambo once and was somewhat impressed. may be Drupal is better, but is it? How easy is its installation? What advantages does it have over the other two? A slashdotter wants to know.

Re:Joomla/Mambo yes? (2, Insightful)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253586)

I tried Hoojooboo, Tookatakkatukka and Whatsits and wasn't impressed by their names either.

Seriously though I tried Drupal and it's installation process was fairly painless and the interface was nice. I just prefer to code my own sites rather than hoping that somebody else will add a feature that I want. Yes I know it's open source, but going through somebody else's code can take a long time and when you have deadlines to meet time is a precious commodity.

Re:Joomla/Mambo yes? (1)

mysqlrocks (783488) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254392)

I just prefer to code my own sites rather than hoping that somebody else will add a feature that I want. Yes I know it's open source, but going through somebody else's code can take a long time and when you have deadlines to meet time is a precious commodity.

I've noticed a phenomenon lately where people are starting to think of a CMS as a "framework" for building out the functionality they need in a website. I personally think this is very misguided. If you're OK with off-the-shelf functionality (perhaps with some small modifications), go with a CMS like Drupal. If you need something more custom, build it yourself using a real framework like Zend Framework which allows you to "glue" together 50-80% of the pieces you need and custom build the other 20-50% of it. Hacking a bunch of new and modified functionality it a CMS like Drupal is a PITA.

Re:Joomla/Mambo yes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23255586)

If you're OK with off-the-shelf functionality (perhaps with some small modifications), go with a CMS like Drupal. If you need something more custom, build it yourself using a real framework like Zend Framework which allows you to "glue" together 50-80% of the pieces you need and custom build the other 20-50% of it. Hacking a bunch of new and modified functionality it a CMS like Drupal is a PITA.
This is great advice, but the problem I see is that a lot of people start out thinking they want something quick and easy, so they go with Drupal. Then they invest more and more in customizing it. It's very hard for them to know when to scrap everything and rebuild.

Re:Joomla/Mambo yes? (3, Insightful)

Mouse42 (765369) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255646)

Hacking a bunch of new and modified functionality it a CMS like Drupal is a PITA.

With Drupal's modular framework, and abstracted theme layer, it makes it much less of a PITA to add new and modified functionality.

Re:Joomla/Mambo yes? (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253594)

Roll up, roll up, come and get your tickets for Joomla vs Drupal!

It's like mySQL vs Postgres 2.0!!!! With an i in front!!!!

Re:Joomla/Mambo yes? (1)

mbaGeek (1219224) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253694)

I ran a site using Mambo/Joomla for a couple years and have moved to Drupal 5.x and now 6.x

Ease of installation is similar - with both projects it is basically "create a database and user" then run a php script

I'm "familiar" with php (but by no means an expert - so in depth comparisons of system architecture is beyond me) - Drupal just seems to run "better" (i.e. faster on the same hardware) than Joomla for whatever reason

Of course this is just my opinion ;-)

Re:Joomla/Mambo yes? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254022)

I think Joomla/Mambo is just a little easier to install but why is that a big deal with a CMS? Installing something like a CMS is such a small part of running a website that it is one of the things I worry about the least. Security, flexibility, speed, and ease of management all seem more important than how easy it is to install.

Re:Joomla/Mambo yes? (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254222)

I was able to install Drupal and I never had any experience whatsoever installing a CMS over FTP.

I used this screencast [drupal.org] and it was a breeze.

Re:Joomla/Mambo yes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23254276)

It all depends on your needs. Drupal is probably better for larger sites with lots of content, especially where a robust ACL is required.

I like Joomla for small sites--it's very easy to administer... until the site gets too large. Joomla has an odd (and sometimes infuriating) Section/Category/Page hierarchy, where Drupal is node based and much more flexible.

Joomla has a great 3rd party extension directory with tons of high quality addons to extend its functionality. Drupal offers a similar directory, but I get the feeling that there isn't quite as much to choose from.

Likewise, there are a ton of high quality design companies putting out very polished Joomla templates. High quality Drupal themes are rare to say the least, even if you're willing to pay for a club membership.

Re:Joomla/Mambo yes? (1)

bazonic (463550) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255424)

I agree completely with the Section/Category madness in Joomla. I always just create one section (container) and put categories in there, which allows for more freedom. Version 1.5 was supposed to do away with this and reorganize everything, but I haven't worked with it yet.
 
Having said that, if you can get through understanding how that works, Joomla does indeed rock the free world. In addition to numerous themes, it is not hard to create your own if you know a little CSS, and php. Used to be back in the day you could spot Joomla sites a mile away, they just had that template look. There are now a lot of gorgeous, boutique-looking sites that are running on Joomla and you can't tell.
 
If I could reliably get MySQL talking to my ERP system's MS SQL, I would be building our entire web infrastructure at work around Joomla.

Re:Joomla/Mambo yes? (1)

bishiraver (707931) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255128)

Joomla and Mambo are crap. Drupal is okay, but bloated. I prefer ExpressionEngine. It's fast, feature-rich, and elegant. For a Joomla->EE migration on a small-medium newsletter-style site (moving from flat articles to a nice categorization system, etc), it took about 2 weeks to get up to speed on EE and another week to bang out the templates. The sticking points came from their data migration team not following directions (a direct db->db migration wasn't feasible).

Lots of leaps of faith here... (0)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253560)

If developer loyalty is any measure of the present and future success of a (product in a category), then Brand X should be considered a standout among other (products in a category).
...because the evidence that Drupal is developer-loyalty-producing is what?

But most developers would prefer learning XXX from a book...
Really? I'm a developer and I haven't touched a tech book since I graduated college 10 years ago. Welcome to web, folks - books like this are obsolete.

Re:Lots of leaps of faith here... (1)

hercubus (755805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253710)

If developer loyalty is any measure of the present and future success of a (product in a category), then Brand X should be considered a standout among other (products in a category).
...because the evidence that Drupal is developer-loyalty-producing is what?

But most developers would prefer learning XXX from a book...
Really? I'm a developer and I haven't touched a tech book since I graduated college 10 years ago. Welcome to web, folks - books like this are obsolete.


and since i enjoy learning from books and dislike trying to put together a coherent picture from snippets googled from here and there, that would make me, umm, obsolete?

thank god for that - gimme my retirement and free gubment cheese

Re:Lots of leaps of faith here... (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253808)

this is why we use ebooks.. i havn't touched a real one in a long time (except to move my wifes).. personaly.. ebooks are a wonderful thing

Bigamist! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254470)

except to move my wifes
The plural's irregular; wives - like knives.

Re:Bigamist! (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255332)

There is no evidence he lives in Utah...Or Texas apparently.

But as Strunk and White would say, "Form the possessive by adding 's." Without the apostrophe, the parent post is correct; it's an attempt at a plural form.

Re:Lots of leaps of faith here... (1)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253764)

I'm not sure about this. I'm just entry level, but I just bought a book to learn PHP. Could it be the difference between a developer who is established and just needs to pick up a few new things here and there, and someone who is less established and needs to learn entire systems?

I for one find that, so long as I am lacking a dual monitor system, it is infinitely easier for me to follow along in a book while typing up sample code than it is to change between multiple windows/desktops.

Re:Lots of leaps of faith here... (1)

Jansingal (1098809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254532)

books are not obsolete. I was flying back to Dallas when American cancelled my flight, cancelled my rebooked flight, and then cancelled that.
3 days late, i got home.

I had 3 hard copy books with me and that kept me busy.

so yes, the web is great, but not if you are stuck w/o a computer or web access.

Re:Lots of leaps of faith here... (1)

jjrockman (802957) | more than 6 years ago | (#23256024)

It's hard to read on the web whilst on the throne.

I could never use Drupal (0, Offtopic)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253670)

It sounds way too much like Ru Paul [wikipedia.org]

Re:I could never use Drupal (1)

fractalboy (1078025) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254378)

Yes, but if there were ever to be a book entitled "Building Powerful and Robust Websites with RuPaul" I would so definitely need to own that.

Re:I could never use Drupal (1)

CaptSaltyJack (1275472) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254626)

Not really. Drupal is pronounced "DROO-puhl," sounds a bit like "ruble."

CMS Comparison (1)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253704)

I looked at Drupal and Joomal and found sites powered by both of them to be lacking for my needs. Right now I'm in the initial stages of transitioning a prominent not-for-profit site I administer to Expression Engine, which seems to be nicer than anything else out there than any CMS I have looked at. Of course, it isn't free like many of the alternatives, but it seems to deliver exactly what I want in terms of functionality, visual appeal and extensibility.

Re:CMS Comparison (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253862)

Do you mind sharing what it is that Drupal is missing?

Re:CMS Comparison (1)

rmcd (53236) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253880)

If you're going to be hosting blogs be sure to look closely at the blogging component of Expression Engine. It's all I've seen of EE (I'm a user, not a developer), and it's got a horrendous user interface. I can't speak about the rest of EE.

Re:CMS Comparison (1)

bishiraver (707931) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255220)

The fields available in the blog-entry screen are highly customizable. If they aren't organized properly, yell at your EE admin. The flexibility of the blogging module is what makes EE awesome.

Re:CMS Comparison (1)

rmcd (53236) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255984)

I've already yelled :-). Maybe you can help me make a more constructive request. I have several objections to the EE blogging module; perhaps these can be addressed:

1. If you cut and paste from a word processor into the EE screen, you lose all links and formatting. Not true with Blogspot.

2. Handling of graphics is just terrible. I couldn't figure out how to place a graphic where it should go so I posted in blogspot and our sysadmin ported my post over. The sysadmin apparently struggled for a while with graphic placement (it needed to go in the middle of the post).

3. The formatting icons are physically far removed from the blog content input box. In the publish form screen I see the Title entry, followed by the formatting bar, then author, then date published, then opening blurb, then blog content. So while working on a small monitor, I found I was constantly scrolling the screen to go from the blog content to the formatting bar. I suppose I could have just entered the HTML, but it was very clumsy. Are you saying that these individual pieces can be moved around (e.g., appear in a different order)?

My point of comparison is blogspot, which I considered so-so until I encountered EE. Thanks in advance for any pointers you can provide. It would be great to have it working better.

Building powerful and robust DRUPAL sites (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23253712)

Drupal is a great tool if you want to do what Drupal already does and slap a new coat of paint on it, pretending it's a whole new look and feel.

You can move modules from one column to another to another to the footer. You can plug in any of a large variety of different modules and have them do exactly what they were designed for. You can make the blue bits a different color and up font sizes on your headers with awesome power.

For the vast majority of sites, where true design and functionality customization isn't really key, it's an awesome tool and all the better for being free. If a PTA wants a site up, a local sports team needs something, even an engineering company that doesn't care much about design and just needs an informational website, it's great at doing that and doing it very quickly.

The problem is, the moment you make the mistake of thinking you're going to add fields to modules, apply true custom skins to them, rearrange their content, etc. on top of an already largely built framework, it very quickly falls apart. You get two choices at that point: add on systems that kinda sorta give you some of what you need but still leave you limited or hacking in to the source code that's really not built with that kind of customization in mind.

In short: It's a great system so long as you use it for what it's good for. Make the mistake of thinking you can just add a few tweaks beyond that and build something outside of its realm and you open yourself up for a whole world of hurt.

Sorry about the AC - given I work with Drupal as one of several CMSs, professionally, it's not wise to be seen to be bashing a tool you [selectively] sell.

Re:Building powerful and robust DRUPAL sites (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253784)

I'm interested in your experience with it thus far. I've just finished spending a few weeks looking at Joomla and am now working with Drupal. Any chance you would like to give more details?
 
I've been thinking about teaming up drupal with a few other php/mysql products. My end goal is content management, contact management, community building and some social network stuff. I planned on writing my own modules if I couldn't find any that meet what I need. Would the willingness to do modules myself alleviate some of the concerns you mention?
 
If you don't want to post it for all the world to see here, please feel free to email me.

Re:Building powerful and robust DRUPAL sites (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254098)

I'm kind of a PHP and Drupal bozo, although I have contributed some patches to some modules and so on. Mostly I complain, and file bug reports against modules, many of which I must admit are significantly unpolished. On the other hand, I have literally dozens of modules installed on my site now and have come to terms with pretty much all of them. I'd say the stickiest stuff for me so far is project and project_release. It was really designed for use on drupal.org and it's changing slowly, at least to my perception.

Let me tell you what I think the GP is talking about. Modules are currently not themed through any kind of centralized system. They can alter the document head and insert an include for a CSS file, which is what most of them do. Unfortunately there's no standardization of what types of CSS classes et cetera that they use. Some modules are extremely poorly designed from a re-theming standpoint, and I will go ahead and run out and pick on the amazontools module, which provides Amazon Associate Tools. I'm on Drupal 5 because a lot of modules haven't been ported to Drupal 6 yet, and I use a lot of modules :) A replacement is coming for D6 and the API is there already (module "amazon" as opposed to "amazontools") but I haven't waded into those waters yet. If I can, I may avoid the whole thing until D7, which is getting a database API overhaul, an image API overhaul, and a bunch of new theming stuff.

My understanding is that there is more facility in D6 for modules to play nicely in the theming department, but again, I haven't looked into it. Perhaps someone will explain somewhere.

Anyway, I have my own patch against the amazontools module which provides the missing CSS and some other options (about where amazon related links are displayed, I've submitted it for review) and I'm DEFINITELY no PHP god, so it is possible. Drupal makes a lot of things pretty easy, which is the only reason I've fixed any bugs in anyone's modules, or been able to add functionality.

By the way, I've actually had pretty good luck adding fields to node types produced by other modules. Where I've actually had the most problem is in upgrades. A lot of module developers have the attitude that if there is a problem with the upgrade process that is documented in the readme, it's OK. But Drupal has an upgrade system for a reason, and asking users to do things manually is never reasonable. There's no way to know which maintainers are responsible and which aren't, and some modules and their maintainers are both precisely the type of representative of their type that you want to deal with. I'm not trying to say that Drupal is amateur hour all around, in fact I think it's really amazing, and I believe that it is both easier to deal with and more full-featured than almost any of the alternatives. The fact that the majority of Drupal sites look the same in no way detracts from this fact. And since most modules pretty much use drupal's functions to produce their output in most cases (e.g. lists, menus, et cetera) if you produce your own theme function for this purpose, which is done at the theme/template level, you do end up changing the appearance of most modules.

What I want to know is, is anything else out there actually better? I looked at Joomla and Wordpress and other goodies and Drupal was my choice by a very large margin.

Re:Building powerful and robust DRUPAL sites (3, Interesting)

eh2o (471262) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255254)

In my estimation Drupal has serious design flaws from the ground up. Beginning with ignorance of major programming paradigms that make for secure and scalable web services (e.g. model-view-controller), and what amounts to criminal negligence in the design of a basic hook and trigger system. When I first saw the "weight" feature in Drupal I immediately got a whiff of bad code-smell... turns out that bad code runs all the way to the core. The core developers also have developed their own private terminology (modules, themes, views, blocks...) that is extremely jargon-heavy and at best vague and not in agreement with standard terminology, at worst inconsistent with itself (e.g. category vs taxonomy vs vocabulary).

Just about every part of Drupal core and its modules suffers from a disease called "good enough for my site" where the developer stopped building abstractions exactly at the point where his/her particular requirement was satisfied. If that is also good enough for your site, consider yourself lucky.

Drupal gets tagging wrong by leaving out the semantic predicate from the RDF triple--or what I call loosely "Web 1.1". As a result all sorts of interesting ways of structuring information and workflow are impossible. Some core modules are allowed to abuse the tagging system for alternative purposes (forum). Its implementation of tagging keeps abrest with current buzzwords (e.g. "tag cloud") but is a nightmare for actual information repositories that span organizational operations and materials.

There is a serious case of TIMTOWTDI, but not in a good way, with over 1500 available modules in contrib, leaving the administrator to solve a giant matrix of modules X,Y,Z providing multiple variants on the same feature, each with random and weird limitations, incompatibilities, and serious worries about future compatibility and module lifespan. When I say matrix I'm not kidding--I have literally had to resort to tabulating information in spreadsheets to work out which module to use.

Drupal is also a fast-moving target. There is a major version release approximately once per year, and active core maintenance only covers the latest two versions (and the situation may be much worse for some contrib modules). This works out to a product lifecycle of two years for any Drupal site. Code customization is cited as the #1 reason for sites to not upgrade, which means you are looking at rewriting all of your customizations every two years. For any large scale site, customization is basically required because you will find all sorts of things in modules and the core that need changing (see "good enough for my site"), but can't be patched into the mainline. Compare that to something like Ubuntu-LTS which has a lifecycle of 5 years, and an upgrade process that is significantly easier than a core drupal upgrade. Just to keep this post on-topic, this implies that the book mentioned in the review will start heading to obsolescence in about 10 months.

Nonetheless Drupal easily wins over more "correct" CMFs (e.g. Zope/Plone) simply because it is operational and feature-packed out of the box, and the sheer volume of active developers outweighs the rather low quality code that is produced. AFAIK there is nothing better, though I certainly wish there was. My long-term future prediction is that Google will eventually have something that rivals Drupal and runs on the App Engine--but given their rather conservative front-end development schedule, it will probably take some time.

YMMV. Feel free to contradict. :)

Re:Building powerful and robust DRUPAL sites (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255906)

Drupal gets tagging wrong by leaving out the semantic predicate from the RDF triple--or what I call loosely "Web 1.1". As a result all sorts of interesting ways of structuring information and workflow are impossible. Some core modules are allowed to abuse the tagging system for alternative purposes (forum). Its implementation of tagging keeps abrest with current buzzwords (e.g. "tag cloud") but is a nightmare for actual information repositories that span organizational operations and materials.

I guess there are two responses to this. The first is that I'm using "free tagging", and through a combination of the use of the Views module and the Tagadelic module it's possible to do most of the fancy schmancy dancy things that people like to do with tags. In D6 you can use the Drawing module to draw SVG associative navigation maps and cute stuff like that. There's also other ways of referencing nodes from other nodes (like the node reference module, whee.)

The second is that the Category module, which has been known to eat sites for lunch, is supposed to be useful someday soon. :) The first answer is a better one, I think.

Drupal allows multiple taxonomies (yeah okay, so sue 'em) and I have a grip of them on my site. The default system allows you to select which of them apply to which types of node.

If Drupal has one major failing, IMO it is that it has too much structure. I would like to see everything be a node, and nodes be able to have any kind of data attached to them. Rather than having a user and a node about the user, the node that described the user's credentials would also display their profile information about them. I'm constantly dismayed by the input format system, too :)

Er, and of course, if you're right about the low quality of code (I know jack diddly and can't make a judgement like that) that's pretty serious, too. It won't chase me off, though, at least not until I know more to do better on a scale useful for my site.

AFAIK there is nothing better, though I certainly wish there was.

Makes me feel better about using and recommending it, anyway :)

Re:Building powerful and robust DRUPAL sites (1)

twinkie_away (1112367) | more than 6 years ago | (#23256106)

MVC has nothing to do with security and scalability (other than "separation of logic and presentation makes them both easier"). Drupal uses a separation of content and presentation sometimes called PAC [garfieldtech.com] .

Scalability has to do with intelligent caching, of which Drupal has plenty. Its pluggable cache system lets you use a database, flat files, or memcache for caching.

Security has to do with how code is written and how many eyes are on it. Code is written according to Drupal's coding standards, and developers learn to write secure code [drupal.org] or they are slapped around by Drupal's dedicated security team.

The terminology is not vague. Modules are modular code components. Themes are the way things look. Slashdot itself was the originator of the term "block". And a view is...just what you'd expect.

Open source in general suffers from "good enough for my site". If you want great code you either become a developer and write it or you sponsor a developer. Drupal's community is like any in open source. There are superstars who write awesome code, and people just getting started who are finding their way. A site like drupalmodules.com [drupalmodules.com] can help you tell which modules were written by which people.

Drupal's tagging was one of the first to do full taxonomic implementation with multiple controlled vocabularies, not like most CMS's that thought a single "Categories" or "Tags" was enough. The simple "free tagging" option was added later.

Drupal's releases are getting farther apart and with the advent of commercially supported Drupal [acquia.com] API stability is growing.

Contradiction complete.

Re:Building powerful and robust DRUPAL sites (1)

Maureen Base (933868) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255086)

I use Drupal almost exclusively. I am able to make my sites look like almost anything I want and perform any function I have needed so far. Willingness to write or re-write modules does help occasionally. I have several websites so it makes sense for me to learn one system and use it on all my sites. The sites I have built range from small personal blogs to complicated shopping carts. It works for me.

Umm...CSS? (1)

John Hawks (624818) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254144)

You can move modules from one column to another to another to the footer. You can plug in any of a large variety of different modules and have them do exactly what they were designed for. You can make the blue bits a different color and up font sizes on your headers with awesome power.

It's pretty easy to edit the CSS in the theme files and achieve whatever custom look you want. If you can do it on a static web page, you can get Drupal to output it. I'm in the process of converting a static website to Drupal, and I've had no problem replicating the look and feel of the current static page precisely.

Now, if you're starting out without knowing any CSS or unwilling to customize a theme from the source, you are always going to be limited to the themes and options that someone else is kind enough to provide. But aside from there being more potential themes for some CMS engines (like Wordpress), I've not experienced any drawbacks in Drupal from the standpoint of page design.

Re:Umm...CSS? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255570)

It's pretty easy to edit the CSS in the theme files and achieve whatever custom look you want...
Yes. That's what the AC poster said. And he also said that moving beyond COSMETIC tweeks, there are serious roadblocks. That's what he said.

Re:Building powerful and robust DRUPAL sites (1)

GrouchoMarx (153170) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255148)

Well, first of all, modules in Drupal are code plugins. The stuff you move from one side of the page to another is a "block". :-)

Drupal is great for getting something out quickly, but yes, for any serious site you are going to be using numerous "contrib" modules (the add-on systems you mention). Drupal's architecture is built around letting add-on modules do the powerful stuff, while core is an engine to enable them to do powerful stuff.

For instance, if you're building a complex site without the CCK and Views modules, you're missing 2/3 of what Drupal has to offer. You can build sites that look and function nothing like "normal Drupal" without touching core code if you know where to "bend" it, and there are a large number of places where Drupal is designed to bend. No, you can't crank out the NYTimes web site in a weekend, but you can't do that with any CMS, and any CMS vendor that claims they can is lying to you. :-)

A small sampling of Drupal sites launched in the last year or two:

http://www.imamuseum.org/ [imamuseum.org]
http://artsci.wustl.edu/ [wustl.edu]
http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections [artic.edu]
http://www.motogp.com/ [motogp.com]
http://gigaom.com/ [gigaom.com]
http://donna.be/ [donna.be]
http://www.fastcompany.com/ [fastcompany.com]
http://www.flipkowlier.be/ [flipkowlier.be]
http://popsci.com/ [popsci.com]
http://rockband.com/ [rockband.com]

And several dozen from SonyBMG Music, such as:
http://www.pinkspage.com/ [pinkspage.com]
http://www.avrillavigne.com/ [avrillavigne.com]
http://jenniferlopez.com/ [jenniferlopez.com]
http://britney.com/ [britney.com]

You can do very non-Drupaly sites with Drupal if you learn to embrace contrib modules. :-)

(Disclaimer: I worked on several of the sites listed above.)

Re:Building powerful and robust DRUPAL sites (3, Interesting)

MalusCaelestis (172079) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255318)

I whole-heartedly disagree with your comments about extending Drupal beyond its core. Admittedly if you try using Drupal without installing any modules you'll get pretty limited functionality. If you want something to work differently, you can install one of the thousands (yes, thousands) of contributed modules or write your own using Drupal's API (which is actually pretty good, and it got even better in Drupal 6).

For theming, you can use a stock theme (like the default Garland), you can grab one of many contributed themes, or you can create your own (from scratch or using an existing theme as a starting point). Drupal sites don't have to look like Drupal the same way WordPress sites don't have to look like WordPress.

Just like any other system, Drupal is only as customizable as the amount of work you're willing to put into it. A lot of WordPress sites out there use stock Kubrick, just as many Drupal sites use stock Garland. But a lot of people choose to customize their sites by creating custom themes and writing custom code (or using freely available modules).

Want some examples of sites that use Drupal that look nothing like your basic Drupal install and have plenty of unique functionality? Have a look at Popular Science [popsci.com] *, FastCompany [fastcompany.com] , or MTV UK [mtv.co.uk] .

* Disclaimer: I work for the company [pingv.com] that built PopSci's new site and was one of the developers that worked on the site.

Re:Building powerful and robust DRUPAL sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23255360)

Just for fun, take a look at some of the sites built in Drupal, like Popular Science, Lifetime, MTV UK, Warner Bros. Music Group, Discovery Channel, The Onion, Ubuntu... you get the picture. Drupal will do plenty more than provide a basic site for your local PTA. The only way you are going to get more customization is to move to a full application framework like Symfony, Zend, etc. If you are doing web development professionally, I would highly suggest digging deeper into what Drupal can provide you. You won't be disappointed.

I do not think that word means what you think ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23255814)

Drupal modules are software components, not things that are displayed on pages. Perhaps you mean blocks? They're themable. Which you would know if you read the documentation. As for the rest of your comment, which currently is moderated "interesting," it displays a remarkably shallow understanding of the platform for someone who claims to be selling it. Learn to use the tool before you criticize it.

Re:Building powerful and robust DRUPAL sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23256082)

Sounds like somebody doesn't know CSS or PHP that well, or else somebody just couldn't make it up Drupal's learning curve because there are thousands of highly customized -- from both visual and practical standpoints -- sites out there that started out with plain-vanilla Drupal out of the box.

Drupal as a framework (1)

mhamel (314503) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253744)

Hi,

I was having a discussion not long ago with a colleague. I was proposing using Drupal has the framework for a web application. I've done it with a lot of success in other small projects.

He objected that it was too big for what we needed. At the end, he agreed that we needed a framework. So he proposed zend. I know that zend can be used with Drupal to make modules [drupal.org] .

For me, building a Drupal module would make sense. The application is a big RSS aggregator. We could use drupal for user management, right management and others. But more importantly, we can use Drupal also has a framework. We can even use Zend over it.

What do you think about it? Would you base a web application that need user, right management and other standard web stuff on Drupal even if the core business of the application is not really supported by Drupal?

Re:Drupal as a framework (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253956)

I've been thinking about a project along very similar lines. I've discussed it with others and have we have found ourselves looking at the same options.
 
Some want to use django and build it from there. I'm leaning towards building what we need on top of Drupal. I set up Drupal on a test server and now I'm trying to get a good handle on the core and existing modules. Then when I know what I can do that way, I'd like to get started on my own modules.
 
At the very least if you are all wet, you aren't alone. The thing with building on a framework is that there is so much we would be doing all over again, that has already been done many times. I am hoping that with Drupal we will get a real jump on things and be able to move past a lot of busy work and get right to providing what we need quickly.

Re:Drupal as a framework (1)

mhamel (314503) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254216)

User management and right management are two things that you'll almost always need. You can do it from scratch, it's not "that" complicated. But it always get more complicated with time. Let's say the user management:

* You need to have automatic email handling for registration.
* If you need single sign on.
* You may need gotcha.
* Then latter you discover that you needs groups and the administration interfaces that goes with it.
* You need all those to interact with the permission system that you did put in place. Checking the permission is a thing.. but you have to build the administration once again.
* Bugs are found from time to time in all those places. Code maintenance begins to get complicated.
* You have new developers joining in. You have to document all what you've done if you built it yourself.
* etc.. etc..

And it's just user management :-)

CMS for Small Business Site (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253804)

I've just spent the morning looking at CMSs, in preparation for moving our company website over, so this review is very timely for me. We have a fairly standard small business site, lots of static content, a number of reply forms, etc. We're not looking to build a community or anything like that, so I'm leaning towards something like CMS Made Simple. My question is, for a site like this, should I even bother moving to a CMS or stick to a straight html/CSS static site? It would be nice to have other people be able to update content, but would the initial learning curve & added complexity be worth it? Anyone have any experience with this move?

(BTW, the site I'm discussing is not the one in my sig.)

Re:CMS for Small Business Site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23253940)

Take a look at my pet project. It bridges the gap between CMS and CSS:

http://testdrive.barnyardbbs.com

Re:CMS for Small Business Site (2, Insightful)

mhamel (314503) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254038)

Just the update capabilities of a site like Drupal are worth it. Most little structures don't want to ask a web developer to add or modify small content for your a web site. It help giving the content ownership to the content producer. Without it, every modifications has to go through IT, which is too complicated.. mostly if it is a small company. A CMS will keep the site updated easily.

If you don't want to invest time, just use an existing theme. If you want your own look, take the time to learn how to do it in Drupal. It's not much more difficult then doing it out of nothing. But When you are done, you don't have to take care of all the content management.

And if you need more functionalities, chances are that they are just a module away.

Re:CMS for Small Business Site (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254168)

Initial learning curve would be way too much, and wouldn't serve a purpose if you don't plan on having a highly active community. For my personal "blog" I use Drupal 6, but I don't know that I would use something so fancy for a small business site if I were a web developer. Seems like more work than it's worth. (You can see what my Drupal site looks like in my homepage link)

Re:CMS for Small Business Site (2, Interesting)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254442)

Typically, those of us using Drupal for a small business site paid the learning curve a long time ago and don't have to relearn it while doing several more small business sites each month. You can even create installation profiles now that automate setting up the modules and configs that you prefer for a new type of site.

The biggest work for a new site usually ends up being creating a custom theme to match a designer's graphics and layout and a couple of custom little things a particular site owner wants to have.

However, if you are talking about someone new to Drupal that only plans on ever doing one small site, then yeah, the learning curve is probably a bit high. For a single large site with multiple ongoing developers, the built-in modularity probably has more advantages then the curve to learn how that works has disadvantages, which is why a lot of large companies are starting to use Drupal for their sites.

Drupal's a great dynamic web application framework, as well as being being a really complicated blog-publishing tool. Don't get me started on setting up forums....

Re:CMS for Small Business Site (3, Interesting)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255544)

I have actually been impressed by the Drupal forum support for web developers and admins doing what you describe with handling multiple sites and domains under one "Drupal install umbrella" or similar types of quick roll-outs for small businesses. I've considered doing this with my install for a couple of other sites I want to build, but I haven't tried to tackle doing so just yet.

And yes, I was saying it would seem too much of a learning curve for the original poster to work through setting up Drupal for the one small business site only because a small business typically is more interested in having a Yellow Pages ad on the Internet than a full-featured community type site - which is where Drupal excels, IMO. Sure, Drupal can be used as a simple ad brochure type site, but that could quite possibly be overkill if you're only dealing with only one small business site.

I was hoping this book review would have been a rave review for the additional insights about how to do some of the more esoteric stuff with Drupal, but it sounds like it was written poorly and not focused on information for the experienced web developer. Too bad, because I'm struggling right now with how to map caveserv.com AND adamstechconsultants.com/drupal to the same Drupal site without having cookies and nodes get all jacked up with mod_rewrite and other hosting nuances.

Re:CMS for Small Business Site (1)

Jansingal (1098809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254576)

>>>Initial learning curve would be way too much

well, a high learning curve, sloping up quickly, means it is EASY to learn!

Re:CMS for Small Business Site (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254964)

Yeah, I think Drupal might be overkill for us, CMS Made Simple seems more our speed. We'll be hiring designers to create the look of the new site, the real question is do I then stick with static pages or put our content into a CMS? A host like opensourcehost.com seems to have it all set to go, so hopefully between a good design team & a decent host my personal learning curve wouldn't have to be too bad...
Nice pictures, by the way.

Re:CMS for Small Business Site (1)

footnmouth (665025) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254342)

I built our company website (I'm loath to post it here but here goes http://www.sceneric.com/ [sceneric.com] using CMS Made Simple as it allowed me to use CSS and div for layout etc. which Joomla didn't. Intrigued by Drupal though. We've just implemented a site using Magnolia which is excellent.

Re:CMS for Small Business Site (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254876)

That looks great, and is the kind of thing we're looking to do. We'll need to hire designers to get the initial look & feel, but then I or someone else here could easily do the day to day content updating etc. Thanks.

Re:CMS for Small Business Site (1)

footnmouth (665025) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255196)

http://www.cmsmadesimple.org/ [cmsmadesimple.org] is the website to get the software, it's very easy to set up and to maintain content. You can also do Form submissions with it, though formtools is another good tool for that. These guys www.parkcorner.com did our design - they're great value (for the UK - hence they charge in Sterling which is probably a problem).

Re:CMS for Small Business Site (1)

cwgmpls (853876) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254952)

I don't understand why a small business wouldn't want community-like functions in their website. Don't you have any customers you would like a better relationship with? I think if you look into everything that a website can do for your company, you will realize that you do want a community site. And if you do want a community site, their is no better platform to build one in than Drupal.

Re:CMS for Small Business Site (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255062)

In our industry, there are external sites we can integrate with for a community with lots of resources; we just need to decide if we're willing to pay the price to do that. If it's worth doing, that's the way we'd go rather than try to create something from scratch. So you're right, community functions are important, I just think that we can safely outsource their provision.

Powerful and Robust -- yes. Friendly nope. (1)

esconsult1 (203878) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253810)

Yup. May be powerful and robust, but all the core is super heavy and not so easy to extend.

Don't even talk about "Joomla" and "Mambo". They're a nightmare to maintain, and a royal pain in the ASS for building an SEO friendly site with friendly URL's that don't look like a matrix reloaded computer screenshot.

Sigh.

Re:Powerful and Robust -- yes. Friendly nope. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255720)

Is Drupal's core really that hard to extend? I'm thinking about taking some stabs at parts of 5.7 for functionality I hope will appear in Drupal 7, by which time I might think it's worth it to make a transition from the modules I'm using to the modules that will be around by then - by which time I probably still won't have replacements for modules I'm using now with Drupal 5.

I looked at other CMSes, and Drupal looked like about the easiest thing like it, I guess I was right. It actually IS pretty easy to get up and running with a blog, but the moment you want to add modules you do have to know something and be able to follow directions :)

But what you seek is where it is friendly (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255920)

Yup. May be powerful and robust, but all the core is super heavy and not so easy to extend.

If you mean installing modules, I've found that to be pretty easy.

If you mean writing modules... wel I've not done a lot of work there but I did not find it so hard to port a module written for Drupal 5.x to 6.x, and the API looks OK from what little I saw. Between setting up blocks right and using CSS well, you can customize a site pretty well.

Don't even talk about "Joomla" and "Mambo". They're a nightmare to maintain, and a royal pain in the ASS for building an SEO friendly site with friendly URL's that don't look like a matrix reloaded computer screenshot.

I'm not sure why then you did not mention that Drupal makes it very easy to have SEO friendly links all over the site. That was one of the features most critical to me in looking at CMS applications, not because I care so much about search engines parsing it as I simply like human readable URL's when I visit a site instead of nasty GUIDs all over the place.

building pitiful & disgusting fake 'weather'.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23253838)

http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-16983

let's just keep pretending everything's just ducky? let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece

Re:building pitiful & disgusting fake 'weather (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23254052)

Ahhh ... so this is what the latest in computer-generated trolling looks like? I had kind of assumed CGT would be more impressive and entertaining by now.

advertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23253938)

what the hell is with this clear advertisement? Can I advertise my asshole?

powerful but learning curve is steep (2, Interesting)

jimjamjoh (207342) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253972)

I've deployed a few websites using Drupal, and it's great once you understand its framework, the interaction of "modules" and "themes", the concept of a objects within drupal (nodes, users, etc), its permissions scheme. But that's a huge uphill climb for anyone other than a hacker.

I will say that I was able to configure one fairly customized blog using freely available modules and without touching a line of PHP code, which was nice.

However, if you want to customize the behavior of the CMS at all, you really have to start digging into the core, and breaking a few things.

This is why my current website is still Drupal 5.3, and why I don't see myself migrating anytime soon.

Re:powerful but learning curve is steep (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254034)

What do you think about the interface itself once you get things the way you want? If a hacker can get a site dialed in and working correctly, can someone without a lot of tech knowledge maintain and operate the site easily?

Re:powerful but learning curve is steep (1)

jimjamjoh (207342) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254950)

definitely. it very much "just works" once you get everything configured how you want it. i set up a blog with it for my fiance and she was able to publish content with ease. you can teach people how to create roles, specify permissions, create custom "content types", build views (the views module is an absolute must!!), etc.

none of those things require any coding. but some of the specialized things i wanted to do (have "promotable" content, customize the display of content, create content without using the included forms, really required heavy hacking.

email me directly and i'll give you the password to view the now-defunct fashion blog i set up and let my fiance play around with. it's entirely built on drupal using basically zero custom coding.

Re:powerful but learning curve is steep (1)

jimjamjoh (207342) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255040)

oh sorry the email is frosty21060 at yahoo

Re:powerful but learning curve is steep (1)

Jansingal (1098809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254620)

A steep learning curve means it is easy to learn.

People mistakenly use the term to mean it is hard.

Re:powerful but learning curve is steep (1)

jimjamjoh (207342) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254836)

noted, thank you.

Re:powerful but learning curve is steep (1)

Jansingal (1098809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255140)

at ease private :)

Re:powerful but learning curve is steep (1)

BigMTBrain (1094379) | more than 6 years ago | (#23256098)

Not necessarily "mistakenly" but nowadays commonly referred to "visually" as in "climbing a steep slope". The majority of people reading the title of the post will interpret it as meaning that Drupal is relatively time-consuming and effortful to learn, even outside of the context of this thread. Words and phrases often creep in their meaning over time within a culture, often initiated by "mistaken" use. The "current" meaning (by majority rule) of "steep learning curve" in most circles and contexts, for all intents and purposes, IS "significant time and effort to learn before proficiency toward being productive".

Re:powerful but learning curve is steep (3, Funny)

yelvington (8169) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255176)

However, if you want to customize the behavior of the CMS at all, you really have to start digging into the core, and breaking a few things.
No, no, no. You do not hack the core. You extend by writing modules and/or overriding theme functions.

If you have not learned to stay off the road to Drupal hell [nicklewis.org] you have much left to climb left on the Drupal learning curve. [buytaert.net]

Drupal is a cult. (1)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 6 years ago | (#23253990)

To anyone considering Drupal for their project I simply say this: If you must use Drupal, do it yourself. All Drupal evangelists are coincidentally Drupal consultants. The CMS solution they pitch as being effortless will turn into what any software customization project is -- work. If you don't know Drupal, you'll either have to learn it or have to pay someone to do it. Also, don't look too deeply into its architecture unless you don't cry enough.

Re:Drupal is a cult. (1)

dr_turgeon (469852) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254590)

To anyone considering Drupal for their project I simply say this: If you must use Drupal, do it yourself.
Interesting take. So you'll either have to learn it or pay someone to do it? Must be a computer cult... Plumbing or construction don't have these wacky rules!

Re:Drupal is a cult. (1)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254800)

The cult aspect comes in with the indoctrination tactics they use to get you to buy the 'Drupal can do anything!' line.. It's almost impossible to get a Drupal consultant to admit there's any deficiency in it because they make their money pushing it. A construction contractor can be objective about the make and materials because he can shop around for the best deal -- once you've committed to Drupal, you're married to it. God help you if you need custom module work done as the cult is strong enough that the consultant will end up billing you 1/3rd more hours so he can make his module extensible enough that he can upload it back in. I love free software, but the free part of it comes from me willingly, not when I'm under a deadline and some consultant bills me hours for HIS contribution to the free software movement.

Re:Drupal is a cult. (1)

fatcop (976413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255242)

If someone has used that line, I think you've taken it out of context.

You are married to any package of any substance once you invest time and effort into it. MS Office. Any CMS. Any CRM. Its even worse if you roll your own - probably nothing standard in it then. What matters is things like ease of upgrade and good core and API. I think everybody here who's looked at CMS's spends a lot of time looking at the pros and cons, because its always an investment.

If you need a module that is not already available free for you there. You can always write your own using the decent API they provide or you can wait patiently for it to eventually materialise free from some generous developers -or- to meet your time demands you can pay someone hard working soul to knuckle down and do it under pressure for you.

What exactly is wrong with a consultant (affiliated or not) being paid to write free software at your request.

Re:Drupal is a cult. (1)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255606)

Ease of upgrade? Drupal? You mean like when they had the 4 to 5 upgrade and all the 4 modules broke?

Good API? You mean their 'object' model that instead of using real objects, used PHP3 and their own home brewed objects? No thanks!

That's what I mean about Drupal consultants not being objective.. Drupal isn't easy to upgrade, it isn't seamless, it has the same exact problems every other CMS has, but you can never get a Drupal consultant to admit it. They won't admit it because their income depends on consulting jobs..

I have no problem paying for what I want, I have a problem with paying for things I don't need.

Re:Drupal is a cult. (1)

Jansingal (1098809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254654)

>>>All Drupal evangelists are coincidentally Drupal consultants

And that makes it a cult?

So what does that make scientology then?

Re:Drupal is a cult. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255856)

Well, I preach Drupal, and I'm not making any money on it, although I could always go for some. The win for Drupal, I think, is that it does pretty much everything without all that much customization. I've developed my own full-custom templates (I'm not using one now though, because I've been too lazy to make one for 5.x) and it's not that hard - the standard for drupal themes is a php file-based system (phptemplate.) But then, I'm always willing to look at something else. I just haven't found anything that gets me as far as quickly and easily (for some value of "easy" that I am comfortable with.)

It All Depends... (2, Interesting)

BigMTBrain (1094379) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254054)

...on the needs of your project. I spent months with Drupal, tracking the boards, reading the docs, listening to many podcast series. But I came away feeling that, despite its many features and modules, it's quite kludgey. I've also looked at Joomla and give it great marks for also being powerful and pretty, if limiting for some tasks. Lower-level MVC frameworks such as CakePHP, Rails, etc. are good for when you would like to manage the CMS side and let the framework manage the infrastructure. Zend Framework is my choice for its extensive capabilities while not forcing you into any particular paradigm. I'm sure that this and other posts will cause a "Battle of the Frameworks". So, I will say again that it all depends on the needs of your project. All frameworks and all CMSs have their merits. I was just putting forth my opinion in light of my particular development needs.

modx ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23254310)

How is modx compared to joomla and drupal ?

Developer loyalty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23254440)

I, for one, would never touch Drupal again. It might be better than Joomla, but for anything beyond a small site, Drupal is inadequate. Customization requires many work arounds. The core is very DB driven, and they only support MySQL and Postgres (to a small extent). Want to use Oracle? Good luck. The framework is not flexible enough.

Never again would I use Drupal unless it was for an out-of-the-box site.

Re:Developer loyalty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23255950)

Drupal has been implemented on top of Oracle. But nobody cares.

sample site (1)

sosuke (789685) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254476)

As an aside for those interested in how easy it is to setup or how much you can customize it. I setup this site for my last job at http://www.gwca.org/ [gwca.org] (its been a bit butchered since then so your mileage may vary) and it had a steep learning curve but was extremely powerful and very easy to customize.

The online doc is actually better than the book (1)

dbdweeb (598548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23254500)

I bought the book and wish I didn't. The book is more for folks who don't know PHP, CSS, HTML, etc.

The Handbooks on the Drupal site are much better than the book. You can find the beginner's cookbook here...

http://drupal.org/handbook/customization/tutorials/beginners-cookbook [drupal.org]

And the tutorials here...

http://drupal.org/handbook/customization/tutorials [drupal.org]

Drupal is good for quick website development and comes with a ton of modules for added functionality. It's a good way to go if you know PHP or if you want to provide an easy way for non-HTML literate folks to add content. Version 6 and above are better architected and nicely modular. You can get a lot of function without reinventing the wheel and if you need more functionality than is available in the wealth of core modules and contributed modules you can develop and plug in your own modules. And if your modules are any good you can contribute them back to the user community.

Of course, if you're not interested in productivity and you feel a need to reinvent wheels and do everything yourself then you just ignore open source CMS in general.

Re:The online doc is actually better than the book (1)

twinkie_away (1112367) | more than 6 years ago | (#23256254)

If you are looking for a more technically-oriented book and you already know PHP, you probably want Pro Drupal Development [drupalbook.com] .

fp Fago8z (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23255382)

More. If you feel fun to be again. else up their asses win out; either the Non-fucking-existan7. series of debates would you lik/e to

Pot Kettle Black (1)

Sherman Peabody (147565) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255596)

"Many of the sentences are awkwardly constructed, and consequently more difficult to understand at first glance."

Back at ya.

"In addition, many of the sentences are run on, exacerbated by a lack of commas, which would alert the reader when to pause within the sentences."

The hilarious irony of your criticism of this author's writing style really made my day. Please clean up your own act before criticizing others.

No non-PHP alternatives? (1)

stesch (12896) | more than 6 years ago | (#23255822)

Funny thing is: I don't like PHP. Many other programmers don't like PHP as well. But there's no CMS out there that comes near to some of the PHP CMS like MODx or Drupal. WTF? Is everybody else writing yet another hand-made CMS on his own, over and over again?

Sharepoint? (1)

footnmouth (665025) | more than 6 years ago | (#23256192)

Ha ha. (Actually, in it's latest incarnation it's quite good - am I allowed to say that on Slashdot?) Magnolia, Liferay and Alfresco are worth checking out in the Java space. Community wise you're going to have to integrate other features though.

Only problem is, many modules still not quite on 6 (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23256026)

I'm using Drupal 6 to develop a site right now. I like it quite a bit, I like especially the ease of creating human friendly (SEO) URLs for each page, and also for the caching you can enable.

But, one thing to note is that using Drupal 6 is harder than it should be right now because a number of the more interesting Drupal modules are still only for version 5.x, and you can't just load them in. If you really need a module check the dev notes as there may be patches to let it work with 6.x (as is true of the SMTP module which you'll want to use an external SMTP server like GMail).

PostgreSQL support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23256070)

Maybe I'll give it a try when PostgreSQL is properly supported.

The first book I have ever seen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23256168)

This is the first book I have ever seen â" and I hope the last â" for which the title is never written in title case, but instead in sentence case
Never seen a book published abroad before then?
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