Do It With Drupal 2009
New Orleans, LA (December 9-11, 2009)
“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”
A wise quote indeed to stress upon the fact that learning is an unending journey and it should be rooted into the DNA of every soul on this earth.
‘Do It With Drupal’, a 3-day seminar for Drupal enthusiasts is one such opportunity for you, the Drupal lover to benefit from the experience of the many Drupal experts who would be gathered in New Orleans for the seminar. Going by the success of last year’s seminar which was a run-away hit and provided a great learning platform for everyone involved, the seminar of 2009 seems more than certain to retain and possibly expand on to the enthusiasm witnessed at the Do It With Drupal 2008.
Featuring some of the luminaries and architects in the field of Drupal technology including the likes of Jeff Robbins (CEO, Lullabot) ; Matt Westgate (President, Lullabot) ; Andrew Hoppin (CIO New York Senate, NASA) and Dries Buytaert (Drupal Founder), the event at New Orleans will allow techniques and technologies for Drupal-powered websites to be discussed at length and provide the right kind of spark to take Drupal to the Next Level. Sharing these details about the event:
Venue: New Orleans Marriott Hotel, 555 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Date: 9, 10, 11 December, 2009
Drupal, a free-to-use and open-source CMS (Content Management System) is one of the most popular platforms available today to build dynamic websites. There are advantages galore justifying the selection of Drupal as the base to tailor your website around. One of the most advantageous factors in choosing Drupal is that it allows a great degree of customization and a big library of free modules to choose from to a developer.
The Drupal USP:
- Drupal comes with built-in news aggregators which allow for a reading/blogging news from other sites.
- The Drupal technology comes handy especially for structuring company intranets, social networking sites, e commerce platforms etc.
- Themes in Drupal are an exciting element of this technology and save a lot of time on account of website design.
- Drupal runs well on multiple platforms such as Windows, UNIX, Linux, Apache, etc.
For the above exciting reasons and its many other features recent times have witnessed a major shift and an increased likeliness towards the Drupal technology. Drupal is getting better and better with every newer release and providing the user with added functionalities.
To my surprise I came across many popular websites which were Drupal-powered. The amazement was more towards the fact that how quickly Drupal gained confidence of these popular web destinations.
Here are a few of them:
I found all the above websites fantastic and reassures me that Drupal is here to stay. So what are you waiting for now that you have browsed all those beautiful websites?
Switch to Drupal, the ace technology to build dynamic, high-quality theme studded websites and get great results out of this experience.
Drupal through ZEN
I am amazed at the growing popularity of Drupal amongst the web developer community. My regular interaction with fellow developers across the globe makes me believe that more and more of them are now switching over to Drupal because of the greater flexibility and the many out of the box themes available in Drupal. Drupal can be downloaded for FREE from http://drupal.org/project/drupal
One fine example would be a popular Drupal theme called ‘Zen’. The Zen theme is one of the most widely used Drupal themes as it is studded with many a stand out features such as:
1. A 3-column collapsible layout
2. Block Editing feature
3. Body classes which are highly useful
4. Excellent php and css documentation, a highlight of the Zen theme
5. An exclusive layout.css file to help change the type of column layout
6. Availability of print.css file for an optimized print display.
Originally shaped by Jeff Robbins and then worked upon further by John Albin, the Zen theme is the most complete theme available in Drupal as of today. One can easily build a Zen sub-theme using their own designs in the base theme. The HTML source order used in the Zen theme reflects content before navigational bars, thereby increasing its accessibility to users. Also, the content-first layout makes the Zen theme very Search Engine friendly.
How to create a new sub theme modeled over Zen?
A basic Zen theme is very easily extendable using sub-themes. Create a sub-theme of Zen which is located in a folder within the root zen/. E.g. the files for the Zen Classic sub-theme can be found on zen/zen_classic folder. Now follow these simple steps:
- Copy and Rename the STARTERKIT folder to be used as your new sub-theme
- The next step revolves around selection of your layout. If you want a liquid layout based theme copy layout-liquid.css file and place it in your sub-theme folder. Alternatively, you can pick the fixed-width layout by copying the layout-fixed.css from the zen folder and then placing the same in your sub-theme folder. Now rename the layout stylesheet to ‘layout.css’
- Next, copy the print stylesheet and place it inside your sub-theme folder
- From the zen folder copy the zen stylesheet and place it in the folder of your sub-theme. Rename it with the name of your new sub-theme
- Edit theme-settings.php and template.php and replace all occurrences of “STARTERKIT” with the name of your new sub-theme
- Now login as an Administrator on your Drupal website and enable your new sub-theme from Administer > Site building > Themes (admin/build/themes)
Now you can enjoy working on your new sub-theme designed over the Zen theme.
For all the above mentioned exciting reasons, Zen beats all the other themes hands-down when it comes to building a standard-compliant theme. Zen is the ultimate theme to work around in Drupal and why settle for anything other than the Best? Don’t believe me? Go try the Zen theme and enjoy the hassle-free designing of your Drupal website on it. You can download the Zen theme from http://drupal.org/project/zen
Drupal Performance Tips
Drupal is one incredible technology which is getting better and better with each passing day. A number of websites are relying on the power of Drupal and benefitting from the immense utility that Drupal brings to the fore. However, no technology is fool-proof and even the much talked about and popular Drupal has had its share of problems. Many a time users have complained regarding slow page loads which deter them from accepting Drupal as a revolutionary technology.
Every Problem warrants a Solution and with this article coupled with my experience on Drupal optimization I would like to clear the air regarding problems faced using Drupal and would like to share some tips with all you Developers/Drupal Enthusiasts reading my article right now:
1. GZIP - In Drupal, pages are written to the cache in GZIP form. You need to configure your Apache server to automatically compress GZIP format files.
- E.g. Add the following line:
.htaccess or httpd.conf files
2. JS files at the Bottom
As a Standard Practice all the browsers load everything in the <head> tag first. Since these days JS files are usually of very large sizes it is considered a wise action to place the JS right at the bottom of a page to achieve faster load time.
If you’re a developer it becomes that much important for you to equip yourself with a wonderful utility called YSLOW Firebug, which helps in analyzing a webpage and make a diagnosis on why your website is slow. YSLOW also gives out handy solutions to fix the flaws.
4. Scale down HTTP requests
By narrowing down comments and whitespace Drupal demonstrates its CSS compression utility. It is highly recommended to enable CSS and JS aggregation features available in Drupal which can be done by accessing admin/setting/performance inside your Drupal website.
5. Deploy CDN integration
URLs must be written in Drupal to serve the files from a Content Delivery Network (CDN). This CDN integration serves a great purpose and reduces load time especially for users who are far away from your server location.
6. Placing CSS at the Top
To ensure faster page loads, place the stylesheets to the document HEAD.
7. CSS Expressions must be Avoided!!
CSS expressions are calculated every time a user moves the mouse over the page, during page rendering, page scrolling and page resizing and for this very reason it makes good sense to avoid CSS expressions.
8. JS and CSS should be made external as far as possible
For faster page loads inline JS and CSS should be judiciously used.
9. Minimize DNS lookups
Widgets have become an integral element of many websites. Drupal allows the option of running as many widgets on your website as you may want. However, I would recommend all these widgets to be stored on your website or to your CDN. E.g. è install the Google Analytics Module while using Google analytics as it carries a feature to cache the .js files locally and updates it on a daily basis.
10. Avoid Redirects
As a practice avoid redirects as far as possible to ensure an optimal performance and great user experience working with Drupal.
ETags are used to accurately pin-point a file and investigate whether the file on the browser cache is matching with the file on the server. These are generated using inodes from the server they are being served. This is where the problem lies and it becomes s omuch important to disable ETags while using multiple servers to save on load time. To do this, Apache users can add the following line:
to your httpd:conf
or alternatively you can use a single server to serve files or use CDN (if possible).
That seems it. Try implementing the above suggestions and check out the difference. Drupal is designed to give an exciting experience to its users and should not be disregarded just because of some hiccups which every new technology goes through. For Problems there are Always Solutions. Explore them. Happy Drupal ing Guys !!! J
Pick of the "how to create" Social Networking Software ~ Ning v/s BoonEx Dolphin v/s Drupal
Social Networking mania has hit the World Wide Web and has even surpassed the once popular gaming industry. Everybody wants to be active on the Social Networking medium and irrespective of differences in countries and cultures Social Networking has caught on pretty well in many countries. Analysts predict this trend to only grow from here onwards as new innovations are driving the networking industry. Yes, it is True the phenomenon of Social Networking has taken gigantic proportions.
Many organizations throughout the world consider it a wise bet to enter into the Social Networking industry and tap in the huge revenues in the process. The choices are many when it comes to investing your time and money into a Social Networking software which is an essential first step towards launching a Social Networking platform.
Popular choices include industry leaders like: Ning, BoonEx Dolphin and Drupal
In this post I would like to share with you my experience of using each of these mediums:
- Ning is no doubt amongst the most popular platforms wherein you can build up a Social Networking website. If you are looking for that free-option of making your networking forum operational and do not believe in the adage that ‘Quality comes with a Price’, you can easily opt for the services of Ning. A wise men also said, “Nothing Comes FREE’, quite true in this case as well when you observe the fact that you have to shell out money to remove Ning branding, ads, etc ($50/month) and custom changes are not possible (except for design/css). ‘No Investment’ is the biggest and possible the only plus I saw with Ning besides it provided no customization option and the user had to work around limited functionality options which were embedded in to Ning. Also, anything that gets created is on the Ning network thereby becoming their property in a sense. Therefore, my advise would be to opt for Ning only if you are convinced that your needs would be fulfilled with the limited-features that Ning has to offer.
- BoonEx Dolphin is an open-source platform for designing web sites. Dolphin was introduced with a bang promising high levels of flexibility to the user, power, support and a host of many other appealing features. But after having used the Dolphin interface I would be sure in concluding that Dolphin lacks the high levels of customization that a user requires, all the necessary tools for scaling up a web site and poor module library. Above everything else, I found it ridden with bugs which obstructed a smooth experience. Overall I feel much of work needs to be put in to Dolphin so as to match it up to the high standards set by its competition.
- Now comes Drupal . . . My kind of interface and definitely the Best amongst the lot. I have seen Drupal get better and better over the years with each new version. Drupal as of today is one easy to use technology for building efficient Social Networking platforms. Faster page uploads and a high degree of customization is what makes Drupal stand out. Drupal has a vast module library which is a collection of tried and tested modules and absolutely bug-free. Drupal is Free, however there is a nominal cost associated with engaging a Developer to build on to your project. I would say a small price to pay for Quality to create social networking website in Drupal.
I hope my experience shared with you would come in handy for you to choose that perfect platform to build your Social Networking Web Site.
The choice of Drupal as a Content Management System (CMS) and building your dynamic websites is indeed a smart choice as Drupal provides an excellent open source platform with a great degree of customization in the hands of the end-user.
Drupal – Basic Requirements
Drupal runs without a trouble on Unix, Linux, Windows NT/2000 and can also run on Macintosh X Servers. It is highly recommended that before you begin the installation of Drupal, you need to cater to the following requirements:
- PHP 5.2 or Higher
- Apache 1.3 or Higher
- MySQL 5.0 or Higher
Three basic steps summarize the Drupal installation process:
- Downloading Drupal installation files
- Setting up of the MySQL Database
- Executing the Drupal installation program
Downloading - Drupal installation files
As a first step go to the website http://drupal.org and download the latest installation files for Drupal which are available for download in tar and gzip format. Extract these files on to your system using popular utilities like http://www.7-zip.org/ which are easily available on the internet. Now all you need to do is upload all these files in the Drupal directory on to your web server.
Setting Up - MySQL Database
Through your web hosting control panel creates a database for your installation using MySQL. Also create a database user assigning ‘all’ privileges to it.
Execution - Drupal installation program
Edit the ‘Settings.php’ file, search for the line that reads
$db_url = 'mysql://username:password@localhost/databasename';
and key in your actual database username and password for your database.
Now just follow the instructions as appearing on your screen and the user-friendly installation process would guide you through the rest of the installation process.
Drupal mania is catching on… The ever growing popularity of Drupal, the free open source Content Management System (CMS) is undisputed as it has made life effortless for many website owners. Working on Drupal is easy and gives the user a greater degree of flexibility in terms of designing their website. The open-source Drupal platform offers high levels of customization to its users and can be of great help in optimization of a website to a large extent. Many popular organizations including the likes of BBC and NASA have developed their websites on Drupal thereby benefitting from the immense utility and ease of use that the Drupal interface provides.
A ‘Bad Camp’ was organized in Berkley, C.A. where many Drupal enthusiasts gathered to share their experiences and know-how related to Drupal. The ‘Bad Camp’ which was held on October 17-18, 2009 got a good response from the gathering. The sessions were interactive, lively and provided a great learning platform for many who reached out to the experts on Drupal.
Exciting sessions were held on topics suiting all kinds of Drupal audiences: From a beginner’s session on ‘Welcome to the Jungle! Basic Drupal Recipes and Best Practices’ to a Developers level interaction on ‘Digital Detail – Drupal for Data’, all the sessions held during the ‘Bad Camp’ were a window of opportunity for one and all to learn and explore the power of Drupal.
To walk around the exciting offerings Drupal can make to your business, explore some of our work by logging on to http://www.ebizontek.com/portfolio
Solving problems of many, Ebizon released content_slider module on Drupal.org. Here's the link to download this module: http://drupal.org/project/content_slider Here's the description about the module which is released. Featured Content Slider: ------------------------- A module to feature latest 5 created node (selected through admin settings) in a block that displays as a slideshow Description: ------------ Featured Content Slider makes a slideshow out of node content on the block. Currently, latest 5 selected nodes are shown. How to use? ----------- 1. Create a content type called Name: "Featured", type: 'featured' 2. Go to admin/settings/content_slider 3. Enter the content type 'featured' in the source for block 1 4. Go to admin/build/block and place the block: 'Content Slider 1' anwhere you like. 5. Additionally, theme the featured node by creating a separate node-featured.tpl.php The script enlists the help of the jQuery library for its engine.
Mon, 08/02/2010 - 04:27 — Anonymous
I downloaded this module, activated it... but its not working.
what exactly is step 2: admin/ settings.. this does not exist in drupal. There is a Admin/Site Configuration/ec_content_slider, but you cannot add anything...
is this module broken?
Ebizon made another contribution to Drupal.org by releasing a module 'Admin Notify'. The module was released for Drupal 5. The link to the project page is: http://drupal.org/project/admin_notify Here is the details of admin_notify module: Admin Notify ------------ Admin Notify is a simple module that permits admin to recieve emails whenever a new content is posted on the website. We can configure the content types and also the email on which to recieve email. The email subject and body of the email can be configured as well. Install ------- 1. Copy the "admin_notify" directory under "modules/" or "sites/all/modules"; 2. Go to "admin/build/modules" and eneble "Admin Notify" module; 3. Go to "admin/settings/admin_notify" and configure the settings. And you are ready to go!
For quite sometime, I had wanted to be able to add "add to cart" button anywhere in the Drupal system and found the found that does exactly that:
$node = node_load(10);