Adding and Controlling TinyMCE Fonts in Drupal

Customizing the TinyMCE editor's font selection is straight forward thanks to a hook provided by the Drupal Wysiwyg module. The hook_wysiwyg_editor_settings_alter() function allows a module to update the settings passed to the editor. The programming is simple. Discovering and understanding the values of the settings can be a challenge.

Creating A Personal E-Book

Penguin holding ebook readerEver since I bought my first electronic book reader I've wanted to create my own e-book1. Not because I want to self-publish a book, because I want move the notes and cheat-sheets I have on paper to something I can reference on my e-book reader.

My first experiment was with PDFs. They're easy to create but the results are underwhelming. While there are exceptions, PDFs generally don't display well on e-book readers, especially technical documents. It was clear that I needed to produce an ePub document.

I've noodled around with different options. Last week I decided to give it a concerted effort.

My criteria was:

  • Ability to have source chapters or sections in individual files
  • Ability to have the files readable on a website as well in ePub format
  • Easy to update the ePub document (i.e., as simple a workflow as possible)
  • Have the source formatting as straight forward as possible

Creating URL Redirects with Migrate Module

New versions of websites often have new content organizations with new URL patterns. When old content is assigned a new URL it's almost always desirable to redirect traffic from the content's old URL to its new URL. The redirect preserves external links to the site content (i.e., prevents "link rot") and helps maintain search engine page ranking.

Programatically Create 301 Redirects

The Drupal 7 Redirect module gives a site the ability to redirect from one URL to another using a proper HTTP redirect status (e.g., 301 - Permanently moved). In addition to the user interface there is a programmatic method for entering redirects.

The aptly named redirect_save function takes an object containing the details of the redirect and creates a redirect for the URL.

Simple Drupal Remote Backup

Like many web types I have a number of small websites I look after, and I've never been happy with my backup solution. Until today.

My requirements are simple, create a backup of the database and files and save it on a local backup drive. The sites don't warrant anything fancy (like a cloud based solution that costs money). The procedure until now involved multiple, fussy steps. It turned out a single script solution is simple once a few key technologies are in place.

Drupal 7 Upgrades with Scripts and Drush

AutomationA Drupal upgrade between major versions rarely means doing the upgrade procedure once. A new configuration, changing content, or needing to test different module versions typically means redoing the upgrade from scratch a number of times, a tedious, error-prone and time consuming process. Fortunately there's a solution: automation!

Scripting was always possible, but Drush has made it so much simpler. What follows is a review of the Drush commands I used via script to upgrade my Group 42 website to Drupal 7. The hand full of shell commands are basic and covered many other places on the net. The full upgrade scripts are at the end of the post.

If you're familiar with Drush I recommend jumping directly to the scripts.

Drupal File Upgrade Bash Script

Replacing files during a Drupal upgrade can be tedious, especially for those of us who have to worry about SVN files in every directory. The following script automates this part of the Drupal upgrade, making it much faster and less error prone. I've been using the script in its current form for almost a year and it has served me well. And though most of my other bash scripts have been replaced by Drush commands, this script has proven better suited to my workflow than its Drush equivalent.

Overview

The script does the following:

  1. Deletes the current Drupal distribution files while preserving:
    • directories
    • SVN files
    • all files in the /sites directory tree
    • all files in /files directory tree
      (I have a number of sites using the old file directory location)
    • the Komodo (.kpf) project file
  2. Downloads and expands the Drupal distribution tarball if it has not already been done
  3. Copies the new Drupal distribution files to the target directory
  4. Removes the unrequired text files. e.g., CHANGELOG.txt, INSTALL.mysql.txt

Creating and Updating Nodes Programmatically in Drupal 7

The steps for programmatically creating a node are:

  • Create a PHP object representing the node data
  • Save the object using the node_save() function

While the mechanics are simple, there is an important responsibility involved. The Drupal work flow does data validation before calling the node_save() function; node_save() does no validation. By calling node_save() directly your code takes the responsibility for providing valid data.

Drupal 7 Changes

A quick note for those of you familiar with Drupal 6. You'll notice two changes in Drupal 7:

Body Field Is No Longer Special

In Drupal 6 the body field was special. Specifically, it had a different data structure than other fields and it always existed, even if it wasn't used. With Drupal 7 the body field is a standard field provided by core and is truly optional.

Language

Language specification is required for the node and some fields.

Filter Format

The format of the text field filter is now specified by machine name, not integer. For example: full_html, filtered_html, or plain_text. This is great news for moving contents between different Drupal systems.

Basic Node Creation

The following code assumes an unchanged Drupal 7 Standard installation and will create a Drupal 7 article node.

Drupal 7 Blocks: What's Changed Under the Covers

Blocks in Drupal 6 (and 5) always felt a little less loved than other portions of Drupal. While the node and theming APIs offered straightforward and often elegant methods to modify behaviour without modifying other peoples' code, blocks weren't so fortunate. Lacking API support, working with blocks often meant writing ugly code. Last week helping with the Drupal Block API documentation I discovered this has changed in Drupal 7. I thought I'd share what I learned.

The information I'll discuss is a summary of the block information from:

The Examples for Developers Module

An example, like a picture, is worth 1000 words. Until recently Drupal programming examples existed but were spread among documentation pages, blog posts, and the Drupal CVS repository; some searching required. That changed in late 2009 with the introduction of the Examples for Developers module. Its purpose: "to provide high-quality, well-documented API examples for a broad range of Drupal core functionality". Now you can find high-quality, working Drupal 6 and 7 code examples in one place, many with SimpleTests.

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