Planet Drupal

New BC Browncoats Website

Another Drupal website released into the wild:

www.browncoats.ca

Serenity in FlightThe Firefly/Serenity fan group is organized via the Vancouver Firefly/Serenity Meetup Group. The Meetup website has many advantages the group does not want to give up, but Meetup has a rigid format which doesn't lend itself to some kinds of content. In particular, announcements for charity events/sales are awkward because of HTML markup limitations and cumbersome URLs that don't lend themselves to publishing. The group wanted to enhance their web presence without creating a split personality.

The Drupal based Browncoats.ca site displays Meetup information via RSS feeds, leaving the group's two-way membership interaction with Meetup. People visiting the new site can see what's happening at the Meetup site and if they're interested are directed back to Meetup. The Browncoats.ca site provides a location for content that doesn't work well on Meetup as well as providing a nicer URL for promotional purposes.

AJAX & Themes

Serendipity is great, or maybe this is karma. I've been catching up on my Drupal mailing list reading. Caught an issue in the support forum I knew something about and my have been able to help someone, then saw the answer to a question I'd been meaning to investigate! Cool.

My personal/play site, Digital Doodles, has a custom theme, so I'm on the hook for updating it. When I upgraded to Drupal 5 I didn't get the AJAX goodness. I was fairly positive it was something simple I needed to add, and so it was. All I needed was: <?php print $scripts ?> in the head tag of page.tpl.php.

Template Theme Variables

[Update 2007-Apr-29: Please also see the article Theme Variable Total Visibility]

Have you ever wanted to know what variables the phptemplate engine made to the node or page templates? "Use the source, Luke" (Couldn't resist). The way of finding the definitive answer was discussed in Drupal Dojo today.

Views Schedule Grid Presentation Write-Up Done!

As mentioned before, I did a presentation at the January Drupal Meeting on how I used the Views module to do this:

Northern Voice Schedule Grid Screen Shot
2007.northernvoice.ca/schedule

Fun with RSS using Aggregator Module

The Drupal Aggregator module is somewhat misnamed. It certainly does aggregate RSS/RDF/Atom feeds, but at the core it's a feed reader. I haven't needed to aggregate multiple feeds together, but recently being able to retrieve and display individual feeds has allowed me to add some cool sidebars to my Digital Doodles website.

By simply turning on the Aggregator module, which is a core module so no installation required, and adding the RSS feed from Group42 and another site I contribute to I can retrieve the post information back to Digital Doodles. I've set up blocks to show a list of recent postings in case people visiting Digital Doodles might be interested in stuff I done elsewhere.

The weakness of the Aggregator module is it's display ability. For example, although it automatically creates a sidebar block for each feed you define there's no ability to add anything except a title. The power of Drupal gives themers and programmers a number of options around this.

Drupal Dojo Rocks

Drupal DojoIf you're looking for a venue to learn more about the inner workings of Drupal I can't recommend the Drupal Dojo Group (http://groups.drupal.org/drupal-dojo) highly enough. joshk with the help of many others is doing an awesome job of Drupal education.

January 2007 League of Drupalers Meeting

Drupal MeetingThursday's Drupal meeting set an attendance record. It's hard to tell from the picture but around 30 people turned out. The meeting notes I took for posterity are hot off the press at: http://groups.drupal.org/node/2553.

A sizable number of people adjourned to a local watering hole afterwards. This is the first technology group I've been involved with that regularly attracts the people who are sponsoring the projects as well as the people they hire to implement them. I love hearing how people are using technology in general and Drupal in particular to meet their goals.

Drupal 5 Overview Video

Awakening Voice Screencast Screen ShotAs highlighted by Dries and flagged in the Drupal forums, a Tour of Drupal 5 videocast by Awakened Voice.

Drupal 5.0 Released and a Plan Comes Together!

I love it when a plan comes togetherDrupal 5.0 was released yesterday on Drupal's 6th birthday. Yeah!

My first Drupal 5 guinea pig was Digital Doodles, my "non tech" website. I'm very pleased with the results. The Double D wasn't using a large array of modules but does have a highly customized theme and many PHP snippets using the likes of db_rewrite_sql, db_query_range, and node_view. I was expecting a little bit of post-upgrade work but it was all good! Both the theme and my snippets continued to work.

In those immortal words: I love it when a plan comes together!

An aside: The PHP snippets were used before I realized the full potential of the CCK/Views dynamic duo, and to work around a little problem with the Excerpt module. I wouldn't do it this way again.

Based on a sample of one for a basic Drupal site I'd say a 4.7.x to 5.0 upgrade is no more difficult than a 4.7.x to 4.7.x+1 upgrade.

.htaccess Rule for Limiting File Access by IP

Bèr Kessels gives an example of using a .htaccess to limit file access to update.php:

Disallow anyone but you, to reach the update files

Always nice having an explicit example handy, so I've added it to the Drupal Compendium.

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