The Journal Module

When more than one person is working on a site there invariably comes a moment when something breaks but nobody changed anything . . . or did they? A version control system catches the file changes, but what about Drupal settings? A new module addressing this issue appeared on the module RSS feed last month so I took a look.

The Journal module (Release 5.x-1.0) is very straightforward. It adds an additional text field named "Journal entry" to all Drupal forms via hook_form_alter.

Journal entry field screen shot

The Drupal Thickbox Module

Thickbox Image ExampleThickbox is a JavaScript widget built on top of the jQuery library. It displays an image or text in a pop-up window, allowing a user to view the image or text without leaving the original page. This is useful for viewing full-sized pictures by clicking on a thumbnail. It also has a gallery feature for picture groups so the user doesn't have to leave the pop-up box to cycle through a set of full sized pictures.

The Thickbox project page is Everything is there on a single page, including implementation instructions for the widgets. It's the single best place to see what Thickbox can do.

The Drupal Thickbox project page is At the time of writing the current module version is V5.x-1.1, implementing Thickbox 3 (the most current is 3.1). In addition to bringing Thickbox to Drupal the module adds Drupal specific integration:

Zoom H2 Recorder

Zoom H2I recently bought a Zoom H2 recorder and I'm loving it. It's a handheld stereo audio recorder that records directly to a SD memory card. It has four built-in microphones as well as microphone and line-in inputs allowing it to be used as an independent field recorder or plugged into a mixing board or other device. And it runs off 2 AA batteries. In short, almost exactly what I want in a handheld recorder.

Even though I've only just started with the audio thing I'm really happy with the results. But better to let you listen.

Revealing Assumed Names - Drupal Paths and Aliases

The standard Drupal path is often ugly. Enter the path module, which lets us assign a friendlier alias path. Both the alias and the "real" path, typically called the Drupal path or the internal path, can be used to access the page. Internally Drupal always uses the Drupal path, regardless of which path was used for the original access. For example, if you assign the alias /about to /node/3, it's still /node/3 to Drupal.

The arg function gives us the Drupal path of the current page as component bits. For /node/3, the arg function returns arg(0) = node and arg(1) = 3. Even if the page is accessed via /about, the arg function returns arg(0) = node and arg(1) = 3. To get the Drupal path as a string, you can use $_GET['q'], which would return the string /node/3.

Drupal 6 New Features

Greg Knaddison has done a great screen cast of the new features in Drupal 6: New features in Drupal 6. From a little things like sticky table headers as you scroll to big things like the built-in multilingual, there's some cool stuff coming.

Updated Drupal Notes Section

What were the site updates blocked by the re-theming? - Glad you asked!

The page formerly known as the Drupal Compendium has now been replaced. I was doing it as a straight HTML page, and it was getting tedious. It's now generated using a CCK node type and a View with a Taxonomy vocabulary determining where a specific item winds up. Along the way I changed the name to Drupal Notes, a title more in keeping with the page's humble scope.

A New Look

The project didn't start as a new look.....

Short & Sweet: pecha-kucha and DemoCamp Vancouver

Unless you're telling a particularly good story, short and sweet is best. But as Mark Twain said, "If you want me to give you a two-hour presentation, I am ready today. If you want only a five-minute speech, it will take me two weeks to prepare." Though short and sweet isn't easy, people have created presentation formats that challenge presenters to achieve just that!

I first heard of pecha-kucha via Anil Dash's comments on this Wired post: Pecha Kucha: Get to the PowerPoint in 20 Slides Then Sit the Hell Down. From the Wired post:

"pecha-kucha (Japanese for "chatter"), applies a simple set of rules to presentations: exactly 20 slides displayed for 20 seconds each. That's it. Say what you need to say in six minutes and 40 seconds of exquisitely matched words and images and then sit the hell down"

This discipline is awesome, and amazingly doesn't have to cramp your style. Check out this pecha-kucha demo by Dan Pink of Fast Company fame (which is interesting in its own right).

Good ideas have other expressions. Although Vancouver doesn't have pecha-kucha, we do have DemoCamp:

There are three minutes for delivery and three minutes for discussion (or 6 minutes to use however you see fit...previous attendees highly recommend time for interaction, questions, etc.). The time limit is strict so if you take two and a half minutes to setup your laptop, you only get thirty seconds to present (the gong hath no mercy).

DemoCampVancouver03 coming up shortly: DemoCampVancouver03 -- September 13th or October 4th?. And they're not kidding about the gong.

Tech Vancouver Map

In the "nice segue from global to local" department, saw this Web 2.0 Map on Richard's Just a Gwai Lo blog and Darren Barefoot's blog.

Vancouver Web 2.0 Map

iA's Web Trend Map 2007 Version 2.0

Seen via via Information Architects Japan have produced a cool looking "Web Trend Map" and blogged about it at: Web Trend Map 2007 Version 2.0. They've made both downloadable and online versions available.

iA Webtrends Chart

Be sure to scroll down to the Less Japanese Jokes and More Revealing Coincidences sections where you'll read comments like:

"Google has moved from Shibuya, a humming place for young people, to Shinjuku, a suspicious, messy, Yakuza-controlled, but still a pretty cool place to hang out (Golden Gaya)"

"Skype has conquered a place that doesn’t exist."


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