I started to revive urlgreyhot for occasional blogging. I've discovered in the past few months that although I primarily have posts to share on UX, there is still the occasional post that is of topic for Konigi, so I'm now posting again here to discuss working with Drupal once again.
I started reading Travis Tidwell's Flash with Drupal book this month to learn what I can about delivering content from Drupal Views into Flash and will post a short summary in a few days. Packt makes the introduction and Chapter 10 on User Management available as a free download for anyone who wants a taste. What I've been most interested in the past are really modest solutions to things, e.g. creating interactive blocks or widgets of content that I can put in a sidebar. But, my skimming of the book has also gotten me interested in how to deliver more complete Flash widgets in larger portions of the page, e.g. creating dynamically rendered visualizations of content using stats from views and ratings.
Will be posting more as I make it through.
I posted on the Drupal forum a question to see if anyone has created a Drupal module to post to their site via Twitter.
Has anyone done any work to create a module that takes direct messages from a Twitter account and posts them to their Drupal site? I'm thinking about doing something like this to allow my site community to suggest links via Twitter.
I'm watching the Drupal.org redesign efforts that are being reported by Leisa Reichelt and Mark Boulton. The visual design comps are looking interesting. Nice progress in iteration 5.
Floss (Free/Libre Open Source Software) is a wiki host for open source software documentation. Books on Floss are like Drupal collaborative books. They allow individuals to create chapters to add to a book, and edit existing chapters. Users can then print or export a PDF of the entire book. What Floss offers that is different is the ability to remix books by selecting individual chapters, dragging them into a new book, changing titles, and saving off their new creation. It's a nice idea for users that only want to select parts of a book to save, or insert chapters from other books to create an entirely different book to save. How's that for flexibility?
I wrote an entry on Konigi about how I'm using Drupal's Taxonomy Module on that site. This is using Drupal version 5.x.
I just discovered you can use pre-populate module to select a contact category in a Drupal contact form.
For instance, if you have 3 categories for your contact form and want to pass an url to pre-select category 3, just pass ?edit[cid]=3 in your link, e.g. http://yourdomain.com/contact?edit[cid]=3.
Well, it finally happened. I got too lazy to comb through the relationships in the taxonomy I've been using on this site over the years and I've decided to stop creating parent/child relationships. So now I only have the tag clouds. I still separate the facets for subject and people.
I believe taxonomy and thesauri to be useful when describing content for the purposes of browsing, especially to first time users of a system. It makes sense when classifying content in business information systems, reference or documentation content, newspaper and magazine sites, etc. It's useful for CMS with granular levels description. But the level of effort to maintain it over time is significant, and I never really know what the right methods are in Drupal to do things like show links to related tags when browsing taxonomy, or show related links on nodes in this site.
As I see it, I've got 2 problems:
- Creation Issue: I want to continue to organically tag as I create nodes. But I also want to create the relationships for each tag I create while I'm creating the tag in Node>Add mode, rather than having to go find it afterward in my non-searchable taxonomy controls.
- Relationship Display Issues: I want to better show relationships on both taxonomy pages (see also: synonyms, navigate to: parents) and in nodes (more entries like this, i.e. an algorithmically generated list of nodes weighted to show those containing most of the terms used in this entry).
The relationship creation is painful, though, because by freetagging, I put off the task until some later time--which seems to never come. I don't yet know how I'm going to deal with this growing problem. I've just decided to stop caring for this blog. I'm sure others could care less, but I used to use the hierarchical list of my taxonomies occasionally to survey what I've been writing about. I just haven't found the proper way to what I want in Drupal yet.
For now, all I know is that I have this big-ass tag cloud that becomes more and more difficult to maintain and explore in a meaningful way. I'm not sure how to make better of use of it, without knowing what Drupal modules work best for my needs. It's been a while since I've looked at the contributed taxonomy modules. This might be the kick in the pants I need to go see what good stuff people have come up with for problems like mine.
I screencasted the admin toolbar I use on this site. I've been stripping out as much of the theme areas as possible to make the content more prominent. If I'm logged in, however, I see a mini toolbar at the top of the screen that gives me access to the admin areas I need access to.
To subscribe to the urlgreyhot podcast, head to jibbajabba.blip.tv.
I've talked about Blueprint here in the past because I use it here and on konigi. Fans of Drupal and Blueprint will be happy to hear that Ted Serbinski has released a Drupal theme that utilizes the Blueprint CSS Framework. Keep in mind that this is for fixed-width layouts only.
Among the features announced:
- normalizes Drupal’s CSS to be consistent
- properly aggregates all blueprint CSS files into a single file when this setting is enabled
- put scripts at bottom of page for nice performance gains
- flexible layout, from 1 to 3 columns, based on where you configure your blocks to show (left, center, right)
- SEO optimization without the need for heavy modules and additional queries per page
- better forum icons
- improved forum display and performance
- prevents duplicate form submissions with jQuery
- shows the # of comments below a node since Drupal doesn’t do this by default (usability)
- highlight any comments by the author of the node
- adds a “you need to login / register” box below all comments if you can’t add a comment (usability)
- supports conditional comment subjects, if the setting is off it won’t show a chopped off title of the comment
- uses CSSEdit comments for grouping of styles