Pew Pew Laser Blog

Code. Glass art. Games. Baking. Cats. From Seattle, Washington and various sundry satellite locations.

Blogs about drupal

Drupal Tricks for Dummies.


Here are a couple of tips that may come in handy when you're first working with Drupal. At the very least, these are things that I hope I remember next time I dive into Drupal.

Want to put some content on the home page?
In Administer > Content Management > Content, set Update options to "Promote to front page", check the content item, and click "Update".
Want to remove content from home page?
In Administer > Content Management > Content, set Update options to "Demote from front page" check the content items, and click "Update".
Want a universal footer?
In addition to the footer "block", you can set a footer message at Home > Administer > Site configuration in the "Footer message" box.
Special bonus tip:
When importing content into a Block, if the content contains important divs, spans, ids or classes, set the Input format to Full HMTL. Otherwise, your existing HTML will be overwritten with semantic elements - potentially neglecting important styling when the site is viewed through a browser.

Testing CMSs.


At work, we've gone through a lot of CMSs (content management systems) in the past several months looking for one that would work for us. We already have an excellent and perfectly functional working website driven by PHP, with it's own images, content areas and stylesheets.

We tried Alfresco first, but it was slow going. Alfresco seemed to require too many server resources and configurations to get it running. For quite a while, it seemed that we were tantalizingly close to having a workable setup. But there was always some new problem, and eventually we pulled the plug.

Next we tried EZ Publish, which had a very desirable set of features - but we had similar issues as with Alfresco. It took a long while to get set up, and we also had trouble keeping it running. On issue in particular occurred on two completely different installs. At least this time, we were able to perceive the fail, and we pulled the plug sooner.

My support folks were easily able to get a Joomla installation up and running, which was certainly an improvement over the previous options. But I spent quite a long time trying to figure out how to get anything done. Joomla's documentation spent a long time claiming it was easy to use, but I found it rather difficult to figure out. It seemed to me that Joomla wanted to teach me how to make a website, Joomla's way. I've been a web developer for years - I already know how to make a website. I see no reason to learn Joomla's way. Though Joomla offered a ton of features (bling, even) each feature had to he handled Joomla's way. Joomla may be a good option for a technical person without web dev experience. For my uses, but I was quite relieved to give up and move on.

Next I tried out Drupal, which was also easy to install. I found Drupal incredibly easy to use - I started grokking how it worked right away. In direct opposition to Joomla, Drupal's features are directly related in the language of web developers. Drupal has also got tons of features, so it's probably the way we'll go.

Though it had a smaller feature set, I was also able to have a play with CMS Made Simple. It was reasonably easy to use - again, I walked right in and quickly figured out how to do stuff. It's not as popular as Drupal, and CMSMS's smaller feature set will probably put it out of the running for this project, it is something I'd consider using in the future. I love CMSMS's bold statement on their homepage:

If you are an experienced web developer, and know how to do the things you need to do, to get a site up with CMS Made Simple is just that: simple.