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Author Topic: preparing for an expedition to the treacherous land of Drupal  (Read 2006 times)
nudone
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« on: February 02, 2011, 01:35:28 PM »

I really have no idea about Drupal, other than mouser hates it and has made a cogent post about why it should be avoided. I know it's "powerful" whatever that may mean. It sounds tantalisingly mysterious - perhaps not unlike an illicit drug; I want to know what the Drupal experience is - must be quite a high when you make sense of it all - or, you just have a bad-trip and vow never to touch it again.

Well, I've been working with Joomla! and the database whiz-bang thing called Fabrik you can stick inside it. All this has been to get it to do a job that now sounds like Drupal should have been used for. I wouldn't have known that but I've just read this blog post by Tom Arah: http://www.pcpro.co.uk/bl...joomla-1-6-vs-drupal-7-0/ and the user comments section describes exactly the job I've been trying to do with Joomla!

I have been so frustrated with Fabrik; tantalised by the promise of what it can do and then finding it the most stressful thing I've done on the computer for years - if not ever. So, my reasoning is this can't be much worse than trying to learn Drupal - maybe I'm deluded but I'm telling myself Drupal will be more fun. Drupal does "everything" so I can't go wrong there with too high an expectation.

Anyway, the point of this post is to just say, I'm at the beginning of the Drupal journey. I'll report back if I don't abandon the quest after a few days. I will be careful; I don't want to get my arm trapped under my keyboard like Aron Ralston - and then have to try and chop it off with the blunt edge of my mouse. (I think I'm already delirious - obviously mentally exhausted by the Joomla! misadventure.)
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40hz
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2011, 02:34:55 PM »

Make life easy for yourself and waltz on over to TurnKey Linux to download a preconfigured Drupal server appliance for free.

Versions are available for installation onto hardware (ISO), virtual machine (VM), or Amazon's EC2 cloud.



TurnKey has over 40 additional appliances available. They work much like Bitnami's stacks. But unlike Bitnami, Turnkey's offerings are more up-to-date and designed for production deployments.

   

I've been experimenting with a few (Fileserver, Domain Controller, and Django). So far, I'm quite impressed by them.

Have to do a write up on these guys if I ever get a few free hours.

 Thmbsup
« Last Edit: February 02, 2011, 02:38:34 PM by 40hz » Logged

Don't you see? It's turtles all the way down!
nudone
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2011, 04:31:14 PM »

oooh, that's good. I had no idea about them. Thanks, 40hz.

Whilst I'm here. Is there any essential Drupal literature I should look for - maybe a must have book for starting out. Though, is version 7 going to mean a lot of (old) books just aren't going to make any sense now.
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vlastimil
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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2011, 04:35:51 PM »

Drupal = lots of spam. It is too popular. Spammers invested time to develop automated tools to spam Drupal sites. Email verification, captchas, it does not help and only makes user experience worse. If you plan to make a large popular site, where people would participate, I would think twice before using Drupal.

Now, I am not sure if Joomla is better, I can only compare to WordPress (just as bad when it comes to spam) and my own custom CMS. The custom CMS is the king when it comes to spam. Anonymous (ajax-powered) comments are not a problem. Spammers are too lazy to make tool to spam just one site. Creating a custom CMS is not easy, but if you are into coding, why not try that?  cheesy
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housetier
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2011, 04:49:56 PM »

There are a few books out about Drupal 7 already. The "Pro" series from Apress was very good for D6, I would expect the D7 one to be as good.

Also, look for a local Drupal user group, often you get very good tips and quick help just by asking.

I can give you the contact information of a good (naturally!) web designer who also wrote a Drupal module, if you would need such services.

I recommend Drupal, but people must keep in mind that it is not a blog system. It is designed to be extended, to provide flexibility - therefore it is complex.
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nudone
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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2011, 05:30:03 PM »

I'm not a coder, vlastimil, so can't go the code my own way - not sure I'd want to try that anyway, reinventing the wheel (or wheels) and all that. I see your point about spam but I think the usual methods are okay for me. Maybe that's something for me to worry about when it happens and the spam is out of control.


housetier, thanks, I'll keep in mind about outside services. Currently, this Drupal adventure is more of a personal project and may never result in a live site. I just want to see how Drupal compares to what I've been trying to do with Joomla/Fabrik. If it appears that Drupal really would have been the better cms to use, then I'll make the effort to learn as much as I can about it. If it looks like I'm going to get just as much stress from Drupal then I'll not bother with it. I'm not a coder and don't understand good database structure. I'm hoping using Drupal means I don't have to learn lots of coding and mysql too - if that's the case, I may as well stick with Fabrik and start learning how to customise it.

I'll look into the Apress Pro books. That sounds like a good place to start.

Maybe I should ask a question about Drupal before dipping my toe in...

I need "members" to a site to be able to enter about 20 items into a form. The items will either be hidden or visible to the member depending on their role. Each member does this by logging into the front-end of the site and is presented with a form specific to their role. The majority of this data is then searchable, by anyone, on the front-end of the site - some of the data will not be available to the public.

Now, to me, that all sounds perfectly reasonable to expect something like Joomla and Fabrik to do. AND it does. But it does it in a terrible way. I want to be able to control the size of photos and data displayed in specific layouts - this is where it all falls apart. It simply means having to look for custom coding solutions - which I don't want.

So, my understanding is that Drupal is the perfect machine for the above task. That's it's raison d'ĂȘtre - exact and minute control over every element going into the system and then coming back out.

If it can't do that without getting my hands dirty with coding, etc. then it's not for me. I'm expecting all the work to be done with ready made modules, people will have solved all the common problems already, the modules will just need setting up.

Am I right?
« Last Edit: February 02, 2011, 05:32:38 PM by nudone » Logged
housetier
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« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2011, 06:39:59 PM »

At first glance I'd say: nope, not possible.

But then, there are so many modules for D7, there might just be a combination of several modules that could --with a lot of mouse-clickery-- provide the feature you want. There is one module for content building (ex CCK, now something else but in Drupal core), several ones about search and access control.

However, I suggest you forward that use case to a drupal forum or mailing list. I'd expect you will get much better information there smiley
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mouser
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« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2011, 11:28:52 PM »

Drupal 7 is quite different from Drupal 6 -- enough that you definitely need a book made for v7.

Drupal is very powerful, and has one of the best interfaces for programmers to write modules.  On the other hand I find Drupal completely unintuitive.  Having said that, if you do need some help writing a custom module for it, let me know.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2011, 11:31:21 PM by mouser » Logged
nudone
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2011, 02:32:16 AM »

oh, oh dear. that doesn't sound good at all, housetier. perhaps that explains why people actually use Joomla! and Fabrik - as it's the only way to do such things without bespoke design.

thanks for the generous offer, mouser. i was hoping Drupal was going to do everything i wanted with everything that's already there. coding a module for it may as well mean getting someone to sort out the troubles i've got with joomla! and fabrik.

i'm pretty much ready to cancel my expedition right here, i think. i'll see what other Drupal info i can get from there forum and then decide.
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