David Herron is a blogger, software engineer, electric vehicle enthusiast, and energy healer.

Reducing bandwidth use, decreasing page load times, for better Drupal user experience

One of my sites has a high traffic load (2000 visits per day, over 6000 page views per day) and has been using up the bandwidth allotment on the shared hosting account where it's hosted. Concerns are that a large download per page would turn off visitors due to a long page load time, and also the environmental impact of excessive bandwidth usage. Initially the only measurement tool I had was the realtime bandwidth statistics provided by the hosting provider (see the screenshots below) and it was only later when Firebug became functional on firefox 3.5 and YSlow was then usable.

Cure for FAIL when using RedirectMatch with clean URL's on Drupal

I've had a problem with use of RedirectMatch on some of my sites which causes a FAIL in combination with Drupal's reliance on mod_rewrite to provide clean URL's. Over the years I've used different technologies to build sites and on occasion have converted a site built with static web pages into one driven with Drupal. This has meant a web of .htaccess files listing redirects for the old URL into a new URL. The goal is to help your readers continue to access the pages you wrote even when the location (URL) of the page changes.

Using views to publish both full and partial feeds in Drupal

There's a long standing debate over the content of RSS feeds. For the greatest convenience of your readers the full RSS feed is great, because they can read your articles in their feed aggregator. However as a publisher who needs to earn a living from my writing I only want to publish a teaser so that the reader will feel incentivized to visit my site. For me the feed is a lure to bring people to my site, and I cannot do justice to others' viewpiont.

Using Views 2 in Drupal 6 to replace the Tracker module

The core Tracker module is a convenient way to look at recent traffic on a Drupal site. It shows a list of recently posted (or modified) nodes along with useful data items for each node. However with Views 2 there is a more flexible way to implement the same functionality, without enabling another module.

The task is really pretty simple. Just download and enable the Views module, then in the Views configuration interface enable the Tracker view. Yup, coming bundled with the Views module is a predefined view which does every task the Tracker module does.

Using CCK's nodereference field for a kind of footnote

In two prior blog posts (see the references section below) I've discussed using a website content type to create resources lists. In this post I want to discuss another use, for a kind of footnoting system. You can see it in action below.

Creating a resources page in Drupal using a CCK content type

An earlier blog post (see references below) discussed a website node type that I frequently use. One purpose for the website node type is to build "resources" web pages. The "resources" page is an old practice on the Web where a site might host a resources page listing useful sites. These resources pages can be a gold mine of information for users, but I suppose it can be a pain to maintain if the page is a static page you have to remember to edit to add a new resource link.

Website nodes for Drupal as a key to building reference lists and footnoting

For several years I've used a CCK content type named 'Website'. The purpose has been to simply list links to websites for my reference and others benefit. The traffic on my sites shows that the website links (specifically the taxonomy pages listing the website nodes) are popular and in some cases the most popular part of the sites. In general "resources" pages are an old practice on the web, you'd see a "Resources" page on most sites that's a simple list of links to useful sites.

Advanced drupal 6.x hierarchical taxonomy list pages

A good quality taxonomy listing page can act as a really good sitemap. Good sitemap pages are great for internal linking effects that helps visitors browse your site, and coincidentally aids in SEO. Most (?all?) nodes will have taxonomy terms attached to them. Hence it's a pretty good start to aid someone to browse your site. The problem is the core taxonomy module doesn't make good quality listing of taxonomy terms. For instance it ignores the term hierarchy, it doesn't display links to child term pages, etc.

Review: The Two Doctors (Doctor Who)

"When you travel around as much as I do, it's almost inevitable that you'll run into yourself at some point." This is yet another of the stories where the Doctor meets various instances of himself.

Feedback modules for Drupal

inspiration.jpgLooking at a colleague's website (organicJar.com) and was jealous over the Feedback button on the side of the page of that website. It's an AJAX'y button at the side, themed so it stands out well over any background content, and plops up a nice form letting visitors give feedback. See the image to the right. It's of course important to get feedback from your visitors, to engage visitors, and perhaps if they have a good experience on your site they'll return again in the future.

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