Drupal tips, tricks, tutorials

Drupal layout mysteriously broken on Internet Explorer?

On my Drupal-based forum site there was a problem - On Internet Explorer the page layout was horribly broken. The content, instead of laying out in a 2 or three column arrangement, had each section of the right/center/left columns one after another. It was as if some of the style sheets simply hadn't loaded. Fortunately you could still use the site meaning missing style sheets didn't interfere with usability except that the site was horrible to look at and probably turned off any Internet Explorer visitors.

Review: Pro Drupal Development (second edition)

Drupal is a very powerful content management system that can also serve as an excellent web application development framework. The features provided by Drupal are very comprehensive, flexible, and there is a large community of excited people supporting its development. Pro Drupal Development is a developers tome worthy of the system it documents.

Messaging & Notifications modules for Drupal

One key part of a community web site is a way to notify your users of activity on the site. It helps to bring them back if they receive a notification. Otherwise they might forget about the site. Out of the box Drupal doesn't offer notification capabilities but there are addon modules which do this. I've been using the subscriptions module on my main site however it hasn't been all that pleasant.

Drupal disaster recovery with the Backup and Migrate module

I recently had a small disaster on this site -- the database which contains the Drupal config and data for this site, well, it went insane. Certain things were blowing up either with screwed up display or what's known as the "white screen of death". And I could not get them corrected. This is one of the downsides of Drupal is when things go wrong it's often nigh on impossible to diagnose the problem or repair it.

Text Size module for Drupal

The Text Size project provides a neat handy little gizmo to let people change the text size on your site. Have users who need a little help seeing text? This is the thing to let users set their preferred size.

It offers a block you position anywhere blocks go. The block has gizmos letting people set their preferred text size. That's about it.

Better comment support with the disqus service & drupal module.. maybe

Disqus is an interesting service that fills a very web-2.0-style role. There's a zillion sites out there which support the users leaving comments. The web 2.0 model has community involvement front and center, contrasting with the old model of businesses pushing content or services or products at you. But the problem with this is having to register with each and every website on which you want to leave comments.. and further site administrators dealing with comment spam and desiring a better solution.

It's your RSS feed, not Feedburners, and how to maintain the relationship with your readers through your RSS feed

There are many services which offer services related to RSS or Atom feeds. These services usually consume your feed, modify it, and republish that feed on a different URL. Feedburner is only one of many such services, most of whom perform valuable features to web site authors.

1st steps to creating video podcasts (for Drupal)

The latest episode of the Seven Generations Technosanity Podcast is a video as will be the next few episodes. I've been resisting doing video work partly because it's harder to edit but also the technology is far more complex. But for the episodes in question I need to show some things, not describe them. For technical context, the podcast is on a Drupal site meaning the solution has to fit the Drupal workflow.

Duplicate content on Drupal sites

The search engines downgrade sites which appear to have duplicated content. This is often the sign of a spam site that's attempting to bury search engines with lots of pages. Unfortunately some features of Drupal make it look like duplicate content. For example if you've turned on clean URL's and turned on the pathauto module for SEO purposes you have a nice user-friendly URL for each page but at the same time Drupal still shows the page at the "node/12345" URL.

Notifying search engines of new content

Search engines index the web by crawling along links on web pages. It's rather inefficient for a search engine to reindex pages which have not changed and which have already been indexed. Hence it improves efficiency of the whole internet for search engines to have a way to know what pages are new, what pages are old, and only reindex the new pages.

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