Drupal tips, tricks, tutorials

Adding links to menu, and improved menu implementations

The Drupal menu system allows for multiple 'menu' structures. Out of the box it comes with a 'Navigation' menu that includes the 'create content' and other interesting choices. It may be enough for you to leave that menu in its default form. Additionally Drupal has a 'Primary Links' and 'Secondary Links' menus which can be populated with links. Drupal also allows site administrator to create more menus, and menus are available as Blocks allowing the menu to be placed on the page.

Improving site navigation with Drupal

It's important for website usability that your website be highly navigable. Here's some ideas to improve navigability. Or, without using $50 words, here's some ideas that help your users find their way around your website .. or to help them keep from getting lost.

CAPTCHA, Captcha Pack, reCAPTCHA

A Captcha is a method of displaying something readable to a human being, but which a computer program is unable to read. The human being is then instructed to enter that information into the web page. The web page software then can check what the human enters, and if the entered value matches then the software can be assured it was a human being. It's a kind of reverse Turing test.

CAPTCHA and other methods to reducing SPAM

SPAM (the unwanted extraneous content that floods the Internet, not the barely desirable canned meat product) can infest an unprotected Drupal website. There are ways to prevent SPAM on a Drupal site. Otherwise you're likely to be spending lots of time removing the infestation. I sure was early on in my career with Drupal.

Liveblogging drupal 6 beta 3 installation

7:20 Unpacked distribution and moved files into webserver docroot

$ mv drupal-6.0-beta3/* .
$ mv drupal-6.0-beta3/.htaccess .

7:21 Set up database in the control panel

7:22 Connected with web browser to website. I'm taken directly to the Drupal install screen and can choose to install in English or other languages. To install in a different language requires downloading a language pack and unpacking it into the directory. This could be made smoother, I suppose.

Directory-like browsing of Drupal taxonomies

In my case I like using freetagging taxonomies, which results in lots of taxonomy terms, and then I like to arrange those terms into a hierarchy. Using a hierarchy helps the visitor understand the vocabulary lists by clumping related terms together. Unfortunately the default view of taxonomy term lists is not to my liking. It simply lists (using a pager) teasers for the nodes having a given taxonomy term. I want the taxonomy term list to do some more useful things including:-

  • List related and child terms
  • Give a description (optional) of the term

Fun or useful doodads

The Drupal community has developed or incorporated many useful gadgets (doodads) that supposedly improve the user experience.

WebSnapr Preview Bubble and Snap Preview Anywhere both extend links to external websites to have a popup window that shows a preview of the page being linked. This should help with letting your visitors know that it's an external link, and what's on that destination. These add to page download times, however.

Customizing the display of Drupal taxonomy elements

By default when Drupal displays a node all taxonomy terms associated with the node are displayed together at the top (or bottom) of the node. While this is really convenient you might want to display the terms in a different way. sort taxonomy links ($terms) by vocabulary ($vid) and Display taxonomy terms broken out by vocabulary are two ways to change a theme so the terms are displayed separately based on their taxonomy.

The Drupal Taxonomy system

Taxonomy is the classification of things into categories and types. The most widely known example of taxonomy is the taxonomical classification of plants which works by describing several characteristics.

In Drupal taxonomy is a relatively simple categorization system. The administrator defines one or more taxonomies, and adds terms to the taxonomies. A taxonomy can also be thought of as a category. Terms can be thought of as keywords. A taxonomy (or category), then, can be thought of as a group of keywords (or terms).

Some notes on using and configuring the Drupal content management system

Drupal is a content management system especially attuned to building online community websites. It has many powerful features and to my eye its most important feature is the community surrounding its development. I have built many websites using Drupal and find it to be very useful.