drupalace's blog

Drupal Mystery #2: The Theme-and-Blocks Chinese Fire Drill

26 Jun 2007
Drupal mystery

In case you don't know the phrase "Chinese Fire Drill", it's an American (?) name for a silly game played in a car full of people: everyone jumps out when the car stops, runs to a different door, and jumps back in. (I guess you have to play to appreciate it.)

Drupal blocks often do the same when you change themes. I like making pages with lots of blocks, on both sides of the page (and maybe one or two in the content and footer as well). Placing them just so is time-consuming and more than a little dull. Read more about Drupal Mystery #2: The Theme-and-Blocks Chinese Fire Drill

Drupal Mystery #1: Teasers

25 Jun 2007

Sure, Drupal offers teasers for nodes. In fact, there are three ways that I know of to handle them:

1) Write normally, and let your "Length of trimmed posts:" setting (under Post settings) automatically trim off a teaser at the specified number of characters.

2) Toss a "<!--break-->" tag into your post, at the point where you want to break off the end of the teaser.

3) Use the Node Teaser module to insert a custom teaser field into your nodes.

Yet despite three options, I still wish for proper support for teasers. Here's what mystifies me:

Why is support for custom teasers an afterthought, left to a third-party module (that wasn't even available for Drupal 5 for some time)? Shouldn't custom teasers be at the top of the list of core "of course we've got it!" features for a CMS? Doesn't everyone agree with me on that?

Read more about Drupal Mystery #1: Teasers

Becoming a Drupal Ace

22 Jun 2007
Drupal Ace

My handle and site name, Drupalace, are a goal. A Drupal Ace – that's what I want to be. I'm not there yet, but this new site is part of the bombing run to the target.

The origin story

Drupal came at me in 2006. As the representative of a tiny outpost of a large public agency, I had to don many hats within the small office, including IT guy and webmaster. My first handmade site went up years before, cobbled under a succession of off-the-shelf WYSIWYG apps, including Adobe GoLive toward the end.

Yet more and more, it was painfully clear that a growing chunk of the webmaster world was doing something different. Very different. Sites everywhere were sporting headlines and teasers, info sidebars and news feeds, logins and comments, forums and polls... How the heck were they doing that? Were they creating all these features and pages by hand, as I was tooling my pages? I knew that wasn't the case; the inefficiency would be appalling. And maybe they had slick, streamlined tools for handling each fancy feature, but I knew there was something else, something big tying it all together, for the modern sites that I envied. Read more about Becoming a Drupal Ace