August 14, 2007

Zoomin' with Drupal

So... it's been a hectic week with a lot going on. But I'm not going to tell you about all that - I'm going to tell you about some of the things I've discovered about Drupal lately instead! I had some real breakthroughs last week that enabled me to really get cranking, and yesterday I opened up my dev site to my engineers for input and comments. (Let the flames begin!)

I wanted to share some of the things I've learned, though, because they weren't very intuitive (at least, not to me!), the help files were not always that helpful, and why not do what I can to keep other folks from beating their heads against the wall, too? This all applies to the NoProb theme (and my subtheme off of it).

YMMV with all this, of course -

* If you're using the TinyMCE editor and the IMCE image tool, you have to either globally set, or allow your users to set, their input format to full HTML. Filtered HTML won't cut it. I was going nuts trying to figure out why just a simple hard return wasn't giving me a visible paragraph break on a piece of text - it was marked as filtered HTML. Changed it to full, and poof, there was my paragraph break. Images were also displaying in the editing blocks, but not in the preview panels, for the same reason.

* Breadcrumbing locations are not controlled from the administrative settings, nor from the style sheet definitions; you have to tweak the template's php page for that. (Thanks to Cary for the info on the right way to tweak it!)

* To allow users to change the weighting of their book pages (as in, the order in which the book pages appear in the book) you have to grant permissions to administer nodes to the appropriate user role. <rant>On a related note: So far the only thing I've found that I really dislike about Drupal is the whole weighting thing. Don't get me wrong - I love the book content type and we're going to be using it quite heavily - but I quite snarl at the weighting process. If'n you don't use it, you end up with your book pages in alphabetical order, which is not what is always wanted. It's very nonintuitive - I thought it was just me but so far every one of my users who's signed up for an account has gone "Uh, what the heck is this?", and there seem to be a hefty number of postings about it on the forums as well. And where did a weighting of -15 to 5 come from? Can't we just go, say, 0 to 20 or something? Or even more - I can very easily see where there might be more than 20 "chunks" in a set. Sheesh!</rant>

* When creating profile pages (which we will be using for staff contact pages), if you choose to use a freeform list as one of your fields, you cannot use HTML (therefore you can't, say, link to a given talk or published paper). Go with the multi-line textfield. While you're at it, if you want a picture to be added to the profile page (but nowhere else), you have to enable picture support in the user settings, but do not toggle the user picture display in the theme controls. (I thought you needed both and ended up with photos all over the site!)

Still to come (amongst much more, I'm sure): Figuring out how to limit the content list shown to the logged-in user to their own content (as in, don't show my content to Bob, or Bob's content to Sam), and trying to get figure captions to appear under the figure on the web page instead of just as a floating title (which doesn't work on all browsers, it seems).

No rain. Just heat.

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