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Administrivia: New commenting regime

I've switched from Disqus to LiveFyre.

Unlike Disqus, LiveFyre lets you log in directly using a social media account. Disqus would tolerate social logins, but they demanded you set up a separate account first.

No big deal.

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Drupal Feed Importer Failures

Modern web site software - like Drupal - simply provides a web-based front end to a database. For a traditional web site, the front end retrieves articles and formats them on HTML pages. A more sophisticated web site allows more sophisticated access to the database.

If we embrace this vision, we build a new web site by importing databases. On Drupal, that means we use the Feed Importer. I have finally gotten the Feed Importer to work, after several hours of banging around.

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A really simple Drupal 7 example module

DrupalA couple of months back I attended DrupalCamp Twin Cities, to try to improve my understanding of Drupal. It was a good event and, thanks to an enlightening talk by Tess Flynn, I now see how the incoming path is converted into code execution. 

This week I took the next step: I wrote the simplest possible Drupal 7 module from scratch. Although I had several examples to work from, it took several attempts to get things right. And now, here it is: Rick's Testie Drupal 7 Module (zip file). 

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Drupal 7 Conversion - Finally!

Drupalcon Chicago 2011Drupal 7 was released for "production" a little over a year ago at the Drupalcon Chicago. Upon returning from that event, I put a week or so into trying to convert from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7. This produced a series of disappointed-sounding blog entries as my attempts failed. I kept trying every few months, hoping that a new D7 release, or an improvement in my Drupal skills, would yield success.

I've finally succeeded.

I implemented an AMP stack on my Mac. "AMP" means "Apache," "MySQL," and "PHP;" it required me to install MySQL and hook it all together. Then I moved the laborious conversion process to my desktop. My efforts succeeded a few weeks ago, but I was stymied when I tried to deploy the converted site onto my GoDaddy hosting. I finally tracked the problem down - where else - in the .htaccess file defaults.

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The Danland Theme

I've migrated to the Danland Drupal theme. Danland is stable and it looks great right out of the box. Moreover, I find I have trouble with themes that use a dark-color background instead of a light or white one. The off-color looks fine when things work well, but fails miserably when anything goes wrong. I'm enough of a tinkerer to appreciate expressive error messages.

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A Temporary New Look

The web site now sports an incomplete custom theme. My earlier theme was rendered obsolete by a Drupal upgrade.

And that was atop unexpected down time: the upgrade process went poorly and I had to roll things back and try again.

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The Strike

CopyrightI took my site off line for roughly 24 hours as part of the Net-wide strike against impending US Congressional action. As a published author I applaud efforts made to protect my income from piracy. However, the current legislative efforts put the operation and culture of today's Internet at risk. They also undermine the concept of due process.

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Drupal 7: Not Ready for Prime Time

I've just spent an unsatisfying weekend with Drupal 7. I made several unsuccessful attempts to upgrade from Drupal 6.20 to Drupal 7. Although I had carefully built a copy of my active site, and tried to experiment only with that site, the side-effects managed to damage the live site as well.

Everything is back and stable on Drupal 6.

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Migration to Drupal

Drupal Icon

After spending a few years with WordPress, I decided to migrate to Drupal. I installed WordPress in December, 2007, and replaced it in February, 2011.

Existing users had to recover their passwords, since ther was no clean way to use WordPress-encrypted passwords on a Drupal site. I also had the site off-line for part of the day while I replaced the WordPress software with the Drupal software.

My main reason for the migration is Drupal's "book" feature. Drupal makes it easy to structure short articles into a long, hierarchically-structured narrative. This is essentially how I write books anyway. This makes it easier to present complex topics built from a series of short articles.

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Revising OpenID for WordPress

Will Norris is working on a revision to OpenID for WordPress. This is good, and I have some observations and suggestions. At the moment the OpenID plugin works pretty well - I have separate logins delegated through domains I own. I routinely log in through OpenID for both routine and administrative activities.
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