Friday, January 30, 2009

Almost there, sort of

  • I've got most of my modules installed, enabled, and configured.

  • I've got a rough archetecture in place, including menus and taxonomy.

  • I've got home page, research, and find a good book mock-ups.

In short, I'm just about ready to really start creating content types and entering the content. And I think I'm ready for the usability test dress rehearsal on Tuesday.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Training with Growing Venture Solutions

I attended the Introduction to Drupal 6 training offered by Growing Venture Solutions and learned some useful things:

  • Global Redirect and Path Redirect modules help you link to nodes in the body of a node

  • Synonyms module indexes synomyms in Taxonomy

  • Porter-Stemmer module breaks a search term down to its basic root

  • You can create automated URL aliases using Pathauto

  • Markdown filter may make a good UI for our staff

  • Devel module's Theme developer is a very useful tool for theming

  • It's not hard to add a new region within a theme

  • Module development, while complicated in practice, is not that complicated in theory

  • Don't use PHP Filter, in fact, delete it from the core modules directory

  • Watch your input formats and file permissions

  • Eclipse, FireBug, and YSlow, are good programs for development and performance monitoring

Most importantly, PPLD has decided to hire Growing Venture Solutions on a consultant basis during the redesign. We're thrilled to get help from Greg and his team!


I swear, it seems all I've doing lately is going to meetings, co-ordinating meetings, taking minutes about meetings, and corresponding with meeting attendees.

I've managed investigate a few modules on the side, but as far as actually website content entry and development, no luck. It's actually getting kind of frustrating.

On the bright side the following is in the works:

  1. The Usability Hot Team is conducting a usability test dress rehearsal on Feb 3 to make sure our testing goes smoothly for staff and patrons.

  2. Prototypes for the Research/Subject Guides and Find a Good Books sections of the new website have been approved by their corresponding Hot Teams.

  3. The Research Hot Team and Find a Good Book Hot Team are going to take on the daunting task of organizing and presenting all corresponding resources for those sections. It'll then be my job to construct a method of populating and displaying said resources on the new website.

  4. The Analytics Hot Team is going to test drive WebTrends and investigate Google Analytics.

Whew, quite a lot going on at once, I'll say...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pathauto and Custom Breadcrumbs

Today I configured Pathauto URL aliases. In automatic alias settings, I was able to define the URL alias by content type. Instructions on how to do this are in the readme.txt of the module, but I also found good instructions (albeit for an older version) here.

I also installed and fiddled with Custom Breadcrumb module. There is some good documentation here. However, I couldn't get the [menu-raw] and [title-raw] to display the correct URL aliases. For example, if I had a Breadcrumb called Home > Find a Good Book > Book Clubs, it was displayed perfectly in the breadcrumb, but when you click on the breadcrumb, instead of going to find-good-book or find-good-book/book-clubs (the correct URL alias), the URL would continue to point to Find a Good Book or Find a Good Book/Book Clubs as the path, which of course returns a 404 error.

I spoofed the correct URL alias, I just suspect that the "raw" indicator isn't functioning properly in Custom Breadcrumbs. So I disabled the module and will check out Taxonomy Breadcrumb instead and/or talk to Greg if necessary.

Finally, I installed and enabled the Synonym module, which kicks butt. All you do is include synonyms in your taxonomy and they are indexed for the Search box. Sweet.

Tomorrow I have other modules to investigate, then I need to start populating the simple pages.

Moving Along

Well, we're chugging right along on the redesign. My assistant Cheryl created a rough mock-up of the new home page that was approved by our Community Relations Officer (with a few minor changes).

I installed the Workflows module on the new website so that all entries will go to a Draft state and then be proofread and published by Community Relations. Although I can't test the email as SMTP is not enabled on the new server yet.

Taxonomies are fairly well honed for this point in time, and I'm sure they will be further tweaked as the content gets entered.

Bill Thomas, our Usability Hot Team leader, has developed a rough draft of our Usability Test Plan that I haven't had a chance to look at yet, but will at some point today.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Creating Multi-sites with cPanel

Last week's homework for Growing Venture Solution's Introduction to Drupal 6 presented me with an opportunity to install my first Drupal multi-site on my test website, I don't normally work in a LAMP environment, so this was a real learning experience for me.

Fortunately,'s rockin' community had some excellent documentation:

Multi-site setup in 6.x using cPanel

Of course, I had to wait several hours for the domain name to propagate, but is up and running (although quite lame as it is a homework assignment.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Creating Multi-sites with WAMP

This is just for my own future knowledge, as I'm sure multi-sites are inevitable:

Multi-Site on Windows

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Drupal Training with Growing Venture Solutions

I'm in Drupal training for the next 3 Saturdays with Growing Venture Solutions. I've upgraded to 6.8 so I can use it as a sandbox for the class. Notes I take on this training will likely be found here:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I Just Hurt My Brain

While setting up the new website, I notice that PPLD's Web Picks had categories for almost everything. I was initially just going to link to Web Picks, but realizing how huge and encompassing the resource is made me want to incorporate it into Drupal on the initial release of the redesign. We were planning to incorporate it eventually, but I think the website will be so much more robust if we add it right off the bat. It's a huge undertaking on an already huge project, but I think it will be worth it.

Another really cool feature would be to include databases in their related pages. Which means I have to think in terms of taxonomy. Would it be better to have one subject guide taxonomy and one resource type taxonomy? Or should I keep the taxonomies for Web Picks and Research separate?

What's more, should I turn the database categories in Research to subject guides? That way it could include databases, recommended websites, AND catalog searches. If so, how do I handle that taxonomy?

My initial reaction is to make a taxonomy for the Research categories (subject guides), a taxonomy for Web Picks (recommended websites), and a taxonomy for resource type (database, website, catalog search, book title, etc). Yeah. That's it, I think.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Getting There

Well, we have most pages and nav elements created on the new website. We've also drawn up a rough home page in Photoshop. We presented the website and home page to the Website Team and they had some good suggestions.

Next we need to add content to the pages, Start on elements that require CCK/Views, develop a Usability Plan, and flesh out the home page (with different color schemes).

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Getting Closer

Well, I came in on a Saturday to get some of this done. Things are coming along almost on schedule now. All I have left is Research, which is the most complicated.

I need to figure out how to remove taxonomy terms from nodes.
I also need to figure out the best way to link to other nodes within a node.

After Research is done, I need to go through everything, make notes and make sure all my descriptions and taxonomy terms are consistant.

Finally, on Monday I need to work with the Web Technician to develop a home page paper prototype for the Web Team meeting on Tuesday.

Friday, January 2, 2009


Man, with all of the menus, pages, blocks, and taxonomy, organizing this website is a handfull. I'm trying to make sure I tag everything with taxonomy and label all my menu items with a description. If an item goes into more than one menu, then I'm trying to keep the description the same throughout.

I'm on Events right now, and am coming into work tomorrow (Saturday) to try to finish this up. Monday I plan to work with the Web Tech on a home page layout.


And now for something completely different

I usually don't get into memes, but I liked this one from Stephen's Lighthouse:


Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog. (obviously)
2. Slept under the stars. (back in the hippie days quite a bit)
3. Played in a band. (Colorado Skye pipes and drums!)
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower. (see #2)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland/world. (I grew up in Florida and know Disney World like the back of my hand)
8. Climbed a mountain. (I live and hike in Colorado)
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo. (Thankfully it didn't specify how well, or this might have been a 'no')
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. (From a boat 'no', from shore 'yes')
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning. (I'll spare you the details)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight. (who hasn't?)
22. Hitch-hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping. (see #2)
27. Run a marathon.
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person.
41. Sung Karaoke. (once again, if it had specified how well, this would be a 'no')
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. (I'm from Florida)
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing. (see #45)
49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling. (see #45)
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud. (see #2)
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie. (assuming short films count)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class (assuming Tai Chi is a martial art)
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades. (once again, see #45)
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.