Tech Tutor

Tech tutorials and advice from a web guy who uses Drupal and the things that make it work.

18 Apr 2010 - 03:25

I implemented a small script to recognise IE 6 or 7 browsers and tell them to upgrade or switch away from IE totally. It's a jQuery fade-in box at the top of the page. After offering that the user should either upgrade or switch to another browser I provide a "hide this warning for the rest of your visit" link. Clicking the link sets a cookie value that is then used to hide the IE warning for the rest of the session. (ie. hide_ie_warning = 1)

14 Apr 2010 - 13:43

This is just a small, personal site built for experimentation and fun, but I already have 8 content types to choose from when I want to add a new article. Without fact checking, I think Drupal has about 3 content types (Page, Story and Blog?) when freshly installed. However, the templating system in Drupal is so powerful and, dare I say it, intuitively structured that - once you get it - it's easy to have an explosion of content types and corresponding template files to suit your needs. But when does it get out of hand?

12 Apr 2010 - 04:46

One of my Drupal modules (combined with a node template) looks for (intra-article) anchor links at the beginning of the article code and then dynamically builds a menu with these links at the top of the article. (This was a somewhat messy but effective way of bringing old content with anchor links into a new environment without having to re-write the old article code.) So what? Well, it turns out a lack of white space / line breaks in my code was messing with my layout. I'll try to show you what I mean.

7 Apr 2010 - 12:42

Browsers come with pop-up blockers and banner ad blockers and all sorts of add-ons to make sites less blinky and less annoying. I can't remember anyone ever saying they like or look at banner ads. (okay, I mainly read web development stuff, but still...) Usability tests show that experienced users have developed banner blindness and don't even look at things with typical banner ad dimensions.

2 Apr 2010 - 02:05

I like Drupal a lot and you could say I am committed to it, but just like in any relationship, there are little things that make you scratch your head. Changing default site text ("Search this site", "Read more" etc.) is one of those things. It should be simple. Perusing Drupal forums and seeing some of the solutions people have resorted to (ie. hacking core, rolling a custom module just to implement hook_form_alter) makes you wonder if this CMS isn't just a bit too complex.

28 Mar 2010 - 08:05

Drupal is known to have a pretty steep learning curve. There's a lot to it and it's hard to get your head around just how it works. "No problem", you think, "I'll just learn as I go." Well, I wish it were that easy. The fact is, in the rush to get things built you might employ a suboptimal solution and later discover there was a great module that would have done things nicely for you.

14 Mar 2010 - 07:22

Yes, I think so. There, I said it. Admittedly, it's a selfish opinion since it would make my life at work as "the web guy" a lot easier. However, I also think it would improve the quality of websites in general.

13 Feb 2010 - 09:09

So, you are using Drupal, you've probably read a bunch of articles and tutorials...maybe even skimmed some books and you figure you have a grasp of how it works. You've read that there's the "drupal way" of doing things and you'd be happy to do so, but you're not sure what that means in practice and you're in a rush to get your site working. You know php and mysql so what's the problem? You just want to start coding.

11 Nov 2009 - 14:28


Torn apart serverOne tends to discover some odd things while net surfing and a while back I came across a site featuring a Silicon Graphics server that had been torn apart and converted into a fridge.

Pretty cool. Nerdy, but cool. Wouldn't it be a nice change to have a computer that served cold drinks instead of tepid aggravation?

Well, it just so happened that sitting beneath my desk at work were two Sun E250 servers that used to house our company's website before it was completely redesigned on a different platform. What's more, these servers had front doors that swing open; much like a fridge!

How about that! I'm a Drupal association member.

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