Try out Pantheon for free Drupal hosting

There are a lot of good Drupal hosting sites out there. But Pantheon stands out because it offers FREE hosting. Are there caveats? sure, but that is to be expected. The two biggest are ads on your site and a domain name under their root.

Right now, I have a client who is sitting on the fence about a new site. I have a somewhat vested interest in his success so my plan is to develop a site first and then sell it to him. Now this is a weird use case sure. But it wouldn’t be possible without Pantheon’s offer of free hosting. And my client can choose a payment plan down the road with his own URL and no ads once he commits.

Pantheon offers some really cool features too. Either SFTP or Git access, Drupal distributions and a really easy install requiring nothing more than some mouse clicks.

They also offer a cool multistage dev/test/live environment that really allows you to develop safely in a multideveloper environment. Add Git to the equation and you have a distributed local environment with version control.

The first site that I am doing is called Landetech. So the urls from Pantheon are:

dev-landetech.gotpantheon.com

test-landetech.gotpantheon.com

live-landetech.gotpantheon.com

With the Pantheon control panel, you have clear and concise control over changes committed to each environment. Very cool stuff.

Pantheon also uses Varnish for caching for greatly improved performance, something that Drupal usually needs. Check them out.

https://www.getpantheon.com/

Webform Module – Quick and Easy Drupal Forms

Quick and Easy are not two terms that typically are synonymous with Drupal. You generally have to go through the ringer to get Drupal to do most things. That’s the nature of a tool as powerful as Drupal. But the Webform module will really surprise you in a very nice way.

I needed a quick and dirty way to let my users send me feedback. The comment system won’t do because the feedback is general and not¬†specific to a node. And I really want it to go into an email.

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With an install base of about 350k sites, I really don’t know how I missed webform. But with just a few steps, I was able to create a one field form (see the SS) that emails the result to an email address that I specify.

The module will create a content type called webform. From there, you simply create a new node. Once the intitial node has been created, you can add all of the nice elements that will go into the result. I have a one field form here but you can have much more that that. Definitely worth the time for your Drupal install!

Taxonomy Comparisons

I have been neck deep in Taxonomy, OG, Rules, Contexts, Relationships and many more all week. It hasn’t been very fun but I know that I need to be able to scale this site properly and so, I need to do the research early on.

I need to be able to sort all site content by geography. Specifically by the state that the member resides in. The member will always have only one state. What I really need it a way to autotag a node (as it is being authored) with the state that the member resides in. Here is a really good wiki from drupal.org with a run down of many of the options available.

https://groups.drupal.org/node/38290

For my case, it appears that I will be able to use the Rules module and Roles (a core user function) to acheive this. Here is a link to a post that helped me arrive at this decision.

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/11588523/assign-drupal-tags-automatically

IFrame stuff – what you can’t do

well, i have just about gven up on this. I have googled, asked those smarter than i am. that’s pretty much anybody, though. and i believe that what I am trying to do is not going to work and ¬†is probably not possible anyway.

I have been trying to insert some code into an iframe so that I can load a widget and translate any page that appears in that Iframe. But, for what are really obvious reasons involving security, this can’t be done. if you know how to do it; make me eat some crow. please. crow is good. makes you learn humility. and it makes you learn.and i heard that it can make you less dumb.

so, if i haven’t gotten anywhere tomorrow when i get up on this, it is on to intercepting theme elements to allow you to add your own styling elements to your site. fun stuff. pretty stuff. css.

Rich Text Editors in Drupal

Ug. This has been a real pain. But I believe that I finally have things sorted out. To get CKEditor working, and I mean really working in Drupal, I uninstalled the WYSIWYG mod and started over.

  • I installed the actual CKEditor module from Drupal.org.
  • I reinstalled the ckeditor library into sites/all/libraries
  • i changed the content types to use the new editor
  • i moved the iframe plugin library to the ckeditor/plugins folder
  • i enabled the now-present iframe option in the ckeditor setup

there were still errors present in the CKEditor version from WYSIWYG. i think that WYSIWYG just has issues. I’m sure that there are ways to work around them but this is working for me and there are no errors. Much Better.

Drupal to Twitter – Complete (and to Facebook too!)

Wow, I am finally done with this. I now have my categorized RSS feed going straight to a Twitter account and a Facebook account. Both of these accounts are specific to my web site but that doesn’t really matter. And the real key to getting this to work is Twitterfeed.com. This is a free service that will take RSS feeds and consolidate them into Twitter, FB, Linkedin, there are a couple others too, I believe. But Twitter and FB are enough for me.

The Twitterfeed part wasn’t too bad to connect but it did require some tweaking to get it to work with what I have properly. If you decide to use Twitterfeed.com, be aware that the advanced options are more likely to need tweaking than advanced options usually are.

And what do I have?

  • 50+ RSS Sources from all over the state of TN in the USA.
  • 15 Categories configured in the Drupal Core Aggregator module. I am not using Feeds at all; it isn’t flexible enough for this case.
  • 1000 individual news stories that come in every day from these RSS Sources.
  • A Drupal View that displays the News items that I categorize as they come in.
  • An RSS “Feed” of that View that is available via http://docresource.org/news/24-twitter. This is a part of Views. Click Add, and click Feed.
  • A twitter feed – @docresource and FB account – DOCResource that need to get the same info that the View displays

The Twitter module was not needed to do this. Just Views and the Core Aggregator module. There are good reasons to use the Twitter mod; they just don’t apply here.

RSS Feed Validation

I am still having trouble with my feed. but it is on my end and not twitterfeed. here is a great tool to help if you’re having trouble with RSS.

http://feedvalidator.org