Hello Drupal (and WordPress will stay)

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Effective January 1, 2010, this site does not use Drupal and instead uses only WordPress.

If you’ve been to my website recently and clicked on any of the sidebar links that are not blog or photo related, you probably saw a different look for the content. Over last weekend I installed Drupal and moved a lot of the content that was in standalone PHP pages or my Dokuwiki installation into Drupal. I’ll be removing Dokuwiki in a week or two.

First, let me say that among the wikis I looked at, I liked Dokuwiki a lot. It’s written in PHP, is skinnable, has a fair number of third party themes, has good ACL, and doesn’t use a database. I was primarily looking at this as a single person authoring environment, so some of you might have questioned why I bothered to use a wiki at all. Well, I wanted some experience with one, and I wanted to do some serious work firsthand both in writing in it and maintaining the installation. Both were successes in terms of learning more. My website is not just a content repository, it’s a place for me to try out technologies.

Still, I’ve played with Drupal on and off for the last few years, but it never really took. This time I worked with it more and investigated the add-on modules and templates. It’s clear that it has a very robust user and development community. Everything I threw at it, it could do, with only very minor exceptions. I like the authoring environments and the “book” node type was exactly what I was looking for to handle larger documents. In my free time I’m looking into how I might handle my 3000+ photo album in it should I decide to replace my bespoke code.

Right now I have no plan to move my blog from WordPress to Drupal, so the site will have the double look. Ideally I could find a theme I like that’s been ported to both environments, but those that I have seen so far haven’t really done it for me.


  1. Well, I hadn’t noticed since I’ve been reading your site mostly using Google Reader and not drilling down to the actual site. I moved/exported my WordPress blog right into Drupal 6. There is a really useful WordPress import module which made it a snap to import all my content from WordPress to Drupal including the tags. Only drawback I can see now is that it is not as easy to backup the Drupal site as it was the WordPress site. Coincidentally, I’m using the same theme you are. I really like the Acquia Marina theme too and recently built a site for my daughter who is student teaching in the Hamburg School District that uses that theme at http://www.darawatkins.net. I really like WordPress, but I also have really come to appreciate the power of Drupal. I’m attending DrupalCon DC next week and hope to learn more about Drupal and the Drupal development community while I’m there. I’ve found “Using Drupal” from O’Reillly a really good resource and I’ve also purchased the “Understanding Drupal” video from Lullabot.

  2. Don,

    I’ve only made tentative steps on the blog, starting by putting in a sample entry. I’ll probably add a few more and experiment with the formatting and blocks. One problem is that my blog archive is very large and is very cross-linked. So a fair amount of hand work will be necessary. Did you use anything to handle redirection from old blog entries in WP to the equivalent ones in Drupal?

  3. No I didn’t do any re-direction but perhaps that is moot now. I got a notification from Google that my site Worpress site had been ‘hacked’ or so they thought because there robots crawling my site had come up with some unacceptable code. They were right. I logged in tonight with Filezilla and found the offending entries which were in the root of my web server directory. I removed them and also decided to remove the blog since it’s been several months since I’ve really used it. That’s the second WordPress site that I’ve had hacked and not on the same host. I’m going to have to do some more reading on security I guess. I did have Akismet running on that site. I’ve recently added Mollom to my own Drupal site and my daughter’s too. Mollom seems to be very good, but time will tell.

  4. I’ve been using WordPress for blogging, because the range of plugins is much larger, and the community has got to be the most active (or at least one of the top) communities in the open source world.

    At the same time, I also use Drupal on other parts of my web site. In particular, like, you, I also found the book module to very useful for managing documents in a hierarchical structure. Writing “next page” and “previous page” pointers are so tedious, so Drupal’s book module solves that.

    I really like Dokuwiki, and recommend that for other web sites where there will be multiple authors, particularly non-technical users. Drupal is overkill for a personal web site, but since my note-taking is all HTML (i.e. not Word, and I use OOo Writer for long documents), it’s easier to copy content into Drupal that to convert everything to wiki markup.

    For photographs, on the Apache server in my basement, I had used Dalbum happily for some years. I thought that pre-generating thumbnails in off-peak times would make things more efficient … but it turned out that reindexing was taking several hours (i.e. more than 24 hours), and any error would make processing wait for intervention. I then dallied with Gallery, but found the 2MB upload limit imposed by PHP was just too annoying. This can be solved using the Java-based Gallery Remote program, but that’s relatively clumsy compared to directly sending FTP.

    I now use Qdig on both my basement server and on my personal hosted domain — both not linked from any web pages, and with commands in robot.txt discouraging crawling. I use Flexible Renamer to change filenames to the dates the photos were taken, and then manually add some descriptive text (e.g. city, persons in photos). I manually parse out the photos into folders that make sense, i.e. some grouped for a day, and some grouped by day and place when I’m doing a lot of travelling.

    Qdig creates thumbnails and different-sized photos on the fly. This is a bit annoying on the first pass, but better than the batch processing under Dalbum . FTP takes care of the transfer of photos, and I thus have two entire archives, in the case that something goes wrong on one.

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