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Struggling with Drupal

Well, after a detailed analysis of the different CMS systems, I chose Drupal (somewhat reluctantly after my last experience with this CMS), and have been struggling, fairly successfully, to port the fire department website, bouldermountainfire.org. Here were my criteria for CMS selection:

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  • Fantastico compatible (more about this later) for easy upgrade
  • MySQL-based
  • Good permissions-based content protection (with different users and groups have specific permissions)
  • Embedded Gallery2 plugin

Here were my trials and tribulations:

  • Drupal 6.1 has almost no support from an included modules perspective. None of the permissions-based plugins (modules) and the Gallery2 plugin (only supported beta version of Gallery!) were useable on Drupal 6.1. In the end I abandoned the Fantastico install/upgrade, and used a manual install of Drupal 5.7 which is much better supported.
  • Drupal doesn’t support unlinked menu items out of the box, and has to be extensively modified to fix this (i.e., menus that just open submenus, instead of taking you somewhere).
  • Drupal doesn’t support pulldown menus in any of it’s standard templates. I went to RoopleTheme to get the Theme I wanted.
  • The number of modules I’ve installed is STAGGERING to support the functionality I need. I have installed about 20 modules to just make Drupal behave like I want it to. It’s like buying a BMW, everything is optional (including the wheels).
  • Documentation for modules is, in general, non-existent. It’s like they bypassed this step across the board.
  • No WYSWYG editor built-in, ended up install FCKeditor. TinyMCE doesn’t appear to work correctly, which is a shame since this is supported by the Gallery module.
  • Simple things like title-less content are not achievable without “going under the hood”, something I never had to do with Joomla.
  • Permissions are mysterious and completely fail from time-to-time. It’s like someone didn’t quite finish the task.

Bonus items:

  • You can put PHP directly anywhere on your page. This is great to avoid writing modules or plugins. I like screwing up my own website!
  • Permissions, when working, are great and exactly as they should be.
  • I made disappearing menus! That’s cool.

By Dave

He was born in Canada, but currently lives in Boulder, CO up in Boulder Heights.

One reply on “Struggling with Drupal”

Well, it’s been a few frustrating months. Drupal 5.7 to 5.9 upgrade was a nightmare, and left the site down for almost a week.

I am very seriously reconsidering my decision to go with Drupal, but still, it’s the only one with a Gallery module and proper support for content permissioning (via plugins, albeit).

The problem is with UPGRADES.

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