Personal Technology & Gadgets

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, Here were my criteria for CMS selection:

  • 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.

1 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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