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Drupal on Rye

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Updated: 5 hours 48 min ago

April 2010 Meeting Wrap-Up

Fri, 04/30/2010 - 11:08am

On Tuesday, April 27th the April meeting of the Drupal on Rye usergroup was held.   There were 16 representatives from CWS, Web Communications, Extension, College of Ag, Sea Grant, CN, Center for Humanities, Microproducts Breakthrough Institute, Natural Resources Institute, and the College of Forestry.


  • New OSU Homepage Update – David Barner, Web Communications
  • Quick Bibliography Module Overview – Sher Fenn, CWS
  • DrupalCon Update (exact topic TBD) – CWS
  • Non-Drupal Topic – OSU Events Calendar (http://calendar.oregonstate.edu/)
  • Discussion
    • Drupal Training Policies – Attendance/Registration minimums
    • Known Issue (e.g. Drupal is Down) – How should CWS notify the community?
    • Open Forum

OSU Homepage

David Barner provided an overview of the new OSU Homepage that will be launching.  He spoke some about the backend that controls the content utilizing Drupal to author content and an interface built by CWS to publish the content to the website.  While Drupal will power the content of the new homepage, we are generating static files for display for performance reasons.  There is some information on how the structure works in the Homepage update on the Webcomm blog.

Bibliography Module

Sher provided an overview of the Bibliography module.  There are some manual steps to enable the permissions for this module if it is something you would like to use on your OSU Drupal website.  The instructions are detailed on the CWS website.  Bibliography Module has a significant number of configuration and setup options.  CWS is offering a course on just the Biblography Module’s use and configuration.


Sher provided a quick overview of the DrupalCon event.  Videos from most sessions are available at the DrupalCon session page.  If you’re looking for information on Drupal 7, Sher recommends watching the video from the Drupal 7, What you need to know session.

OSU Events Calendar

CWS is looking to plan a replacement to the OSU Events Calendar hosted at http://calendar.oregonstate.edu.  As part of that process, we have put together a high-level list of features for the new calendar.  This list is based upon current calendar functionality, requests from the community for the calendar over the past year or two, and some features that we think the calendar could use.

We will be visiting several key user groups of the calendar to discuss the feature list in detail, but we welcome feedback from anyone on campus regarding the calendar.  The list of requirements provided in hardcopy at the meeting is available from this post as PDF file.  CWS welcomes feedback on this directly to us at our contact page, as a comment on this blog, or as an email to one of the project managers.  CWS is requesting feedback by the end of May.

CWS Training Policy

Central Web Services has been providing Drupal training courses to campus at no cost.  However, we’ve seen some significant decrease in attendance at some our classes.  CWS will be focusing on providing classes to a minimum of 5 registered attendees.  When there are fewer than 5 students per class, CWS plans to cancel classes.


Meeting Video

Part 1 – Introduction and Agenda

[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

Part 2 – OSU Homepage Update

[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

Part 3 – Bibliography Module and DrupalCon Update

[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

Part 4 – OSU Events Calendar and Open Discussion

[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

DrupalCon Videos

Fri, 04/23/2010 - 1:28pm

Couldn’t make it to DrupalCon?   Videos from most of the sessions (with slides) are now available on the conference website.  You can see them for yourself on the conference sessions page.

April 2010 Meeting Agenda

Thu, 04/22/2010 - 1:51pm

Here is the agenda for our Tuesday, April 27th meeting for Drupal on Rye.  The meeting will take place from 11:30am-1:00pm in Kidder 278.

  • New OSU Homepage Update – David Barner, Web Communications
  • Quick Bibliography Module Overview – Sher Fenn, CWS
  • DrupalCon Update (exact topic TBD) – CWS
  • Discussion
    • Drupal Training Policies – Attendance/Registration minimums
    • Known Issue (e.g. Drupal is Down) – How should CWS notify the community?
    • Open Forum
  • Non-Drupal Topic – OSU Events Calendar (http://calendar.oregonstate.edu/)

The Scoop on DrupalCon – Part 2

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 6:18am

As DrupalConSF ramped up today, it became evident that the convention was even more successful than expected.

Gaining entrance into the first session of the morning proved to be a bit of a challenge for Ken and I, simply due to the sheer mass of people that filled the hallway.  We managed to squeeze into a full-capacity room, though, for a quick introduction to DrupalCon.

I should mention that there are many sessions available at this convention.  In fact, new sessions on new topics run approximately every hour, in several different rooms.  The organizers have split the topic categories up into six different categories:

  • Welcome to Drupal
  • Configuration, Set-Up, & Administration
  • Design, Theme, & Usability
  • Under the Hood
  • Providing Professional Drupal Services
  • Leveraging Drupal for Your Business

This means that six different sessions are running roughly every hour on the hour.  What’s kind of amazing is that nearly every session that I attended hit max capacity.  I was even dumped into an overflow room on one occasion, which was kind of nice because by that point I needed to find an outlet to plug into.

The highlight of the day, was the keynote address by Drupal founder Dries Buytaert.  For someone who, self-admittedly, was nervous about speaking in front of such a large crowd, he did a fantastic job of keeping the information interesting, well-paced, and humorous.  He covered a few different main topics during his address, including the a report on the progress of Drupal 7, the need to keep Drupal relevant while still being innovative, and the increasing involvement of large corporations such as Microsoft and Google – both sponsors of this event.  As a wrap up, the location for the European 2010 DrupalCon was announced – it will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark this fall.

Other than the keynote address, which Ken and I both really enjoyed, we both had our own favorite sessions that we attended.

As a developer, Ken focused primarily on the programming and development side of things, of course.  Understand that Ken is normally a rather quiet guy, but after the Drupal As A Web Services Platform session with Greg Dunlap of Palantir services and Josh Kopel of Kolaborationstudio.com, it was evident that the interest was really starting to percolate.  Basically, what this particular session focused on was how to use Drupal as an information distribution source that feeds other applications such as iPhone or Android.  Warning to our managers, he’s coming back with some ideas.

For myself, my focus is primarily on professional services such as consultation and training.  I found a great deal of value in the last session of the day, Planning and Executing a Successful Drupal Implementation with Michael Morris and Jeff Walpole of Phase II Technology.  These guys did a great job of outlining common issues that project managers and analysts face when working with large Drupal projects.  They provided some sound tips regarding how to effectively prepare for and handle these issues.

Stay tuned for more coverage of DrupalCon San Francisco as we head into Day 2.

The Scoop on DrupalCon – Part 1

Mon, 04/19/2010 - 6:35am

Wow!  DrupalCon San Francisco is proving to be the biggest one yet.  With over 3000 in attendance, this mark more than doubles the attendance at last year’s North American Drupal convention, held in Washington, D.C. (Just for the record, Drupal conventions are held bi-annually – the North American convention is typically held in the spring and the European convention is held in the fall. With around 850 in attendance at Paris last year, DrupalConSF participation is bigger than both of last year’s conventions combined!)

Today, Sunday, is actually a day of training that’s made available before the convention even begins.  A mighty long list of different training opportunities have been provided – from ground level beginner workshops all the way up to topics such as advanced module development and Drupal systems administration.   So, yours truly spent the day with a great gang of guys from Growing Venture Solutions (Carl, Ezra, and Steve), and 31 beginning Drupalistas in the Intro to Site Building: Hands On training event.

My goal today wasn’t as much to learn about how to build a Drupal site as it was to observe different methods used by different instructors and to see if there may possibly be some additional items I could add to our OSU Drupal 6 training program.  I’m happy to report that the folks at GVS didn’t disappoint.  They unveiled a nifty – and thrifty – way of creating an “approval” based workflow to sites without the need to add any additional modules.  It was pretty darn slick and I hope to be sharing it soon with our OSU Drupal troopers.

This class covered an enormous amount of ground in only 8 hours: from how to install a Drupal site on a local computer using the Acquia Drupal installation profile and DAMP solution stack, to basic Drupal content editing, some general theme configuration, brief primers on CCK and Views, and some fun extra stuff like how to use the Fivestar voting module.  Additionally, the instructors included some very insightful information about the Drupal community in general.  Needless to say, by the end of the day, there were quite a few heads swimming around in the Drupal pool.

And the convention hasn’t even started yet!!  Stay tuned over the next few days as Ken and I keep you posted on the many and varied activities occurring here at DrupalCon San Francisco.

DrupalCon 2010 – Next Week

Thu, 04/15/2010 - 1:11pm

DrupalCon San Francisco 2010 begins on Sunday.  Approximately 2,800 Drupal developers, theme builders, users, trainers and others will get together for several days of learning, sharing and training.

Central Web Services is sending two members of our team to the Event.  Sher Fenn and Ken Lett will be attending and returning with lots of information to share with our team.  They’ll also be bringing information back to you, the community.  We may even see a few blog posts from them during the event.

I’m hoping that they can find and bring back some Druplipets – a chia pet like version of the Drupal Drop icon.  CWS could use a new mascot.

Druplipet – copyright pbull (from Flickr)

University Homepages – Powered by Drupal

Fri, 04/09/2010 - 10:56am

There was an interesting and timely article on the eduGuru blog this week regarding how Duke University used Drupal to power their new homepage.

CWS and Web Communications are currently developing a new OSU homepage.  We are also using Drupal to power the content of the new page.  We can’t give out too many details right now, because we’re busy developing the new site.  Details about the new site and process will be available to campus soon.

David Barner of Web Communications will be providing a demonstration and overview of the new homepage at the April Drupal on Rye session.  If you can’t make the session, we will be providing  wrap-ups and videos via this blog after the meeting is complete.

As a reminder the April Drupal on Rye session will be Tuesday, April 27th from 11:30am – 1:00pm in Kidder 278.  Hope to see you there!

March 2010 Meeting Videos

Thu, 04/08/2010 - 2:45pm

We finally have the video from the March 2010 Drupal on Rye uploaded and encoded into OSU Media Manager.  We did our best to give everyone speaking a microphone, but some commenters were faster than we could keep up with.  For the April meeting, we’re trying a different location which should help with the audio recording.

Part 1 – Employee CCK discussion

[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

Part 2 – New Drupal on Rye Blog

[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

Part 3 – Campus Taxonomies

[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

Part 4 – Distribution of Shared Code

[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

Part 5 – Details of upcoming release

[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

Part 6 – Additional Discussion

[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

April 2010 Drupal on Rye Schedule

Wed, 04/07/2010 - 2:35pm

The April Drupal on Rye session has been scheduled for Tuesday, April 27th from 11:30am – 1:00pm.  The session will be held in Kidder 278.

Some suggested topics of discussion include:

  • Demonstration of the new Bibliography module
  • Overview of the new OSU Homepage

In addition, several CWS employees will be attending DrupalCon 2010 (the Drupal Convention).  Our plan is to bring you updates and information from the conference at the next few Drupal on Rye Sessions.

We’re looking for other ideas from all of you out there.  Feel free to suggest ideas by leaving a comment on this post or sending a help ticket to CWS using the form at http://oregonstate.edu/cws/contact

We hope to finalize the agenda soon.

Registration is optional, but helps us know how many people to expect.

Drupal 6.16

Thu, 03/25/2010 - 1:38pm

OSU Drupal 6 production sites were updated last night. This upgrade included:

  • Upgrading Drupal core to version 6.16
  • Performance fix for OSU Confident
  • Updates to modules
    • IMCE WYSIWYG Bridge
    • Pathauto
    • Menu Breadcrumb
  • Fix for issue with images in Announcement summaries
  • Update Search module to use new OSU search (not beta)

If you notice any issues with your website, please let us know by submitting a help ticket.

March 2010 Meeting Wrap-Up

Thu, 03/18/2010 - 12:54pm

We had another successful meeting of the Drupal on Rye group.  It was a smaller group than we had last month.  There were 16 people in attendance, including representatives from CWS, Web Communications, College of Forestry, Extension, College of Ag,  Sea Grant, TSS, International Programs, Center for Humanities, and Horticulture.

Employee/Faculty CCK and Views

We looked at several employee CCKs that have been built by Web Communications and Extension.  This  list included:

We decided that it made sense to pursue a campus wide CCK as a starting point.  We will follow with an additional blog post dedicated to this issue.

Campus Taxonomies

The idea behind campus taxonomies is that there would be distinct taxonomies that could be downloaded and installed into your Drupal website.  Each taxonomy could be built by a Subject Matter Expert and provided to the rest of campus for use.  The taxonomies would be granular, so you could choose the appropriate taxonomies to include.

David Barner showed us some taxonomies that he is working on for the new OSU homepage project.  In addition, some specific taxonomies including Colleges, UHDS, Financial Aid, Information Technology, and Buildings were mentioned.

Before we can move in this direction, CWS needs to investigate a module to allow us to import taxonomies.  This is on our list and we will keep the community informed of our progress.

CWS Drupal Downloads

CWS has added a section to our website, Programming @ CWS.  As a part of this, we’ve added a section for sharing reusable Drupal code such as CCKs and Views.   For now, we’ve started with a CCK and View containing a block for displaying a Random Fact on your Drupal website.  An example of this can be seen as the “Did you know…?” block featured on in the right sidebar of the CWS website.  We’ll be adding more details to this section of our site as time goes on.

New Drupal on Rye blog

We have a new blog for keeping the community informed about the happenings with Drupal.  It will feature information from OSU community members.  If you are interesting in being an author on the blog, please let CWS know by sending in a help ticket.

OSU Drupal 6.16

CWS will be pushing updates to OSU Drupal 6 development sites this week.  This includes updates to

  • Upgrading Drupal core to version 6.16
  • Performance fix for OSU Confident
  • Updates to modules
    • IMCE WYSIWYG Bridge
    • Pathauto
    • Menu Breadcrumb
  • Issue with images in Announcement summaries
  • Update Search module to use new OSU search (not beta)

Future Meetings

The previous date of April 12th is no longer valid.  A new date for April will be set and sent out to the list soon.

March 2010 Meeting Agenda

Wed, 03/10/2010 - 12:46pm

Here is the agenda for our March 17th Meeting.  The meeting will take place from 11:30am-1:00pm in Willamette West, Rm 3622, 3rd Floor Valley Library

  • Employee/Faculty CCK and Views
    • We’ll start with a recent CCK developed by David Barner from Web Comm and discuss how we may be able to adjust it so that it could meet the needs of most of campus.
  • Campus Taxonomies
    • Based upon a request from Rachel Faber-Machacha from International Programs, we will discuss the possibility of having specific taxonomies that can be used on all sites, and possibly integrate with campus-wide CCKs and Views
  • CWS Website update
    • New section on the CWS to provide centralized access to campus-wide CCKs, Views, etc.

As a note, we will be testing out videotaping this session to see if providing online videos of the session on the web is a workable solution for people who cannot attend.

Optional enrollment (to let us know who is coming) can be done at the Professional Development website.

February 2010 Meeting Wrap-Up

Thu, 03/04/2010 - 9:44am

Our first Drupal on Rye meeting was held on Wednesday, February 17th.    It was a successful meeting with 19 people in attendance.  There were representatives from all over campus, including:  Center for Writing & Learning, Geosciences, Honors College, Extension, College of Ag, TSS, MBI, WebComm, Library, International Programs, and CWS.

Goals for Drupal on Rye

Our goals for Drupal on Rye are to build a community of Drupal users.  There are issues faced by site builders on a daily basis regarding structuring content and other issues.  Community members often have more insight into these issues than CWS does, because they face the same issues every day.  This forum, in addition to the Drupal support list, will provide a way for people to share their knowledge.

We would like to see “best practice” style examples of modules and techniques in use on your sites.  It’s one more way to share knowledge.

The forum also provides an opportunity for CWS and the community to interact.  We want to use this forum to gather feedback from you about features we currently provide and things you would like to see us provide.  There will also be opportunities for us to show you previews of what’s coming in upcoming releases of Drupal.

CWS Drupal Module Evaluation Criteria

For anyone who wasn’t familiar with the process, we provided a copy of the CWS Drupal Module Evaluation Criteria.   We then discussed our philosophy behind our evaluation criteria.

As of the date of the meeting, CWS hosted and maintains approximately 700 Drupal sites, when including development, production and training websites.  Having a standard list of modules allows us to update Drupal and the modules, test and ensure that the OSU Drupal installation is stable and working for everyone.   If modules could be customized for each site, the upgrade process would become incredibly complex.  We wouldn’t be able to test each site’s individual combination of modules before upgrade, and batch updates to all sites could cause issues for individual sites.

We welcome requests for modules to include in the OSU Drupal installation.  You can request a module by filling out a CWS help ticket request.

Bibliography Module

A brief overview of the Bibliography Module was presented.   This module allows for the management and display of publications.  CWS is currently working on incorporating this module into OSU Drupal.  There is not a defined timeline for implementing this module, but we are currently targeting April.  There will be a training course available for this module when it is relased.

Webform Module

There was an open discussion about the Webform Module.  CWS has had several requests to evaluate this, and we wanted to bring it up for discussion.  Based upon our evaluation, we saw limited use for this module.  Some of the drawbacks are:

  1. Limited data extraction – always have to download all data and there are limited output formats
  2. Limited form validation – most form validation requires the writing of php validations.  If you can write this, why would you need the module?
  3. No authenticated form submissions unless the person is a user on your Drupal site
  4. Once forms are created, there are no changes to fields or field settings
  5. Data must be stored in your Drupal database.  Since we do not allow direct database access to OSU Drupal databases for security purposes, alternative data extraction methods are not readily available

Once we presented this information, we opened up the floor.  The feedback from the community was that there needs to be a way to allow users with no HTML or PHP skills to create simple forms for collecting information.  Many of these forms may not require any kind of validation.  Most users, however, agreed with some of the shortcomings of the Webform Module.

The discussion lead to the identification of a need to have a tool that can be used by users as a form builder.  It should allow options for storing data from the form in a database,  sent to email, or both.  The generated form could be integrated easily into websites.  There should be advanced options for extracting the data, such as limiting results viewing or download by a date range.

CWS agreed to continue to investigate solutions for this issue.

Drupal 5 Support

Drupal 5 officially loses support from drupal.org when Drupal 7 is released.  This means that Drupal 5 will no longer receive security patches or updates.

CWS, however, has not currently set an end of life date for Drupal 5.  We are working with site owners to sent the date.  All OSU Drupal 5  users will receive significant advance notice of the OSU Drupal 5 shutdown date.

As of the date of the meeting, there were 98 production and 39 development Drupal 5 sites remaining.

Drupal 7 timeline

Drupal 7 does not have a defined release date.  The timeline is announced as “when all critical bugs are closed”.  There are approximately 150 critical bugs remaining.

Even though Drupal 7 will likely be released some time this year, CWS will not upgrade the OSU Drupal installation right away.  For us to upgrade, the following needs to be complete:

  • All Drupal community modules need to be upgraded to Drupal 7.  While many modules have a pledge to be ready when Drupal 7 is ready, not all of the maintainers of our installed modules have made this pledge.
  • OSU Modules for search, single sign on, upgrades, etc. need to be updated.
  • OSU Core Themes need to be updated.
  • Basic Training core needs to be developed.
  • CWS needs to complete testing on the whole installation to ensure everything works properly.

CWS did not release OSU Drupal 6 until Drupal version 6.10.  It was almost a year after the initial release of OSU Drupal.  The primary reason for the delay was the status of our installed modules.

There are a few things we know already about the upcoming Drupal 7:

  • There will not be a Drupal 5 to Drupal 7 upgrade path.  All OSU Drupal 5 sites will need to upgrade to Drupal 6 before they can be upgraded to Drupal 7.
  • The CCK module is going away and will become part of the core Drupal installation, and it will be called Fields.  We are unsure at this point what impact this has on the upgrade process.
  • There is a completely new administration built for  Drupal 7.

We will try to keep you apprised of developments with Drupal 7 through Drupal on Rye sessions and through this blog.

Future Meetings

We agreed that we would meet on a monthly basis.  Our next will take place:

  • Wednesday, March 17th 11:30am-1:00pm in Willamette West, Rm 3622, 3rd Floor Valley Library
  • Monday, April 12th 11:30am-1:00pm in Willamette West, Rm 3622, 3rd Floor Valley Library

Registration for these sessions is optional, but can be done in the Professional Development application.

That wraps it up.  It was a great meeting and I think Drupal on Rye will be a valuable resource for the Drupal community at OSU.  We hope to see you at our next Drupal on Rye meeting.

Contact Info

Central Web Services
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331
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