Drupal/2007

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Notes

Database Setup

The instructions assume you have shell access to the database server machine, which often isn't the case and is actually quite unnecessary. I installed Drupal on a server where all databases had to be created through a control panel. After creating the database, I gave my "root" user admin privileges on the new database and then created a new user specifically for Drupal to use, with read/write privileges only. Then on my local machine, I chdir to the directory with the database.4.1.mysql file and run mysql with the following command:

mysql -hhostname -uusername -ppassword databasename < database.4.1.mysql

...where hostname is the domain name of the server (e.g. mysql.yourhost.com), databasename is the name of the new database, and username and password are those of the "root" admin user (so it can create tables). After installation, I modify $db_url in the /sites/defaults/settings.php file to use the new read/write user's name and password. (When installing new modules or upgrading Drupal, you may need to temporarily grant this user CREATE and MODIFY permissions, or temporarily let Drupal use the "root" user.) This process takes about 5 seconds on a reasonably fast shared MySQL server, and (of course) gives absolutely no feedback. If you have the hostname wrong, it will time-out after about 3 minutes. --Woozle 14:18, 18 May 2006 (EDT)

Organic Groups

I've twice had problems after installing the Organic Groups module, but the second time around I was able to resolve it with a little help from this page. The notes on that page are apparently for an earlier version of OG & Drupal; the equivalent sql code is now in og.install. There wasn't a problem with a doubled comma, but when I copied/pasted the SQL code into MySQL Query Browser and tried to execute it, it didn't like the way the table names had {brackets} around them. I took those out, and everything got happy again. (Couldn't figure out how to post a reply to the bug page, so my notes go here instead.) --Woozle 21:59, 13 May 2006 (EDT)

In general, I find that organic groups somehow don't quite work the way I expect. For example: I set up a group which was intended for specific people only; nobody else has read access. It's a bit off-putting, then, when posts to that group appear listed on the home page by default. They are still only readable by members of the group, and I believe this behavior can be turned off, but it makes me wonder what other minor "holes" there might be where "outsiders" can catch glimpses of protected-group activities if the settings (admin and per-post) aren't exactly right. --Woozle 18:03, 26 June 2006 (EDT)

2007-01-20 I recently discovered that pages which were supposed to be "group members only" were easily available to anonymous users. This is very bad. In desperation, I edited each of the pages and un-checked the "published" option, which successfully removed them from anonymous view – but now I don't see the pages listed anywhere, even when I am logged in. I can load the pages from my browser cache, so I know they have not actually been deleted from the database – but how am I supposed to find those pages later on? I would expect to see them listed when I go to the "group" page – perhaps in a separate section, "your unpublished pages"; if not there, then I would expect to see a listing of my "unpublished pages" somewhere in my user information. I couldn't find any such thing. This is very off-putting, and only reinforces my decision to discontinue using Drupal and look for something else. --Woozle 14:57, 20 January 2007 (EST)

User Interface

A client tried to use the Drupal site I had set up as a sort of BBS for communication, and had trouble posting a comment; apparently she thought she had successfully posted, but the comment (quite a long piece of text) was apparently never submitted, and was completely lost. A quick walk-through of the posting process revealed that she had been somewhat fazed by the fact that there was no button labeled "submit" or "next"; the button you have to press is labeled "preview". There is no "post without previewing" button, I don't see any way to enable it, nor do I see any way to change the text of the "preview" button without editing source code. --Woozle 18:03, 26 June 2006 (EDT)

Another minor but vexing issue is that sometimes two paragraphs will display with no break between them, and no amount of manual insertion of extra linebreaks will fix it; you have to enable the "full HTML" input method and insert a pair (not just one) of <p> tags. Formatting in general is very inflexible unless you choose the "full HTML" input method, which (IMHO) rather defeats the purpose of having a "simple" mode. --Woozle 15:58, 15 July 2006 (EDT)

Templates

Is there any mechanism corresponding to MediaWiki templates? Other than custom PHP code (which isn't safe for anyone except admins to use), I don't see anything... In general, the tools for creating and managing content seem weaker than in MediaWiki (and presumably most wiki software), with the exception of forums (generally lacking in most wiki software, unless you count MediaWiki's talk pages, which are arguably not very user-friendly for forum-style discussion). --Woozle 18:03, 26 June 2006 (EDT)

Documentation

Drupal seems to lack a lot of "how-to"-style documentation, or at least it is difficult to find and difficult to figure out where to look to find the information to meet your particular needs. It is especially annoying when you are trying to find out how a particular module works, how to use it, what (exactly) it does, etc., because all the "Support" links for every module seem to take you to general Drupal support rather than anything specific to that module. --Woozle 18:26, 26 June 2006 (EDT)