One Geek\’s View On…

April 15, 2007

New Site Live: HeartyHandshake.Com

Filed under: drupal, Drupal Projects, geekNews, WebDev — Robbie The Geek @ 12:46 am

I am very excited to announce that I have a new online home located over at HeartyHandshake.Com. This is a new showcase site for my web design, development and implementation, more over the site is a Drupal 5.1 website with a custom created theme. That design was created for my by my very good friend Christian over at Krona Design, and I feel very lucky to have his creativity at work for my online brand. So a huge thank you goes out to my good friend for all his hard work on my website’s design, and capturing my essence, and the essence of my style of work. For the technical reading this blog I am most proud of The Work section of Hearty Handshake, it is a “view” of a custom content type (created with CCK), I called a website. The output of the content type is very exciting, I created a new template (node-website.tpl.php) file for outputing exactly what I wanted, and loading other nodes through a node reference link. I may write an article on how the view is created if there is interest. Please comment here, use the contact form over on the live site, or drop me an email drupal[@]HeartyHandshake[.]Com

Thanks,

Robbie(TheGeek)

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December 11, 2006

I have completed my first intranet project with Drupal

Filed under: drupal, Drupal Projects, WebDev — Robbie The Geek @ 2:42 pm

Hey all, been a while life, school, work and wifey all taking time away from me typing 🙂

My manager at work is a great guy that realizes that if you are passionate, and inspired by what you are doing at your job that you will be more productive. Recently after talking about the functionality of Drupal and some possible uses of it for our organization I was tasked with creating a repository for network drawings. This was to provide our network group with a central place to go for documentation and notes about specific sites and locations throughout our network. The key was that we wanted to separate out who had rights to upload network drawings and who can upload pictures of the location details, and finally that no anonymous user could view any actual document or photo, that that was something only authenticated users can do. I started this task by creating a couple of roles, lets call them pics and drawings. I was going to just make the drawings group create a new page and allow upload of the drawings through this node type. But in the long run I actually found it more worthwhile to create a whole new module that I called site that would allow the drawing users to create a location and only be required to type in the address of the site and pick the shortened version of the name based on a taxonomy term (also I could change the names of the fields so that they were more useful in this case I changed Title to Site Address and Body to Notes which was no longer required). I prepopulated the entire category with the names of every site in our environment so that no matter what I was sure what the taxonomy term would be (this became important later when I created a custom view for each site).

The next step was to start thinking about how I wanted to pages themselves to be layed out, and I came up the node type site wtih the diagram and the notes about the site I wanted to be the main content of the page and then I wanted to add all the photos from the site to the right sidebar as a block. This seemed very straight forward, I started by creating a few custom views with a page and an exact taxonomy term, and a block with exact taxonomy term and listed only on specific pages. After doing about 15 sites this way I started to think there must be a better way, and I came up with atleast one (I am sure there are others and even better solutions but this was my final solution). I created a single customized page view that utilized the argument section of the view, to take in the last portion of the url as the argument and the last portion of the URL was, you guessed it the short name taxonomy term. So now I can create a single view based on the argument passed in, and make individual blocks for the photos tagged the same way, and have them shown only on the URL for the specific site. In the long run I was able take care of all the security issues by just using the built in access control, and the roles I had previously created. So in the end one group of users can create sites and upload diagrams, one group of users can create image nodes and make comments, and my manager is happy and his boss is too. Drupal to the rescue once again. Any specific questions or thoughts please comment below or free free to send an email to drupal@robbiethegeek.com

October 2, 2006

My latest drupal project…

Filed under: cms, drupal, Drupal Projects, WebDev — Robbie The Geek @ 5:39 pm

3 weeks ago my friend and guinea-pig Jon came to me with complaints about his website being a little out of date. I immediately turned around and started the process of getting his site installed using Drupal so he could maintain it himself because I am busy with work and school, and he is more technical then your average user. I started his site migration from a stock static website with a wordpress blog to a new customized, dynamic Drupal site. As the MySQL database was being created, I went through the pluses with Jon as to why I felt his website should be recreated with a Content Management System.

Here was a short write up of that conversation…

  • You are a tech-savvy user that enjoys blogging already. What if I could make it as easy for you to add new show information and sections within the shows page as it is for you to create a blog.
  • What if I could make it so any blog that you tagged properly could automatically be added to the front page and only the front pag of your website, so that users will always get current up-to-date content that you provide them.
  • I will be able to mimic the Lightbox functionality from your current website’s photo pages, on all your photo pages including shows, and you can add your own photos and they to will use the javascript functionality called lightbox.
  • It will give me a chance to get you more involved in your own website and push me to expose my knowledge or lack-there-of Drupal.

I went forward with the redesign, spent a little over 20 hours on the redesign, with Jon talking out the functionality, the look, and testing and troubleshooting the look feel and customized views. What I finally handed off to him was my greatest Drupal creation so far and I am rather proud of the site. I used the Meta theme, and customized it to his liking, and alot of modules to get the look, feel and functionality I was looking for; Please visit the site and take a look at : http://www.jonhoche.com

Feel free to come back and make comments after you look around.

August 22, 2006

Setting up a Drupal work enviornment on my laptop…Part 3

Filed under: cms, drupal, howTo, LAMP, MacOSX, WebDev — Robbie The Geek @ 9:44 pm

Importing Drupal to MySQLOk the next step is to import the tables and all the guts of Drupal into your newly created database, for MySql 4.1 or higher (MAMP has MySQL5) you will need to import a file called database.4.1.mysql located in the /drupal-4.7.X/database as shown in the picture to the left. It is that simple and you are almost there with your very our sandbox for development. You will have to edit a file in the /{drupal}/sites/default/settings.php and change one line.

$db_url = ‘mysql://username:password@localhost/databasename’;

to whatever the fields are in your environment this is what mine looks like

$db_url = ‘mysql://drupal:drupal@localhost/drupal’;Admin>Settings>File System Settings

This should be the final step to your new drupal install last step is to log in and create your primary (administrative) account for your site. On a side note I have had an issue a few times when you click on Administration>>Settings for the first time that there is an issue with the files folder

August 21, 2006

Setting up a Drupal work enviornment on my laptop…Part 2

Filed under: drupal, howTo, LAMP, MacOSX, WebDev — Robbie The Geek @ 10:25 am

phpMyAdmin create dbWelcome back I am now going to talk about the way that MAMP handles serving up files through Apache2. By default you install MAMP into the Applications directory on Mac OSX in a folder and the default path to the folder that is being served by Apache is /Applications/MAMP/htdocs/ . This is the folder that you will want to expand the Drupal folder after you have downloaded it directly from Drupal.org (if you are running MAMP which I will assume you are if you are reading through my little howto scenario here then you are running MySql 5) you need to create and populate phpMyAdmin Create drupal userthe database for Drupal. To do this you will need to pop over to phpMyAdmin (see screenshot to the right)and create a new database called whatever you like, and also create a new user for security reasons to assure that drupal can talk to your database without using the root account. Create a new user with a password you will need this to tell drupal what the default link connection information is to your new database.phpMyAdmin drupal user rights adn privilidges After this you will need to grants the user rights to your newly created database, this is very simple because the user you created can just be given all rights by clicking the check all link at the top of the database privileges window. I am off to my day job now I will try to work on the next installment in this howTo later today 🙂

August 20, 2006

Setting up a Drupal work enviornment on my laptop…Part 1

Filed under: drupal, howTo, LAMP, MacOSX, WebDev — Robbie The Geek @ 3:28 pm

A very useful way to setup a web development enviornment is an all-in-one solution that includes a web server, a database, server-side scripting support. I am running MacOSX and needed a solution like this and I have come across a great project called MAMPMAMP Screenshot. I haven’t previously mentioned my enviornment for web design on my laptop but I ahve been happily using this all-in-one testing solution for all my web development. I really like it one click of an icon starts a local webserver so you can have other machines on your network (specfically ones running the dreaded Internet Explorer) test your creations.MAMP Start page After you start MAMP you are faced with the screenshot you see on the right, and then poof your browser of choice will open up a MAMP Start page. This is a great all in one solution for us MacFolks, and it quickly and powerfully gets us setup with a true development enviornment using Apache2, MySQL 5 & PHP 4 or 5. Once you start MAMP your web browser will pop open and you will see the a MAMP start Page like the one I see on the left of this blog post. I will be back soon to take you through the some of the finer details of MAMP, and how to install Drupal into MAMP.

August 19, 2006

Drupal is changing my life apparently…(Part 2)

Filed under: cms, drupal, intro, LAMP, ubuntu — Robbie The Geek @ 4:17 pm

So I have been learning all I can learn about the web design/development world, and I have a healthy appetite for technology, and I was totally intrigued by Drupal. So I diligently looked up a howTo online for Ubuntu and web server stuffs and came across The Perfect Setup – Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Server (Dapper Drake) and I was in my glory. I thought wow I have it all right here. I followed the howto with painstaking precision, just to find when it was all done and over-with that I hadn’t really learned anything and I just followed what someone else told me to do. So from scratch I installed Ubuntu 6.06, no automated builds whatsoever. An hour later I was finishing up the patching process and all was well, I installed all the pieces of the server that I needed using apt-get and felt much more comfortable with the build. Also as a sidenote the “Perfect Setup” is alot of overkill if you aren’t running an ISP, it pushes you to install a new FTP daemon, a fullblown mail suite (Postfix), a DNS. In the end I ended up installing Exim4 as my mail server and it is much less intense and overblown, there is a very easy text question setup and in the end functioned perfectly as the mail server for Drupal :).

Those that have read through my other blogs will know I am a bit of a reader, I have over 100 rss feeds I try to keep current on and I always have a book or 3 in my bag I am currently reading. Plus I am a podcast manic, listening to whatever I can during my long commute’s on the bus. I have recently purchased and began reading David Mercer’s book Drupal: Creating Blogs, Forums, Portals, And Community Websites
Geek & David Mercer's Drupal book
and all I have to say is it is a good point to start reading if you haven’t been a Drupal hacker for the last 4 years cause I am finding it very useful….

So I am totally finding that Drupal is bringing together all the individual things that drew me back to the web in the first place, creativity, technical, social (both creating social networks and the social aspect of the Drupal community, and open source goodness).

August 18, 2006

Drupal is changing my life apparently…(Part 1)

Filed under: cms, drupal, geekNews, intro — Robbie The Geek @ 10:10 pm

Hi all my name is Robbie, and I am known online as RobbieTheGeek, have many spots I can bee found online and that is my handle. So here is the reason for a new blog, I decided I would give WordPress a try and to use and abuse it. I have 2 blogs over at Blogger.Com and they are :
RobbieTheGeek.blogspot.com – This one is rather general and alot of topics all over the place.
GeekVsMac.blogspot.com – This one I created as a little I love my new Macbook Pro and wanted to share it with my friends 🙂

This is a new blog one I hope to make a little more technical and a little more frequently updated. I am not going to get too much into my history and who I am here please stop by the other blogs for that stuff. I will warn I tend to be a smart-ass and I tend to have little patience for people that are dumb. That isn’t to say that people that don’t get something are dumb it is people that are to hard-headed and closed-minded to approach learning or understanding something new or foreign. And I am a geek to the bone… I am very self taught and very scattered I love technology and my wife (especially cause she smile’s and nod’s when I start blabbing about a little tiny detail of the tech-de-jour that she could care less about.

Ok on to how Drupal is changing my life…
I have a few projects I am working on currently and one seems to have fed the other. I have a side project (outside work with a friend) that is very much a community based site, and will need alot of user session tracking and specialized roles, and I am not a web programmer to say the least, I would call myself a Web Enthusiast with alot of knowledge about implementing web standards and accessibility. So I was going to try to learn what I could but I was sure there was some stuff out there in the opensource world that could be molded to what we needed. I then was presented with a project at my job by a great manager who gets the fact that while I can support Citrix (my current fulltime job) that I would rather be doing anything related to the web. So low and behold a project starts appearing where a website could be used and seemed to be a better fit over any other solution. Now I have some Linux experience and I am a technology whore so I jump across the table at the meeting to offer my services to tackle this issue. And poof I have a 64bit AMD Sun server now installed running Ubuntu 6.06 LAMP. So my manager and I start brainstorming about uses for a new webserver and what we would like to have it do for us, after about 20-30mins I was sure we needed a CMS I work for a government agency and there is alot of support for open source so off I went sure there was an open source solution for us, and I was right. OpenSourceCMS.com was a great spot to do a little research and from there I had narrowed it down to 2 available CMS’s. Joomla & Drupal. Then my manager said something that amazed me, “Which one will make you more marketable in the long run?”. So I dug around a little more and feel like the combination of well written (x)HTML CSS and the PHP & MySQL and the idea that there was a very vibrant development community and many created contributed modules made Drupal stand out.

Stop by for part 2 soon 🙂

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