Drupal code: Drupal hints and tips

  • Facebook like views integration

    Facebook is rapidly taking over the planet, and Drupal is arguably trying to do the same. Facebook added the concept of 'liking' a webpage to their array of social tools a while ago. Drupal modules quickly added the ability to 'like' content on your site.

    This is all well and good, but what about getting some of that data back into Drupal?

    Suppose that you have an image gallery, and you want people to be able to rate the images, by 'liking' them using Facebook like. What you'd really like to be able to do then is build a 'top rated' view of those images.

  • Removing that pesky trailing slash

    So, it's perfectly valid to visit a site using a URL like:


    But some pesky SEO types will complain that the site is accessible at two URLs and that you need do a 301 redirect to the canonical URL (http://www.google.co.uk/). What you want to do is remove the trailing slashes using mod rewrite.

    If you really need to do this, then you can just pop the following in the .htaccess file that Drupal provides:

  • Aegir HTTP basic authentication

    Aegir is a system for managing sites using Drupal and drush. We use it to manage this site in fact.

    However, we use a fairly old version. As a precursor to doing some more work on the backup management I wanted to get my head around the new version of Aegir, and the object orientedness.

    There's a really useful tutorial over on the Aegir community site:
    That shows you how to add options to Aegir sites and pass the information into the backend.

    The tutorial mentions a possible real life use of implementing HTTP basic authentication on a site. Well, in an effort to understand Aegir more, I've coded it up, and you can now really easily specify HTTP basic authentication credentials for any site managed in Aegir. This is really useful for staging sites that you need to give clients access to, but don't want the entire world seeing.

  • Hiding empty Panels panes

    If you're using Panels to display dynamic content, you might want to dynamically check whether to display the panes based on what will be shown. For example, if there is no content to show in a certain pane, you probably don't want the pane to show at all.

    You may especially want to do this if your theme will do anything ugly, or just unnecessarily conspicuous, with any HTML that is wrapping empty content.

  • Views caching

    A little while ago I blogged about views content cache as a way to increase performance of your Drupal site. Today I released version 2.2 of the module, that adds lots of lovely features.

  • Page manager redirect

    Quite often you need to redirect a particular path on a Drupal site, there are a number of ways to do this, but most involve writing PHP code. Also, it's not hugely easy to do things like redirect node/%node but only when %node is a 'image' node, posted on a Tuesday. The awesome Page manager module, and a little utility module we wrote changes that.

  • Views content cache

    Views is awesome. You get a ton of flexibility and power, but that comes at a price: Some of the queries that views produces are less than optimal, and the rendering of results can take a long time. Views 2.6 introduced a nice solution to some of the issues, with the introduction of caching plugins.

    Views itself comes with a single cache plugin (okay, okay two if you're really counting) that is time-based. So you can say: "I don't care if I show content that's 6 hours old" and it'll handle it fine. I've been thinking for a while that there should really be a better way, if you've got a view listing blog posts, you only really need to flush the cache on that view when a new blog post is added, or and existing one is updated or deleted. After a client really needed this, I looked into it and found some code lying around in the views issue queue written by huesforalice. I cleaned it up some and created a module, presenting:

    Views content cache.

  • Drupal(Vol)Con 2010

    Computerminds were due to attend the latest DrupalCon over in San Francisco, however Eyjafjallajokull had other ideas. With planes grounded and Europe at a standstill (in the air) we couldn't make it.

    However, an amazing bunch of people came together a couple of days before the start of Drupalcon proper to set up: DrupalVolCon London.

    DrupalVolCon was really cool, we watched the drupalcon keynotes from SF on a projector, and ate lots of pizza. We also presented sessions to each other, unconference style, here are some of the highlights:

  • A nice way to view node teasers

    Want to check what your nodes look like as teasers really easily? Fire up the views module and import the attached view. It adds a 'Teaser' tab to nodes alongside the View/Edit/etc. tabs, so you can select it and the node is displayed as a teaser (or you can go to node/<nid>/teaser manually).

    Simple but effective :-)

  • Automating boring tasks with Selenium IDE

    If you need to perform the same repetitive task on a bunch of nodes you can script the operation using PHP, but sometimes it can take a long time to write and test the PHP and even then you have to get the script to the server and execute within a certain time etc.


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