management

Moving Your Drupal 'files' Folder - Dev to Live Sites

When I was rebuilding www.jeffgeerling.com in Drupal, I decided to use the testing domain new.jeffgeerling.com. This presented me with a challenge, once I started working a bit more on the site, as I set up imagecache, the file system, the favicon, the logo, internal images in posts, images inserted into blocks, etc., into my /sites/new.jeffgeerling.com/files directory.

If I simply renamed the directory to 'jeffgeerling.com' and went live, I'd end up with tons of 404 errors. Currently, there's no easy way to switch the location of your files directory in Drupal. Lacking an easy method, it's time to get your hands dirty with a little SQL (I entered the following commands via phpMyAdmin, since my host doesn't yet allow SSH access):

Don't Be Afraid to Focus on Other People's Content

Twitter BirdI follow a lot of Twitter users among my accounts; probably somewhere around 400-500 different twitter-ers. Because of this, I often get some awesome links to tutorials, guides, how-tos, and general information; many links which I would miss otherwise, because they won't show up on reddit, digg, or other social link sites.

When Twitter users give high-quality, low-visibility links, users read their tweets and blogs more often than the users who spam their Twitter streams with tons of links to their own content. In my opinion, very few people can often and consistently write top-notch content on their own blogs. There are exceptions, but most bloggers are not professional writers, and therefore need to focus not solely on their own writings, but on others' as well.

On the State of Drupal Themes and Theming

I was browsing the Drupal Theme Garden a few days ago and was reflecting on how incredibly boring (if not ugly) a large share of the themes looked. Out of all the themes I viewed (over 50), I might consider using only 10 or so on a production site for a quick project that I didn't want to create a theme for.

 No - Yes - Drupal Designs Evaluated

Later on, I read this post on Steven Witten's blog [Acko.net] from 2007, and read through every single comment, because I am extremely interested in the issue of Drupal theming. If you are at all interested in helping Drupal be more themeable and appealing to designers, you must read the post linked to above. Go ahead - read it. I'll wait...

...okay, now that you're back,

A few of the comments in Steve's blog post deserve a mention...

From the blog posting itself: "Not enough Drupal people are savvy enough about theming and design to help out with even small tasks (like a banner) or even give quality tips and feedback on other work. The result is that theming and design receives little attention. Most contributed themes and sites could look a lot better, if they just themed it some more. And getting patches into core that give the defaults a little more oomph is tough, as they are often considered to be useless embellishments.

Blogging: Signal-to-Noise Ratio

Signal to Noise RSS Icon Ratio Image

I use an RSS news reader application to browse stories from blogs and websites that I am interested in following. To stay in my news reader for more than a few weeks, a website must do two things:

  1. Consistently offer 'meaty' and well-written posts.
  2. Not 'spam' me with posts (i.e. no more than 2 posts a day, unless the content is really good or really interesting).

If you'll notice, none of my criteria include "Have many, many posts a day." The reason for this is simple: My time is valuable, and I don't want to waste it browsing through mushy, meaningless content—even if that time is only a second or two. A lot of people think they should post early and post often, sometimes re-blogging what others have already said, but this is not a good strategy for retaining site subscribers and readers, even if it helps your search-engine rankings a little. Signal / Noise ratio is probably the single determining factor in whether a site will succeed in gaining loyal followers or not.

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