Panopoly – Drupal Panels put into good use.

So, with the heavy lifting of DS done I’m playing around with different ideas of how to fix things in the site. Simplify workflows, reduce called items, things of that nature. So I installed the Panopoly distribution into the darkscribes.org/development folder. I’m using the rebuild of Dhampir Dreams as a test of this so that I can get more knowladge before pondering how it can help me on DS. Installation of panopoly is the same as it would be for a default Drupal install so I’m not going to go into that part. That’s not where the interesting bits are anyways. Those are the Panopoly apps that you can install into your setup. They are basically layouts for various types of content. News, Pages, everything can be done differently. IT also makes use of, and frankly makes usable the panels in-place editor. Which allows you to select, move, edit, or delete content blocks on a pages panel layout without having to go to admin/structure/pages. So far I haven’t gotten to creating the content or the story pages I intend to be on Dhampir Dreams just yet. I’m going to do that one at a time as I rethink my default workflow. However it is interesting to note that instead of the default Drupal content types, Panopoly condenses it down to three things: News posts, Content pages, and Landing Pages. News posts are things like this. A post of information and such that gets popped into a page of news. That part isn’t too bad really and I kind of like it. All my posts in one page on the system and organized for me so I just have to modify things slowly. I’ll probably go into it more as I delve into such things and double copy posts to see how they work. Contant pages are things like the About Me pages or the others that I really need to work on. They are just straight up pages that have different contexts in both my mind and the mind of the developers of this distribution. I’m not entirely certain how it will look when I finish working on it but we will see as we go.

Drupal Distributions – Getting the work done faster!

So, Darkscribes is almost done and now I’m trying to conceive the redesign of Dhampir Dreams. While I’m doing that I’m also looking into what I have available to me. I don’t want to have to spend too much time spinning up a Drupal install but I also don’t want to do this completely from scratch if a lot of my use cases have been handled already. This is where the Drupal Distributions and GetPantheon.com’s offerings come in.

First off, a Drupal Distribution is a uniquely packaged version of Drupal. It provides it’s own modules and structures in order to allow for a completely new system. It has Drupal at it’s core, but it’s the way it handles things and sets things up as default that makes things different. If you didn’t know it was a Drupal Distribution you would be very justified in thinking they were totally different. I’m interested to say that is not the case.

Another way Drupal makes it easier to deploy things is the Features Module. I could take everything I’ve built for DS and turn it into a Features module, and then install the created module into another Drupal based site and have a good setup there. All the basic structures and everything built into the system. This saves time when creating a lot of sites that have similar needs. Like Darkscribes, Dhampir Dreams needs a way to organize stories and chapters under them, even if I don’t need to have a way to give everyone access to everything they need and it’s just me. It saves time and gets a site deployed much faster.

The best thing is that the entire process is open source, so you have access to the code and the ability to change what you need or want and spin your own distribution. That seems a lot of work though so I’m looking at ways that have already been worked on and have a lot of good structure even if I am not using it right now. I’ll keep working on them. The really good thing is that the Drupal-to-Drupal migrate module makes it where I could take the DS data, and drop it into the site dev I’m working on so I can get a good look at everything. It’s just stuff to work on and play with right now, maybe it will develop into something new and different. I just don’t know yet.

Alms for the…

So I’m sitting here working DS and pondering continued support on the site server and the like. It’s been rather difficult to get what I need as it relates to resources, and even then it’s difficult to keep it going due to cost. So I’ve started adding ads to my sites in order to drum up some revenue and I’m trying to figure out a good way for folks to contribute to the site through donations via paypal.

If I make over $10k USD on Paypal using a donation button and I don’t register as a non-profit they will hold the cash until I justify myself. But I have other ideas and such. I may still be able to pull it off but I need to figure out the button I’d have to use for it. But it’s still a thought process right now.

If the ad revenue starts coming in, and if it’s sufficient for my needs the donations might not be needed. But that’s if they make enough money. I figure I need about $1200USD to $2000USD yearly to get the sites running. That’s not really that much if the costs get differed and such. If the costs get differed it actually becomes quite cheap to handle.

I’m going to keep working on the idea and such and conciser options. I’ll probably start development over on getpantheon.com for the new Dhampir Dreams as well eventually.

Data – Handle with Care!

I’m sitting here, still fighting the migration fight on the Darkscribes system. I’ve actually gotten good results with the Drupal Feeds module to get everything in slowly but surely. I’ll probably start working on other things as time goes on when it’s done but first it has to be done. Now I’ve messed around a lot with certain options in Drupal and now it’s time to discuss them.

First I was trying to use Migrate module. This takes everything direct from the old databases and creates content that way. It was SUPPOSED to be relitivly easy, but unfortunatly it was anything but. Mostly because I could never figure out how to get the damned thing to see the other databases. It’s a total failure to launch on that side.

So I started working on feeds and I have made more progress with it then I ever have with migrate. Thing is that it’s all csv files which sounds easy if you know what they are. But it can be extremely tedious as you work on the tables. Especially as I’ve learned more and more about it and tried to get everything into the system. I’ve managed to do pretty well so far, but I’m still cleaning data and improving on things. one issue is that I’m probably going to have to delete data before import, as some of it just doesn’t look right.