Category Archives: Content Management

Drupal First Impressions

As I recently posted, I’ve been using wordpress everywhere currently. It is simple and easy to use. I am, however, always prepared to learn new things, and use the appropriate tools for a job. So, after hearing drupal come up as an open source CMS at the CMPros summit in Boston, I figured that I’d try it out.

The basic install process was pretty straight forward. Download and untar the install available from drupal.org. I created the user for the database on my mysql instance, and followed the simple install guide to get it up and running, which finished with me having created an admin account and logging in as admin.

After completing the basic install, it was relatively easy to go and create content. The front page includes a create content link available, making it easy to create stories and static pages. I could go in and do this quickly, and get some nice rapid gratification by creating content. Unfortunately the urls were kinda ugly and drupalish. I wasn’t happy, figured that someone had to have come up with a way to do nice urls. I started with a quick look at the admins screen, and almost ran away after seeing the huge number of options.

Drupal Admin Screens

Google came to the rescue, and I downloaded the pathauto tool, and started reading documentation. Getting the friendly urls definately isn’t as easy as in wordpress. I had to go in and edit the .htaccess and set the path option:  RewriteBase /~rob/drupal-5.3

Installing a module is pretty straight forward, and simply consists of copying it into the modules directory. It is then enabled through the gui, using: Administer>Modules. When I did this for pathauto I noticed dependancies on the path, and token modules, which needed to be resolved before pathauto could be run.

As token wasn’t installed by default I had to pause my installation of pathauto. So I was left with exploring path, and the rest of drupal. Path actually works ok. It makes it easy to specify friendly urls for your pages and stories, via a simple text field.

Pathauto works pretty well to. After getting it installed (just unpackaging the tars for pathauto and node into the modules directory) I was easily able to update the configuration to ensure friednly paths are created. Functionally this ends up making the urls work as well as wordpress. The admin interface also provides heaps of additional options (which I didn’t really need).

I’ve started putting together a proof-of-concept module for EditLive! as well. After some input from the legendary support engineer (Suneth), we got this working.

Overall drupal seems to be much more powerful that wordpress. Like wordpress has a rich module system, allowing people to customise and enrich their installation. It is a good enough system, and while I don’t plan on replacing my wordpress installations with it, I can see that it may be useful for bigger sites.