Ruby, JavaScript, Sass, iOS. Stinky Cheese & Beer Advocate. Working at CustomInk and loving it!

Cooking with Drupal

Cooking With DrupalOne of my few New Year's resolutions was to blog often in the year 2006, in fact, I promised myself I was going to write at least one post every day. Well it's been two weeks since my last update and the world has missed some pretty good brain dumps from yours truly (sorry about that) but I have been keeping good notes and I do have great news about today!

Over the past few weeks I have been cooking up a storm in my digital kitchen with one of the best content management systems around, Drupal. This is the same CMS that runs the site and it has a good history for not just being a Blog or Forum software but an entire community platform, thus Drupal's tag line, Community Plumbing.

How Can You Say Drupal Is The Best CMS ?

OK, I would like to take back my exclamation about Drupal being the best CMS. A lot of people make absolute statements like this and they are always never wholly true. Choosing the "best" CMS is a relative concept and only possible when one starts backwards and defines their own end requirements and vision purpose of the system needed. For instance, if all you wanted was a personal blog, I would highly recommend WordPress as the right CMS for you. In that same vein, if you are new to the internet and tend to stay in the 3-foot section, a hosted non open source blogging system like TypePad, LiveJournal, or even Google's would be a good choice. These are great for beginners that have no interest in the back end setup work or maintenance typically associated with a professional CMS.

On the other hand, if you do real business on the internet, a SaaS might not do. That's OK because your still in for a good swim as there are numerous choices to be made. If you are a small publishing company like iPodLounge, you could use pMachine's Expression Engine. Its tag-based and well documented system is very easy to use, customize, and control permissions to content and features. If you are a software developer and need workflow, project management, CRM, bug and issue tracking Atlassian's JIRA or Confluence could be right for you. Moving on into the open source software realm, options include Zope or Plone for the Python programmers to Mambo or even Drupal for the PHP enthusiasts. Many of the features in all of these system blur together and it really does matter on many personal and business factors to agree on the "best" CMS for your needs.

That Smells Good, What Ya Cooking ?

Ah yes, that! Well now that I have avoided a flame war by sidestepping the "best" CMS argument let's get back into my favorite CMS at the moment, Drupal. When I first launched I used the current 4.6 version. Since then the Drupal team has been hard at work on version 4.7 (currently beta4) and to help give back to this great open source software movement, I decided to learn how Drupal works on the back end and contribute my blog theme. Doing so meant I had to actually learn a little PHP and JavaScript and the correct Drupal API and publishing hooks, both old and new. I have to say that I am very impressed with the Drupal system. Its power and extensibility is quite unique and its community demonstrates the best practices of what open source software is all about.

Here is the new Meta Theme for Drupal, this is a demonstration site that will serve as a working reference and online documentation for the theme's project on Here is an abstract list of some of the new features.

  • Total CSS over write of all Drupal's 4.7 features
  • The world's best style sheet switcher with DOM2 support and cookies
  • Custom image gallery theme with dynamic lightbox.js support
  • PNG support for IE 6 and lower
  • Multiple code syntax highlighting options
  • Custom and dynamic maintenance page
  • Dynamic comment depth integrated with CSS rules

Please feel free to browse this site and comment and ask question. If you see any problems, let me know as I will be actively supporting this them for upcoming Drupal releases.