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Brock Rogers

The only problem with troubleshooting is that sometimes trouble shoots back.

The Great Drupal Experiment, Part 1

I’m a WordPress guy. All of my current client sites are WordPress sites. All of my personal project sites are WordPress sites. I develop almost exclusively for WordPress, and I’ve never found anything yet that I can’t make it do. In short, if WordPress is wrong, it’s quite possible that I don’t want to be right. So why Drupal?

It’s all about mind expansion, really. Getting myself out of my comfort zone and making myself try something new. And, perhaps, I might find that I like Drupal more than WordPress. Well, that and I committed to that goofy Twelve for Twelve thing, and checking out Drupal isn’t going to be the one thing that keeps me from getting all 12 done this year.

Going in to The Great Drupal Experiment, I do know a few things. For instance, I know that the top three content management systems for websites are:

  1. WordPress (used by 15.7% of all websites)
  2. Joomla (2.7%)
  3. Drupal (2.0%)

WordPress is, by far, number one, with a CMS market share of 53.9% compared to Drupal at 6.7%. I understand bigger or more popular doesn’t always mean better. I mean, I run Linux (about a 1.5% or so market share) 99.9% of the time, and complain about Windows (about a 74% market share) the 0.1% when I’m forced to use it. Still, that’s a pretty big gap between WordPress and Drupal.

Actually, now that I think about it, that’s about all I know about Drupal. That, and I’m skeptical.

Installation

I’m so used to installing WordPress that I can do the “Famous 5-Minute Install” in about two and a half minutes. Not trying to brag on my elite WordPress installation skills, just saying that WordPress is crazy easy to install. But, thinking back to the first time I installed WordPress, it took about ten minutes to get in figured out, up and running.

First install time for Drupal: about ten minutes to install on my netbook. (And before you ask, yes I said netbook. If you want to talk about why my netbook runs a web server and how much of a geek that makes me, we’ll just have to do that some other time.) But, yea, no major difference, as far as I can tell, between the installation processes for someone that isn’t familiar with the process. Pretty much a push.

In order to really try this out, though, I decided to install Drupal on one of my side project sites, visitbarnesville.com. Second install: about four minutes. Again, verses a WordPress installation, no advantage either way. I’m pretty sure if I installed this 30 times or so, I’d get just as good at it as I am at WordPress.

Initial Configuration

One thing that I can say about the first time I installed WordPress is that it all felt very intuitive. I wouldn’t say the same so far about Drupal. Adding some initial content was simple enough, but it did take me a few minutes and some Google-ing to figure out how to make a page the main page. Adding an initial article was simple as well.

“Block” setup did not feel natural at all. Getting the blocks where I wanted them was no big whoop, but not as simple as how it is handled in WordPress. I still haven’t figured out how to have the Recent Content block only display articles and not pages, and, although I think it’s pretty neat that new pages can be included in the Recent Content block alongside articles, it’s quite possible that I don’t want pages to show up there, and so far see no way to keep it from happening.

I also as of yet haven’t been able to get Clean URL’s enabled, which the equivalent in WordPress is so simple (and flexible) that you can change it daily if you really like. Drupal error-ed out with a very uninformative “The clean URL test failed.” message, with no explanation as to why it did or how to fix it. A quick search returned no useful information as to how to fix this.

Day One Summary

The only things I have found inherently intuitive about Drupal are initial setup and content addition/management, items that, had they not been, I’d have already given up on this little project. Everything else seems a bit clunky.

Twelve for Twelve Update: January

One month into my “Twelve for Twelve” (plus 11 days), so I guess it’s time for an update.

  1. Go Zip Lining – Not yet, but give me a break, it was January. I want to do this when it’s warm and I’ll actually enjoy it.
  2. Run 500 Miles – I’ve run 2.42. It was January, I was sick have the month, and the treadmill’s speed control is all screwed up, so I can’t use it. In fairness, I tried to run one other time, and the treadmill took off at full speed when it was off and threw me.
  3. Release 12 Premium WordPress Themes – Ok, none actually released yet, but I’ve been working on the first, so a little progress.
  4. Learn AJAX – The fact that I actually thought about starting to learn AJAX made me feel better about not starting to lean AJAX.
  5. Try out Drupal – See #4, Learn AJAX.
  6. Post to Blog Twice a Week – I owed you 9 blog posts in January, and you got three. Got to do better here.
  7. Take Julie and Shannon Camping – Ok, I’m starting to feel like I didn’t do anything in January. Then again, this is a summer goal.
  8. Complete 100 hours of Pro Bono Web Design – Ok, this one wasn’t actually my fault. I did approach two different non-profits, but neither were interested. Bah!
  9. Say “Thank You” to Anyone in Military Uniform – Ok, I hit a home run on this one. Not a single person left my area wearing a uniform that didn’t get a thank you. One guy I actually chased down.
  10. Brew Five Different Beers – Good stuff again! The West Coast Pale Ale is done, and I had the first two pints of it yesterday, which is why I didn’t write this post yesterday. Quite good. Also, the Blueberry Bock has been bottled as of yesterday as well.
  11. Hike a Total of 30 Miles – Again, it was January.
  12. Watch the Sun Rise over the Ocean – Yeah, January.

So, as best as I can tell, I’m about 4% complete at the end of January. Baby steps through Twelve for Twelve.

Twelve for Twelve

So I’ve never really been into the New Year’s Resolution thing. For the last handful of years, I’ve always just made my New Year’s Resolution to not make any New Year’s Resolutions the next year. (Which, of course, I broke every year by making the same resolution.) But I’ve been thinking about it and have decided that I wanted to put together a list of, while all not all exactly resolutions, goals that I want to have for this year.

I tried to make it a pretty eclectic list, ranging from adventures, relaxation, physical and mental self improvement, relationship building, and giving back to others. Nice and well-rounded. So, without further ado, here is my 2012 to do list, which I’m creatively calling my “Twelve for Twelve.”

#1 – Go Zip Lining

Starting off with a simple, but exciting one. I’ve wanted to go zip lining for several years, and have never taken the time to just go do it. It looks like a blast, and I’m told that it is. If anyone is interested in joining me on this one, let me know. I’m thinking late spring in Hocking Hills area, but could be somewhat flexible.

#2 – Run 500 Miles

But not all at once, of course. Sounds like a big number to me, but it when I did the math, it would only be an average of just under 1.4 miles per day. I guess I can do that. Those two zeros still look pretty daunting, not to mention that I’m already 15 miles behind pace.

#3 – Release 12 Premium WordPress Themes

I’ve been developing WordPress themes for clients now for just over two years, but I’ve never released any for sale. Could be a good way to expand 10T’s business a bit. So in any spare time I have with the business this year, I’m going to spend working on a dozen.

#4 – Learn AJAX

What could be more New Year’s Resoluton-esque than to dive into something completely new, right? Whenever Java’s been around, I’ve always stood on the other side of the room. Time for the two of us to get to know each other.

#5 – Try Out Drupal

And speaking of diving into something new and uncomfortable, add Drupal to the list as well. I’ve always been a WordPress guy, but acknowledge that Drupal must have benefits of its own. Time to find out for myself what they are.

#6 – Post Twice a Week

I mentioned when I started this blog that I didn’t know why I was starting a blog when I had never really been all that committed to them in the past. Still, I want to give it an real effort to see if I can keep it up for a whole year. It’s only a little over 100 posts. Easy, right?

#7 – Take Julie and Shannon Camping

For those of you who know these two girly-girls, you might find this one a little funny. This one could quite possibly be the most challenging of the twelve, because I actually have to convince them to go first, which will be the hard part. The actual camping will be the easy part.

#8 – Complete 100 Hours of Pro Bono Web Design

I’m no good a fund raising, and public speaking makes my knees shake. But I can design web pages, so I’m looking to volunteer in a way that would actually be beneficial to the group that I’m volunteering for, specifically, for small South-Eastern Ohio non-profit organizations. If anyone out there is part of one that is looking to have a website, please let me know. First come, first served.

#9 – Say “Thank You” to Anyone in Military Uniform

Whenever possible and especially if I don’t know them. I know that this isn’t why these guys and gals do it, but if you’ve ever just walked up to a member of the military, and given them a smile and a “Thank You,” you will see how much that simple act means to them, and they don’t get to hear it nearly as often as they deserve.

#10 – Brew Five Different Beers

Thanks to the fantastic Christmas present from Julie, I really think that home brewing might just be my new hobby, and I want to give it a good chance to be so. I figure that if I’m as interested on the fifth batch as I am on the first, new hobby found.

#11 – Hike a Total of 30 Miles

Hiking for me is extremely relaxing, mentally clearing, and just generally gives me that warm fuzzy feeling. And I didn’t hike a single step in 2011. That simply has to change. Thirty miles of hiking isn’t that ambitious of a goal, but it’s a lot further than none at all.

#12 – Watch the Sun Rise Over the Ocean

Last but not least, a simple pleasure. I haven’t seen this happen in ten years. That’s an unacceptable length of time.

So, there they are. Twelve for Twelve.

Ready? Go!