tips

Upgrading to Drupal 6

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I've been putting it off for a few years, but I finally decided to upgrade devbee.com to Drupal 6. 

I didn't really need to, but it bothered me that I wasn't running supported code and I figured I might learn something. And I did. Mostly obvious things that I should be familiar with already. 

Drush


I've only ever played around with this. I don't like learning new things unless they are going to be truly useful to me. Drush is definitely something I shouldn't have ignored for so long. It comes in particularly handy when doing a site upgrade as you can download and install modules, clear cache, set variables, run DB updates and a lot more all from the command line. This tool is crazy good if you're comfortable in a terminal.

Moving Tabs to the Main Menu

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Developers are all familiar with the default behavior of the drupal menu systems "local tasks" (aka tabs). These appear throughout most Drupal sites, primarily in the administration area, but also on other pages like the user profile.

Generally, developers are pretty good about creating logical local tasks, meaning only those menu items which logically live under another menu item (like view, edit, revisions, workflow, etc... live under the node/% menu item).

Get Jing

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I just found this very cool screencast creation tool that is free. It's called Jing. Installation is quick and pretty easy (though it does require the .NET 3.0 libraries for the Windows version).

Here's a sample screencast, a quick demo of cscope as a development tool.

 

 

Eating one's own dogfood -vs- dining out

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The importance of project management tools is almost never fully appreciated. I am shocked at how common it is for a group of developers to go working without version control, ticket tracking, development documentation and so on. The very first thing I do when working with a new client is to make sure that they get these tools in place if they haven't already.

Those who are used to working without a complete set of project management tools never fail to appreciate the benefits of them once they are introduced. I consider it next to impossible for a team to work together without managing code and tasks in an efficient and highly organized way.[img_assist|nid=155|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=250|height=156]

Hopefully you do not need to be sold on this idea and are using CVS or SVN to manage your project already. You likely have some sort of ticket system. It is a little less likely that you have both of these components integrated with each other.

When it comes to choosing a solution for project management software, a die-hard Drupal user has a dilemna. On one hand, Drupal seems as though it should be the perfect solution. It's fully customizable, has lots of nifty project management related modules and, most importantly, it's Drupal! Why would you not use it? "Eating your own dogfood" is the way to go, right? Meh...

Komodo support for Drupal 5

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The very cool Komodo IDE has API support for Drupal. Very nice code completion/documentation for Drupal API functions.
This was apparently the result of a request from the Drupal community. Nice.
I recommend the Komodo IDE for all LAMP/Web development. It's by far the most mature of the IDEs available for PHP/Perl/HTML/Javascript/CSS work. The only drawback is that it's not free. It will run you about $300, but if you program for a living, it pays for itself very quickly.

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