Building a Drupal Forum

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Details how I built a Drupal forum at AASHE.ORG.

Details how I built a Drupal forum at AASHE.ORG.

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  • Drupal has a well established reputation for running enterprise-level websites such as The Economist©, FedEx© and The White House. Drupal has an excellent vocabulary and a tag management core module with a better caching system. This is a key requirement to surpass the high volume of traffic.

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  • 1. Building a Drupal Forum at AASHE.ORG Julia Kulla-Mader juliakm.com @juliakm
  • 2. Project Mission Provide a central place where those interested in campus sustainability can ask and answer questions, share knowledge and expertise, and contribute to the growing body of knowledge on campus sustainability.
  • 3. What can the core forum module accomplish?
  • 4. Basic Forum Module Functionality Create forum posts Respond to forum posts via comments Mark posts as sticky Organize posts by taxonomy RSS feed for each forum
  • 5. What can the core forum module not do?
  • 6. Part I: Requirements Not Met By Forum Module Look and feel can be customized to match main AASHE website. Ability for users to sign up for email notification (by email or RSS) of replies to a thread (this should default on their own posts). Individual topic areas can be co-branded with partner associations. For example, the ACUPCC sponsors the Climate Forum.
  • 7. Part II: Requirements Not Met By Forum Module Sponsors recognized on the main forums page. AASHE staff logo and AASHE member logo accompanies appropriate posts. Non-members posts are not automatically published. Moderators receive an automatic notification. The "Real Name" and not the username should show up everywhere for users.
  • 8. Part III: Requirements Not Met By Forum Module Users can “quote” one another in forum threads Display recent posts categorized by relevant taxonomy term throughout the site
  • 9. How can we build more functionality into the forum using contributed modules?
  • 10. Look and Feel Objective: Look and feel can be customized to match main AASHE website. Problem: Basic forum module makes forum design difficult to customize. Solution: Advanced Forum
  • 11. Email Notifications Objective: Ability for users to sign up for email notification (by email or RSS) of replies to a thread (this should default on their own posts). Problem: Users need a way to receive updates via email. This is not a core feature. Solution: Notifications + Token + Messaging Framework
  • 12. Co-Branded Forum Objective: Individual topic areas can be co- branded with partner associations. For example, the ACUPCC sponsors the Climate Forum. Problem: There’s no section-sponsor setup out of the box with the forum module. Solution: Create a block that only appears on specific taxonomy pages.
  • 13. Sponsor Recognition Objective: Sponsors recognized in random order on the main forums page. Problem: Non-technical users need to be able to upload logos and have them appear on the homepage. Solution: Views + Imagecache
  • 14. Staff and Member Logos Objective: AASHE staff logo to accompany staff posts. AASHE member logo accompanies member posts. Problem: Need a way to automatically assign “badges” to posts. Solution: User Badges + Author Pane
  • 15. Auto Staff Notifications Problem: When non-members submit posts, they are not published and the AASHE moderators receive an automatic notification. Objective: Need to not public posts and comments with a specific role and to send AASHE Staff notification that it’s time to review a post. Solution: Rules
  • 16. Real Name Only Objective: The "Real Name" and not the username should show up everywhere for users. Problem: We don’t use “username” on the website to ever identify users. Solution: Real Name
  • 17. Quote Objective: Users can “quote” one another in forum threads Problem: It can been difficult to teach users that the appropriate way to quote one another is with <blockquote>. Solution: Quote + patch
  • 18. Recent Relevant Posts Objective: Display recent posts categorized by relevant taxonomy term throughout the site. Problem: Recent posts forum block doesn’t allow you to filter depending on the page you are on. Solution: Views (not implemented on live site)
  • 19. Bonus Problem: Deploying is Hard Objective: Find an easy way to transfer required modules, Views, CCK fields, imagecache presets from development to staging to live site Problem: It’s hard to keep track of all of the required modules and settings and downright annoying. Solution: Features
  • 20. Drumroll please...
  • 21. Block for anonymous users only Sponsor View Description/ Sponsor Block Real Names
  • 22. Member Badge Subscription Options Quote Button Recent Posts View
  • 23. Forum Questions?