Top 20 Drupal Mistakes newbies make
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Top 20 Drupal Mistakes newbies make

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Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ocFBRpoGTs ...

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ocFBRpoGTs

Working as a Drupal theming/development consultant on many "rescue mission" projects I seen many different mistakes web developers do when facing with Drupal for the first time. This presentations points out those mistakes and gives solutions for them.

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  • 1. TOP 20 DRUPAL MISTAKES NEWBIES MAKE Iztok Smolič, Drupal Camp London, Mar 2013 Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 2. WHO IS • Web architect, Drupal site builder, themer • Drupal consultant (iztoksmolic.com) • Drupal studio owner (agiledrop.com) • Local meetups organizer, Drupal evangelist, Drupal Slovenia Association Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 3. THE COUNTDOWN Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 4. 20. NOT ATTENDING YOUR NEAREST DRUPAL CAMPS • I find hard to trust developers/themers that are not active in Drupal community • Find local user groups, attend meetups • Attend camp and conferences world wide • Engaging on groups.drupal.org or drupal.org/forum • Just putting your self into your work I guess Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 5. 19. TRYING TO BEND DRUPAL TO BEHAVE LIKE... • Can we make it work/look/behave like Joomla, Wordpress, Typo3 etc. Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 6. 18. BAD CONTENT ARCHITECTURE DECISIONS • Using too much content types (e.g. is Article really so different from Public release? Maybe we can use category to separate them?) • Not using content types (e.g. instead of listing staff as a table in a page’s body, better to build the page with Views and list content type Staff member) • Not using Taxonomy, Organic Groups, Entity Reference to link together entities. • Be consistent - have a concept that does not duplicate your code. No real formula, just practice and experiences. Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 7. 17. NOT KNOWING THE FURNITURE • Designers, architects should be aware of common elements • Check blog post from Chapter Three: http:// tinyurl.com/ yape9rb Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 8. 16. TARGETING TOO SPECIFIC CLASSES AND IDS • Drupal outputs a LOT of markup with specific HTML classes and ids. Knowing which class is appropriate to target is the key. • IDs are usually unique identifiers for blocks/nodes/views. Avoid using IDs in CSS. • Views have classes with view name and display name separated. Can be used to reuse CSS code. • .items-list, .content, .view-content etc. are used all over your Drupal site, be careful targeting those classes. Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 9. 15. NOT FAMILIAR WITH DEBUGGING TOOLS • When you would usually use print_r() to get the content of a array or object to your browser, Drupal has Devel (http:// drupal.org/project/devel): • dpm($variable) – prints content of variable in human friendly way • You can also store info to a log: http://drupal.org/project/ object_log • Can’t find the right template? Use Devel Themer (http:// drupal.org/project/devel_themer) Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 10. 14. ORPHANED MODULES • Clean your environment, or even better, test modules on other installations! • Leaving old, unused modules can confuse you latter on, not to mention how confused other developers can get. Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 11. 13. FORGETTING ABOUT BACK-END UX • Drupal is criticized for having a bad user experience for end users. Don’t blame Dries, its your fault! • Drupal is a framework, back end should be part of developer’s efforts when building a website. Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 12. 12. NOT KEEPING TRACK OF DRUPAL DEVELOPMENT • Know when the next version of core/module is crucial for god strategic decisions. • Keep track of interesting / new modules: • Lullabot Module Monday • theweeklydrop.com • http://drupal.org/project/modules • twitter: @alldrupal Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 13. 11. USING DEFAULT BLOCK SYSTEM • Use default blocks system only if project is very very simple. • A couple of alternatives were made to improve block system, I bet on the following two: • Context, which is block system on steroids • Panels, introduces new block-like concept Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 14. 10. CODING SPECIFIC PAGE TEMPLATES FOR EACH SUB-PAGE • Try to omit page--xxx.tpl.php templates. It duplicates the code, and makes maintenance difficult. • Try using Context Layout or Panels if variations of markup are needed. Panels have a drag’n’drop interface that can replace coding own page.tpl-s Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 15. 9. NOT RESPECTING THE CODING STANDARDS • Different approaches and coding styles make code less organized and makes the job for other developers more difficult. • two spaces indentation • $var = foo($bar, $baz, $quux); • $some_array = array('hello', 'world', 'foo' => 'bar'); • <?php print $title; ?> • http://drupal.org/coding-standards Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 16. 8. NOT USING DRUPAL API • Drupal comes with some very handy functions, we should use them • l() and url() - in contrast of hardcoded relative URL address can outputs aliased URL path • base_path(), returns base URL of the Drupal installation • theme() functions Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 17. 7. CHOOSING LESS OR UNSUPPORTED MODULES• Check the usage/download counter, last update, open issues counter, all that can give a idea about the module status. • Read the description, in many cases authors let the people know that module will be deprecated in favor of some other more comprehensive module. Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 18. 6. WRONG FOLDER STRUCTURE • If using single site installation (one Drupal core, one website) put: • themes in /sites/default/themes • modules from drupal.org in /sites/default/modules/contrib • custom modules in /sites/default/modules/custom • Do not put themes and modules in the folder on the root level. Never. You can use “all” folder instead of “default” – your call. • More about this: http://drupal.org/node/120641 Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 19. 5. PUTTING LOGIC IN TEMPLATE FILES • SQL queries and logical operations don't belong in the template layer. • Basic logic code can be placed in the preprocess function in template.php file. • About process & preprocess: http://drupal.org/node/223430 Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 20. 4. FORGETTING ABOUT YOUR DRUPAL WEBSITE • Drupal needs love even after you have finished your website. Keeping core and modules updates keeps the system safe and easier to upgrade with new features. Real time example: 47 of 63 modules need update Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 21. 3. CODING • There is a 80% possibility that what you want to build can be build with a combination of modules. • Usual suspects: • Queries: Views • Bulk operating on content/users: views_bulk_operations • Trigger based operations: Rules • Advance structure, variants: Panels • Advance field/multifield structure: Field collection Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 22. 2. PUTTING CONTENT / PHP CODE IN BLOCKS • Default blocks allow user generated content, but you can't set permissions for editing each blocks • Bean, you can add fields to different blocks types, which have separate permissions (like content types do) • Boxes, blocks with a unique machine names Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 23. 1. HACKING CONTRIBUTED AND CORE CODE • If you decided to use a theme from core or from drupal.org, there is no need to go and edit its code. Make a sub-theme • more about creating sub-theme:  http://drupal.org/node/225125 Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 24. 1. HACKING CONTRIBUTED AND CORE CODE • Fixing code directly in the module files makes the website impossible to update. Instead Drupal provides hooks and preprocess functions which can alter functionality/data without breaking the original code. • More about hooks: http://api.drupal.org/api/drupal/includes! module.inc/group/hooks/7 Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 25. 13. - 14. April 2013, Ljubljana, Slovenia www.DrupalAlpeAdria.org International event with 150 attendees. 25 sessions in English. Affordable flights from London. Nice time of year to visit Ljubljana. Early birds price 15€ (t-shirt, lunch follow: @dcAlpeAdria Thursday, August 29, 13
  • 26. Q / A • Twitter: @iztok • IRC: iztok • Skype: iztok.smolic • Email: iztok@agiledrop.com Thursday, August 29, 13