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[Demexp-dev] The proper use of Drupal

From: Augustin
Subject: [Demexp-dev] The proper use of Drupal
Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2006 18:48:22 +0800
User-agent: KMail/1.8.2

Hello again,

On Saturday 16 September 2006 07:14 pm, David wrote:
>  14. I would personally use Drupal only for the web interface to demexp
>      server, and probably use other technologies for information on the
>      democratic experience project, logins, etc. So I would remove all
>      general information on the Drupal web site.

You say that because you do not yet understand what Drupal can do for you :)

Honestly, I have had time to think about it, and I see no advantages of using 
an array of different tools for different parts of the web site. I see only 

Drupal is a fully featured, powerful CMS. Some call it a META-CMS because of 
its flexibility (I wouldn't have been able to code a similar demexp module 
for any other CMS, like Mambo, Joomla!, phpBB, DokuWiki, etc... in the time 
frame I have, and *without* patching the core).
To relegate it to one corner of the site would be a great shame. Really.

Give me a list of what you want to achieve (Felix mentions avoiding confusion 
which is a reasonable request perfectly achievable), and we can see how I can 
organize the site best in order to answer those needs.

Certainly, there are different parts of the site: the general forums, the 
question forums, the questions and voting area, the developers area, the site 
administration area, the official announcement area, etc.

We can have a unified look for the whole site (so that we visually know we are 
still within the same site, part of the same overall project) but have 
slightly different color themes to differentiate between different major 
areas (writing a theme for the site can be a whole coding and designing 
project on its own). 

Blocks can be enabled by each user, according to their interest in the 
project. This way links to parts of the site that are not of general interest 
can be hidden to the average or anonymous user, but interested parties can 
enable that block and have handy menus for them.
E.g. at, I have a whole menu block that you don't see, because I am 
an active core developer and I use this block to go to place that other users 
are not interested in (because they only want to download the software and 
ask questions in the forum but do not contribute or review patches, etc).

User management is very powerful. We can have categories of users, each having 
different powers according to their role within the site, whether they are 
ordinary citizens, volunteers to help writing handbooks, "elected" 
individuals in charge of something specific, etc. The roles and their powers 
need to be defined, and they will be as we go along.

I mentioned that every piece of content is a "node". There can be as many 
"node types" as we need (since Drupal 5, it is much easier to create new node 
types: no programming is necessary). Thus, we have a "forum topic" node type, 
a "admin page" node type, a "demexp question" node type, etc... Only the user 
"demexp" can create node types "demexp question" (when importing data from  
the server), demexp officials can create "official pages", while regular 
users are pretty much limited to creating "forum topics", volunteers can 
create "book pages" for the handbook, etc...
It can be as simple or as complex as we decide it to be.

Each node type can be styled differently (same overall design, but different 
graphic at the top or different color scheme), will be visible in different 
part of the web site (either on the front page, on in the forum, or in a 
special block, etc.).

Most importantly, we don't need to install N number of software (and update 
each of them separately), and have to remember N number of user names and 

Drupal core has a very good support for clean URL, so we can unify everything 
according to guidelines we can decide. 
It is much cleaner if home is at , not with anything 
added behind (like "main/doku.php" which does not mean anything special to 
the user). 
Clean, meaningful URL can be arranged everywhere it is deemed necessary or 
useful (including for each question, and each forum post, if we have the 
server resources, otherwise node/nnn for forum posts is good enough, short 
and clean). 

So, I very much hope that I will be allowed to install Drupal myself, on the 
root directory, and manage it (at least during the first 6 months to 1 year).

It will take time to get it right, but things can be constantly adjusted, 
either by using an appropriate module, including additional custom-made 
modules, by tweaking the theme, or simply by adjusting the settings, adding 
menus and blocks in some places, for some users, etc.

I can be trusted to code a fully featured module (I'm still working on it :)), 
I hope I can be trusted to administer the web site (to each their own 
specialty - mine is related to php and Drupal). At first, I thought it was 
obvious that I would be installing the site myself (the Drupal part), but 
reading a few recent comments, I am not sure anymore what your real 
intentions are... 

The two wikis en/ and fr/ can be kept (at least for now, we'll see later) 
because there is already a lot of information within them. Links to them can 
be added at a place deemed appropriate.

The newest wiki, main, doesn't need to be here, though. All the information 
within it (i.e. not much) can be properly and very easily handled within the 
main, Drupal site.

By default, the Drupal home page is more or less like in the current test 
a header, 
blocks and menus on the side (i.e. only those blocks and menus that are 
configured to appear on the front page), 
the site's slogan and mission statement, 
A list of nodes promoted to the front page (new items, official announcements) 
starting with the sticky nodes at the top.
a footer,
and possibly other configurable areas.

It doesn't have to be laid out this way, though. 
There is a very simple module called, I believe, front_page.module which 
allows us to design the front page completely independently of the rest of 
the site, with different areas, in different colors, leading to the different 
sections of the site, the list of recent items, questions, the hot stuff, 
news, etc..

It will take time to design and we can adjust it as we go along, but the 
possibilities are endless.

We can make the front page as complex or as simple as wanted.



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Revolutionary Psychology, White Tantrism, Dream Yoga...
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