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Re: [Demexp-dev] The proper use of Drupal

From: David MENTRE
Subject: Re: [Demexp-dev] The proper use of Drupal
Date: Thu, 05 Oct 2006 23:05:39 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.1006 (Gnus v5.10.6) Emacs/21.4 (gnu/linux)

Hi Augustin,

More on my and our (Fred, Felix and me) answers.

Augustin <address@hidden> writes:

> 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.
> No. 

We disagree on that point. :-)

> 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).

I need to look more at your code and use Drupal to be convinced on that
(even if I trust you on Drupal's flexibility).

> To relegate it to one corner of the site would be a great
> shame. Really.

We (the Rennes team) don't want to "relegate [Drupal] to one corner of
the site". We want to use it prominently for all web interaction with
demexp Question base, delegation, etc.

*But* currently I see no need to break things that work perfectly and
suite our needs. If Drupal is so good, just let me be convinced of it by
using it.

> 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.

I see your point and you have good arguments. But, until know, I haven't
used Drupal at all. I don't want to put all our eggs in the same

> 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.

This is an interesting feature.

> 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 
> passwords. 

You won't have to remember N passwords: the main/ site is restricted to
demexp core team and the fr/ and en/ wikis are writable by anybody. Only
the demexp password (used on the Drupal part) would have to be

> 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.

If Drupal is so easy to change, why not start with the setting we prefer
(Drupal for navigation on the Position base) and use it for the main
site if it is so useful?

> I can be trusted to code a fully featured module (I'm still working on
> it :)), 

Yes. :-)

> 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... 

Two points:

 * on the installation, I would prefer to do it myself (with Fred and/or
   Félix), so we have the knowledge on how to setup things. Only by
   doing things we learn how to do them and things are properly

 * on the management side, we would let you manage Drupal only if this
   can be do *without* root account. The reason is simple: Unix root has
   access to everything and especially to demexp bases, including votes,
   and we want a very limited number of people having such power (at
   least until we have proper measures to protect votes).

> 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.

Can Drupal behave as a wiki?

> 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.

Technically, I agree. This is just I need to *use* Drupal to be
convinced it fullfil the job.

As a summary:

 * we *currently* want to use Drupal as a web interface for demexp, not
   as a substitute for the whole demexp web site;

 * we would like to setup Drupal ourselves, to be sure we understand

 * we can only give you setup power on the server only if this does not
   require a root access, for obvious confidentiality reasons.

I hope you do understand our reasoning. This position has been made
after extensive thinking between us (Fred, Félix and myself). We might
change our mind, but we need to be convinced of it.

But we wan't to build a direct democracy. If you don't agree with our
position, ask questions in demexp official server, let's discuss them in
the corresponding Drupal forums and let's people vote on them!

Best wishes,
GPG/PGP key: A3AD7A2A David MENTRE <address@hidden>
 5996 CC46 4612 9CA4 3562  D7AC 6C67 9E96 A3AD 7A2A

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