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Drupal, Drupal, Drupal

09 Apr 2008

Lots of Drupal related news for me. I have come across Drupal Modules and Drupal Code Search, wrote my first Drupal module, and contributed it after getting approved for a Drupal CVS Account.

Drupal Modules

It is pretty well known that finding a Drupal Module can be a daunting task. There can be many modules that have very similar functions. And even if you can narrow it down, it is often difficult to compare the modules without installing them and playing around with them. Let alone the fact that documentation can almost always be better.

This is where Drupal Modules comes in and fills these voids. It offers a really well-done interface to search modules. There are affective comments and ratings. This is a much needed service.

What is also amazing is that this site was built by one person that saw the need and is providing it to the Drupal community for free. Sweet, sweet Drupal and the amazing people involved.

I hope that Drupal.org and Drupal Modules will come together to provide a good integrated solution. Or at the least, not try to recreate the same thing in two places.

Drupal Code Search is a similar service created by the same person as Drupal Modules. This is an extremely helpful service as well.

My First Module

I created my first Drupal module last night. It is called External Link Page and is a simple content filter that redirects any external link to a customized page to notify the user they are leaving the site. This seems like a popular function of government sites.

It is nothing wild, and I don’t actually even need to use it in any of my projects. My goal was more to write a module that could be contributed to the Drupal community than to write something amazing. I was looking for something that was simple and was not already a module. There are some other modules that mark external links, but they do not notify the user like this.

I learned a lot about writing modules and coding conventions. My focus in writing this module was to make sure that it was coded to specific standards and that the module had all the necessary and suggested parts. The actual programming logic behind this module is nothing special, but all the hooks and comments are there correctly. I used the Coder module to make sure it adhered to the Drupal coding standards. I also used the Translation Template Extractor module to create a template for translators.

Drupal CVS Account

Once the module was created, I had to apply for a Drupal CVS Account so that I could contribute the code. I got a pretty speedy response and it was “Yes”!

Again, most of today was spent learning the ins and outs of maintaining a Drupal module. There is lots of CVS documentation. I will definitely understand it better as I do it more.

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