Thoughts: time warp to 2005

One year of Drupal

Last week marked my first Drupalversary: I have been a member of for one year! Since starting out as yet another webmaster looking for a site management solution, I have since become an active member of the Drupal community. Now it's time to look back at the past year, to see where Drupal has come, to see what it's done for me (and vice versa), and to predict what I'll be up to Drupal-wise over the course of the next year.

Draft dodging: the first and final version

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The concept of a 'draft version' has always seemed rather alien to me. Without ever even realising it, I always correct and analyse my writing as I go, making sure that my first version is as near to final as can be. It recently occurred to me that I am incapable of writing in 'rough form'. Is this a blessing or a curse?

A plain-text program design standard

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I've been working on a project at University, in which my team had to produce a large number of software design documents, which now have to be translated into working code. Wouldn't it be great if I could write just one design specification, and if from that, numerous diagrams and skeleton code could all be auto-generated? What the world needs is a plain-text program design standard.

Web 2.0, and other nauseating buzzwords

Attending the Web Essentials 2005 conference (others' thoughts on ) was the best thing I've done this year. I'm not kidding. The Navy SEALs, the heart surgeons, and the rocket scientists (i.e. the best of the best) in web design all spoke there. But guys, why did you have to overuse that confounded, annoying buzzword Web 2.0? And what's with the MacOcracy?

What a mean word

Some words are perfectly suited to their alternative definitions. The word 'mean' is one of these. 'Mean' refers to the average of a set of numbers. A mean is a cruel, unforgiving, and brutally honest number: in short, it really is a mean number. Read on for more about 'mean', and about other words that have multiple but related meanings (polysemes).

The river without a river-bed

All things in nature are like a river: they flow from their source, down their long-established river-bed, until they reach their destination; they then journey until they once again reach their source, and so the cycle continues. Is humanity a river that has run astray of its river-bed, and that now follows its own course, for better or for worse?

Room to swing a cat

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There are plenty of weird proverbs in the English language, but this one would have to be among the weirdest. Seriously, who swings cats? How does someone know that there's no room to swing a cat? Have they tried? Join me as I seek the answer to these and other questions.

The glossy future

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According to science fiction, humanity should by now be exploring the depths of outer space in sleek, warp-powered vehicles. This fantastical Utopia of the 21st century, however, could hardly be further from our own reality. Will the future continue to disappoint, or will it live up to its glossy predictions?

Movies for the masses

Film has been around for over 100 years now. I just saw a documentary about Cecil B DeMille, one of the world's first filmmakers, and the founder of Hollywood. Watching clips of movies made over 80 years ago gave me an idea about the future of old films.

Busker bigotry

One of life's greatest dilemnas is that you can't drop a coin to every busker that you pass in the street. So how do you decide which ones are worthy of your charity? Those with the least money? Those with the most talent? How can busker bigotry be minimised?

In search of an all-weather bike

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I ride my bicycle whenever I can, but quite often cycling is simply not an option, due to adverse weather. It would be awesome if you could get an 'all-weather' bike, with a canopy to protect you from the rain. Join me in my search for a weatherproof bike.

Showing sneak previews in Drupal

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Drupal comes with a powerful permissions system that lets you control exactly who has access to what on your site. However, one thing that you can't do with Drupal is prohibit users from viewing certain content, but still let them see a preview of it. This quick-hack tutorial shows you how to do just that.

Aussie Daylight Savings PHP function

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Want to know how the GreenAsh clock always tells you, with perfect accuracy, the time in Sydney Australia? Our secret is a little PHP function that modifies the clock according to the rules of NSW Daylight Savings Time. We are now sharing this code with the public for the first time.

Desire and suffering

The Eastern Buddhist philosophy, that desire is the cause of all suffering, makes a lot of sense in terms of material wants. But when analysed in terms of more abstract desires - in particular the desire for knowledge - a challenging question becomes clear: is it good to desire some things?

Hierarchical URL aliasing

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Part 3 of "making taxonomy work my way".

Thanks to the path module and its URL aliasing functionality, Drupal is one of the few CMSs that allows your site to have friendly and meaningful URLs for every page. In the grand finale to this series, I show you how to extend this functionality by making Drupal automatically construct hierarchical URL aliases, based on your site's taxonomy structure.

Cross-vocabulary taxonomy hierarchies

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Part 2 of "making taxonomy work my way".

Category hierarchies are cool, but in Drupal's taxonomy system, they can only span one vocabulary... until now! Join me as I continue my home-renovation of the taxonomy module, by allowing a term in one vocab to have a 'distant parent' in another one. The breadcrumb improvements made in part 1 really shine here, as we generate breadcrumbs that span several vocabularies.

Basic breadcrumbs and taxonomy

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Part 1 of "making taxonomy work my way".

For those of you that use Drupal, and that want to get more out of its taxonomy system: in this, the first instalment of my three-part "howto" on taxonomy, I will show you how to make Drupal's breadcrumbs reflect a taxonomy hierarchy the way they should. I will also provide important foundations for the more advanced patches that are covered later in the series.

Vive la HTML

HTML - otherwise known as HyperText Markup Language - is the simplest, the most powerful, the most accessible, and the most convertible electronic document format on the planet. Read about why it's better than its two main rivals - Word and PDF - and why you should start using it for any and all documents that you create.

Why junk collecting is good

Are you ashamed of your weird collection(s)? Don't be - I'm not! Read about why ticket collecting and other seemingly pointless activities are actually worthwhile, despite being... well, yes, I admit, pointless.