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Getting to know Drupal

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You may recall that I've been working on revamping one of my Web sites with the open-source Drupal content management system (CMS). I'm finally done with the implementation and the design work and I'm well on my way into deployment, so I wanted to let you know that Drupal has ended up working extremely well for me.

It didn't start that way! First, I found that Ubuntu and Drupal were, for me anyway, not a good fit.

I then moved on to deploying a test system on SUSE 10. This went better, but along the way I found that Drupal was a bit cranky. The long and short of is that you need to make sure you have just the right versions of MySQL, PHP, and Apache lined up correctly for your version of Drupal, or you're likely to run into trouble.

With that done, though, I was quickly able to build the framework of my Web site and run up my test system structure. In case you haven't done this kind of thing before, always, always build a test site instead of tinkering with your site on the Web.

Now, I was finally seeing the promise I'd seen earlier when I decided to use Drupal. Its excellent taxonomy system made it simple to use both hierarchical classification and term synonmyns. In English, this means I can classify documents so that they're easy to find.

For example, as I enter stories about SCO's legal fights, its OpenServer operating system, or how Caldera and the Santa Cruz Operation became SCO, I simply classify them with the taxonomy term: "SCO." Now, whenever anyone wants to see what I've written about SCO, they can just pick that term from the menu or any story about SCO, and, ta-da, a listing of the SCO stories appears.

I don't need to organize them, I don't need to set up a directory for them. I don't need to do anything. Now, some of you might be thinking, "couldn't I just Google them up?" Well, yes and no. With a search engine, you'd also get the stores that simply mention SCO in passing.

With this system, I also don't have to work on creating a separate table of contents. My taxonomy automatically becomes my menu system.

Of course, this is overkill for a simple blog, but for a complex site with many articles, it's exactly what you want.

Full Story.

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