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Drupal Upgrade

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Site News

Well, we have the site updated to 4.6.6. It was rough, but we are just about there. I was planning to upgrade to 4.7.x as soon as the modules and bug fixes caught up a little better, but as rough as upgrading Drupal is, it might be a bit longer. Big Grin

You may have noticed I had to take the site offline for several short periods last night for the upgrade. As I said, we are just about there. In fact, the few things that are still broken might have to remain so. The main annoyance is that cache is still broke. I found two fixes suggested on the Drupal site, but neither fixed it for us. This is quite disheartening as my site is slow enough without having to disable cache. If hits pick back up, we may suffer some severe effects.

Another broken element was the 'statistics' page, with I called "Most Popular." It listed a defined number of 'top' stories here on Tuxmachines with their intros. It was my favorite feature. I found a snippet of php code that allows a bulleted list of the top stories and we will have to get by with that. Not as nice, but it's okay - it'll work. It's certainly better than nothing in this area.

Related to the previous is that the included Drupal search was broken. This was distressing as I could see in the logs that the search function was used quite a bit around here. Fortunately I found another module that does an even better job. The only drawback is I had to put it in its own block instead of occupying space in the header. Oh well, the trade off was worth it.

Perhaps related to the above two problems is that the new "track" tab for the stories don't work. It would be a cool feature if it worked. And it would be nice if I could disable that tab since it don't. For anonymous folks (using full path) it just says 'access denied' in the logs and for logged in visitors they get no output and I get a weird error in the logs. (UPDATE: woohoo, fixed this one all by myself. Big Grin )

Also gone is my Older News block. I'm really heartbroke about that, but that was another snippet of code given to me by a kind gent that no longer works with 4.6.6. I've posted for an update, but we have to rely on the kindness of strangers and as such, we may never see this feature returned. One must not only know php code but also how drupal inserts and reads its entries in the database. Needless to say, all above my head. (UPDATE: ok, got this one squared away! Big Grin )

Some quirks that annoy me are the spaces in the Popular Content block and the page numbers at the bottom of front and concurrent pages. Nothing major, just a "looks" thing.

For now, you might see some choices in themes in your account page. If there are no performance hits on the site, I might leave them up. This is one good thing with the upgrade - the themes work well with my logo, header image and layout. Previously I disabled user theme choice because none rendered well except for bluemarine. Now they look fairly good. I might add a couple others that I think are pretty.

Another broken module is the banner ads. I had to put the PCLinuxOS ad back as a link due to this. The results to the average user is the same, however tracking click results are now gone. There are bug reports of a similar nature, but the developer of that module is a volunteer and this isn't a core component of Drupal. However, it still points to how drupal has to go and change the whole database relationship each major version. It makes it difficult for module developers and maintainers to keep up.

The paypal tipjar is broken as well. There was an update to the actual tipjar itself, but the core module it requires doesn't seem to exist for 4.6.x. ...or I've yet to find it. (UPDATE: woohoo, found the module and got it working again.)

I could talk about the nightmare of updating the database. Drupal has an update script that does 95% of the updating which is nice. However I had many tables or columns that need updating, altering, adding etc. Again, my skills are limited there and fortunately I found hints and even exact syntax for some in Drupal's forums. That one major error causing all the problems with search and loggin mentioned above was only reported by two other people and they did not get an answer. Sad

Another good thing is I think the site is a tad faster under 4.6.6. Adding stories is usually faster, I'm not sure how surfing is going. It's hard to judge that from where I'm sitting inside my lan. But without cache, any improvements will be lost if I ever write a story of interest again.

So, all in all, I hate drupal. Big Grin

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re: Drupal shakedown must be fun

I might have been a bit adventurous in my youth, but I'd just as soon play it safe these days.

I like drupal, the way it looks and the basic functionality after getting it set up. I just don't get why they have to change the coding so dramatically each release that makes upgrading so chancy and difficult.

I don't really hate it, I was just mad at it for a while. Big Grin

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