Spring Cleaning with Drupal v5

February 11, 2007

It's taken me a couple of weekends and late nights, but I finally upgraded this blog to Drupal 5.1. Upgrading should probably be tedious, but the truth is I enjoy it. It's a good excuse to clean up some of the dumb mistakes I made in the last go 'round and have been putting off correcting. Like a digital version of spring cleaning, I shook the dust out of the old modules, sorted through and tossed out the junk that's been piling up over the winter, and generally gave the whole place a good scrub and polish. There's something very satisfying about sitting in the middle of a spic-and-span, orderly Drupal site. It's a great learning opportunity, as well. I finally tried out the amazing Content Creation Kit and Views modules and got ridiculously excited when I was able to replace a few old modules with "creations" of my own. Both modules were so surprisingly easy to learn and use, I wished I'd tried them sooner. I'm no PHP coder, yet with very little trouble, I built a quotations content type and a block to display them (see the sidebar) and replaced my old Weblinks with a content type and block I dubbed "QuickLinks." I also acquired a better grasp of theming. The theme I've been modifying to come up with my own styles, FriendsElectric, isn't available yet for v5. So I switched to the new Zen, which is also a CSS/XHTML, standards-compliant theme. I was very impressed with the flexibility of Zen. Switching base themes also gave me a chance to tidy up my theme and style sheets a bit and to delve more deeply into the subject of theming. My 4.7 modules were littered with clumsy hacks. This time I only had to hack one line in one module, which thrilled me silly and had my family murmuring things like "Watch out—Mom's having another geek moment." Honestly, spring cleaning with Drupal v5 was a lot easier and more trouble-free than I'd expected. Too bad spring cleaning my house isn't as much fun. On the other hand, how would the kids know dinner was ready if the oven stopped smoking? I think I'll stick to Drupal.