Notes on website discussion group 10 Sept

Later addition up front, to focus on requirements:


  • a website that is welcoming and attractive for new visitors, whether they are seasoned geeks or Windows users who don't even know an alternative might help them
  • a place where the group's calendar of events is available, especially the details of the next meeting
  • somewhere that anyone in the group can contribute knowledge, even though there are likely to be better places to do that on the Internet (some people find global venues intimidating, so a 'local' place where you feel comfortable has its advantages)
  • a site where people can post a little (or a lot) about themselves as a means of introduction

Here's a link to 'architecture':

Notes on website discussion group 10 Sept

These are some temp jottings

as a result of our recent session at Nokia.

Johnw didn't take notes at the time (did anyone?), so this is a pretty hazy recollection a week later -- maybe others can fill in some detail. Also there's some further thoughts, add your own too.

There were about 7 of us present: chrisjrob, dbeer, fay, ianm, johnw, kwyjibo, terry.. no doubt there are others interested who were unable to attend that day.

The meeting started with a discussion of whether or not there should be a forum, and there was a widespread view that this was not a good idea, as it would split Surrey LUG between the mailing list and the forum. All present agreed that the forums should be removed.

We all took a sheet of paper and did rough sketches of how we each imagined the site front page might eventually look. There was a fair degree of commonality, most used the 3-column layout that is so widespread on the web, perhaps the biggest variation was whether to have recent items in the centre portion or whether to have intro material there for new visitors and only most recent/next meeting.

One idea was to include a block of recent posts and a block of popular posts in one of the columns, possibly the right-hand one.

Fay suggested that there should be a regularly updated BaB photo on the home page.

I can't remember who, but some suggested that we set roles on the website to specific members of the SLUG group. So for instance me (dbeer) could look after the wiki, or knowledgebase, a.n.other could look after adding the BaB meet that has just been and the next one. These are not set, anyone can volunteer for a role once we have decided on the necessary roles.

Things to do

These tasks need to be moved to Task List (items struckthrough have been transferred already).

  • Think about how to have different page designs viewable so people can discuss alternatives (screenshots? capture html+css??)
  • Try adding teaser to block showing recent items
  • Create one (or more) new content types, e.g. a meeting type could have a date, body, photo, etc and the archive would be automatically available with links to next/prev and the summary, all stuff that we have now on the wiki but has to be done manually. Could also use this to show next and last meet on front page.
  • Explore more colours in present theme and explore more themes. Masthead needs improvement.
  • User registration: So far, on the trial site, users are accepted manually. Investigate captcha possibilities, bearing in mind that there are not only bots trawling the web, but incredibly low-paid people who attempt to add content spam and comments.
  • Migration: how would we get what we have on the wiki into a new site?  Done, thanks to ace chrisjrob
  • On a real site, rather than this trial site, what roles do we need to create for users?
  • How will we organise ourselves so that no one person is essential, yet things get done in a timely fashion, so that there's participation, so that nobody feels excluded and yet we don't have chaos?
  • Images: most of the necessary modules for this are installed, but it needs more work to set up a gallery in one of the many ways Drupal can do this, and to assist uploading pics when creating content.
  • Gallery: johnw would like to try setting up a gallery by following the book Using Drupal, chapter 7, which gives a complete walkthru. If that works there's yet other things that can be done to improve it further, e.g. some of the recipes on use nice ways of mousing over thumbnails and bringing up larger versions with translucency.  But if any of us have already set up a gallery in Drupal then that would be good news!
  • Consider input formats and rich-text vs plain editors. Probably people with minimal rights shouldn't be allowed to add full html (e.g. javascript exploits), but should have option to use rich-text wysiwyg.  I (johnw) got in a right pickle going from basic input (with blank lines auto inserting para breaks) to full html (because I wanted to add an <h2> tag) at which point all my para breaks vanished.  This is not good!
  • Backup and restore.  Perhaps a script run by cron?
  • Decide on site specific roles as mentioned above. E.g. admin, content for BaB meets.
  • Wysiwyg editor integration.  This still has some nasty glitches, as follows:
  • If you start with non-wysiwyg and limited html, then switch to full html with wysiwyg, you lose all your paragraph separators.  (This is a show-stopper, in johnw's opinion)
  • For authenticated users with minimum privileges, we need to be able to offer them limited html with wysiwyg.  Such users, who've only been validated by captcha, must be assumed to be potentially evil, so full html is out of the question for them (think javascript and other exploits).
  • When full html is selected, the wysiwyg editor is offered, but it seems very limited in what it allows.  This may be a good thing for many users (stops the design-challenged from created a ragbag page in technicolor and a feast of fonts), but it may also be a bad limitation.
  • New page describing how to edit the site.

Lots of videos about Drupal, presented at the September Drupal conference in Paris: (I've just downloaded the 3rd one down, about inline image placement within a wysiwyg editor in hopes of picking up tips, but not watched it yet. (johnw) [update: i've watched it.  12 mins long.  I think there's probably some really good stuff in this, 90% of which I couldn't understand because of the American accent and lack of crisp video definition.  Plus, just as it was getting to the REALLY interesting stuff about images, it stopped.  Grrrrrrrrrrr!] [Grr again: there seems to be 2 different videos of the same talk.  First, 55Mb ogg, but another one 240Mb ogg at

2009-9-27 (johnw): cjr said he thought the titles in the blocks would look better left-aligned instead of right. so i tried to do that. i read the install notes for zeropoint, which told me where the file is for customising css, and i added stuff to it.  ones in the right sideblock have moved left, but ones in left sideblock have only moved a little. (i also suppressed the daft icons, e.g. stars and dangly keys that were by block titles).  so i think i need some handholding with css.  any thoughts?

2009-9-28: we've found we can override the css in the zeropoint theme by going to _custom/custom.css in the theme tree.

We need to override the font-family in the menu tabs -- times new roman is the least desirable choice, not the most.

Why can we see previous revisions, but there's no way to diff between revs (see for how that works).  Another module needed, perhaps?

2009-9-29: found this presentation in Drupalcon Paris: (if you don't have 45 minutes, there's a list of the modules there).  What a lot of interesting modules to investigate!

Example of how page might be rearranged to get more content visible:

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