Drupal

Thoughts about organising academic conferences with Drupal

Some years ago we started developing the Drupal Conference module at the University Duisburg-Essen. This effort grow out of the need to organise a moodle conference. The module was first designed to work with Drupal 4.7. At this time, the only module offering the ability to create customized node types was Flexinode -- today there is Content Construction Kit. Also the Workflow module wasn't there. So this version of Drupal is long ago and things have changed. Of course there is still a need for a simple and tailored module to organise conferences with Drupal. But I would like to encourage opening ones mind that Drupal today offers modules which can be used to construct a similar functionality. Especially if one has requirements not served by the Conference module this can show that Drupal is a very flexible content management system that easily can be customized to different needs. Of course this effort requires more knowledge of Drupal in detail -- or can be a reason to learn it.

E-Learning with Drupal: What is a course?

If one uses online learning management systems like Ilias or Moodle, one needn’t pose the question: "What is a course?". Courses are an universal structure of arbitrary content types like pages, files, forums, wikis etc. sorted in time. But what if one has the chance to more specify a course? Could it be interesting if a course is -- lets say -- just a wiki?

Currently we design and implement a learning management system from scratch with drupal. This system will be used in an established program of study. Therefore many requirements are given and especially courses have been considered to be mainly like forums so far. But I suppose that having the opportunity to more specify a course in an online learning management system offers advantages. Courses need not to be structured widgets any more and can be more concert objects. Advantages can be:

Eindrücke von der DrupalCon 2010 in Kopenhagen

Drupal wächst. Zur Zeit werden ca. 1% der Inhalte im Netz von Drupal bereitgestellt. Wenn das Wachstum wie in den vergangenen Jahren weiter geht, könnten Drupal-Webseiten im Jahre 2020 etwa 10% im Web ausmachen, prognostiziert Dries Buytaert. Wichtigste Herausforderung ist dabei die Vergrößerung der Drupal-Community. Wie etwa mit der großen Anzahl an Modulen umgehen? Die Beispiele Firefox und Linux zeigen aber, dass Open Source Projekte durchaus diese Größe erreichen und überschreiten können.

Drupal wird ästhetisch. User-Experience und Design sind wichtige Themen für die Zukunft. Das Erstellen einer Webseite mit Drupal muss zum "Erlebnis" werden: ästhetisch ansprechen und beeindrucken (Dries ist Apple-Fan).

Drupal as Learning Management System: A Concept for Cloning Groups

Organic groups is an important feature in drupal, especially in educational contexts. Organic Groups can be groups of students learning and collaborating together. Organic Groups can also be complete courses in a program of study. If this courses are taught as distance learning or online learning, they usually contains learning documents and therefore re-usability is an important demand. The possibility of cloning or coping groups with its content is very important to use Drupal as a learning management system.

Regrettably cloning nodes is not an easy task in drupal. Many content types, in particular those providing a functionality, are implemented in modules and depends on special data structures or external resources. Cloning a book or a forum makes less sense without cloning its subpages or contributions.

Drupal vs. Typo3: objektorientiert oder nicht?

Das Content Management-System Drupal wird immer beliebter. Wie aus einem Interview mit Dries Buytaert bei LeMonde.fr hervorgeht, interessiert sich nun Barack Obama für das System. Diese Aussicht sollte überzeugend wirken, dass Drupal ein sicheres und stabiles System ist. Auch Buytaert geht in seinem Interview auf Vorbehalte ein, die ich von Drupal im universitären Kontext kenne. Hinzufügen würde ich noch den Datenschutz.

Letztlich sind es aber konzeptionelle Aspekte, die ein System zunächst auszeichnen und die es interessant machen. Ich hatte vor einiger Zeit schon eine Eigenheit dieses Systems im Vergleich mit Typo 3 herausgestellt. Insbesondere das steigende Interesse lässt nun einen weiteren Aspekt aufkommen, der generell auf die Art und Weise der Programmierung von Webanwendungen eingeht.

Drupal 5: Customize RSS-Feeds with Views

As far as I found out, drupal 5 does not provide an easy way to offer customized rss feeds. The Views RSS modules features a page view as rss feed, but the feed it generates does not include the fields of a view. The feed rather contains the title and a link to the corresponding note for every item. A first attempt to improve the rss page view is made here, but until now no module has been written to implement a new view style plugin. So I took the the code snippet and included it in a drupal 5 module with some improvements.

The new module View List RSS offers the following features:

Späte Diskussion um Drupal und Typo3

Vor zwei Jahren habe ich einen Blogbeitrag über die Content-Management-Systeme Drupal und Typo3 auf der Webseiten der Mediendidaktik der Uni-Duisburg-Essen geschrieben. Jetzt, zwei Jahre nach dem Veröffentlichen dieses Beitrages, wird dieser Beitrag in der Community diskutiert. Schade nur, dass dieses Feedback nicht vor zwei Jahren kam: vielleicht wäre meine Einreichung zu dem Thema bei der GMW-Tagung dann anders ausgefallen...

Drupal 4.7 Conference Module

The conference module allows you to organise conferences with drupal 4.7. It implements a mechanism to post papers, to manage reviewers and to assign reviews to papers. A paper is an aritrary node whith an attached file and a review is an arbitrary node assigned to a paper. It also takes care for the access permissions to papers and reviews:

How to theme the trackback URL in Drupal

Just a little detail: do you like the way how the trackback-module displays the trackback-url on your drupal-site? There's a simple way to change this behavior. It requires some little changes in the module-source, but perhaps that will give you an understanding of the programming of drupal-modules...

At first have a look at the trackback.module file, especially on line 261:

$node->body .= theme('box', t('Trackback URL for this post:'), url('trackback/'. $node->nid, NULL, NULL, TRUE));

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