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Archive for September, 2008

Elgg

September 12th, 2008 No comments

[Elgg]

Elgg – meaning “elk” or “moose” in Scandinavia – was started by Ben Werdmuller and Dave Tosh in 2004, as a social networking platform designed especially for e-learning.

In August 2008 Elgg 1.0 was released. Elgg 1.0 has a completely rewritten core, to improve scalability and allow for greater customization; moreover, the focus has moved away from the e-learning use only, and today Elgg is a general social networking platform.

Elgg is available in two flavours, the core engine and the full package.
The core engine is for those wishing to build up their own network from the beginning, while the full package is the core engine plus a few preloaded plugins: blogs, files, pages, bookmarks, messageboard, status, TinyMCE and private messages.

Elgg is a PHP – MySQL application, requiring the Apache web server with mod_rewrite, MySQL 5+, PHP 5.2+ installed as an Apache module and with the GD, JSON and Multibyte String libraries. It’s distributed under the GNU General Public License, version 2.

Categories: Directory

Learning Drupal 6

September 7th, 2008 No comments

[Learning Drupal 6]

If you are going to build a website for the first time, and you wish to use Drupal, a good book like Building powerful and robust websites with Drupal 6 is an invaluable help.

This new book, written by David Mercer and published by Packt, walks you through the many steps required to successfully build your Drupal website, from setup of a development environment to deployment and management of the final public site.

You start installing Drupal with Apache, PHP and MySQL on a test machine, so you can work offline while you experiment with Drupal and develop your site; then you become familiar with Drupal basics (Modules, Blocks, Menus) and start adding functionality to your site.

Almost without realizing it, you are absorbing the Drupal fundamentals, and you start to appreciate the power and flexibility of Drupal that otherwise could scare a new user away.

Next you go on configuring your site: the topics of clean URLs, error reporting, file and image management are clearly explained and put into practice. A new chapter is then devoted to understand the Drupal access control mechanism, with Roles and Permissions, Access Rules, and general User Account administration.

But, what about adding content? Don’t worry, you are now ready for that, and the author offers you two whole chapters, Basic Content and Advanced Content, to let you become familiar with Drupal content types and content related modules, like Aggregator and Book, Taxonomy and CCK (Content Construction Kit).

As you can see, the author consistently provides the reader with an easy path to climb the Drupal learning curve, carefully organizing the progression of topics and alternating bits of theory with examples and practice.

To complete the journey, the next chapter is devoted to Drupal themes, probably the most creative part of building your new site.

In conclusion, this book is a great resource for beginners, but also intermediate Drupal users won’t be disappointed, as the book covers topics like the Content Construction Kit, Actions and Triggers, and even jQuery. In the words of Dries Buytaert: “Reading this book won’t make you a Drupal expert, but it will give you a solid base from which to build.

For additional information, you can read the page Building Powerful and Robust Websites with Drupal 6 on the publisher’s website.

Categories: Articles