Blog Post Ebooks Catalog
Three main types of blogging software are available Hosted services These services are web-based applications that allow you to edit content online, and then publish at the click of a button. Some, like Blogger (http blogger.com ), allow you to publish to a companion web site or to FTP your files to your own server. Other examples are TypePad (http www.sixapart.com typepad ) and LiveJournal (http www.livejournal.com ).
This module adds support for several XML-RPC based blogging APIs. Specifically, it currently implements the Blogger API, MetaWeblog API, and most of the Movable Type API. extensions. This allows users to contribute to Drupal using external GUI applications, which can often offer richer functionality that online forms based editing. This module also allows site administrators to configure which node types can be posted via the external applications. So, for instance, users can post forum topics as well as blog posts. Where supported, the external applications will display each node type as a separate blog .
I know you know what the Web is, but you may not know that the first web site, created by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web, is now recognized by some as the very first weblog. Note Tim Berners-Lee's original server and content was located at http info.cern.ch , but is no longer available. The content has been archived at the World Wide Web Consortium site (http www.w3.org History.html). The page that could be described as the first weblog is at http www.w3.org History
This chapter is about the reader's view of your blog. It is about what your visitors see and how they interact with your blog. That interaction, or experience, is important in ensuring your visitors get the most from your site. If the experience is positive they find what they want, and they can interact easily and successfully then they will want to come back. A good design will drive that experience. It is also about the aesthetic experience, too. The look of your blog, especially the first page, must either fit the users' expectations or surprise them in a positive, pleasing way. If you and your community are discussing fan fiction for a Gothic TV horror show, they want a dark, slightly sinister, experience. If you are all about craft fun for preschool children, you'll want to present a bright, airy, fun face to your readers (but not childish, since the parents are your audience). The face of your blog its outward appearance is provided by the theme in use on your blog. In this...
In this section, I will briefly explain some of the terms associated with blogs and blogging. Some of them are specific to blogging others are more generic. Blog Comments Comments are a feature available with some blogging software. They allow visitors to your blog to comment on your stories. Comments are usually visible after a user clicks a link, often one indicating how many comments there are or inviting the reader to leave a comment. Once the link is clicked, the comments are presented, usually in chronological order with the earliest comment at the top. This is the reverse of the order in which blog stories themselves are presented. Note Comments can be abused by visitors who have messages to spout or grudges. Also, some people will attempt to spam your blog, usually with the intention of getting more exposure to links to their sites. I'll cover comment spam in detail in Chapters 14 and 15. Blogrolls Blogrolls are a convenient way to manage lists of links to other blogs and...
I n this chapter, I will show you how to improve your users' experience by tailoring your blog's layout to your audience. As with the previous chapters, the focus is on building your community and making it enjoyable and rewarding for people, so they will return again and again. To achieve this goal, you need to think about the users' experience as they use your site. What are your readers doing on the site What are they trying to achieve When you have the answers to these questions, you can help your readers by customizing your site to accommodate their interests.
Now that we can create new blog posts, we need to let our visitors know about them. We will add both a menu that links to our blog and a block showing the most recent posts in the blog. 2. The Recent blog posts block will be in the Disabled section. Change the Region to the Left sidebar and then click Save blocks. 3. After saving the blocks, the Recent blog posts block will be displayed on the leftmost side of the screen. It will look similar to this You can make subscribing to your blog easier and more obvious to visitors by adding a set of buttons that will automatically add your blog to their newsreader.
Then, add Blog post to the list of Content types as shown in the following screenshot Then, add Blog post to the list of Content types as shown in the following screenshot 0 Blog post Additionally, Drupal's blog module has some features that work better for single user or multiple user blogs than for this site. These features include some default displays that list all blog posts. For this site, we will be using Views to create displays for our content this allows for a greater degree of flexibility than the blog module. So, rather than trying to override the default behavior of the blog module, we will sidestep the issue entirely.
None of these maintenance tasks are particularly daunting, and most of them should occupy no more than a few hours a week. Your biggest maintenance time should be spent feeding your blog responding to comments, writing new posts, and adding links. In this chapter, I will show you how to look after your blog, beginning with the most important maintenance task backing up your database.
Both the Site map and the Syndication modules add blocks which display your RSS feeds. It's a good idea to add this block to your blog pages. You can add them to all of the pages if you feel that would be helpful to your visitors. Carry out the following steps to add RSS links to your blog This is a blog post
Blogging is meant to be a process where a blogger easily creates postings for the blog. Having to go into Drupal to create the entries isn't a particularly smooth process. There are easier ways to blog. We're going to make use of the Blog API module, which has been enabled and configured by our administrator. This module allows a blogger to create a blog posting on a laptop, desktop, or smart phone, and post it directly to the blog. The permissions have been set in Drupal to allow my user ID this access, and to be able to create the Node Content type of Blog via the module. Our administrator has downloaded Windows Live Writer, and configured it to connect to the site. This application will allow us to create blog posts directly from our desktop, and post them on the web site. We're ready to go.
Weblogs as we now know them emerged in the late 1990s (the term was coined by Jorn Barger in 1997) in what is now the established weblog format dated entries with the newest first, at the top of the page. The entries were links to interesting web pages, the latest news stories with commentary and opinions, or essays and personal stories. And they always had links to other people's weblogs. Early pioneers were Jesse James Garrett, Cameron Barrett, Peter Merholz, and Brigitte Eaton, among many others. But these sites were still essentially maintained by hand with page-creation applications or homegrown software. In 1999, services like Pitas.com (http www.pitas.com ), Blogger (http blogger.com ), and Groksoup (no longer online) were launched, suddenly making it incredibly easy (and free) to create, publish, and maintain your own blog. Desktop software like Radio UserLand (http radio.userland.com ) allowed you to publish your blog easily from the desktop. You could install server-based...
Corporate blogging is another best practice to enrich your corporate profile. With corporate blogging, you gain more publicity as you share more information with your readers (in your case your customers). Your justified opinions and articles can help you adopt a more professional profile providing solid evidence about your undisputed expertise on the domain you are doing business in. Drupal also provides an RSS 2.0 feed for each blog, so you can give your users the option to subscribe with an RSS reader client program to your blog. You are strongly advised, as in most of the cases in community-building actions, to associate your Ubercart product catalog vocabulary with your blog posts content type. To make this association, navigate to Administer Content management Taxonomy Catalog, scroll down to Content type section and check the Blog entry checkbox. 3. Afterwards, once logged in, each user with the permission to maintain a blog will be able to click on create content blog entry...
Blog posts will be created in the same way as the other Content types. Click on the Create content link on the admin menu and select Blog entry. This will give you a form similar to the one that we have used to create the About Me page. Smart will be able to type in his blog posts and save them. This is so very easy
Smart wants a list of his latest blog posts to be shown on the front page. Doing this is a lot easier than you might think. Let's visit the Blocks page, by going to the Blocks link on the Administer page. We will see that a block already exists for Recent blog posts. Drag it to a position under Content. However, this will make the latest blog posts to show on all of the pages, despite the fact that Smart only wants them on the front page. So we will need to configure this block to show only on the first page. Click on the configure operation in front of the block, and for the Page specific visibility settings, enter node.
Creating the Blog entry in the previous example was fairly simple, but it still required that the blogger has a computer or smart-phone available, with some blogging software installed. However, there is a method that demands less from the blogger. These days, people have easy access to email, and we're going to use email, and nothing else, to create Node Content on our site.
Drupal is for anyone who wants to have a web site that is well suited for (but not limited to) multiuser communities. Drupal is for bloggers who want more than just a blog, groups who need to cooperate online, activists who want to spread a message, educators who want to provide online learning tools, artists who want to share media online, businesses or individuals who want to sell goods online, and programmers who want to work with a platform that is extensible, clean, efficient, and well architected. Drupal is not for those who want a blog, want it now, and don't need any other features. Those people should choose a free online service like Blogger. 3
The second change was the use of simple databases to store pieces of similar content. All the news stories on CNN.com (http www.cnn.com) are similar in structure, even if their content differs. The same is true of all the product pages on Apple.com (http www.apple.com), all the blog entries on Blogger.com (http www.blogger.com), and so on. Rather than storing each one as a separate HTML file, webmasters used a program running on the web server to look up the content of each article from the database and display it with all the HTML markup for the site's layout wrapped around it. URLs such as were replaced by something more like http www.example.com news.cgi id 10. Rather than looking in the news directory, then in the 1997 directory, and returning the big_sale.html file to a user's web browser, the web server would run the news.cgi program, let it retrieve article number 10 from the database, and send back whatever text that program printed out.
Drupal's blog module allows all registered users to maintain a personal weblog on site. Blogs are easily- and frequently-updated websites usually written in an informal and conversational style. They are ordered reverse-chronologically (that is, the most recent entry is at the top) and have archives of past entries. Each individual entry has a permanent that is to say, stable URL linking directly to that item. Blogs typically have comments for each entry so that readers can participate in the discussion, and they usually have RSS feed to be syndicated elsewhere or read in an desktop aggregator. Each entry usually contains one iidea, with a link to the source of the original item being discussed. Blogs can be (and are) written about any subject, from daily personal life to technology to politics to knitting to sports to a company's products. For a more complete definition of blogging with links to resources and examples, see George Siemens' The Art of Blogging - Part 1 and The Art of...
I'll take you through the basic configuration of your blog next. To start, click the Options tab near the top of the page. You can see that you are editing General Options, as shown in Figure 14-10. Within the options system, you can always check the top of the page to see where you are. The current subtab will be highlighted, and the title of the page will tell you which options you are editing. Here, you can see the blog title you entered when you ran the install script, as well as the blog tag line, which is like the tag line you find under a newspaper masthead. Change the default to something appropriate for your blog. Don't worry if you can't think of something witty or impressive just now. You can always change it later. The next two options are about membership of your blog. If you want to run your blog as a community site, you might consider enabling these two options. The Anyone can register option causes a link to a registration form to appear on your main page. This allows...
When you click the Discussion tab on the Options page, you will see a set of options related to the various discussions that can take place around your blog, as shown in Figure 14-11. The important settings on this page allow you to prevent comment spam from appearing on your blog. I'll cover comment spam in the next section and focus on the other discussion settings here.
The IImage Browser plug-in introduced earlier in this chapter adds some great functionality to the administration interface. Now you'll install another plug-in, WordPress RSS Link List, created by Bill Rawlinson, which gives you something extra for your readers. This plug-in allows you to include RSS feeds on your blog. These aren't the RSS feeds you provide on your blog, but instead incorporate someone else's RSS feed into your blog. This is another great way to get fresh content on your blog. The WordPress RSS Link List plug-in has two ways of working. The first is as a template function you can call in your theme template files. I'll show you how to do that in the next chapter. The other way this plug-in works is to allow you to incorporate an RSS feed in one of your posts. While this sounds like a good idea, I think it makes less sense once a post becomes old and moves off the front page of your blog. However, WordPress allows you to create pages for your blog, and this plug-in...
You should now see the WordPress Dashboard, as shown in Figure 14-8. This is the page that greets you every time you log in to your blog. problems, or sharing advice. Where your blog lives is really central to your WordPress experience, and fora long time we've wanted to highlight some excellent resources to consider next time you're ___ It seems like just a few days ago I was blogging about hitting 50,000 downloads and now we're a few days away from doubling that. Seems like the perfect opportunity to throw a party for WordPress users in San Francisco's Mission district. Scott Beale of Laughing Squid has arranged for us to have the Odeon Matt Tiger and Ping-Q-Matic Weblog Tools Collection Album Weblog Tools Collection WP Ping-O-Matic Ping-O-Matic in Weblog Tools Collection The Dashboard has several main areas. At the top of the page is the name of your blog and a link to view the web site. Resist clicking that just yet let me take you through the rest of the page first. Below your...
In all the scenarios I've mentioned, and in any others appropriate to your blog, you must try to anticipate what your visitors will want to do next. You want to help them take their next step, even if that next step is to leave your site Here are some possibilities of what visitors will want to do next and how you can help them It may sound strange to want to help people leave your site, but sometimes that is a good thing. Have you ever wanted to return to a site you found useful, but you forgot to bookmark it You can't remember the URL, but you do remember a related site you visited on your journey to get there. You return to the related site, and try to retrace your steps. Of course, you want your site to be the one everyone wants to visit, but that isn't always the case. Being that related site that people return to find links can be just as important. Having a reputation for being the place to find out about other sites on your subject is one of the things that started this whole...
You may want to invite other authors to contribute to your blog. Maybe you know people in your specific community (virtual or otherwise) who have interesting things to say. Maybe you want someone to share the load of keeping up with all that is happening in your field. WordPress allows you to have any number of authors registered on your blog and able to contribute to your community. You can either allow the new authors to register themselves or, as the administrator, create their accounts. Your new user's details will now be listed under Registered Users. Users listed there are registered on your blog, but cannot post stories. Click Promote to promote a user to Author status. With Author status, users can create new posts and edit their existing ones.
If you can encourage some of your readers to contribute stories or articles, that is a great way to get more content for your blog. If you do have guest authors, make sure you come to an agreement over copyright and publishing rights. If they are writing explicitly for you, make sure to allow them to quote or reproduce their articles on their own sites.
If you want users to be able register themselves on your blog, there is an option on the General Options page to control this. Click Options, and on the General Options page, check the Anyone can register check box for the Membership setting. This will enable the registration page and also enable the Register link on the default theme. Clicking the Register link on the blog main page will take visitors to the registration form. They can enter a username and e-mail address. Clicking the Register button causes an e-mail to be sent to them with a randomly generated password. Figure 15-18 shows an example of a user named George registering for a blog. Note If you are logged in to your blog, you won't see the Register link. It appears only for visitors who are not logged in.
Continuing with the new author George, when George registered, an e-mail message was also sent to you, as the administrator, informing you of the new registration. You need to log in to your blog and promote the new user George to allow him to post stories. Click Users along the top of the administration page, and then click Authors & Users. You will see the lists of authors and registered users, as shown in Figure 15-19. Authors are registered users who have permission to create posts. Registered users are registered but not able to create any posts. As a level 1 author, George can create draft posts only. For some communities, this is a great feature. It allows you to have many contributing authors, but not run the risk of them publishing unacceptable posts on your blog. You can have a number of editors who can edit and approve the contributed posts for publication. If you have a wide and varied roster of contributors, this approach can really build your community.
Create a list of places that you want your users to go, and or of things they will need to do. For example, you want your students to be able to see a list of assignments, your blog, and other student blogs you could place links to these pages in a custom menu, which would automatically generate a block.
If you are writing lengthy articles on your blog, they tend to overpower the front page of your blog. While an article is new enough to still be on the front page, its length will push all the other articles a long way out of the visitors' sight. For example, I added a 700-word article as the newest post on my sample blog. This meant that a visitor would need to scroll down through four screens before the next story was visible. If you had several such articles on your front page, it could quickly become a dozen or more screens long. Having a home page of that length is a big turnoff to visitors. They feel overwhelmed by the amount of text presented and are likely to go elsewhere. WordPress has a couple of mechanisms to deal with this. Adding the tag to your post changes the way WordPress presents the post on the front page of your blog. WordPress will display your article up to the teaser tag. It will then
To select one of your installed themes, log in to the administration pages and click Presentation. You will be presented with the theme selection page, as shown in Figure 16-3. This page shows you all the installed themes and highlights the currently active theme. Click the Select button of the theme that you wish to use, and then click View site at the top of the page. Try that now to switch to the Classic theme, and you will see your blog content's presentation change (see Figure 16-2). You can see how easy it is to completely change the style of your blog. Both of the built-in themes include a variety of information in their sidebars, such as lists of categories, links to archives, meta-information, and so on.
You can add a description to each category, too. This description can be displayed on your blog, if the theme you use supports that. For instance, the description may appear as a tool tip when you hover your mouse over a link to the category, as shown in Figure 15-13. Figure 15-13. Category descriptions can be displayed on your blog.
To the right of the Discussion check boxes is the Post Password box. Typing a word or phrase into this field (you'll notice that the password is displayed in plain text as you type it) will password-protect this posting. This means that, on the main page of your blog, this post will not, by default, display its contents. Instead the reader is presented with the title of the post (with Protected prepended) and a password-entry field. The normal comments link is also replaced with the phrase Enter your password to view comments, as shown in Figure 15-6.
The images you upload can be referenced in your posts and pages. Assuming your user level is high enough (as discussed in the Assigning User Permissions section later in this chapter), to upload images, all you need to do is click Upload along the top of the administration pages. This takes you to a page with a file browser button and a couple of other controls. Click the Browse button, and navigate to the image that you want to upload to your blog. When you have selected an image, you can add a description of the image. You can also choose to have a thumbnail generated and specify its size. When you have specified all your options, click the Upload File button. WordPress will tell you it has successfully uploaded the file and display the details of the image, including the name, file size, and type. It will also give you the code to display the image. You need to select the code it gives you and copy it to the clipboard. You can then paste that code into your blog post.
WordPress allows you to generate permalinks (permanent URIs) on your blog, which appear as though each of your posts is an individual static page on your site, rather than the dynamic output of a database-driven web site. Instead of a URI to one of your stories looking like http example.com p 29, WordPress can use something like this link Choose a permalink structure that you feel comfortable with and that fits your blog. The suggestions made by WordPress work well, especially the following structure
Note Prior to populating the Word Press databases with your backup youll need to ensure that all the current
Check your blog site now to determine that all is well. Sometimes, a faulty theme can display a blank page at this stage. If so, swap out the theme to the Default theme (see Chapter 16) to see if that solves the problem. If that fails to resolve the situation, you may need to resort to reapplying a new set of WordPress files, but that is a rare event.
Download the Spam Nuker plug-in from http www.chrisjdavis.org 2005 03 05 spam-nuker-151 . Install this as a plug-in on your blog and activate it. Go to WordPress's Manage page, and you will see an extra tab labeled Spam. Click the Spam tab, and you will be presented with a page like the one shown in Figure 18-7. The tab includes the number of spam comments in its title. In the example, a rather excessive 39,000 spam comments were found. Note that the e-mail and URI in the figure have been intentionally blurred.
To change the tone of the theme, choose a different header graphic. You can use any image or images you find to convey the appropriate impression about your blog. You could take a photo yourself or buy an image from one of the many photo agencies on the Web. For this example, I thought the group of horses shown in Figure 16-8 seemed to convey the idea of a community.
WordPress comes with a powerful Link Manager, which allows you to create lists of links as part of the content of your blog. If you remember from the history covered in Chapter 13, lists of links to other sites, or blogrolls, are one of the essential parts of a traditional blog.
After you download c3romask-xhtml.zip, unzip it into a folder call c3romask. Then upload the folder and its contents to your wp-content themes folder. Go to the Presentation administration page and select the c3ro mask theme to activate it. If you view your blog now, it should look like Figure 16-7.
Blog Theme If you have multiple themes activated for your site, registered users will be able to choose which theme they wish to use. The Blog Theme module (http drupal.org node 19248) capitalizes on this to make blog postings on the site more personalized. When this module is installed and activated, blog postings will be displayed in the author's chosen theme. Sections A common request seen on Drupal.org is to add a mechanism that allows for different themes in different sections or areas of a site. Perhaps the forums should look different from the book pages. Maybe the front page should have its own theme distinct from the rest of the site. Or perhaps the tables and controls in the administrative sections of the site don't work well in the theme that looks good for the content areas of the site. The Sections module (http drupal.org project sections) allows you to define sections of your site that have distinct themes. The pages that are included in these sections are defined by...
Unless your site is purely focused on a blog, you'll likely want to provide site visitors with a mechanism for viewing recent blog posts. The Blog module provides a block that you can place on a page to automatically list the most recent blog postings made on your site. To assign that block to a region on your theme, click the Structure link at the top of the page, followed by the Blocks link on the Structure page. On the Blocks page, scroll down and locate the Recent blog posts block. Change the region from to Right sidebar (for demonstration purposes) and click Save blocks at the bottom of the page. Return to the homepage of your website (close the blocks page by clicking on the X) and refresh the page. You should then see a new block in the right column that shows your most recent blog posts (see Figure 9-3). Recent blog posts Figure 9-3. Recent blog postings block Visitors can then click on an individual blog posting to read it, or they can click on More to visit a page that shows...
Now that students have the ability to create blog posts, we now need to create a central place where people can read these posts. We have already set up this structure for the teacher blog cloning this pre-existing view will allow us to quickly replicate this structure for the student blog. to revisit this view to update the Node Type filter. At this stage, this filter only selects blog posts and bookmarks. All student blog posts are now visible at http yoursite.org student-blog. - 148 -
Into families, and we use categories to sort our blog posts. This science of naming and classifying things is known as taxonomy. Within Drupal, the term taxonomy refers to any form of organization based on categories and classification. A taxonomy typically has a hierarchical structure, like a family tree there are terms at the top of the tree structure that are relevant to many things, but as you descend the structure the terms become narrower and apply to a smaller subset of the items being described. In Drupal, you are not required to create a hierarchy of your taxonomy terms. Figure 2.3 shows three different kinds of relationships that taxonomy terms (categories) may have no hierarchy, a single hierarchy, and multiple hierarchies. Notice that only the second and third diagrams are similar to a family tree, with fewer items appearing at the top and many items found at the bottom of the tree. Within your Web site, you may have several unrelated topics that you want to assign to...
Drupal supports blogging APIs that let you create blog posts from a browser plug-in, a smart phone, or a desktop application. This can be an incredibly useful feature for websites that use blogs to update statuses. If you use the default front page (or make the blog page your front page), the most recent postings will automatically be there. A school principal, theater house manager, restaurant maitre d', or traffic coordinator can create blog postings from a cell phone to keep people updated. In the case of a specific person's need to know your table is ready now this is not efficient. But, in the more general case there is a 10 minutes wait for a table it can be enormously helpful.
In this chapter you'll review the major building blocks of your site that give it structure blocks, menus and themes. Blocks are the pieces of content that generally flank the left and right side of a site offering helpful information such as the latest blog posts, recent comments, or the ads that help pay your bills. Menus provide crucial site navigation and are commonly shown horizontally across the top of the site as well as vertically on the side. A theme is one of the most important parts of your site as it controls your site's appearance including all colors, fonts, and layout.
Is the module popular The more people using a module, the more certain you can be that one of them has reviewed the code and reported any vulnerabilities to the security team to be fixed. This can also give you comfort that the code will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. You can get a sense of the popularity in conversation by reading the forums and blog posts in the Drupal Planet. You can also use the newly released Project Usage Overview page (see Figure 3-2) at http drupal.org project usage.
To add an assignment, click the Assignment link. To add a blog post, click the Blog post link. For this example, we will create an assignment. Add two additional assignments, and two or three sample blog posts. These sample posts will allow us to see how the views that we will create in the next section will organize and display our content.
Organizing content in Drupal can be very liberating -- or very frustrating, depending on what methods you're used to using. Almost all information in Drupal is stored as a 'node', the basic unit of content. By default, there is no hierarchy or structure imposed on these nodes they do not reside in specific 'sections' of your site, and different kinds of nodes (images, blog posts, news articles, etc.) are not automatically grouped or sorted into different groups. Rather than hard-coding specific hierarchies or styles of display, Drupal treats your content as a giant soup, with each piece of content having properties like a title and author, a 'published' flag, a publication date, and so on. Specific kinds of pages, specific sections of your site, and so on are created by pulling up any content with certain properties and listing it. Some examples can help clarify this concept. This module allows administrators to use sections, categories, and groups of keywords to label different types...
Drupal includes functionality for blogging --creating blogs or web-based journals. If this functionality is enabled on your site, you may be able to input and edit content using one of a number of blog softwares. These include programs that run on your desktop and allow you to simply type in content, hit a post button, and have your content automatically loaded onto your site. Keep in mind that blogging software can be used for more than blogs. In fact, it can allow you to post content easily and quickly to almost any part of a website using a simple, desktop program, without having to log on to a website and follow links to bring up a form. Before trying out one of the blogging softwares, you might want to check in with an administrator on the site you're working on to make sure it accepts blog posts. Cryptic question to ask Is the bloggerapi enabled If the answer is yes, you're ready to
Chapter 4 Creating a Teacher Blog describes how to set up a blog. This chapter includes instructions for setting up a text editor (also known as a WYSIWYG editor), and instructions for adding two new content types one for blog posts, and a second for assignments. The chapter continues by covering how to create custom views to display content, and closes by showing how to clone an existing view to create a calendar to display assignments. Chapter 6 Creating the Student Blog includes more details on using roles effectively to structure your site. Additionally in this chapter, more advanced techniques with views are covered, as we begin to use views to track student and teacher blog posts.
In Chapter 4, we created the beginning of the teacher blog. We built on the instructions laid out in Chapter 3 to create the two new content types, and to create the view to organize and display teacher blog posts. To create an assignment calendar for the assignments, we covered how to use a convenient shortcut cloning a view. As discussed in Chapter 4, blogging in Drupal encompasses a range of learning activities. When incorporated into a course as a regular part of the coursework, blogs provide an incredibly powerful means of tracking student growth. For students who are disorganized (that is, students whose backpacks resemble tumbleweed), the blog can also be an organizational tool. Most importantly, though, blogs create a record of student work that can be accessed at any time. As such, blogs provide a convenient window into both process (how students work) and product (the end results of student work).
Within Drupal, however, these paradigms can be shifted. For example, the taxonomy module and use of keywords allows blog posts to be organized in the same way as forum posts within groups (discussed in Chapter 12 Supporting Multiple Classes), blog topics can feel more like a forum. In the rest of this chapter, we will look at some of the ways in which these modes of discussion differ, with an eye toward helping clarify how and when to use each tool for the greatest effect. When compared to forums, blogs are relatively new, having risen to prominence and popularity in the 1990's. For an overview of how blogging has developed over time, refer to the History of Blogging Timeline at http en.wikipedia.org wiki History_of_blogging_timeline. Blogs are ideally suited as a tool for personal reflection, as blogs feel more centered around a person and their ideas. Additionally, other classroom activities can be used to transition into reflective blog postings for example, ideas raised in...
Just like the web sites of old, Drupal uses a query string to pull information from a database. Every blog post, comment, content, user entry, and so on is stored in tables on the server so you need a query string to go find the data and bring it back to the browser window. Here are some examples of standard Drupal URLs
After you have enabled the Path module, users with the Create URL Aliases permission will have a Path Alias field available to them on all content-creation forms. The Path Alias value must be unique and not contain characters unsuitable for URLs the & and characters in particular should be avoided (the slash, , is fine). When a path has been assigned an alias, users will be able to access the content using that path alias instead of the normal path. For example, creating a blog post may generate a path like node 5. If this blog post is given a path alias of tech-news, users can access it with either of the following URLs
In its simplest form, a CMS is a software package that provides tools for authoring, publishing, and managing content on a website. Content is anything from a news story, a blog post, a video, a photograph, a podcast, an article, or a description of a product that you are selling. In more general terms, content is any combination of text, graphics, photographs, audio, and video that represents something that visitors to your site will read, watch, and hear. There are hundreds of CMSes available (check out www.cmsmatrix.org). They range from simple blogging-only platforms, such as WordPress, to complex enterprise class content management solutions, such as Drupal.
As well as having links to other blogs in your post, you might also want to add TrackBacks to other posts. If the other blog supports TrackBack, a TrackBack URI will be displayed somewhere on the blog post. Often, this URI is not visible unless just that one posting and its comments are displayed, as shown in Figure 15-4. This is because TrackBacks are meant to add a comment or comment-like entry to that other blog posting.
Figure 16-15 shows what the default output of this plug-in looks like. Below the del.icio.us links, you have a list of the five most recent comments with the name of the comment author and the first few words of the comment. Those few words are a link to the individual comment itself. If a reader clicks the link, she will be taken to the blog post commented on with the page scrolled to the individual comment. Database Dr Dave Spam Karma 2.0 HaloScan.com - Weblog Commenting and Trackback Bad Behavior -10 ERROR Dr Dave Spam Karma 2.0 The WRC Theme Viewer WordPress Multiuser WordPress Quicktags Guide folderblog Tools for blogging systems del.icio.us doc feeds js WordPress Plugins Database Dr Dave Spam Karma 2.0 HaloScan.com - Weblog Commenting and Trackback Bad Behavior -10 ERROR Dr Dave Spam Karma 2.0 The WRC Theme Viewer WordPress Multiuser WordPress Quicktags Guide Tools for blogging systems del.lclo.us doc feeds js WordPress Plugins Database Dr Dave Spam Karma 2,0 HaloScan.com -...
Follow these steps to configure ScribeFire, a smart phone app, or a desktop blogging application 2. Install ScribeFire (or another blogging app) on your computer, as a browser plug-in or on your smart phone. 5. In the Introduction window, enter your blog name as shown in Figure 12.4. For Drupal, it is the site name followed by blog n, where n is the number of the blog. ScribeFire then attempts to connect to the blog. Unless you get an error message, click Continue. If you do get an error message (which might happen if you do not know the blog number), click the option to configure manually. Cetting Started With ScribeFire - Seribefire Fire up your blogging 1 d 11 1 1 A 1 u Celling Started Latesl Headlines Apple Yahoo Google Mops YouTubc Wikipcdia News help you setup Sc enter your blog's Enter your blog name. This wizird will help you setup ScribeFire to work with your blog. Please enter your blog's url I littp mywebsite.com tilog 6. After you click Continue, you are asked to choose...
About 132 administrator 132 Ad writers 132 associate editors 132 blogger 132 copy writers 132 feature writers 132 graphic artists 132 moderator 132 proofreaders 132 senior editor 132 style editors 132 creator, roles 133 cron 155 CSS user management area, users 14 user management area, user settings 14 Drupal front end about 10 content area 11 header area 11 left navigation area 11 top navigation area 11 Drupal web site blogging 151 about 92 creating 92, 93 permissions about 137 Ad writer 139 associate editor 140 blogger 139 copy writer 140 feature writer 139 granting 138-142 graphic artist 140 moderator 141 proofreader 141 senior editor 141 style editor 141 PHP 68
In Chapter 3, you created the teacher role. In this chapter, we will assign privileges to that role to allow teachers to access FCKeditor, and create assignments and teacher blog posts for the teacher blog as needed. Once these rights have been tuned, any user granted the teacher role will have the rights to run an effective teacher blog.
If the ScribeFire window is not open, choose ScribeFire from the Firefox Tools menu. If you are using a smart phone, touch the Blog (or New Blog) button in your blogging app. 2. Type your blog entry, as shown in Figure 12.8. 4. You (and anyone else) can now view your blog posting on your Drupal site, as shown in Figure 12.10.
As you can imagine, enabling comment approval is the most inconvenient setting for you and your readers. They must wait to see their comments appear, so you lose out on the immediacy of the blog-commenting system. This can have quite an effect on the ability to build and maintain a community based around your blog. You must also process these comments by hand, preferably at regular intervals in order to maintain some kind of immediacy for your community. That can be a lot of work, given that some comment spammers use automated scripts that can submit many hundreds of comments to your blog each day. This setting is really a last resort.
Because of the way Drupal is structured, it is very flexible in adapting to the needs of a wide range of different web sites. Permission to perform various actions such as creating content, writing a comment, writing a blog post and so on can all be assigned to different roles within Drupal, be it the role of an administrative user or the role of a standard user who is logged in. This means we can grant the permissions to contribute and help in managing the content of the web site to the users of the web site.
The first setting on the Discussion Options page, Attempt to notify any Weblogs linked to from the article (slows down posting), specifies that when you post a story that contains links, WordPress will attempt to send a Pingback message to each of those links. It uses a little discrimination in that it pings only links it thinks are permalinks. Links that are only to domains (such as http www.google.com or http amazon.co.uk) are not pinged. The reasoning is that it only makes sense to Pingback a specific story, and a link to a web site homepage is not likely The next setting, Allow link notifications from other Weblogs (Pingbacks and TrackBacks), is about allowing Pingbacks and TrackBacks to your posts. You should probably leave this enabled, too. Another word of caution there have been attempts to exploit the concept of TrackBacks for spamming purposes. WordPress comes configured to handle this, but you should be aware of the issue. I'll elaborate when I cover the subject of comment...
Command execution generally includes operating system commands and SQL injection. However, in general, this is a potential issue for all systems that your site interacts with, such as XMLRPC, REST, and SOAP. The basic problem is that data from the user (the content of your blog post) is mixed with control information (the query to insert that content into the database) and the combined string is executed against the database. This book focuses on SQL injection more than other types of command injection because it is the most common command-injection issue found in Drupal. However, the same concepts apply to interactions with any system. 1. The user has posted the form to the web server, which hands the data to Drupal. Drupal first makes semantic checks on the form data to ensure that the user hasn't tampered with the drop-downs, check boxes, and radio buttons in the form to, for example, create a blog post with a taxonomy term that is not allowed.
In some cases, an assignment will be answered by students online. This section covers how to track student responses to specific assignments. In Chapter 6, we cloned the default backlinks view that comes with the Views module as a way of showing links between blog posts. We will use the same technique to see student responses to specific assignments.
The Subscribe to Comments plug-in allows your readers to subscribe to the comments of a post. This will appeal to those readers who enjoy the conversation aspect of your blog and want to know whenever someone else has posted a comment. You can customize the styling of the subscription management page, the wording of the form controls, and the messages that different visitors see from the plug-in administration page, shown in Figure 17-12. As you can see, this plug-in is quite powerful and could provide a great addition to your blog and your visitors' experience.
Select the options to only validate for Blog posts and Bookmarks. Additionally, check the option for Validate user has access to the node. These argument settings confirm that we are only checking for backlinks on Blog posts and Bookmarks. As we add more content types (for audio, video, and images) we will need to update this view to check for backlinks on these additional content types as well. We will also use a version of this view in Chapter 13 Tracking Student Progress.
You will need to monitor your storage space usage regularly. The way you check exactly how much space you are using is different from one hosting company to another. Generally, you can expect your administration pages, or control panel, to have an option to calculate the space you have used. How often you should check depends on how quickly your blog grows. That growth rate is something you will need to judge for yourself. Start by checking once a week and make a judgment after a month or two. If you are allocated, say, 1GB, and after a month, you've used 10MB, then you don't really need to check too often. A monthly check should be enough to give you plenty of warning before you start to run out. If, after a couple of months, you've used 400MB, you will need to monitor it more closely, perhaps on a weekly basis. With regard to your database, there isn't really a lot you can do to reduce its size. The bulk of your database is your content your posts and pages, your visitors' comments,...
The next set of options you will want to tweak are those involving adding images and other media to your blog. Click the Miscellaneous tab under Options to get to these options, as shown in Figure 14-13. If you want to be able to add images and other media to your blog posts, you need to enable file uploads. WordPress usually guesses the Destination directory setting correctly. This is the full path to the wp-content folder on your server. The URI of this directory setting is the web-visible URI the server will expose this folder as. WordPress sometimes gets this wrong. The URI it guesses works, but not all the time, particularly in the administration pages, so you cannot see your images in preview mode. Change this to an absolute path on the server. For example, if your blog URI is http example.com myblog, set it to myblog wp-content. You can use a folder completely outside the WordPress folder if you like. For example, you may have an existing images folder you wish to use....
The progress bar indicates how far along the backup is. Please do follow the instructions on this page, which tell you not to touch anything, as the backup will fail otherwise. Note that until you have a lot of information on your blog to back up, the procedure will likely take only a few seconds. The file that is generated and automatically downloaded is a compressed file containing a single .sql file of MySQL instructions. The size of the .sql file depends on the amount of information stored on your blog. Once you have a few hundred blog posts and a few thousand comments, the download file can become quite large. Thankfully, because it is text, it compresses to a manageable size for downloading, storing on your web server, or possibly being e-mailed to you. Given that there are e-mail providers giving away 2GB of storage space for free these days, you could even set up an account purely to receive and store your blog backups. Note Usually, backup experts advise against storing...
Furthermore, when the search engines analyze the content of the pages they have gathered to identify the keywords and the keyword density, and determine the ranking of your pages for those keywords, WordPress makes it easy for them. WordPress uses the name of your blog in and tags on each page. For category pages, the also contains the category name, and for individual post pages, the post title is also in there. This common sense approach to structuring a web site achieves search engine optimization by publishing unique page tags, and by giving meaning and importance to keywords.
To create Assignments, we will create another content type. This content type will be very similar to the blog post content type we just created, with one exception Assignments will contain a Date field to allow teachers to specify a Due date. As described earlier in this chapter, and in Chapter 3, we need to follow four steps
In this chapter, I'll take you through some simple steps to enhance your blog and build your community. First, you'll look in a little more depth at posting to your blog, using both the standard and advanced editing options. I'll show you that you don't need to have any great HTML skills to make rich content for your site. Then you'll see how to manage categories, manage comments, add multiple authors for your site, and create blog pages. During the course of this chapter, you'll install and use two plug-ins, giving you an idea of what WordPress plug-ins can help you do on your site. Finally, I'll give you some tips on improving the search engine visibility of your site, to attract more visitors.
In addition to the basic template files provided by core, there are a number of additional suggested templates, such as page-front.tpl.php, which will affect only the layout of the home page of the site. It is also possible to theme content types differently based on using suggested templates. Perhaps blog posts show the author's picture at the bottom, and stories and page posts do not display the picture at all. Content-type-specific templates use the naming scheme node-nodetype.tpl.php, where nodetype is story, page, forum, blog, or whatever the machine-readable name of your content type is. These machine-readable names can be found in the Type column of the Content types listing page at AdministersContent managementsContent types (admin content types), as seen in Figure 11-9.
The PHP file contains the HTML and WordPress tags to display your content. This file contains what WordPress calls The Loop, which is a fairly short but important piece of PHP code that is the heart of your blog page. This code displays the title and contents of your blog posts, as well as information related to it. It also displays a count of the comments a post has and a link to the comments themselves. List the categories in your blog. This list includes links to make your blog display all the posts in each particular category. Create a calendar on your page, complete with links to stories for each day and links to move the visitor backwards and forwards through the history of your blog postings. All these template tags produce XHTML, not colors, borders, or columns. In other words, the tags make the real content of your blog, marked up semantically, with meaning. The CSS applies the look to this page, adding the colors, positioning different elements into columns, and so on. This...
In this section, we will discuss how to set up the blog module so that a user can create blogs. We will demonstrate how Chef Wanyama creates blog posts, and will look at ways at ways to moderate blogs and use alternate editors to build the blog. 2. Drupal will allow any user with the create blog entries permission to create a blog. To make it easier to control who can create blogs, we will create a new role called blogger. To build a new role, click on User management and then Roles. 3. Enter blogger as the role name and then click Add role, as shown below Permission blogger Adding a new blog post Creating a blog post is similar to building content pages. Adding moderation for blog posts Good Eatin' Goal Configure the blogging systems so that posts must be moderated prior to publication, to ensure that the posts are appropriate. We will also add a moderator role that can edit posts or delete them, as necessary. Before we can set up moderation for the blog posts, we will need to create...
Drupal 7 includes a blog module that makes it easy for users with the proper permissions to author and publish blog entries on your website. To demonstrate how easy it is to set up blogging on your site, let's enable the Blog module and set blogging up so that users assigned to a role of blogger have the ability to blog on your new website. Clicking on Save configuration installs the Blog module and makes all of the capabilities associated with blogging available to those Drupal users on your site who are assigned to a role with the permissions that provides access to Drupal's blogging features. The next step is to create a blogger user role. To create the role, click on the People link in the menu at the top of the page. Once on the People configuration page, click on the Permissions tab. On the Permissions configuration page, click on the Roles link at the top right-hand corner. On the Roles configuration page, enter blogger in the blank text box in the Name column and click on Add...
Each blogger has a path that lists all of her personal blog entries. This path always follows the pattern blog uid where uid is that user's ID number. The Drupal path blog will display a page with all blog entries from all users, providing a useful overview of all blogging activity. RSS 2.0 feeds are provided for each individual's blog, as well as for the blog page that lists all blog entries. A user's blog feed can be accessed using the path blog uid feed, and the feed for all blogs is blog feed. Blog posts that are promoted to the front page will appear in the site's main feed as well.
Software that uses the static publishing method stores your content in some kind of database, but then generates static HTML pages in a publishing step. Your main blog page, individual story pages, archive pages, and category pages are generated as flat HTML files and stored on the server, or even on a different server. These files are then served by the web server with no further requirement from the blog software. Blogger, Movable Type, and Radio UserLand, among others, are of this type. The major advantage of publishing your blog to static HTML files is speed. All web servers serve static pages the fastest. If you have an extremely busy site, with an underpowered or an overloaded server, the difference will be quite apparent. With adequately powered servers, the speed increase is less significant. Another advantage of static publishing is that you don't need the content database on your web server. In practice, it may be located on the same machine, but that is not required.
OpenID allows users to login to an OpenID-enabled site by using their centralized OpenID. An example of OpenID is using a Flickr username and password to log into your Drupal website. Users can set up an OpenID with any OpenID provider. OpenID providers include Google, Yahoo , LiveJournal, Blogger, MySpace, AOL, Flickr, Orange, Hyves, and Wordpress.com. With OpenID, users can use a username and password from any of these providers to log into their account on your website.
When a reader subscribes to one of the XML feeds available from your blog RSS, Atom, or RDF one of the pieces of information provided as part of that feed is a description, along with the title, date, and so on. This is usually an excerpt of the post content. By default, WordPress will create that excerpt for you by stripping all the tags from your post and extracting the first 250 or so characters. Often, this will be sufficient for most people's needs. Sometimes, however, the opening sentence or two from your post isn't really a good description of what it is about. It's kind of like the difference between the blurb on the back of a paperback novel and the opening two sentences. If you want to make sure that people browsing the latest feeds will want to visit your blog and read your posts, you should write the excerpt yourself. Think of it as a targeted summary of the post that may additionally improve your site's search engine visibility, as discussed at the end of this chapter.
The best way to maintain your blog's security is to keep up-to-date with WordPress releases. You can check the postings listed in the Dashboard on your administration pages. Any new releases, especially security fixes, will be noted there. If there are any new releases, the announcement usually details the steps you need to take to update your blog. Invariably with WordPress, the process is very simple.
The core Path module provides human-readable URLs, but it requires you to manually insert and update the URLs yourself. Automating this process is neatly solved with the Pathauto module, which allows you to define standard word patterns to replace all of your URLs automatically when you create or update content. Pathauto can be configured to automatically give all of your blog entries paths such as http www.example and all of your user profile pages paths such as http www.example.com members admin.
Your blog could be specialized review site, where you discuss and review the latest science fiction books, movies, and games. Here, your main articles will probably be in-depth reviews of the latest DVD releases, complete with publicity photos, cast lists, and so on. But you may also have, for example, a news category where the nature of the stories will be different. On such a site, you might want to have links to allow your readers to purchase the products you are reviewing. If they are affiliate links, you could even earn money that way.
Perhaps your blog is primarily about offering information of a tutorial nature and soliciting feedback. In this case, your visitors still want to read what you have to say and perhaps provide feedback, but they will also want to find more information and other resources about the subject. Your articles are likely to have more structure than a news-type blog post, and perhaps include images or illustrations. It may be that the piece is long enough to split into multiple pages.
If you are finished with your post, click the Publish button to publish it. The post will immediately be visible on the blog's main page. If there were any links in the body of the post, and the automatic Pingback option is on (set through the Attempt to notify any Weblogs linked to from the article option discussed in Chapter 14), the URIs mentioned will be notified of your post. Similarly, if you added one or more TrackBack URIs to the post, they, too, will be notified of your blog post. Finally any central update services will be notified of your post. These update services are listed in the Update Services section of the Writing Options tab. Tip Almost by definition, people reading other blogs on the subjects about which you write are likely to be interested in your blog. Pingback and TrackBack notifications are great ways to get those people to visit your site.
I mentioned earlier that if a theme requires a plug-in and that plug-in is not present, you will get errors on your blog. Sometimes, depending on the place the error occurs, your blog page may not work at all. Figure 16-18. Theme template code can cause errors on your blog.
WordPress pages offer a way to create more lasting content on your blog. They are often used for About pages, legal or copyright pages, and the like. You can also use them for more in-depth articles particular to your subject, or perhaps a comprehensive overview of a particular topic. Page Order This allows you to specify the listing order of your pages. The default theme will list all your pages on your blog. By default, it lists them in alphabetical order, preserving the hierarchy if there is one. If this is not suitable, you may specify the sort order of pages on the same level. When you have finished setting up your page, click the Create New Page button, and your page will be created. Switch over to view your blog to see the result. In Figure 15-22, I have added some more pages to illustrate the listing in the sidebar. Compare the display of the page with the display of postings in Figure 15-13.
Publishing to a web site by using a web browser has its limitations. Despite the progress that has been made in developing WYSIWYG editors such as TinyMCE, it is still not as comfortable to type and format large portions of text as it is using a word processing program such as OpenOffice. Furthermore, it is impossible to use a browser to compose to a web site when not connected to the Internet, so working on your blogs offline isn't an option. Finally, if you maintain blogs on many different web sites, the interface may be different for each one, making the whole process take much more time and effort than necessary. The BlogAPI module, in conjunction with desktop blogging tools such as ecto, w.bloggar, or iBlog, addresses these weaknesses and opens up the possibility of editing your blog posts offline using comfortable text editing programs.
Each of your posts can be assigned one or more categories. Most themes will display the categories for each post. Most themes also provide a list of all the categories used on your blog. Each of these different ways of listing the categories also usually includes a link to display all the posts in a category.
And so we come to WordPress, the blogging software this part of the book will be discussing. Why WordPress WordPress is a state-of-the-art, semantic, personal publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. That's quite a mouthful, but what does it all mean WordPress is designed from the start to look good. It comes with two themes, both of which are elegant and simple. It is always important that your readers have a pleasant experience when visiting your blog. Equally important, the WordPress administration interface is good looking, too. That's where you, as blog owner, will spend most of your time, and you will appreciate having a pleasant work environment.
If you check your blog page now, it should look like Figure 16-12. You will see the list looks much neater and blends in with the rest of the content. MostWanted - a Popular Posts Plugin for WordPress Photon daikini software Living on an Island Wordpress Theme - 3 Column Relaxation Weblog Tools Collection Backup Plugin for
Now you will add in a call to display an RSS feed using the WordPress RSS Link List plug-in you installed in the previous chapter. In that chapter, you saw how to add a special tag to a blog post or page and have the plug-in convert that tag to a list of links driven from an external RSS feed. This time, you want the list of links to appear in the sidebar. To do this, use the template PHP function provided by the plug-in, rather than the special tag, which works only in posts or pages. View your blog page now, and you should see something like Figure 16-11. del.icio.us doc feeds js - how to do linkrolls from del.icio.us -FANTASTIC resource, especially for the bloggers WordPress Plugins Database - A great database listing a large number of plugins available for use with Wordpress weblogging software. HaloScan.com - Weblog Commenting and Trackback - Free blog commenting and trackback tool. Premium options available for cheap. Help with comment spam with no cost.
Lullabot Podcasts - Audio and video discussion and instruction focused on the Drupal platform. Mastering Drupal - Blog posts, interviews and videocasts about Drupal. Drupal Ace - Online Drupal administration manual. Drupal Planet - An aggregation of Drupal blog posts from many sources. Learn By The Drop - A place to learn Drupal.
It's time to put the last piece of site functionality in place setting up blogs for Jeanne and Mike. We want blog posts to be categorized according to broad topics is the blog post about in-store events, special deals, or general community information But blogs should also allow tagging attaching free-form keywords that don't fit in well with the major topics. When new site builders want to set up a personal journal or blogging site, they often turn to the Blog module that comes with Drupal. However, sometimes that's not the best choice. To understand whether the module is right for your needs, we'll take a quick look at what features it adds An overview page of all the blog posts on the site, at http www.example.com blog An overview page of all the blog posts by each user, at http www.example.com blog 1, where 1 is the user's account ID Links at the bottom of each blog post to the author's list of posts A filtered RSS feed for each user's blog list of blog posts A private My Blog...
The Taxonomy module is responsible for categories. The Taxonomy module is far more than a means for tagging blog posts. It is a full API for modules and programmers to leverage all types of relationships and classifications of content. On its own, it provides categories for content, including simple lists, hierarchical categories, and free tagging. The Taxonomy module is extended by numerous contributed modules and even some core modules. The Forum module, for example, requires the Taxonomy module. Chapter 2 covers the use and configuration of the Taxonomy module.
The new Blogs link we have on the menu takes us to a page listing recent blog posts made into the various blogs on the system. This means that if we have 20 users with active blogs, this page will show the recent updates, allowing our users to stay up-to-date with what one another is doing.
Drupal can set a custom theme for nearly every scenario you can imagine. Perhaps users see one theme on the blog posts but another when they are viewing your articles. Maybe you change themes based on the visitor's language. Whatever your requirement is chances are there is a contributed module to help you. Review them by browsing the Theme related module category at http drupal.org taxonomy term 73.
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