Drupal Special Edition

As Linux Journal's resident Drupal nerd, I could not be more pleased to bring you this special Drupal issue. Drupal really is everywhere these days, and it's available in more "flavors" than most people in the Open Source community are aware of. So in the interest of spreading awareness about my favorite and ever-growing open-source project, we hope you'll find this special issue both informative and inspiring.

I see a lot of parallels between Drupal and Linux, and not just because "distributions" are such a significant part of Drupal's current landscape. Like Linux and the Linux community, I see both the Drupal software and the Drupal community embracing the fact that no one solution is right for everyone's problem. By maintaining the flexibility of the platform, scratching one's own itch can have tremendous benefits for all. To illustrate this, we've put together an issue full of information about some products that have come to fruition as a direct result of Drupal's flexibility, as well as information on how you can take advantage of the same flexibility to put Drupal to work for your specific use case.

Jeffrey McGuire starts off the issue with some opinions on selling the solutions Drupal can provide rather than selling Drupal itself. In the process, he describes some of the products that illustrate Drupal's potential. Diana Dupuis continues by showing how Drupal is much more than just a CMS, and she explains the hook system that makes the magic happen.

Forest Mars walks through the evolution of Drupal distributions, highlighting the struggles and breakthroughs that have led us to the current set of development tools that make packaging specific configurations possible and portable. He then describes the process of making a distribution, so you can all dive in and get your hands dirty.

One of the most popular Drupal distributions is the friendly and useful Open Atrium (http://www.openatrium.com), which is a project management software that, according to the Open Atrium Web site, provides "an intranet in a box with: a blog, a wiki, a calendar, a to-do list, a shoutbox and a dashboard to manage it all". Patrick Settle's tutorial shows off Open Atrium's best feature—the customization made possible by using open-source software.

Readers who have struggled with their testing and deployment workflow will find some comfort in learning from the struggles of others. Barry Jaspan will help you follow continuous integration best practices with Drupal development, a potentially resource- and time-intensive task that can be made easier.

Continuing with the theme of showing off the many flavors of Drupal, both new and old, be sure to take a look at RedHen CRM, a relative newcomer. Offering a Drupal-native CRM solution, RedHen is worth checking out if you are looking for a highly flexible and customizable CRM experience, and Sean Larkin and Lev Tsypin are on hand to give you a tour.

Busy developers will appreciate Oliver Davies' tips on speeding up development with Drupal distributions. He explains how to automate some of the more repetitive tasks a lot of developers struggle with. Then, Tim Loudon provides an in-depth look at the most intriguing feature of the Trekk distribution, which is aimed at Universities. Because many universities struggle with combining legacy content from multiple sources, the team behind Trekk developed Flatfish, an HTML scraping tool. Tim shows how it all works.

For those who are newer to Drupal, some basic tasks can be very troublesome, but Danny Englander's tutorial on theming custom content types will help a lot of beginners over an initial hurdle. He walks through one of Drupal's best features and shows how to get custom content laid out just right using some handy contributed modules and a little CSS.

For more-advanced developers, Nedjo Rogers has some tips on making Drupal distributions interoperable, which will ensure long-term flexibility and ease of expansion. Janez Urevc demystifies the Drupal cache system and shows how to speed up performance, which is a universal struggle. Jody Hamilton, one of the participating developers, gives an in-depth look at the development behind the popular Open Source community site USENIX.org. And finally, Kojo Idrissa is your guide to the most important and most frequently overlooked part of being a successful Drupaler, contributing to the Drupal community.

I hope after reading this special issue, you'll be as enthusiastic about working with Drupal as I am. As any Drupal user or developer will tell you, Drupal's flexibility allows for almost infinite possibilities, but also nearly infinite amounts of struggle. This issue's aim is to help a lot with the latter and inspire much of the former. Happy Drupaling!

Available to Subscribers: October 3

Available to Non-subscribers: October 3


Katherine Druckman is webmistress at LinuxJournal.com. You might find her chatting on the IRC channel or on Twitter.


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I used drupal for my game

motgioinfo's picture

I used drupal for my game server, performance is big problem :(.
But in small website, I happy with Drupal :)

Hello Motgioinfo. One of the

Miguel Hernandez's picture

Hello Motgioinfo. One of the reasons why you might be having a performance problem is that Drupal is well-known to be pretty taxing on the I/O & database query fronts. As a Drupal developer, there's many ways that I get around this hurdle but without knowing more about your specific setup, I can't be of more help. If you do want to share what the setup is for your game server is, I'll be happy to take a look under the hood. Btw, did you use a basic Drupal install for this or are you using something like Pressflow (which is great for performance!)?

As a fellow gamer, I'm curious to see what kind of games you're running off of it.

Miguel Hernandez is the Founder & Head Geek at the OpenMindz Group, an IT consulting and web development firm in Los Angeles, California.

Hi Miguel Hernandez, Long

Mot Gio's picture

Hi Miguel Hernandez,
Long time I revisit linuxjournal. Our team has dissolved in last week because financial.
I don't use Pressflow, I just install drupal. It is first project that I work with Drupal has problem with Drupal. Now I will spend more time to research Drupal performance.
Our project use nodejs as game server (sorry, I don't clarify about this), Drupal is portal that store user data (user point, user name, ...).
When user play game, data from client (web game, android game, IOS game) will be push to nodejs.
Nodejs will validate, handle client's data and use http.get (http://nodejs.org/docs/v0.4.9/api/http.html#http.get) to push data to Drupal.
Drupal have some api for web services as check token, update gold to receiver data from nodejs.
I know use web service, use mysql for store, update, retrieve data for game is too isn't good way... May be I will mongodb to store only game data instead msyql But project has stopped :(

Been working with Drupal for

AndyW's picture

Been working with Drupal for ages. The comparison with Linux is not a good one though. I think the Drupal community is much more coherent but then again it might just be me.

There was an article on http://www.imfaction.com i think (the site seems to be hacked so can't find it) with some really unusual Drupal distros and setups. Stuff I didn't even thought about.

Hello AndyW. I, too, have

Miguel Hernandez's picture

Hello AndyW. I, too, have been working with Drupal for several years. I think Katherine's comparison is a good one, though it's not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. While the Drupal community is huge (& growing!), it's very focused around one thing: Drupal, it's modules, themes, documentation, etc. It also has one hub for all things Drupal via http://groups.drupal.org. It's not that the Linux community is less coherent, it's just spread out over a TON of different projects (distros, kernel development, the various GUIs development & Linux software, etc.). There is, simply, no one centralized depot for all things Linux. Publications like Linux Journal & www.linuxjournal.com try to wrangle as much information as possible to disseminate to the rest of the Linux community but even that is a herculean task.

I interpreted Katherine's comments more as a general sense of how helpful & inviting both communities are, how tight they are even though they're quite spread out and, lastly, how much they're both growing at seemingly exponential levels. But then again, maybe I'm biased since I've been a happy member & contributor to both communities for many years. :)

Regardless of all that, it's good to see fellow Drupaleros are also Linux enthusiasts. Or am I the only one who's sick of seeing so many Mac logos at DrupalCamps, Cons & Summits? ;)


Miguel Hernandez is the Founder & Head Geek at the OpenMindz Group, an IT consulting and web development firm in Los Angeles, California.

Thx! This is exactly what I will need

Mich's picture

Hi just working on developping my translation business and this could be useful to organize and communicate with my teammates.

Hi Mich. This is great to

Miguel Hernandez's picture

Hi Mich. This is great to hear!

Drupal is quite powerful in the multilingual/internationalization/i18n space. It's not perfect, but there are many tools there to build custom functionality. It's great to hear that you see the value & power that Drupal can bring as a platform for your business.


Miguel Hernandez is the Founder & Head Geek at the OpenMindz Group, an IT consulting and web development firm in Los Angeles, California.

Excellent Drupal Special Edition


Hi, there. After I checked the Drupal Special edition. I found an excellent work in each article include in this electronic magazine.

Cheers from Mexico.

My site use this

chuyển phát nhanh's picture

I'm may use this tool of the my website.It is very useful cho job edit

Hola Jose. Me alegro que

Miguel Hernandez's picture

Hola Jose. Me alegro que haigas encontrado tanta buenisima informacion en esta revista especial de Linux Journal sobre Drupal. Si estas interesado en aprender mas o ver la comunidad mas de cercas, te invito a que te enchufes a un grupo. Hay varios grupos en Latino America que estan muy activos en la comunidad de Drupal y estan involucrados con proyectos muy interesantes.

Por ejemplo, el Drupal Summit Latino tuvo un evento muy exitoso en la UdeG en Guadalajara este pasado Febrero: http://gdl2012.dlatino.org/.

El que viene va ser en Ecuador: http://groups.drupal.org/node/209953.

Hay un grupo para America Latina: http://groups.drupal.org/latin-america
Hay un grupo general para Mexico: http://groups.drupal.org/mexico.
Hay un grupo en Guadalajara: http://groups.drupal.org/guadalajara
Hay un grupo en Puebla: http://groups.drupal.org/puebla
Hay un grupo en Mexicali: http://groups.drupal.org/northern-mexico

Cheers from Los Angeles.

p.s. For the non-spanish-speakers in the crowd, as someone who's bilingual, I figured it best to communicate w/Jose in his native language. In no way was this meant to alienate anyone in any way, shape or form (after all, Google Translate is your friend ;).

Miguel Hernandez is the Founder & Head Geek at the OpenMindz Group, an IT consulting and web development firm in Los Angeles, California.

nice information

rhoger's picture

nice information