Digital Doodles - Now Powered by Drupal 6

Construction worker with jackhammerDigital Doodles, formally running Drupal 5, is now powered by Drupally 6 goodness. It must be goodness, because 6 is more than 5! Um, yah. Doing software upgrades is one of the more tedious tasks associated with running a content management system, particularly when there's no obvious improvement as reward for your troubles. The work would only warrant a footnote, except . . .

Since there were a lot of "under the hood" changes between Drupal 5 and Drupal 6 and I had to tinker anyways, I went on to make some site changes I've been wanting to do. Nothing earth shattering, but improvements, I think.

For the somewhat curious, here's what I've been up to:

  • Layout has changed. Content on the the left and all sidebars on the right. I'm trying out a fixed width layout. Haven't decided if I like it better.
  • Navigation links have moved into the header and are a bit prettier.
  • Site breadcrumbs were borked and I think they may have hurt more than helped. They're rock solid, now.
  • Doodle Pad blog archive page was functional, but not especially usable. There's a whole new blog archive system, now. Although I built exactly what I envisioned, it's not the usability improvement I'd hoped for. More work required there later, right now I'll settle for improved.
  • About page was re-added.

If you're visiting here directly and not reading this in your RSS reader, you may have noticed there isn't much difference between the front page and the Doodle Pad page. I have more plans for the front page, that's all I'm saying right now.

Warning, technical details ahead.

For the technically curious, and for when I forget the details of what I did, here's what happened behind the scenes.

  • Site was upgraded from Drupal 5 to Drupal 6.
  • Spam protection switched from Akismet to Mollom. I've been happy with Akismet, but it isn't supported in Drupal 6 so I switched to Mollom.
  • New site layout designed on the Blueprint grid CSS framework as a sub-theme of the Drupal Blueprint theme. Up till now I was using the same table based layout the site was created with in 2000/2001 when it was static web pages (Is your CMS THAT flexible?). It was an old table-based style that web designers consider anathema, but it worked. Now I'm using the new hotness. More than that, grid frameworks rock for ease of design!
  • Moved the Views definitions into a Views .inc file so now they're under revision control.
  • Rethink of how some content is handled. My original concept didn't track how I actually used the site, and was cumbersome overkill. The rethink resulted in deleting a taxonomy named "Story Type" and a URL pattern change.
  • Implemented a new URL path pattern on blog posts (see above). Additionally, inconsistencies had crept in .Thanks to the Global Redirect and Path Redirect modules anyone using an old URL will be automatically redirected to the new URL.

After looking at the logs for post-upgrade problems it looks like things have gone smoothly. I've caught a couple missed URL changes and put in redirects for them. I also see, with no small amount of happiness, that Mollom has already blocked some scummy spammer attempts.

And now I'm thinking about phase 2, because my imagination never seems troubled by my ability to deliver.

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