A blog reborn

As both o' me avid readers have likely noticed, this blog has not been particularly active o' late. That is t' say, today is th' one year anniversary o' th' last time it were bein' actually used. :-) So what do I do t' celebrate? Fetch me spyglass! Rebuild th' whole thin' from scratch, o' course!

In th' past year, I've become more an' more involved in th' Drupal project. While certainly not a major contributor, I have been spendin' time when I can reviewin' patches, writin' patches, offerin' support via IRC, an' all those other wonderful Open Source thin's; plus spendin' a great deal o' time bein' verbose about opinions on th' way thin's should be done, another standard Open Source thing. I also can now boast two contrib modules t' me name (NodeReview an' GoogleSearch), an' one somewhat broken theme that I intend t' fix up at some point in th' future. I can confidently say that I am an Open Source Developer(tm), even though 'tis not me day job, Dance the Hempen Jig Hooray!

Of course, fer th' past year an' a half this blog has been powered by WordPress, avast. Nothin' against WordPress, mind ye; 'tis quite a nice bloggin' application. But so is Drupal, an' 'tis one with which I am far more intimately familiar an' therefore far more able t' customize.

So behold, th' New And Improved(tm) GarfieldTech web site an' blog, now Drupal Powered(tm). So far 'tis still fairly standard Drupal, but this time I actually plan t' reskin it at some point. Now that me hands be dirtier on a regular basis with Drupal code, I should also be postin' tech tips more often as well, in addition t' non-blog content, Ya horn swogglin' scurvy cur! Aye, ye may believe it when ye see it.

So what has gone into a Drupal Blog? Well, out o' th' box Drupal offers a fair t' decent setup fer bloggin' without any add-ons. Never one t' leave well enough alone, however, I've spiced it up with some additional modules t' make it more stable an' powerful from th' get-go, Ya horn swogglin' scurvy cur! For those interested in th' recipe, here it is in true Open Source fashion:

This non-hosted spiffy module really needs t' get moved t' Drupal.org proper. As ye might imagine from th' name, 'tis a module that imports content from a WordPress site t' Drupal. Aarrr! It almost works out o' th' box. Almost. The only caveat is that it refuses t' run unless th' blog module is enabled an' PHP's iconv extension is available, pass the grog! Well I'm not usin' th' blog module, but enablin' it temporarily di'nae hurt anythin'. And hoist the mainsail! Shiver me timbers! However, me web host fer whatever reason doesn't have iconv enabled. iconv is an extension fer handlin' non-English characters cleanly in pre-6 versions o' PHP. I di'nae actually have any non-English characters in me site, but th' module still demanded it. Fortunately simply commentin' out th' check fer it did th' trick an' thar were no further complaints from th' module.
Of course, silly me, I di'nae clear out th' last day's worth o' comment spam from th' auld site before convertin'. By default, Drupal's comment module lets ye preview pendin' comments an' even has a mass-delete function, but amazingly lacks a "Check all" option t' make said mass-delete process non-painful. Enter th' Spam module, which provides algorithms an' filters t' protect against spam, on a dead man's chest! Filters can be run on existin' comments as well, so after a few well-chosen rules I were bein' able t' pair th' spam down an' flush it out. We'll see how long it takes th' spambots t' realize th' site has changed applications.
Which brin's us t' th' next item o' spam protection (no nay ne'er surf without protection, minnows!), Captcha, I'll warrant ye. CAPTCHAs be frequently annoyin', but Drupal's offers a nice dual-feature. Rather than th' usual obscure graphic that humans can't read any more than computers can, it asks th' user t' do simple arithmetic. You'll see it if ye try t' comment on a story. I hope ye paid attention in first grade...
Comment Info
And fer yer anonymous cowards who dern't want t' sign up fer a real account on th' site (slackers!), ye can at least save yer information from one comment t' th' next.
Of course, no blog is complete without trackbacks. Nay spammer is complete without a trackback attack-bot, either, so I also have those set up t' require approval, Avast me hearties! We'll see how long it takes fer that t' sail me batty.
These modules be rather standard Drupal modules, so I will leave them th' Drupal site t' explain in more detail. Although not blog-specific, they be helpful fer bloggin' sites.
This module isn't blog-specific either, really. I am just a fan o' random an' insightfully weird glib commentary. Expect a lot o' it on this site, both in blog entries an' side-blocks. ;-)
Savin' th' best fer last, th' Views module is one o' th' coolest examples o' flexible codin' I've e'er seen. If ye dern't think Views be awesome an' th' future o' Drupal, then ye ha'nae used Views yet. Try it. You'll like it.

A big round o' thanks t' th' authors o' th' modules above, an' o' course th' cast o' thousands behind Drupal.

See ye aroun' th' web.


Unexplainable happiness

I'm glad t' see ye're restartin' yer blog an' glad t' hear ye're givin' th' Open Source Community a han' ;-)