[drupal-devel] RFC, Help: Drupal for ambitious Campus-Wide Blogging project

Tom Dobes tdobes at gmail.com
Wed Apr 27 01:56:29 UTC 2005

On 4/26/05, Leonard Lin <lhl at usc.edu> wrote:
> Hi, I've been working on a plan for campus-wide blogging at USC using
> Drupal


> I'm working from the latest Drupal 4.6.0 release (am keeping a separate
> svn vendor branch, as I think some core modifications will be
> unavoidable)

When you make changes/additions that might be useful to others, please
consider contributing them back to core or as a contrib module... even
if the code is somewhat specific to your implementation, other devels
might take an interest if the features would benefit them as well.

> * emergent taxonomies (freetags) - looking at Julian's Folksonomy as
> well as the new 4.6 Folksonomy module

A form of folksonomy landed in core recently and will be part of the
4.7 release.  You might want to make sure that whatever solution you
use will be compatible should you choose to upgrade later. 
Backporting the changes to core might also be an option, although I am
not sure whether there would be any advantage to that.  See:

> * theming - this is perhaps a biggie.  Drupal currently seems to work
> on a per-user basis for theme selection.  We're looking to allow users
> to choose their own themes for their own blogs, that will apply on a
> per blog/space basis (and in the future customize w/ coloring, images):
> http://w3.usc.edu/blogs/site/My%20Blog.html   Any suggestions?  Are we
> going to have to write (adapt) our own theme engine?

The theming code in Drupal is quite flexible.  Writing your own theme
engine is a possibility, but it's not what I would recommend.  Drupal
reads a global variable, $custom_theme, when it initializes the theme
engine.  It will then render the page using that theme.  Then, you
could provide an interface where users could enter additional CSS
rules to further modify the color scheme / add images to their blog. 
The CSS could be placed into the header with the theme_add_style
function. (but AFTER init_theme has been called... so the user CSS
rules override those in the site theme)  Take a look at
includes/theme.inc -- especially the init_theme() and theme()

> * major changes to input forms - I don't think there's any other
> options besides hacking away at the node and filter modules?

Probably not if you want to change anything node.module does already. 
For adding items, there's the 'form pre' and 'form post' operations of
the _nodeapi hook.

> A lot of functionality is there, I think a fair bit of this is wrapping
> my head around the best way to implement within Drupal.  As mentioned,
> any feedback, suggestions, pointers would be appreciated.

Well, I answered those questions for which I had immediate answers...
hopefully, that was somewhat helpful.

> (should I also post to the forums, or is that redundant?)

Perhaps... you might get your question heard by a different audience. 
Also, this sort of question typically goes on the drupal-support list,
but I'm not complaining. :-)

Anyway, good luck!


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