Hopes and Predictions for Drupal in 2011

Tue, Jan 18, 2011 - 2:34pm -- Isaac Sukin

Dries has already posted his Drupal 2010 retrospective and 2011 predictions. You can contribute your own thoughts in the comments on the related "Predictions for 2011" thread on I agree with most of what's been written in both places. Here is my compilation of developments that I hope or expect to see this year.

How to Write a Drupal 7 Installation Profile

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 - 1:23pm -- Isaac Sukin

One of the features I'm most excited about in Drupal 7 is the greatly improved flexibility of installation profiles. However, documentation on writing an installation profile for Drupal 7 currently doesn't exist, so I thought I'd change that. Here's what I've discovered by reading through the code.

Installation profiles are like modules

Trends in Physical Product Consumption due to the Internet

Sat, Dec 18, 2010 - 3:30pm -- Isaac Sukin

There's a revolution going on, and it's more than what people think. The new, social, virtual world in which we're increasingly finding ourselves has opened the door to a wide variety of physical extensions to that online reality. In particular, a slew of price and product comparison tools have arisen, facilitated by the rise in ultra-mobile computing (namely smartphones). Additionally, new sharing tools are allowing us to focus on the experience or result we want from a product rather than the physical object itself. When we share an item or buy collaboratively, we extend the life of the product and also get utility from it at a lower price than the physical object required to deliver that experience. In other words, we are increasingly buying the hole rather than the power drill, the movie rather than the actual DVD, the transportation to work rather than the car… perhaps one day the sleep rather than the bed, the home rather than the house. The possibilities for entrepreneurs are endless right now.

And yet…

My Google Summer of Code Experience

Thu, Aug 26, 2010 - 10:13pm -- Isaac Sukin

This blog post was originally posted to my blog at Mediacurrent. It appeared on Drupal Planet.

This summer I was a mentor for the Google Summer of Code program for Drupal. I maintain the Facebook-style Statuses module, which allows users to have a stream of “status updates” on their user profiles and to write messages on other users’ profiles, like Facebook. So when I had the chance to mentor the Facebook-style Micropublisher proposal, which built on Facebook-style Statuses to allow attaching images, links, and video to status updates, I jumped on it.

The result was a resounding success, and I learned a lot during the process. Nitin Gupta, the student driving the project (and better known to some as publicmind) was an extraordinary developer in the true Drupal spirit. He gracefully put up with my pickiness about coding style, thoroughly researched the best code architecture for our purposes, and even identified places where Facebook-style Statuses itself could become more flexible. I truly believe that Nitin will remain committed to the module he created, and that both of us are better Drupal developers as a result of this process.

The Sign-Up Problem

Thu, Aug 26, 2010 - 10:50am -- Isaac Sukin

Finding the Balance between “Contribute Now” and “Register First”

People don’t like to sign up for things. Signing up is mentally equated with receiving spam marketing emails. For example, at a blood drive event near me last year, only a handful of people signed up ahead of time, but almost six times more people showed up.

Web designers face a similar dilemma. It’s important that users sign up for websites where users contribute content, both to reduce spam and to track and identify users’ contributions. But often users don’t want to sign up, even though they want to contribute – and the barrier of signing up will keep some people from contributing. I’ve experienced this personally; especially when dealing with something contentious, people often don’t feel comfortable giving an unknown website their identity in this age of limited privacy.

Fancy jQuery Slide-Out Effects for Large Page Elements

Wed, Aug 25, 2010 - 9:04am -- Isaac Sukin

Sometimes, there are things in my blog posts that just don't fit nicely into the width of the content area. This is a problem with code snippets and images in particular; I only have a certain amount of horizontal space, but often that's not enough.

Inspired by a solution I witnessed in action at (and the place Lullabot discovered it, I finally decided to solve this problem using some fancy jQuery. Now, all code blocks on this site fit correctly into the content area, with any excess text hidden until your mouse hovers over the code block. All images are automatically shrunk, until your mouse hovers over them, at which point they will enlarge to their original size. Pretty sweet! And it's all cross-browser-compatible.

How would you describe #Drupal in under 140 characters? Tweet your response with #WhatIsDrupal

Thu, Aug 19, 2010 - 1:22pm -- Isaac Sukin

When I first discovered Drupal, I wasn't looking for a Content Management System. I didn't even know what that was. I was looking for a way to build a website where anyone could register and create posts. I knew what HTML was and I had done a little programming in Visual Basic but that was about the extent of my knowledge.

Counting characters with the JavaScript KeyPress event

Wed, Jul 28, 2010 - 12:38pm -- Isaac Sukin

Update: It turns out that this still isn't the best way to count characters in JavaScript. Updated post here.

I wrote the character counter for my Facebook-style Statuses module a long time ago. I originally wrote it using the "onKeyPress" JavaScript event, but that had problems with pressing non-letter keys, so I switched to using the "onKeyUp" event and never looked back. But this week a new issue appeared in my queue rightly pointing out that the character counter doesn't update while a key is being held down, even though new letters are being added to the textbox. So (with much more knowledge and experience under my belt this time) I dove back in and investigated. Here's what I found: the keypress event is called at an awkward time, when symbols for e.g. the backspace key are still being processed as part of the length of the string in the textarea but before they get processed as the removal of a character.


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