Technical blog and writings by Micah Webner.

Drupal 7 Render Array Snippets

12/20/2012 in Drupal by micah

Drupal 7 contains some incredibly powerful functionality in things like Render Arrays, Entity and Field APIs, etc. However, the actual details of these things are next to impossible to find. Especially difficult are specific examples and lists of available options. The more time I spend developing in Drupal 7, the more time I spend digging through code that I've already written trying to find a snippet that took me hours to find or figure out the first time I used it. I'm starting a short series of posts to document these items so I can find them more quickly.

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Override Drupal 7 taxonomy display by vocabulary

12/8/2012 in Drupal by micah

I've had a couple of cases recently where I've wanted to use views to override the output of taxonomy/term/%taxonomy_term on a site, but this can be tricky if you want to use different views for one or more specific vocabularies. Normally, you'd just enable the delivered Taxonomy Term view and modify it as needed for the site, and presumably that's how Drupal 8 will work by default with Views in Core. I've looked briefly at the Taxonomy Views Integrator module, but quite frankly, this task falls under customization for a specific site, so why not just customize for the site?

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Clear image size attributes in Drupal 7

12/8/2012 in Drupal by micah

The default behavior when rendering images in Drupal 7 is to include the height and width tags on images. This causes problems for responsive design, where we want to set these attributes in css, if at all. There's a historic reason why Drupal 7 includes these tags by default. It was removed at one point, and put back in, although I can't find the actual issue numbers right now.

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Communications Shift

8/19/2011 in Life Online by micah

I just read The five year lag, a good post about church and technology by @wezlo. While this wasn't his main point, a bit of what he said jumped out at me because it's been on my mind this week. I had to move back a couple of paragraphs to find the connecting statement, because - honestly - I'd skimmed right past it.

We are seeing a significant social shift in the ways people connect with each other that is literally re-mapping our brains. It also further blurs the line between 'urgent' and 'important' because all of our data seems to demand immediate attention.

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State of Drupal 2011 survey

8/8/2011 in Drupal by micah

I just finished taking the State of Drupal 2011 survey, and if you use Drupal in any way, you should, too. I thought I'd share some of my responses here, where I can also expand on them without getting too long-winded for a survey.

Drupal core provides stability. Drupal contrib provides agility. Core development should focus on building a well-written, reliable, secure platform with critical APIs that everyone can use. Contrib can extend core in many directions. Distributions, install profiles, and - more importantly - good cookbooks and tutorials can alleviate potential confusion about what contrib modules can work together to build great sites.

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Making it hard for users to fail

3/23/2011 in Life Online by micah
Plus Card Savings

The success of a website is often measured by how frequently users do what you want them to do. A lot of UX design effort goes into making it easy for them to do things right, but how often do we design so that users can do no wrong? This morning, I discovered that Kroger has applied this principle in a very effective way.

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Drupal 7 on Microsoft Windows Server

1/6/2011 in Drupal by micah
MSSQL Server Management Studio with Drupal Tables

It may seem odd that I spent Drupal 7 release day installing Drupal on a Microsoft server platform, but that's what I did. Honestly, the timing was coincidental. One of my current projects has been to stage up a new Windows 2008 Server to replace an aged Windows 2000 web server, and yesterday just happened to be the day that all of the pieces fell together.

The existing server runs Classic ASP code that talks to both SQL Server and Oracle, sometimes on the same page, and can export data to MySQL via DTS packages through an ODBC connection. There are also a few existing PHP pages in the mix, so the original server is complete soup. The long term goal is to migrate the site to Drupal, but some of the ASP back-end code is so specialized that the only way it will get migrated is to write it as custom PHP code usng Drupal APIs.

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Repurposing Print Media For The Web

10/8/2010 in Life Online by micah

I was recently asked about using as a tool for publishing print media on the web. While I found only a couple of minor things I didn't like about Issuu, mostly regarding zoom control, this question roused my general dislike for the practice of dumping printed material to a PDF file and slapping it on a website.

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Lessons Learned on My First Podcast

3/10/2010 in Tech Arts by micah
Photo of microphones by John Schneider

Last Monday, we released the first episode of the Geeks and God Podcast since I became one of the hosts. There were a lot of lessons to be learned in the process. Here are a few of the things I discovered.

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A Night of Different Perspectives

11/24/2008 in Tech Arts by micah
A different perspective on choreography

Tonight's rehearsal of our annual musical drama, A Christmas Tale, was a night of different perspectives. I wasn't really thinking when I snapped this photo with my cell phone, but it fits.

When we started out tonight, neither of my lighting guys were there, so I stuck my teenage daughter on the light board, where she did a great job of being mature and attentive, following cues without error. She worked backstage last year, so she saw a new perspective on how lighting tied in to the portions of the show where she'd had to move props on- and off-stage in the dark last year.

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