Updating Drupal with FileZilla, WinMerge and 7-Zip on Windows in 10 steps

In a previous blog post I explained how to review and perform a Drupal update from the *NIX command-line.

Not always do you have access to the *NIX command-line, or you may feel more comfortable using off-the-shelf tools on your Windows computer for the job. Then this post is for you.

For me it takes about 10 minutes to process the 10 steps below. Writing up the post and providing screenshots took much longer.

Spammers beware

Dear spammer, do not even bother spamming my blog. Your entries are filtered anyway, and links are "rel=nofollow" by default.
Any spammer will be reported to sites like www.stopforumspam.com.
Posted in reply to a recent surge of Turkish spammers, based on illegal paid blog spamming activity posted in r10 dot net. This activity has been reported to the owner of the forum.

Spread the word

You just wrote a blog post that you believe might be useful for others. Here's a simple way to lower the threshold for readers to bookmark and spread the word about your featured post: Share This. This neat Drupal module will display a "Share This" widget, where your audience can select their preferred soclai networking site where they want to share your words.

Configuring an SMTP server for sending mail with Drupal

Sending mails from Drupal is a feature we take for granted. Sometimes however you can't rely on the default SMTP settings available from your hosting provider. This week I was unable to send mails from my Drupal site, because the default sendmail installation was no longer functioning. Fortunately I quickly found a solution with the SMTP Authentication Support module.

Rearranging comments in Drupal

Moving comments around in Drupal is not (yet) straightforward. There is an experimental module that aims at providing this type of funcitonality, but the maintainers strongly discourage you in using it on live sites. If you're a daredevil, just go ahead and play with the comments table. You might ruin your comment structure though… unless you want to understand how Drupal manages comments. After reading this post you should be able to move comments without fear.

One URL to Rule them All, One URL to Find them, One URL to Bring them All and in the Web Bind them

If you read Tolkien's books you most likely will recognize the title of this blog post. It's about power. Absolute power. If you aim for high impact communication on the overloaded Internet, you better avoid being sandboxed by search engines because of duplicate links to essentially the same content. In addition, you don't want to confuse your audience in a spaghetti of URLs. Finally, duplication is hard to maintain anyway.

Fortunately there's a simple yet effective solution: the Global Redirect module.

Replacing node/123 links with more meaningful URLs

Ever wanted to know why Drupal exposes content via links like "node/123" instead of "content/some-more-meaningful-page-title-reference"? Or are you unhappy with URLs like "node/123"? Then read on.

The way Drupal manages content requests out-of-the-box is very lean and efficient, but it is not very meaningful for human beings, content recommendation engines or search engines. Fortunately there is an easy solution, requiring only 2 extra modules: Pathauto and Token.

PHP 5.3 and Drupal 6 don't play nice... yet

Apparently Drupal 6 is not yet PHP 5.3 compliant. I noticed this today while updating a Drupal couple modules. When I wanted to run update.php I got a nice white screen with tons of messages about the ereg method.

Updating Drupal core from the Linux command shell

If you want to easily update Drupal core, then this is right for you. This approach will first compare your deployed Drupal with the original Drupal source code to do a pre-update sanity check. Then the old Drupal files are deleted one by one, the empty directories as well, and then the new Drupal is deployed.

If you follow this approach, updating your Drupal core version should take you less than 5 minutes.

If you have no shell access to your hosting provider, you can still apply the approach described in this article if you have a mirror copy (a perfect replica) of the deployed Drupal server on a host you have shell access to. Apply the changes on the mirrored files on your local host (steps 1 to 5, skip step 6), then synchronize the changes with the webhost, and finally run update.php (step 7).

Drupal theme hacking - creating a sub-theme

In a previous blog post I introduced the basics of how Drupal themes work. Let's dig a bit deeper and create our own sub-theme. What you need, is a working Drupal environment and at least one custom theme installed in sites/all/themes. During this tutorial I will create a sub-theme for the Colourise theme. If you want to use a different starting theme, the explanation below should still apply (apart from the name of the parent theme).

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