Drupal

My Favorite New Drupal Book

Learning Drupal 6 Module Development is a new book from Packt Publishing, written by Matt Butcher. The book is aimed at Drupal users who know PHP and want to learn module development.

Learning Drupal 6 Module Development cover

I was one of the Technical Reviewers for this book, so I've had a digital copy for a while, but my final hard copy just arrived today, and I must say, it's quite cool to see my name in print! :)

Learning Drupal 6 Module Development inside

This book will take you through building several different modules, linking them together through hooks, and finally, creating an install profile to incorporate them all into a distributable package. Along the way, you'll find lots of useful tips, and links to relevant topics on Drupal.org.

If you're looking to learn module development, and your focus is Drupal 6, I definitely recommend picking up a copy.

You can grab a sample chapter here (1.3M PDF).

Update: I'm giving away a free copy of this book to the person who writes the best review over at Drupal Modules.

Posted by John on 2008-05-26

Drupal Statistics: 1370+ Sites Surveyed

I've been doing some statistical analysis of Drupal sites in preparation for a new site I'm launching. The results are very interesting. Here are some version statistics, based on 1,370 Drupal sites with accessible changelog.txt files.

In case you're wondering about the freshness of this data, the majority of sites surveyed were launched in the last 12 months, including sites published as recently as 2 weeks ago. The version numbers recorded reflect the Drupal version the site is running today.

The URLs were collected from DrupalSites.net, the largest public database of Drupal sites. Their list is constantly updated with user-submitted sites (with more than 1000 new sites added in the last year), and in theory, should be statistically neutral, as the motivational factor for publicizing a site is not dependent on which version of Drupal you use.

I have verified these results against some creative Google searches, and the numbers correlate very well. I have high confidence in the accuracy of these numbers as an overall representation of the Drupal install base.

Drupal versions count
Drupal versions percent

A short analysis: Very few people are using Drupal 6 (in production) yet. In fact, Drupal 4.x installs outnumber Drupal 6.x almost 6 to 1.

The Drupal 4.x numbers are especially interesting, because 4.7 support and security updates were discontinued in January. That means 21.6% of live Drupal sites are running an unsupported version of Drupal! In fact, I even found five sites running Drupal 4.5.x, but the number was too small to graph.

Update: Some of you have expressed concern that the sites polled are all "self promoted" sites. This isn't strictly true, anyone can add a site to DrupalSites.net, it doesn't have to be the site owner. Either way, self promotion isn't something specific to Drupal 5 users, and there is no reason why a Drupal 6 user would be any less likely to add their site to the list at DrupalSites.net.

Self-promoting sites or not, the indisputable fact is that of the 1370 sites surveyed, 96% of them have chosen not to upgrade to Drupal 6 yet (note: I'm not implying they will never upgrade).

There are plenty of real reasons why users aren't upgrading or launching new production sites on Drupal 6 yet (It's still kind of new, modules aren't ready, etc), but that's not what this article is about. I'm strictly interested in the numbers, you can draw your own conclusions as to why they are the way they are.

Stay tuned for more statistics and graphs.

Posted by John on 2008-05-14

Tracking New Drupal Modules: A New RSS Feed

Last week, 28 new modules were released. Do you know what they are? You would if you subscribed to the New Modules list I just added to DrupalModules.com!

Staying ahead of the competition means keeping up with the latest and greatest, and that's exactly what this list will help you do. When that awesome new module you always dreamed of finally gets made, you'll be first to know. Subscribe to the RSS feed today, your career may depend on it! ;)

Update: Some people have been asking how this list differs from the module feed on Drupal.org.

The Drupal.org feed includes a lot of "false positives": modules that are nothing more than a description with no published releases. Unfortunately, a significant number of those projects are simply wishful thinking and will never see a real release.

This list is for people who want to know about modules they can download and install today.

On this list, modules only get announced when the project maintainer publishes their first release. This saves you time by weeding out the projects with no code.

PS: I've also added feeds for the Top Modules list, and the Latest Reviews list. Check the full post for more details.

Posted by John on 2008-04-19

Drupal Plush Toys: Druplicon

Drupal Plush Toy

Just found these Druplicon plush toys via a post on Drupal.org. As far as I can tell, they're unofficial.

A company called FreakyToys is selling them for €16 with €1 supposedly going to the Drupal Association. The site is in Spanish, but here's an English translation.

Posted by John on 2008-04-15
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Using .install Files to Update Database Schema

I just committed what will hopefully be the first in a series of updates to the NodeReview module. I actually use a customized version of this module over on DrupalModules.com, and now that Crell has made me a co-maintainer, I'm working on integrating those enhancements back into the official release.

This new update adds an editable description field to each axis. Here's a screenshot of the new feature in action. The changes have already been committed to CVS, and should be available in the dev snapshot later tonight.

Because this update required adding a new field to the nodereview_axes table, I had to learn some new .install file tricks, which I'll now explain in this article.

... Read the rest of this post!

Posted by John on 2008-04-14

The Top 10 Modules Drupal Users Are Watching

A few weeks ago, I introduced a new "Favorite Modules" feature on Drupal Modules as a way for users to easily tag interesting modules for later review. The modules are saved in the user's favorites list, and that list can be shared with others.

Now you're probably thinking it would be interesting to see which modules are favorited most often.

Well, The early results are in, and there's a few surprises! In fact, you'd probably never guess who's sitting at number one.

Here's the current Top Ten list, direct from the user community:

... Read the rest of this post!

Posted by John on 2008-04-08
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