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, 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.

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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:

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Posted by John on 2008-04-08

In Defence of

Does supporting resources outside of hurt the community? Laura from RarePattern talks of Risk, Splitting The Community, and Disparate Sites, but is that really the case? patterns itself after a number of other successful community sites, including,, and There are dozens of other influential, unofficial Drupal resources in the community. Perhaps you run one yourself.

These sites don't take anything away from Drupal just because they are not under the domain name. In fact, they contribute diversity, which is a critical part of any sustainable ecosystem.

Like those sites, I believe is extending the community in exciting and important ways.

The numbers indicate is playing an important role in the community. serves a vital function as a Support Forum and Issue Queue. It's my opinion that trying to graft a rating and review system onto that mission critical framework is not the right thing to do. It will detract attention that would be better paid to the more important aspects of, increase costs for the association, and require even more maintenance and moderation than the forums.

If Drupal is to have an official rating and review system, I believe it needs to stand on its own. A dedicated module rating and review site will always be more flexible and better able to serve the public than one squeezed into the gaps.

There are many important reasons to favor a dedicated solution. For example, users can benefit from the latest, cutting-edge technology, like the new Module Finder feature I just released. It finds modules as you type, updating at a rate of 10 times a second, highlighting keywords and building rating graphs in real time. The architecture just wasn't designed with this kind of thing in mind.

The precedent was set when Drupal shut down the Theme Garden last year. Live theme previews, site showcasing, module reviewing: These projects all needed their own room to grow. And that trend will continue. This is a good thing. Drupal has a healthy, growing community, filled with passionate users, and ignoring their individual efforts will hurt everyone in the long run. does not have to be the only site for Drupal content. And it isn't. The great thing about the internet is that everything is just a click away. Whether this resource ends up at or, it's the content users are after.

I have invested considerable time and money into helping bring that content to the community. There is no advertising, and there are no membership fees on What I have created is a labor of love, and it will remain free and open to everyone.

In closing, I would like to invite the entire Drupal Community to show their support for expanding the Drupal ecosystem instead of contracting it, and I would like to thank those of you who are already supporting my efforts.

Posted by John on 2008-03-17

Incredibly Fast Searching With jQuery

Module Finder is a new jQuery powered search tool designed to help you find Drupal modules faster than ever before. It returns results as you're typing, highlighting keywords and looking up ratings in real time.

Searching Drupal Modules with jQuery

The search engine was built from the ground up to produce incredibly fast results. Query times average under 20 ms, and the results are cached for even faster performance.

The user interface is powered by jQuery v1.2.3 and a number of custom plugins. The jQuery Update module was used to improve compatibility with Drupal 5.

By popular demand, I will probably be releasing this tool as a public module sometime in the near future. The code was written with the Drupal Modules database in mind, but converting it to a more generic node search tool should be fairly straight forward.

If you find this tool useful, and want to contribute to building an even better data set, take 60 seconds to log in and review your favorite module. Registration is instant, and you'll even get a link back to your website.

Posted by John on 2008-03-15 Now Open!

After a year in development, my new site is finally open to the public! I'm proud to present!

Drupal Modules: Ratings and Reviews is a community-powered Drupal module rating and review site. My goal is to help Drupal developers find good modules faster and easier than ever. Want to help? Sign in and review a couple modules! The more reviews we compile, the more useful the site will be for everyone.

Posted by John on 2008-03-02

Drupal Modules Update

I've been working on my next big site, Drupal Modules, for a while now, and today I can reveal a bit of that work to you!

Drupal Modules

This is a design that's been in the works for months, but only recently have I had time to finish it. Of course, there's much more behind the scenes, but I'm not quite ready to launch the site yet.

Check back soon, the full site will be going live sooner than later!

Posted by John on 2007-12-14
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