Monthly Archives: April 2008

Drupal installation and configuration

The trials and tribulations of installing Drupal on your 1and1 account server.

To start with, maybe it is best not to download and install the very latest version of any open source program. I did that that with WordPress 2.5 (and found that it was pretty buggy with regard to upload of images. The best answer I got was “stay tuned for more updates.” . Many of the modules that check out fine for version five seem to be “untested” for version 6x. So if you are going for a quick implementation, stay with a tried and true version.

OK, create your database on your server account and make a note of the username, pswrd and host name. For 1and1 that will be something like “xxxxperforxx.net”

As soon as you start to change install and activate new modules (like the image module and image assist module (which, by the way, have to be installed together) you will get an “fatal error” message.

Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 8388608 bytes exhausted (tried to
allocate 373670 bytes) in
/homepages/45/d194830414/htdocs/drupal/includes/database.mysql-common.inc on line 41

This is rather opaque and really gives you little help. After puzzling over it for a while, and contacting 1and1 to see if it was something they could adjust (at first I thought I might have maxed out my allotted database space. They assured me that I had 100MB available)

I went to the Drupal support link, put in “memory error” as the key word and it took me to http://drupal.org/node/29268 a page titled “Increase memory in your php.ini”

It made three suggestions for changing the memory settings:

* memory_limit = 12M to your php.ini file (recommended, if you have access)
* ini_set(‘memory_limit’, ’12M’); to your sites/default/settings.php file
* php_value memory_limit 12M to your .htaccess file in the Drupal root

I tried the .htaccess file with no effect (but more on that later)
Changing the settings in the “sites/default/settings.php.” file seemed to do the trick. I reset it to 12M, activated the imags module, updated php as requested and was advised in the next screen that I really should be using 16MB. So made that change.

Now to see if that works.

I had such hopes for WordPress 2.5

I had such hopes for WordPress 2.5, but the difficulties with implementing the image upload function has been a constant source of frustration. Judging from the number of complaints on their help web site, it seems to be a widely-distributed “bug” in the code. All they can do is say “keep posted” and hope they can identify the problem

Type Camp and original sources


Step in Design magazine, published in Peoria, ran a recent article touting a study program that takes students to locations such as the St. Brides Printing Library so they could experience the works in their original form. Interestingly, we at Bradley University tried a program such as that in 2004. We took a group of students to the British Library, St. Brides Printing Library, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the National Art Library, along with visits to William Morris’ house in Hammersmith. Students were to do some preliminary research in preparation, and then had two weeks in London to consult original sources (not reproductions) to gain further insight into the works they were writing about. It is a very hard sell to get undergraduates to take an interest in anything connected to libraries. (above is an image of Bradley University student Dave Schuette at the St. Brides Printing Library examining a some Kelmscott editions.)

Hillman Curtis

A very nice little movie by Hillman Curtis on Stefan Sagmeister.

http://www.hillmancurtis.com/hc_web/film_video/source/fof/sagmeister08.php

So what does this have to do with Portfolios? Well, I was checking out blogs on WordPress (actually, I am comparing Drupal and WordPress to see which seems to be more productive, I and keep finding better design sensibilities and a more literate discussions from the WorkPress users. That, at least, is my impression so far.

Lightbox

Lightbox provides a great way to enlarge thumbnail images, creating a floating, specifically-sized window that contains the image and grays-out the page in the background so you can view the enlarged image without having to leave the page you were on.

Another strategy, and perhaps more common, provides a series of links and an image-field into which the image appears. In this case, the number of clickables squares or links indicates the number of images that can be viewed (good user-centered design). Implementation can be done by several methods:

  1. The images all load with the page, but are in divs that are “hidden”, except, perhaps the first image. Each link has a script that sets the “visiblity” property of one of the <div>s to “visible” and the others to “hidden.”
  2. In another implementation, each link goes to a new page with a new image. This works best if the main page structural elements do not move so much as a pixel- giving the impression that only the image (and maybe some text or link indicators change. For this kind of implementation it is very helpful to have all the individual pages linked to a common template for ease of updating.
  3. PHP or some other dynamic programming that pulls the information for a a new image url from a database and dynamically updates the page content. This is, by far, the most scalable method of implementation and the most flexible. But not necessarily the easiest for a novice to implement since it requires knowing the basics of html, php and sql.

gallery example review

I have been evaluating various web gallery strategies. I just tried the web gallery at:http://www.e2interactive.com/e2_photo_gallery/.

It is a cool gallery, with a content management system that allows you to upload images, generating thumbnails in the process. Running on PHP, it has many advantages. The images fade between loads, and it it has optional css “skins” that you can try out via change-buttons. While it works well as a free-standing gallery page, I found trying to edit the css to be difficult. I wanted to integrate it into an existing site, and to position the gallery on an already-formatted site. This proved difficult. Also the standard position of the nav bar below the image field proves awkward—specifically if your image changes from horizontal to vertical, it pushes the nav bar off the bottom of the screen. A simple solution is to reposition the nav bar at the top or side of the main image field. But note the difficulties encountered in customizing the page using its deeply-nested css. Just a deeply-nested tables are rightly criticized in html, deeply-nested divs are (perhaps more) troublesome – particularly when they are not commented. All in all, I have to give it a grade of C for usefulness for our purposes of creating a useable web gallery.