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What Are Best Practices With Drupal

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#1 mrgoodfox


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Posted 11 March 2012 - 03:04 PM

I've decided to build a new site on Drupal. What are some of the DOs and DONTs with Drupal that you guys have experienced?

For example should I install one of the pre-built distributions or modify things myself?

#2 A.N.Onym


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Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:46 AM

I'm glad to see a Drupal convert here ;)

The Don't things usually include what you wouldn't do to a normal website (lack of catering to your visitors' needs, not planning or doing really silly things, such as chmoding the entire public_html as 777).

Ideally, though, you should focus on "Do's":
- identify your visitor needs
- plan site and page structure accordingly
- match visitor needs to structure and functionality, then map those to the right modules
- use the least amount of modules (CCK, Views and Panels are enough for most content display necessities)
- use the right modules: identify the most popular ones in the category, test them all and find the one that fits your needs perfectly (review, email subscription and jquery gallery - colorbox/lightbox2 - modules come to mind)
- learn what Drupal can do out of the box: sometimes, the features you need are there (such as Workflow, Triggers/Actions, etc)
- browse through the most popular modules: sometimes, you'll find the module that'll drastically enhance your website in a way that you haven't thought about
- use .htaccess code to only have one variant of the following: with or without www and with and without a trailing slash (or use the Global Redirect module, but I think it adds server overhead unnecessarily, since you can use your mad .htaccess coding skills to fix most 301 redirects)
- learn what exactly chmod number (755, 775) you need for which files and folders. I haven't done this myself, since my sites are not that popular, but it should be done to secure the site to avoid the easiest hacks of all
- use the robots.txt file to block the individual comment, reply and feed URLs from the search engines, using similar lines to these:
Disallow: /*/feed$
Disallow: /comment/reply/*

Personally, I think that if you know Drupal, you should custom build your website.

However, you can look at the existing profiles and case studies and see, which modules you can use to create a better website. There's no rule set in stone here: there's always room to learn and improve.

I'm sure there's a set of modules that are used for different types of websites, though, such as Fivestars for ratings, Simplenews for email subscrions, CCK/Views for content display as well as numerous payment gateway modules. Maybe there is a profile that provides the necessary modules that are already setup the way you need without providing unnecessary complications: in this case, you might save time by using the pre-built profile, but the benefits end there, because website development still depends on what you know and can do.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 14 March 2012 - 06:51 AM.

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