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Informative articles on various technologies ...

Clean Feed module released

2bits released a new module today.

It is called clean feeds.

Currently Drupal's feeds contain all the markup, including the HTML tags for images, hyperlinks, ...etc. This can cause a site to lose clicks when users click on external URLs included in the feed.

Most sites do not include links in their feeds.

This module is designed to address this, and make sure that when users are interested, the site owner will not lose traffic.

Note: for Drupal 4.7, a patch to the node.module is required. Check the patches directory included with the clean feeds module for a patch as well as a pre-patched node.module.

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New 2bits Drupal software downloads section

2bits now has a section dedicated to Drupal software downloads.

In that section you will find various modules that are not released on Drupal.org for one reason or the other. Reasons include lack of time, unknown license, ...etc.

We are making those available in case they are useful to someone.

In particular, check the Spread Fire Fox affiliates module for 4.7.

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Adding unique styles to primary and secondary links

Nick Lewis covered how to assign unique CSS Ids for menus in the navigation block in a recent article.

In this article, I describe how to do the same for the primary and secondary links.

With some modifications, this technique can also be used to manipulate the  primary and secondary links in other ways.

First, in the template.php of your theme, add this function. If there is no template.php file, then create one.

function phptemplate_menu_links($links) {
return _phptemplate_callback('menu_links', array(
'links' => $links,
));
}

Then, create a file called menu_links.tpl.php in your theme directory.

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Drupal 4.8/5.0 now has an installer

The next release of Drupal will be 4.8 or 5.0, depending on what features make it by the September 1 code freeze.

One feature that eases the installation process, is the long awaited automated installer.

There is no need to manually create the database tables any more.

Here are the steps for creating a 4.8/5.0 Drupal site, with the messages you are expected to see.

Create the Database

If you are on a shared host, then you create the database from the control panel provided to you. For example, this will be under MySQL in cPanel. You have to give the database a name, and create a database user with all privileges to the database you just created.

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Drupal specific questions to ask your hosting company

Drupal can run on virtually any hosting environment, from the very inexpensive shared hosting plans all the way to dedicated servers, and everything in between.

However, some of Drupal's features require specific Apache or PHP features that may or may not be available on any given hosting environment.

Normally, dedicated hosting is not an issue, since your site will have control on the software and its configuration, as well as a competent system administrator that can handle those changes. The same is true for most virtual private servers as well.

However, shared hosting is often where the most problems are encountered. Not all hosting company support all the features that Drupal requires.

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Feedback module gets refactored

Thanks to Wolfgang Ziegler (fago on Drupal.org and a Google Summer of Code for 2006), the feedback module was totally rewritten for 4.7.

The module now allows multiple feedback pages, each going to a different email address. It also has configurable categories.

The only thing that did not get carried over is the validation of the email address. The reason is that this feature was unreliable and slow since it involved opening a socket to the SMTP server for the domain, and trying to contact the user's email.

Several ISPs do not allow this including large ones like AOL and MSN. It also tied up a PHP process while slow socket operations happened.

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