Welcome to the official personal website of Rob Loach, a Drupal Engineer at Acquia, currently living in Toronto. Feel free to contact me.

SUSE Studio: Recipe for the Drupal OS?

The SUSE Linux guys just launched a new service called SUSE Studio. With it, you can create an operating system running SUSE, and your own checklist of packages. If you watch the screencast, you see that he creates a Linux distribution that has PHP and MySQL running out of the box.

This seems like the perfect solution for creating a Drupal Operating System that's ready for both Drupal development and runtime right when you install it on your machine. All we'd have to do is have the Drupal packages ready!

Drupal Websites on the iPhone

As more people use internet-enabled mobile phones, like the iPhone, the demand for mobile-enabled websites grows. Everyone likes to have their own information in their own hands, all the time. Creating these different interfaces can be a lot of work, but Joe Hewitt changed that on the iPhone front. The iUI User Interface Library was spawned and has popped up all over the place since (most notably on Facebook). The library just requires some simple HTML to create a very slick interface that mimics the iPhone interface.

Where was Drupal in all this though? There are a number of solutions for mobile-enabled Drupal websites, but none of them worked so well with the iPhone. So, I hacked together a iUI Drupal Theme, stuck it on Rob Loach .Mobi, and was surprised with the result. Go ahead, try it out! Aside from a few little things, it worked perfectly on the iPhone. Still needs lots of work, though.

So, if you want an iPhone-enabled version of your Drupal website, all you have to do is install the iUI Drupal Theme, and then switch to the iUI theme when the user visits your mobile-enabled website. You could do that by either a small hack in settings.php, or one of the many modules out there that changes the theme based on the user agent or the domain. Enjoy!

Migrating from Locale to String Overrides

The issue with using the Locale module to translate single strings on your site for tweaking text is that it gives you a performance hit. When the Locale module is used for this, it can make a query to the database every time the locale() function is called through t().

Localization ExportThe solution to this is String Overrides, which stores these string replacements in the variables table, which is cached on every page load anyway. The problem with it was that it proved to be quite difficult to migrate from using the Locale method of string replacement to String Overrides. Well, it just got a whole bunch easier.

With version 1.5 of String Overrides, you have the ability to import *.po files. These *.po files can be generated by the Locale module's language. You can see a demonstration of exporting a *.po file from the Locale module in the image on the right.

String Overrides - ImportOnce you have the *.po file, you can visit the String Override settings at admin/settings/stringoverrides, click on Import, select the *.po file, and import the string replacements straight into String Overrides. You can see a screenshot of it on the right.

This functionality is only part of the Drupal 5 version at the moment, and will shortly be ported to Drupal 6 shortly.

Garland-looking Twitter Page

I was recently playing around with the design of my twitter page and got it to look like Garland, the default design for Drupal. A number of you have asked me about it, so I thought I'd publish the values I'm using. So, if you want your Twitter page to also look like Garland, you can input the following values into your Twitter design.

Background Color:
Background Image:
Text Color:
Name Color:
Link Color:
Sidebar File Color:
Sidebar Border Color:

Of course, I'd recommend taking my website logo out of garlandtwitter.png, and putting your own image in there, but that's completely up to you.

Make Skype Calls on the iPhone

For those of you who have an iPhone, a very handy new application was launched for it called Fring. Once you've installed it, you can connect to a number of different services like AIM, MSN, ICQ, but most importantly Skype.

With the ability to connect to Skype on the iPhone (through WiFi), you can make very cheap (or free) long distance calls on the iPhone as if it were a normal phone. So, if you're ever wandering around and gain access to an open wifi point, you'll be able to make Skype calls, without using your own phone service. This is an awesome application, and I highly recommend you check it out if you're an active iPhone user. It's very easy to install.

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