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Quicksketch + Webchick = Drupal Love

webchickFor those of you who have been living in a rock and don't know who Nate Haug or Angie Byron are, they are Lullabots, and huge people behind the Drupal community. Nate was largely responsible for the awesome drag and drop, and the crazy jQuery features, the String Overrides Drupal 5 port, and other awesomeness in Drupal 6, and Angie is just all over the place.

Well, Nate, being the awesome guy he is, gave Angie an awesome new theme for her website. The reason I bring this up, is because of the webchick logo you see on the right. I mean, look at it! If that doesn't make you smile, then I don't know what will.

Great job, Nate! I feel the Drupal Love!

Druplicon Getting Some Love

People who talk with others on IRC, particularly on #Drupal, will be happy to know that our loving IRC bot, Druplicon, is getting some love. Druplicon, if you don't know, is the IRC bot that idles in many of the Drupal IRC channels. It logs chats, helps you remember facts, and just is there when you feel like giving out the odd botsnack. Its powered by the Bot module, making it integrate with Drupal very nicely.

Anyway, I've been routing through the Bot module API lately and thought it could do much more then what it was currently being used for. Since it's run off of a Drupal website, we could integrate it with one of the many other modules out there. Just think, what could you do with an IRC bot on a Drupal website?

  • Dynamically create "meeting note" nodes when you're having a meeting.
  • Only accept people with Drupal user accounts into a given channel
  • Asterisk to make phone calls from an IRC command prompt.
  • Location module to spit out information about places it notices in a channel
  • Private Message module to send private messages through the website from IRC
  • Twitter to make tweet posts from your chat window.
  • Weather to tell you what it's like outside
  • Pirate module to have instant translations to Pirate-talk.... Yar.

In order to make any of these secure though, it definitely needed an authentication system. You wouldn't want people to make Twitter posts in your name, or take over your helpless IRC bot. So, I put together a small little module called that checks your IRC hostname,and your Drupal username. It worked pretty well, so I thought I'd take it one step further and allow me to make Twitter posts from IRC. Here's the result:

< RobLoach > TwitterBot: twitter Testing the new Twitter Bot Drupal module for IRC Twitter posting!
< TwitterBot > RobLoach: You successfully posted to Twitter.
< NotRobLoach > TwitterBot: twitter I'm posing as Rob Loach!
< TwitterBot > NotRobLoach: You are not authenticated to post on Twitter.

If you don't believe me, check the log! Anyway, posting to Twitter is just the beginning. If you want it, the code is available, and I'll be working with eaton, Morbus, dmitrig01 and cwgordon7 to make Bot module the best it can be. This is the start of some awesome things happening to Druplicon. Having authenticated sessions means we can do some really powerful stuff. I'm particularly looking forward to private messages that send when the recipient returns from being offline. What's on your wish list for Druplicon?

Disqus and Drupal: Rethinking Comments

For those of you who don't know what Disqus is, it's a web service that provides a slick enhancement to comments in websites. Usually when you visit a website, you see a discussion going. This discussion usually just takes place on that website. What you're left with is a bunch of different websites with a bunch of different discussions going on. Disqus rethinks this philosophy by bringing all of those different discussions together.

If you're making a comment on a website that uses Disqus, you'll be able to not only do cool things like make posts from your mobile device, reply to threads through email or make voice comments, you'll also be able to see other discussions going on about the same thing from other websites. You can track where you're discussions are taking place, and get email updates when replies are made. You can also subscribe to a user's comments, export your posts, or import new sets of comments. In essence, Disqus is rethinking how discussions are taking place on multiple different websites.

Although the Drupal comment module is pretty nice, it didn't do exactly what I wanted on my own site. Disqus seemed like a nice alternative, so I put together a Disqus Drupal module, which implements the Disqus web service using Drupal. It allows you to add a discussions on any node type (although we could easily extend this to any taxonomy item, any view, etc). The Disqus guys are working hard on adding import features, as well as extending their API, so there are plans to take advantage of those with this module later on, but this is a good start. If you're interested in trying it out, feel free to make a comment on this post saying where you plan to use Disqus. Enjoy the Disqus Drupal module, and feel free to add any additional ideas you may have!

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!

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