Deninet Tweaking


Yesterday I took the opportunity to poke at the production version of deninet -- version 6. While there wasn't anything to fix, the site has certainly seen a lack of maintenance since I put my eyes on deninet7. 

First off, there were several modules that were enabled, or simply installed, that weren't being used. Given my recent explorations into Drupal's guts, I've learned an enabled but unused module equates to wasted instruction cycles. I pulled out the modules, and cleaned up what small gaps that remained.

Then I started poking at a few other functional components. First off, the former FAQ section. It was a half baked idea when I conceived of it. The idea was that if questions were submitted, we could create a vote-sequenced knowledge base for site use. Not a bad idea, but one that does not work with a user base of three or four. I deleted the content that needed deletion, and moved the remaining post to a back-dated blog entry. Later, I may move it again to another content type depending on long-term plans.

The removal of the FAQ section allowed more modules to be removed, leaving me to wonder what else could be done. I killed the link to the deninet cafepress store, since that was another silly, half-baked idea no one used. The next idea I had was to look at the Springboard. The Springboard was meant to be a dashboard of subscribed deninet activity for registered users. For the most part, it does what sets out to do. Unfortunately, you need to specifically visit the Springboard by going to

Other websites with similar functionality skip this step altogether. They dynamically change the home page to be different depending on if you are or aren't logged in. I quickly found the ability to do this within Panels, and merged the home page with the Springboard. I also added blocks to the sidebar using similar conditional logic. It's rough, but it requires a little less thinking now.

By the time I finished setting that up, it was already quite late. I began to wonder what would happen if I tried to upgrade deninet6 to Drupal 7 in place. Originally, I created a forked version of the site that broke all the URLs. I spent most of Christmas vacation last year duplicating all the posts into the new forked site. A lot of editing to said posts happened in the process. The biggest change was reorganizing all images into blog post-bound galleries, and into "Creations" -- a new content type -- for all pieces of artwork. 

Upgrading in place would maintain the URLs for content as they are today. It wouldn't, however, deal with the editing of posts, or correct some of the rookie mistakes I made when setting up deninet on Drupal 4.7 years ago. The upgrade process itself also looks frightfully painful. I plan to give it a try anyways just to see how painful it is on a development server. Keeping URLs may not mean much any more in the age of search engines and human-readable URLs. Still, I want to find out.