Hi,

First of all: I really like Drupal. It's node based architecture seems very flexible to me!

I am about to implement a website with Drupal. I have experience with Xoops but not with Drupal yet. Looking at the requirements I have and the modules that are available I have made a list of modules I plan to use.

Since this is the first time I build a website with Drupal I would be very grateful if some experienced Drupalers (or less experienced) gave their opinion on my choices.

Below I have put the requirements followed by the Drupal module I plan to use. Any comments are very welcome!

- Articles will be put in separate sections: vocabulary and list of terms. Should I use one vocabulary with each term representing a section?
- Each section has its own design: Taxonomy theme (http://drupal.org/project/taxonomy_theme)
- Spam should be avoided: captcha (http://drupal.org/project/captcha)
- Visitors can enlarge the characters on the screen: fonsize module (http://drupal.org/project/fontsize)
- Visitors can print each article in a printer friendly way: print module (http://drupal.org/project/print)
- At any moment it is clear to the visitor where he is on the website: taxonomy breadcrumb (http://drupal.org/project/taxonomy_breadcrumb)
- Each section has its own image: taxonomy image (http://drupal.org/project/taxonomy_image)
- editors can use an html editor: fckeditor (http://drupal.org/project/fckeditor)
- articles can be enabled and disabled automaticaly: scheduler (http://drupal.org/project/scheduler). The dates can be entered in a handy way using the calendar (http://drupal.org/project/jstools)
- Visitors can ask info via a form: contact module (http://drupal.org/handbook/modules/contact)
- There is a forum: standard forum
- There is a poll: standard poll
- The frontpage is flexible in its design, it can be changed easily. It is possible to put articles, polls, forum posts on it. It is easy to change the items that are shown on the front page. I am not yet sure about this. The epublish module seems to be handy (http://drupal.org/project/epublish). Although I don't think it is very flexible in its design, is it? The module front page might be handy here (http://drupal.org/project/front). Any advise on this one is very welcome.
- Yellow pages: classified ads (http://groups.drupal.org/classifieds)

Thank you in advance for the time you take to read this and maybe to answer this :-)

Comments

There is no law that says everything has to be done at once. Approach this step-by-step.

For sectioning, I recommend that you read HOWTO: Segment your site with access control for some ideas. It may or may not change your ideas on some of the others.

Forget the "Captcha" module. I've seen several reports lately that it isn't working. Try the Spam module instead.

Delay the Taxonomy Breadcrumb module until you're sure you need it. Most breadcrumb trails will be okay without it.

The core poll module is somewhat limited; it may or may not do what you want. If not, try the Advanced Poll module.

I've never head of the epublish module; try just Front Page or Panels first.

Nancy W.
Drupal Cookbook (for New Drupallers)
Adding Hidden Design or How To notes in your database

Hi Nancy,

Just a heads-up... the link to the "Advanced Poll module" is actually http://drupal.org/project/advpoll.

I'm basically just starting out myself, so I'm sure someone else can give you more input into specific modules. But one immediate observation: you want to avoid modules listed as HEAD, like the fontsize module you mentioned. HEAD releases are still very much in development and can have unfortunate side-effects.

As far as I can tell (I'm not a developer), the hierarchy of reliability in a module is...

  • Core modules. The stuff that came with Drupal
  • Contributed modules listed as "official releases". Among this group there can multiple modules that do the same thing and there isn't a great way to tell which ones are "better", but I usually look for modules developed by well-known, active contributors and lots of discussion. Also look for releases that don't have serious active bugs (click "review pending bug reports" on the download page), but have closed bugs from prior releases (i.e., it's been stress-tested)
  • Dev release. Work in progress. I think these are
  • Beta releases. I'm using one of these, but it passed the no-serious-active-bugs, lots-of-closed-bugs test.
  • Alpha releases. Nononono.
  • HEAD. NEVER, ever use on a live site. Among the works in progress, this is the latest work in progress. Might be newer than a previous dev release, but it hasn't had a lot of checking, if any

-Patricia

That's a pretty good summary for people just starting out. In time, you may find a few exceptions.

Some modules may never produce "official" releases, so the best advice is to check the bug reports (and support and features too). And they aren't all written by well-known contributors, if you even have an idea who those may be. But you can look through the requests, etc. and see which are actively maintained. I think that's more important than the author being well-known.

I can think of only one notable exception to the "beta" rule, and wouldn't even necessarily suggest it to new Drupallers.

Nancy W.
Drupal Cookbook (for New Drupallers)
Adding Hidden Design or How To notes in your database

Thanks a lot for the answers and comments so far!

Nancy (nancyw): I read the HOWTO. I was familiar with that. I had a look at the SPAM module and the advance poll module. They seem to be very useful. Thanks. The panel also seems to be very useful. Didn't know about it yet. It seems to give you a lot of flexibility in the design of the page (frontpage for me). Just what I need!

Patricia (PRFB):
This is a very helpful strategy you give. I will definitely use is. I didn't know the meaning of HEAD. Thanks.

What do you think of the classified ads module? I need only two levels: the top level with the categories, than all ads one level below. Visitors will not be able to post ads themselves. (Ideally they will be able to post but I have to approve the post.) There needs to be the possibility to add images and a map of the location. I think this page gives me the answers.

I also need the website to be found very well by google (who doesn't :-)). I will use friendly urls for this. Are there any more things I can do in a technical perspective?

I also need a blog. Several people will get their own blog on the site. I plan to use the standard book module for this.

Thanks again!

As for the article on classifieds, take a look at the comment by "inactivist": I just want to get in and drive, not build a car...

The ed-classifieds module is good. Not perfect, but good. By two biggest problems with it, so far, are pricing (which, for me, is not really a problem yet) and styling (which I'm sure is easily overcome, I just haven't spent the time).

One good thing about that module is that it is taxonomy driven. So if you decide later to make the structure deeper (or longer), it is easy to change without any major work.

Why use the book type for blogs? Why not the blog module? (BTW, book will probably go away in 6.x)

Drupal produces search-engine friendly sites (especially if you use URL aliases and clean URLs). Standard SEO guidelines apply: different titles on each page, a description meta tag (Meta Tags module), well written, keyword-rich content, and lots of inbound links (that's the hard part).

Nancy W.
Drupal Cookbook (for New Drupallers)
Adding Hidden Design or How To notes in your database

I've also had problems with getting the Captcha module to work on my site, so I'm using the Registration Code module instead and am quite happy with it so far. I've used the Spam module and it also works fine, but don't forget to check out the Akismet module too. I also use the Troll module and can recommend it for blocking access by IP or domain.

Thanks!

Nancy: I will look at the standard blog, the "ed_classified" module, and the "meta tags" module.

le winters: thanks for the spam info. I will have a look at all spam related modules you mention.

Drupal is great. The help on its forum even better!