Following the creative path

Drupalcon in September

Drupalcon is coming to Barcelona, Spain this year from September 19 - 22. My work with CivicActions has given me the opportunity to attend Drupalcon, and I expect it will be exciting and inspiring.

Seattle's local Drupal User Group has been discussing helping the site (since we use it quite a bit). I'm hoping we can find others at Drupalcon who are interested in working on the SignUp module, so it could be used by The SignUp ToDo list is our starting point. I'm hoping to create community and support at the same time. If you are interested in helping or in the outcome of our work, please keep an eye on the Seattle Drupal User Group.

2007 WOTFA Workshop

The Washington Old Time Fiddler's Association hosts a week long workshop each year. I attended for the first time this year and it was a wonderful way to spend the week.

I entered the Lower Intermediate class taught by Leslie Beck (she's from Idaho). Leslie is a great teacher. Although the class had varying degrees of experience, she kept us at just the right pace to learn 20 songs over 5 days. That's a lot of songs, but she made it fun. Plus she provided notation and a CD of her playing each song (including slower versions of the fast songs).

On top of 5 hours of class each day, they offered one hour mini-workshops each afternoon, and you could jam at night with all sorts of folks. I did not have any jamming experience before this workshop, but I feel confident now about joining (or just listening when appropriate) any jam.

I had a great time meeting other WOTFA members, and I pretty much walked around the whole week with a big grin on my face.

I am totally inspired. If you are interested in old time and other music genres like country swing; scandinavian; dance music like jigs, square, waltzes; and more you definitely want to check out this friendly group.Ø

Maybe We Like Obedience

We have avoided obedience for years now, but we gave it another thoughtful try earlier this year. It seems Emma and I are enjoying it a bit more. There is a precision to obedience which personally I am not all that interested in, still there are ways to make it fun.

After training for awhile on our own, we have started taking classes with Diana Hoyem of Dog Sports Northwest. Diana's no nonsense-but-let's-have-fun attitude is terrific, and I think going to class will be an inspiring. In fact, the first class we attended, reminded me of how much training we haven't done!

We attended the Dane Outreach fun match last weekend. After just one class with Diana, Emma was much improved at the match. Of course, I was paying attention too, which helps. Emma performed very well in the ring. Really focused in her Novice run, she was ready for off leash work in her Advanced Rally run with no hesitation or sniffing around. Good girl!

Of course, we had Sits and Downs too. For those of you who are new to obedience, in Novice your dog must be able to stay in a sit for 1 minute and a down position for 3 minutes. It doesn't sound long or terribly hard, but it requires a lot of confidence from the dog. You walk in the ring with all of the other Novice competitors and position the dogs in one long line. The dogs face you as you then leave them in a Stay and walk across the ring to stand in your own Stay for the 1 or 3 minutes.

For Emma this is tough, she does not trust other dogs and tends to whine nervously while everyone behaves so strangely (standing still in a line). It really is silly stuff, but it is a requirement if you want to earn a Novice title.

For the first time ever, Emma kept her stays and did not whine or even look nervous for both the Sit and the Down at this fun match. I could not have been more pleased. There's hope for us yet!

Drupal Projects

Recently, two projects I have been working on are using Drupal. Drupal is a content management system which includes plenty of flexibility and extensibility. That means if you want a web site with all the bells and whistles and have it handle your special requirements, Drupal is a great choice. It is easier for web developers to customize than other content management systems. You can have a great web site at a lower cost than building a completely custom web site or application.

Although the Drupal community calls it a content management system, you can also view Drupal as a rich web framework. Learn more about working with Drupal.

With these advantages, it is hard to see why you would not use Drupal. Thoughts to consider when using any software include:

  • some software can limit the developer, making it difficult to customize for special scenarios. Check with your web developer before deciding which CMS or other framework to use
  • larger software projects can have performance problems, investigate how the software and its community are handling scalability and many large web sites are relying on the software?
  • larger software projects have many people viewing the same code -> increases robustness
  • a CMS gives a person with little technical knowledge the ability to manage a site with plenty of functionality: add blogs or RSS feeds with ease
  • content is easier to maintain with a CMS
  • Block Visibility: by view and content type

    You may want a block that provides some navigation for a view. I use this snippet to display the block on a view Page as well as when viewing content of a particular type. So for instance, I might have a view page which lists the current content of type 'story' called myview. On the myview Page, I also list each content's title in a block similar to a menu, so I can quickly move through the story titles. To make sure this menu only shows up when viewing the view's page and content pages which match the view's content type filtering, you can use Block's admin settings and PHP to set it up just right.

    Create the block as a part of the view (or it could be its own view), set it in particular region on admin/build/block, then configure the block.

    In configure, go to the bottom fieldset:

    Page specific visibility settings

    click the radio button:

    Show if the following PHP code returns TRUE (PHP-mode, experts only).

    then enter the following code, where you specify the name of the view and the content type:

    // myview view or content type is story
    $view_name = 'myview';
    $type = 'story';
    $area = arg(0);
    if ($area == 'view' && arg(1) == $view_name) {
     return TRUE;
    } else if ($area == 'node') {
       $node = node_load(array('nid' => arg(1)));
       if ($node->type == $type) {
         return TRUE;

    In this example, assume the myview view is a teaser list of stories. So the block can be from the same view 'myview', but it is only displayed when viewing myview or 'story' content.

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