2 fab weeks in Drupalville

It has been 2 weeks since I closed the old business and started working for Advomatic. The projects on my plate are so fun I can hardly stand it. Two of them are large community sites, so the lessons and challenges that came with building Famous have so far been invaluable. I'm also looking forward to launching the redesigned Fresno Met site in Drupal. Stay tuned for an August 1st launch!

I can't believe how much I have learned in such a short period. It hasn't been so much learning completely new things, but finding different and often better approaches to old problems. My understanding of how themable functions work in Drupal went way up last week (big thanks to Drumm!).

My 'a-ha' moment was via converting a static block for news items on the Personal Democracy Forum homepage into aggregator feeds. Not a problem except the aggregator module generates blocks with titles only (function: theme_aggregator_block_item). We needed teasers, source titles, and post dates. 2 weeks ago I would have just hacked the aggregator module, or written a custom query for it, which may or may not have worked. And, hacking modules is never ideal. In actuality only a tiny change to the module itself was required to print source titles via: $item->feed_title in the standard aggregator block. Other than that it's a simple rewrite of that function in the theme's template file. In this case it was an old 4.6 xtemplate chameleon theme (ouch!), so the function became chameleon_aggregator_block_item. All that was needed was a rewrite of the same code the module uses + some special stuff to bring in teasers (not really teasers per se but truncated feed item descriptions). This is much more efficient and 'drupal-friendly' than a something like a snippet, certainly more elegant than a complete module hack. Ask me for the code if you think you can use it.