Crossposted to NYPL Labs. Sorry for any duplication!
Hey, do you use Drupal on a site with several thousand nodes? Do you also use the Apache Solr Integration module? If you're like me, you've probably needed to reindex your site but couldn't be bothered to wait for those pesky cron runs to finish — in fact, that's what led me to file a feature request on the module to begin with.
Well, fret no more, because thanks to me and Greg Kallenberg, my illustrious fellow Applications Developer at NYPL DGTL, you can finally use Drupal's Batch API to reindex your site. The module is available as an attachment from that same issue node on drupal.org. Nota bene: this is a really rough module, with code swiped pretty shamelessly from the Example Use of the Batch API page on drupal.org. It works, though, and it works well enough as we tear stuff down and build it back up over and over again.
When Mark asked me to write about our use of Drupal at the Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections, the first thing I thought about was when our Archives Reference Blog was initially launched in April 2007. I couldn't believe that it has been two years already. I am pleased to report that my colleagues at Dickinson and I are enormously happy with the results of those two years. I hope others may find this brief explanation of how and why we are using Drupal as a reference management tool to be helpful and instructive.
The concept for our implementation of Drupal was a simple one. I was thinking about the fact that we help researchers everyday to locate information that they want, but that what they discover among our collections or learn from them seldom gets shared, except by those who write for publication. So, what if we shared via the web, through a simple blog format, the basic questions posed by our researchers along with a simple summary of the results?
I've been fairly quiet lately as I've been busy with this and that, but I thought I'd let everyone know that I've been beginning to put together a series of posts entitled "Drupal for Archivists." Drupal, as you may or may not know, is a flexible and extensible open source content management system. There will be a general overview of some of the important concepts, but it'll focus less on the basics of getting people up and running — there are plenty of resources out there, such as the wonderful tutorials and articles available from Lullabot. Instead, I've drafted a handful of guest bloggers to discuss how and why they're using Drupal. Keep your eyes peeled!
Man, if this isn't a "you got your peanut butter in my chocolate thing" or what! As I wrote over on the NYPL Labs blog, we've been up to our necks in Drupal at MPOW, and I've found that one of the great advantages of using it is rapid prototyping without having to write a whole lot of code. Again, that's how I feel about Python, too, but you knew that already.
Once you've got a prototype built, how do you start piping stuff into it? In Drupal 6, a lot of the contrib modules to do this need work - most notably, I'm thinking about node_import, which as of yet still has no (official) CCK support for Drupal 6 and CCK 2. In addition, you could be stuck with having to write PHP code for the heavy lifting, but where's the joy in that?
Well, it so happens that the glue becomes the solvent in this slow, slow dance.
Goodbye, WordPress - I've been drinking more of the KoolAid. I rebuilt my personal/professional site (not this blog) in Drupal. Migrating the content was pretty easy (about 15 static pages, no posts). The functionality is astounding - I only started working on redoing it yesterday and I've already got a great infrastructure. Expect a detailed post before too long, or at least a link to a colophon on said site.