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7 Suggestions for New Drupal Users in Higher Education

We've been talking to a lot of universities about using Drupal to power some of their websites, and we've learned a lot of about the kinds of challenges and specific needs that Universities and Colleges have on the web. As we've been developing specific strategies for these clients, we've also noticed several overarching themes. So rather than keep this to ourselves, we thought we'd share some of these observations in the forum of suggestions for universities that are considering Drupal.

Get local : Decentralizing Online Advocacy with Drupal

Online advocacy techniques have evolved in sophistication over the years, but not in structure. From using geographic data to locate groups and events in your area to signing petitions and making pledges using Twitter, we have seen a great evolution. Nonetheless, we continue to operate in a very top-down manner: messages are generated at the organizational level and then pushed down to grassroots activists, who are asked to take action.

Theming the User Registration Form in Drupal 6

When you are building an online community, one of your important jobs is to remove obstacles for users to sign up to create accounts. Drupal's user registration form, out of the box, is one of the simplest forms out there, and maybe that is why it is also one of the easiest things to overlook when building a site. By the time profile fields are added in, captchas are placed on the page, and other components have had their way with the fields that become part of it, the form can get rather messy and detract from the user experience.

Javascript Compression

I have been seeing a lot of AJAX-enabled Drupal sites that are not using JavaScript compression lately, and have been wondering how many people actually know how to use it. JavaScript compression has been around for a while, but the concept is still new for some people. The technology allows you to compress the size of JavaScript files in various ways to reduce download time, bandwidth and execution time on client browsers. While it is not always necessary if bandwidth or file size is not a big concern, large scripts can take much longer to execute unless they are compressed.

Coder Tough Love module released

Coder Tough Love is a companion to the existing Coder module by Doug Green, and its initial development has been sponsored by Trellon. Unlike Coder, which strives to follow the documented style guidelines of Drupal core, Coder Tough Love takes the tougher tactic of applying finely aged and obsessively anal wisdom from years of Drupal development and persnickety quality control.

Untamed Organization

One of Trellon's current projects is a site called "Untamed Science," which is designed to be a reference, accessible and useful to all ages, on subjects related to biology and ecology. While the site is still in progress, we wanted to break in and talk about the way we're using the Taxonomy module to organize content on the site.

Drupalcamp Chicago is Go!

Drupalcamp Chicago is coming up this weekend, October 24 & 25 at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Over 140 Drupal programmers and themers are going to be holding sessions on Drupal topics ranging from getting started with the platform to advanced Drupal 6 techniques with new modules. There are going to be some heavyweights in attendance - the registration list includes eaton, KarenS, Matt Butcher, and other big names in the Drupal community.

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