Blocks and Panels together

I’m now leaning towards using some blocks in my page design. Here is something to think about.

I have been using Panel Pages almost exclusively for my page designs. But what I am finding is that I believe that it will be beneficial to use some blocks for things that I really never want to change, regardless of the parts of the site that the user navigates to. These parts right now mainly include the header and the menu bar. I believe that i will always want to have a few specific elements there. they will never change. So, I am enabling those with Blocks and then the “middles” of the pages with Panels elements. I believe that this will trim up the amount of CSS that I have to add to a site. And I believe it will help with the cross platform experience too. meaning mobile….

I’ll have to do a little tweaking, but I believe that it is going to provide a better framework for me. It’s like the servers in a farm; they all have the same base build regardless of the application that will eventually live there. That type of consistency always made sense to an infrastructure guy like me. Don’t know why I didn’t think of the parallel sooner except that I am really not very good at this type of stuff. But, when monkey-man do something over and over again, monkey-man get good at it. ;-)

after ten. must sleep.

Google Adsense, Block, Views, and Panels.

The last thing that I am going to do before I start with the css styling on my site is configure some ads via Google Adsense. Here is a general overview of what to do:

  • Download and install the Drupal Adsense module. It has been around for many years and will behave very well. 
  • Create an Adsense account at Google. This means including payments options for them, including banking info. I’m sure it is fine but be aware of what you are doing.
  • Make a note of your pub number from Google. And the slot number from the ad that you create to get started
  • The module enabled the easy placement of the ad via a Block. The block config is also where you will go to enter the slot number referenced above.
  • The tough part for me now is the placement. I really use Panels and Views, and Nodes to display my content. So I am going to figure out how to do that. Otherwise, I may have to place the code for the ad manually in a content type and use it in a Panel that way. Which will be ok but I hope that I can do it a bit easier than that. I’ll be back with an update later.
  • OH – NOTE – You won’t see the ads if you are an admin unless you change the permissions
  • The blocks also show up under Miscellaneous in the Add Panel Content area so that solves that!
  • It appears that I have to complete the payment verification process from my bank to get things finished. That can take a day or two. I will then have to verify the amount in my account and go from there.

Great Post about how to build a site in Drupal

One of the toughest things about Drupal is the variety of methods you can employ in building a site. Do I use Blocks? What about Panels? Views?? Mini-Panels??? GPanels????? AHHHHH!!!!!

At this point, I am using Panels for just about everything. And I really like that. I can easily move a block around on a page. Recreate the page using the Views, Nodes, Menus, etc. that I have already defined. And then I can have variants. So that is the direction that I am taking. But, this is more art than science so there are a many correct ways to do the same thing. So what works for me won’t work as well for someone else.

Here is a blog from someone (Randall Knutson) A LOT more experienced with Drupal than I am. Worth reading if you are at the point where you are regretting using Drupal because of the learning curve. Take heart. This thing is a beast but once you tame it it is SOOOOO cool.

Panels and Views

I’ve had conversations with friends who work with Drupal and they all talk about a sort of “epiphany” experience where they seem to finally “get” Drupal. I’ve had a couple of them. The first one was when I finally got my head around the concept of database driven non-static content. I had to have that to move on. I’ve been in IT for a long time but on the infrastructure side. The web stuff that I have always dealt with has been very simple really. So I had to get over that.

Now, I’ve had a new sort of epiphany. And it was the result of learning enough about Drupal to see that, for me, the paradigm of “Blocks” is a dead end. For me, I had to learn enough to see that Views and Panels are the way to go. There are some little things about this that are good examples. One. If you build a menu item from an Aggregator Category item, then change that item name, that change won’t be reflected in the menu; you have to go and change the menu link name as well. no good. But if the menu link item is based off of a View, that View can hold all of the relevant data for what appears on the menu.

So, LEARN VIEWS and PANELS.

Panels, panels and more Panels

I have worked with Panels so much today that i want to throw up. But I feel like I am finally making progress. Even though I almost had to roll back my sandbox to a backup.

Panels are good. They allow you to have an easier time with layouts. But they can be tricky. You have to have a theme enabled that will support it properly. Especially if you are looking to have a responsive theme for Mobile devices.

I had an issue with the Panels Everywhere module and the Advanced Forum theme. That has been cleared up for the most part. By that I mean that I am not going to be using Panels Everywhere. Although, the issue really was the default theme template for PE and the AF module. You can have the mods installed and enabled together but when I enable the default template for PE, AF give you an error that doesn’t clearly implicate PE. It was only through A LOT of T&E that I figured that out. I had great help from the AF guy at Drupal.org but it really wasn’t his issue. But, I have gotten around the impasse.

So, here is where I am on this particular subject”

  • I’m going to start a new tag – “drupal idiosyncrasy” – DI
  • DI – other themes may “look” available when you are setting up a panel. But that doesn’t mean it will work properly
  • using adaptive themes AT Subtheme 7.x-3.1 for responsive design with Panels
  • Chose “override” Drupal block in the panel that I set up
  • went to structure, blocks and removed the custom placed blocks (from categorized feeds) that were still showing up even though I told the panel to override them.
  • Told the panel that i want it to be the front page. check the vids from lullibot. too. this is one. http://drupalize.me/videos/setting-multi-column-home-page

now I have the detail that i wanted to have on the front page. This part was tricky and I thought a few times about throwing the whole thing out and going with Joomla. But, I persevered….

Views, Panels and Blocks

I spent a good deal of time today tracking down a bug that occurred in my sandbox after adding the devel module when i ran cron.

“An AJAX HTTP error occurred. HTTP Result Code: 500 Debugging information follows.” :-

i checked and reenabled a submod in sand that was still on in prod. the error went away. all i can tell you is have a testbed.

since i am adding content and working on layouts now, i have run into some of the limitiations of blocks. so, i’m working with views and learning how to display them in panels. looks like this is the route to take. will add more about this later