Variants and Node Add/Edit Overrides

Variants in Drupal allow you to reuse Panel Page layouts to make your life easier. You use Selection Rules to allow the system to decide what variant to use based on any number of criteria. In my case, I use Variants on the node add/edit form to provide a consistent interface between several different content types. As with many things Drupal, there are a few idiosyncrasies.

I have a custom content type called member-galleries. This holds images in a gallery like display. To render the add node properly, I had to learn the hard way that using


the “Node Being Edited: Gallery Image form” is not the correct form to use. Even though Gallery Image is the field name that I gave the Image field on the content type that I created. It just seemed to make sense, right? And even worse, it appears when you test the functionality that this is the way to go. But, I kept getting a red herring error about file size when I would try to save an image. It turned out that the Variant really needed the “Node Being Edited” Base form instead. It appears to be exactly the same until you try to save a node of the content type.

Additional Drupal Search Resources

I am really surprised at the dearth of documentation on Search options/modules on So I am compiling a running list of different sites that have actual details on what you can do with Search and how best to achieve them. – Probably the best place for docs on Solr and Drupal, and all the mods that go with them. – Great one for those who want to use the out-of-the-box search_db backend. – One for Solr – which I believe I am going to end up using. – Installing Solr. GREAT TUTORIAL from LULLABOT – installing apache tomcat for Solr on Centos – Tomcat version – tomcat authentication – troubleshooting Solr – installing solr and drupal info

create many nodes from one upload

If you ever need to upload a bunch of images and you want to be able to deal with them as separate nodes, the bulk media bulk media upload mod is for you. all of the nodes below were created in one simple upload. the mods use tokens for replacement patterns for the titles so that you have a lot of simplicity in regards to the naming of the nodes. this is a great way to get a lot of work done quickly.

Bulk Media Upload 7.x-1.x-dev With Bulk Media Upload you can upload a bunch of media files and a new node will be created for every file.

Requires: Entity API (enabled), Plupload integration module (enabled), Token (enabled)
Help Pe


Taxonomy Comparisons

I have been neck deep in Taxonomy, OG, Rules, Contexts, Relationships and many more all week. It hasn’t been very fun but I know that I need to be able to scale this site properly and so, I need to do the research early on.

I need to be able to sort all site content by geography. Specifically by the state that the member resides in. The member will always have only one state. What I really need it a way to autotag a node (as it is being authored) with the state that the member resides in. Here is a really good wiki from with a run down of many of the options available.

For my case, it appears that I will be able to use the Rules module and Roles (a core user function) to acheive this. Here is a link to a post that helped me arrive at this decision.

Gallery Formatter Module

I have been struggling for days to get an image gallery solution that will work for me and I think that I am just about there. Gallery Formatter is the latest piece of the puzzle. This post is a WIP, so here are a few bare bones details: – module – documentation – readme

Overview for my approach

  • Custom Content Type for images – one for members of my site one for admins
  • Gallery Formatter – for the format at the Content Type level
  • ME Alias module for replacement patterns, like Token, uses Token, I believe
  • Views/Panels (of course)
  • Multiupload – module
  • Colorbox – module
  • Field Formatter Class mod – Module – Helps define CSS classes at the content level

That’s it for now. I hope to put this to bed today if I can.

Define Custom Content Type CSS classes

This is a really cool module. And surprisingly, it doesn’t seem to have gotten a lot of attention. But the Field Formatter Class Module is really pretty simple and straightforward. And with Drupal, I really like the KISS rule…

This module allows you to define a CSFF class1S class on a per field basis. You do this in the Display Settings for the field of the content type taht you are working with. So,

  • I create a Content type called admin galleries for image galleries taht I, an admin, create.
  • On the image field, I assign the class admin-gallery. this option is available because of the module
  • now, i can add CSS as seen below to that specific class and only that content type will be affected. so I can style any
  • gallery this way as long as I use that content type for the gallery. which makes sense anyway. Image
  • I can also create a content type for user-galleries and style all those in a consistent way. and that is the real point that i wanted to acheive anyway.




Very cool module. And this post is where I heard about it. It has some other useful ideas on this subject too.



Manage System Messages

The standard Drupal system messages are really intrusive once you start to customize your site via Panels and CSS. For me, the green boxed messages push my pages down and break the presentation. Plus, they just don’t look very… NICE. So here is a great module. Nice Messages leverages the JGrowl JS library make the normal messages appear as in the SS below. There are even options on where the message should appear and how long. VERY NICE!


More about theming – Devel Themer

What I really want to do is to be able to do whatever I want. Haha. Seriously, I want to be able to customize Drupal so that it doesn’t look like Drupal. So I am now working on theming functions. And to find out how a particular part of my site is generated, I am using the Devel module along with Devel Themer. These used to be packaged together but now they are separate contrib modules.

I had a sort of hard time getting Devel_themer to work properly. It was on the harder side of medium as far as modules go. But, I paid close attention to the issue queue at for the Devel_themer module and I was able to get it all figured out eventually. If you are getting 404 AJAZ errors, look at the queue and you will find answers there.

Lullabot has some good videos on how to use Devel_Themer. Check them out here.

External Links in a new window – site wide with additional options

Such an easy thing. adding a  target=”_blank” to your link so that it opens in a new window and doesn’t take your user from your site. This is something that you would normally do in the a href tag but in Drupal, it isn’t quite that easy. But, “There’s a module for that!”… and that is the extlinks module. Small, and a user base of 44k. easy choice. Goes under good modules.

More… Custom Styling with CSS

I have been doing a lot of CSS work and it is all going pretty well. The main thing to do is:

  1. read up on a LOT of CSS to find out what your options are.css2
  2. use firebug to track down what needs to be changed and test how to change it.
  3. alter the css file or the inline css. inline css can often be changed from within drupal if you have a content type with some text. The title text on the SS below uses inline css that i added via the “source” button of the CKEditor module on that particular piece of content.
  4. subtheme all your css files by copying the ones you need into your subtheme directory, making sure to note their existence in the .info file for your subtheme.