Drupal 7 upgrade

I just finished the update to Drupal 7 for this website. Well, finished, it's a work in progress. Let's say I struggled my way to were the site's now. And it's been a bumpy road. I've played a bit with the betas, the release candidates and the first stable release. But this upgrade is the first truly in depth experience I've had with D7. My impression? The user experience is a lot smoother than it was in previous incarnations of my favorite CMS. However, there is a lot of work to be done still. And the upgrade path is far from smooth.


Early 2010 I've redesigned the templates of the Flevoziekenhuis. The old templates really needed an update. This assignment was granted very late in the process of introducing the new corporate identity. The Flevoziekenhuis hospital building was already decorated with the new logo. And print communications and other media outings were already branded according to the new style designed by Different View.

IBG Makelaars

The Independent Brokers Group is a large collective of real estate agents. Three of those agents asked 2Value to build their new website:

Henstra Advies en Ondersteuning

Harm Henstra is a coach and interim manager based in Haarlem. He needed a small, straightforward website to present himself and his services. So rapidly I put up a new Joomla installation. After a short planning meeting Harm wrote most of the content in his new website. I structured it and filled the site. We jointly choose a stock template and I adapted the colours and feel to his corporate identity. Next, we put up the "pawn" images and portraits to finish the global layout.

HTML style guide

When designing websites graphic designers often draw a neat picture in photoshop. The day to day use of a website greatly differs from this ideal scenario. The design shows a calm and readable site with demo text. But the actual website in use everything but serene and readable. The text style is usually the first aspect of a site that gets diluted. Both users and visitors create content or leave comments which just don't fit the initial picture painted by the designer. A lot of problems stem from the use of wysiwyg editors in content management systems.

JRoute and module visibility

Correct SEF routing in Joomla is pretty easy thanks to the class JRoute. If you want to redirect to a clean url just use the basic method _(); like so:

2Value Subversion

2Value is a network organisation. In this organisation I am among a growing number of associates who create high quality open source software solutions for the web. The network character is one of the great strengths of such a company. However, you need a set of effective procedures and collaborative tools for such an organisation to work effectively. In the last couple of months I worked on implementing Subversion and localised environments in 2Value.

Related nodes and custom breadcrumbs

Sometimes, having an easy to use CMS like Drupal or Joomla is just one more excuse to keep on tweaking. Just now I added a related nodes block to the article and project pages. Let's say I write an article like this and I tag it drupal. A couple other articles on the same topic are shown in a block in the right column. Hard to do? I don't think so! Just use the views module an some view arguments, like so.

Flevoziekenhuis Readspeaker

I've created a Joomla Readspeaker plugin for the Flevo Hospital in Almere. Readspeaker is a technology that allows webdevelopers to embed a screenreader on a website. Off course many people with a visual handicap already use screenreaders but these usually read everything on the webpage. With readspeaker, the webdeveloper can decide which content should be read, and which shouldn't. Also it's a platform independent solution.

SEO and performance

Discussions on Drupal site optimisation are usually technical discussions. But many a time they boil down to philosophical discussions. Search engine optimisation (SEO) and performance tweaks aren't necessarily good for the manageability of your site or for your potential visitors. I ran across a couple of these dilemmas in recent days while trying to optimise my own site.