Sep 042010

I’ve now been using Drupal on for a year. The flexibility and variety of add-on modules has been great, but there is a definite learning curve. I would not expect casual users to have any fun at all, and the management interface is fairly daunting. Once you dive below the user interface, adding/modifying/updating modules or Drupal itself, the headaches can really begin.

So, even though I’m a highly technical user/administrator, I’m quite ambivalent. Using Drupal has been great. Administering Drupal has been demanding.

Updating modules is a painless process. You unpack the new tar and run an update script. I haven’t had any serious bugs, although the last update did raise a couple errors I had to double check (just to make sure they weren’t critical).

Updating to new versions of Drupal is serious work. You have to replace the entire site directory with the new version and then pull in the changes you have made (modules, themes, files, settings file, etc). I haven’t found a great way to automate this, yet, although I certainly would if my site were larger.

One trick I’ve found very useful regards module settings. All the non-core modules must be disabled before the update. You then have to go back through all the modules (often several pages long) after the update. Instead of manually keeping track of which modules were previously enabled, try this:

  • Pull up a new window in your browser and point it to the page of module settings (usually
  • Don’t make any changes – just put the window aside until you’re done with the updates.
  • After your Drupal directory has been updated and you’ve put all your site files back where they belong, go back to your browser window with module settings. Scroll to the bottom and hit save.
  • Depending on what modules you had enabled, Drupal may prompt you to confirm that certain dependency modules also be enabled.
  • Done! Now run through the myriad module updates that are probably needed.

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