Thank you for visiting Learn By The Drop. Since this site is no longer being updated it's important to let you know that comments are closed and contact form submissions will not be answered. Please feel free to enjoy the content that is here for as long as it is valid.
This lesson shows how to automatically import content from RSS or Atom feeds with the help of the Feeds module. The process relies on cron to run periodically so that the feed processor can check for new content. The feed processor creates regular Drupal nodes from the items contained in the feed. You can choose to have the imported items published by default or not. Once the items have been imported as nodes you can then create custom paths to those using Pathauto and/or customize the display using the Views module.
Note: Click the 'full screen' icon (to the right of the volume control) in order to watch online at full 1280x720 resolution.
The WYSIWYG (stands for What You See Is What You Get) editor is one of the most important features of any content management system. It's the glue that allows html neophytes (present company included) to format their posts just right without having to delve into the html code itself. The screen captures below show what the beginning of this post looks like with and without the editor.
Without the Editor
With the Editor
The difference in the ouput of the two editors this particular post is subtle because I haven't added any extras (such as bold, italics, or alignment) to that first paragraph. But I think many people (especially folks new to web development) will agree that the wysiwyg editor view is more familiar and more inviting when it comes to creating content. There are certainly many more possibilities for those who don't have html skills.
As of Drupal 6 there isn't a wysiwyg editor that is part of the core release. So that means if you want to have pretty post editing then you'll need to select a module of choice, install, configure and hope like heck that it works for you. But what editor to choose? Some of the more popular ones are FCKeditor (seen in the screenshot above), TinyMCE and BUEditor. Because this is open source the landscape with respect to wysiwyg changes over time. FCKeditor still works with Drupal but there's a new version called CKeditor that represents the next generation. Another interesting but less popular option is Whizzywig.
Once you've made your choice of editor then you need to get it installed and configured which is not necessarily the simplest task. In the case of FCKeditor and TinyMCE you download the actual editor separately from the module then upload the files to somewhere in the directory of the module. This is a step that often causes a bit of confusion. Thankfullly there's now a module called Wysiwyg that eases the integration process for these editors. If you use Wysiwyg then you can just upload the editor's files to the sites/all/libraries folder which you would create and then use the Wysiwyg module to configure the editor. Wysiwyg makes it simple to try out different editors and it supports the most popular editors.
Having tried installing different wysiwyg editors as both standalone modules and via the Wysiwyg module I've come to the conclusion that the Wysiwyg module is the way to go. The one issue that I have had with the Wysiwyg module is the fact that you may not have access to all of the various configuration settings that you would if you installed the standalone editor module. The upside is that you have a much simpler install and configuration process.
Let's Talk Images
The inclusion of images is a very important topic that comes up when discussing wysiwyg. Content creators want a simple way to include images in their posts. Most editors make it easy to link to an image but uploading and inserting images into posts typically causes problems. IMCE (installed on over 60,000 Drupal sites) is a very popular option that works well for me. There are some headaches that occur when using IMCE with a standalone editor module. This is where the Wysiwyg module offers additional benefits. The IMCE Wysiwyg Bridge allows you to easily use IMCE along with your editors that are enabled via the Wysiwyg module. For the moment this only applies to TinyMCE and FCKeditor but it could change in the future.
It's worth noting that I think that IMCE works best when using it for inserting images into posts and not when you're looking to create a standalone image gallery. Because while IMCE does do thumbnails it doesn't create galleries or cover more advanced actions like cropping and watermarking.
Beware Input Formats
Input formats are something that you want to consider when using wysiwyg editors. Drupal comes standard with 3 input formats, Filtered HTML, Full HTML and PHP code. For the most part if you're editing posts with a wysiwyg editor and insterting images then you want to use Full HTML. Notice that I said you want to use Full HTML. What about your users? If people are signing up to write blog posts then you probably want them to use Full HTML too. But if you allow anonymous comments you probably want to have a more restrictive format like Filtered HTML that only allows certain tags.
Input formats can be a very complex topic. Make things easier for yourself and have a look at the Better Formats module. Better formats offers you more flexibility with your input formats for content types. My favorite feature is that it allows you to specifically assign an input format per role. The simplest example of this is giving authenticated (signed in) users access to Full HTML and giving anonymous (not signed in) users access to Filtered HTML. It also gives you separate options for nodes and comments. This is very helpful and allows you to fine tune your content editing much more than allowed by the core features.
Drupal 7 And Beyond
It appears at this time that Drupal 7 does not include a wysiwyg editor by default. A recent post I saw indicates that there will be, "Improved support for integration of WYSIWYG editors." That being the case installing and configuring wysiwyg editors will continue to be an important skill for some time in the future for Drupal site developers. Whether or not that's a good thing or a bad thing will depend on who you ask. Hard core, old school developers would probably rather choose and configure the editor they like best rather than being stuck with what the Drupal community decides is the best option. People newer to Drupal development would probably prefer a default editor that also handles post images as well. I think that a good compromise would be to have a default editor that admistrators can choose to disable in favor of a different editor.
If this is a subject that you're passionate or curious about then see the Wysiwyg group over on Drupal.org. Lots of good information and discussion over there.
This video provides detailed instruction on adding blog posts and pages to your Drupal site. This version is a preview that focuses on the settings that need to be reviewed and possibly adjusted prior to publishing content. The premium version contains additional content as indicated below.