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A Tip for the Use of CSS Sprites

Using CSS sprites is a great way to increase site response by lessening the number of HTTP requests needed to fetch a page.

Updating sprites can be tricky though. Browsers will cache an image containing sprites which makes adding new sprites tricky. The easiest way to get a browser to recache an image containing spites is to change the filename.

Vancouver Drupal Camp 2008

On May 9-10, Vancouver will see its second ever Drupal conference, Vancouver Drupal Camp 2008. The event will feature multiple tracks and will take place at two downtown locations.

If you're interested in helping organize or sponsor, let the organizers know how you'd like to contribute on the wiki page!

The Georgia Straight Online Redesign

After working with the Georgia Straight for a little over a year, it's satisfying to finally see our web team's vision unleashed. We've launched a redesign that combines a new look with a new navigation scheme. In the previous version, content over a week old was only accessible through the "back issues" interface. In the new version access to content is more blog-like. Content flows in reverse chronological order for each topic and can be subscribed to via RSS.

"Fabulous Is In the Details"

At the Georgia Straight, we've implemented our first contest based on user generated content and user content rating. In partnership with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, we're offering a $1000 makeover to the highest rated contestants who submit their photos. By rating the submitted photos, our users get to decide who should get a makeover.

A Gmail Trick To Test Drupal Roles

When testing different user roles in Drupal, there is a handy trick that leverages Gmail's ability to pass information in via your email address. For example, if your Gmail email address is "fakeemail@gmail.com" you can pass additional information by adding a plus sign before the "@" and the additional information after the plus sign. For example, "fakeemail+extrainfo@gmail.com". When creating test users with different roles, the role can be specified in the email address using this technique.

Multiforms Presentation

The good folks at the Vancouver Drupal Users Group allowed me to make a presentation about my open-source contest and survey module for Drupal, Multiforms.

Oct. 2007 Presentation for Vancouver Drupal Users Group (PDF) viewable online here

Drupal Audio Module Weirdness

Update: This problem persists after an upgrade to Drupal 5. I just ran into a weird issue with a Drupal 4.7 installation on Centos 4 with PHP 4. In the Audio module I had to comment out the "ob_end_clean()" line in the audio_file_transfer function to get downloads and streaming to work. I tried this on two similarly configured servers and got the same issue on both. Odd.

Arrr... Drupal Install Profiles Be Disruptive

Tonight I attended a Vancouver Drupal meeting in which Bryght founder Boris Mann talked about Drupal install profiles (no, he wasn't dressed like a pirate at the time).

Install profiles are basically "recipes" for Drupal installations. They detail what modules should be enabled and how they, and the system, should be configured. Install profiles are necessary because Drupal has hundreds of modules. The Drupal culture's ideal is that a module should act as a flexible component: most useful when interacting with other modules. Because of this, Drupal's modules can be combined to create complex, varied web applications.

Timing Drupal Module Loading

When tweaking a Drupal install module overhead is something to take into consideration. Below is a modifcation to the Drupal 4.7 drupal_load function (which exists in includes/bootstrap.inc) that puts module load time into a global array:
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