DrupalMeetupViewHere are the notes I took from my first NYC Drupal Meetup.  I highly recommend the group.  I learned an enormous amount, I got to see the legendary Earl Miles, and the space where it’s held is nothing short of breathtaking (think Hudson River views + floor to ceiling windows).    

Drupal NYC Meetup 5/13/09   


  • Ezra Gildesgame
  • Earl Miles (merlinofchaos)
  • George Weiner, CTO of dosomething.org


 Nodequeue The nodequeue module can:

  • Keep track of how to notify users
  • Be used for granular permissions:
    • Ex: separate editors for designers, developers, admins
  • Works very well with Nodes and Panels
  • You can create Views specific to one queue
  • Recently added international support
  • You can have a MAX SIZE to the nodequeue
    • Once you’ve exceeded the max, the oldest story will be kicked out.
    • That’s why nodequeue works so well for lead stories
    • Say you are a media site.  You write three blog posts
    • By default, they are all promoted to the front page, without any inherent way to order them
    • If you want to give them a particular ordering to control how/where they are displayed, you can put them in a Nodequeue.  All will have links at the bottom
      • Every nodequeue automatically has a related view.  Now you can reorder the items in the queue for the front page
      • http://dosomething.org ‘s frontpage contains a Flash rotator that grabs content (the top 5 stories) out of a nodequeue

  Nodequeue questions from the audience: Q: Can you use it with the Flag module?A: Usually they are separate Smartqueue API:

  • Can create a queue for any type of data
  • Good to use with groups
  • You can have lots of queues that are clones of each other

Views module:

  • Views gives you a custom listing of content without needing to write a Database query

  Panels 3  

  • Do not use Panels 2 module
  • Panels 3 beta, while still buggy, is highly recommended
  • Full demo is available at: http://panels.demo.logrus.com
    • User/pass is demo/demo
    • refreshes every hour so don’t be afraid to edit it and mess around
    • Earl spent more time writing the headlines on this demo than he did building the site


  • Panels have an idea of context
  • You can embed multiple Views in Panels
  • You can give your users a different landing page based on what region they are in
  • There is a Taxonomy Term View in Panels:
    • View is set to take arguments
    • Passes URLs to views embedded in the Panels
  • Panels4:
    • Aim is to support a way to get rid of Blocks all together, and only use Panels 
  •  You can take individual CCK fields and stick them anywhere on the Panel.  You will need the individual Node context
  • Upcoming:
    • A patch is coming that will allow you to change the color of ALL the panels at once
    • You will also be able to control the rounded corners! (SWEET!)
  • SONY uses Panels for their site http://myplay.com  
  • Flexible Layout feature of Panels:
    • Flashy, good to impress a client.  Hard to maintaing.  As sexy as this is, you’d probably never use this on a real site
    • Generates all the <div> tags for you; there are no <tables>
    • Uses Holy Grail
    • Uses dynamic CSS
    • Generates some pretty ugly markup b/c it uses very specific names so things can cascade
  • Your theme can provide layouts to panels
  • Your theme can provide layouts & styles
    • May want to check out the Chrysalis theme

Panels questions from the audience:Q: Why didn’t you work together with the Buzzer team? They seem to have done something similarA: I got a demo from Jeff and Ed after they did it.  I wish they called me up beforehand and worked with me, but they needed something in a hurry.  I don’t recommend using it, since if there are any errors in your PHP, you can simultaneously crash both your page AND your editing mechanism  Case Study: dosomething.org George Weiner – CTO Modules used:

  • CCK
  • Nodequeue
  • Views
  • Feed API
  • WidgetBox
    • Their drop-down menus and RSS feed are both nice, quick Widgets
  • Taxonomy
    • Their “Act Now” is pure Taxonomy
    • List of exactly what they want, custom generated View
  • helpqueue
    • For making good help tickets and getting people answers faster

About the Organization:

  • Target is teenagers
  • “Jonas” is an SEO home run
    • “When the Jonas Brothers are on Oprah, it’s all over”
  • Their largest spikes in traffic:
    • mention on PerezHilton: #1
    • front page of AOL.com: #2
    • CNN mention: #3


  • “No dead ends”
    • Always have Blocks with related links at bottom; this helps with SEO b/c it counts up the total # of links
  • URL Construction is so important: TRAIN YOUR PEOPLE TO USE 3 STRONG KEYWORDS 
    • Use in the body
    • Use in the Title
    • Use in the URL
  • Lots of their site is built by teenage volunteers the CTO has trained
  • TinyMCE is a nightmare
  • Started hosting with Dreamhost — NOT HAPPY with them
  • Now with rackspace, really like them.
    • RACKSPACE CONTACT:  Caleb Groom, Level III Technician
  • Host all video on blip or youtube
  • Ran it off one server
    • 60,000 uniques in a day
  • If you have an Oprah moment, you need varnish (caching proxy service):
    • “Squid on steroids”
    • Aggressive caching
    • mirrored it; set up a proxy
    • Runs in front of Apache
    • First goes to CDN (content delivery network) to try and get the cache first

Cool Features:

  • Teenagers can text them at 30655
    • dosomething.org will text them back with a list of things they can do within their geographic region (do this based on ZIP CODE not GPS)
    • 1 in 5 teenagers that receive a text back takes an action
    • Uses Feed API for this

   Other groups/items mentioned:

  • funny garbage is hiring
  • mustardseed media –>pull from twitter; integrates with Views
  • D4D Boston


2 Responses to “Notes from the Drupal NYC Meetup 5/13/09”  

  1. 1 vache

    so funny, i went to the last meeting at poly, and it was not that interesting, well the rooms i went to were not that hot, but whats even more funny is that you are using wordpress, rock on

  2. 2 am

    Haha. Yes, hopefully my use of WordPress on my blog won’t get me banned from future Meetups!

    You should definitely come to the June meetup!

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