NC State ACM/AITP Website Update

I just finished (or reached the publishing or pushing live step) the update to the NC State ACM/AITP website.

The improvements over the previous design are pretty drastic when it comes to user interface and ease of use.

I ended up going with a K2 theme for Drupal since I’m such a big fan, but it just didn’t seem right for the site at first. I ended up going through and modifying a great deal of a barely and poorly done version that I came across online so I had to finish up most of it myself, but that just allowed for making it suit my (read ‘our’…for the club) needs.


After working with the html and tweaking it hardcore until I got it clean so it passes HTML Validation inspection it was time to tweak the CSS.

This became a breeze with Opera’s Dragonfly developer tools. I was able to select an element and tweak the style sheet live so I could see real-time results. After making an adjustment it’s as simple as updating the actual stylesheet.

After tweaking the style almost obsessively for hours the first day I decided it was time for a break. It wasn’t long before I got back into the groove the next day and finished it up (for the time being).

I really have to say that I am in love with Dragonfly now. I’ve used Firebug in the past and to be honest I’ve never been a Firefox fanboy…it’s a good browser, but it’s not pushing standards support at the rate that I want and Opera is just better at a lot of the things that I use and need from a browser… anyways, I got used to Firebug a while back and Dragonfly vs. Firebug isn’t a fair competition because the both are still very different, but I find Dragonfly being easier to use ever second compared to Firebug.

After getting the code working it was time to push the update. As a result, the NC State ACM/AITP club now has a much friendlier outlet on the web!

Now I have the pleasure of tackling any smaller issues such as stylesheet problems. 😀 Updating the content will now be much less of a pain now that it can be updated directly from the browser for most everything.

Drupal < WordPress

After a lot of work..and research..and back and forth communication with an ITEC member here at NC State, I was finally able to get Drupal installed and running on the EOS web server.

Unfortunately they have disabled many very useful features in the Apache server settings in order to eliminate potential security hazards.

As it turned out, all that I needed to do the whole time to get Drupal working (other than some permission modifications, creating new folders since Open Base Directory usage was restricted and a few others) was to temporarily rename or remove the .htaccess file.

After that the setup completed, the .htaccess file was restored and everything seems to be fine.

Now that Drupal is running I’ve had time to inspect the control panel and I really must say that Drupal is far from user friendly when compared to WordPress.

It was actually a little frustrating to navigate through and content posting tools were in my opinion less than useful. I expected to find a nice text editor similar to the one found in WordPress for posts or pages (TinyMCE), but as it turns out there is only a text area (resizable, woot).

Anyhoo, I now get to finish migrating content from the ACM/AITP web site into Drupal so it can be managed more efficiently and kept up-to-date.

Drupal offers a lot of modules which are basically like plug-ins and add new functionality and features to your site such as a calendar or whatever you need.

I haven’t really started working on the theme yet and probably won’t until I get all of the content migrated and general usability of the site complete, but I really hope that the themes are as simple to modify for Drupal as they are for WordPress.

I’ll post some pictures when I complete the site update…or something geeky. 😛