Personal and Family Site with Drupal

The story of using Drupal and Gallery 2 together. A neat solution that worked well until the developers decided to no longer support it.

Family Website vacations page, showing where we have been. I hope this will get longer and more adventurous.
Family Website vacations page, showing where we have been. I hope this will get longer and more adventurous.

Having tried Gallery 2 (now up to Gallery 3) to manage my photos on a home server I wanted to try a public access one. Gallery is great for photos but for doing pages and posts it’s not so good.

It turns out you can use it with Drupal 6 (not Drupal 7 or 8 sadly). There are no further plans to integrate Drupal and Gallery so I’m stuck with Drupal 6 with Gallery 2.

Drupal 6 and Gallery 2 connect without too many problems, even the Drupal users appear in your Gallery application. There are special albums too such as keywords and the latest albums and images.

With over 1000 images now on the site the backups are over 1GB in size. So far BlueHost hasn’t complained. They say the account is “unlimited” but while there’s no limit in the disk space, there is a limit on the inodes or number of files your site has. Mine is up to 80,000 and there is a message on CPanel about it saying having so many files degrades server performance.

Family Participation

I am hoping that the boys will be interested in doing some blogging. Kyle’s blog has made a great start with a video about Minecraft.

And now that Eltham High is offering web development the site might get more use and edits.

Screen Shots

Development Details

Drupal along with Gallery 2 provides a great way to host words and images that are fully searchable.

The enticing front page, but not responsive to mobile phones.

I wanted a new home site to replace the one I had hosted by Optusnet, which only has HTML and Javascript available. The new site was required to have a full gallery and to be fully searchable. Gallery 2 fitted the bill but its while it’s great for image management it’s not so good for other things that can be found on web sites, like a blog for example.

Drupal

Drupal has an excellent interface to Gallery, the only drawback is that it’s an older version of Drupal 6.x (Drupal’s up to version 7 now) and Gallery 2 (which is up to version 3). There is talk of a new version coming out but no release date. I decided to use the older versions of both Drupal and Gallery.

Using Drupal

Drupal has a different philosophy behind it and it’s difficult to use in some ways compared to WordPressand Joomla.  Installing new modules is not as easy. You have to upload and unzip the contents to the correct folder on the server.

Next permissions have to be set otherwise even “admin” won’t have access to the new module. Updating them is the same process. Compared to WordPress and Joomla in which updates are menu driven and almost automatic Drupal is cumbersome.

Accounts and Groups

Like Joomla 1.6-2.5 users have an account and optionally belong to one or more groups. These users and groups are also created in the embedded Gallery website. If the groups don’t go over to Gallery automatically you need to recreate them using the exact same name.

The advantage of Drupal is that you can define new roles, complete with exact permissions. It can catch you out when new modules are installed as you have to give even the administrator permission to install a module they just installed.

Reports

One thing that is unique to Drupal are the reports available. You can for example check your top pages, log, and top visitors. See the images below for some report samples.

 Gallery

The gallery works very well. It is a lot of work updating all of the titles so that something meaningful comes out on the Vacations page. Ideally it’s best to have a description in the EXIF or IPTC data of your image. This way data is not duplicated. Gallery will pick up this information when the image is uploaded and insert it in the description field. Titles need to be done by hand though. Editing the album and choosing Edit Captionsallows you to do a few at a time.

I had problems where the thumbnails and images do not load correctly. Redoing the thumbnails and resizes (under Gallery/Site Admin/Maintenance) seems to help.

Conclusion

Drupal is hard to work with, especially compared to WordPress. Working with images in Drupal is probably more difficult than with Joomla! But it’s the only CMS that can be integrated with Gallery 2.

The Drupal version is no longer online due to the software becoming obsolete and no longer receiving security updates. The website is still at www.glenneaton.net but it has been redone in WordPress.

Epilogue

The Drupal version used and Gallery 2 are no longer supported. For further information read on.

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