Drupal Learning Journal 5. "Using Drupal" – Chapter 4 – Product reviews

Chapter 4 of Using Drupal covered the process of building a product review site that automatically pulled in content from Amazon via its API. Here is what I learned from the process:

  • Page 151 mentions the URL where contrib modules that add rating and voting capabilities are listed. The URL from the book is no longer working, but I figured out the one that does: http://drupal.org/taxonomy/term/60 However that page only gives a chronological listing of the modules. You are better of going to the main modules page of drupal.org select the “Evalutaion/Rating” option from the first pull down menu and select your sorting criteria at the last.
  • With the help of the Field Group module you can group fields of a content type together, e.g. “pro” and  “con” fields in a product review. (page 154) The module has an rc version for  Drupal 7.
  • The Amazon module allows to retrieve product data from Amazon.com. The package’s module includes: Amazon API (handles communication between the drupal site and Amazon.com), Amazon Media (stores extra information about the products), Amazon Search (adds the ability to search Amazon.com from the drupal site’s search), Amazon Field (allows adding a field to any content type that stores Amazon product ID and displays the photo of the product from Amazon.com), and Amazon Filter (allows inserting info into content using the [amazon] tag). (page 156) The drupal 7 version is in beta. They are looking for co-maintainers, but it seems to be actively being worked on.
  • I was already aware of the Fivestar module (a voting widget), but didn’t use it anywhere, so I didn’t know that it, like most voting modules for drupal, depends on the Voting API module. (page 161) Voting API has a stable version for Drupal 7, while Fivestar  only has a dev one as of writing this blog entry.
  • On page 171 I learned about Poor Man’s Cron module that, according to the official description “runs the Drupal cron operation using normal browser/page requests instead of having to set up a crontab.” The book explains it better: “each time a visitor hits the website Poormanscron will check to see whether it needs to do anything new since the last time it ran and if so, will perform the cron action.” The module is now part of Drupal 7!
  • I already used the Filters in Views (limiting what content to show) and even exposed filters (allowing users to select what to show). But I didn’t notice that I can set the filter to “Search: Search Term”, which allows the users to use a searchbox to search the content, just in that view. Very useful, when I have a lot of content of the same type, e.g. books. (page 173)
  • The CSS Injector module allows administrators to inject CSS into the page output based on configurable rules; it’s useful for adding simple CSS tweaks without modifying a site’s official theme. The advantage of using this to modify a downloaded theme is that it keeps all your modifications in one place. Great when your theme gets an official update you want to use. Have to pay special attention to the module’s permissions, so users would not be able to inject malicious code. (page 175) It has  Drupal 7 port.
  • The Notifications module allows users to request email notification on addition/changes. It is a whole, granular complex framework. (page 179) Only has an alpha version for Drupal 7 yet.

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