Development of the Drupal-based Simulistics website

Reference material about the Drupal installation for

Adding a News story

From the Create content menu in the left bar click the Story item.

In the ensuing form:

  1. Fill in the title box
  2. Select News in the Article type drop down box. The story can then be found automatically and placed in the recent news block and on the news page.
  3. Add the main story in the body text box.
  4. If you've put non-basic html in the story select unfilted html in the Input format group
  5. Most news stories will be public so don't check any of the audience boxes but the audience could be limited by Group.
  6. The other setting usually shouldn't be changed but they might be useful some times.

Updating minor versions!

Must ensure Organic Groups access control is enabled before putting the site online after an upgrade!


Make new version of Simile available to from UberCart downloads

 Make new version of Simile available to from UberCart downloads

Files: table uc_files list fies available for download
fields: fid, path
Full Texts fid filename
Edit Delete 94 Standard/Simile-4.8_Linux.tar.gz
Edit Delete 93 Standard/Simile48.exe
path starts at /private (though setable somewhere)
shown at
upload new file using form on the page OR
add file to /private tree and add to uc_files reloading
note fid of new files, new version of standard and enterprise editions
File products, table uc_file_products, description and link to actual files
pfid fid model description shippable
Full Texts pfid fid model description shippable
Edit Delete 2 111 SimileSEWin Download Simile Standard Edition for Windows 0
Edit Delete 5 114 SimileSELinux Download Simile Standard Edition for Linux 0
Edit Delete 6 115 SimileSEMacOsX Download Simile Standard Edition for MacOsX 0
Edit Delete 3 89 SimileEEWindows Download Simile Enterprise Edition for Windows 0
Edit Delete 7 91 SimileEELinux Download Simile Enterprise Edition for Linux 0
Edit Delete 8 90 SimileEEMacOsX Download Simile Enterprise Edition for MacOsX 0
NOTE old fid for given pfid
need to update the Simile Edition file id to point to the new version
NOTE new fid, pfid pair
Full Texts fid uid pfid key granted accessed addresses
Edit Delete 39 22 0 fc93a93a358196074a69b799d228190f 1216418198 0 a:0:{}
  39 12 0 ec02f7c1e2934ccab4d80ad87ccd3863 1216462913 1 a:1:{i:0;s:12:"";}
Edit Delete 16 12 0 3353b602579eff0a63c9f9e20d088784 1216462989 0 a:0:{}
the records contain fids not only pfid's. Bit annoying as it could find out the fid from uc_file_products where pfid = $desired_pfid
So, the fid must be updated to the new value  where pfid = $desired_pfid



This section documents and provides reference material about (or points to it) the visual appearance of the site.

Initially the Garland theme was chosen because it provided the three-column layout. So far some time has been spent customising that theme.

Customisation of the Garland theme for Simulistics

I have copied the Garland theme we were using to garlandsimulistics in the customisation directory /

At present I am confused that style.css  isn't being used though print.css is. A css file with a number of lots of digits is used. It may be a processed version of style.css. I'll investigate futher.



If the Garland colours are changed the modified css are copied in to the files dir and used from there. Those css are the ones to edit, e.g. "/drupal/files/color/garlandsimulistics-4d3e4149/style.css";

I've shrunk the margins to 160px.

Jonathan 25 Feb 2008

Garland Simple modification Tutorial

Garland Simple modification Tutorial

 Shows modifications of the theme. Not much of a tutorial but a list of changes. Any explanation?

Making files available to users

Making files available to users

Adding an available file to a users file downloads

  • Go the the users account page
  • Go to the Edit tab
  • Expand the File downloads section
  • Select the file to attach
  • Submit the changes

To remove a file

  • Go the the users account page
  • Go to the Edit tab
  • Expand the File downloads section
  • Select the file in the Remove file:



Notes on going live, i.e. Drupal becomes

url rewrite / aliases

At the time of writing before going live with Drupal urls are* . To get rid of the drupal/ the .htaccess in the root directrory has to have a url rewrite rule.

Error reporting

Set error reporting to log file only: not to the screen.



Organising content with Drupal

We are used to:

  • Wikis
  • conventional web sites
Drupal offers:
  • conventional website structure using links and url aliases
  • basic Drupal organisation of articles and stories that are published to list pages
  • blogs - Blogs are owner-centric (the owner adds an entry others may comment) and chronologically ordered. It does make for a good diary, log or scientific notebook but isn't really a good documentation or even discussion system for a common project because articles and discussions about the project are scattered in individual blogs. MM and JM started documenting what they did with the Drupal site using blogs. We did introduce the sitedev blog tag to deal with this but then JM created the web site admin group that classifies entries and controls access. So the group collects the relevant entries together but they could start in any group member's blog.
  • forums - designed for discussions - they are owned by a group though administrators have ultimate control. Ideal for raising a topic for discussion that everybody in the group can add to. Can be used in a blog like manner for a user make announcement - others can comment. Not ideal for end documentation because the discussion within a florum are not structured (or only as responses). It would, e.g.,  be good for discussion on how to organise SimileXML content.
  • Books - pages with hierrachical structure (sections (chapters)) makes adding pages easy but webs of links have to be specified manually
  • Groups - controls access to content that may be in any form, blog, book, project, ordinary page. Also gathers information accessible to that group - the group page lists content, newest at the top.
  • Web site admin
    • book for reference
    • blog entries can be made accessible to the group
    • forum for discussions?
  • SimileXML
    • book for reference
    • forum for discussions?
    • blog entries can be made accessible to the group

Reproducing the original

The old content is being copied to Drupal pages with url aliases to match the old urls. At present the url base is set to /drupal so all Drupal page urls start with that. When we want to switch over to Drupal we can change the url base in Drupal site settings and possibly .htaccess.

Links must be checked.

Appearance must be finalised - make our own CSS using the existing simulistics.css

Most content has been copied from the original site displayed in a browser and pasted into Drupal in the wysiwyg editor. Link destinations are therefore the original content. Links must be checked. Also images and documents are in their original locations NOT in the Drupal installation.



    • Moved Model Gallery to Intro from Download -- there's nothing to download, it is Into material
  • Download
    • menu page must be presentable
    • Software page version numbers are hard coded! That's a backward step. Drupal have variable we can use for substitution?
    • Models -
      • Gallery moved to Intro
      • Model catalogue not finished
    • Documentation
  • Support
    • Tutorials not finished
    • New item and page for Presentations (still available form Download)
    • Tip and Trick - now a Dupal book easy to add new pages listed in content pages
      • the categories seem strange
    • Added Collaborative Groups
      • SimileXML can house a Book, have forum associated etc.
  • Clubs
    • Research Club - let's drop this doesn't mean anything. We wanted to engender a community feeling but a club is probably not quite right.
    • Teaching Club - Now as main item
  • About us
    • straight forward

Turn off WYSIWYG (fckeditor) for certain pages

Under the edit area titled Body that you want to exclude from fckeditor

find the text telling you ID or path of the text area
e.g. The ID for excluding or including this element is: edit-body - the path is: node/1115/edit
go to
go in to the Visibility settings and add the path to the list of  
Paths to exclude/include:  
do not exclude IDs unless you really do want the exclusion to hold for all pages of that type.


Updating modules

  1. Download the new version of the module .tgz and place on, e.g. in the home directory, i.e. our top level directory
  2. unpack the module tgz file, e.g. tar -zxf  sitedoc-5.x-1.7.tar.gz
  3. Take Drupal offline if it will inot mpinge on users, Admin -> Site maintenance
  4. delete the old module from /
  5. mv (move) the unpacked new module to /, e.g.
    (uiserver):u45169214:~ > mv sitedoc

  6. put Drupal back on-liine


Upgrade to Drupal 6

Drupal 6 status

A new major version of Drupal is about to be released so at some point we should upgrade to it. Our Drupal site (along with most others) rely on addition modelules. Releases of Drupal are a bit messy because of the high degree of dissagregation of the development. The core is publicly released before most modules to give a stable platform for module writers. Core 6 is now released (and patched) but modules vital for most sites, such as views and CCK (see below), are still being worked on.

We should release our Drupal-based site using version 5.x and then upgrade to version 6.x when all the modules we need are ready.

Contributed modules status - version 6.x this seems a bit out of date. The projects modules are probably the only thing we need and a development version is being used on but the upgrade path from that is likely to be difficult.

JMM 7/7/09