Content Strategy is the Missing Piece

In lieu of the fact that I was unable to go attend Confab this week, I wanted to represent the Content Strategy movement by sharing a notion I've been thinking about for quite some time. I believe there are three key ingredients to making an amazing website: 


A new theme layer for Drupal 8

About a year ago, Carl and I were doing a training in Washington DC. When we got to teaching Drupal themes to a bunch of qualified people with HTML, CSS and some PHP knowledge, we listened to our own explanations, looked at each other, and both thought "it shouldn't have to be this complicated!" Drupal 6 theme development was different than Drupal 5, and Drupal themes in general were still a beast unlike anything else, but with a little explanation, people got it, and people learned to appreciate Drupal 6 theme development rather quickly.

Redesigning the Panels IPE

A few years back I worked on a project, which will remain nameless, where I redesigned the IPE (In Place Editor) for Panels. My dreams were crushed when I found out implementation was not possible for various techno-complicated reasons.


How do I show Apache Solr results in Panels?

Dear Chapter Three,

I'm in Drupal 7 and have Apache Solr running on my Pantheon site and we need to customize the layout of the search results page. We've been using Panels for every other page, so we'd really like to use Panels here as well. We noticed that there is an existing panel page template titled: "search-apachesolr_search", but when we enable it our searches always return no results. What's the deal?




Choosing a WYSIWYG Editor for Drupal

I recently gave a talk at SANDCamp on how to set up a WYSIWYG editor, and after the session Graham asked me why my preference was for the TinyMCE editor over the CKeditor, or any other. I figured I'd write up my preferences here, in case anyone was wondering the same thing.


How do I enable Panels styles?

Dear Chapter Three,

I recently had a project where I was tasked with selecting the "Tabs" style for a particular Panels region. I clicked the cog wheel for a particular region, but all I see is "Add content". What am I doing wrong? Is there a place to enable Panels styles? Do I need another module?



Interesting uses for :hover

We all have to admit that CSS has some shortcomings. Thanks to the adoption of CSS3 and increasing standardization between browsers, this is getting better. During a recent course on responsive theming, I discovered a neat trick to trigger a click effect on elements in a mobile browser. It utilized the common css pseudo-class :hover, but when you add some CSS3 transitions it starts to get really interesting.


Keep The Internet Alive, Growing, Free

We at Chapter Three make our living online, helping our clients do good, worthy, important things. There are many challenges in this game. Sometimes we wrestle with CSS or SQL; sometimes it's the Wifi or a server configuration; sometimes, it's the law. For those of you who haven't heard, there's an absolutely wrong-headed piece of legislation hitting the US Congress as I type. It's called SOPA, and is basically creates a new Federal authority to block internet sites, intented to be exercised by rights-owners (e.g. record labels, movie studios) when they feel their copyrights are infringed upon. It's the worst of all possible worlds: technologically inept and excessively broad. It won't stop serious piracy, but as written it can be used against kids singing cover songs on Youtube (what would become of latter-day Biebers?), or anyone who has a site which posts such content. What will this mean? Boatloads of FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) for anyone who wants to work with content online, a slowdown of innovation and development as startups and new publications are forced into the role of content-cop within their sites. Also, as we saw with the RIAA there will likely some real live prosecutions of ordinary people doing what's natural with the web: sharing the things they love. Worst case? Outright censorship; abuse of this power to silence legitimate speech. Bad bad idea all around. Here's what you can do: call your Congressperson. Media lobbying groups have spent millions arguing for this thing, so their favorite representatives were bound to introduce something, but that doesn't mean that Congress needs to broadly support it. Old-fashioned as it may seem, representatives still have people who answer their phones, and they tally up the calls on important legislation yay or nay. So take five minutes and make a call, rattle someone's cadge, educate a congressional staffer, let them know this is truly a bad idea. My colleague Zack has actually been out in DC to lobby against this bill in person, so you know that we at Chapter Three are foursquare against this thing. Sometimes the internet needs to defend itself. To learn more, visit, and do just that.