DrupalEd and DrupalBlog: Preconfigured Drupal Distributions

One of the biggest complaints about Drupal is that it's difficult to configure. I'll agree. As I've said in this discussion thread on drupal.org, most Drupal users know "that the reason that Drupal is difficult to customize is that it's like a block of clay--has to be molded for the particular site configuration." And I firmly believe, despite some of the comments in the same thread, that this is the number one obstacle stopping many people from adopting it.

Well, I'll admit. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to take the Linux kernel, assemble the necessary packages, and configure everything. That's what Linux distributions are for.

So in the interest of making Drupal easier for newbies, I've assembled two Drupal distributions:

  • DrupalEd is intended for the writing classroom. I say that not because it can't be used for other classes, but writing teachers are generally more interested, I believe, in discourse and community interaction more so than content delivery. And in this area Drupal excels. Looking for testing and grading modules? They won't be here. It's simply the configuration that Terra and I have been using for a few semesters now.
  • DrupalBlog is setup as in individual blogsite, much like what Terra, Clancy and I use. By modifying a couple of permission settings, it can easily be configured to allow for multiple authors like Kairosnews.

Neither of these is packaged for download yet. That'll be a week or so. There are still people helping out with feedback and suggstions. But live demos are available: DrupalEd & DrupalBlog. These are demo sites, not where I build the distribution, so feel free to try things out.

Each also includes a detailed documentation guide for tweaking the site (including a root username and password in the Installation section if you want to login as admin). See the sample story on the main page of each for the link to the guide. This should allow a new user to be up and blogging or supplying content for their teaching in a tenth the time, or even less, than starting with a base Drupal installation. It is also my hope that these can be developed into profiles for inclusion with Drupal 4.5's Install Wizard and Site Profile system (Read about it in Why Move from MT to Drupal?).

And yes. These are stock Drupal core and contributed modules. The only changes are additional xtemplate skins and one change to a contributed module from CVS. No hacks. Only changes to the database to support configuration settings and all the documentation.

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