A tale of two sites

Some of you may have visited either my very first website or the more recent Drupal based one that went live a few weeks ago. Both are no more.

The first site was based on an American model. Although it had one or two nice graphical features the functionality was just about non existent and it wasn’t until I had naively bought into the American blarney on offer and started to try to develop it in the way I wanted that its limitations became all too apparent. For a start you could only have 5 tabs and since one of these had to be the Home page it left little scope for rich features, rather essential for a book site. Worse, it was impossible without html coding well beyond my powers to create sub menus. It had no blog, no forum and no way to register users. Content management was a nightmare. Worse it was slow.

So I decided that the parting of the ways had come, a decision that has turned into a bit of a dispute. No doubt it will be resolved one way or the other but the message for me is clear. Beware American salesmen bearing promises.

My blogging site (which is quite separate) gives me the ability to upload Drupal. So I did. From the very first site it was clear that this was a quality product with literally hundreds (maybe more) of plug-ins to add functionality and new themes as and when needed. The product was in constant development and my ISP installed V6.2 which seemed fine. So I set about adding forums, a menu structure and creating content. The only limitation was my own sense of clarity about what I was trying to achieve and a lack of familiarity with the intricacies of the CMS. I bought a book as you do and just before catastophe struck I was trying to work out how to get banner ads to display in the side bar and also how to add new content to a menu item so that it was distinct from the original content.

I also wanted to link this blog site to the new website because I was getting more traffic to the former and I would like the website to be the primary area with a link off to the blog. I created a new page with the link, saved and tested. That was when I go the Fatal Error message.

It was all a bit strange. Some people (including me on the iPhone) could see the site but it was impossible to log in and I could not load at all in Firefox or IE.

Long story short, I decided to go to back up. More problems. The backup did not work. I decided to reinstall Drupal and try again. By now my ISP had upgraded to V7.2 and sure enough the backup simply reported an error message again.

I am sure there must be a moral to the story but I don’t what it is. My current plan is to start again, not worrying too much about historical data (sorry everyone) and hopefully fixing the structural errors I made the first time around. It will take a while unfortunately but at least I’m now on the latest version of Drupal.

Whilst I am wrestling with the site I will try and keep you up to date on new books using the blog.

Thanks for your patience.

About Nick Poole

Nick Poole is a retired solicitor, happily married and the proud owner of a stubborn golden retriever. He spends his time blogging and working on his book site www.seekabook.com
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