If you have "no place to go," come here!

Home renovations (1)

One reason my posting frequency has fallen off is that I've been working on upgrading the site to Drupal 7 from Drupal 6. That's taken a few hours a day for the couple of months. Corrente is at this point a reasonably large site, with more than 37,000 posts since 2005. That doesn't really affect the scope or scale of the upgrade, but it does give you some idea of our back catalog!

The site must be upgraded for these reasons:

1. Maintenance. Drupal 7 is now suitable for production (and work on Drupal 8 has begun). At some point, Drupal 6 will not longer be supported, and will become impossible to maintain.

2. Cellphones and tablets. The existing "theme" for the site, which determines the Corrente look -- which I do not, dear readers, intend to change this time -- was created (IIRC) three years ago. At that time, cell phones and tablets, much beloved of youth and Occupiers, were not ubiquitous. Now they are. Therefore, the site theme must be able to adapt its layout automagically to be suitable for the platform on which it is presented. This is possible in Drupal 6, with work, but in Drupal 7 there are competing powerful and elegant implementations with active support communities.

3. Media. Media handling in Drupal 6 was a farrago of ill-co-ordinated competing implementations for images, video, and audio. That doesn't matter so much with a long-form, text-heavy site, but these increasingly post- or, in the case of collapse, pre-literate days, media are a necessity and not a luxury. Some stories will only exist in video! (which is why transcript capability is very, very important).

4. Social media. Twitter is, in fact, a new source of content because curating, aggregating, and contextualizing tweets is a significant value add. FaceBook, however, steals readers: The ObamaCare Supreme Court discourse was fought out on FaceBook. In past years, it would have been fought out on the blogs. The challenges are then two-fold: To leverage the twittersphere, and to make it possible to create forms of content on Corrente that cannot be created on FaceBook. (This is a second reason why point 3, Media, is important.) It is certainly possible to tweet from Corrente; with a certain amount of duct-tape and cursing, it may be possible to post to FaceBook from Corrente.

This is the first of a series of posts on the upgrade -- there is a larger, strategic aspect I want to point out, that flows from the size of our back catalog and what would be needed to actually find stuff in it, and redistribute it widely, but I am too tired to write that up now, so that will have to come in a bit. Shortly, however, I'll be posting links to some videos that describe how the new site works.

NOTE If you want to mess about with the beta beta BETA version, go here; your existing handle and password will work. Hold your feedback, please; I'm not equipped to process it just yet!

WARNING Anything posted on the new site will be lost when I perform the real upgrade. So experiment to your heart's content, but don't expect to keep it.

NOTE OK, if you must give feedback -- here, in comments -- any bug reports that don't give:

1. URL where error appeared

2. Browser and version used (e.g., FireFox 12)

3. Operating system used (e.g., Windows Vista Home)

4. A clear problem description ("It doesn't work" does not count as clear)

will be summarily deleted. I must be able to reproduce errors in order to fix them. I cannot see on my screen what you see on yours and I am not a telepath!

A useful way to give the problem description includes a distinction between expected and actual behavior. For example, "At [URL], I clicked on the edit tab, expected to see the edit screen, but instead got the message that I have copied and now paste below [message]." That gives me something to work with, where "I can't edit my post" gives me nothing to work with...

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