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business websites & drupal systems – next group holdings

Real Estate

New site for Norcal Mutual

A few years ago, I built a website for Medicus Insurance, which was bought out by Norcal Mutual. Since I had created the site for Medicus, they wanted me to create the site for Norcal. Though I work full time at Jackson River, I do some freelance work in the evenings and on weekends. This project was done over the course of about 4 months, with the goal to launch at the end of the year. The design team at Norcal created the mockups (which I implemented), and did help with some of the CSS and form creation.

Disable Drupal Block Form

I often use the Context module for managing the block on sites. This is great, but then you have some settings in Context and some settings in the core Blocks config form. That can quickly become messy, so I wanted to find a way to “disable” the Blocks config so that users have to trely on Context. Actually, its just a few form_alter hooks to modify the forms in question. I usually just drop these into a custom module (or feature) when I want to lock things down.


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Replace Google Reader with Drupal

While there is still much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the closing of Google Reader (in my house anyway ;), The basic functionality of ANY RSS reader is pretty straightforward: it should enable you to subscribe to RSS feeds, categorize them in a useful way, and browse the results. While GR has a ton of other nifty features that we won’t touch on here, you can get these basic RSS reader features on your own site in 10 minutes or less.

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Changing custom rules actions and names


I’ve got a custom module on a D6 client site that contains a few rules actions and conditions that another dev created. There are about 10 detailed rules set up on the system relying on these actions & conditions. We needed to rename the module (its actually a feature module) for consistency and better organization.

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First time employed in 12 years

As a freelance developer, I am always browsing craigslist and forums looking for new projects. Sometimes, people advertise a job that ends up being a contract gig. A month or two ago I contacted a company about a possible position… and it resulted me being offered and actually accepting a salaried job for the first time in 12 years.

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Drupal Lock Picking with Drush


A server hardware failure and crash leave a Drupal 6 site “locked up”… and not even the admin can log in! Using mostly Drush, I was able to diagnose the issue and fix it from the command line.

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Drupal 7 “glue” module for branding & custom code

Submitted by Ron on June 15, 2012 – 11:45am


This module is the default “glue” module (D7) that Real Tidings uses to create custom drupal websites. We install a modified version of this module on our client websites, and then have an easy and convenient place to drop any custom code or hooks. Instead of pasting the code here or attaching the module as a ZIP, I have create a Github repo for it: or download it here

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Better Drupal Admin Theme – RT Admin

The default admin theme Seven is really great… clean, direct and simple. However, I do find it a bit bland. I mean, yeah… its supposed to be sort of “boring” because its just a clean admin theme. But the light grey header really washes out the page. I’ve made a few tweaks to the theme over time in order to make it a bit “better” (imho).

  • Read more  Drupal 7 Tags block

Drupal 7 comes with a “Tags” taxonomy by default (if you do the regular install). This views export will create a block that lists the “Tags” with the number of content instances for each one. You can see it in action right here =>

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Drupal Commerce – Custom Add to Cart Link

Drupal Commerce is a whole pile of awesome. Once you wrap your head around the whole product vs. product display issue, that is… but thats a topic for another blog post. I will say that the separation does make sense, even if it does cause some confusion

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Drupal Devel – dpm() bork… and the No Devel module.

I got a message from a client that some admin portions of their site were failing to come up. This is a Drupal 7 multi-site install, with a pseudo-sandbox for playing/testing (different database but same codebase). This client was in China, so his daytime is literally my night! He spent several hours trying to figure out the problem… and it was such a little thing.

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BufferApp – Time released social updates

Submitted by Ron on March 27, 2012 – 11:35am


One of the problems with sharing links and “stuff” via social networks is that it all gets clumped together. If I sit down to go through my RSS reader, I may end up with 3 or 4 links I want to share. By sharing them all now, I not only spam my friends, I also reduce the chances of them even seeing the good stuff I am sharing if they happen to come on later.

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Nifty function : module_load_include()

So I ran across this nifty function, and I was once again blown away by how little things like this in the Drupal API can really make your life easier… if you know about them

Disclaimer – yes, this has been available since D6… I’m late to the party…

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Drupal Facebook Comments

One of the nifty widgets that Facebook offers is the ability to use their auth service to leave comments on your website. The integration into your site is relatively simple.

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Drupal 7 file attachments

Setting up file attachments in D6 for content types required a core module to be activated. You could sill add a CCK field for files or images or whatever, but the default attachment system (“Upload” module) was the place to go and often one of the easiest.

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Drupal Multisite Subdomains – setting up dev and staging servers

Submitted by Ron on February 15, 2009 – 6:32am

This video shows how to add dev and staging subdomains (in Cpanel), and set up multisite code sharing in Drupal. Each of the sites uses a different database, but they are all sharing the same codebase (files) on the server. You can use the same steps to set up any multisite functionality you like.

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