Tag Archive for theme

Mobile Theme: WordPress vs. Drupal

How to enable a mobile them in WordPress

Install WPTouch. Congratulations, you are done! You automatically get a cleanly designed theme with dynamic drop-downs, a comment counter per post, and “mobile theme” toggle at the bottom.

How to enable a mobile theme in Drupal

Research various approaches. I decided go with the mobile theme option.

Select the most stable, current modules to support your approach, in my case Mobile Tools and Browscap.

Select a mobile theme. I have tested a number: A Cloudy Day, Adaptive Theme Mobile, Fusion Mobile, iUi, iWebKit, Mobile jQuery (not to be confused with jQuery Mobile), and Nokia Mobile.

Realize that these themes are pretty bare out of the box, and you have a lot of custom theming in your future!

A Cloudy Day

Fusion Mobile

Mobile jQuery

What is the problem?

I understand that it is easier to develop a mobile theme plug-in for WordPress, because content is managed in just one way. You have pages and posts, and a mobile theme just needs to organize them. Our Drupal site has many custom content types, views, blocks, and regions, and no mobile theme is going to automatically display them correctly out of the box. However, I had expected the theme designs themselves to be more mature than this.

I also find it totally unclear how to modify regions and block visibility in our Drupal site for the mobile theme. In our single-theme Drupal site, the theme template controls when and where certain regions exist, and the block system determines when to display block content within page regions. I want to organize the home page completely differently for the mobile theme, but now I have to learn how to define page regions and block visibility separately for the mobile theme. I will try to create a home page template in my new theme with unique regions and block content, but something tells me that this will not be easy. Or I could install modules to make display configuration more dynamic, but I do not want to add performance overhead for our non-mobile users.

Dear Drupal Themers

If you would like to submit a modest proposal for mobile theme development, please write me at kassissiehr (at) catlin.edu.

Moodle 2.0 Test Migration

I successfully migrated a copy of our Moodle 1.9.9 site to version 2.0. We will go live this summer. The upgrade process took a couple of hours, including dealing with the following issues. The basic site functionality is working great, suggesting that the migration should be smooth.

Delete archive courses
Not required, but it was a good opportunity to delete three years’ worth of past courses. This sped up upgrade course conversion.

Truncate sessions2 table
To my surprise, Moodle had not been deleting old session entries, because PHP’s garbage collection was not running properly on our Debian server. As a result, it was taking a long time to migrate our 2GB database! I truncated session2 manually to reduce the database to a few hundred MB. We will have to restore automatic session trimming on the new web server.

Database Collation
Our database tables were set to utf8_unicode. I followed some helpful instructions at Moodle.org to convert to utf8_general. Moodle 2.0 requires a compatible utf8 format in order to upgrade.

My favorite new feature. I have activated Dropbox and Google Docs so far. Dropbox is broken, but Google Docs works now and should work even better if we point Moodle at our new SAML single sign-on system.

Theme Selection
As usual, this is going to be a challenge. Moodle has suffered for not providing enough choice in professional-quality themes. I found one I like (Créatif by Rolley Design) but am having difficulty restoring the three-column course view. The theme wants to cram all of the blocks into a single, right-hand column. I still have to run this by some users to see whether they like it. I also might want to use a theme that says “school” rather than “candlelit dinner.” I am considering providing a choice of themes and allowing user switching, but then I’ll have to troubleshoot issues across a number of themes instead of just one.