« Klezmer Classes in Minneapolis this summer begin June 17, 2009 | Main | The Curious Case of the Moment Magazine Jewish Music issue »

Drupal testing, at last

Long-time readers of this blog will remember that several months ago I won a copy of the rather impressive O'Reilly book, Using Drupal , based on my plans to upgrade the KlezmerShack to Drupal. As I finish my current degree, and try focus attention on my full-time job at the Jewish Women's Archive, there isn't much time to get started.

Nonetheless, I have finally gotten Drupal up and running on my development laptop. This is critical to me, personally, for several reasons: First, I made a commitment to update the KlezmerShack—that's why they gave me the book, and until that happens, I will continue to be reminded of the fine 1990s code on which this current site is built. Not fun. Second, cutbacks at work mean that it's just our web developer and me, so I need to dig into Drupal if I want to speed up things at work. Third, our web developer is attending a workshop in Providence, RI, this week, and I'd love to show up at the Drupal meet-up and be able to talk about having opened the book and gotten started.

So, this afternoon, despite the long list of other work projects that should be sucking up my time, I am playing systems adminstrator and installing the software. It has probably been three years since I have had to look at the configuration files for anything. I discovered that the underlying language that is required isn't even on my new laptop--who remembered? I had to re-learn enough web server configuration to get things working correctly. I had to lookup how one sets up database users, something I once did almost daily. So, what should have been a five minute exercise has taken a few hours and left me a bit humbled. What on earth has filled the space once occupied by all of this vital information? Has it all been composted?

It will be a long time, I suspect, before what I am learning translates into a new KlezmerShack. Not years, but certainly months. The first priority, of course, is to learn Drupal well enough to model some things that I need at work and take the load off our web developer. The second priority is to work on simpler sites that I maintain that are even more broken than the KlezmerShack. Once those are up and running, these occasional musings on the technology behind the KlezmerShack will move to what is now a dormant technology blog, leaving readers here to encounter only the ephemera of Jewish music.

The scary thing, of course, is that I love this sort of work. It is very easy to get lost in the relative simplicity of coding and step back from the long-range planning, networking, grant-writing, and project management that really need my time right now. It will also be my job not to let this take over.

In the meantime, if this leaves you bored, just look for items categorized "drupal" and avoid them. I won't post often on this subject, but I am hoping that posting occasionally will keep me on my toes and somehow, in my copious spare time, moving forward.