Improved SEO, Media, CSS-view and more in Drupal Gardens' June 30 update
by Chris Brookins
In addition to the rush the Drupal Gardens team gets when adding cool new features, we like to get things right, striking a good balance between power and simplicity. In the last sprint, we spent a bunch of time polishing the powerful XML Sitemap and Media modules with a focus on simplifying the UX and providing smart defaults so they work immediately after site creation. Out of the box, these modules are highly customizable with many configuration settings. Our goal was to reduce complexity but still expose the power the Drupal Gardens audience needs. While we'd like to think we got it right, ultimately our beta testers will be the judges. We are looking forward to their feedback! In fact, for every new feature add to Drupal Gardens, we carefully review requirements and UI rather than just add modules. We first survey the existing Drupal 6 and Drupal 7 modules on drupal.org to see if any meet our architecture, scaling and usability requirements. Most of the time we find a module that comes close, and we port it to Drupal 7 if necessary (like we did for HTML Purifier in this release). We then adapt it to our needs, contributing our code back to the issue queue for that module. Understandably, not all module maintainers agree with the changes we want in their modules, but that is OK since Drupal's flexibility lets us alter their look and feel without an ugly fork. It's a lot of work, but we think it's worth it.We just released a new version of Drupal Gardens with the following new items:
- Updated all sites to include all Drupal 7 core changes through June 21. For a complete list of what is new, see the raw CVS commit messages from June 1 to June 21.
- Added support for XML sitemaps to help search engines index your important pages for better SEO. The XML site map can be optionally configured to include references to important menus and content on your site. Once indexed by a search engine, your site's XML site map will be displayed in search results.
- Improved the usability of media browsing, media management and finding media content.
- In the ThemeBuilder's Styles > Borders and Spacing tab, you now can set any attribute such as width, height, border or padding to auto (e.g. use the default value that the browser calculates) or inherit (the value inherited from the parent element).
- In the ThemeBuilder, you can now optionally choose to display the selected elements using CSS selectors or natural language terminology. With View CSS: Off (the default) elements you click will be displayed in natural language -- e.g. All paragraphs in all field-items in the main region. With View CSS: On elements you click will be displayed using CSS selectors -- e.g. #main .field-item p, which is useful when working with raw CSS in the Advanced tab.
- In the ThemeBuilder's Power theming mode, the element selector now shows more elements on the screen at once, and for long elements, you can scroll left or right to see all of it, without wrapping to a new line.
- Added Indent / Outdent buttons to the WYSIWYG editor.
- Zapped a truck-load of bugs reported by our incredible beta testers.
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