Optimizing Drupal 6 for massive sites

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A developer by the name of Wesley Tanaka worked on a Drupal 6 site that involved millions of content records, presumably imported from another CMS. During the development he discovered a few issues which hampered Drupal's search maintenance speed and wrote up a wonderful article explaining how to boost performance. The suggestions, particularly the first one for boosting reindexing speeds, would not only help sites with massive quantities of data but also sites ran on shared hosts where Drupal can normally be a bit of a resource hog, so I'm hoping they get applied to a future release.

Stop MySQL giving up on Drupal

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With Drupal, if you have a content type with lots of records you can run into a problem where you start getting lots of "server has gone away" errors from MySQL. This stems from queries getting too long and MySQL giving up before the query has finished loading. So, to fix it, just edit your my.ini or my.cnf file to add the following line to the [mysqld] section:

  • max_allowed_packet=24M

There are other settings that can make a difference too, but this seems to be a good starting point.

Patch for wp2drupal for Drupal 6

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I'm trying to migrate one of my personal sites from Wordpress to Drupal and needed a way to migrate the existing data. Well, it turned out to be a little tricky as I'm using Drupal 6 while the only really useful converter, wp2drupal, was written for Drupal 5. Luckily someone converted wp2drupal to D6, so away I went.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to get far, it turned out that there was a problem in the D6 port which causes an "Access Denied" error when you actually submit the form to begin the conversion. Not to be undone, I started poking around the script and discovered that the menu configuration was using an older format than what the current Drupal release (v6.4) required. A few quick lines later and I was able to get it working again.

In the interests of helping the community I've compiled the changes into a patch file:

There are still a bunch of syntax errors that will show up after the data has converted, but at least it will actually convert the data over. Also, I made some minor tweaks to the code according to the Drupal development guidelines based on what the coder module recommended. Lastly, be warned that the patch was created using git, so it may be easier to just add the few missing "access" lines manually.

Google earth to increase mapping detail

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Google's mapping systems (Google Maps, Google Earth, plus anything else in the skunworks) will soon have extra detail down to the half-meter / 1.5 feet mark thanks to an exclusive deal with the company launching a new geo-imagery satellite later this week:

This will be good for me trying to map out my favorite haunts back home. What's your take?

Amusingly the satellite will support data down to 0.41m but the US government only allows the satellite provider to go as far as 0.5m - those 0.09m / 3 inches make all the difference, don't you know.

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