A word of caution on CMS plugins for the Kaltura video platform


When the Kaltura video platform was announced in 2007 it made lots of people interested to know more. The promise of a commercially supported open-source video hosting platform, along with the choice of either running your own hosted content server or paying someone else, would be a great choice for both large firms looking to cut costs where they can, small & mid-size sites that want to use an open platform, and (us) developers who want to tinker with something.

Personally speaking, I was very excited about the potential, but was very frustrated when they kept breaking their previously published launch dates for public code releases. During 2008 I got involved with the Drupal CMS and in 2009 researched Kaltura as a standard platform for my then employer. Unfortunately, at the time several components were missing for our needs, so we went back to a different provider.

Skip ahead a year and I notice the excellent Drupal developer Dave Reid complaining that the Kaltura Drupal module had spyware problems along with a link to a discussion about it. After more than a year of the issue sitting there untouched by the module's maintainers (a Kaltura employee), Dave led the discussion to what quickly became a major issue for the Drupal webmasters group. As it turned out, the module was radioing home during both the install and uninstall processes, and despite multiple requests to remove the tracking code nothing was done about it.

After much discussion during which the original developer lost their CVS access, a patch was applied that removed the offending code, an official drupal.org security notice was published and the latest version is now bug-free.

Happy days for Drupal site maintainers.

The question remains, however: of Kaltura's official extensions how many still include the tracker code?

Patch for wp2drupal for Drupal 6


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.

Site updated to Wordpress 2.1


I've just updated the site to Wordpress 2.1. This new version has a few improvements from the site management viewpoint, a key useful feature is an option to set any static page you've created as the homepage rather than automatically showing the blog. Also, the content editor has a few improvements, a good one being an auto-save option that stops you from loosing your articles if your browser crashes (or you hit the wrong keyboard shortcut, argh), along with an improved text editor. All round good stuff.

WP-Cache + password-protected pages = problems


I have discovered that, despite recommendations, it is not advised to use the Wordpress plugin WP-Cache if you use password-protected pages as it stops them working correctly. If you turn on WP-Cache and view a password protected page that you have not previously viewed it will cache a copy of the login page and never let any visitors access the content; if you view a page that you have previously viewed before enabling the cache it will cache the full page, letting everyone who views your site see the page. This is not a good way to work, so I recommend simply not enabling this plugin.

Wordpress Widgets - Enhanced Search Box


After installing Wordpress 2.0 and discovering the wonderful Widgets plugin I added a few widgets to this site. While the widgets are great and give a really wonderful level of configuration over the site, I was quite disappointed to discover that the default search box looked pretty, well, aweful:

The old search box

So I did what every self-respecting geek does, I fixed it :-) I present to you, WPWidgets_EnhancedSearchBox v0.1:

The new search box

You can download a small zip file I made of both the new widgets.php file and a diff file off the SVN source code (in case you're into that kinda thing), along with a quick readme.txt file explaing how to install it, which you can download at will:

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