Moving Drupal

Today I had to move a Drupal installation from one domain (dev.example.com) to another (www.example.com). Most of my time was spent in waiting for back-ups to finish, but there was one other problem that took a good half hour to solve: one page (www.example.com/portfolio/) would give 403 errors, even though the page existed (as a URL alias). What had happened is that until today the www address had contained the old site, and the customer did not want me to delete its files, so I just dumped Drupal in the same directory. Turned out that there was a directory “portfolio” in there that conflicted with one of the new site’s so-called ‘URL aliases’.

So here are a few tips for moving a Drupal install across domains:

  • empty all caches before you back-up the database
  • after moving the site, change the base_url setting in the site settings file (sites/default/settings.php)
  • if you’re using MS Windows, Xenu Linksleuth is a good tool to check if any of the old URL’s are still lingering on the user side of the web site
  • if you’re overwriting an exisiting site, make sure the old paths in your new Drupal root do not conflict with the path aliases of the new site.

Re: the caches: my database contained 66 MB of material, of which 61 MB were caches.

The above are additional tips, and most definitely not the entire story of how to move a Drupal site. For that you use either common sense or the search function at Drupal.org.

Ingrown name tags

A better camera does not make a better photographer. I knew that going in, yet when I produced photos with my new DSLR (a Canon EOS 1000D) that were just as bad as those taken with my trusty Canon A620, a digital pocket camera… Well, I had to swallow for a bit. Pride mostly.

But I had decided to treat myself, and so I did. One of the things that irritated me about the pocket camera is how much light it needed to get anything done, and in this respect the new camera is clearly better. I especially like how my trees now have frilly branches instead of a sort of blue aura. Also the macro shots come out nice and crisp, even though they’re a horror to get in focus.

Today was the first sunny day since I bought the camera last weekend, a good time therefore for an outdoors test run. My regular route to the Amstel park leads past the Zuidas, an area in which lots of high-rises are being built, and in the park there are always grateful models in the shape of very tame ducks, chickens, pheasants and peacocks.

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The relevance of Arts & Humanities (i.e. none)

Cleaning the house I found an old report six of us had to write during a course in building information systems back in college. The course was aimed at students of the ‘soft sciences,’ and was a sort of side-salad thing that wasn’t really relevant to your study at hand, but you could take it to collect some skills with actual relevance to the real world. It ended with a project in which we had to analyse a customer’s needs, and then design and actually implement an information system. Our little group had to build a system for electronically storing patient files (very relevant these days in the Netherlands).

I looked up the five names besides mine on that report: 2 of them ended up becoming an IT manager at a hospital.

(Of course, the rest of us also ended up in IT, but that’s par for the course for anybody from humanities and social sciences; you get to spend some time in IT for at least part of your career.)