Release Announcement - Drupal Connect Module
We're super excited to announce the release of Steve's new Drupal module - Connect. Connect glues together two CCK node-types so that they are related to each other. Big deal you you say, but it is! Not just because it's our brain-child, but because it marries two pressing needs of our clients - effective take action tools and flexible event registration systems. But we developed this initially for an advocacy tool we were developing or a client, The Council of Canadians, so let's start there.
All of the exiting Take Action tools I know have either grown very stale or died a painful death. OpenConcept's authored or supported a good number of them, so I know from first hand experience. There just aren't enough users and nonprofits don't tend to understand that software needs ongoing input or it disappears.
Choosing to base our tools on existing modules means that there is only a very small piece of custom code that we need to monitor/upgrade. It also means that there are going to be more applications for our software than we can currently envision on this side of a public release.
CCK is great because you can create custom node types. This means that you can create any number of abstract fields of a wide selection of types and have them display (or not) in even more ways. CCK is smart enough that you can even pull in dynamic data into the form so that generates content on the fly. No organization has the exact same needs, the formatting wording, even order can matter a great deal to some people. Most take action pages have a pretty cookie cutter look to them (and that reflects a lot about the campaign). We can offer people the ability to have an action page that looks like Avaaz.org's, or Kleercuts, or Make Poverty History, or for that matter campaigns produced by Kintera or Convio. Drupal users have contributed a wide range of CCK types already which would allow a campaign to ask a supporter to upload a photo or a small audio fragment, or point to their YouTube video.
This module establishes a relationship between parents and children node types. Sure, the form looks like it does on a MoveOn.org action, but you have to click on another page to get to it and there is no inherited relationship between the specific action page and the participant's signature. So we created the glue that binds them. With two CCK field types and this glue you get something that can do an online action, petition, event registration, in fact anything where you would want to associate two kinds of data in a one to many kinda way.
About The Author
Mike Gifford is the founder of OpenConcept Consulting Inc, which he started in 1999. Since then, he has been particularly active in developing and extending open source content management systems to allow people to get closer to their content. Before starting OpenConcept, Mike had worked for a number of national NGOs including Oxfam Canada and Friends of the Earth.