Your First User, Permissions and Roles

When you first install Drupal it creates the master user (1) - this should ideally not be used to create content and it is good practice to create a new user for administrative purposes (not called admin but with an equivalent set of permissions) and an administrators group so that the super user doesn't get used - it may even be worth blocking the super user once you have done that. But be aware that some modules need to impersonate that user. If you want to restrict login for that user you can create an Access Rule to deny Admin for user name - this will effectively disallow logging in as Admin.

User Login Page not available to logged in user

Issue: In a Drupal site a logged in user gets a 403 page (access denied) if they browse to the user/login page. Well? (I hear you ask) Why do you want to see the login page if you are logged in?? Good question - but it is not really an error or an access denial issue is it - it is more a 'user path/flow' issue. A good solution would be to see the user's own profile page.

Configuring Cron on a hosted server

One of the first steps to setting up a new Drupal site is to setup the regular Cron job. Hosting services vary in their support for cron and the usual methods (such as wget, curl etc). This post explores options to configure cron on a hosted server.

Configuring Cron on a local WAMP server

When you develop CMS sites it is best practice to have local development copies as opposed to working directly on the live production server. If you have multiple such sites on a WAMP install you will need to mange cron to keep these up to date. In this post we look at a number of options available to you.

Securing access to files on your website

It is easy to forget that the files in your web site are visible to anyone even if they are not linked to or are not files normally requested. In this post we look at how to use the.htaccess file to control access to your site.

Content Management Systems

Although we do build solutions for our clients from the ground up, we increasingly base our IT solutions on standard content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress (for simple sites and blogs) and Drupal (for more complex and tailored solutions)

We provide solutions for our customers based on standard open source content management systems such as WordPress and Drupal.  These powerful solutions enable us to rapidly develop rich and attractive websites that our clients can manage.

Social Media Marketing

We all know the popularity of social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and the like – but have you considered how these channels can be used to widen the audience for your website information and services. Access to these services provides new and compelling opportunities for promoting your business to a wide and very immediate audience. We have a good track record of leveraging these services to provide creative marketing solutions for our clients

Species Protection Legislation

Over ten years ago when we started creating web sites and applications to manage biodiversity related information we needed a public website to act as a host for these projects. was created to provide web space for not for profit Biodiversity and conservation projects and provide resources for biodiversity projects.

To www or not to www

One of the trends these days is to lose the www. from your domain name.
Arguments for are usability (e.g. you don't have as much typing to do - it is easier to not have to say dubyadubyadubya every time you give out your web address).
There are counter arguments of course to do with cookie control and sites that have sub-domains etc.
What is important though is that you choose one and stick to it. In any event you should decide for one and not allow both.
Supporting both will cause duplicate content in Google and you may suffer in SEO terms.

htaccess Rewrites - Discarding the unwanted Querystring

I use the .htaccess file a lot on hosted servers. On our own servers I prefer to use the httpd.conf as it performs better and is not reevaluated on every request. But if you are on a hosted server the .htaccess is your earliest port of call for handling incoming traffic and can be more efficient than using modules for certain tasks. One common gotcha is how to discard the querystring for a redirect.

Path Rewriting and changes to Path Auto

Quick note: On a site I worked on recently I made a change to the Pathauto settings and needed to create a load of Redirects for previous URLs. Fortunately there is a quick way to do this using wildcards in the htaccess.

Simple Golive checklist for Drupal

I plan to put together a comprehensive Golive check sheet covering SEO and site setup generally - but in the meantime here are some useful steps to remember:

Multisite Drupal Set-up on WAMP

Creating a multi-site set-up on your local server or development PC is a must for local development and testing.
A handy practice is to set up one drupal installation and then create your development sites as individual sites on a multi-site set-up.

Gotcha: Displaying the search box on a new Drupal Site

One of the most frequently asked questions for a new Drupal installation is - How do I get the search box to show? The answer is go to Modules and locate the search module in the core modules and enable it - it is disabled by default. Another gotcha here is checking your permissions and ensuring that users have access to search and other facilities.

See your first user permissions and roles

Windows Server 2003: House keeping Services

Doing a bit of housekeeping this morning. One of my irregular tasks is to run through the server event logs and deal with any issues (with a strong cup of coffee).

Not many this morning fortunately.

One related to a service entry left behind after an uninstall (used to share this server with a bunch of C# developers who loved all sorts of 3rd party apps).

The one in question was CruiseControl. The app had been removed OK but have left behind a service entry that failed as the app was no longer there.

Drupal Post Images and Thumbnails

To be able to add an image field to a content node that will be displayed in the node and as a thumbnail in the listings.

See for a good tutorial

The tutorial covers it well but is for 5.x so the following updates are required to do it in 6.x.

Some of the functionality will be in the core of 7.x.

Wet Woods Restoration Project Website

To design, create & host a web site to highlight the work undertaken for the LIFE project for the management and conservation of wet woodlands in Scotland. The resulting web site was also to present a gallery of photographs depicting wet woodlands and their management.

The resulting web site used a mixture of static and dynamic ASP based HTML. The various cases studies of woodland sites and their management and conservation status are linked to the gallery of photographs available. We provide the domain registration and hosting for this site.


Produce a first version of a web site to highlight the work undertaken by organisations in the UK supporting the International Convention on Biological Diversity. The client required that the design enabled their in-house staff to continue the production of the site. The client also wanted to have a geographical searching method to enable visitors to the site to search for details about biodiversity initiatives in their area.

The Species Dictionary at the Natural History Museum

To create an online representation of the NBN Species Dictionary. The required version was to be a simple reflection of the structure of the data model to highlight the concepts and the content of the standards promoted by the Species Dictionary.

Encryption of 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey maps for Recorder

To enable the secure distribution of the 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey map series for use with the Recorder 2000 application. The maps were to be encrypted and supplied on CD. Users of the CD set should be able to apply for unlock keys for maps, to which they access, by email, fax or post. Once unlocked, the maps should be automatically installed for use with the Recorder 2000 software.