Editor’s Note: In the interest of sanity and others’ edification, I thought it might be nice to start logging my travails developing Spare Change News in Drupal. I probably won’t post all the updates to Instant History (the main blog), but the major ones will show up there, with everything cross-posted to the new Drupal Developer blog (It’s all really just one blog with different categories, but shh …).

So far, one of the biggest challenges I’ve run into with Spare Change is getting staff to actually log in and post content. The most common excuse? “I can’t remember my user name and password.” It’s a sentiment I’m sympathetic to, having written about user hatred of password rules. But what’s a site admin to do?

Well, Drupal just so happens to have an excellent Facebook Connect module, that just so happens to work great. I managed to get it working within just a few minutes on this very site (you can check it out here: http://www.morisy.com/user).

I really like the module for a number of reasons:

  • Unlike Disqus, the commenting service I've long been wary of, the Drupal Facebook connect module creates a *local* user, and I control how that user is administered, I keep a local copy of their comments, and my site controls how that data is used, not a third party
  • It's simpler than OpenAuth, OpenID and other federated login systems. I love the idea, but implementations are just plain confusing. On a site dedicated to homeless issues, we have to assume a low level of tech savvy (this complexity might change soon with Google making a big push on usability).
  • It works. I would say "It just works," but a Drupal forums user pointed me to the bug queue. Are there issues? Absolutely, but I'm willing to quash them as they come up for the sake of usability.</a> </ul> Now, when I eventually want to upgrade to a more generic module that accepts Facebook, Google, and whatever else you can throw at it ... That's when I expect some issues. But that will be another day.