There were a few years where I was all about getting everyone I met a weblog. I am no longer doing that, because I used up my extra reserves, and I figure I will try this parenting gig for a couple of decades, see how that betters the world.
Anyhow, I still want to keep track of what I am hosting. I have tried mindmaps, and tables (in wikis). Today I was going through determining which information I need to keep track of when it hit me: I should just use a few content-types and views to make an easy to use tool, for me. I make so many sites for other people, I sometimes forget that I can whip up a database to make my life easier.
So, after about 30 minutes of thinking, and five minutes of typing, I got to this:
It is a relatively simple feature site, built in Drupal. It is four content-types, the primary one being hosted node (which I describe as “A node is a software instance or site. By entering it here, maiki can create sortable tables of relevant information.”, which has fields that reference the three others: person, server and software.
There are only six fields to fill out, all of which are shown in that graphic:
- Description - The title of the node, this just describes the function of the site, like maiki's StatusNet
- Operator - This is who the site belongs to, or who is the primary contact for it. I mostly host weblogs and wikis, so it is applicable.
- Server - I currently host across six servers, so this is very helpful!
- Software - This is nifty, and was the original issue for me to solve: how do I keep track of security updates and memory hogs?
- Status - This currently has five options: active (default, is running), pending (migration) (needs to be moved to another server, for various reasons), pending (installation) (the idea is there, but I need to take the time to install and configure the software), deprecated (slated for removal, like the reverse of installing), and abandoned (sometimes people I host for fall off the planet, so I archive their node and put it aside).
- URI - Of course I need to be able to visit the site, so this is helpful.
The graphic only shows my nodes, but to illustrate how this will be useful, just on one server I have 7 people using 5 software packages for 18 nodes.
The beauty of using Drupal for this is that I can sort any way I want, and even generate reports for myself, if I wanted (which I don’t, but I like to think of how easy it is for me to do things that cube farm animals spend all day doing).
I am keeping it simple for now, but I can see this growing into something I use to document changes to nodes and servers (comments and/or revisions would work well for that). I am in the process of standardizing where I install software, so I will be relying on sites-available, rather than adding a path to the nodes, though it would be cool to gather that data and makes a tag cloud of where I install stuff.
The point is, I can do all kinds of stuff that I normally wait for someone to ask me to make. I am always busy, so it isn’t like I am out of practice. However, it is a lot of fun, and a little bit outside of my comfort zone, to make single-user, simple feature sites.