One of the major obstacles I have had to overcome in order to launch the initial 1.0 version of a Drupal-based intranet I am developing for my show chorus is the issue of managing file/media attachments.
As an international championship show chorus with a demanding repertoire and hectic performance schedule, we have accumulated hundreds of items in our digital music library. Everything from .mp3 audio files, to .mov video files, to .pdf copies of sheet music, and miscellaneous .doc files.
I’m quite accustomed to handling media file attachments, embedding them in content, and even installing media players to stream audio-visual content. But, I generally do this by FTP’ing media files to designated server directories, writing SQL scripts to insert/update the media file URLs into the appropriate database tables, then calling up the media URLs for display by generating PHP scripts that query the database.
Utilizing a process like this, though, just would not work for the individuals from my chorus who will be assisting with content management. So, the site’s primary editor (who does not do any actual web programming) and I spend a couple frustrating weeks trying to figure out how to create a manageable music library utilizing Drupal’s file attachment and image import functions.
Fortunately, I stumbled upon the Asset module (I’m using the 5.x-1.0-beta4 version). It took a little getting used to — particularly since it uses it’s own internal linking syntax — but I really like it so far. Any user with proper Asset permissions can upload, link to, or embed any media file type into any node type simply by clicking on a link in Edit mode that opens up a handy little Asset Wizard. They don’t need to know any web scripting syntax, don’t need any special software on their computer, and don’t need to understand server directory structures. They simply upload files just as they do in any email client, click a series of “next” buttons until an Asset link is generated that they can copy and paste anywhere into any node.
So, now that my primary editor is plugging away with uploading and linking to all our music library files, I can focus my last few pre-launch days on building out the custom Views that will display the full library to our members.