I thought I’d post a little bit about how Manga Views came together. It might be useful for my own memory, and I found it difficult to track down all the drupal documentation that I needed in order to create the site. Maybe my experiences can be useful if someone else wants to construct a similar site. I got the idea for Manga Views when I was having lunch with Melinda, and after e-mailing a bunch of my fellow bloggers I found out that some other people were also thinking along the same lines about the need for a community site for manga bloggers. We settled on two core pieces of functionality that we wanted to have for the site:
1) Public RSS Reader that would display feeds from manga blogs – while many people use google reader or bloglines, not everybody does. I thought it would be nice to provide a place where people could get a quick idea of the recent posts on selected manga blogs.
2) Review aggregation and ratings system – We wanted a place that could collect reviews and ratings from different bloggers for a specific manga title. This way, someone could go to Manga Views and see several different reviews for titles like Ooku or Silver Diamond.
I had briefly worked with Drupal in the past, but I had only gotten as far as installing it on a site and customizing a theme. Still, I thought that I’d end up using Drupal because of the flexible module system as well as the bulit-in feed aggregator. It ended up taking me a few weeks to set up the site because it was difficult to wade through the documentation that Drupal provides in order to set up the review system functionality. There are review modules out there, but these are for older versions of drupal and don’t seem to be currently maintained.
The reviews on Manga Views are built with several modules – Fivestar and the Voting API (creates a rating system), Content Construction Kit (allows you to create content types with custom fields), Node Hierarchy (creates a parent child relationship between types of content, like manga and manga reviews), and Views (creates custom displays used in the manga ranking and alphabetical manga lists).
I used this tutorial to set up the review system. I also found this tutorial from Lullabot useful in putting together the custom displays. I think it would have taken twice as long to create the site if Lissa wasn’t dong the design, because I was able to put all my time into working on site functionality.