Effortless Image Handling in Drupal 7

Crying Drupal faceHah! Did I get you with the "effortless"? The thing about Drupal, like most open souce CMS platforms, is that you can get it to a place where it's an amazingly easy and powerful way to admin your content, but you have to put in a bunch of effort first (refer to key concept: open source software is not free). This is especially true if you're an early adopter and like to experiment with the newest version of Drupal.

One thing I'm doing with this blog site of mine, besides blogging, is using it to test essential modules and features that most web content admins need and want. Like the ability to easily upload and insert images into a piece of content. So when I read this Module Monday post by Lullabot, I got excited. They summed up the basic problem, and the Filefield Sources module solution, really well: 

You know that process of finding the image on one site, then downloading it to your desktop, then uploading it to your Drupal site? Sucks, doesn't it? Filefield Sources allows you to simply enter the URL of an image anywhere on the Internet and it'll suck it into your files directory. Presto!

I am notoriously lazy aobut this on my own site. I get many of my images via a Flickr advanced serach of Creative Commons content, and I confess that sometimes, when I've been in a rush, I've linked to images via Flickrfarm. That's a terrible practice. If the image goes away, it's broken on your site. Yikes.  So I had a vision: get WYSIWYG with CKEditor and IMCE going here in Drupal 7, with Filefield Sources, and all of the (properly licensed) images on the whole of the interwebs, as well as my own server, would be just a click away. Now that's living!

Well, Drupal 7 and its module friends are still young. Filefield Sources worked beautifully for me in that I was able to choose how to obtain an image and pull an image onto my server from a remote URL.  But I had some error issues with the image field itself, and some integration issues between Filefield Sources and IMCE. I'm having some go-rounds in the Drupal.org issue queues to sort it out. More on Filefield Sources soon.

For now, I do have IMCE going with WYSIWYG/CKEditor (note: you need the IMCE WYSIWYG bridge for this!), and it's certainly extremely easy to upload new images and browse existing image files to insert into this post. With a little more effort, I think that my image wrangling setup will truly be effortless.

P.S. If you're wondering where I got that crying Drupal face, then you haven't checked out new most favorite module, Misery.