Making my Drupal life easier - Drush and Multisite

It started as a simple question.  "Should I keep them [a small group of sites]as separate installs or make a multi site  - which I've never done?"

I have several sites setup as multisite. All are for clients that have several domains running. So I'm familiar with the process. And when I worked at Business Objects we ran our subdomains on a multisite installation. But several days ago I decided to make some changes.

I have ten or so small sites - almost brochure like. That were getting to be a pain to keep updated. So I did two things:

  • setup drush - a drupal command line module
  • and create a multisite installation for the ten brochure sites.

Drush is a drupal module. Well not really. Calling it a module is a misnomer. It is an aggregation of drupal scripts for assisting in site development and management. WOW doesn't begin to cover it. I remember hearing about it at Linuxfest awhile back and thought it sounded useful. I downloaded it. Couldn't get it to work and thought - command line is such a vast improvement over FTP - not a big issue. Thanks to Gregory Heller over at Civic Actions for his simple description of how to install Drush on Dreamhost. Updates that used to take about 30 minutes, now take less than 30 seconds. And that isn't even looking at all the other cool things drush can do. Swiss army knife indeed.

The second thing that I decided to do was move ten small sites into a multisite install. I had orginally set them up on Dreamhost with their own user and hence their own install of drupal and associated modules. I expect the updating of core and common modules to be almost trivial for ten sites - so from five or six hours of updating to 15 minutes...

Now the cruncher. Moving the first site in was no problem.  The second site moved in easily but the files folder was in the drupal root and when I moved the files folder to the sites new domain folder (which is where I put them all now) it broke all the links on the site. Primarily images and this site had ten galleries with 20 to 30 images per gallery. So I need to fix that before I move on and i'm not excited about re-uploading all the images. It should be fixable with a sql query but I need to work it out. I've run into this problem before.

The second smaller issue that I ran into was that I had more small Drupal 5 sites than I realized. I have more to move to Drupal 6 than I thought. I will also need to set up a Drupal 6 multisite installation to deal with the ones that I have built in D6 or moved up to D6 already. Not a big hurdle but more to do.

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