construct_logo_120For more than a year we have been developing a completely new version of conStruct for Drupal 7 for one of our clients.

conStruct for Drupal 6 is really decoupled from Drupal and all the other contributed modules; in a word, it was not playing nice with Drupal. The goal of this new version has been to change that situation. The focus of this completely new conStruct module has been to create a series of connector modules that bridge most of Drupal’s core functionalities with remote structWSF instances.

We wanted to make sure that Drupal developers could manipulate content, within Drupal, that is hosted in structWSF instance(s). The best way to start aiming for that goal was to make sure that all of the core Drupal APIs commonly used by Drupal developers could be used to manipulate structWSF data like if it was native in Drupal. This is what these connectors are about.

The development of conStruct for Drupal 7 is not finished, but it is available in the Git repository. There is still refactoring and improvements required, mainly to make it easier to use and understand, but all of the code is working properly and is already used on production sites.

conStruct As a Large Scale Drupal Implementation

Those who follow the evolution of conStruct know that conStruct’s main goal is to use Drupal as a user interface for structWSF for administrative purposes, or for creating complete portals like the NOW portal. However, in our initial versions, Structured Dynamics’ purpose was to not tightly integrate with Drupal. Over time, though, we have seen broad acceptance for the Drupal front end and Drupal itself is evolving in ways compatible with semantic technologies.

What is changing with conStruct for Drupal 7, with all these connectors, is that we are now using conStruct to bridge Drupal with structWSF server instances. We supercharge Drupal 7’s capabilities with structWSF. Our evolution to a tighter Drupal coupling means the ability to manage, query, search, data mine, million of entities; to have vocabularies of tens of thousands of concepts; and to enable the querying of all of these entities and their content from any kind of devices or systems via a family of web services endpoints.

This is the initial version of what is (or should be) Drupal LSD for Structured Dynamics: A semantic web service framework backend system for Drupal.

conStruct’s Drupal Connectors

Here is the initial list of the connectors that exists:

  • structFieldStorage: this module creates a new structfieldstorage field storage system that can be used by Drupal fields to save the fields’ data into a remote structWSF instance. This is used to enable the Content Type entities to be saved into a structWSF instance. It is an extension of the Drupal field storage system
  • structEntities: this module creates a new Entity Type called the Resource Type that is used to see all the structWSF indexed records as native Entities in Drupal. This means that the Entity API can be used to manipulate any content in structWSF
  • structViews: this module creates a new data source for Views 3. This means that the Views 3 user interface is used to generate structWSF Search endpoint queries instead of SQL queries
  • structSearchAPI: this module exposes new search indexes to the Search API. This means that the Search API can be used to query a structWSF instance.

I will write about all these connectors individually in upcoming blog posts. I will cover their design, architecture and usage.


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