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Blog Post better_formats module review - Set default input formats

by Jay Callicott
July 19, 2009

This is a quick review of a module that needs to make your "rotation," that is, a group of core modules you install on every project.

Drupal has different input formats that can be assigned to different roles, great, right? Well what's annoying about input formats is that by default you can't give a default input format based on a role. So what happens usually is that "filtered html" is the default format and even though the editor of the site has permissions for "full html" they will unknowingly add a new page or story as "filtered html" and wonder why they're images aren't showing up. 
That's because even though the wysiwig understands that user's permissions the silly input formats are collapsed and "filtered html" is always selected by default. And even if they become aware of that option, it's still annoying to have to select "full html" every time, right? Why in the world can't we assign a default input format based on that user's role? Well now you can! Enter "better_formats."
With the better_formats module you see a new tab on the input formats screen called "defaults." There you will see each user role and can assign a default format for that user. I find usually I'm just assigning the "full html" role to a priveleged user, like an admin or editor, so there's not a lot to do here. I just select "full html" for node editing and leave everything else the same. What's important to note though is that you need to weight this role higher than the others, otherwise they will still see the 'filtered html' input format selected as the default.
This module marries well with a good wysiwig like fck editor: I prefer fck editor now because Tiny MCE has a) becomed deprecated and b) doesn't understand how to separate an "authenticated user" profile and a priveleged user profile who happens also to be an "authenticated user."
What I like to do is set up a simple profile that gives any user bold/italic/link/unlink/underline and then give some more buttons of course for an editor like image widgets/etc. - I think it's nice for even anonymous users or basic authenticated users to have a little wysiwig even if it gives them only a couple buttons. I think it's a nice touch.

The only drawback I've seen to this module is that there is no drupal 5 support. I still have some drupal 5 sites, so the other day when I was looking for even a development version I was sorely dissapointed. Other than that this module has worked for me pretty flawlessy and has made the regular "rotation." Enjoy! -J 

UPDATE: Got the drupal 5 blues? No problem! Check out This module gives you the same essentially functionality for drupal 5. No worries! I tried this out on a d5 site today and it works great.


Meet team member, Jay Callicott

An enthusiastic Drupal developer of ten years, Jay spent six years as Mediacurrent’s Lead Architect before transitioning to his current role in 2015. As the Vice President of Technical Operations, Jay helps to foster best practices and shape processes for Mediacurrent's development team. An active contributor to the Drupal community, Jay has developed dozens of custom modules, coded themes, and written install profiles for projects from Drupal 5 through Drupal 8.

Prior to Mediacurrent, Jay worked as a PHP developer in Little Rock, AR. During that time, Jay worked on several large PHP builds including the Arkansas Drug & Alcohol Testing Database, the Arkansas State Police FBI Civil Harvesting Application and the Arkansas Governor Newsroom which won his agency an e-government award that year.

During his 8 years at Mediacurrent, Jay has led teams on dozens of projects including more recently, Jamaica Star, and University of Georgia. He maintains several key marketing automation modules (Pardot, Silverpop, Eloqua, Hubspot, and Automate) that have helped solidify Mediacurrent as a thought leader in the marketing automation space. Jay created and actively maintains one of the most popular distributions on Drupal,  OpenChurch, which has over 100,000 downloads. A Drupal 8 version (relying almost entirely on core modules) was recently released.

Outside of work Jay enjoys family time with his wife and two young children. He stays involved with his local Little Rock church and also volunteers time on occasion to help build faith-based charity and church websites.

Learn more about Jay >

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