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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

Jay is an engineer and leader with a passion for creating technical solutions that solve real-world problems. As a long-time advocate for Drupal and Open Source, he has spent over a decade speaking, writing, and developing enterprise solutions that advance Open Source worldwide.

Since 2009, Jay has worked in a variety of roles for Mediacurrent. For the first 6 years, he focused his efforts on perfecting his craft as an engineer. From Drupal consultant to Senior Developer, then Lead Architect, Jay created solutions and led teams that delivered dozens of enterprise websites.

In 2015, Jay was promoted to Director of Development where he was tasked with hiring developer talent and implementing processes and best practices for the team. Jay also split his time as a lead architect, launching several large projects during this period.

A few years later, Jay moved into his current role as VP of Technical Operations. Jay’s primary responsibilities are working with the revenue team to acquire and retain customers, overseeing Security, DevOps, and IT roles, and leading Mediacurrent’s technology vision. He also helps lead the development of tools and solutions, including the Rain distribution, which won Acquia’s “Open Source Giants” award in 2019.

Currently, Jay is a big proponent of decoupled architecture and the JAMStack approach to web development. Read more about Jay’s thoughts in “The State of Drupal in 2019

Learn more about Jay >

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