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Netstudio.gr Blog: Drupal 8 is around the corner

5 hours 40 min ago

Four years ago we made an important decision at Netstudio: We would migrate to Drupal. Drupal 7 had just come out, and despite our having mastered Joomla at online-store level, we simply could not ignore Drupal’s embedded Content Construction Kit, its multi-lingual support, safety, stability, scalability, search engine friendliness, but, most of all, the professionalism of the Drupal community.

Drupal 7 helped us undertake even bigger and more complex projects, and build all of our solutions for ecommerce and presentation websites, including even our ERP, project management tool, quotes generation and hiring systems and our project management tool. It was on Drupal we based our company’s projects, like visibility.gr and servalarm.com, as well as more than 200 websites and online stores for our customers.

Not for a single moment have we regretted our migration to Drupal, despite our having to learn a new ecosystem from scratch.

Just six months after Drupal 7 was launched, the Drupal community set off for Drupal 8. Dries Buytaert set very high standards for the new version of Drupal defining the main pillars to set it on the crest of the wave.

Four and a half years of development later, beta 10 release is here, signalling the approach of the final release in less than 6 months from now!

More than 2800 programmers − twice as many as for its predecessor − have contributed for Drupal 8 developing hundreds of new features.

The most significant structural change made was that it was based on Symfony2 framework thus turning it into an object-oriented platform. From now on, large chunks of code, such as Guzzle, Twig (the new theming system), the Composer, etc. come from the Symfony2 community.

Moreover, Drupal 8 brings along enormous changes in the way we develop websites.

Internationalization

Multilingual support is very important for us, since we are based in Greece and our many international clients require the operation of their website in English and the language spoken in their country. Some of our clients run multilingual websites ​​(eg ivf-embryo.gr is available in 14 languages). Drupal 7 supports multilingual websites much better than Joomla or WordPress, but requires installing and configuring over 15 additional modules. In some extreme cases full support requires a programmer’s intervention, so it is not fully manageable by the non-technical administrator.

Multilingual support is embedded in the core of Drupal 8 requiring the activation of only 4 modules. Drupal can now be installed and operated in the administrator’s native language from start to finish. Gábor Hojtsy, heading a large team of contributors for this pillar, did an excellent job solving dozens of issues on Drupal 7, and transforming Drupal 8 into the most comprehensive platform available for developing multilingual websites and open-source-code applications!

Views in Core

For many, the views module is the basic reason for choosing Drupal. It allows displaying data to the user, without them having to write SQL queries. In Drupal 8 the Views module is conveniently embedded in Core. You can start building your website without having to install an additional module offering stability, full integration and interoperability. Furthermore, all administration screens are now Views, allowing the administrator to change fields and their appearance with just a few clicks.

WYSIWYG and Inline Edit

Content editing in Drupal 7 hasn’t been the best experience for the administrator. WordPress is still the leader in convenience and usability in this area. At Netstudio we have been installing dozens of modules in order to provide our customers with an environment almost as friendly as that of WordPress. Drupal 8 is a huge step in that direction. Its basic installation offers the content manager enhanced usability in a much friendlier environment (in fact, Netstudio has contributed some usability tests via UserFeel.com). The new release features a configured built-in WYSIWYG editor, as well as the impressive cutting-edge Inline Edit, making quick content interventions piece-of-cake for the front-end administrator.

Anything left for the next Drupal 8 (maybe 8.1) release? Well, yes. Media administration (photos, videos etc.). Although there have been improvements, additional modules need to be installed for a comprehensive solution, as is the case of the recently released Entity Embed and Entity Browser.

Mobile friendly

Now that the mobile web is a reality, it all seems so matter-of-fact. In 2011 however, at the onset of the Drupal 7 era, all we knew about the mobile web was forecasts. Fortunately, Dries Buytaert took these forecasts seriously, so he set the requirements for Drupal 8 aiming at its full compatibility with mobile devices. And his efforts were not in vain. The environment all around Drupal 8 is not only responsive, but also very easy for mobile and tablet users, even regarding contextual links, the admin menu and inline editing. The bottom line is that any administrator can manage their website comfortably commuting on a bus seat, on their bed or enjoying the sunshine on the beach!

Performance & Scalability

A platform’s performance and its ability to juggle sudden spikes of traffic have been major concerns of ours, partly explaining why we migrated to Drupal 7. Initially, Drupal 8 was much slower than Drupal 7, as shown in a comparative analysis we published two years ago. The obvious reason of course was that it was still under development and lacking the necessary speed optimization. This now has been changed. About a month ago, internal cache was set to on by default. We’re talking about a much smarter cache than that in Drupal 7. Speed racing is in progress, with developer Wim Leers in the lead. Here we expect dramatic improvements and capabilities once "SmartCache" and "PigPipe", Facebook-style page loading have been embedded in the core.

Configuration Management

I have a crush on this one, can’t wait for it, as it solves the issue of maintaining the site configuration under version control. In Drupal 7 website configuration and content were stored in the database, sometimes in the same tables, making their management almost impossible. We have repeatedly tried to resolve this issue using features, strongarm etc, but have given up as these solutions were too time-consuming and costly. We’ve been going out of our way creating scripts to control functionality, and checking over 300 points regarding security, performance, SEO etc. before delivering a website to our client. Still, this may not be considered a comprehensive solution. In Drupal 8 configuration is stored in YML files. That makes version control management, and data transfer from website to website or from environment to environment (e.g. development > staging > testing > live) a breeze.

Next Releases

Another important change in Drupal 8 is the rate of publication of new releases. In Drupal 7 subsequent releases (7.01, 7.02, and the most recent one, 7.37) focused exclusively on fixing bugs and security issues During these last four and a half years only few features have been added, in accordance to the backward compatibility policy. This is changed in Drupal 8. Versions 8.1, 8.2, etc. will not comprise of "minor updates", but will add new functionality. What it boils down to is that from now on, Drupal will be integrating technology innovation much faster.

More Novelties

Over and above the most important new features mentioned above, Drupal 8 comes with many more innovations like fieldable blocks, a greater range of integrated field types (date, entity reference, phone, email, link), the tour module, embedded schema.org output, enhanced accessibility, content publishing preview, friendlier front-end development, and more. What’s your main reason you can’t wait for Drupal 8?
Leave your comment below.

When will it be ready?

DrupalCon Los Angeles, with dozens of developers racing in Coding Sprints for the completion of Drupal 8, is now over. Only 20 critical issues (tasks and bugs) were left unsolved!

Teh RC (Release Candidate) version will be released once the last of these issues will have been resolved. The final version of Drupal 8 will be released 15 days after critical tasks and critical bugs have been brought down to zero. This is likely to take less than six months, but we’ll need to wait for another few months before we see the top contributed modules upgraded to Drupal 8. Knowing us, however, I’m sure we’ll start developing some simple presentation websites on the release of the almost final version. However, we’ll have to wait for 3-6 extra months before we can use Drupal 8 in more demanding installations. Meanwhile, we can all keep an eye on the top 100 contributed modules and their Drupal 8 updating status at: http://www.bluespark.com/status-top-100-contributed-modules-drupal-8

We can’t wait for Drupal 8. Can you?

Now you know our reasons of impatience to start working on Drupal 8. What about your reasons? Do you plan on using Drupal 8? Have you used it already? What do you like most about it? Write your comment here.

Web Omelette: Debugging Drupal redirects

6 hours 7 min ago

I was working on a big website with many contrib and custom modules. And I had to debug a very annoying redirect that started happening sometime in the recent past, not sure when. Some pages simply just redirected to other URLs.

I figured out that the problem was one of a 301 redirect. My browser told me that at least. But good luck figuring out where in the code I can find the culprit. Xdebug breakpoints everywhere but to no avail. A search for drupal_goto in the custom modules directory didn't help either, and God be with anyone trying to search through a contrib folder of that size.

Then it hit me. Isn't there a hook invoked inside drupal_goto? At this point I was assuming (and hoping really) that the redirect was happening somehow with a drupal_goto. And it turns out there is one: hook_drupal_goto_alter.

Armed with a new dose of hope, I implemented the hook and cleared the cache. Inside, I added the obligatory $test = ''; statement and put a breakpoint on it. Let's see what happens. After loading one of the offending pages, the breakpoint halted the execution and the Xdebug call stack in my PHPStorm immediately pointed out the problem: Global Redirect. There was some URL rewriting happening on the site so GR got a bit confused and was redirecting back to the original path. The details of the issue are however not important.

My point is that using this hook, I could see exactly who and why was calling drupal_goto. I didn't use it for anything else, apart from learning why the redirect is happening which in turn allowed me to write some code that prevented that.

Awesome. I learned about a new hook. And maybe now you as well.

In Hooks | Drupal var switchTo5x = true;stLight.options({"publisher":"dr-8de6c3c4-3462-9715-caaf-ce2c161a50c"});

CiviCRM Blog: Easier creation of email newsletters - New version

Sun, 05/24/2015 - 08:24

When preparing an email newsletter, one part of it that is time consuming is gathering together all the content that is needed. In my experience, virtually all the content already exists elsewhere, such as in the local CMS, in CiviCRM, or on a blog, or some other online source.    So I was thinking how can I make this process easier.  What I did: I created mail merge tokens for CiviCRM that autofill a list of recent blog posts, stories, or any other type of CMS content.  So the end-user sees a list of tokens, one for each content type, each term/category, each aggregator feed,  and for each date range. Such as "Content of type 'blog' created in the last 7 days" .  What is particulary powerful about this approach, is that if you are also using a CMS aggregator (such as the aggregator module in Drupal core) then virually any external RSS feed is turned into CMS content, which is now available as a CiviCRM token. (The original blog post about this extension is at: https://civicrm.org/blogs/pogstonesarahgladstone/easier-creation-email-newsletters-content-tokens )

Thanks to community involvement (specifically thanks to https://github.com/jorich-2000), there is a new version of the Content Token extension.  This version now supports Joomla, in addition to Drupal7, Drupal6, and WordPress.

The lastest version is 2.9 and can be downloaded from: https://civicrm.org/extensions/content-tokens

I am looking forward to getting feedback on this.

 

 

 

Jim Birch: Drupal 7 Panels: Page Manager Existing Pages

Sat, 05/23/2015 - 09:47

I plan on doing a more in depth article on how I've been using Panels instead of templates or contexts for laying out this Drupal 7 site, but I feel like I still have more to learn.  Until then, I wanted to share what I found to be a missing piece of the puzzle, Page Manager Existing Pages.

PMEP allows you to override any page that is in the admin menu for use in Page Manager.  That way, you can create variants, and add whatever layout, content, selection rules, that you want.  Without this plugin, you get an error message in Page Manager when trying to overwrite an existing URL.

So, where would I use this?  Page Manager comes with defaults for Node, Taxonomy, and some User pages, most of what you need to present your site to the world.  But there are certain administration pages, when viewed in a front end theme that slipped through the cracks.  For example, node/add, which lists all the content types you can add, or the Style Guide Module generated /admin/appearance/styleguide

Install and configure Page Manager Existing Pages

Read more

Gizra.com: Forking Todo Restful with Backbone.Marionette

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 15:00

In this guest post, Luke Herrington shares his experience with integrating an existing Drupal backend with a Backbone.Marionette Todo app.

If you're reading this, you probably already know about all of the great work that Gizra has done in the Drupal/REST space. If you haven't, I highly recommend you check out their github repo. Also see the RESTful module.

One of the projects that Amitai has contributed is Todo Restful. It shows an Angular implementation of the canonical TodoMVC Javascript app connecting to a headless Drupal backend. It's a great demonstration of how easy exposing Drupal content with the RESTful module is. It also shows that when a RESTful API adheres to best practices, connecting it with clients that follow the same best practices is like a nice handshake.

I saw the Todo Restful project and it got me thinking, "If Amitai did this right (hint: he did), then I should be able to get this working with Backbone pretty easily". I was pleasantly surprised!

View demo Get the source code Todo app with a Drupal backend

Here's a simplified list of everything I had to do to get it working:

Continue reading…

Mediacurrent: Highlights From DrupalCon Los Angeles

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 14:16

Last week, was in sunny Los Angeles for DrupalCon 2015. Though many were seasoned veterans, it was my first time at a Con. It was a whirlwind of team building, a magical Prenote, great one-on-one coversations and plenty of Drupal talk. Needless to say, I'm still recovering! But if one thing is certain, our team had a wonderful time. Here are some of their takeaways:

Commercial Progression: DrupalCon LA 2015 Highlights with Steve Burge from OSTraining (E9)

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 12:22
Download

Commercial Progression presents Hooked on Drupal, “Episode 9: DrupalCon LA 2015 Highlights with Steve Burge from OSTraining".  In this special DrupalCon edition of Hooked on Drupal we conferenced in Steve Burge of OSTraining for an on the ground report from Los Angeles.  Held on May 11-15, 2015 DrupalCon LA was the premiere event for the Drupal community.  Steve brings us the inside scoop of highlights and takeaways as the conference wraps up.  Additionally, Alex Fisher (also a DrupalCon veteran) shares his memories and insights from past DrupalCons.  Commercial Progression has recently sponsored OSTraining with a $5000 kickstarter backing to bring Drupal 8 upgrade training to the masses.  This new collection of video resources will be released in September 2015.  With Dries call to support Drupal as public utility from DrupalCon, this announcement seems especially timely.

Hooked on Drupal is available for RSS syndication here at the Commercial Progression site. Additionally, each episode is available to watch online via our YouTube channel, within the iTunes store, on SoundCloud, and now via Stitcher.

If you would like to participate as a guest or contributor, please email us at

social@commercialprogression.com

 

Content Links and Related Information

 

 Hooked on Drupal Content Team

ALEX FISHER - Founder of Commercial Progression

STEVE BURGE - Founder of OSTraining

 

Left, Alex Fisher, founder and owner of Commercial Progression in Northville, Mich.
Right, Steve Burge of Sarasota, Fla., founder and CEO of OSTraining

Podcast Subscription

Tags:  Hooked on Drupal, podcast, Drupal 8, DrupalCon, Planet Drupal, training, sponsorship

Paul Booker: Creating an action to update the prices of your commerce products

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 07:07
/** * Implements hook_action_info(). */ function mymodule_action_info() { return array( 'mymodule_update_products' => array( 'type' => 'entity', 'label' => t('Update products by 2%'), 'configurable' => FALSE, 'triggers' => array('any'), 'pass rows' => TRUE, ), ); } function mymodule_update_products(&$entity, $context) { $product_id = $entity->product_id; //dsm($product_id); $price = $entity->commerce_price[LANGUAGE_NONE][0]['amount']; //dsm($price); $updated_price = 1.02 * $price; $affected_rows = db_update('field_data_commerce_price') ->fields(array('commerce_price_amount' => $updated_price)) ->condition('entity_id', $product_id) ->execute(); //dsm($affected_rows); } function mymodule_round_up_line_item_price($line_item_id) { $line_item = commerce_line_item_load($line_item_id); return round($line_item->commerce_unit_price[LANGUAGE_NONE][0]['amount'],-2); } Tags:

Gábor Hojtsy: New easy ways to explore Drupal 8's multilingual capabilities

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 06:57

The Drupal 8 multilingual team is really great in spreading know-how on the new things in the upcoming version, so we had our session (1h) and workshop (2h) recordings published and widely available. While we of course love our baby and can talk all day about it, who has hours when they just want to explore what is coming up? We just addressed that this week with the following.

1. New 2m22s introduction video with the key benefits 2. A quick summary of key benefits and an easy to skim features list

http://www.drupal8multilingual.org/#topbenefits lists the top 12 benefits and http://www.drupal8multilingual.org/features provides the more detailed information in an easy to skim text form. And yeah, that 1h session video if you have the time.

3. Easy to launch demo to try features out

Thanks to our work on the multilingual workshops for DrupalCons, BADCamp and DrupalCamps, we have a demo with sample content in 4 languages that you can try out in your browser for 30 minutes without any registration or local software install required thanks to simplytest.me.

4. Check out who voted with their feet already

Drupal 8 is not yet released, yet there are numerous live multilingual Drupal 8 sites helping with nature preservation, finding health professionals or concert tickets among other good uses. Now there is a handy list to review at http://www.drupal8multilingual.org/showcase.

If you like what you see, we still have guided workshops (those that last 2h). The next one is coming up right this Sunday at DrupalCamp Spain. We also believe that the multilingual team is one of the best to get involved with if you want to know Drupal 8 better and give back some to improve the new version as well. We have weekly meetings and a huge sprint coming up at DrupalCon Barcelona. Maybe we'll have some opportunity to celebrate as well. See you there!

Julian Granger-Bevan: A Git Workflow for Drupal Modules

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 06:54

Years ago now, the Drupal community adopted Git as a version control system to replace CVS. That move has helped development since the distributed nature of Git allows better tracking of work privately before uploading a patch to drupal.org.

Sandbox repositories allow contributors to clone an existing project to work on independently (therefore not needing permissions for the canonical repository), but there is currently no way that I know of to request that those changes are pulled back, facilitate a review of changes and then merge the changes in (a pull request).

Hopefully that functionality is on the way!

But as a community the challenge is not just the development on drupal.org, collaboration with GitHub, or whatever form the technical change takes. Alongside those changes, we need the workflows that will help us better manage multiple versions, allow fast bug fixes whilst features are being tested, and provide for reviews without alienating developers. And the technical element goes hand in hand with the workflow.

As an example, for the Drupal PM module, we recently debated how to set up Git branches to allow more flexibility than the traditional "single line of code" inheritted from CVS.

There were a few criteria that the new solution had to have:

  • Flexibility that allowed bug fixes to be more quickly applied to a release: Under the "single line of code" approach, Releasing bug fixes only would require adhoc branches and tags.
  • Fit with drupal.org infrasturcture: In particular, we'd like users to be able to test a development version without cloning from Git. So the development release on drupal.org needed to correspond to an appropriate codeset for people to test.
  • Alignment to industry standard approaches where possible: Looking into what is used elsewhere in the software world, the Gitflow model has been received well.

Putting all of this together and discussing on Skype and a drupal.org issue, we came up with a branching model that seems to fit these criteria.

For each major version of the module (i.e., 7.x-1.x, 7.x-2.x, 8.x-1.x), we will have the following branches:

  • Release branches: There will be one release branch for each major version, named after the version (for example: "7.x-1.x"). The codebase in here will always be the release candidate for the next point release, and those point releases will always be tagged from this release branch.
  • Development branches: There will be one development branch for each major version, named "develop-[version]" (for example: "7.x-1.x"). This will effectively be a staging branch for the next release but one. Features will be merged into here, and then this development branch will be merged into the release branch when the next release candidate is required.
  • Feature branches: There will be one feature branch for each feature (drupal.org issue), named "feature-[issue]-[title]" (for example, "feature-12345-add-feature"). These will be worked on until the given feature is finished. Once completed, the feature branch is merged into the development branch.
  • Hotfix branches: There will be one hotfix branch for each bug fix (drupal.org issue), named "hotfix-[issue]-[title]" (for example, "hotfix-12345-fix-bug"). These will be worked on until the bug is confirmed fixed. Once completed, the hotfix branch is merged into both the development and release branches.

We're just beginning to use this system in entirety, and I hope that it works out.

One caveat is that the system only works for developers with permissions on the project repository. I would love for any contributor to be able to fit into this model and to have the pull request system available for the final merge... perhaps soon...

Category: WebsitesTags: GitDrupalDrupal Planetworkflowsbranching

LevelTen Interactive: How To Fine Tune Drupal's Editorial Controls with Workbench Access

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 23:00

If you're building a Drupal website with a lot of content for a community of users, chances are you'll need to set up some editorial controls. Starting with the Workbench and Workbench Moderation modules, you can create editorial workflows for content types. Nodes pass through different 'States', like Draft, Needs Review, and Published. Different User Roles control the flow of nodes through these different states.... Read more

Dries Buytaert: Why WooMattic is big news for small businesses

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 21:38

Earlier this week Matt Mullenweg, founder and CEO of Automattic, parent company of WordPress.com, announced the acquisition of WooCommerce. This is a very interesting move that I think cements the SMB/enterprise positioning between WordPress and Drupal.

As Matt points out a huge percentage of the digital experiences on the web are now powered by open source solutions: WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. Yet one question the acquisition may evoke is: "How will open source platforms drive ecommerce innovation in the future?".

Larger retailers with complex requirements usually rely on bespoke commerce engines or built their online stores on solutions such as Demandware, Hybris and Magento. Small businesses access essential functions such as secure transaction processing, product information management, shipping and tax calculations, and PCI compliance from third-party solutions such as Shopify, Amazon's merchant services and increasingly, solutions from Squarespace and Wix.

I believe the WooCommerce acquisition by Automattic puts WordPress in a better position to compete against the slickly marketed offerings from Squarespace and Wix, and defend WordPress's popular position among small businesses. WooCommerce brings to WordPress a commerce toolkit with essential functions such as payments processing, inventory management, cart checkout and tax calculations.

Drupal has a rich library of commerce solutions ranging from Drupal Commerce -- a library of modules offered by Commerce Guys -- to connectors offered by Acquia for Demandware and other ecommerce engines. Brands such as LUSH Cosmetics handle all of their ecommerce operations with Drupal, others, such as Puma, use a Drupal-Demandware integration to combine the best elements of content and commerce to deliver stunning shopping experiences that break down the old division between brand marketing experiences and the shopping process. Companies such as Tesla Motors have created their own custom commerce engine and rely on Drupal to deliver the front-end customer experience across multiple digital channels from traditional websites to mobile devices, in-store kiosks and more.

To me, this further accentuates the division of the CMS market with WordPress dominating the small business segment and Drupal further solidifying its position with larger organizations with more complex requirements. I'm looking forward to seeing what the next few years will bring for the open source commerce world, and I'd love to hear your opinion in the comments.

DrupalCon News: The PM Track: What it’s about and how to get your session picked +Bonus 40 ideas for sessions you can steal!

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 18:06

If you’re anything like me, right now you’re thinking: Finally! It’s a very exciting moment for those in our field who have craved ways to collaborate, learn from experiences and refine our craft. The Drupalcon team has heard our request loud and clear, and we can now enjoy the very first Project Management Track!

Pixelite: Top 10 DrupalCon LA sessions

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 18:00
DrupalCon LA

So I did not make it along to DrupalCon Los Angeles, but I did spend some time reading twitter, and watching the sessions online. Here are some of the sessions I found entertaining and insightful and would recommend to others.

Driesnote Keynote

Dries, as always, sets the lay of the land with Drupal. He also goes into the early days of Drupal, and how some key people he was involved with and have now gone on to form organisations that centre around Drupal.

Best quote:

Obstacles don’t block the path, they are the path

No

Larry Garfield gives an interesting talk on why sometimes it is best to say NO in order to give focus to the things that actually matter.

Best quote:

Case and point, the new Macbook Airs, they say NO TO EVERYTHING.

PHP Containers at Scale: 5K Containers per Server

David Strauss explains the history of web hosting, and how this is now far more complex. David is CTO of Pantheon, and they now run 100,000+ websites, all with dev + test + production environments. Pantheon run 150+ containers on a 30GB box (205MB each on average). Really interesting talk on how to run large amounts of sites efficiently.

Decoupled Drupal: When, Why, and How

Amitai Burstein and Josh Koenig give a really entertaining presentation on monolithical architectures and some developer frustrations. And then introduce REST web services in Drupal 8, and how this can be used to provide better consumer interfaces for other frameworks.

Features for Drupal 8

Mike Potter goes through what role features played in Drupal 7, and how features will adapt in Drupal 8 now that CMI is in. Features in Drupal 8 will be going back to it’s roots and provide ‘bundles’ of configuration for re-use.

Meet Commerce 2.x

Ryan and Bojan go through 1.x on Drupal 7, and how they have chosen to develop Commerce 2.x on Drupal 8. This is a complete rewrite. The hierarchical product model is really exciting.

How, When and Why to Patch a Module

Joshua Turton goes over what a patch is, when you should patch contributed modules, and how to keep track of these with Drush make.

My colleague Josh also wrote a blog post on how to use Drush make.

CI for CSS: Creating a Visual Regression Testing Workflow

I topic that I am passionate about is visual regressions, here Kate Kligman goes through some tools that can help you test your site for visual changes. Tools covered include PhantomJS, SlimerJS, Selenium, Wraith.

Speeding up Drupal 8 development using Drupal Console

Eduardo and Jesus give us an introduction to your new best friend in Drupal 8. Drupal console is a Symfony CLI application to help you write boilerplate code, e.g. to create a new module. Personally, I am excited for the form API generator, and the ability to create a new entity with a single command.

For more information see drupalconsole.com.

Q&A with Dries

As Drupal heads down from 130 critical issues down to 22 currently, what are some key concerns by people. The questions are answered by dries, xjm, webchick and alexpott.

Where can I find more videos

Don’t worry there are plenty more videos on the Drupal Association Youtube page.

Comments

If you have any awesome sessions that I have missed let me know in the comments.

Mediacurrent: Mediacurrent Dropcast: Episode 5

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 14:57

Our first foray into public during Drupalcon Los Angeles. Bob, Jason and Mark are live interviewing anyone who showed up to our BOF (Birds of a Feather) and gave away fancy Weekly Drop T-shirts. We also talked about our favorite sessions in this years North American ‘Con. Special thanks to Benztown Radio for the use of their equipment.

Drupal @ Penn State: D7 Features secret Rolemageddon

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 14:36

There’s many dirty little secrets in Drupal 7 core’s API when it comes to inconsistencies and oversights. It’s a big part of why so much care is being placed in D8 and its taking so long, because people realize this is a platform that’s used for the long haul and core decisions today will have lasting impacts a decade from now.

Acquia: Front End Performance Strategy: Image Handling

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 13:33

Business is keenly aware of the importance of page-load time, and its impact on conversion and search engine optimization. It’s now a priority at companies like Wal-Mart, Amazon, and Mozilla.

At Acquia, we hear about it from virtually every customer. They all want to know how our platform and services can improve the performance of their websites. How much can we speed up the responsiveness of the digital experience they are offering their users and customers.

Performance is often considered to be primarily a back-end problem, but frankly what we find after we dig through back-end code: often poor front-end optimization is the culprit and not Drupal itself.

While internet users don't have a page-load value in mind — they’re not counting seconds — they do want their content now. A content owner’s fear is that with a finger hovering over the back button, a user's brain is doing an automatic cost-benefit analysis on whether the loading content is worth the wait. If the site is too slow, they are impatiently wondering if they can get what they’re looking for somewhere else, somewhere quicker.

Its important for business to understand the impact of design and feature-level decisions on performance, and the importance of balancing a sophisticated and elegant user experience with nimble performance. As Engagement Managers, Architects, and Developers, it’s up to us to inform stakeholders of the impacts of their choices, offer compromises where we can, and to implement in smart and responsible ways. Regardless of the heroic efforts we are asked to make at the code level, we should all be able to agree on this:

Faster Page Loads = Happier Users

This article kicks off a series about optimizing the requests made by a Drupal site after the DOM loads. The goal of the series is to give site and product owners a new set of tools to evaluate their internal performance and to provide architects and developers specific recommendations. Today we’ll tackle image handling. Subsequent posts will cover JavaScript and CSS optimization, Content Delivery Networks (CDN), semantic HTML and better content selection. We’ll start with image handling because it’s low-hanging fruit and a front end swing-and-miss we often see.

Our first post is divided in two: Theme Images, the images comprised in your design, and Content Images, the images chosen and uploaded by authors, editors, and producers.

In Theme Images we cover sprites: why you should use them, how we employ them at Acquia, and some resources to get you going. In Content Images we explore how to deliver high quality images, optimized using compression and size adjustments, and how we accomplish this at Acquia. Finally, we’ll link to some additional resources.

IMAGE HANDLING

Your images need to be optimized. Full stop. Apply some lossy compression to that 50 image gallery. Dump all your theme images into one sprite file. Don’t serve a retina-quality image to an outdated smartphone. All of these impact page-load times, and we’ll touch on each one here.

Theme Images

We have the most control over theme images because the end users who create content on a site rarely need to manipulate them. Theme images don’t change much after the designer has created them. That makes them ideal for combining into CSS sprite files. A sprite works by combining all theme images into one file and using the x and y positioning values of the “background” CSS property to control which portion of the image is visible.

Sprites hold the advantage of existing in a singular file that is almost always smaller than the sum of its would-be piecemeal parts, plus it can be downloaded with a single HTTP request and cached for reuse. While nothing new, if you’re unfamiliar or need a refresher on sprites, CSS Tricks has a great introduction.

There are a lot of ways to create sprites, including manually in Photoshop. Various Ruby gems and Grunt/Gulp plugins make the process easier. Here at Acquia, we tend to rely on Compass to do the heavy lifting for our Professional Services builds. When creating sprites with Compass, you can use directories to group images that will form separate sprites. So, instead of creating one enormous sprite for all of my styles, I'll break them up into logically grouped images based on their use. These almost always end up being PNGs. When employing icons, I try to use a font-icon or an SVG icon if possible. And if you’re considering SVGs because they look great at different resolutions and screen sizes, you can sprite those too.

Content Images

Content images differ from theme images in that we as designers don’t have full control. We’re shackled to the whims of a writer or a content producer with a burning desire for that full-window 50-image slideshow. Nevertheless, we need to make sure those 50 images hit a sweet spot for size and compression. That means we’re applying an acceptable amount of lossy compression on our JPGs and sizing them to correspond with viewport size and device resolution.

We see a lot of designers and developers getting around responsive challenges by simply loading a larger image then necessary, not declaring dimensions on the image, and scaling the image using styles.

Instead, we should use our current best option, Drupal’s Picture Module. The picture module uses the (soon to be accepted) HTML5 picture element and is a backport of Drupal 8's Responsive Image module which is a part of core Drupal 8. For many, the current preferred solution is to use an image tag with “srcset” and, yes, I am aware of the ongoing conversation around Drupal 8 image handling. Presently, however, the picture element and a polyfill is Acquia’s go-to solution for responsive images. It uses the Breakpoints Module to load the correct image according to viewport size and pixel density, and adopts our defined image styles to create derivatives for different viewports.

This solution takes care of both image size and compression, doing the math to find that optimized sweet spot so you don’t have to.

CONCLUSION

Drupal can be a speedy back-end workhorse, but sloppy front-end implementations can quickly undo all your hard work. Employing the strategies I’ve outlined here can decrease your page-load times by a significant amount. Using sprites for theme images reduces the number of HTTP requests, and enables caching for future use. Drupal’s Picture Module takes the guesswork out of image delivery, optimizing with appropriate compression and size manipulation.

And this is just a start towards your faster Drupal website. In the next post in this series, I’ll show you how to optimize your javascript and cascading style sheets -- two more ways you can improve your site’s front end to create faster page loads, and happier customers.

Tags:  acquia drupal planet

DrupalCon News: Drupal, DevOps and DrupalCon Barcelona 2015

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 13:06

Drupal is an awesome tool for building sites! You imagine, you create and finally you publish your work online.

But, if you are asking yourself “What now? Is all the work finished?” , then this track is exactly what you were looking for.

Every site needs to be deployed, hosted, monitored, upgraded, scaled, security patched and maintained. DrupalCon Barcelona DevOps track can help you to achieve those goals and ensure the success of your site.

Red Crackle: Working with the Drupal Calendar Module

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 12:00
This article provides you with the steps required to create a Drupal event calendar. First, two modules are downloaded and enabled - Calendar and Date. A new content type called Events is then created. Two events are created based on this content type. A View is then configured to display the calendar featuring events.

Forum One: Behind the Curtain: The Making of the DrupalCon Prenote

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 11:00

I am never missing the #DrupalCon #prenote again. So brilliant.

— Kelley Curry (@BrightBold) May 12, 2015


DrupalCon always leaves me full of energy, and Amsterdam 2014 was no exception. The three of us – Adam Juran, me, and my wife Bryn – sat together on the short train ride back home to Cologne. Some chit chat and reminiscing quickly led to anticipation of the next DrupalCon, in LA. We were excited about the possibilities of this world-class host city. The home of Hollywood, Venice Beach, and Disneyland sounded like a great destination, but after three years of co-writing the DrupalCon “opening ceremony” with Jam and Robert, we were more excited about the possibilities for the Prenote. We knew we had to up the ante, make something new and different from previous years, and LA seemed like a gold mine of possibilities.

Every DrupalCon, before the keynote from Dries, this small group has staged a “pre-note.” The goal of the prenote is to break the ice, to remind everyone present that Drupal is a friendly, fun, and above all, inclusive community. It’s often themed after the host city: in Munich, Jam and Robert taught everyone how to pour a good Bavarian beer, and brought in a yodeling instructor for a singalong (yodel-along?) at the end. In Portland we held a “weirdest talent” competition, featuring prominent community members juggling and beat boxing. Every year it gets more fun, more engaging, and more entertaining for the audience.

Learning how to pour beer at the Drupalcon Munich prenote, 2012

On that train ride home, we threw around a lot of possibilities. Maybe the prenote could be set on a muscle beach, with Dries as the aspiring “98 pound weakling.” Or the whole thing could be a joke on a hollywood party. We briefly considered a reality-TV style “Real coders of Drupalcon” theme, but nobody wanted to sink that low. That’s when the idea struck: we could do it as a Disney musical!

Part of Your World

The Prenote was Jam and Robert’s baby, though. We knew that we would have to have some absolutely knock-down material to convince them of our concept. With beer in hand, the three of us started work on Part of your world from the Little Mermaid, as the client who is excited for the worst website idea ever.

“I’ve got sliders and icons a-plenty,
I’ve got OG with breadcrumbs galore.
You want five-level dropdowns?
I’ve got twenty!
But who cares? No big deal.
I want more!”

We quickly moved on to the song for the coder who would save the day, You ain’t never had a friend like me from Aladdin. We got halfway through this fun number before we realized that the song titles alone could do a lot of the convincing. Another beer, and we had a list of potential songs. There was so much material just in the song titles, we knew that the music would take center stage.

Some of our favorite titles from this first list were ultimately cut. Maybe someday we’ll flesh them into full songs for a Drupal party, but in the meantime you can let your imagination run wild. Hakuna Matata from The Lion King was to become We’ll Build it in Drupal! The Frozen parody, Do You Wanna Build a Website was a big hit, and so was Aladdin’s A Whole New Theme.

We showed our idea to Jam and Robert the first chance we got. They took one look at our list of songs and said the three words we wanted to hear: “run with it.”

You Ain’t Never had a Friend Like Me

Forum One’s Adam Juran and Campbell Vertesi as “Themer” and “Coder” at the Drupalcon Austin prenote, 2014

We divided up responsibility for  the remainder of the songs and started to experiment with the script. What kind of story could we wrap around these crazy songs? How much time did we really have, and could we do all this music? We were all absorbed in our normal work, but every chance we got, the group of us would get together to throw ideas around. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much as while we wrote some of these songs.

Writing parody lyrics is entertaining on your own, but as a duo it’s a laugh riot.  More than once we checked the Drupal song lyrics project for inspiration. We riffed on ideas and tried different rhyme schemes until things seemed to just “fit.”

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho

In the last few weeks leading up to DrupalCon, Adam and I met two and three times a week for long sessions, brainstorming new lyrics. We powered through writing the script around the whole thing, and started to address the logistical problems of backtracks, props, and costumes as well.

via Mendel at Drupalcon LA. Ronai Brumett as the perfect hipster Ariel

Finally we set about casting the different songs. Adam and I had always wanted to sing the Agony duet from Into the Woods, so that one was easy. We had a tentative list of who we wanted in the other songs, but we had no idea who would be willing. All of a sudden the whole endeavor looked tenuous again. Why did we think Dries would be OK to make a joke about Drupal 8 crashing all the time? Would Jeremy Thorson (maintainer of the test infrastructure on Drupal.org) even be interested to get up on stage and sing about testing? We realized that we’d never heard these people sing karaoke, much less in front of thousands of people!

One by one we reached out to the performers and got their approval. Some of them were more enthusiastic than others. Dries replied with “OK, I trust you guys,” while Larry Garfield and Jeremy Thorson insisted on rewriting some of their lyrics and even adding verses! The day before the show, Larry was disappointed that we couldn’t find giant foam lobster claws for his version of Under the Sea from the Little Mermaid. Aaron Porter bought a genie costume and offered to douse himself in blue facepaint for his role, and Ronai Brumett spent a weekend building the perfect “hipster Ariel” costume.

When You Wish Upon a Star

On DrupalCon – Monday the day before the show – the cast assembled for the first time for their only rehearsal together. I arrived a few minutes late, direct from a costume shop on Hollywood Boulevard. Jam had built karaoke tracks on his laptop, and Robert had put together a prompter for the script, so the group huddled around the two laptops and tried to work through the whole show.

Via Mendel at Drupalcon LA. The prenote cast rehearses. From left to right, Larry Garfield, Aaron Porter, Adam Juran, Jeffrey McGuire, Campbell Vertesi.

The rehearsal showed us what a hit we had created. The performers had embraced the motto: “if you can’t sing it, perform it” and they started to feed off each other’s energy. We all laughed at Ronai’s dramatic rendition of Part of My Site, and the Agony Duet raised the energy even further. It turned out that Dries had never heard When You Wish Upon a Star from Pinocchio before, but he was willing to learn as long as he could have someone to sing along with him!

via Mendel at Drupalcon LA. Aaron Porter codes with his butt – on Dries Buytaert’s laptop!

The rehearsal really started to hit it’s stride when Aaron delivered You Ain’t Never had a Dev Like Me. Aaron had never sung in public before, and we could tell he was nervous. Then the backtrack started playing with its blaring horns, and he came alive. It’s a difficult piece, with lots of fast moving text and a rhythm that can be hard to catch. Aaron launched into it with gusto. He had us in stitches when he shouted “can your friends do this!” and grabbed Dries’ laptop to start typing with his butt. When he nailed the high note at the end with a huge grin on his face, it was a deciding moment for the group.

From that moment on we were on a ride, and we knew it. Simpletest (to the tune of Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast) turned out to be a laugh riot, and Jeremy led us naturally into a kick line for the grand finale. We cheered Larry’s choreography skills during the dance break of RTBC, and Ben Finklea was a natural (as ever) at leading us all in Commit, to the tune of Heigh Ho from Snow White.

Forum One UX lead Kristina Bjoran, had protested the most of everyone about having to sing, but the moment she started with our version of Let it Go from Frozen, we were caught up in the feeling of it. I don’t think anyone expected the goosebumps that happened when we sang that chorus together, but we all appreciated what it meant.

Let it Go

The morning of the show saw the whole cast up bright and early. Though we joked about doing a round of shots before going on stage, no one seemed nervous. In fact we spent most of the setup time laughing at one another. Larry discovered that he has great legs for red tights. Aaron got blue face paint everywhere. We cheered at Jam and Robert’s Mickey and Minnie costumes, and laughed at Ronai’s perfect Hipster Ariel.

Some of us had last minute changes to make: Jeremy spent his time crafting oversized cuffs for his costume. I had forgotten the belt to my ninja outfit, so we made one out of duct tape. Kristina discovered that her Elsa costume limited her movement too much for the choreography she had planned. Dries was the only one who seemed nervous to me – this guy who has spoken in public countless times was afraid of a little Disney! We sang through the song together one last time, and it was time to go on.

via Mendel at Drupalcon LA. Jeremy Thorson leads the “Simpletest” song. Behind him, from left: Campbell Vertesi, Ronai Brumett, Adam Juran, Aaron Porter, Dries Buytaert

Everyone knows the rest – or at least, you can see it on youtube. What you probably don’t know is how hard we all laughed as we watched the show backstage. Even knowing every word, the energy from the audience was infectious. In the end, there’s nothing quite like standing in front of three thousand people and shouting together: “we come for code, but we stay for community!”

Photos via Mendel at Drupalcon LA, and from the Drupal Association Flickr page.

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