Jul 06 2016
Jul 06

Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is into the next phase of coding after the mid-Term evaluations which got over by June 27th. This also reminds students to speed up the coding activities to complete the projects within the schedules provided in the proposal.

I am porting Search Configuration module to Drupal 8 as part of this year’s summer of code. GSoC is definitely turning out to be a venue for the young students from universities around the world to work on real-world projects under the experience of well-known developers, learning new technologies, making use of version control systems, with regular meetings and finally building up a software which is going to help a large section of the society.

I blog regularly, sharing my project progress. If you would like to have a glimpse of my past activities on this port, please visit this link.

Drupal 8 has introduced the concept of Html twigs in place of the PHP templates. So, the PHP template files have to be now ported to the Html environment. The .tpl.php template file is replaced by the .html.twig file for the module templates.  Templates are simply text files which can give outputs in Html, Latex, CSV or XML formats.

To print some data, we usually take the service of echo statements in PHP.  The print statements are replaced by {{ }} in Html twigs.

<?php echo t(‘Let’s start the process.’); ?>

is replaced by:

{{ ‘Le’s start the process’|t }}

The variable names have to be converted to simple names. For instance,

$page[‘title’]

becomes

{{  title }}

The PHP logics have to be replaced by {% %} syntax. This is applicable to all the logical statements.

<?php if ($page[‘title]): ?>

…..

<?php endif; ?>

is transformed as:

{% if form %}

……

{% endif %}

Also, the variables are replaced by simple names.

<?php if ($logo): ?>

is transformed as:

{% if logo %}

These were some of the basic transformations to get started into created the HTML twigs.The use of the Html twigs has made the templates look very simple and easily understandable. It is really easy to get the templates converted to the Html twigs. This is always one of the crucial requirements of porting modules from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8.

Stay tuned for further updates on this port process.

Jun 30 2016
Jun 30

I feel really excited to have cleared the mid-Term requirement for my project in Google Summer of Code (GSoC). The results of the mid-Term evaluations were announced June 28, 00:30 IST. This was the evaluation for the first phase of GSoC. In this evaluation process, set up by GSoC organisers, students and mentors have to share their feedback about the current progress of the project. Mentors need to give a pass/ fail grade. Students can continue coding once they clear the evaluations successfully.

I have been working on Porting Search Configuration module to Drupal 8. Please go through my previous posts if you would like to have a look into the past activities in this port process.

Last week I worked on testing some of the units of this module using the Php unit tests framework. Testing is an important process when it comes to any software development process. It plays a crucial role for any software. It helps us to understand the improve our software to the required level by making use of various test cases. We input various values and check whether the tests are passed according to the requirement. If any condition fails to our expectations, we need to make the required changes to suit the application needs.

Php unit tests are generally used to test some units of an application. To check whether the functions implemented gives the expected output, behaviour of the functions in various test cases, giving different types of arguments as inputs to check the errors or flaws for improving the application.

We need to install the Php unit for this process. You could follow this documentation for this process. Furthermore, they give a detailed analysis of the Php Unit Tests.

Once the installation is completed, we can start writing the unit tests for the functionalities we have implemented. The tests are generally stored in the tests/src/Unit directory of the module. The name of the unit test file will be of the format xyzTest.php. All tests are suffixed by ‘Test’. ‘xyz’ can be replaced by the functionality you are going to test.

The following is a simple test to check the sum of two numbers: sumTest.php

<?php
class SampleTest extends PHPUnit_Framework_TestCase
{
  public function testSum()
  {
    $this->assertEquals(2+2, 4);
  }
}
?>

As mentioned in this above code snippet, we need to create a class, with class name suffixed by ‘Test’ which is an extension of PHPUnit_Framework_TestCase. Now, we need to write the tests inside as member functions. The functions starting with the name test are executed. Here we are checking the sum of the two numbers. This is a very simple demonstration.

The tests are run by using the command PHPUnit. i.e,

$ phpunit tests/src/Unit/sumTest.php

The output generated on running the above test is:

PHPUnit 5.4.6 by Sebastian Bergmann and contributors.

. 1 / 1 (100%)

Time: 252 ms, Memory: 13.25MB

OK (1 test, 1 assertion)

Stay tuned for future updates on this module port.

Jun 21 2016
Jun 21

Google Summer of Code (GSoC), has entered into the mid-Term evaluation stage. This is a 1 week period from 21- 27 June, were students and mentors present the progress of their projects. Based on the reports submitted, students are made pass/ fail.

I have been working on porting Search Configuration to Drupal 8 in the past few weeks. If you would like to have a quick glimpse of my past activities on this port process, please go through these posts.

last week, I could learn some Drupal concepts which were really helpful for my project. In the previous versions of Drupal, the role permissions were stored in a role_permissions table in the Database. But now, in Drupal 8, the role permissions are directly stored in the role configuration entity.

So, as described above, in D7 and its preceding versions, role permissions were stored in a role_permissions database which had the role Id and the corresponding permissions. The permissions distributed to a role was retrieved in D7 using:

$permissions = role->getPermissions();

But, in D8, this is done by the

$permissions = role->getPermissions();

Another instance is that, to grant certain permissions to roles.

In D7 it was controlled by,

user_role_grant_permissions($rid, array(‘ access content’));

The role configuration entity remodels this functionality in D8 to:

$role->grantPermission(‘ access content’);

In connection with the term permissions, the most important aspect in Drupal is a hook: hook_permissions(). This hook, obviously as you might have guessed, distributes the permissions to various users; decides whether a particular user should be allowed to access a page or a content, granting and restricting the access.

This hook has been replaced in Drupal 8 by a module.permissions.yml file. This file contains the permissions and its specifications. We can write a driver function in a php file to add the dynamic permissions. This can be achieved by making a driver class in the php file and adding the behaviour of the permission we need in the member functions of the class. We also have to link this PHP file with our yml file to keep it active. This is done by adding a callback function in the yml file which references this php file.

To display special characters in a plain text string for display as HTML format, Drupal earlier versions used the function check_plain.  This had the general syntax:

check_plain($text); // where $text was the string to be processed.

This function has got deprecated in Drupal 8. This has been replaced by the \Drupal\Compoent\Utility\Html::escape($text).

Jun 14 2016
Jun 14

Google Summer of Code (GSoC’ 16) is entering into the mid-Term evaluation stage. I have been working on the porting search configuration module for Drupal for the past three weeks.

Search configuration module helps to configure the search functionality in Drupal. This is really an important feature when it comes to a content management system like Drupal. I am almost mid-way in the port process as indicated in the timeline of Google Summer of Code.

It is really a great feeling to learn the Drupal concepts this summer. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some key aspects I had to deal with in the past week.

Once a module is installed and later on if some changes are amended, we need not rewrite the Drupal code. Instead, Drupal gives up the option to make use of a hook, function hook_update_N which helps us to write the update needed and the database schema gets updated accordingly. Currently, since my module is just going into its first release after this port process, I need not write an update function. I just have to make this update in connection with the earlier code. The same hook works for both Drupal 7 and 8.

Another feature is the hook_node_insert, this hook is invoked to insert a new node into the database. So, here we are writing into the database a drupal record. In Drupal 7, this insertion was done by the drupal_write_record(). But,in D8, it has been replaced by the merge query and the entity API. The merge queries support the insert and update options to the database.

In connection with the nodes, another hook function is the hook_node_update. This functionality updates the node contents which has been inserted into the Drupal record (database). This takes in an argument, obviously,  the node has to be passed, for which the updating is intended.

The hook_uninstall gets invoked as the name suggests, in the uninstall process of the modules. The hook removes the variable used by the module so as to free the memory. It also modifies the existing tables if required. The D7 version of Drupal used the  variable_del for removing the variables.

For instance,

variable_del($nameOfVariable);

// Drupal 7 code

This has been replaced by the delete() of the configuration API.

i.e,

\Drupal::service('config.factory')->getEditable('search_config.settings')->delete();

search_config.settings is the default configuration file.

I will post the updates on this port process regularly. Please wait for the future posts.

May 31 2016
May 31

The Google Summer of Code 2016 (GSoC’ 16) coding period kicked off from last week, May 23rd. Each selected student had a one-month long community bonding period with their respective organisation. I had written my community bonding experience with Drupal in my previous blog post.

I am working on porting search configuration module to Drupal 8 under the mentorship of Naveen Valecha, Neetu Morwani and Karthik Kumar. I learnt the basics of Drupal, implementing Drupal forms and other fundamentals required for my project in the initial phase.

I was really thrilled to get into the coding rounds of GSoc’ 16. I was successful in making a good progress in the initial week. I could start the coding phase effectively by porting some important features. I had regular discussions with my mentors throughout the previous week. They were really helpful in guiding me in the proper way by reviewing the code and sharing their valuable feedback.

Here I would like to share with you some of the changes which I have come across in Drupal 8 from its preceding versions which I have worked out in the previous week for my project.

  • In D8, the .info files are replace by .info.yml files. The .info files contained the basic information regarding the respective module. The .info.yml generally contains the following attributes of the module:
    • name
    • description
    • core
  • The Drupal 7 variables have been converted to the Drupal 8 state system. The previous versions had variable_get and variable_set functions to store variables and their default configurations. They were used to store and retrieve data. They are presently removed in D8.
  • Moreover, we need to store the default configuration of the variables. While developing a new module, it comes in module/config/schema/ will contain the default variable configurations.
    • The default configuration is the default property of the system with its type and the corresponding default value linked to it.
  • Another transformation that has taken place is that the global $user has been substituted by the current_user service.
    • So, the previous definition,
      • global $user;
    • is replaced by
      • $user = \Drupal::currentUser();

These were some of the important concepts that I had to deal with in the previous week for the porting process. It was really a wonderful learning time for me. Hope to enjoy the coming weeks to learning new concepts and implementing it for my porting.

Hope all the selected students had a wonderful start to their coding period. All the best for the coming weeks.

May 20 2016
May 20

I have been selected for the Google summer of Code’ 16 for Drupal for the project, Port search configuration module to Drupal 8. Thanks to all the developers in #Drupal IRC channel for guiding me into this summer project by sharing their ideas and suggestions.

The search configuration feature is presently available in Drupal 7 and its preceding versions. This is really a cool feature which helps us a lot in improving the search and enhancing it for better search results. This summer, I will be engaged in porting this module to Drupal 8.

The GSoC projects were announced on April 22, 2016. All selected students have a community bonding period till May 22nd. This is the time when students get closer to the organisation, learn the organisation code base, interact with mentors, plan more about the project and its deadline for the coding period which starts soon  after this community bonding.

I have been blessed with three experienced mentors from Drupal- Naveen Valecha, Neetu Morwani and Karthik Kumar. I have been discussing with them regarding the project plan for the last few weeks. Meanwhile, I was also asked to learn some of the basic concepts of Drupal like hooks, hook permissions, forms in Drupal which are the real components of my project. This helped me a lot to understand more about the coding methodologies I need to adopt.  I could go through the code base of the module in Drupal 7 which has helped me collect more ideas for the project.

I also got the opportunity to hack with some simple modules by creating a sandbox project in Drupal and pushing commits on sample module developments I did to learn the basics of the module. I have created a project in Drupal for the search configuration port and has added the tasks I need to complete in association with this process.

I  will be posting regular updates regarding my GSoC project here.

Best of luck to all the selected students.

Looking for a bright summer ahead, coding for Drupal.

Thank you.

About Drupal Sun

Drupal Sun is an Evolving Web project. It allows you to:

  • Do full-text search on all the articles in Drupal Planet (thanks to Apache Solr)
  • Facet based on tags, author, or feed
  • Flip through articles quickly (with j/k or arrow keys) to find what you're interested in
  • View the entire article text inline, or in the context of the site where it was created

See the blog post at Evolving Web

Evolving Web