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Jul 24 2020
Jul 24

All of your interaction data are stored in a universal visitor profile. The data are available to create segments. These, in turn, can be used to personalize interactions, across all channels. Segments are available out-of-the-box in Drupal’s page builder and Mautic’s email and marketing content builders.

The related Customer Data Platform, Unomi, is secure, scalable and is able to handle vasts quantities of data. Our AI engine is able to detect behavioural patterns from these data and is able to label visitors in real time according to its AI-defined segments. This allows for further personalization.

Data capture is easy: it only takes one tracking script on your website, comparable to a Google Analytics integration. You could be gathering relevant data within minutes of reading this page. Sounds interesting? See for yourself!

Jul 14 2020
Jul 14

14 Jul

Nick Veenhof

Today, we are excited to announce that Dropsolid has joined as one of the exclusive partners that will offer Extended Support for Drupal 7 up until November 2025. This means you get at least 3 extra years of full security coverage. This Extended support program is in collaboration with the Drupal Association and Drupal Security Team, and will give you official support on your Drupal 7 site for a whole extra 3 years. This will give you all the time you need to take the right steps towards a new Digital Experience Platform on Drupal 9 and beyond.

Last year, we encouraged our clients to begin planning their migrations to Drupal 8. Not unsurprisingly, as we will need to say goodbye to our friend, Drupal 7, soon.

Drupal 7 was released on January 5, 2011. Drupal 8 was released on November 19, 2015 and the latest and shiniest release came out a couple days ago with Drupal 9 on June 3, 2020. Drupal 7 is almost 10 years old, and will be almost 12 years old when it comes time to say goodbye in November 2022.

New version or next level?

Moving from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 or 9 could be a great opportunity to upgrade your digital platforms to the next level instead of merely to the next version. Drupal 9 is more than a CMS, it’s a DXP. Turning your website into a personalized digital experience is not something you do overnight. You need to be well prepared, start from a digital strategy with clear goals. Taking time for that preparation now, will pay off later.

Drupal Extended Support can be a solution if you need more time to finish your digital transformation strategy before upgrading.

A smooth upgrade path for every business on it’s own pace

Some businesses might have other priorities right now or might need more time to prepare the migration to Drupal 8 or 9. Businesses that are hit by COVID-19, or on the contrary, businesses that suddenly have decided to accelerate on their digital transformation and need more time to make a strategic action plan.

At Dropsolid we want to be a reliable partner for all companies using Drupal: big or small, in fast growing industries or in sectors that got hit hard by Corona. We want to provide all businesses with the best possible transition path to Drupal 9, so that business owners can focus on taking the right steps in their digital transformation whenever and however it is strategically the best time for their business.

All customers of Dropsolid using Dropsolid Experience Platform will automatically benefit from highly critical Drupal 7 updates, all other updates require signing up for our Extended Support program.

Want to move your Drupal 7 site to the Dropsolid Experience Cloud and get a bit more time to prepare your next phase?
Get in touch with us!

More information about this program of the Drupal Association can be found at https://www.drupal.org/security-team/d7es
 

May 05 2020
May 05

05 May

Nick Veenhof

Open source as a top sport

If Drupal was a sport, the Drupal Association would be the International Olympic Committee (IOC). They don’t practice the sports on their own, they do not vouch for a specific nation, nor do they have a direct financial benefit. Mind you, a non-profit organisation doesn’t mean nobody gets paid. The IOC’s main job is to make sure the Olympic Games happen, and that the infrastructure, the contracts with the countries are set up, that in the end the sports are represented by the best and that fair-play is guaranteed.

The Drupal Association isn’t that different, just replace sports with Drupal. They support the infrastructure needed to make sure that agencies, hosting companies, etc. can all benefit from the Open Source Drupal project with the tools that are more than just source code. Think of events, composer repositories, collaboration tools, sponsorships benefits management, etc.. 

Without such a central component, many companies like Dropsolid wouldn’t be as productive as we are today, nor would we have the power to have such an impact on the world that is in dire need of digital transformation in these times
 

Even the Olympics suffer from COVID-19

Unfortunately, the global pandemic has a severe impact on the Drupal Association with DrupalCon Minneapolis that needed to be postponed. Even though Open Source is crucial for the world at times of crisis, at the same time it's being hit.

"People all over the world can access open source technology to create solutions for crisis communication, remote education, and community cooperation."
- Forbes, Daniel Newman

And that is where we, and maybe also you, stepped in.
 

We play the game, we make it better

Dropsolid is proud of identifying itself as a maker in order to sustain the growth of Open Source. In the last 3 months we were attributed to 61 maker credits on Drupal.org, which places us 32nd worldwide. 

Next to being a maker we also understand that hard cash is needed as an investment for the future. Not only do we consider the money that goes into the Drupal Association as a donation, we see it as a crucial investment, with a return an Open Source Dividend, in the future of Dropsolid. 

“These pivots can only happen in one kind of organisation. Organisations that have embraced digital transformation. These are the organisations that were ready for technology. These are the organisations that looked at a piece of technology and said: this can be used differently. They have the leaders who were ready for change. They have the cultures that were ready to step up. This is what digital transformation for good looks like. “
- Forbes, Daniel Newman

We sponsored Drupalcon Amsterdam 2019 as a Diamond sponsor and have early-on committed to being a Diamond Sponsor of Drupalcon Barcelona 2020, delayed or not. Also several local initiatives such as Drupal Dev Days, Drupaljam or Drupalcamp London. All these sponsorships in the last years amounted to more than 60.000 euro. However, in this difficult time we feel like we need to do more.  

That is why we decided to upgrade our partnership with the Drupal Association to a premium level at the end of March. We are in conversation with the Association about another 11.000 euro support. 

To stay in the game, we all need to play

Like the Olympics couldn't happen without the support of the IOC, we need the Drupal Association to support the global community of Drupal athletes.

We are proud supporters of the community. We hope that you will follow in our footsteps. It’s the right thing to do, and that is what we stand for.

Donate to the Drupal Association

Aug 22 2019
Aug 22

With growth comes changes and today we're introducing changes to our legal terms and pricing. The basic susbcription remains the same at $78 USD per year and the Professional subscription was bumped from $249 to $360 USD per year. The Enterprise subscription now starts at $3000 with a $1000 USD set-up fee which is needed for the one-time job of collecting brand logos and brand names and setting up our scripts to produce the white-labeled/re-branded products automatically. The Enterprise subscription will now be charged per month rather than per year.

New terms of service: https://www.sooperthemes.com/legal/terms
Services catalog:  https://www.sooperthemes.com/legal/services-catalog

Drupal is becoming more valuable but more expensive

3 years after Drupal 8's release the results are in: Drupal is still relevant but Drupal 8 is more expensive to implement and Drupal's adoption curve has tapered off. I don't think this is necessarily bad. Drupal's leadership made a decision to make Drupal the best Enterprise-grade CMS, not the best everyman's CMS. The result is that Drupal's steep learning curve became steeper yet, and costs of training and hiring Drupal developers increased accordingly. Our price bump is not merely a reaction to a decrease in the volume of Drupal websites in need of our solutions, it is also part of our learning process. 

Sooperthemes is growing but it is not growing enough

Since our Drupal 8 launch last year business at Sooperthemes is better than ever. But with our growing popularity comes a big increase in workload from the customer support forum, customer success tasks, and managing simple tasks like account administration, taxes, sales questions. It adds up to a lot of work. Currently our prices are too low for the increase in customers to pay for new staff to take on the additional workload. We have been investing a lot of effort in training interns but the time has come to move to a more sustainable solution.

Without changes Sooperthemes is not ready for the future. This price increase in the Professional subscription is one part of our strategy for sustainable growth.

Another change is getting better at charging big clients more than small clients. We want to keep our products accessible to the entire Drupal community. While we love our enterprise clients. we don't want to develop an amazing product just for the Drupal elite who can afford hundreds or thousands of dollars per month per site. Therefore we're introducing new licensing terms to charge users based on the scale of their usage of our flagship product Glazed Builder.

We updated our terms for us to be able to charge websites fairly not just by the number of domain (site) licenses, but also by the number of users who are using our Glazed Builder product. Some examples to illustrate why I think this is fair.

  1. Freelance Music teacher's website with 1 domain license: $78 USD per year including updates and support.
  2. An Drupal agency with currently 10 clients on our products: $360 USD per year.
  3. A fast-moving consumer goods enterprise with 40 enterprise domain licenses: ~3000 USD per month.
  4. If Tesla.com would use our products for their marketing content, job portal, community forum, online stores, online tools, in 37 languages: $78 USD per year, or 6 dollars and 50 cents per month.

I think the last example illustrates why it makes sense to introduce this new lever to help Sooperthemes grow sustainably.  To learn how exactly our new licensing term works make sure to read our services catalog.  

Provide More Value To Enterprise Clients

In order for Sooperthemes to be successful in the future we will need to work on signing on more Enterprise clients. We're going to work on adding more features that are important to enterprise clients. Starting today we offer better support options and dedicated support developers to cases in the Enterprise tier. If you want to share ideas on what you think should differentiate the Enterprise subscription tier from the other tiers don't hesitate to send me an email here: https://www.sooperthemes.com/contact

I would be especially interested in hearing what it would take for your business to purchase an enterprise subscription.

Feb 26 2019
Feb 26

You don’t want people to treat your website as an outcast. You don’t want to be the ugly duckling in this sharp, serious and extremely competitive world. 

Correct?

Thus, owning a professional looking website becomes an important platform for all sorts of business. It doesn’t really matter whether you are planning to make money or not, treating your website just like your employees is a must.

Why?

Well, because it creates an impression of your business, a place where people come to see who you are and what you want. Whether it is a big e-commerce site or a one-pager - a good website would always bring values to you and your company.  

An image of a hand which is holding a tray on which there is an image of a laptop, PC, touchpad and phone


As important as the website is for you, the themes contributes highly to the user experience and functionality of a particular site.

Your theme is the overall look, feel and styling of your website and the very first thing which the audience witnesses. And nothing can beat Drupal in this area.  

Beginning with the Zurb Foundation 

So here is Zurb foundation for you.

Zurb Foundation is the prototype theme that is used to prototype in the browser. It allows you to rapidly create a website or application while leveraging mobile and responsive technology that is well tested. 

The front end framework is the collection of HTML, CSS, and Javascript containing design patterns. These design patterns help the user in persevering time by helping them to dodge boring, boilerplate codes. The sites that are built on this foundation works great when there are multiple screens which include laptops, mobile phone, PC, iPad. The reason is that Zurb foundation has a responsive framework that uses CSS media queries and a mobile-first approach. 

Image of the Zurb foundation logo which has a white yeti holding a phone and a laptop


Different versions of Zurb 
 

 Infographic of different versions of Zurb in a linear form


Zurb Foundation 3

If the primary goal for your website is rapid prototyping then Zurb foundation 3 is for you.  This theme is developed in Sass, which is a powerful CSS pre-processor that helps you to write, clean and organize CSS which can be maintained easily over time. 

One of the biggest advantages of using Zurb Foundation 3 was the shift of development of the framework to Sass and compass rather than pure CSS. 

Sass grants the user with variables, functions and powerful mixin that speeds up the development of framework as well as made the code more coincide. 

Image of number 3 which is drawn in ice shape with horns. Around the digit is image of a phone and an Ipad on left and PC on right.


Zurb Foundation 4 

This version of Zurb foundation brought many new functionalities and changes in its framework. Started from being a mobile-friendly theme, Zurb foundation 4 supported some complex layouts, grids, and media queries. 

This version brought about flexible and powerful built-in tools with the advantage of it being accessible to different screen size (new, simpler syntax that better reflects how the grid works)

Apart from this, Zurb foundation 4 is all about semantics.  Users were granted with the power of removing and writing all the presentational classes from the markup with built-in sass mixins and extensions. 

Zurb Foundation 4 also presented the users with some splendid plugins that worked well with AJAX. 

Image of a white yeti with specks holding a mobile phone that is of the same height with blue background


Zurb Foundation 5

Fast, strong and a better foundation, Zurb foundation 5 is great for designers and developers that are using it in their workflow. The foundation specifically focused on smart coding that introduced the users with better coding practices. And if it is a team then this would give them an idea to start from a common point. The advantage: It helped them to put together all interactions and workflow in a shorter period of time. 

 Image of the white yeti wearing an astronaut suit with a mobile phone

Zurb Foundation 6

Foundation of site 6 has been designed to give the users with production efficiency in their project. It includes a wide range of modular and flexible components that are not only lightweight but easy to maintain as well. 

Foundation 6 is also half the size of foundation 5, in other words, there was a reduction of 50 % code. All these codes have come with ARIA attributes and roles alongside instructions. 

The base style in foundation 6 act as a coded framework, which makes the work of the user even more easy and flexible. Simpler CSS styles allow the user to easily modify them and fit it according to their needs. 

Image of a white yeti wearing an astronaut suit holding a laptop in a sleeping position. It has a background image of stars and a rocket


Zurb Foundation or Bootstrap?

If talking about Zurb and its different version, bootstrap tends to make its way between all this. 

How?

Well, because Bootstrap and Zurb are the major participants when it comes to web designing methods.  Often designers and developers seem to get lost in the mist while battling and choosing between one. 

  Zurb Foundation Bootstrap Community The community here is smaller as compared to bootstrap but it is growing with decent technical support.  The community here is smaller as compared to bootstrap but it is growing with decent technical support.  CSS Preprocessor Foundation supports SASS Bootstrap also supports SASS but it is a less camp. Customization Minimalist approach to its pre-built UI components giving room to the designers to create new things. Bootstrap consist of basic GUI customizer which most of the time doesn’t allow the users to create something new.  Browser Support Supports Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, opera, android  Supports Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, opera, android, and IE8 Grid System Foundation was the first one to go mobile friendly and adapt to the grid system. Bootstrap has ample of time to bridge the gap in terms of features and functionalities.  Advanced Feature Elements Zurb foundation   of X-y grid, responsive tab, off-canvas etc It is customizable with a variety of designs. Releases Zurb has more releases w.r.t the development requirement. It has 6 releases and the 7th one is yet to come. Bootstrap has 4 release. The  4th  release was on August 19, 2011

Why choose Drupal for Zurb foundation?

When building a website what is the very first thing which the user sees?

Content? Functionalities? Information? Or Layout?

Selecting the theme and functionalities of a website is one of the most primary decisions that a website owner has to make and Drupal is the CMS that can help you achieve this task. It has about 1,316 themes where each theme has a variety of strengths

Out of which Zurb Foundation theme is grid-based, mobile first CSS. When used with Drupal, Zurb provides efficiency to the front end developer. It is a platform-specific method that helps you achieve various functionalities. 

  • The foundation XY grid (in timeless condition) allows the user to easily create and layout Drupal content.
  • The top bar of the foundation is combined with Drupal’s menu navigation and works well with submenus.
  • The off-campus region in the Zurb foundation are available as Drupal blocks and the menu bar that is placed in this region are automatically themed. 

Creating Sub Themes 

It is imperative that the user creates a sub-themes that allow Zurb foundation to apply on any website. 

There are two ways of creating a sub-theme:

Drush: Drush is basically a command line access to common Drupal administrative tasks and configuration. The user can change the directory with the help of Drush.  

Manually: The user can also create sub-themes manually. They can complete the task by expanding the theme folder and then replacing it with starter files. 

Contributed Drupal modules that can be used with Zurb

The Zurb foundation aims to do theming without the help of any dependencies but there are many modules that help in theming better. 

Modules like panels, block class, display suite, special menu items. 

Panels: Panels module allow a site administrator to create customized layouts for one or more users. It provides an API that allows the configuration and placement of
blocks into regions. 

Block Class: Block class allows the user to add classes to any block through the block’s configuration interface. 

Display Suite: Display suite allows the users to take control over content fully using drag and drop interface. 

Menu Items: This module allows the user to create dropdown divider and all sort of headers in the navigation menu. 

Case Study on MIT Press CogNet 

MIT Press CogNet is an essential online resource for all the students and scholars that are into cognitive sciences. 

The objective of this project was to provide a completely responsive design in all devices for the users. An organization worked closely with the CogNet team. With the CogNet team, they developed a basic wireframe. custom Drupal theme based on the zurb foundation was built.

Zurb foundation theme and sass for CSS preprocessing were used to rework the already existing theme. To guarantee a seamless experience on any type of screen the developers used jQuery to construct slick navigation, scrolling, and content exploration. 

The results were eye-catching. From being a desktop-only website, MIT Press CogNet was modified into an accessible one where the users were able to view it in any device. The biggest achievement of the whole procedure was that it was done under the budget provided by the organization.  

Future of Zurb Foundation

Zurb is yet to launch another version of the architecture (ITCSS+SMACSS). 

Zurb Foundation 7 separates the view layer from the logic layer to make it easy and reliable. 

It would dramatically improve your freedom to shift between JavaScript frameworks with a super-powerful pluggable JavaScript architecture. In short, there are two major changes that would take place in Zurb Foundation 7 

The first one as mentioned would dramatically let user shift between javascript frameworks with javascript architecture. UI framework today tends to either go in one framework or have different and independent ports for different JS framework.

And yes, the second major change in the foundation is the ITCSS based architecture with the usage of SMACSS. This would make it easier to build and maintain scalable sites and themes. 

Conclusion 

Remember that themes are connected to the protagonist's internal journey. It is not just the visuals but it is also the journey of the user experience that they would have while going through your website.

At OpenSense labs, we understand how important it is to create a website that matches your goals and objectives. Ping us at [email protected] so that we can arrange services to make your website what you have always hoped for. 

Jul 16 2018
Jul 16

16 Jul

Nick Veenhof

Recently, I was invited to go on the Modern CTO podcast as a guest. We talked about developer culture, how to measure efficiency and velocity and, more importantly, how you can make the teams as independent as possible without losing that team and company feeling.

Modern CTO is the place where CTOs hang out. Listen in on our weekly podcast while we hang out with interesting Fortune 500 CTO’s in Aerospace, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics + Many more industries. As of 2018: 72k listeners we are incredibly grateful to each and everyone one of you.

It was a real honour to talk to Joel Beasley and have this back-and-forth conversation about how we transformed Dropsolid into a great place to work, but measurable and technically innovative!

[embedded content]

Some of the topics that we talked about in the podcast were also seen at the presentation I gave at Drupal Developer Days in Lisbon.  Feel free to scroll through the slides to get more context out of the podcast!

Apr 04 2018
Apr 04

04 Apr

Nick Veenhof

Drupal

Yesterday a highly critical security issue in Drupal was released. The issue itself is considered critical, because, the way we understood, it makes it possible to execute code as an anonymous user. This could lead to a complete hack of your site and complete exposure of your content - or, worse, if your webserver is badly configured, a full-scale hostile takeover of your server. (More background info available here and here.)

The issue was announced to the Drupal community a week early, so our Dropsolid team had plenty of time to anticipate and prepare. Currently, Dropsolid serves 482 unique and active projects, which contain on average three environments. To be more precise, this gave us a whopping 1316 active Drupal installations to patch. These environments are located on 65 different servers. 45 of those servers are out of our hands and are managed by other hosting companies, such as Combell or even dedicated hardware on site with the customer. At Dropsolid we prefer to host the websites within our own control, but to the Dropsolid Platform this ultimately makes no difference. For some customers we also collaborate with Acquia - these clients are taken care of by Acquia’s golden glove service.

So, back to preparing to patch all the different Drupal installations. We would be lying if we said that all Drupal installs were running on the latest and greatest, so we used Ansible and the Dropsolid Platform to gather all the necessary data and perform a so-called dry run. This was a real-world test across all our installations to verify if we could pass on a patch and then deploy it as soon as we have confirmed that the patch works for all the versions that we have available on our Dropsolid Platform. For example, it verified if the patch tool is available on the server, it injected a text file that we then patched to make sure the flow of patching a Drupal installation would go smoothly, etc. Obviously we detected some hiccups as we were testing, but we were left with enough time to resolve all issues in advance.

Throughout the evening, we had plenty of engineers on stand-by, ready to jump in should something in the automated process go wrong. The entire rollout took us about 2 hours - from the release of the patch over verifying the patch on all the different Drupal releases to rolling it out on all sites and, finally, relax with a few beers. This doesn't mean we had it easy. We had to work a lot, but a lot of hours just to make sure we could handle this load in this amount of time. That is why we are continuously building on our Dropsolid Platform.

Those who joined our hangout could bear witness to exactly how comfortable and relaxed our engineers were feeling during the rollout.

You might ask, joined our hangout? What are we on about exactly? Well, since the Drupal community was in this together, I suggested on Twitter to all join in together and at least make it a fun time.

A few nice things that happened during this hangout:

  • Someone played live ukelele for us while we waited
  • Someone posted a fake patch and made everyone anxious, but at least it was a good test!
  • People were able to watch Dropsolid in total transparency how we coped with this patch and were also able to interact and talk to others in the hangout.

It made the whole evening a fun activity, as witnessed by Baddy Sonja.

Obviously this couldn’t have happened without the help of our great engineers at Dropsolid - and also because we invest a lot of our R&D time into the development of the Dropsolid Platform, so we can do the same exercise times 10 or times 100 without any extra human effort. Thanks to the Drupal security team for the good care and the warning ahead of time. It made a tremendous difference!

All our Dropsolid customers can rest assured that we have their backs, all the time!

If you are not a Dropsolid customer yet and you are interested to see how we can help you make your digital business easy, we’d be more than happy to talk. If you are running a Drupal site and need help with your updates or with your processes, we’d be glad to to help out and onboard you onto our Dropsolid Platform. You can keep your server contract while benefiting from our digital governance and expertise. Are you in charge of many many digital assets and feeling the pain? Maybe it’s time you can start doing the fun things again - just have a chat with us!

Get in touch

Jul 06 2017
Jul 06

06 Jul

Nick Veenhof

A month ago I received the honour to present at DrupalJam 2017. What a wonderful event! I had been invited to talk about deploying Drupal 8 onto kubernetes, which can be found as a hosted service in Google Cloud.


Our move to Google

Recently, we made the decision at Dropsolid to move from regular virtual machine instances in Gandi towards instances and services in Google Cloud, as we believe that the capabilities of such a cloud provider offer possibilities that are unprecedented. GC is not only offering affordable virtual machines (instances) but also affordable and competitive offerings regarding hosted MySQL. But that’s not all... Since we like our R&D environment and are looking for achieving greater and bigger goals, it is in our interest to see that Google is publishing new AI and data-analysis APIs at a pace that we don’t see anywhere else.


In practice

So... Back to the technicalities. I wanted to run an experiment on how I could run Drupal on an infrastructure that did not need any humans behind the wheel, nor any maintenance. I found this in the way of three components:

An overview of Kubernetes and the setup can be seen in the following video:

[embedded content]

 One component that I found to be missing, was a shared filesystem between the two ‘Pods’ (Containers). Drupal relies on user files or images and these should be stored somewhere. We do not want to alter the behaviour of Drupal or get into the application itself, as that introduces risk. Not all the websites that we would like to host, are modifiable.

  • We could map the folder to an AWS S3 bucket or Google Cloud Storage bucket, but that would be too slow for our needs. What we actually wanted is a competitor of AWS EFS, but unfortunately Google Cloud did not have this available.
     
  • We can work our way around it by setting up a NFS server or Gluster server in kubernetes, but that drives us away from our initial goal - less maintenance, so we can focus on building awesome experiences, which is the Drupal application.

If you are interested how I did the setup of the NFS, the slides go into deep detail how to set up this NFS cluster. The code is also available at https://github.com/nickveenhof/drupal-docker-with-volume

I recorded a video how this deployment works. Caution, I did speed it up quite a bit.

[embedded content]

visual - stacked cubes

Key findings

Now, what is the key take-away from all this? That I moved the particular website back to regular hosting, eg a shared space with a human behind the wheels here at Dropsolid. The reason was that for a single site, the cost outweigh the benefits and even though it is claimed to be fault-tolerant, I had numerous occasions where my pod did not want to recover, since the ‘failed’ one refused to be deleted. This ate up precious CPU space - on a server that barely had enough CPU. This can be solved with throwing more money at it, but that was not the intent.

I also discovered that constraining a pod to a fixed amount of CPU is not very useful when sharing a single server between multiple Drupal sites. Websites can have variable load and for small to medium sites with little traffic it is hard to justify the cost of pre-allocating those resources. I am curious to explore and test the Vertical Pod Autoscaling once they are finished, as this could certainly help applications with burstable workloads.

Having said that, I did learn a lot about what the future could hold. Going towards a system like this gets us really close to the 12-factor app ideology and I am completely in favour of a future like that.

Comments, questions? I'm curious to find out your take on this. Let me know in the comments box below or reach out directly on Twitter via @Nick_vh

Make sure to check out my the slides from this presentation here: 
https://www.slideshare.net/nickvh/drupaljam-2017-deploying-drupal-8-onto-hosted-kubernetes-in-google-cloud
 

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Apr 20 2017
Apr 20

20 Apr

Nick Veenhof

Advisory by the Drupal security team

Recently, the References module started receiving some attention (read here, here and here). The reason for this is that the Drupal security team posted an advisory to migrate away from the References module for Drupal 7 and move to the entity_reference module. At the time of writing (20 April), 121.091 sites are actively reporting to Drupal.org that they are using this module. That makes for a lot of unhappy developers.

Things kicked off after a security vulnerability was discovered in the References module. The security team tried to contact the existing maintainers of that module, but there was no response. The security team had no choice but to mark the module as abandoned and send out the following advisory explaining that the details would be made public in a month and that everyone should upgrade, as there was no fix available.

Migrate efficiently

At Dropsolid, we noticed that for many of our older Drupal 7 installs we were still using this module extensively. Migrating all of the affected sites would have meant a very lengthy undertaking, so I was curious to find a way to spend less time and effort while still fixing the problem. We immediately contacted one of the people who reported the security issue and tried to get more information other than what was publicly available. That person stayed true to the rules and did not disclose any information about the issue.

We didn’t give up, but made an official request to the security team offering to help and requesting access to the security vulnerability issue. The Drupal security team reviewed the request and granted me access. In the Drupal Security issue queue there was some historical information about this vulnerability, some answers and a proposed patch. The patch had not been tested, but this is where Dropsolid chimed in. After extensively testing the patch on all the different scenarios on an actual site that was vulnerable, we marked the issue as Reviewed and Tested by the Community (RTBC) and stepped up to maintain the References module for future security issues.

It pays off to step in

I’d like to thank Niels Aers, one of my colleagues, as his involvement was critical in this journey and he is now the current maintainer of this module. He jumped straight in without hesitation. In the end, we spent less time fixing the actual issue compared to the potential effort for changing all our sites to use a different module. So remember: you can also make a similar impact to the Drupal community by stepping up when something like this happens. Do not freak out, but think how you can help your clients, company and career by fixing something for more than just you or your company.

Mar 30 2017
Mar 30

Did you miss last week's Lunch & Learn Event about open marketing in Ghent? Dropsolid CTO Nick Veenhof explains his quick-and-dirty proof of concept for integrating the Showpad environment with the Drupal CMS.
 

In the current economic and digital environment, companies are realising that integrated approaches are the future. The time that, for example, sales and marketing act as individual parts of a company is definitely long gone. Luckily, there are plenty of options available for companies to drive business results, such as open marketing platforms.

Recently we have had the honor to present, together with Showpad & Survey Anyplace, a lunch and learn about leveraging these kind of open marketing platforms to boost customer experience. Showpad and Drupal have many things in common, but how do you make sure you are not managing your assets in two separate places - for example in Drupal and in Showpad? As a company, you don't just want to use the right platforms, but you want to use them in the most efficient way.

In preparation for the lunch and learn, we were asked to demonstrate how the technologies that Dropsolid and Showpad use (Drupal & Showpad API) integrate with one another to maximise efficiency.

The first step was consulting Showpad’s API, which is well documented and can be found when logging into their system.

Showpad's API for Drupal

Here's the short version of the demo:

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If you're interested in more details, you can watch the extended version on our YouTube channel as well.

Some of the challenges we faced is that Showpad didn’t have a fully featured SDK for PHP. However, there were proofs of concept available that suggested ways of working with the Showpad API. After some exploration I decided to adapt one and contribute it back to github. The adaptation makes the existing, non compatible, library compatible with Guzzle 6 so that it natively works with Drupal 8’s composer dependencies and thus, the Guzzle version that is shipped with Drupal.

After the library was working as expected, I tried to make a quick and dirty implementation in Drupal. Just a warning: this Drupal code does not adhere to the code standards, nor do I recommend you to implement it this way. It is merely proof that integrating the two is not a work of months, but of mere hours. You can find the Drupal code I used at https://github.com/nickveenhof/showpad-api.

Did you miss our Lunch & Learn? Read the complete recap here.

May 09 2016
May 09
tl;drContrib Search maintainers are committed to make Drupal 8 kick ass with Search API.

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