Apr 30 2010
Apr 30

Posted by admin

Flags at the Moscone Center entrance

Third and last day of Drupalcon, we continue to see interesting things.

Instant Dynamic Forms with #states

Konstantin Käfer

This is one of the most interesting improvements around the form API in Drupal 7.

It provides you with a method to create dynamic forms without writing javascript, and here 'dynamic' does not refer to the ahah features already present in Drupal 6, we are now talking about things like making new elements appear in the form when a checkbox is selected, without having to do any request to the server.

In code, the basic usage takes form of dependencies. You describe which fields depends on others, what kind of dependency they have and what's the action to run when the dependency is met.

It also servers to dynamically validate the introduced data, for example with phone or credit cards number formats, all this without making ajax calls, with javascript but without having to write javascript, just specifying regular expressions in the form API.

You can also change the 'required' property of fields depending on the values of others.

There is this other new concept called 'triggers' (not related to the triggers functionality in Drupal 6) which allows to do more advanced things but that require to write some javascript. Por example, disable a field when certain string is written on it.

Session page: http://sf2010.drupal.org/conference/sessions/instant-dynamic-forms-states

Advanced drush

Advanced drush session

Moshe Weitzman
Owen Barton
Adrian Rossouw
Greg Anderson

In this session we are introduced with a series of new features that are been developed around the drush command.

Aliases, very useful. Now you can execute drush commands over any Drupal install without having to be inside the site directory (sites/...) or having to specify a drushrc.php file. For example you can do: drush @dev status, where #dev is the alias defined in a global location which contains the config data for all your sites so drush knows which site you are referring to.

Remote sites. We can execute drush commands on Drupal sites located in other servers. Drush automatically access the server using ssh and executes the command. For authentication it's recommended (and its the default) to use the ssh public key system, although you can also force the use of passwords.

You can now run commands in several sites at the same time, using the alias @sites or a list of site aliases.

Aliases for commands. Example, alias cc for 'cache clear', you can even specify which cache you want to clear (menu, theme, page, etc), instead of all like its done in current versions.

Interactive drush shell, with aliases for the most used directories in a drupal install. It's like a drush shell, inside of it you have specific commands to jump to the different directories that you can find in every drupal install.

New 'hook' command that allows you to see the hook code. It first presents a list of modules that implement a given hook, you select one and it shows you the code.

They continue with a fast tutorial on how to write drush commands, hooks that you can implements, etc.

The first example is a command 'drush make.me-a-sandwich', which ends up showing an ascii sandwich on the terminal.

Session page: http://sf2010.drupal.org/conference/sessions/advanced-drush

The story of RDF in Drupal 7 and what it means for the Web at large

Videoconferencing the session

Stéphane Corlosquet
Lin Clark

One of the presenters of this session could not go to Drupalcon and got stuck in Europe because of the volcano, so she is connected by videoconferencing and she starts to explain some slides.

It may be hard to get when you are first introduced to RDF, but applications are very interesting.

She starts explaining some basic notions about RDF, introducing 'resources', ex: document, company, person. The different kind of resources and the possibility of describing properties about each one.

The presenters exposes using a comparative table the advantages of RDF over other meta markup formats like Microformats.

Drupal 7 has RDF capabilities integrated into core and some of the more popular RDF schemas are supported 'out of the bos', like foaf, soc, dc.

Session page: http://sf2010.drupal.org/conference/sessions/story-rdf-drupal7-and-what-...

Closing session and next Drupalcons

Morten announcing Drupalcon Copenhagen

They now make a review of the numbers that this conference has handled, even coffee galons have been counted. Economically they have moved amounts over the million dollars, having obtained profits over $300,000 that goes to the Drupal Association.

In the closing session they spend some time to announce where the next drupalistas meet ups will be.

Morten is in charge of announcing that the next Drupalcon will be in Copenhagen six months from now. The web is at http://cph2010.drupal.org. You can register starting today.

Drupalcon Chicago 2011 logo

And for the next year, again at the Unites States, Drupalcon will be in Chicago. The announcement is done by Tiffany Farris, from palantir.net, that will lead the organization. It seems that they are preparing a very original Drupalcon. They are going to lease several entire floors in a hotel in the middle of downtown and Drupalcon will take place there. Web: http://chicago2011.drupal.org

Party (aka. more networking)

San Franciso skyline

Like every night Drupalcon has organized a private party, this time at Mission, a little more far appart than the previous days, so they have setup free busses so people can go there and back. The club has three floors and a amazing view of the city skyline.

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Apr 24 2010
Apr 24

Posted by admin

Dries talks about Acquia Gardens

He aquí unas breves notas de mi segundo día en le Drupalcon San Francisco 2010.

Drupal Gardens: Design to online in 15 minutes

Dries Buytaert
Linea Rowe

By now everybody will probably have tested it, but Acquia is promoting by all means their Drupal Gardens. As Dries points out, Gardens tries to be the wordpress.com equivalent in the Drupal world, a place where you can go and create a blog or a Drupal site in an easy way and without having to program.

The co-presenter, Linea Rowe, makes a review of all the features that Gardens has.

One of the reasons why Dries keeps Gardens still in beta is because it's based on Drupal 7 and this still hasn't an stable release.

One of the most exclusive and spectacular things implemented is the 'theme builder' which makes easy to choose a theme an customize it. The module is not public (not to be confused with themebuilder) and it doesn't seem thay have any intention to make it so. Almost everyone is impressed when colors and designs change dynamically on the site. Nobody blames them for keeping that module and other tools from the public domain, otherwise anyone could build a clone of Gardens in a matter of hours, it's the same definition of 'software as a service' (SAAS).

Now Dries talks about other Acquia products and the Drupal environment as a whole. All Acquia products have Acquia hosting as their base platform, he comments about how this hosting infrastructure is built, having Amazon Web Services in their lowermost layer, over them a series of custom layers have been implemented.

He notes the amount demand of Drupal talent, many companies are starting with Drupal, there is a sort of boom, but it's difficult to find people with skills which already have Drupal knowledge to work as programmers, themers or even to train other people on the Drupal platform.

Provision of sites in Gardens is not done with the Aegir system since it has a very changing and active development. For this Acquia has it's own system of scripts running on the Acquia hosting.

Video: http://sf2010.drupal.org/conference/sessions/drupal-gardens-design-onlin...

Challenges of hosting Drupal on AWS

Drupal on AWS stack

Barry Jaspan

Since it started working I've been very interested in Amazon services (S3, C2, etc.) and have done a lot of experimentation. Hosting a Drupal site is AWS is simple, you basically need a virtual machine running and other services that are more or less complex to setup.

The complex problem comes when trying to use this infrastructure with a high traffic site. It's not very different to the problem of doing it with physical machines and you have the advantage of having 'unlimited' machines to use.

The first advantage, says Barry, is flexibility, starting new machines when needed, geographical distribution, been able to locate these machines in the several datacenters that Amazon has around the world.

He tells the case when a client calls and says that the are about to launch a Drupal site and that it's going to have 20 million visits the first day, which is the next Monday, and they succeeded.

The rest of the talk is very technical and it's better to watch the slides and note the elections that they have made with the software that composes the platform (proxies, load balancers, etc.).

Video: http://sf2010.drupal.org/conference/sessions/challenges-hosting-drupal-aws

Strategies for Community Contributions

Greg Knaddison
Eric Gundersen
Michael E. Meyers

The main target of this talk is to motivate companies to contribute their work back to the community. The three presenters are members of successful companies and highlight how their only advertising has always been their contributions to the community.

The first presenters talks about the distributions of their sources or revenue. Almost all of his clients come from his contributions to Drupal

About 15% of his revenues comes from 'community leads'. These are people that see his modules or presentations in conferences and ask him to train their team, do customizations to modules they use, or work with their team in a join project.

Another 50% of his revenue comes from 'competition', other Drupal companies that have work over their capacity and see his contributions and ask him to help them with the projects.

They spend a percentage of their time to contribute and to research, some of them do a precise tracking of the time spent contributing. So, for example, if in a month they have X hours that they can dedicate to contributing they can estimate hoe many patches they can review or how many bugs in their modules they can fix in the remaining time. They even have an custom application that helps them to track this time.

Eric Gundersen from Development Seed talks now. His speech is about the strategy that his company follows and he proposes it as a viable strategy for other companies.

This strategy consists of focusing the target of the company in creating products. All the work that is done in client projects must serve to create products that reflect the acquired experience. This is what they have done with Open Atrium, a platform that they created for themselves and that started as a very basic application but that has accumulated the hours of work that they have worked on it on projects for clients that needed the same thing.

Another good strategy for companies is what they call 'niche focus', focusing in a very specific field and become experts in that topic. For example, Gundersend's company has a very good position in the subject of handling feeds and maps (Managing News).

Video: http://sf2010.drupal.org/conference/sessions/strategies-community-contri...


Scott MacVicar

Very technical talk about HIPHOP that starts with an introduction to it and a general explanation for those that don't know it.

Although it seems that the presenter hasn't planned to talk about any Drupal specific topics, people soon starts to make questions about how Drupal can be run on HIPHOP, because at this time it's not possible because Drupal uses some features of PHP that HIPHOP doesn't support (eval, sessions).

Some assumptions are made about how it would be to compile Drupal using HIPHOP.

HIPHOP generates an executable binary with the entire web application. This is a static binary, in the sense that it cannot dynamically load modules or external libraries, so we would have to compile the entire Drupal site with all the modules that you want to use. In case you wanted to install a new module you should add the code and recompile again.

It doesn't support lazy loading either. Some of the features that the Drupal menu system has to load files only when needed would not be possible, so the compiled binary would contain all the code from all the modules used.

Video: http://sf2010.drupal.org/conference/sessions/hiphop-for-php

Drupal hispano meeting

I have met with the group of spanish speaking people which were at Drupalcon. We were about 15, only me from Spain, the rest from latin América.

We have talk a lot about how to speed up the adoption of Drupal in the hispanic world and what can we do to develop the community (drupalcamps, etc.).

Microsoft party

Microsoft party

I never thought that I would have been at a Microsoft party, even less in the context of a Drupalcon.

It seems Microsoft is trying hard to make a number of opensoure project, including Drupal, to work flawlessly on their web platform products (ISS and SQL Server).

To sympathize with the opensource community they have put money to sponsor the Drupalcon and do things like organizing a party in a club with free drinks (only the first one) and food.

Session videos

At this time most of the sessions have their video attached in the session page, so I wont list here all that are available.

You have the complete list of sessions in the schedule.

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Apr 24 2010
Apr 24

Posted by admin

Main conference room

Although first day of Drupalcon is officially on Monday, the Sunday you could register and there were some activites.

The conference venue was the Moscone Center, composed of several buildings. In one of them regularly takes place the Apple Developer Conference, where Steve Jobs uses to present it's latest 'one more things'. We were at Moscone south, a building more similar to an airport in size and design.

The welcome pack was the poorest of the several Drupalcons I've been to, it consisted of a little book with sponsors marketing, session schedule and a guide to eating around the conference venue.


There was a series of non-planed sessions not necessarily related to Drupal, although most of them were. It basically was people from several companies showing some innovations and projects in very specific fields. There were very little attendees which allowed to extended debates at the end of the sessions between presenters and attendees.

One of the sessions that I (partly) assisted was about image recognition and classification. They had a Drupal site that was capable of recognizing image similarities, find differences, classify them by similitude, and things like that.

The wifi connection was really good in any place of the center, although there were very little people. Will it handle the near 3000 people tomorrow?

In the evening I went to visit Chinatown, awesome experience.

First (official) day of Drupalcon

It was the first time that I think it may be too many people in a Drupalcon, the company stands were full of people and I was not allowed to enter some sessions because the room was full.

The first session was the only one at that hour, a presentation to which almost everyone assisted.

Getting started with Drupal(con)

Presenters: a lot (see session page).

There wasn't room for everyone in the main room so they have setup two more rooms with video streaming from the main room. The presenter asked to raise hands everyone that was new to Drupalcon and those who were new to Drupal in the last year. In both cases a lot of hands were raised.

Presenters of this session spoke in turns, each introduced one basic aspect of Drupal. Core, cck, views, taxonomy, etc. The session was too introductory so there isn't much more to tell.

The Heart of Open Atrium: Context, PURL and Spaces

Young Hahn

Young Hahn, from Development Seed, presents their strategic modules that they use to build their products, being some of their flagship products Open Atrium and Managing News, created from their experience with clients. Notably, all their modules are published in drupal.org, so we can all use them and it serves as an invaluable promotion for them.

This a rather technical session and probably hard to follow if you don't have previous experience developing Drupal sites. The combination of modules tries to find a general solution to some of the most common problem that they find in each project. Ej: preserving context (menus, blocks, theme, etc.).

The modules explained where Context, PURL and Spaces. You can read a short introduction to them and watch the session video on the session page.

Session page: http://sf2010.drupal.org/conference/sessions/heart-open-atrium-context-p....

Dries Keynote

Dries keynote

The near 3000 people is coming in a huge room. I ask myself how many Boeing 747 could you fit in this room, someone comments that it doubles as a storm shelter (http://twitter.com/mrf/status/12473605625).

Dries jumps to the stage, long applause. He does the usual remembering of the first Drupalcons and notes that when he created Drupal he though that no more than ten people will ever use it.

He sends greetings to all those that got stuck in Europe because of the volcano event. Seems like mini-drupalcons have been organized in several cities in which attendants meet to watch the live webcast and share notes. The map of those stuck in Europe shows in the screen.

Announcement of the day, Drupal 8 development will be in git, rip to CVS.

He talks now about RDF and the semantic web. It's something that Dries has given importance in the last Drupalcons, it seems that from Drupal 7 it will have an important role because it could be the first CMS that comes with an API an related modules in core that allow to create sites with RDF metadata. He puts some use cases: an online shop could tag its products with RDF that allows search engines to list them as products with associated metadata, it will perfectly know what is the proce, the product description, the picture, etc., without having to parse the text and use its algorithms to guess all this info.

Dries plays a video in which a woman's voice explains what RDF is while the screen displays some slides.

He shows some statistics about critical bugs pending to release Drupal 7, 112, no much less that there were 6 months ago in Paris. At this speed rate they will be all done by June, December in the works case. He proposes to form 100 groups of 30 people (we are 3000) and each group will solve an issue, so we could have all tickets closed in an hour. People laugh, he says "seriously"!

According to Drupal 7 stats, there have been more than 700 people contributing patches to this version, but they show that 50% of the code has been written by only 25 persons. He shows a slide with the 20 most active contributors to Drupal core and their supporting organizations (foto).

He announces that the next Drupalcon will be at Copenhagen. You an sign up at their web already.

He also talks about how some big names (IBM, Microsoft) have been involved in big projects related to Drupal, although many of these projects are private. He notes that Microsoft is going to launch a new PDO driver for SQL Server and that they have a important commitment to make Drupal run in Microsoft's web platforms. There has even have a Microsoft party in the night.

Objetifiyng PHP

Presenter: Larry Gardfield

Talk 100% about programming. In Drupal 6 we already have some modules that have introduced objects in their code (views, panels, … I cannot think of any which is not from merlinofchaos) and in Drupal 7 we have some layer of core objectified.

He does a review of the best practices when working with objects, like: use factory classes (pizzahut) instead of using object classes (pizza).

A slide notes the fuzziness of the Drupal architecture, different layers of the API overlap and are mixed, we have to build precise boundaries between the subsystems, and that's where OOP plays an important role, proposing to convert each core subsystem in an object. The code is interesting, we could do things like $menu->get_item('node/5')->get_title();

Video here: http://sf2010.drupal.org/conference/sessions/objectifying-php

Drupal as a web services platform using the Services module

A security guy in the door didn't let me in because the room is full. Re-scheduling.

Going Vertical: How niche marketing can launch your Drupal business

Presenter: Corey Smith

Very business oriented talk given by a marketing guy.

He comments about the topic of how focusing your company in a very specific field can launch your company to success, because clients use to look for the most experienced company when doing a project of an specific nature.

Session page: http://sf2010.drupal.org/conference/sessions/going-vertical-how-niche-ma...

Notes and links

Some of the sessions have been recorded on video:


Update: by now most or all sessions' videos have been uploaded.

Relared post in other blogs of first day attendants:


Drupalcon Copenhagen website: http://cph2010.drupal.org/

Map of people stuck in Europe because of the volcano.

About Drupal Sun

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

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See the blog post at Evolving Web

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