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May 28 2020
May 28

This month’s SC DUG meeting featured Will Jackson from Kanopi Studios talking about his virtual background and office.

Before everyone was learning to use Zoom virtual backgrounds, Will had built out a full 3D room for his background, including family pictures and other fun details. He talked about what he built and may inspire you to try some more personalized than swaying palm tree and night skies.

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If you would like to join us please check out our up coming events on MeetUp for meeting times, locations, and remote connection information.

We frequently use these presentations to practice new presentations, try out heavily revised versions, and test out new ideas with a friendly audience. So if some of the content of these videos seems a bit rough please understand we are all learning all the time and we are open to constructive feedback. If you want to see a polished version checkout our group members’ talks at camps and cons.

If you are interested in giving a practice talk, leave me a comment here, contact me through Drupal.org, or find me on Drupal Slack. We’re excited to hear new voices and ideas. We want to support the community, and that means you.

Apr 26 2015
Apr 26


Drupal. I didnt come to Drupal code 14 years ago, I came for the community and stayed for the functionality. That is part why I never liked the "Come for the code, stay for the community" slogan. Sure, it is a perfect cheesy slogan. If all you want attract are coders in the community, it is even a perfect slogan. For a perfect community, of perfect happy coders.

We have got to learn to address humans. Not just humans who can code. That is, if we want to be a true community for a product. A product that is well designed and does attract both the business and the user to participate in the product, the process and hence the community.

Leaderers. Entrepeneurs. Visionaries. Testesters. Document writers. Project Managers, marketeers. To name just a few. Of course developers can also have the skills to do these jobs, an often overlooked fact. But someone who is "just" a marketeer, will not come for the code. (S)He might come for the job at hand, money that might be involved, the functionality, but the best reason why an external non developer should come to the community to help out, is the community that is helping her/him out. Not clean lines of code, but helping hands of love.


This is I am active in the Drupal community, to help out to get others on board. With a rocking team ( Marja, Imre, Rolf and Peter and others) we are organising the DrupalJam event in the low lands. The DrupalJam started with 20+ persons and pizzas in a room and is now a big event with over 300 people attending, over 25 sessions and a budget in the tens of thousands.

DrupalJam -organised by the Dutch Drupal foundation- will be held in Utrecht, April 30 and it really represents the helping hands -not just the lines of code- of the community. With keynotes from Bruce Lawson ( HTML fame), Marco Derksen (digital strategist, entrepreneur) and featured speakers like Jefrey Maguire (moustache fame, D8), Anton VanHouke (leading design agency in the NL, introduced scrum in to strategy and design), Stephan Hay (designer, writer) and Ben van 't Ende (Community Manager for the TYPO3 Asssociation).

And like last year, Dries will do a virtually Q-and-A. If you want to ask him nearly anything, do so at this form.

The event will be held in an old industrial complex as can be seen in these shots

I am really looking forward to this event, it has a long tradition and always strengthened the community and brought in new blood. People who "Come for the business and stay for the community" Those who come of the need for design and stay for the love. Or love the functional and stay for organising the next DrupalJam.

PS: Now this head has rolled, it is time we decide what we do the body. If you have 5 minutes of your spare time, read this post and if you have one minute more, see this one from 2008 as well.

Sep 22 2014
Sep 22

A star in a network
It may differ per country and continent, but for most of the regions I know of, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a standard within corporations as a way of buying, selling and producing goods and services. We all know that resources are scarce and hence should be used for the best possible use and more important, reused when possible.

By reusing resources to produce new goods or services, we make optimal use of that what is there. This is no longer a “left" or “green" political statement but is being executed by all parties in the political and economical arena, simply because it is in the interest of the person doing so as well as all other persons. It makes economical sense to reuse resources, be good for persons, the community and the environment. Even if it was just for the tragedy of the commons or from a prioner’s dilemma point of view. For those interested in how doing good or bad impacts the group, this academic PDF might be a good start. If you master Dutch this TED quality keynote during a DrupalJam conference of my friend Yoast on vimeo is truly something to watch.

Garden city of to-morrow

So it is my opinion that CSR has moved beyond empty platitudes and has become truly in the genes of people and companies. Many people think that CSR started as corporate philanthropy, a way of the rich to donate to the poor. I don't think this is true, in every revolution, there have been powers to do good for the environment, the people and the community. For example during the Industrial Revolution there was a very strong new socialism trend with taking care of the housing, commnities and villages of the workers, “The garden cities of to-morrow". Not because “the Rich" want to do good perse (“philanthropy"), but because it made sense economically; less death and diseases (less risk) and a richer and happier workforce (and new business models around this growth).

Urban gardening

Most of the definitions I have seen of CSR have in common that it is an integral vision towards sustainable business with social responsibility in business decisions to balance the social and economic impact of the decision. That by itself is an excellent definition and one that will be supported by anyone who is been doing business. The implementation most see however is to have a policy on carbon footprint in a company or to only buy agricultural products that are produced in a sustainable way, without pesticides. All fine.

But it seems that there is a very easy way to have implementation of CSR: by using a product that is produced to be be reused, made with the knowledge of thousands and with target audience of the world. The product that is not wasting a single second of the future and not wasting a drop of the paste. Indeed, I am talking about using open source software (OSS)!
OSS is by definition made with CSR in mind, it is being produced by different people all over the globe to be reused for you and your knowledge will be direct input for making the product better, iterate on the development and implementation.

And hence, a company that is using open source has a sustainable competitive advantage by using valuable rare resource in the most optima form. Therefor I dare any company that is using software to produce goods, to take using open source software into account and into its’ Corporate Social Responsibility policy. For by using open source software, we can truly make a better world by using more knowledge and less resources.

A very healthy situation for any company.

Untitled

PS: if you want more information on this vison, do visit the 12 Best Practices from Wunderkraut session at the DrupalCon Amsterdam. Or visit Wunderkraut at booth number 1 in the sponsor lounge, right by the coffee! We are part of the community that uses and make open source software. With passion.

Aug 20 2013
Aug 20

Robert M. White
TL;RD

  1. Performance matter for all websites
  2. Performance is not just (80%) frontend
  3. SPDY kills 80% of your frontend problems

What
In the Drupal and broader web community, there is a lot of attention towards the performance of websites.

While "performance" is a very complex topic on its' own, let us in this posting define it as the speed of the website and the process to optimize the speed of the website (or better broader, the experience of the speed by the user as performance.

Why
This attention towards speed is for two good reasons. On one hand we have the site that is getting bigger and hence slower. The databases get bigger with more content and the the codebase of the website is added with new modules and features. While on the other hand, more money is being made with websites for business even if you are not selling goods or run ads.

Given that most sites run on the same hardware for years, this results in slower websites, leading to a lower pagerank, less traffic, less pages per visit, lower conversion rates. And in the end, if you a have a business case for your website, lower profits. Bottemline: If you make money online, you are losing this due to a slow website.
UFO's
When it comes to speed there are many parameters to take in to account, it is not "just" the average pageloading time. First of all the average is a rather useless metric without taking the standard deviation into account. But apart from that, it comes down to what a "page" is.

A page can be just the HTML file (can be done in 50ms)
A page can be the complete webpage with all the elements (for many sites around the 10seconds)
A page can be the complete webpage with all elements including third party content. Hint: did you know that for displaying the Facebook Like button, more Javascript is downloaded then the entire jQuery/backbone/bootstrap app of this website, non cacheable!
And a page can be anything "above the fold"

Moon Retro future
And then there are more interesting metrics then these, the time to first byte from a technologic point of view for example. But not just technical PoV. There is a website one visits every day that optimzes its' rendable HTML to fit within 1500 bytes.
So ranging from "First byte to glass" to "Round trip time", there are many elements to be taken into account when one measures the speed of a website. And that is the main point: webperformance is not just for the frontenders like many think, not just for the backenders like some of them hope, but for all the people who control elements elements in the chain involved in the speed. All the way down to the networking guys (m/f) in the basement (hint sysadmins: INITCWND has a huge performance impact!) Speed should be in your core of your team, not just in those who enable gzip compression, aggregate the Javascript or make the sprites.

Steve Souders (the webperformance guru) once stated in his golden rule that 80-90% of the end-user response time is spent on the frontend.

Speedy to the rescue?
This 80% might be matter of debate in the case of a logged in user in a CMS. But even if it is true. This 80% can be reduced by 80% with SPDY.
SPDY is an open protocol introduced by Google to overcome the problems with HTTP (up to 1.1 including pipeling, defined in 1999!) and the absence of HTTP/2.0. It speeds up HTTP by generating one connection between the client and the server for all the elements in the page served by the server. Orginally only build in chrome, many browsers now support this protocol that will be the base of HTTP/2.0. Think about it and read about it, a complete webpage with all the elements -regardless of minifying and sprites- served in one stream with only once the TCP handshake and one DNS request. Most of the rules of traditional webperf optimalisation (CSS aggregation, preloading, prefetching, offloading elements to different host, cookie free domains), all this wisedom is gone, even false, with one simple install. 80% of the 80% gone with SPDY, now one can focus on the hard part; the database, the codebase. :-)

The downside of SPDY is however that is is hard to troublshoot and not yet avaliable in all browsers. It is hard to troubleshoot since most implementations use SSL, the protocol is multiplexed and zipped by default and not made to be read by humans unlike HTTP/1.0. There are however some tools that make it possible to test SPDY but most if not all tools you use every day like ab, curl, wget will fail to use SPDY and fallback like defined in the protocol to HTTP/1.0

Measure
So can we test to see if SPDY is really faster and how much faster?
Yes, see Evaluating the Performance of SPDY-Enabled Web Servers (a Drupal site :-)
SPDY performance

So more users, less errors under load and a lower page load time. What is there not to like about SPDY?

Drupal
That is why I would love Drupal.org to run with SPDY, see this issue on d.o/2046731. I really do hope that the infra team will find some time to test this and once accepted, install it on the production server.

Performance as a Service
One of the projects I have been active in later is ProjectPAAS, bonus point if you find the easteregg on the site :-) . ProjectPAAS is a startup that will test a Drupal site, measure on 100+ metrics, analyse the data and give the developer an opinionated report on what to change to get a better performance. If you like these images around the retro future theme, be sure to checkout the flickr page, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter but most of all, see the moodboard on pinterest

Pinterest itself is doing some good work when it comes to performance as well. Not just speed but also the perception of speed.

Pinterest lazyloading with color
Pinterest does lazyload images but also displays the prominent color as background in a cell before the image is loaded, giving the user a sense of what to come. For a background on this see webdistortion

Congratulations you just saved 0,4 seconds
If you are lazyloading images to give your user faster results, be sure to checkout this module we made; lazypaas, currently a sandbox project awaiting approval. It does extract the dominant (most used) color of an image and displays the box where the image will be placed with this color. And if you use it and did a code review, be sure to help it to get it to a real Drupal module.

From 80% to 100%
Lazyloading like this leads to better user experience. Because even when 80% of the end-user response time is spent on the frontend, 100% of the time is spend in the client, most ofthen the browser. The only place where performance should be measured and the only page where performance matters. Hence, all elements that deliver this speed should be optimized, including the webserver and the browser.

Now say this fast after me: SPDY FTW. :-)

Aug 14 2013
Aug 14

King Eddie's Restaurant, 1954
As long as opensource exists -and maybe as long as software exists- people have been coding for money ("professionally") and for free ("gratis"). This is how open source works, scratching an itch where an itch can also be making sure you can pay for your food. There are many ways to earn a living coding open source, from the "give away the recepie, open up a resaurant" mantra to crowfunded support of a core chef.

Bike path through the Polder

An interesting new tendens is visible in the lowlands, opensource implementors -direct competitors- working together for *free* on marketing and code. In some ways that has been happening worldwide, but I do think that there is a trend in The Netherlands that might become bigger worldwide.

There are many Drupal agencies in the Netherlands and many of the people working in these agencies are active in the local and / or global Drupal community. Recently however 2 dozen of these agencies have been joining forces in a foundation Drupal companies Netherlands were they are together working on promoting Drupal to platforms were none of them could be present alone. This is from my understanding unique in the world and part of the reason why the session "growing the pie" was selected by the business track chairs. For a background interview see the Acquia TV site.

Now another interesting concept has come up. The Dutch national government bodies have a corporate identity and style guides describing how a site should look and work. They also have the obligation to comply to certain accessability rules based on the WCAG. There are over 100 Dutch government sites using Drupal and most of them have the same template. It would be a waste of resources that every implementer of a National government site would create their own template, waste of tax money and waste of time and talent. That is why Sogeiti and others made a standard theme for D7 on d.o/rijkshuisstijl. There are of cource some issues with rights on the logo but these are resolved.

kansen

The good news now is that in a recent "post-it" session Ordina, Limoengroen, Dutch Open Projects, Sogeti and many others together have decided that they will build upon this template to make it responsive, something the theme is not right now.

With the additional goal of having a Drupal 8 theme for the Dutch government the moment D8 hits stable. That would be the ultimate goal and do wonders for the adoption of opensource and Drupal in the Dutch government; a future-ready site with a validating responsive theme and the best CMS under the hood!

In case you want to join this movement, please do sign up for the linkedin group and get active in the issue queue of Rijkshuisstijl. And I do encourage you to visit the SDBN session at Drupalcon Prague.

I think that working together like these two initiatives is truly a sign of a mature market where competitors let the market grow together, in true open source style.

Mar 29 2013
Mar 29

The Outer Limits ... 'Cold Hands, Warm Heart'
A couple of weeks ago we launched the website of a service we have been working on hard for over half a year. The project started as a SAAS about performance and hence the internal project name was “ProjectPAAS”. As it goes with internal project names, it became the name of the service it self.

12 seconds start now

I still have problems explaining what the service is doing in an elevator pitch. But basicaly one installs a module on a to be tested staging site from d.o with the funky URL /project/paas, configures the service on the portal of projectpaas.com and then wait an hour or two. We start a service to measure your site from the outside and from the inside, analyse the data, make a report and when you check your mail you get an in depth report on all the elements of the chain that are relevant to the performance of the website.

1964 ... orbital assembly

We measure from one or more selectable (EC2) locations in the world with over 150 metrics and we only report on real data, no yslow wisdom. We know what influence speed, we see how it is configured at your site (with the module or from the outisde) and we simulate to find the the optimal value would be for your use case.

The cliché for example that one needs parallel download (images[1-4].example.com) to bypass the maximumum connection a browser can have to a host, is just that, a cliché. When one takes DNS lookup,TCP slow start and the sliding window in to account, for certain usecase, having images[x].example.com might actually be slower. So we are opinionated, we measure, we analyse, we report, you gain speed.

Easteregg

ProjectPAAS report 0.6
I really like retro future so we used this for a theme around the site and facebook. But since easter (Dutch "pasen" is coming up,
do check the projectpaas.com website, find the easteregg and twitter about it. :-)

This posting isn't as much about the service of ProjectPAAS as it is about why we made the service. To share our experience and to get feedback from you. There are two reasons we made it, one is internally driven and one is externally.

The internal reason is that we have been building some of the most visited sites and webapps in Drupal in the Netherlands. So after some time we got good at performance, we understood what to do and what not to do for the complete stack of elements that define speed, HTML, CSS, Linux, Apache, MySQL and yes, Drupal. Word got out that we were good and siteowners that have been building their site at another company, came to us for advice on how to get more speed in their site.
Once we had done a dozen of these reports, we wanted to make the reports more easily accessible for the site owners and website builders. This is part of why westarted the Performance Reporting

Land here

The external reason might be more interesting for you. We made the SAAS because we think that the CMS landscape will change and our business will change.

The landscape will change. 10 years ago everybody had his/her own CMS, there were more CMS-es then websites it seemed. 5 yeas ago it was clear who were going to be the winners in the consolidation, 80% of the proprietary "solutions" were gone and open source was no longer a dirty word in enterprises. Within the open CMS-es, the global top 5 was visible though especially in Europe there were still many local open source CMS-es. This consolidation perse was good open source and especially for Drupal shops.

1962 ... 'Planet Of Storms' (USSR)
However, the market won't stop here. Most of the Drupal websites are not complex, they don't have any connections to backend systems, less than 10k pageviews per day and are relatively expensive to build and most of all expensive to maintain. Here is the business case for open source SAAS, solutions based on open source software like Aqcuia and Wordpress.com offer. These solutions with standard modules and a customisable template is good enough right now for 20% of the Drupal sites out there and will cost a fraction of what building it "by hand" will cost.

The users of these open source SAAS hosting solutions will only grow. Good for the parties offering these services, bad for the Drupal shops that have been building relatively simple portfolio sites. By itself, this trend might have a big impact those coding Drupal core, modules or working in for example the security team. This is not meant in a bad way, but with most of the sites going towards a smaler group of SAAS companies, the number of "independent" individuals adding to core or writing modules might actually get lower, they might have another itch. It will be very interesting to see how this will develop, I might be completely wrong here.

Performance takes time

Traditionally most Drupal shops do projects, do maintenance and do consulting. Some have found a nice niche, a place geographically apart, a specific vertical or a certain service like migration from another CMS. However, most Drupal shops build relatively simple websites for SOHO plus. I know there are many shops that work for high end enterprises. But not all the 280.000 Drupal sites fit in the Alexa top 100.000. So I do think that if you are a Drupal shop, you have to find your sweet spot the next couple of month. On the one hand we have operational excellence (a SAAS to host sites like gardens or a service like ProjectPAAS itself) and on the other hand customer intimacy (the complex sites with lots of integration with backend systems and complex workflow). There might be space between these two, but the portfolio site area will get very crowded and Drupal will not be the best tool to serve this in my opinion. This is part of the reason why we build our first SAAS around a product we understand and is close to our core business. We are already planning next services that might still be build in Drupal but will target a broader audience.

ProjectPAAS logo
For the moment, if you are intersted in our product, dont be shy and talk to us on twitter or faces us. Potential resellers or users are welcome to fill out our form. We really do hope that our product can help you build faster websites and thereby push Drupal even more ahead of the curve.

Mar 13 2012
Mar 13

One of the unexpected challenges in raising money to grow your business is keeping mum about the deal until it's time. Time is likely among the many terms you'll find defined in your contract, and between the day you sign the papers and the day that time actually arrives, you're glowing inside because your investors believe in the potential of your business and want to see you do more.

Investors don't magically make a business plan succeed, nor do they single out the sole source of success behind a business or an idea. This is certainly the case with Commerce Guys' raise announced last week. We know for a fact that our investors get open source as much as they do eCommerce. Even as they evaluated us on our ability to execute our business plan, they evaluated us on how well we work within and alongside the larger Drupal community. When they took a close look, they saw the strengths of the community and the caliber of developers collaborating with us to build Drupal Commerce.

That's what makes it so exciting to share the news - investors and developers who have grown their own businesses and, in the case of the team at Open Ocean with MySQL, their own open source projects have looked closely into both Commerce Guys and Drupal Commerce and felt confident enough to front some serious cash for us to kick our efforts up a notch. Many of these guys have built their own eCommerce systems and understand the challenges we're in a unique position to solve through Drupal 7, Views, Rules, and Commerce, and they're guys who understand the importance of the community in the success of any open source project.

So, we're not crazy after all, and what we've been trying to build with our friends at Commerce Guys and in the Drupal community isn't crazy. Ambitious, sure, but achievable. Our vision for Drupal Commerce remains the same - to see Drupal Commerce become the world's leading open source eCommerce framework. For the last two and a half years, my time has been set aside by Commerce Guys to develop the code (with plenty of help from other brilliant Commerce Guys and community contributors) and grow the community needed to make it happen. Now we've sold the vision to some very smart people with deep pockets outside our normal circles and are eager to see what happens next.

Their affirmation is much appreciated, but so is the money that will let us hire and set aside even more developers to "scale me" out a bit. We need to address immediate concerns pertaining to documentation and community support on DrupalCommerce.org. We'll need to make sure we follow-through on our longstanding 2.x strategy to bring some sanity to the user experience for administrators even as 1.x has privileged developers. All the while, there will be more than enough module maintenance and distribution work to go around!

Addressing these needs for Drupal Commerce should only require a fraction of the money we've raised, but it's a good start that will have an immediate positive impact on the thousands of people already using Drupal Commerce to power their online businesses. If you think you can stomach working with me on a daily basis and have the chops to help us succeed, be sure to get in touch.

Feb 01 2012
Feb 01

El solo de guitarra
If you own a mac, you use spotlight daily. Or even better, use Alfred. A great way to navigate faster with a keyboard towards the app or data you need.

A very long time ago a Boy Wonder made something like this for Drupal 5, navigating through the /admin pages using a simple spotlight alike interface, see the menuscout module. Unfortunately, Boy Wonder, he wandered off and the module gained dust.

Then some time ago co-worker Michael Mol showed me a module he has been working on. Since he was doing D6 and D7 development at the same time and since the URL's changed and developers use URL's as well for navigation, he decided to d a spotlight alike search on the admin pages so he could remember the name, not the URL. It ended up being coffee, for now a sandbox project but anyday now a real project in d.o. To see it in action, take a look at this screencast.

Think of coffee as spotlight for the admin interface. And if you want an easter egg like the do a barrel roll, get active in this issue.

My CSS theming setup

Jan 31 2012
Jan 31

Lessons learned from project M

Aug 10 2011
Aug 10

Drupal, HTML Purifier, and embedding IFRAMES from YouTube

Aug 05 2011
Aug 05
Aug 05 2011
Aug 05
I know, I know. I shouldn’t allow IFRAMEs at all. But the client’s prospective users were really excited about images and video, and Drupal’s Media module wasn’t going to be quite enough. So I’ve been fighting with CKEditor, IMCE, and HTML Purifier to figure out how to make it easier. I’m hoping that this will […]

Drupal and JQuery 1.5: Fixing the JSON encoding of ampersands

Aug 04 2011
Aug 04
Aug 04 2011
Aug 04
Drupal 6’s drupal_json method encodes ampersands incorrectly for JQuery 1.5, causing the rather cryptic error: Uncaught Syntax error, unrecognized expression: ... (If you’re lucky.) The way to fix this is to borrow the JSON-handling code from Drupal 7. Here’s something you might be able to use: function yourmodule_json_encode($var) { return str_replace(array('<', '>', '&'), array('\u003c', '\u003e', […]

Context-switching and a four-project day

Jun 30 2011
Jun 30
Jun 30 2011
Jun 30
Context-switching among multiple projects can be tough. I’m currently: working full-time on one project (a Drupal 6 non-profit website) consulting on another (helping an educational institution with Drupal 7 questions) supporting a third (Ruby on Rails site I built for a local nonprofit, almost done), and trying to wrap up on a fourth (PHP/AJAX dashboard […]

Managing configuration changes in Drupal

Jun 10 2011
Jun 10
Jun 10 2011
Jun 10
One of our clients asked if we had any tips for documenting and managing Drupal configuration, modules, versions, settings, and so on. She wrote, “It’s getting difficult to keep track of what we’ve changed, when, for that reason, and what settings are in that need to be moved to production versus what settings are there […]
Feb 14 2011
Feb 14



The excellent DrupalDevDays in Brussels -with over 500 developers attending- had a mystery sponsor, DrupalPond.

DrupaPond is an initiative of Krimson and DOP to get more Drupalistas together and give them the knowledge and the tools both companies have and use.

Like in many countries -if not all- the demand for Drupalistas in the low lands is much higher the the supply. While some Drupalshops might think this is a good thing, since they can ask for higher fees, it is actually a bad thing. Any market where supply and demand are only matched by changing the price towards extremes will get in-stable.

In the short term it will lead towards golddiggers, shops and independent consultants who claim to do Drupal as well. Knowing little or nothing about Drual, the code, the license or the community and just use it as a tool and even worse, abuse the tool. Because hacking core is so much user then overriding or using hooks to make a module. Sure, short term a "good" solution but the moment you want to update....

To get more independent Drupal developers together, Krimson and DOP started the Drupalpond for companies seeking talent and for consultants who have outgrown the mom'ndad websites and need a collective to get bigger opportunities. Because we need more Drupalistas, both in quantity and in quality.



Each Drop added -even the smallest one- is filling the pool. Leading to more developers getting more active. And many Drops will create interference, new patterns that are only possible when two or more Drupal developers (Drupalistas) work together. So far many people have shown interest in this new collective and we hope it will add value to the Drupal community. For now our scope is the Netherlands and Belgium but due to higher demand from outside this area, we might consider expanding this to Europe. The patchwork of cultures, languages and habits that Europe is, is not present when it comes to Drupal.

A strong European movement when it comes to open source / Drupal is clearly happening. And while the proprietary software vendors are undergoing a shakeout -every country in EU has a handful of "own" proprietary CMS-es- the competition from these closed source vendors will expand in to "Europe wise" as well, so it is time to join forces The DrupalDevDays is the best example of that!

Note: Drupal is a registered trademark of Dries Buytaert. DrupalPond is using the term "Drupal" with a license

Drupal, SimpleTest, and the node access API

Nov 11 2010
Nov 11
Nov 11 2010
Nov 11
Setting up Simpletest and Drush on Drupal 6.x: Download and enable Simpletest with drush dl simpletest; drush en -y simpletest Download simpletest.drush.inc to your ~/.drush/drush_extras directory. This version allows you to run a single test from the command-line. Create a custom module with a tests/ subdirectory, and write your tests in it. (See this Lullabot […]
Nov 09 2010
Nov 09

One of the best things about building websites with Drupal is that there are thousands of modules that help you quickly create functionality.

To set things up, you need to download Drush and add it to your path. For example, you might unpack it into /opt/drush and then add the following line to your ~/.bashrc:

PATH=/opt/drush:$PATH
export PATH

Reload your ~/.bashrc with source ~/.bashrc, and the drush command should become available. If you’re on Microsoft Windows, it might need some more finagling. (Or you can just give up and use a virtual image of Linux to develop your Drupal websites. You’ll probably end up much happier. ;) )

Once you’ve installed Drush, what can you do with it?

Drush is a huge time-saver. For example, I install dozens of modules in the course of building a Drupal website. Instead of copying the download link, changing to my sites/all/modules directory, pasting the download URL into my terminal window after wget, unpacking the file, deleting the archive, and then clicking through the various module enablement screens, I can just issue the following commands to download and enable the module.

drush dl modulename
drush en -y modulename

(The -y option means say yes to all the prompts.)

So much faster and easier. You can use these commands with several modules (module1 module2 module3), and you can use drush cli to start a shell that’s optimized for Drush.

Drush is also useful if you’ve screwed up your Drupal installation and you need to disable themes or modules before things can work again. In the past, I’d go into the {system} table and carefully set the status of the offending row to 0. Now, that’s just a drush dis modulename.

Drush has a bucketload of other useful commands, and drush help is well worth browsing. Give it a try!

Read the original or check out the comments on: How to use Drush to download and install Drupal modules (Sacha Chua's blog)

Dec 10 2008
Dec 10

OpenBand, an M.C. Dean CompanyMy employer, OpenBand, is going to be a Gold sponsor of DrupalCon DC in March 2009 and a number of our team members will be attending the conference.

We have a few presentations to give, and will be keen to see many of the other sessions that are going to be given.

In the Powering collaboration in a distributed enterprise session we'll be giving an overview of the work that we do, the collaboration platform we've been building (largely on Drupal) for our customers over the past three years or so, and some of the modules that we've contributed back to the Drupal community during that time.

Miglius Alaburda will be presenting a session titled Introducing a new File Framework about a new and powerful way of handling files in Drupal.

Darren Ferguson will be talking about Drupal with XMPP Integration and all the functionality that he has built up around the XMPP framework, allowing users of a Drupal site to use instant messaging capabilities.

With all the sessions that have been proposed by attendees, this is shaping up to be a great conference!

Updated: Added Darren's XMPP talk

Jul 24 2008
Jul 24

So back in April I started talking to Keiran at about doing a media and files sprint... well it's finally happening. aaronwinborn in in Portland and dopry is going to be helping remotely. Aaron posted a great writeup on what we're hoping to accomplish so I'll blockquote at length:

Andrew Morton (drewish), Darrel O'Pry (dopry, remotely), and I are heading up a Media Code Sprint in Portland this week! Come help, in person or remotely, if you're interested in multimedia and Drupal! It has now officially started, and as I've volunteered to help keep folks updated, here goes...

First the reasons.

Number One: Better Media Handling in Core

Dries conducted a survey prior to his State of Drupal presentation at Boston Drupalcon 2008, and number one on the top ten (or 11) list of what would make THE KILLER DRUPAL 7 Release was "Better media handling".

Let me repeat that. Better media handling.

People have done really amazing stuff in contrib, but it is difficult (if not impossible in many cases) for developers to coordinate the use of files, as there is no good means for file handling in the core of Drupal. Thus, we have several dozen (or more) media modules doing some small part, or even duplicating functionality, sometimes out of necessity.

We need (better) media and file handling in Drupal core. In particular, there has been a patch for a hook_file in the queue for over a year, which has been in the Patch Spotlight (for the second time, no less) since May! (And has been RTBC several times during that process...) Come on folks.

One of the powers of Drupal is its system of hooks. We have hooks to modify nodes, to notify changes to user objects, to alter nearly any data (such as forms and menus). Noticeably absent is a consistent handling for files or any sort of notification. We need hook_file.

So goal Number One: get media handling in core. The means? Add hook_file and make files into a 1st class Drupal object. We'll be creating a test suite for functionality in the hook_file patch to validate it and "grease the wheels" to get it committed.

The other goals of this sprint pale in comparison to the first in utility, but are still highly desirable and worthwhile.

Number Two: Refactor File Functionality in Core

As an extension to the first goal, there is a lot of inconsistency with how Drupal currently handles files. For instance, in some areas a function may return an object, and in others a string. Additionally, some functions are misnamed, or try to do too much to be useful as a file API.

Some specific examples: for what it does, file_check_directory may be better suited as something like file_check_writable, or maybe even split into that and file_check_make_writable. Also, for instance, file_scan_directory needs to return file objects, rather than the current associative array (keyed on the provided key) of objects with "path", "basename", and "name" members corresponding to the matching files. (The function does what it needs to, but the returned objects have keys not corresponding to anything else used in core.)

So goal Number Two: refactor file functionality in core. The means? Go through and check for (and fix!) existing file functionality for documentation and consistency.

Number Three: Spruce up Existing Contributed Media Modules

There are several much needed multimedia modules that have not yet been upgraded to Drupal 6 (or which are still in heavy progress). This includes (but is not limited to) Image Field, Image API, and Embedded Media Field. Additionally, some major improvements can be made, both to these, and to other essentials, such as the Image module, such as creating a migration path from Image to Image Field (once that module is stable).

So goal Number Three: spruce up existing contributed media modules. The means? Get these modules upgraded!

I want to recognize the valiant and heroic efforts made by everyone to date, as fortunately, there has already been significant progress on all these fronts. That makes our job (relatively) easy. In some respects, we just need to finish up the jobs that have
already been started.

Thus, drewish declared this week the Media Code Sprint!

We need you to help. If you are a developer, or want to be a developer, jump on in! If you aren't ready to develop, or consider yourself too new for that, you can still help test patches and functionality. Jump on in! And please, even if you don't know how to apply a patch, you can still help with documentation and other small (but important) tasks. Jump on in!

If you're in Portland, You Have No Excuse®. If not, you can jump into #drupal in IRC any time you're available.

The official dates for the sprint are today (Wednesday July 23, 2008) through Saturday (the 26th). We'll be online and working most of that time. I'll make sure we continue to post progress as the week develops.

Of course, as is the wonderful nature of Drupal, this is an ongoing process. Even if we achieve our stated goals, there will always be more.

Thanks,
Aaron Winborn

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