Elsewhere

Steve Kemp: A tale of two products

Planet Debian - Fri, 15/08/2014 - 14:14

This is a random post inspired by recent purchases. Some things we buy are practical, others are a little arbitrary.

I tend to avoid buying things for the sake of it, and have explicitly started decluttering our house over the past few years. That said sometimes things just seem sufficiently "cool" that they get bought without too much thought.

This entry is about two things.

A couple of years ago my bathroom was ripped apart and refitted. Gone was the old and nasty room, and in its place was a glorious space. There was only one downside to the new bathroom - you turn on the light and the fan comes on too.

When your wife works funny shifts at the hospital you can find that the (quiet) fan sounds very loud in the middle of the night and wakes you up..

So I figured we could buy a couple of LED lights and scatter them around the place - when it is dark the movement sensors turn on the lights.

These things are amazing. We have one sat on a shelf, one velcroed to the bottom of the sink, and one on the floor, just hidden underneath the toilet.

Due to the shiny-white walls of the room they're all you need in the dark.

By contrast my second purchase was a mistake - The Logitech Harmony 650 Universal Remote Control should be great. It clearly has the features I want - Able to power:

  • Our TV.
  • Our Sky-box.
  • OUr DVD player.

The problem is solely due to the horrific software. You program the device via an application/website which works only under Windows.

I had to resort to installing Windows in a virtual machine to make it run:

# Get the Bus/ID for the USB device bus=$(lsusb |grep -i Harmony | awk '{print $2}' | tr -d 0) id=$(lsusb |grep -i Harmony | awk '{print $4}' | tr -d 0:) # pass to kvm kvm -localtime .. -usb -device usb-host,hostbus=$bus,hostaddr=$id ..

That allows the device to be passed through to windows, though you'll later have to jump onto the Qemu console to re-add the device as the software disconnects and reconnects it at random times, and the bus changes. Sigh.

I guess I can pretend it works, and has cut down on the number of remotes sat on our table, but .. The overwhelmingly negative setup and configuration process has really soured me on it.

There is a linux application which will take a configuration file and squirt it onto the device, when attached via a USB cable. This software, which I found during research prior to buying it, is useful but not as much as I'd expected. Why? Well the software lets you upload the config file, but to get a config file you must fully complete the setup on Windows. It is impossible to configure/use this device solely using GNU/Linux.

(Apparently there is MacOS software too, I don't use macs. *shrugs*)

In conclusion - Motion-activated LED lights, more useful than expected, but Harmony causes Discord.

Categories: Elsewhere

Morten.dk: Frontend United copenhagen 2014

Planet Drupal - Fri, 15/08/2014 - 12:29

Welcome back from your summer vacation. Now its time to get out of the sun, and get indoors and geeking out!
Its gonna be the fifth time for Frontend Drupal Badass'es that we gather and discuss & talk Drupal Frontend. We have done this since 2010 (Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, London) and now its time for the bike loving city of copenhagen to again host a little Drupal Event.

read more

Categories: Elsewhere

IXIS: We are 10 today - A look back

Planet Drupal - Fri, 15/08/2014 - 11:33

We are 10 today (ok strictly tomorrow but it's the weekend!)  We're all off to Centre Parcs over the bank holiday weekend to celebrate, and thought it was good time to reflect on some of the highlights and changes over the previous ten years.

read more

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal 8 and iOS: GSoC 2014 : An example iOS app project status

Planet Drupal - Fri, 15/08/2014 - 07:56
GSoC 2014 : An example iOS app project status

Hello Drupal Community,

I and my mentor Jeff Linwood ( https://www.drupal.org/u/jefflinwood ) we are very glad to inform you that GSoC 2014 project - an example iOS application for Drupal 8 has been completed.Links to all these projects along with demo video is given below. 

 

DrupalRESTKit : https://github.com/vivekvpandya/DrupalRESTKit

Tips&Tricks AFNetworking : https://github.com/vivekvpandya/TipsAndTricksAFNetworkingDrupal

Tips&Tricks NSURLSessionAPI : https://github.com/vivekvpandya/TipsAndTricksCFNetworkingDrupal

Demo :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iny71Kwgn_I

 

As per the requirement we have demonstrated CRUD operation for content entity , login - logout , fetching data from REST export ( for view). Due to file related bug in REST module () we are unable to demonstrate CRUD on file resources. We have used AFNetworking and we have also created same project with NSURLSession API.

 

 We have also created a generic DrupalRESTKit it simplifies developers task for CRUD on content entity, user, and comments. And still we are improving it. Any suggestion and feature requests are welcomed. If  you are an iOS developer then you can participate too. 

 

We have several other ideas in mind like we want to create an iOS app that can control Drupal 8 settings and configuration like putting site on maintenance mode, approving comments , user etc.

Is you face any problem regarding iOS and Drupal 8 communication ( specially REST module ) I would like to help you please mail me at vivekvpandya@gmail.com. If you find my project useful please intimate me. 

 

Tags:
Categories: Elsewhere

Juliana Louback: JSCommunicator 2.0 (Beta) is Live!

Planet Debian - Fri, 15/08/2014 - 01:06

This is the last week of Google Summer of Code 2014 - all good things must come to an end. To wrap things up, I’ve merged all my work on JSCommunicator into a new version with all the added features. You can now demo the new and improved (or at least so I hope) JSCommunicator on rtc.debian.org!

JSCommunicator 2.0 has an assortment of new add-ons, the most important new features are the Instant Messaging component and the internationalization support.

The UI has been reorganized but we are currently not using a skin for color scheme - will be posting about that in a bit. The idea is to have a more neutral look that can be easily customized and integrated with other web apps.

A chat session is automatically opened when you begin a call with someone - unless you already started a chat session with said someone. Sound alerts for new incoming messages are optional in the config file, visual alerts occur when an inactive chat tab receives a new message. Future work includes multiple user chat sessions and adapting the layout to a large amount of chat tabs. Currently it only handles 6. (Should I allow more? Who chats with more than 6 people at once? 14 year old me would, but now I just can’t handle that. Anyway, I welcome advice on how to go about this. Should we do infinite tabs or if not, what’s the cut-off?)

About internationalization, I’m uber proud to say we currently run in 6 languages! The 6 are English (default), Spanish, French, Portuguese, Hebrew and German. But one thing I must mention is that since I added new stuff to JSCommunicator, some of the new stuff doesn’t have a translation. I took care of the Portuguese translation and Yehuda Korotkin quickly turned in the Hebrew translation, but we are still missing an update for Spanish, French and German. If you can contribute, please do. There are about 10 new labels to translate, you can fix the issue here. Or if you’re short on time, shoot me an email with the translation for what’s on the right side of the ‘=’:

welcome = Welcome,

call = Call

chat = Chat

enter_contact = Enter contact

type_to_chat = type to chat…

start_chat = start chat

me = me

logout = Logout

no_contact = Please enter a contact.

remember_me = Remember me

I’ll merge it myself but I’ll be sure to add you to the authors list - or maybe I’ll just take all the glory and pretend to be a polyglot.

Categories: Elsewhere

Gregor Herrmann: RC bugs 2014/13 - 2014/33

Planet Debian - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 22:32

perl 5.20 got uploaded to debian unstable a few minutes ago; be prepared for some glitches when upgrading sid machines/chroots in the next days, while all 557 reverse dependencies are rebuilt via binNMUs.

how does this relate to this blog post's title? it does, since during the last weeks I was mostly trying to help with the preparation of this transition. & we managed to fix quite a few bugs while they were not bumped to serious yet, otherwise the list below would be a bit longer :)

anyway, here are the the RC bugs I've worked on in the last 20 or so weeks:

  • #711614 – src:libscriptalicious-perl: "libscriptalicious-perl: FTBFS with perl 5.18: test hang"
    upload new upstream release (pkg-perl)
  • #711616 – src:libtest-refcount-perl: "libtest-refcount-perl: FTBFS with perl 5.18: test failures"
    build-depend on fixed version (pkg-perl)
  • #719835 – libdevel-findref-perl: "libdevel-findref-perl: crash in XS_Devel__FindRef_find_ on Perl 5.18"
    upload new upstream release (pkg-perl)
  • #720021 – src:libhtml-template-dumper-perl: "libhtml-template-dumper-perl: FTBFS with perl 5.18: test failures"
    mark fragile test as TODO (pgk-perl)
  • #720271 – src:libnet-jabber-perl: "libnet-jabber-perl: FTBFS with perl 5.18: test failures"
    add patch to sort hash (pkg-perl)
  • #726948 – libmath-bigint-perl: "libmath-bigint-perl: uninstallable in sid - obsoleted by perl 5.18"
    upload new upstream release (pkg-perl)
  • #728634 – src:fusesmb: "fusesmb: FTBFS: configure: error: Please install libsmbclient header files."
    finally upload to DELAYED/2 with patch from November (using pkg-config)
  • #730936 – src:libaudio-mpd-perl: "libaudio-mpd-perl: FTBFS: Tests errors"
    upload new upstream release (pkg-perl)
  • #737434 – src:libmojomojo-perl: "[src:libmojomojo-perl] Sourceless file (minified)"
    add unminified version of javascript file to source package (pkg-perl)
  • #739505 – libcgi-application-perl: "libcgi-application-perl: CVE-2013-7329: information disclosure flaw"
    upload with patch prepared by carnil (pkg-perl)
  • #739809 – src:libgtk2-perl: "libgtk2-perl: FTBFS: Test failure"
    add patch from Colin Watson (pkg-perl)
  • #743086 – src:libmousex-getopt-perl: "libmousex-getopt-perl: FTBFS: Tests failures"
    add patch from CPAN RT (pkg-perl)
  • #743099 – src:libclass-refresh-perl: "libclass-refresh-perl: FTBFS: Tests failures"
    upload new upstream release (pkg-perl)
  • #745792 – encfs: "[PATCH] Fixing FTBFS on i386 and kfreebsd-i386"
    use DEB_HOST_MULTIARCH to find libraries, upload to DELAYED/2
  • #746148 – src:redshift: "redshift: FTBFS: configure: error: missing dependencies for VidMode method"
    add missing build dependency, upload to DELAYED/2
  • #747771 – src:bti: "bti: FTBFS: configure: line 3571: syntax error near unexpected token `PKG_CHECK_MODULES'"
    add missing build dependency
  • #748996 – libgd-securityimage-perl: "libgd-securityimage-perl: should switch to use libgd-perl"
    update (build) dependency (pkg-perl)
  • #749509 – src:visualvm: "visualvm: FTBFS: debian/visualvm/...: Directory nonexistent"
    use override_dh_install-indep in debian/rules (pkg-java)
  • #749825 – src:libtime-parsedate-perl: "libtime-parsedate-perl: trying to overwrite '/usr/share/man/man3/Time::ParseDate.3pm.gz', which is also in package libtime-modules-perl 2011.0517-1"
    add missing Breaks/Replaces (pkg-perl)
  • #749938 – libnet-ssh2-perl: "libnet-ssh2-perl: FTBFS: libgcrypt20 vs. libcrypt11"
    upload package with fixed build-dep, prepared by Daniel Lintott (pkg-perl)
  • #750276 – libhttp-async-perl: "libhttp-async-perl: FTBFS: Tests failures"
    upload new upstream release prepared by Daniel Lintott (pkg-perl)
  • #750283 – src:xacobeo: "xacobeo: FTBFS: Tests failures when network is accessible"
    add missing build dependency (pkg-perl)
  • #750305 – src:libmoosex-app-cmd-perl: "libmoosex-app-cmd-perl: FTBFS: Tests failures"
    add patch to fix test regexps (pkg-perl)
  • #750325 – src:libtemplate-plugin-latex-perl: "libtemplate-plugin-latex-perl: FTBFS: Tests failures"
    upload new upstream releases prepared by Robert James Clay (pkg-perl)
  • #750341 – src:cpanminus: "cpanminus: FTBFS: Trying to write outside builddir"
    set HOME for tests (pkg-perl)
  • #750564 – obexftp: "missing license in debian/copyright"
    add missing license to debian/copyright, QA upload
  • #750770 – libsereal-decoder-perl: "libsereal-decoder-perl: FTBFS on various architectures"
    upload new upstream development release (pkg-perl)
  • #751044 – packaging-tutorial: "packaging-tutorial: FTBFS - File `bxcjkjatype.sty' not found."
    send a patch (updated build-depends) to the BTS
  • #751563 – src:tuxguitar: "tuxguitar: depends on xulrunner which is no more"
    do some triaging (pkg-java)
  • #752171 – src:pcp: "pcp: Build depends on autoconf"
    upload NMU prepared by Xilin Sun, adding missing build dependency
  • #752347 – highlight: "highlight: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    use executable .install file for perl library path, upload to DELAYED/5
  • #752349 – src:nflog-bindings: "nflog-bindings: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    use executable .install file for perl library path, upload to DELAYED/5
  • #752469 – clearsilver: "clearsilver: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    use executable .install file for perl library path, upload to DELAYED/5
  • #752470 – ekg2: "ekg2: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    calculate perl lib path at build time, QA upload
  • #752472 – fwknop: "fwknop: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    use $Config{vendorarch} in debian/rules, upload to DELAYED/5
  • #752476 – handlersocket: "handlersocket: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    create .install from .install.in at build time, QA upload
  • #752704 – lcgdm: "lcgdm: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    create .install from .install.in at build time, upload to DELAYED/5
  • #752705 – libbuffy-bindings: "libbuffy-bindings: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    pass value of $Config{vendorarch} to dh_install in debian/rules, upload to DELAYED/5
  • #752710 – liboping: "liboping: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    use executable .install file for perl library path, upload to DELAYED/5
  • #752714 – lockdev: "lockdev: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    use $Config{vendorarch} in debian/rules, upload to DELAYED/5
  • #752716 – ming: "ming: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    NMU with the minimal changes from the next release
  • #752799 – obexftp: "obexftp: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    calculate perl lib path at build time, QA upload
  • #752810 – src:razor: "razor: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    use $Config{vendorarch} in debian/rules, upload to DELAYED/5
  • #752812 – src:redland-bindings: "redland-bindings: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    use $Config{vendorarch} in debian/rules, upload to DELAYED/5
  • #752815 – src:stfl: "stfl: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    create .install from .install.in at build time, upload to DELAYED/5
  • #752924 – libdbix-class-perl: "libdbix-class-perl: FTBFS: Failed test 'Cascading delete on Ordered has_many works'"
    add patch from upstream git (pkg-perl)
  • #752928 – libencode-arabic-perl: "libencode-arabic-perl: FTBFS with newer Encode: Can't locate object method "export_to_level" via package "Encode""
    add patch from Niko Tyni (pkg-perl)
  • #752982 – src:libwebservice-musicbrainz-perl: "libwebservice-musicbrainz-perl: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    pass create_packlist=0 to Build.PL, upload to DELAYED/5
  • #752988 – libnet-dns-resolver-programmable-perl: "libnet-dns-resolver-programmable-perl: broken with newer Net::DNS"
    add patch from CPAN RT (pkg-perl)
  • #752989 – libio-callback-perl: "libio-callback-perl: FTBFS with Perl 5.20: alternative dependencies"
    versioned close (pkg-perl)
  • #753026 – libje-perl: "libje-perl: FTBFS with Perl 5.20: test failures"
    upload new upstream release (pkg-perl)
  • #753038 – libplack-test-anyevent-perl: "libplack-test-anyevent-perl: FTBFS with Perl 5.20: alternative dependencies"
    versioned close (pkg-perl)
  • #753057 – libinline-java-perl: "libinline-java-perl: broken symlinks when built under perl 5.20"
    fix symlinks to differing paths in perl 5.18 vs. 5.20 (pkg-perl)
  • #753144 – src:net-snmp: "net-snmp: FTBFS on kfreebsd-amd64 - 'struct kinfo_proc' has no member named 'kp_eproc'"
    add patch from Niko Tyni, upload to DELAYED/5, later reschedules to 0-day with maintainer's approval
  • #753214 – src:license-reconcile: "license-reconcile: FTBFS: Tests failures"
    make (build) dependency versioned (pkg-perl)
  • #753237 – src:libcgi-application-plugin-ajaxupload-perl: "libcgi-application-plugin-ajaxupload-perl: Tests failures"
    make (build) dependency versioned (pkg-perl)
  • #754125 – libimager-perl: "libimager-perl: FTBFS on s390x"
    close bug, package builds again after libpng upload (pkg-perl)
  • #754691 – src:libio-interface-perl: "libio-interface-perl: FTBFS on kfreebsd-*: invalid storage class for function 'XS_IO__Interface_if_flags'"
    add patch which adds a missing } (pkg-perl)
  • #754993 – libdevice-usb-perl: "libdevice-usb-perl: FTBFS with newer Inline(::C)"
    workaround an Inline bug in debian/rules
  • #755028 – src:libtk-tablematrix-perl: "libtk-tablematrix-perl: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    use $Config{vendorarch} in debian/rules, upload to DELAYED/5
  • #755324 – src:pinto: "pinto: FTBFS: Tests failures"
    add patch to "use" required module (pkg-perl)
  • #755332 – src:libdevel-nytprof-perl: "libdevel-nytprof-perl: FTBFS: Tests failures"
    mark failing tests temporarily as TODO (pkg-perl)
  • #757754 – obexftp: "obexftp: FTBFS: format not a string literal and no format arguments [-Werror=format-security]"
    add patch with format argument, QA upload
  • #757774 – src:libwx-glcanvas-perl: "libwx-glcanvas-perl: hardcodes /usr/lib/perl5"
    build-depend on new libwx-perl (pkg-perl)
  • #757855 – libwx-perl: "libwx-perl: embeds exact wxWidgets version, needs stricter dependencies"
    use virtual package provided by alien-wxwidgets (pkg-perl)
  • #758127 – src:libwx-perl: "libwx-perl: FTBFS on arm*"
    report and try to debug new build failure (pkg-perl)

p.s.: & now, go & enjoy the new perl 5.20 features :)

Categories: Elsewhere

Metal Toad: Drupal 7 Form API: Using #states with multiple conditionals (AND, OR and XOR)

Planet Drupal - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 20:53

I've been playing with D7 forms lately and have found #states to be somewhat challenging due to lack of documentation on Form API page.
I've poked around a bit and decided to write a blog with my findings in case someone else is in need of this info down the road.
If you are looking for a robust solution for conditional fields, I would suggest looking into conditional fields.

Categories: Elsewhere

Dries Buytaert: Drupal.com refresh launched

Planet Drupal - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 19:52
Topic: Drupal

Back in the early days of Drupal, Drupal.com looked like this:

Drupal.com as launched in 2005.

On August 14 2009, I relaunched Drupal.com to replace the oh-so-embarrassing placeholder page. The 2009 re-launch turned Drupal.com into a better spotlight for Drupal. It wasn't hard to beat the white page with a Druplicon logo.

Drupal.com as launched in 2009.

What was a good spotlight five years ago though is no longer a good spotlight today. Five years later, Drupal.com didn't do Drupal justice. It didn't really explain what Drupal is, what you can use Drupal for, and more. Along with sub-optimal content, the site wasn't optimized for mobile use either.

Today, exactly five years later to the day, I'm excited to announce that I relaunched Drupal.com again:

Redesigning Drupal.com to make it more useful and current has been one of my New Year's resolutions for a number of years now. And as of today, I can finally strike that off my list.

The new Drupal.com has become richer in its content; you'll find a bit more information about Drupal to help people understand what Drupal is all about and how to get started with Drupal. On a desktop, on a tablet, on a phone, the site has become much easier to navigate and read.

I believe the new Drupal.com is a much better, more relevant showcase for Drupal. The goal is to update the site more regularly and to keep adding to it. My next step is to add more use cases and to include short demo videos of both the Drupal backend as well as the showcases. Drupal.com will become an increasingly helpful resource and starting point for people who are evaluating Drupal.

The changes are not limited to content and look; Drupal.com also has a new engine as the site was upgraded from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 alpha (don't try this at home). We're using Drupal 8 to push the boundaries of site building and responsive design and to uncover bugs and usability issues with Drupal 8. Because we're using an alpha version of Drupal 8, things might not function perfectly yet. We’d still love to hear feedback from designers and front end developers on how it’s working.

Categories: Elsewhere

Aten Design Group: Making Sense of Drupal Views Relationships and Entity References

Planet Drupal - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 17:43

If you're not already familiar with the subject, check out Joel Steidl's intro to Entity References.

Drupal has some powerful tools for creating and managing complex content relationships. Views relationships using Entity References across more than one content type can be used to establish multi-tiered content relationships. The results can be great, but setting up Entity References across content types with Views can be... well, complicated.

We recently added new functionality to a client’s site that involved Entity References to group content and display it dynamically. The project included a sidebar of links to all the related content that spanned three content types. This wasn’t really possible as a menu block because the links needed to contain some of the actual content. I also considered doing all of this in code but that could mean running a number of extra database queries on every page load. With Views, all of that can be easily cached.

When it comes to relationships in Views, creating a relationship from one content type to another, the number of permutations is usually small enough that it only takes a few minutes to try all of them until you get the desired output. When you try to relate content to content to content, the permutations of configuration options in Views gets a little unwieldy. And, I create and/or modify Views with complicated relationships so infrequently that I never remember how to do it. Trying to debug the query built by Views looks even scarier. Clayton Dewey was able to assist me, and we got relationships working even when needing to chain five different nodes together through their reference fields.

Here’s one portion of the sidebar:


Rather than go through the specific case with our client, I’ve setup a very general one.

Content Type A has an entity reference field to Content Type B. Content Type B has an entity reference field to Content Type C:


Here’s how that content relates.


When trying to set this up in views, relationship descriptions for entity reference fields don’t help. Is it A bridge to the Content entity that is referencing Content via field_other_content or is it A bridge to the Content entity that is referenced via field_content?

A bridge to the Content entity that is referenced via field_content means your entity is referenced by another via an entity reference field. A bridge to the Content entity that is referencing Content via field_other_content means your entity has the reference field. This will become more clear as we go through our example.

Let’s say we’re on the page for node 4, of Content Type C, and on this page we want to list all the related nodes that are of Content Type C. To do that, you need the B node referencing your C node. Then the A node referencing the B node. Next all the B nodes referenced by the A node. Finally, all C nodes referenced by the B nodes. Phew!

To do this with Views, we start with a contextual filter of the current node.


Next we setup the layers of relationships. First from that C node to the B node. Thus we’re using an entity reference relationship called A bridge to the Content entity that is referencing Content via field_c. Each B node has an entity reference field to its C nodes. To make things easier to read we’re setting the Identifier and the Administrative title.


To get the A node we need another relationship for the entity reference field in A nodes I’ve named field_b. A bridge to the Content entity that is referencing Content via field_b. Again, the content this relationship gives you is doing the referencing. And we’re connecting it to the previous relationship.


Now we want to go back down the chain and get all B nodes. So, now we’ve got content that is referenced. So, we use A bridge to the Content entity that is referenced via field_b. Again, include the previous relationship.


To get all C nodes it’s done the same way.


Finally, to output the titles of all those C nodes, we use the correct relationship for that field. For this Views preview we use the nid of C 4, and get the following output of node titles:


You’ll want to turn on caching for the database queries and if possible, for the rendered HTML in query settings.

See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Categories: Elsewhere

Localize.drupal.org: We love localize.drupal.org BoF at DrupalCon Amsterdam

Planet Drupal - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 17:42

There is a huge amount of exciting things happening around Drupal multilingual at DrupalCon Amsterdam. This time we'll have a meetup of all the people who love localize.drupal.org. The site seriously needs people who care about it enough to devote time to maintaining and fixing bugs. I set up this BoF to gather people interesting in the well-being of the site titled We love localize.drupal.org. We need to upgrade to Drupal 7, support the whole range of new Drupal 8 APIs, drastically improve performance and then get new features going. See you there!

read more

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal Association News: NERD Summit: Building Diversity in New England's Open Source Community

Planet Drupal - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 16:45

Sometime last year, a local Drupalist named Kelly Albrecht reached out to me. He had this idea that came out of his own personal experiences, and was further inspired by NYC Camp and Forest Mars (Forest, of course, coined the acronym NERDS). The first-ever NERD (New England Regional Developers) Summit will be held at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, September 12-14, 2014. Its seed was, in part, the Western Mass Drupal Camp. But in the interests of making Drupal better, NERDS has a bigger mission and a bigger tent.

In starting NERDS, Kelly’s “a-ha!” moment came when he was having trouble finding good developers to hire at Last Call Media. He found an amazing new addition to his development team, but she had to be urged to apply for the job because she assumed she wasn’t good enough. Now she’s one of his best developers. All of this caused him to wonder: How many more closeted tech geeks, who are usually marginalized in our industry for various reasons, could be encouraged to learn the skills they need to be great web professionals?

Kelly was also thinking about all the other things going on right now in Drupal, and in other open source communities. We all know the incredibly important post by Larry Garfield, Getting off the island. Drupal is working hard to cross-pollinate with other open source technologies. I like to call that “tech diversity”. We also know that the Drupal community is working hard to increase human diversity in its community as well. And there is increasing awareness that diversity in open source, and in tech in general, will help make our technologies, our companies, and our working lives better.

As the NERDS steering committee came together to start talking, a clear vision started to form. What if we put a huge effort into making a richer, more diverse talent pool in New England? What if we put on a free, welcoming, friendly, annual conference, where people could come together to learn with and from peers?  Would that start to shift things for the better? What if we also brought Drupal, Wordpress, general web development, UX strategists, Rubyists, Python coders, hackers, and everyone together for this event, so that we could get off our islands and out of our silos and grow our communities? Would these connections then help spur momentum for ongoing collaborative, informal learning and business networking throughout the rest of the year?

So those are the main ideas behind NERDS. Kelly, myself, and a great bunch of volunteers are working to help make it a reality. Even though we’re new and a little disorganized, we’ve got momentum, passion, and the willingness to experiment and iterate. If being part of this idea appeals to you, please consider submitting a session by 8/15, volunteering to do planning tasks now or event tasks on the day(s) of the conference, or joining Acquia, Pantheon, and others in sponsoring the conference (there are many levels and options, and you can get mad karma points for sponsoring childcare). Tomorrow’s richer, better, more diverse open source communities will thank you.

NERDS in a Nutshell
Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal Association News: Join the Next Drupal Association Board Meeting: 20 August

Planet Drupal - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 16:35

Our next board meeting is scheduled for 20 August, 2014 and in addition to our regular updates we will have a couple of great topics to discuss: DrupalCon Austin Recap and Licensing issues on Drupal.org. 

Our DrupalCon Austin Recap will cover all the results of the Con, from the logistics to the sessions, to the marketing, to the finances. There is a lot of great news to report, along with some really great questions that we are going to have to answer to continue to improve the conference.

Licensing on Drupal.org has been an issue for a very long time now. With so much contributed content, so few volunteers in this area, and with little guidance, the policies we do have in place have been applied inconsistently and some issues that have been reported have never really been addressed. I pulled together a group of folks who have been working on licensing over the years and they developed a proposal for the board's consideration about how to best move forward to provide clear, consistent, and timely action for licensing issues. 

All of the materials for the board meeting can be found online, and we hope you'll join us on 20 August!

Flickr photo: Kristen Pol

Categories: Elsewhere

Forum One: Running Drupal on HHVM

Planet Drupal - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 16:14

Last March, Facebook announced HACK, a new open source programming language for its HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM) touted to interoperate seamlessly with PHP. Following the announcement, I was fascinated watching everything they attempted with the new release in trying to wring as much performance as possible from PHP. This gave me an idea: Although we don’t face the exact challenges that Facebook does on a daily basis, it would be interesting to see what would happen if I tried running Drupal under HHVM, the latest iteration of Facebook’s execution engine.

Official HHVM packages are only distributed for Ubuntu and Debian, but thankfully some enterprising people have packaged them up for CentOS. So with a quick stand up of a Virtual Machine and some additional packages, we were good to go. To test, we chose a fairly complex site that we developed last year, built on the usual Panels and Display Suite with significant relationships between the content. This meant that on any given page, Drupal was likely to load and render several entities beyond just the one on the page.

I took the current PHP and database for the site and stood it up on a local VM with 4 cores and 6.5 GB of memory. We did some minor optimization of FPM to set the number of servers, along with some increases to the caches in MySQL. Other than that, it’s pretty much a vanilla installation of PHP 5.3 with XCache, Percona 5.5, and nginx. The goal was to provide as much of an “apples to apples” comparison of the two interpreters without as much regard for making everything as fast possible. We then spidered the site and sampled out 1000 URLs at random and ran JMeter to generate 30 concurrent requests against the site running with HHVM and PHP-FPM. We recorded time and load on the server.

PHP-FPM

Starting off, we ran the test against a cold start of the site. We cleared the Drupal cache and restarted nginx, PHP-FPM and MySQL. We then hit the home page with a single request to build the persistently cached items. As the requests started ramping up, the time to complete each one went up as expected.

Average response time sampled every 5 seconds, cold start

What was happening on the server mirrors that.

Overall CPU and memory usage, cold start

We checked the actual processes that were generating the CPU and memory usage, in this case only pulling out mysqld since tracking each process from PHP-FHM was challenging.

CPU usage for mysqld, cold start

Memory usage for mysqld, cold start

MySQL was using anywhere from 40 – 60%, with a few spikes to just over 100% of one core. All the other cores were entirely used by PHP-FPM. Similarly, MySQL was using, on average, about 300 MB of memory. I’m not entirely sure what was causing the areas where processing pauses and response times spike. I saw them on all scenarios, and my guess is that they were due to some sort of I/O blocking, maybe from MySQL or nginx.

As a second test, we ran the exact same URLs against the system, clearing the Drupal cache to see if a burn in iteration for XCache and MySQL would help. Overall, it reduced the median response time by a whole 400 milliseconds and increased the throughput by a whopping 2.081 pages per minute. The response times in general were a little more choppy with fewer of the peaks and valleys from the previous run, but the results were pretty consistent.

Average response time sampled every 5 seconds, warm start

Overall CPU and memory usage, warm start

HHVM

After that we restarted the machine, switching out PHP-FPM for HHVM. Thankfully, it supports fastCGI, so it was a simple matter of altering the nginx configuration slightly. The setup was the exact same as for PHP-FPM; we made sure that the Drupal cache was cleared and restarted MySQL and nginx. We then hit the homepage with a single request and started up JMeter.

Average response time sampled every 5 seconds, cold start

The first thing we noticed was that it completed in just under half the time, 6:28 as opposed to 13:21. Every part of the response graph was better, and both the peaks and valleys were significantly lower. The little hiccup at the very start before it dropped, was the JIT compiler running.

Looking at the server stats, those were improved as well.

Overall CPU and memory usage, cold start

HHVM runs as a single process, so we were able to capture CPU and memory usage separately for them.

CPU usage for mysqld and hhvm, cold start

Memory usage for mysqld and hhvm, cold start

Just looking at these graphs, it’s pretty easy to tell a couple of things. Namely, both CPU and memory usage for HHVM are improved over PHP-FPM. Peak memory usage for HHVM was just about 320 MB for a total system usage of approximately 20% compared to the 25 – 26% under PHP-FPM. Likewise, total CPU usage was lower with only a couple of spikes to over 90% and the median closer to 60%, compared to consistent spike to 95% CPU and a median closer to 70 – 75%.

Similar to the PHP-FPM test, we also ran the scenario against a warm start of HHVM. Like PHP-FPM, there was very little difference, only about a 200 millisecond difference in median response time.

Analysis

If we are to look at the high level, HHVM compares very well to PHP-FPM.

We saw more than double the throughput and less than half the average response time. Combined with the decrease in system resources needed, it’s a pretty compelling argument to switch to HHVM.

There are some important considerations, however. The biggest is that while the HHVM team is attempting to get as close to Zend PHP as possible, they aren’t there yet. As of the latest reports, HHVM passes 99.83% of the unit tests for Drupal, but there’s no idea how whatever idiosyncrasies exist in various contributed modules will affect it. For instance, we couldn’t get GD to work at all, despite all indications that it should. Thankfully, it’s easily replaceable with ImageMagick – for most manipulations. In fact, we didn’t run into any pages during our test that failed with HHVM, but you never know what might not work until you actually run into it. In addition, the testing was done entirely on the front end. While we went through a couple of common scenarios on the administrative side, we didn’t test that thoroughly. Some PHP modules have been ported, such as APC and memcache, and there is work by third parties to add others, such as MongoDB, Ice and Redis, but many modules haven’t and probably will never be.

It’s also a moving target. Right now the HHVM team is looking at around an 8-week release cycle. Presumably there won’t be significant regressions as they move forward, but you never know. Similarly, they are targeting Ubuntu and Debian for official packages, so if you’re running Fedora or CentOS you have to either build from source or depend on a third party repository that may not be up to date.

Disclaimers

The performance results shown above are from running a production site on a very much ‘non-production’ virtual machine running on MacBook Pro with a 2.3 GHz Core i7 processor. There was very little tuning on any portion of the stack to ensure best performance. Load testing was performed from a separate machine over a wireless network, albeit one that was not being used for any other purpose. The load testing did not include any wait time or requests for non-PHP assets and was not intended to simulate real usage, merely to benchmark the performance of the PHP interpreters.

 

Categories: Elsewhere

Gábor Hojtsy: All the multilingual happenings at DrupalCon Amsterdam

Planet Drupal - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 15:51

DrupalCon Amsterdam is coming up in just a few weeks and it is full of opportunities to learn about and get all your questions answered when it comes to multilingual Drupal. What's better, you can get involved making things happen and learn from those implementing the features firsthand. Here are my picks:

Multilingual Drupal 8 site building and programming

  • There is no excuse to not attend some of the sprints at and around DrupalCon. Sprints start two days ahead of the start of the conference on Saturday the week before. And there are still sprints going on the Sunday after the conference. It is not just the last day of DrupalCon itself where you can get involved and make a difference. In fact the leads are actually focusing more on the sprint on the weekend days. Also the weekend sprints are in a really cool venue. The best way to learn is to do!
  • You are looking for more of a directed guide of Drupal 8 still with the possibility to do it all hands-on? Look no further than the Drupal 8 multilingual hands-on lab presented by Aimee Degnan of Hook42 and myself from Acquia. The schedule info is a bit misleading, this session spans two timeslots and lasts two hours. Bring your laptop with Drupal 8 freshly installed!
  • Dive deeper into the APIs of Drupal 8! Francesco Placella from Tag1 presents Multilingual Content in D8: a Highly Evolved Permutated API showing how to code with the new system. While not strictly multilingual, in Field API is dead. Long live Entity Field API! swentel, yched and amateescu show how the most essential content element storage system changed and this is full of multilingual support of course.
Multilingual Drupal 7 site building and programming Moving localize.drupal.org forward

The localize.drupal.org site seriously needs people who care about it enough to devote time to maintaining and fixing bugs. I set up one more BoF to gather people interesting in the well-being of this site titled We love localize.drupal.org. We need to upgrade to Drupal 7, support the whole range of new Drupal 8 APIs, drastically improve performance and then get new features going.

These are all the multilingual pieces that I collected. There may still be more, BoF scheduling just started and I may have missed a session or two. Let us know in the comments what other great events happen around multilingual Drupal. See you in Amsterdam!

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal @ Penn State: Delicious Drush desserts

Planet Drupal - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 14:03

I'm incredibly lazy, motivated, but lazy; and I hope you are too. This drives all of us to try and automate everything in life and makes Drupal developers look like rock stars of productivity while lounging in sleep pants with their morning coffee. What am I talking about? Drush, and specifically a new form of chain automation with drush that I'm going to be show-casing today. This is something I've been raving about the sandbox / dev build of on twitter for awhile now.

Categories: Elsewhere

Code Karate: Multiple Views Part 1

Planet Drupal - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 13:50
Episode Number: 162

In this episode you will learn how to set up the foundation of building a view that can display content in multiple ways. This video highlights how to set up the content type and view to display the content. In the coming videos in this series you will learn how to style and apply jQuery to change how the view displays the content.

Tags: DrupalContent TypesViewsDrupal 7Site BuildingDrupal PlanetCSSJavascriptJQuery
Categories: Elsewhere

Blair Wadman: How to (almost) eliminate comment spam with Drupal

Planet Drupal - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 12:23

A few weeks ago I was ready to turn off the comments on my blog. Despite having Mollom running, I was left with a non trivial amount of spam comments to manually deal with each day. It felt like a waste of my time. I love the great comments I get. But there are always people who want to ruin the party, and for the web, it is spammers.

On its own, Mollom is not effective enough.

Tags: Drupal Site buildingPlanet Drupal
Categories: Elsewhere

Daniel Pocock: Bug tracker or trouble ticket system?

Planet Debian - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 07:04

One of the issues that comes up from time to time in many organizations and projects (both community and commercial ventures) is the question of how to manage bug reports, feature requests and support requests.

There are a number of open source solutions and proprietary solutions too. I've never seen a proprietary solution that offers any significant benefit over the free and open solutions, so this blog only looks at those that are free and open.

Support request or bug?

One common point of contention is the distinction between support requests and bugs. Users do not always know the difference.

Some systems, like the Github issue tracker, gather all the requests together in a single list. Calling them "Issues" invites people to submit just about anything, such as "I forgot my password".

At the other extreme, some organisations are so keen to keep support requests away from their developers that they operate two systems and a designated support team copies genuine bugs from the customer-facing trouble-ticket/CRM system to the bug tracker. This reduces the amount of spam that hits the development team but there is overhead in running multiple systems and having staff doing cut and paste.

Will people use it?

Another common problem is that a full bug report template is overkill for some issues. If a user is asking for help with some trivial task and if the tool asks them to answer twenty questions about their system, application version, submit log files and other requirements then they won't use it at all and may just revert to sending emails or making phone calls.

Ideally, it should be possible to demand such details only when necessary. For example, if a support engineer routes a request to a queue for developers, then the system may guide the support engineer to make sure the ticket includes attributes that a ticket in the developers' queue should have.

Beyond Perl

Some of the most well known systems in this space are Bugzilla, Request Tracker and OTRS. All of these solutions are developed in Perl.

These days, Python, JavaScript/Node.JS and Java have taken more market share and Perl is chosen less frequently for new projects. Perl skills are declining and younger developers have usually encountered Python as their main scripting language at university.

My personal perspective is that this hinders the ability of Perl projects to attract new blood or leverage the benefits of new Python modules that don't exist in Perl at all.

Bugzilla has fallen out of the Debian and Ubuntu distributions after squeeze due to its complexity. In contrast, Fedora carries the Bugzilla packages and also uses it as their main bug tracker.

Evaluation

I recently started having a look at the range of options in the Wikipedia list of bug tracking systems.

Some of the trends that appear:

  • Many appear to be bug tracking systems rather than issue tracking / general-purpose support systems. How well do they accept non-development issues and keep them from spamming the developers while still providing a useful features for the subset of users who are doing development?
  • A number of them try to bundle other technologies, like wiki or FAQ systems: but how well do they work with existing wikis? This trend towards monolithic products is slightly dangerous. In my own view, a wiki embedded in some other product may not be as well supported as one of the leading purpose-built wikis.
  • Some of them also appear to offer various levels of project management. For development tasks, it is just about essential for dependencies and a roadmap to be tightly integrated with the bug/feature tracker but does it make the system more cumbersome for people dealing with support requests? Many support requests, like "I've lost my password", don't really have any relationship with project management or a project roadmap.
  • Not all appear to handle incoming requests by email. Bug tracking systems can be purely web/form-based, but email is useful for helpdesk systems.
Questions

This leaves me with some of the following questions:

  • Which of these systems can be used as a general purpose help-desk / CRM / trouble-ticket system while also being a full bug and project management tool for developers?
  • For those systems that don't work well for both use cases, which combinations of trouble-ticket system + bug manager are most effective, preferably with some automated integration?
  • Which are more extendable with modern programming practices, such as Python scripting and using Git?
  • Which are more future proof, with choice of database backend, easy upgrades, packages in official distributions like Debian, Ubuntu and Fedora, scalability, IPv6 support?
  • Which of them are suitable for the public internet and which are only considered suitable for private access?
Categories: Elsewhere

Craig Aschbrenner: Email fields missing feature? Email Confirmation!

Planet Drupal - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 05:50

On previous Drupal projects I've had the requirement to provide some sort of confirmation email to email addresses entered into an Email (module) field.  These were typically fields like "Work Email" or "Secondary Email".  I had written a few small custom modules to handle these cases but found myself repeating the same thing. I knew that this could be useful as a contrib but never got around to it.

I recently had a requirement to confirm email changes to the user account email (e.g. $user->mail). I went to my goto module for this situation, the Email Confirm module. But this time I decided to dive deeper into what Email Confirm was actually doing... and it looked fairly straight forward.  I was hoping that I could possibly extend this module to be used with an Email field, but that ended up not being the case.

So I decided to take the plunge and create the Email Field Confirm module. Boy was I in for a ride...

The Email Confirm module only works with the User entity which happens to have the $user->data property / db table. The module makes use of this to avoid any schema changes and retains the relationship of the new email address to the user account. I had started out down a similar path but came to realize this wasn't going to work for entities other than the User entity.  Node entities do not have the data property and I couldn't rely on other entity types to have it.  This is the point that I realized this was not going to be a simple module.

Time to really sit down and figure out what this module needed to do.

My goal was to allow for any new email address added to an Email Field to be (optionally) confirmed. A field can be reused on multiple entity types and bundles so I need to allow for configuration at the field instance along with storing any pending email address data down to the specific entity instance (e.g. entity_id). I also noticed that the Email Confirm module would stash the new email address away until it was confirmed so I added that to my list of desired features for Email Field Confirm.

Just tell me what it does already!

Features

At a high level, it met the goals I was after. A confirmation email will be sent to any new email addresses that have not already been confirmed by the same user elsewhere (e.g. another Email field) on the site. A field instance can optionally be configured to save the new email address with the entity or keep the original email address until the new one is confirmed.

This works on both single-value and multi-value Email fields, however there are some limitations with the multi-value field.

With multi-value fields it has proven more difficult to accurately identify what the original email value may be have been. I wasn't able to easily identify if the end user was changing an email address vs. just removing and adding another. It is also easy to re-order the values of a multi-value field so relying on the $delta wasn't helpful.

So with single-value fields we have the capability to retain the original email address until the new email address is confirmed. We also have the option to notify the original email address that a change has been made.

Some other notable features include:

  • Ability to resend a pending non-expired confirmation email.
  • Configure if the acting user (e.g. the user adding the email address) or the entity author/owner is responsible for confirming the email address.
  • Hooks for email confirmation and expiration. This module actually makes use of these to handle updating / revering single value email fields to the new or original value.
  • Rules integration -- with events similar to the aforementioned hooks.
  • Permission to bypass email confirmation. (typically for trusted roles.)
  • Permission to manually confirm any email address. (typically for administrative roles.)
  • Configurable confirmation and notification emails with token replacement.
Beta Release

There is currently a beta release available for download on the Email Field Confirm project page. It has been pretty stable so far. Besides having more sites use the module and report back and defects or feature requests, I hope to get some automated testing (most likely Behat) in place.

Categories: Elsewhere

Paul Rowell: Repeatable fieldsets in Drupal: Inline Entity Form Vs Field Collection

Planet Drupal - Thu, 14/08/2014 - 00:47

My last post on field collections involved revisioning with Workbench Moderation and the issues faced. Since then the module has been developed further, but I've also come across a potential replacement: Inline Entity Form. This is a short comparison of the two modules.

Categories: Elsewhere

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