Elsewhere

Red Crackle: Working with the Drupal Calendar Module

Planet Drupal - Thu, 21/05/2015 - 20:00
This article provides you with the steps required to create a Drupal event calendar. First, two modules are downloaded and enabled - Calendar and Date. A new content type called Events is then created. Two events are created based on this content type. A View is then configured to display the calendar featuring events.
Categories: Elsewhere

Jonathan McDowell: I should really learn systemd

Planet Debian - Thu, 21/05/2015 - 19:20

As I slowly upgrade all my machines to Debian 8.0 (jessie) they’re all ending up with systemd. That’s fine; my laptop has been running it since it went into testing whenever it was. Mostly I haven’t had to care, but I’m dimly aware that it has a lot of bits I should learn about to make best use of it.

Today I discovered systemctl is-system-running. Which I’m not sure why I’d use it, but when I ran it it responded with degraded. That’s not right, thought I. How do I figure out what’s wrong? systemctl --state=failed turned out to be the answer.

# systemctl --state=failed UNIT LOAD ACTIVE SUB DESCRIPTION ● systemd-modules-load.service loaded failed failed Load Kernel Modules LOAD = Reflects whether the unit definition was properly loaded. ACTIVE = The high-level unit activation state, i.e. generalization of SUB. SUB = The low-level unit activation state, values depend on unit type. 1 loaded units listed. Pass --all to see loaded but inactive units, too. To show all installed unit files use 'systemctl list-unit-files'.

Ok, so it’s failed to load some kernel modules. What’s it trying to load? systemctl status -l systemd-modules-load.service led me to /lib/systemd/systemd-modules-load which complained about various printer modules not being able to be loaded. Turned out this was because CUPS had dropped them into /etc/modules-load.d/cups-filters.conf on upgrade, and as I don’t have a parallel printer I hadn’t compiled up those modules. One of my other machines had also had an issue with starting up filesystem quotas (I think because there’d been some filesystems that hadn’t mounted properly on boot - my fault rather than systemd). Fixed that up and then systemctl is-system-running started returning a nice clean running.

Now this is probably something that was silently failing back under sysvinit, but of course nothing was tracking that other than some output on boot up. So I feel that I’ve learnt something minor about systemd that actually helped me cleanup my system, and sets me in better stead for when something important fails.

Categories: Elsewhere

Forum One: Behind the Curtain: The Making of the DrupalCon Prenote

Planet Drupal - Thu, 21/05/2015 - 19:00

I am never missing the #DrupalCon #prenote again. So brilliant.

— Kelley Curry (@BrightBold) May 12, 2015


DrupalCon always leaves me full of energy, and Amsterdam 2014 was no exception. The three of us – Adam Juran, me, and my wife Bryn – sat together on the short train ride back home to Cologne. Some chit chat and reminiscing quickly led to anticipation of the next DrupalCon, in LA. We were excited about the possibilities of this world-class host city. The home of Hollywood, Venice Beach, and Disneyland sounded like a great destination, but after three years of co-writing the DrupalCon “opening ceremony” with Jam and Robert, we were more excited about the possibilities for the Prenote. We knew we had to up the ante, make something new and different from previous years, and LA seemed like a gold mine of possibilities.

Every DrupalCon, before the keynote from Dries, this small group has staged a “pre-note.” The goal of the prenote is to break the ice, to remind everyone present that Drupal is a friendly, fun, and above all, inclusive community. It’s often themed after the host city: in Munich, Jam and Robert taught everyone how to pour a good Bavarian beer, and brought in a yodeling instructor for a singalong (yodel-along?) at the end. In Portland we held a “weirdest talent” competition, featuring prominent community members juggling and beat boxing. Every year it gets more fun, more engaging, and more entertaining for the audience.

Learning how to pour beer at the Drupalcon Munich prenote, 2012

On that train ride home, we threw around a lot of possibilities. Maybe the prenote could be set on a muscle beach, with Dries as the aspiring “98 pound weakling.” Or the whole thing could be a joke on a hollywood party. We briefly considered a reality-TV style “Real coders of Drupalcon” theme, but nobody wanted to sink that low. That’s when the idea struck: we could do it as a Disney musical!

Part of Your World

The Prenote was Jam and Robert’s baby, though. We knew that we would have to have some absolutely knock-down material to convince them of our concept. With beer in hand, the three of us started work on Part of your world from the Little Mermaid, as the client who is excited for the worst website idea ever.

“I’ve got sliders and icons a-plenty,
I’ve got OG with breadcrumbs galore.
You want five-level dropdowns?
I’ve got twenty!
But who cares? No big deal.
I want more!”

We quickly moved on to the song for the coder who would save the day, You ain’t never had a friend like me from Aladdin. We got halfway through this fun number before we realized that the song titles alone could do a lot of the convincing. Another beer, and we had a list of potential songs. There was so much material just in the song titles, we knew that the music would take center stage.

Some of our favorite titles from this first list were ultimately cut. Maybe someday we’ll flesh them into full songs for a Drupal party, but in the meantime you can let your imagination run wild. Hakuna Matata from The Lion King was to become We’ll Build it in Drupal! The Frozen parody, Do You Wanna Build a Website was a big hit, and so was Aladdin’s A Whole New Theme.

We showed our idea to Jam and Robert the first chance we got. They took one look at our list of songs and said the three words we wanted to hear: “run with it.”

You Ain’t Never had a Friend Like Me

Forum One’s Adam Juran and Campbell Vertesi as “Themer” and “Coder” at the Drupalcon Austin prenote, 2014

We divided up responsibility for  the remainder of the songs and started to experiment with the script. What kind of story could we wrap around these crazy songs? How much time did we really have, and could we do all this music? We were all absorbed in our normal work, but every chance we got, the group of us would get together to throw ideas around. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much as while we wrote some of these songs.

Writing parody lyrics is entertaining on your own, but as a duo it’s a laugh riot.  More than once we checked the Drupal song lyrics project for inspiration. We riffed on ideas and tried different rhyme schemes until things seemed to just “fit.”

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho

In the last few weeks leading up to DrupalCon, Adam and I met two and three times a week for long sessions, brainstorming new lyrics. We powered through writing the script around the whole thing, and started to address the logistical problems of backtracks, props, and costumes as well.

via Mendel at Drupalcon LA. Ronai Brumett as the perfect hipster Ariel

Finally we set about casting the different songs. Adam and I had always wanted to sing the Agony duet from Into the Woods, so that one was easy. We had a tentative list of who we wanted in the other songs, but we had no idea who would be willing. All of a sudden the whole endeavor looked tenuous again. Why did we think Dries would be OK to make a joke about Drupal 8 crashing all the time? Would Jeremy Thorson (maintainer of the test infrastructure on Drupal.org) even be interested to get up on stage and sing about testing? We realized that we’d never heard these people sing karaoke, much less in front of thousands of people!

One by one we reached out to the performers and got their approval. Some of them were more enthusiastic than others. Dries replied with “OK, I trust you guys,” while Larry Garfield and Jeremy Thorson insisted on rewriting some of their lyrics and even adding verses! The day before the show, Larry was disappointed that we couldn’t find giant foam lobster claws for his version of Under the Sea from the Little Mermaid. Aaron Porter bought a genie costume and offered to douse himself in blue facepaint for his role, and Ronai Brumett spent a weekend building the perfect “hipster Ariel” costume.

When You Wish Upon a Star

On DrupalCon – Monday the day before the show – the cast assembled for the first time for their only rehearsal together. I arrived a few minutes late, direct from a costume shop on Hollywood Boulevard. Jam had built karaoke tracks on his laptop, and Robert had put together a prompter for the script, so the group huddled around the two laptops and tried to work through the whole show.

Via Mendel at Drupalcon LA. The prenote cast rehearses. From left to right, Larry Garfield, Aaron Porter, Adam Juran, Jeffrey McGuire, Campbell Vertesi.

The rehearsal showed us what a hit we had created. The performers had embraced the motto: “if you can’t sing it, perform it” and they started to feed off each other’s energy. We all laughed at Ronai’s dramatic rendition of Part of My Site, and the Agony Duet raised the energy even further. It turned out that Dries had never heard When You Wish Upon a Star from Pinocchio before, but he was willing to learn as long as he could have someone to sing along with him!

via Mendel at Drupalcon LA. Aaron Porter codes with his butt – on Dries Buytaert’s laptop!

The rehearsal really started to hit it’s stride when Aaron delivered You Ain’t Never had a Dev Like Me. Aaron had never sung in public before, and we could tell he was nervous. Then the backtrack started playing with its blaring horns, and he came alive. It’s a difficult piece, with lots of fast moving text and a rhythm that can be hard to catch. Aaron launched into it with gusto. He had us in stitches when he shouted “can your friends do this!” and grabbed Dries’ laptop to start typing with his butt. When he nailed the high note at the end with a huge grin on his face, it was a deciding moment for the group.

From that moment on we were on a ride, and we knew it. Simpletest (to the tune of Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast) turned out to be a laugh riot, and Jeremy led us naturally into a kick line for the grand finale. We cheered Larry’s choreography skills during the dance break of RTBC, and Ben Finklea was a natural (as ever) at leading us all in Commit, to the tune of Heigh Ho from Snow White.

Forum One UX lead Kristina Bjoran, had protested the most of everyone about having to sing, but the moment she started with our version of Let it Go from Frozen, we were caught up in the feeling of it. I don’t think anyone expected the goosebumps that happened when we sang that chorus together, but we all appreciated what it meant.

Let it Go

The morning of the show saw the whole cast up bright and early. Though we joked about doing a round of shots before going on stage, no one seemed nervous. In fact we spent most of the setup time laughing at one another. Larry discovered that he has great legs for red tights. Aaron got blue face paint everywhere. We cheered at Jam and Robert’s Mickey and Minnie costumes, and laughed at Ronai’s perfect Hipster Ariel.

Some of us had last minute changes to make: Jeremy spent his time crafting oversized cuffs for his costume. I had forgotten the belt to my ninja outfit, so we made one out of duct tape. Kristina discovered that her Elsa costume limited her movement too much for the choreography she had planned. Dries was the only one who seemed nervous to me – this guy who has spoken in public countless times was afraid of a little Disney! We sang through the song together one last time, and it was time to go on.

via Mendel at Drupalcon LA. Jeremy Thorson leads the “Simpletest” song. Behind him, from left: Campbell Vertesi, Ronai Brumett, Adam Juran, Aaron Porter, Dries Buytaert

Everyone knows the rest – or at least, you can see it on youtube. What you probably don’t know is how hard we all laughed as we watched the show backstage. Even knowing every word, the energy from the audience was infectious. In the end, there’s nothing quite like standing in front of three thousand people and shouting together: “we come for code, but we stay for community!”

Photos via Mendel at Drupalcon LA, and from the Drupal Association Flickr page.
Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal CMS Guides at Daymuse Studios: Stop Broken Internal Links with this Drupal Module Tutorial

Planet Drupal - Thu, 21/05/2015 - 18:49
drupal-fix-broken-internal-links.jpg

Internal link tutorial to use modules to automate your Drupal internal paths in WYSIWYG or CKEditor. Find existing broken links with Link Checker module.

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal Association News: Sponsored Post: Reclaim Control of Your Server, Running Drupal on a Freedom Host

Planet Drupal - Thu, 21/05/2015 - 18:01

This article was submitted by our Premium Hosting Supporter Linode.

We’ve all experienced these before: slooow server hardware; unlimited disk space that is capped once you begin to actually fill it; local directory software installs because you’re not allowed to alter the root system. Managed hosting emerged to help solve these problems. And it did - but sacrificed the true power of a host’s infrastructure. Fortunately, an alternative exists that overcomes the deficiencies of both shared and managed hosting. I call it a “Freedom Host.”

What is a Freedom Host?

A Freedom Host respects your needs and creativity. It gives you full root access to the server leaving you with the most powerful processors and lightning-fast, solid-state storage.
Why choose a Freedom Host?

“Getting off the Island.”

This counters a long-standing community practice of exclusively using Drupal. We now see large opportunities in combining Drupal with other powerful auxiliary software. Managed providers have long offered users click-to-deploy for Drupal; but where’s the Node.js button? HA Proxy button? Split-DNS? Magento? These options don’t exist on a managed host.

A Freedom Host allows you to run what you want when you want.

Security is a priority when running your Drupal website, right? You verify file permissions, sanitize all site forms and enforce strict password rules to protect against risky Internet traffic. But what about protection from other websites on the same server? What about local containers running on the same private subnet as your own? A Freedom Host, whether dedicated or VPS, offers you greater security than what’s provided through today’s shared-hosting or containers.

How do I get Managed comfort with Freedom’s power?

Deployment - Deploying on a Freedom Host doesn’t have to be difficult. Between pre-made images, StackScripts, cPanel, or Bitnami, plenty of Drupal deployment options exist.

Drush – You can install Drush in seconds with full functionality on any Freedom Host.

Control Panels - While many Freedom Hosts provide you with a remote terminal to get started, you can install and run the GUI you want, not just what you’re limited to.

Backups & Monitoring - Any reputable Freedom Host provides a backup solution but additional options are limitless. Save your Drupal site as a tarball, dump your MariaDB/MySQL database or mirror to an external slave server. You can even image the entire server to backup or test locally in VirtualBox. System metric software, including Longview, New Relic or Piwik, measure, graph and store server traffic.

So, what can I do with all this Freedom?

While impossible to compile a full list, some interesting Drupal projects I’ve seen include:

  • swapping out “Zen” PHP for Facebook’s HHVM for speed improvements in Drupal 8
  • testing Drupal 8 using PHP7
  • compiling Nginx to include custom features for Drupal
  • custom compiling a kernel for improved performance.

A Freedom Host provides options when choosing what and how you run your Drupal website. Options aside, a Freedom Host is more powerful and less expensive than most managed providers. You can’t lose with Freedom.

This article was written by Ricardo N Feliciano. He is currently a Developer Evangelist for Linode, and is an Information Systems Technician in the U.S. Navy.

Categories: Elsewhere

Michal Čihař: Translating Sphinx documentation

Planet Debian - Thu, 21/05/2015 - 18:00

Few days ago, I've started writing Odorik module to manipulate with API of one Czech mobile network operator. As usual, the code comes with documentation written in English. Given that vast majority of users are Czech, it sounds useful to have in Czech language as well.

The documentation itself is written in Sphinx and built using Read the Docs. Using those to translate the documentation is quite easy.

First step is to add necessary configuration to the Sphinx project as described in their Internationalization Quick Guide. It's matter of few configuration directives and invoking of sphinx-intl and the result can be like this commit.

Once the code in repository is ready, you can start building translated documentation on the Read the docs. There is nice guide for that as well. All you need to do is to create another project, set it's language and link it from master project as translation.

The last step is to find some translators to actually translate the document. For me the obvious choice was using Weblate, so the translation is now on Hosted Weblate. The mass import of several po files can be done by import_project management command.

And thanks to all these you can now read Czech documentation for python Odorik module.

Filed under: Coding English Odorik Weblate | 0 comments

Categories: Elsewhere

Midwestern Mac, LLC: DrupalCamp St. Louis 2015 - Keynote Speaker and Session Submission Deadline

Planet Drupal - Thu, 21/05/2015 - 17:52

DrupalCamp St. Louis is scheduled for June 20-21, 2015, and will be held at SLU LAW in downtown St. Louis, MO. Less than a month away, there are a few important bits of news:

DrupalCamp STL.15 Keynote Speaker: Alina Mackenzie (alimac)

Alina Mackenzie is a developer and system administrator based in Chicago. In the Drupal community she is a camp organizer, speaker and communications lead for DrupalCon mentored sprints. She is passionate about learning organizations, automation, and making open source friendly for beginners.

Alina's keynote will focus on "Finding the entrance: Why and how to get involved with the Drupal community".

Alina's Drupal.org profile is https://www.drupal.org/u/alimac

Session Submission Deadline: May 29

Please submit your session proposals by Friday, May 29—just over a week from today! We'll notify speakers on June 5th whether a session was accepted or not.

We hope to see you at DrupalCamp St. Louis 2015! Registration will open next Monday, and sessions will be announced on June 5th.

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal Watchdog: The Farmischt Freelancer

Planet Drupal - Thu, 21/05/2015 - 17:25
Column

It is one thing to be brought into a project as a team player, where the project is managed or you are delivering a predefined piece of it. However, that is typically not the way things happen when doing work for a small business or an initial project which will result in a business launch.

The more challenging and demanding opportunities for a freelancer are those one-man top-to-tail projects: creating the whole megillah[1]. Here is a brief look at the steps that could give the poor shlub[2] a fighting chance.

  1. Initial Meeting: The client transfers his vision to you. Determine what specifically makes or breaks its success.

    Output: Management Summary: Mirror the client’s vision back to him in your own words, for validation.

  2. Reference site(s): Ask the client to point to sites exemplifying functionality that works and functionality that doesn’t.

    Output: Create a spreadsheet that will contain a row for each function, and identify that function as either a launch requirement, nice to have for launch, post-launch, or unneeded.

  3. Conceptual design: Using the approved spreadsheet, decide what the site will look like.

    Output: Some conceptual prototype, such as wireframes, storyboard, etc.

  4. Functional design: The details behind the elements of the conceptual design; how front-end elements should work, as well as the back-end functionality, business rules, and the seemingly small details (being able to print receipts with a receipt printer, accepting input from card-swipers, syncing with third-party applications, etc).

    Output: Functional design document.

Categories: Elsewhere

Tag1 Consulting: Access Control

Planet Drupal - Thu, 21/05/2015 - 16:35
Drupal 7

In Drupal 7, a hook_node_access implementation could return NODE_ACCESS_IGNORE, NODE_ACCESS_ALLOW and NODE_ACCESS_DENY. If any of them returned NODE_ACCESS_DENY then access was denied. If neither did but one returned NODE_ACCESS_ALLOW then access was allowed. If neither of these values were returned by any implementation then the decision was made based on other rules but at the end of the day some code needed to grant access explicitly or access was denied. Other entities didn’t have access control.

read more

Categories: Elsewhere

Cheeky Monkey Media: Drupal & Bootstrap - Grid system

Planet Drupal - Thu, 21/05/2015 - 16:00

Imagine this scenario. You add three different blocks in your footer region and the mockups call for them to be side by side. Here are 3 ways to accomplish this:

Regions

Using regions, we could add and create more footer regions and call them Footer first column, Footer second column, third and forth just like in bartik theme. I personally don’t like this solution because what if we decide in the future to only have 3 columns instead of four?  Then we will need to remove regions and change the css, clear the cache etc.. not ideal.

CSS

Another way to do this...

Categories: Elsewhere

Code Karate: Automatically Hide Content in Views Based on Date

Planet Drupal - Thu, 21/05/2015 - 15:02

Normally, I would do this video style, but I'm a wildcard people and today we write!

Categories: Elsewhere

Dirk Eddelbuettel: RInside 0.2.13

Planet Debian - Thu, 21/05/2015 - 03:41

A new release 0.2.13 of RInside is now on CRAN. RInside provides a set of convenience classes which facilitate embedding of R inside of C++ applications and programs, using the classes and functions provided by Rcpp.

This release works around a bug in R 3.2.0, and addressed in R 3.2.0-patched. The NEWS extract below has more details.

Changes in RInside version 0.2.13 (2015-05-20)
  • Added workaround for a bug in R 3.2.0: by including the file RInterface.h only once we do not getting linker errors due to multiple definitions of R_running_as_main_program (which is now addressed in R-patched as well).

  • Small improvements to the Travis CI script.

CRANberries also provides a short report with changes from the previous release. More information is on the RInside page. Questions, comments etc should go to the rcpp-devel mailing list off the Rcpp R-Forge page.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

Categories: Elsewhere

Acquia: Karma and the journey from consumption to contribution - Drupal in India

Planet Drupal - Thu, 21/05/2015 - 01:04
Language Undefined

At Drupal Camp London 2015, I spoke with Piyush Poddar, Director of Drupal Practice at Axelerant. We talked about Piyush's history in Drupal, Drupal as a business-ready solution, India's coming of age in open source culture, and how that is driving business value.

Categories: Elsewhere

DrupalCon News: How to Request a Certificate of Attendance

Planet Drupal - Wed, 20/05/2015 - 22:55

Did you have a great time at DrupalCon Los Angeles but want something to show for it?  

We are happy to issue a certificate of attendance in PDF format for anyone who picked up their conference badge or signed in at a training.

Simply submit your request via our contact page with the subject "Request a Certificate of Attendance", and be sure to include the associated order number.

Categories: Elsewhere

DrupalCon News: Let's Talk PHP at DrupalCon Barcelona

Planet Drupal - Wed, 20/05/2015 - 21:59

How would you like to present at one of the largest PHP conferences in Europe? DrupalCon Barcelona is coming, and we are actively looking for sessions for our new PHP track.

Unlike the Coding and Development track, the PHP track is all about the larger PHP community. We're not looking for Drupal-specific talks but for sessions about PHP itself (PHP 7 anyone?), about related PHP tools like Guzzle, general PHP leading practices, software architecture, and so on.

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal Association News: DrupalCon New Orleans and Louisiana’s Religious Freedom Bill

Planet Drupal - Wed, 20/05/2015 - 20:10

Yesterday (May 19), the Louisiana Legislature’s House Civil Law and Procedure Committee voted 10-2 to return HB707 to the calendar, effectively voting it down, at least for the current session. The bill would allow businesses to refuse, in accordance with religious beliefs, to provide goods and services on the basis of a patron’s sexuality.

Described as the protection of “the free exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions”, were the bill to pass it would preclude the state from taking “any adverse action against a person, wholly or partially, on the basis that such person acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction about the institution of marriage.”

However, hours after the committee’s vote, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal issued an executive order in an attempt to accomplish much of what HB707 is intended to achieve. We’re aware that at least some of the bill’s opponents doubt the executive order may create substantive law. We’re also aware that the U.S. Supreme Court may issue a ruling (before its current term ends in late June) that preempts any contradictory Louisiana law.

Why We’re Talking About Louisiana

Earlier this year, we chose New Orleans as the site for DrupalCon North America 2016. Section 86-33 of New Orleans’ municipal code explicitly forbids discrimination by public businesses and stores. In much the same spirit as New Orleans’ code, we want to take this opportunity to unequivocally state that no one at any DrupalCon should be denied service, assistance, or support because of who they are or whom they love.

Community. Collaboration. Openness. These are our ethos. At our core, we’re as committed to these values being principles for how we treat each other as we are for how we do our work.

The very nature of open source means contributions can come from anyone. That means muting voices is inconsistent with our values. That means we believe inclusivity is progress. And that means it’s important we speak when our community asks questions about the risk of discrimination.

Along with logistics—such as available event space, and costs—our DrupalCon site selection process has always considered whether we’d be able to truly celebrate the diversity of the Drupal community and the spirit of the Drupal Code of Conduct. We believe, despite the bill and executive order, that we can still create a safe, diverse, celebratory space for our community in New Orleans next year. We’re happy to bring the diversity of DrupalCon to New Orleans, and we’re confident it’ll be a fantastic event.

Talk To Us

We want to hear about your experiences at DrupalCon New Orleans—any and all of them. Tell us your opinions, voice your perspectives, and share what you see. In the meantime, comment on this post, or email us, with your questions and insights.

Categories: Elsewhere

Promet Source: A Break from the Ordinary at DrupalCon Los Angeles

Planet Drupal - Wed, 20/05/2015 - 19:04

Normally I’m sitting at home in Iowa, rocking the boxer shorts on the couch. The Xbox controller is in arm’s reach. Or maybe I’m tearing up a single track course on my mountain bike. But this week, none of that. This week is different.

It’s DrupalCon, so you know I have to put away the games and pack up the power brick so I can join in the fun. I ran through this quick Q&A about my plan for DrupalCon with Promet's marketing team to help understand my goals for this year's big show.

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal for Government: Part 3 - adding heatmaps with open layers and views

Planet Drupal - Wed, 20/05/2015 - 18:51

Mapping in drupal with open layers and views is hella awesome.

Categories: Elsewhere

Hideki Yamane: What is the most valuable challenge for Debian in this Stretch cycle?

Planet Debian - Wed, 20/05/2015 - 16:48


  • restructuring website as 21st century style and drop deprecated info
  • automate test integration to infrastructure: piuparts & ci
  • more test for packages: adopt autopkgtest
  • "go/no-go vote" for migration to next release candidate (e.g. bohdi in Fedora)
  • more comfortable collab-development (see GitHub's pull request style, not mail-centric)
  • other
Your opinion?
Categories: Elsewhere

ERPAL: Drupal security: How to deliver Drupal updates continuously

Planet Drupal - Wed, 20/05/2015 - 12:30

While developing a system to automate Drupal updates and using that technology to fulfill our Drupal support contracts, we ran into many issues and questions about the workflows that integrate the update process into our overall development and deployment cycles. In this blog post, I’ll outline the best practices for handling different update types with different deployment processes – as well as the results thereof.

The general deployment workflow

Most professional Drupal developers work in a dev-stage-live environment. Using feature branches has become a valuable best-practice for deploying new features and hotfixes separately from the other features developed in the dev branch. Feature branches foster continuous delivery, although it does require additional infrastructure to test feature branches in separate instances. Let me sum up the development activity of the different branches.

Dev

This is where the development of new features happens and where the development team commits their code (or in a derived feature branch). When using feature branches, the dev branch is considered stable; features can be deployed forward separately. Nevertheless, the dev branch is there to test the integration of your locally developed changes with the code contributions of other developers, even if the current code of the dev branch hasn’t passed quality assurance. Before going live, the dev branch will be merged into the stage branch to be ready for quality assurance.

Stage

The stage branch is where code that’s about to be release (merged to the master branch and deployed to the live site) is thoroughly tested; it’s where the quality assurance happens. If the stage branch is bug-free, it will be merged into the master branch, which is the code base for the live site. The stage branch is the branch where customer acceptance happens.

Master

The master branch contains the code base that serves the live site. No active changes happen here except hotfixes.

Hotfix branches

Hotfixes are changes applied to different environments without passing through the whole dev-stage-live development cycle. Hotfixes are handled in the same way as feature branches but with one difference: whereas feature branches start from the HEAD of the dev branch, a hotfix branch starts from the branch of the environment that requires the hotfix. In terms of security, a highly critical security update simply comes too late if it needs to go through the complete development cycle from dev to live. The same applies if there’s a bug on the live server that needs to be fixed immediately. Hotfix branches need to be merged back to the branches from which they were derived and all previous branches (e.g. if the hotfix branch was created from the master branch, it needs to be merged back to the master to bring all commits to the live site, and then it needs to be merged back to the stage and dev branch as well, so that all code changes are available for the development team)

Where to commit Drupal updates in the development workflow?

To answer this question we need to consider different types of updates. Security updates (including their criticality) and non-security updates (bug fixes and new features).

If we group them by priority we can derive the branches to which they need to be committed and also the duration of a deployment cycle. If you work in an continuous delivery environment, where you ship code continuously,the best way is to use feature branches derived from the dev branch.

 

 

Low (<=1 month):
- Bug fix updates - Feature updates

These updates should be committed by the development team and analysed for side effects. It’s still important to process these low-prio updates, as high-prio updates assume all previous code changes from earlier updates. You might miss some important quality assurance during high-prio updates to a module that hasn’t been updated for a long time.

Medium (<5 days):
- Security updates that are no critical and not highly critical

These updates should be applied in due time, as they’re related to the site's security. Since they’re not highly critical, we might decide to commit them on the stage branch and send a notification to the project lead, the quality assurance team or directly to you customer (depending on your SLA). Then, as soon as they’ve confirmed that the site works correctly, these updates will be merged to the master branch and back to stage and dev.

High (<4 hours):
- Critical and highly critical security updates

For critical and highly critical security updates we follow a "security first" strategy, ensuring that all critical security updates are applied immediately and as quickly as possible to keep the site secure. If there are bugs, we’ll fix them later! This strategy instructs us to apply updates directly to the master branch. Once the live site has been updated with the code from the master branch, we merge the updates back to the stage and dev branch. This is how we protected all our sites from Drupalgeddon in less than two hours!

Requirements for automation

If you want to automate your Drupal security updates with the Drop Guard service, all you need is the following:

  • Code deployment with GIT
  • Trigger the update of an instance by URL using e.g. Travis.ci, Jenkins CI, DeployHQ or other services to manage your deployment or alternatively execute SSH commands from the Drop Guard server.
Also to keep in mind:
  • Know what patches you’ve applied and don't forget to re-apply them during the update process (Drop Guard helps with its automated patch detection feature)
  • Automated tests reduce the time you spend on quality assurance
Conclusion

Where to commit an update depends on its priority and on the speed with which it needs to be deployed to the live site. Update continuously to ensure the ongoing quality and security of your project and to keep it future-proof. Feature and bug fix updates are less critical but also important to apply in due time.

For those of you interested in Drop Guard to automate the process as described in this blog post, please sign up for the free trial period so you can test all its features – for free – and get a personal on-boarding.

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