Makak Media: PhoneGap and Drupal 7 Data Synchronization for My Caribbean Offers App

Planet Drupal - Fri, 04/07/2014 - 14:34

In our last blog post we launched the My Caribbean Offers app for Android and Apple iOS.

The app displays offers for all types of tourist related businesses from across the Caribbean and is currently free to download!

We thought we'd share what went into building the app, the modules used and processes involved.

Client side requirements

Phonegap with local database (SQLite in our case), jQuery for ajax operations (http requests)

Module requirements

Views, Services, Custom module to save node deletions

read more

Categories: Elsewhere

LimoenGroen company blog: The power of sharing

Planet Drupal - Fri, 04/07/2014 - 12:39
Scientia potentia est - Francis Bacon, 1597

Napoleon beat his opponents for years, despite his much smaller army. His knowledge of warfare and the armies of his opponents made him win the wars every time, and ultimately he was able to dominate Europe.

Knowledge is power > Sharing is power

The phrase "Knowledge is power" does not come out of thin air – where you could also explain power as influence, wealth or fame. However, in the knowledge economy of today is just having knowledge not enough. It becomes powerful when you can convey that knowledge. In the Open Source community we see that one who shares the most has the most "power". The real change agents, the core developers; they get done a lot because they not only know a lot, but also share this knowledge. And that goes in many ways: by writing a blog, giving a presentation, or simply just by contributing code.

Contributing code

Open Source is only good if people not only use it, but also improve it. Drupal is great software, but it has bugs. In the core itself, but (especially) in its thousands of community modules. If we discover a bug during a project we could fix this locally and continue with our work; our problem is resolved. However, we won’t. We always make sure that the solution flows back into the community. That can be done in several ways:

Contribute a patch

Can we solve the problem? Great! We create a new issue in the issue queue of the relevant module and deliver the code change as a patch. Example of Martijn: https://www.drupal.org/node/1783678

Describe the problem

Are we unable to fix it ourselves? Then at least create an issue and describe how the issue can be reproduced. This helps another developer to fix this, or recognize them their own problem quickly. Example of Dominique: https://www.drupal.org/node/907504

Start een nieuwe module

Did we write a separate piece of code that might be interesting for others? We’ll then try to offer this as a separate project. The extra time it takes to make a piece of client code generic and configurable is not an issue, knowing that the community as a whole can now help to improve and maintain the code for us. Example of myself, commissioned by the European Space Agency: https://www.drupal.org/project/commons_hashtags

Featured Drupal Provider

By sharing so much code we became one of the 4 Featured Drupal Providers in the Netherlands.

Taking equals giving

At LimoenGroen (Lime Green) everyone gets 10% community time: every other week, our employees have a full Friday to do what they think is important. They experiment with new technology, write a blog, or "open-source" customer code.

To make sure that the client agrees, we add the following boilerplate text to any quote that we write:

Drupal is developed under an open source software license. All, in the context of this project developed software falls under the same license as Drupal itself: GNU General Public License, version 2 or later. The intellectual property is yours. To take full advantage of the benefits of the open source development model, we believe it is important that we have the ability to develop parts of the software generic and share this with the community (with the mention that this is developed for <CUSTOMER NAME>).Appeal to Drupal suppliers

Taking equals giving is what I truly believe in. Therefore, I call on every Drupal supplier to include the text mentioned above in your offers. By doing so, there will soon be more to take! Who's with me?

Categories: Elsewhere

Rapha&#235;l Hertzog: Tracker.debian.org is live

Planet Debian - Fri, 04/07/2014 - 12:15

Maybe do you remember, last year I mentored a Google Summer of code whose aim was to replace our well known Package Tracking System with something more modern, usable by derivatives and more easily hackable. The result of this project is a new Django-based software called Distro Tracker.

With the help of the Debian System Administrators, it’s now setup on tracker.debian.org!

This service is also managed by the Debian QA team, it’s deployed in /srv/tracker.debian.org/ (on ticharich.debian.org, a VM) if you want to verify something on the live installation. It runs under the “qa” user (so members of the “qa-core” group can administer it).

That said you can reproduce the setup on your workstation quite easily, just by checking out the git repository and applying this change:

--- a/distro_tracker/project/settings/local.py +++ b/distro_tracker/project/settings/local.py @@ -10,6 +10,7 @@ overrides on top of those type-of-installation-specific settings.   from .defaults import INSTALLED_APPS from .selected import * +from .debian import *   ## Add your custom settings here

Speaking of contributing, the documentation includes a “Contributing” section to get you up and running, ready to do your first contribution!

Now go use this new service and report any issue against the new tracker.debian.org pseudo-package (BTW tracker.debian.org knows about pseudo-packages, example here).

There are many small things that need to be fixed/improved, if you know Python/Django and would like to start contributing to Debian, here’s your chance!

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flink: Drupal Views Accelerator

Planet Drupal - Fri, 04/07/2014 - 06:46

When caching is not an option, Drupal sites employing the Views module may find their performances bound by it. Getting to the bottom of this issue on a number of sites we discovered that performance benefits are to be gained in unlikely corners of Views. We published a first version of the Views Accelerator module for everyone to reap those benefits. You’re invited to give it a burl. A couple of clicks on the UI could be all it takes to put a smile on the performance dial.

From simple to more complex analysis tools

Did you ever pay attention to that spinning circle while your browser is fetching your page? While that wheel spins anti-clockwise your browser is waiting for a reply from the server to your mouse click. Then as the server response streams in, the wheel reverses direction and the browser builds up your page. Details of each and every file processed during that phase and how long it took can be found under the Network tab of your browser console.
But when it comes to improving that left-churning part, no amount of browser analytics can help you. This is when you bring out the big guns. Like XHProf, or for D8, the Symfony-based WebProfilerBundle.
And you get ready to get your hands dirty, as you may have to dig deep.

When caching doesn’t cut it

But why take the trouble to analyse all this? Why not tell your customer to throw a pile of caching technologies at the under-performing site?
Because depending on the nature of your site, caching can be ineffective and even lead to functional errors.

The reason is personalisation/customisation.

Increasingly websites recall specific details about us to give us an enhanced browsing experience tailored to our preferences. Sites remember stuff we chose before. Brands, price ranges, travel destinations. Taking advantage of GPS/WiFi technology sites know where we are when we visit them. A map may place our current location at its centre and only show nearby points of interest — rather than the whole world.

Websites are moving from off-the-rack, one-size-fits-all to bespoke.

To cache is to assemble time-consuming pages once, to then dish out copies to everyone who ordered that same page. Caching does not cater for every guest bringing their own dietary requirements to the table.
Bespoke is indigestible to caching.

That’s when you have to take caching off the menu and look for alternative ways to speed up a site. So we cooked up Views Accelerator.

Identifying server-side slow spots

Tasked with making a customer site perform quicker we booted up XHProf. The culprit of slow performance was soon identified as a map featuring hundreds to thousands of nearby points of interest, centred on the visitor’s current location.

But it wasn’t any of the map engines or their APIs (Google, Openlayers, Leaflet) that were soaking up the seconds. Neither was it the database. It was Views. A little-known corner of Views.

Those familiar with the Views UI cockpit may know the tick box Show performance statistics on the admin/structure/views/settings page. With that checked, a preview prints out Query build time, Query execute time and View render time.

It’s like the developers of the Views module themselves felt those three numbers sum up all there is to Views performance.

But there is a fourth component… and it can slow your site down more than the other three together. XHProf proved it.

The performance opportunity

Between the query-execute and view-render phases, the code passes through a post-execute stage. This is where the raw results from the database are groomed for final rendering and theming. All results go through post-execute, even when this may not be necessary....

And with that we cue to the Views Accelerator project page. Featured there is a summary of a case study, proving how flicking on the module can boost Views speeds by 60%.

Views Accelerator is unconventional in its approach and is still in its infancy. Time will tell how the module matures in the community. We welcome feedback to help us improve the module.

Enable Views Accelerator on a test site. In Analysis mode it tells you how every view on every page you visit performs. Then in Accelerator mode it shows you those figures again. Hopefully the second time round those figures are a little leaner, making the user experience a little richer. If not, then your views may already be close to optimum. That’s reassuring too, isn’t it?

No gain, no pain. There is no reason not to give Views Accelerator a go.

Image taken from Time Magazine:
The $19 million Bloodhound SSC that is designed to shatter the world record on land with speeds over 1000 mph.

File under: Planet Drupal
Categories: Elsewhere

Hideki Yamane: Open Source Conference 2014 Hokkaido

Planet Debian - Fri, 04/07/2014 - 00:17
Oh, time flies... (= I'm lazy)

14th June, I've participated to OSC (Open Source Conference) 2014 Hokkaido in Sapporo, Hokkaido (sorry openSUSE folks, OSC does not mean openSUSE Conference ;) OSC has 10 years history in Japan, so don't blame me...) 

Hokkaido is northan island of Japan (it has 4 major islands - Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu), takes 1.5 hours from Tokyo (HND-CTS) and debian-mirror.sakura.ne.jp is also there.

As always, we show the Debian booth with Debian lovers, Squeeze, Woody and Jessie.

And I gave talk about Debian a little,
mostly how it is developed and distribute, and shapes in Jessie at that time (PDF/odf is my page on Debian Wiki as usual).

Does Cowgirl Dream of Red Swirl? from Hideki Yamane

After that, Enjoyed food, beer (sure! :) and chatting in party.

Folks, see you in #osc15do again!

Categories: Elsewhere

Maximilian Attems: Keep dpkg in c

Planet Debian - Fri, 04/07/2014 - 00:15

Some projects tend to like to abstract everything - KDE, I am looking at your developer base, see phonon for a very misguided effort. While abstracting config files like elektra tries to do looks like a laudable goal, it can't cover all of them plus is a maintenance nightmare.
Adding a crappy^Wbloated c++ layer in order not to prompt user is definitely using the wrong tool at hands. It seems this year again Debian choose super boring Google summer subjects, while Linaro let the students do cool stuff. BTW git implemented all kind of merge strategies, that would be the first place to look at and merge into dpkg.

Categories: Elsewhere

Wouter Verhelst: Docking and Undocking with LVM

Planet Debian - Thu, 03/07/2014 - 23:53

I have a number of USB hard disks. Like, I suppose, mostly everyone who reads this blog. Unlike many people who do, however, for whatever reason I decided to create LVM volumes on most of my USB hard disks. The unfortunate result is that these now contain a lot of data with a somewhat less than efficient partitioning system.

I don't really care much, but it's somewhat annoying, not in the least because disconnecting an LVM device isn't as easy as it used to be; originally you could just run the lvm2 init script with the stop argument, but that isn't the case anymore today. That is, you can run that, but it won't help you because all that does, effectively, is exit 0.

So what do you do instead? This:

  • First, make sure your devices aren't mounted anymore. Note: do not use lazy umount for a device that you're going to remove from your system! I've seen a few forum posts here and there of people who think it's safe to use umount -l for a device they're about to remove from their system which is still in use. It's not. It's a good way to cause data loss.

    Instead, make sure your partitions are really unmounted. Use fuser -m if you need to figure out which process is still using the partition.

  • Next, use vgchange -a n. This will cause LVM to deactivate any logical volumes and volume groups that aren't open any more. Note that this can't work if you haven't done the above. Also note that this doesn't cause the devices to be gone when you do things like vgs or so. They're still there, they're just not in use anymore. Skipping this step isn't recommended, though; it will make LVM unhappy, mostly because some caches are still in use.
  • Remove your device from the computer. That is, disconnect the USB cable, or call nbd-client -d, or do whatever you need to make sure the PV isn't connected to your system anymore.
  • Finally, run vgchange --refresh. This will cause the system to rescan all partitions, notice that the volume groups which you've just disconnected aren't there anymore, and remove them from configuration.

Voila, your LVM volume group is no longer available, and you've not suffered data loss. Kewl.

Note: I don't know what the lvm2 init script used to do. I suspect there's another way which doesn't require the --refresh step. I don't think it matters all that much, though. This works, and is safe. That being said, comments are welcome...

Categories: Elsewhere

Steve Kemp: And so it begins ...

Planet Debian - Thu, 03/07/2014 - 23:00

1. This weekend I will apply to rejoin the Debian project, as a developer.

2. In the meantime I've been begun releasing some some code which powers the git-based DNS hosting site/service.

3. This is the end of my list.

4. I lied. This is the end of my list. Powers of two, baby.

Categories: Elsewhere

InternetDevels: Migrate - module for data import in Drupal

Planet Drupal - Thu, 03/07/2014 - 23:00

Sometimes while website development it is necessary to transfer data from one database to another. Often it is either migration to a newer Drupal version (from 6.x to 7.x) or transfer of content to Drupal from another platform. Migrate module makes a very convenient tool for importing data in such cases.

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Drupal Easy: Drupal Web Developer Career Series Part 2: Trailblazer Stories and Advice

Planet Drupal - Thu, 03/07/2014 - 22:28

This is the second of four (ok, it was three, but there is so much good information!) weekly blog posts that encapsulate the advice, tips and must-do elements of career building in the Drupal Community from the panel of experts collected for DrupalEasy’s DrupalCon Austin session; DrupalCareer Trailhead; Embark on a Path to Success. It will be listed with other career resources for reference at the DrupalEasy Academy Career Center.


read more

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DebConf team: Second set of talks accepted; 3 days left to submit yours (Posted by Ana Guerrero Lopez)

Planet Debian - Thu, 03/07/2014 - 20:10

There are only left 3 days to submit your talk. Submit yours before it’s too late. From the submissions from the last week, we have accepted a second batch of talks:

If your talk is not on the list, it doesn’t mean that it is not accepted. The talks team will go through the list of talks again, and will publish the final list of talks towards the end of the month.

We’ll keep the submission of talks open after the deadline. Talks submitted after the deadline still have the possibility of being scheduled as ad-hoc talks. We’ll publish more information about this closer to the conference.

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal core announcements: Drupal.org User Interviews: looking for core developers

Planet Drupal - Thu, 03/07/2014 - 18:44

Hi all,

I am looking for a few core developers, willing to take part in 45-60 minute user interviews next week. These interviews are part of the User Research we are doing now, they will help inform the future Drupal.org redesign.

If you have time and desire to talk to us about Drupal.org, let me know!


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