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Acquia: How to Select Drupal Modules: Part 3 - Evaluation Tips

Mon, 18/05/2015 - 22:26

In the previous posts we’ve focused on defining your requirements and the basics of searching for modules. Once you’ve found a Drupal project you’re interested in, now you can make a quick evaluation of the project to determine if you should dig deeper before you test it out.

Evaluation Criteria

Each module you select and install on your site must be maintained. There will be security updates, feature improvements and bug fixes offered on a rolling basis. The update manager within Drupal will notify you when new releases are available. This means you will never miss a key security release.

If a module is actively maintained it will mean that one aspect of your site is more likely to be secure and bug-free. One less thing to worry about! Take a “maintenance first” approach to module selection to limit potential issues arising from compatibility issues or security issues that might arise.

An initial evaluation is something an experienced Drupal developer might do in about one to two minutes, simply to compare two modules to decide which to download and try first. However, let’s tease this apart. There are three useful criteria for evaluating a module.

  1. Reputation: How many maintainers? What other contributions have the maintainers made? Is the individual or company a member of the Drupal Association?
  2. Reach: Is there a community around the module? Are there related modules which integrate with it? What is the total number of installations? Checking the usage over time is there a stable arc?
  3. Currency: Have there been recent commits? Are issues being added by users? Is the maintainer responding? Is there a stable (green/not alpha or beta) release available?

These criteria can give you some indication of the level of effort that is being invested in maintaining the software, and help you interpret information on the project page.

The Project Page

You can determine how a project scores against those criteria based on the information available on the project page itself. A wealth of information is available.

  1. Description: This should provide some basic information about the project and you should be able to tell what requirements the module has.
  2. Project information: Maintenance status and how many reported installations. Just because only two others use a project, doesn’t mean it’s not a good start for a solution for your team.
  3. Downloads: Is there a compatible version available? If it's not recently updated it might be a warning sign, or it might just be a stable, well-used module that just works.
  4. Maintainers: Is there an active team of maintainers? You can look at their profiles which also list other contributions and activities.
  5. What are current issues? The graphs indicate recent activity and also a brief analysis of how responsive the maintenance team is. Keep in mind most of this work is done on a voluntary basis, so if you’re willing to help out, you can often get a better response.
  6. Is documentation available? This will help you in the next step of testing and exploring the module.

The project information provided should be considered in relation to the other information. For example, you might see a project like Bean doesn’t have a Drupal 8 version. This might make you wonder if the solution is future-friendly. In this case, similar functionality has been incorporated into Drupal 8, so it actually makes this module unnecessary.

To give another example, a project with few installations could be just that unique solution you need to connect your Drupal site to an obscure third party application. And as another example, a project managed by a Drupal newcomer who has few contributions could be a great sign that someone is bringing in new skills and experience to the community.

I would never disparage or dismiss a project based on just one of the criteria. Make sure you look at each aspect of the project and balance it with the rest of the information available.

How can I help?

OK, now we’ve whittled down our choices and found a module or two we’d like to try out. In the next blog post, we’ll actually install and test out a module. After that, I’ll show you how to explore and “learn” a new module.

In our Drupal Site Building course we focus on the essential building blocks of Drupal and contributed modules. In fact, some of the contributed modules we use in the Drupal 7 course have become core in Drupal 8, which is a good sign that the community has convened around specific requirements and solutions.

If you’re stuck trying to find a module for X, please leave a comment and I’ll help you find the module you’re looking for.

Tags:  modules drupal 7 site building training learning functionality acquia drupal planet
Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal for Government: Tracking Charlottesville City Expenses in the Crowd - Part 2 Charts!

Mon, 18/05/2015 - 21:36

After part one aka "getting the data cleaned up and in there" it's time to do a few things to make the pretty pictures.  Using the charts tool is a pretty natural visual drill down tool, and its integration with highcharts means it can handle a ton of data. Attached below is a feature that includes all the content type, view, and feeds, I've also attached the original data in case there's someone out there interested in learning how our city blows its wad ;)

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal CMS Guides at Daymuse Studios: Drupal, Content Strategy, and the Prevailing Power of the Play Button

Mon, 18/05/2015 - 21:36

Video is key to increasing user engagement. Learn how to integrate YouTube video with your content in Drupal using the Media and Media: YouTube modules.

Categories: Elsewhere

Promet Source: DrupalCon LA Spotlight

Mon, 18/05/2015 - 21:20

The Drupal community gathered in Tinseltown for the 2015 DrupalCon, and Promet Source was there to partake in the all the lights, camera and action.

Check out some of our photos from the event below!

 

Want to know more about what we were up to at this year's DrupalCon? Are you going to DrupalCon Barcelona later this year? Share your info with us below so you can hear about Promet's plan for the next spotlight event of the Drupal-verse.

Categories: Elsewhere

Jim Birch: Learn by Listening, a Guide to Drupal Podcasts

Mon, 18/05/2015 - 13:00

While I read a lot, as much as I can about Drupal and Web Development, I feel like I learn even more when I listen. So, while driving to work, or while working out on the treadmill, I listen as much as I can to the great folks below that dedicate their time every week to discussing, training, interviewing, and spreading their knowledge.

Acquia Podcasts

Acquia's Open Source Evangelist, Jeffrey "jam" McGuire, gives quick interviews of Drupal community members from conferences and events all around the world.  But looking deeper into Acquia's site, you may also stumble upon jam's Drupal Camp in which Mr. McGuire curates great sessions and presentations from previous camps and cons; Power of PHP which is a PHP focused, more technical collection of talks; and a podcast about Drupal 8.

Read more

Categories: Elsewhere

Web Omelette: Adding new HTML tags in the <head> in Drupal 8

Mon, 18/05/2015 - 09:05

In a previous article I've shown you how you can add new html elements to the <head> of your Drupal 7 site. Recently, however, I was working on a Drupal 8 project and encountered the need to do this in D8. And it took me a while to figure it out so I thought I'd share the process with you.

As you know, in Drupal 7 we use drupal_add_html_head() from anywhere in the code to add a rendered element into the <head>. This is done by passing a render array and most of the time you'll use the type #tag. In Drupal 8, however, we no longer have this procedural function so it can be a bit tricky to find out how this is done.

Although existing in Drupal 7 as well, the #attached key in render arrays really becomes important in D8. We can no longer add any scripts or stylesheets to any page without such proper attachment to render arrays. In my last article I've shown you how to add core scripts to pages in case they were missing (which can happen for anonymous users). In essence, it is all about libraries now that get attached to render arrays. So that is most of what you'll hear about.

But libraries are not the only thing you can attach to render arrays. You can also add elements to the head of the page in a similar way you'd attach libraries. So if we wanted to add a description meta tag to all of the pages on our site, we could implement hook_page_attachments() like so:

/** * Implements hook_page_attachments(). */ function module_name_page_attachments(array &$page) { $description = [ '#tag' => 'meta', '#attributes' => [ 'name' => 'description', 'content' => 'This is my website.', ], ]; $page['#attached']['html_head'][] = [$description, 'description']; }

In the example above we are just adding a dummy description meta tag to all the pages. You probably won't want to apply that to all the pages though and rather have the content of the description tag read the title of the current node. In this case you can implement hook_entity_view() like so:

/** * Implements hook_entity_view(). */ function demo_entity_view(array &$build, \Drupal\Core\Entity\EntityInterface $entity, \Drupal\Core\Entity\Display\EntityViewDisplayInterface $display, $view_mode, $langcode) { if ($entity->getEntityTypeId() !== 'node') { return; } $description = [ '#tag' => 'meta', '#attributes' => [ 'name' => 'description', 'content' => \Drupal\Component\Utility\SafeMarkup::checkPlain($entity->title->value), ], ]; $build['#attached']['html_head'][] = [$description, 'description']; }

Now you targeting the node entities and using their titles as the content for the description meta tag. And that is pretty much it.

Hope this helps.

In Drupal 8 var switchTo5x = true;stLight.options({"publisher":"dr-8de6c3c4-3462-9715-caaf-ce2c161a50c"});
Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal core announcements: Drupal core security release window on Wednesday, May 20

Mon, 18/05/2015 - 07:02
Start:  2015-05-20 (All day) America/New_York Online meeting (eg. IRC meeting) Organizers:  David_Rothstein

The monthly security release window for Drupal 6 and Drupal 7 core will take place on Wednesday, May 20.

This does not mean that a Drupal core security release will necessarily take place on that date for either the Drupal 6 or Drupal 7 branches, only that you should prepare to look out for one (and be ready to update your Drupal sites in the event that the Drupal security team decides to make a release).

There will be no bug fix/feature release on this date; the next window for a Drupal core bug fix/feature release is Wednesday, June 3.

For more information on Drupal core release windows, see the documentation on release timing and security releases, and the discussion that led to this policy being implemented.

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal for Government: From spreadsheet to citizen government with Drupal - Volume 1 - Feeds

Mon, 18/05/2015 - 01:31

Thanks to the local Charlottesville GOP we have a FOIA'ed copy Charlottesville city hall expenses.  It's a small windows in to how our city staff spends money.  Without putting any value judgements on the numbers themselves, let's look at how to go from a spreadsheet to pretty charts and maps!  

Categories: Elsewhere

Another Drop in the Drupal Sea: DrupalCon LA Saturday Recap

Sun, 17/05/2015 - 23:18

I headed to the Saturday sprint after completing my workout, showering, eating breakfast and packing my bags. Eventually, there were probably at least 30 people at the sprint. I worked a bit more on a patch I submitted to the Flag module and eventually started working on testing the changes I pushed to OG Forum D7. Unfortunately, they changes appeared to be doing absolutely nothing. I didn't figure out what I was overlooking before I had to leave.

read more

Categories: Elsewhere

Paul Johnson: Could VR tech make a child's dying wishes come true?

Sun, 17/05/2015 - 17:11

For over a year I have had the honour of being responsible for delivering 2 new web platforms for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH), the hospital and charity websites. During that time I've witness and learnt so much about the exemplary way they care for children, their families from both a medical and pastoral perspective. The good news is that now, using open source content management system called Drupal, they are now in a position to have a web presence which adequatley supports and reflects their internationally celebrated work.

One of the inevitable aspects of treating children with the most severe illnesses is sadly not every child can be made better. It is a reality which has hit me hard the whole time I've worked for GOSH.

Whilst I was at DrupalCon Los Angeles I met Joe Caccavano, CMO at Phase2, who was showing me an curious device having 6 GoPro array of cameras strapped together into a single head. With it something remarkable is possible. Watching footage taken during the conference with the GoPros using a VR headset (just an android phone) allowed me to immerse myself into a virtual world - try it for yourself. For those of you who have tried this, perhaps you shared my pulse raising hair on the back of your neck standing up reaction. It literally felt like I was there, on the drone from which the footage had been shot.

That moment I had an epiphany. I thought about sick children, how film and TV personalities generously visit them or send video messages with well wishes. What if the GoPro camera array captured a child's idol speaking to the camera as if it were the child? Using the child's name, speaking to them (well the camera). Imagine how lifting that would be to a kid, who perhaps couldn't leave bed or due to infection risk couldn't have visitors. They could repeat the experience too. How amazing would that be? Not only this, busy stars could do shoots from anywhere in the world.

The great news is that thanks to Google the technology to watch these films is now so cheap anyone can afford it - £4.99! All that remains is for someone to try my idea out. I will certainly be letting GOSH know of the concept, perhaps you know of a children's hospital or hospice who could do the same.

If this idea has inspired you please share it on social media, with your help maybe the idea will reach someone who could make it happen.

Joe Caccavano, CMO at Phase2, with his 6 camera GoPro Array

VR tech is now in the realms of being affordable to many

Further information: Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation TrustGreat Ormond Street Hospital CharityGoogle Cardboard's Cheap VR Can Work With iPhones TooAbout the Drupal project
Categories: Elsewhere

DrupalCon News: Thanks for Drupaling!

Sun, 17/05/2015 - 03:29

After a fantastic week, we are exhausted but so pumped about all of the awesome things that happened at DrupalCon Los Angeles.  We hope you had an amazing and enriching time and would love to hear your thoughts so we can make the upcoming Cons even better.  

Check out the DrupalCon Los Angeles Survey and say those words.

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal Association News: What's new on Drupal.org - April 2015

Sat, 16/05/2015 - 20:45

Look for links to our Strategic Roadmap highlighting how this work falls into our priorities set by the Drupal Association Board and Drupal.org Working Groups.

Better account creation Community User Role Expanded

The community user role which we introduced in March will now be automatically granted to users who reach a certain level of participation on Drupal.org. While the exact activities that can grant this role will not be explicitly published (as we do with other spam prevention measures) the activities are representative of those an engaged community member would take while participating on Drupal.org.

Existing users who have already reached the required level of contribution will receive the role upon their next activity on Drupal.org. As of the end of April the automatic role granting had extended the Community user role to more than 5000 users.

Content Strategy and Visual Design System for Drupal.org

and

Making Drupal.org Search Usable

During April the Association staff focused on communicating the results and recommendations of our Content Strategy work with the Working Groups and the Drupal Association Board of Directors.

A deep investigation of the current organization of content on Drupal.org, the workflow provided by Drupal.org for our User Personas, and the governance of content on Drupal.org has brought us to a comprehensive proposal for the future state of Drupal.org.

These proposals involve creating new sections on Drupal.org that better match to common user activities and better content types to support those activities. As we begin organizing Drupal.org into new and updated content types we’ll also be rolling in our initiative to improve search on Drupal.org. As we work on each content type we’ll be assessing the search facets for each type.

The next step to move this proposal forward has been to create issues for the specific proposals that have evolved from the content strategy project to date and the feedback from the Working Groups.

This issue and child issues that follow are based on the findings of the Content Strategy project performed by the Drupal Association staff in partnership with Forum One Communications during December 2014 - April 2015.

Community Initiatives (D8 Blockers) DrupalCI

Drupal Association staff and community volunteers have continued pushing hard to get DrupalCI production ready and integrated with Drupal.org.

The community helped tremendously by providing some formal guidance into the minimum viable and ideal state of the test environments.
Association staff has the primary environment successfully running all tests, and will be working on the additional environments as well as the Drupal.org integration in the run up to DrupalCon Los Angeles.

Again - tremendous thanks to our community volunteers who sprinted with us in Portland: Jeremy Thorson, Nick Schuch, Bastian Widmer, Ricardo Amaro, Paul Mitchum, Mike Prasuhn, Karoly Negyesi-- and to Shayamala Rajaram, Angie Byron, and Jonathan Hedstrom who helped us from afar!

Localize.Drupal.org

In partnership with the community members who have been working on the port of localize.Drupal.org to Drupal 7, association staff have been working to get this migration across the finish line.

We focused fire on the issues found in click-testing, and hope to deploy localize.Drupal.org on Drupal 7 in May.

Revenue-related projects (funding our work) Try Drupal

We’ve created Try Drupal with our Premium Hosting Supporters to make it easier for CMS evaluators and Drupal.org newcomers to test and work with a Drupal demo site. The Program will showcase a selection of Hosting Companies where a new user can quickly (in less than 20 minutes) sign up and have a Drupal demo site up and running for them to use for free.

DrupalCons

It’s almost time for DrupalCon Los Angeles! In the run up to DrupalCon Los Angeles we’ve been fixing bugs on Events.Drupal.org and preparing for the launch of the DrupalCon Barcelona full site.

We’ve also just started planning out our work for the next Cons to be announced at DrupalCon Los Angeles - more to come there after Los Angeles!

Sustaining Support and Maintenance Pre-Production Infra Rebuild

An issue was reported to the Drupal.org infrastructure team that uncovered an installed rootkit on our pre-production (dev and staging) environment on April 19th. We stopped all services on these servers. The access was gained through an open VNC port on our OpenStack environment that allowed hijacking of an open console session. The attacker was attempting to create a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on targeted IPs.

There is no evidence that information was taken from our staging database or that user information was compromised.

To ensure site integrity, we rebuilt our staging and development environments. Our infrastructure team took the opportunity during the rebuild to address some best practices and better security configuration options. The majority of these environments are now on Amazon Web Services. Particularly for our development environments, this gives us options for more easily scaling up and down our development needs, and gives us more separation between production and pre-production servers.

---
As always, we’d like to say thanks to all volunteers who are working with us and to the Drupal Association Supporters, who made it possible for us to work on these projects.

Follow us on Twitter for regular updates: @drupal_org, @drupal_infra.

Categories: Elsewhere

Addison Berry: Getting Started as a Board Director

Sat, 16/05/2015 - 20:06

A few months ago I ran for, and won, a seat on the Drupal Association (DA) Board as an At-Large Director. I'd like to share my journey with everyone, both to provide another look into the work that the board does, and to understand what it's like to be a new board member. I've now attended two board meetings (April and May) and taken part in my first board retreat, the weekend before DrupalCon LA. There's a lot going on, so I'll break this up into several posts.

On-boarding

Once I was elected, and the board confirmed the election results, Holly contacted me to let me know just before announcing it to the entire community. Shortly after that we scheduled a time to get on the phone, and I started getting access to a bunch of documents. I mean a whole bunch!

That first call with Holly was great for getting me oriented. She walked me through logistical things like board meetings, communication, necessary paperwork, and pointing me in the right direction with the documents to look at for various topics and back story. She also asked if I'd ever served on a board before, which I had not, and took time to explain what that means in terms of expectations for board members (things like publicly representing the board and identifying conflicts of interest). She also gave me a summary of the major topics from the last board retreat, which had occurred in January. She continued from there to summarize the big issues that the board was in the middle of discussing and working on, with an idea of what topics we were looking to tackle during the LA retreat in May. This was incredibly useful to prepare me for my first board meeting. I caught up on details by reading the minutes from the January retreat and this year's monthly board meetings. I didn't have many questions after my on-boarding and I felt prepared to dive into the conversations that were already ongoing.

One thing that I did right after that call was to set up times to chat one-on-one with the DA staff leadership team. I wanted to hear from each of them what they were working on, and understand what they needed to get from the board (and therefore me) to do their jobs better. It was a great introduction to the work that the staff takes on every day, and helped me clarify what I need to keep focused on to help them. It was also just awesome to get to know them a little more as people, which can be hard to do in our crazy, busy schedules.

Board Email

In addition to documents and phone calls, I was also added to the board email list. It is a pretty low traffic list, but I got to see a few conversations run through there prior to my first meeting. We had a thread to help clarify what info we needed to have for the meeting, and that board members should read reports ahead of time so we could get straight to things in the meeting itself. In addition to internal process things like that, this is also a place where members can raise issues they think we need to discuss or vote on in a meeting.

First Board Meeting

I was elected just a few weeks before the April board meeting, and I wasn't required to attend that meeting since I was still getting up and running, but I wanted to dive in. Board members are expected to make all monthly board meetings, with at least 10 a year being the minimum to attend. The time is a set time, and so one thing I knew before I even nominated myself was that I would need to make space for this 2-hour call every month on a Wednesday night from 9pm–11pm (since I live in Denmark).

A few days before each board meeting we all receive a meeting packet which has the agenda, phone connection info, links to any presentations or documents we should review, and a list of the DA key performance indicators (KPIs). This board packet is publicly available as well, and you can check them out yourself and even listen in on the board meeting. I spent some time to read everything over and think about what I might want to bring up in the conversation during the meeting.

I didn't have a whole lot to say as I was just trying to absorb as much as I could. We did however discuss releasing the election results, which I obviously had some thoughts about, having just come through the election process. This issue was a good example of how the DA works with community feedback. We have never released election data in the past, and we hadn't made that an expectation for candidates, so when people asked for the data, we couldn't just hand it out with considering a few things. I think we came up with a good solution to be able to release the data for this election, and we now have a plan in place to incorporate this in future elections. You can read more about this decision in Holly's post 2015 At-Large Election Data Released.

The first part of every board meeting is public (as mentioned above). After the public section, we drop off the phone and meet on another phone line with just the board, Holly, and needed staff. This is a place for us to discuss things that are still in progress, or to handle internal board matters. On this particular call we discussed things like reviewing the Q1 financials and and giving updates on board members' efforts to help raise funds for D8 Accelerate.

In my next post I'll give a rundown of the board retreat and my board experience at DrupalCon LA. A lot of people have asked me how I feel about being on the board after the retreat, and I have to say that I'm very happy. I felt the level and direction of conversation was great. I'll talk more about what that was, and why I'm so pleased, especially compared to my previous DA experience from many years ago.

drupal associationdrupal
Categories: Elsewhere

Another Drop in the Drupal Sea: DrupalCon LA Friday Recap

Sat, 16/05/2015 - 19:06

From my vantage point the sprint day was extremely well attended. I spent my day working on a patch I had submitted to the Flag module and working on OG Forum and OG Forum D7.

We had the traditional live commit in the afternoon.

There wasn't any announcement if any more critical bugs were squashed for core.

How many of you participated in the sprints? When did you head home? Are you participating on Saturday?

read more

Categories: Elsewhere

Forum One: DrupalCon LA Round-Up: Wrapping Up and Looking Ahead

Sat, 16/05/2015 - 01:34

A number of us from Forum One are sticking around for Friday’s sprints, but that’s a wrap on the third day of DrupalCon and the conference proper!

Wednesday and Thursday were chock-full of great sessions, BoFs, and all the small spontaneous meetings and conversations that make DrupalCons so fruitful, exhausting and energizing.

Forum One gave three sessions on Wednesday. John Brandenburg presented Maximizing Site Speed with Mercy Corps, a case study of our work on www.mercycorps.org focusing on performance optimization. Kalpana Goel of Forum One and Frédéric G. Marand presented Pain points of learning and contributing in the Drupal community, a session on how to even better facilitate code contributions to Drupal from community members. And finally Forum One’s Andrew Morton presented Content After Launch: Preparing a Monkey for Space, a survey of content considerations for project success before, during, and after the website build process. The other highlight from my perspective on Wednesday was a great talk by Wim Leers and Fabian Franz on improvements to Drupal performance/speed, and how to make your Drupal sites fly.

Then Thursday, Daniel Ferro and Dan Mouyard rounded out the seven Forum One sessions with their excellent presentation, To the Pattern Lab! Collaboration Using Modular Design Principles. The session describes our usage of Pattern Lab at Forum One to improve project workflow and collaboration between visual designers, front- and back-end developers, and clients. This approach has eased a lot of friction on our project teams. I’m particularly excited about how it’s allowed our front-end developers to get hacking much earlier in the project lifecycle. We were glad to see the presentation get a shout out from Brad Frost, one of the Pattern Lab creators. Other highlights for me on Thursday were the beloved Q&A with Dries and friends and sitting down over lunch with other Pacific Northwest Drupalers to make some important decisions about the PNW Drupal Summit coming to Seattle this fall.

In addition to looking ahead to DrupalCon Barcelona, the closing session revealed the exciting news that DrupalCon will be landing in Mumbai next year!

#DrupalCon is coming to Mumbai! Plus other photos from todays closing session https://t.co/Y3vWCQCSTu? pic.twitter.com/zEt4Y6VLxS

— DrupalCon LosAngeles (@DrupalConNA) May 15, 2015

And the always anticipated announcement of the next DrupalCon North America location… New Orleans!

And the next North American #DrupalCon will be…… pic.twitter.com/AXiFxv3gfW

— DrupalCon LosAngeles (@DrupalConNA) May 14, 2015

That news was ushered in soulfully by these gentlemen, Big Easy style, pouring out from the keynote hall into the convention center lobby.

Great way to announce #DrupalCon New Orleans! #DrupalConLA pic.twitter.com/3cRmV8jI1F

— Andy Hieb (@AndyHieb) May 14, 2015

And to finish off the day properly, many of us hooted and hollered at Drupal trivia night, MC’d by none other than Jeff Eaton.

Another fantastic #DrupalCon trivia night in progress… Woo! pic.twitter.com/AzavA2AFXi

— Jeff Eaton (@eaton) May 15, 2015

A great con was had by all of us here at Forum One… On to the sprints!

Categories: Elsewhere

Forum One: Hacking the Feds: Forum One Among the Winners at GSA Hack-a-Thon

Fri, 15/05/2015 - 20:25

Last Friday, we attended the Digital Innovation Hack-a-Thon hosted by the GSA… and we won. The federal tech website FCW even wrote an article about it.

Our team, made up of designers and developers from Forum One, along with Booz Allen Hamilton, Avar Consulting, and IFC International, worked on a solution for IAE’s Vendor Dashboard for Contracting Officers. We were tasked with creating a vendor dashboard for displaying GSA data that would enable procurement officers to quickly and easily search and identify potential vendors that have small-business or minority-owned status, search by other special categories, and view vendors’ history.

How did we tackle the problem?

Our team initially split into smaller working groups. The first group performed a quick discovery session; talking with the primary stakeholder and even reaching out to some of the Contracting Officers we work with regularly. They identified pain points and looked at other systems which we ended up integrating into our solution. As this group defined requirements, the second group created wireframes. We even took some time to perform quick usability testing with our stakeholders, and iterate on our initial concept until it was time to present.

The other group dove into development. We carefully evaluated the data available from the API to understand the overlap and develop a data architecture. Using that data map, we decided to create a listing of contracts and ways to display an individual contract. We then expanded it to include alternative ways of comparing and segmenting contracts using other supporting data. Drupal did very well pulling in the data and allowed us to leverage its data listings and displays tools. Most developers see Drupal as a powerful albeit time intensive building tool, but it worked very well in this time critical environment.

Our two groups rejoined frequently to keep everyone on the same page and make sure our solutions was viable.

How much could we possibly accomplish in 6 hours?

More than you might think. Our solutions presented the content in an organized, digestible way that allowed contracting officers to search and sort through information quickly and easily within one system. We created wireframes to illustrate our solution for the judges and stakeholders. We also stood up a Drupal site to house the data and explained the technical architecture behind our solution. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a front-end developer participating in the hack-a-thon, so we weren’t able to create a user interface, but our wireframes describe what the UI should eventually look like.

Some of us even took a quick break to catch a glimpse the Arsenal of Democracy World War II Victory Capitol Flyover from the roof. It was also broadcasted on the projectors in the conference room.

What did we learn?

It’s interesting to see how others break down complex problems and iterate on solutions especially if that solution includes additional requirements. Our solution was more complex than some of the other more polished data visualizations, but we won the challenge in part because of the strategy behind our solution.

We’re excited to see what GSA develops as a MVP, and we’ll be keeping our ears open for the next opportunity to attend a hack-a-thon with GSA.

Finally, a big shout out to our teammates!
  • Mary C. J. Schwarz, Vice President at ICF International
  • Gita Pabla, Senior Digital Designer at Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Eugene Raether, IT Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Robert Barrett, Technical Architect, Avar Consulting
Categories: Elsewhere

SitePoint PHP Drupal: Using Ajax Forms in Drupal 8

Fri, 15/05/2015 - 18:00

In this article, I am going to show you a clean way of using the Drupal 8 Ajax API without writing one line of JavaScript code. To this end, we will go back to the first custom form we built for Drupal 8 in a previous article and Ajaxify some of its behaviour to make it more user friendly.

An updated version of this form can be found in this repository under the name DemoForm (the demo module). The code we write in this article can also be found there but in a separate branch called ajax. I recommend you clone the repo and install the module in your development environment if you want to follow along.

DemoForm

Although poorly named, the DemoForm was very helpful in illustrating the basics of writing a custom form in Drupal 8. It handles validation, configuration and exemplifies the use of the Form API in general. Of course, it focuses on the basics and has nothing spectacular going on.

If you remember, or check the code, you’ll see that the form presents a single textfield responsible for collecting an email address to be saved as configuration. The form validation is in charge of making sure that the submitted email has a .com ending (a poor attempt at that but enough to illustrate the principle of form validation). So when a user submits the form, they are saving a new email address to the configuration and get a confirmation message printed to the screen.

In this article, we will move the email validation logic to an Ajax callback so that after the user has finished typing the email address, the validation gets automagically triggered and a message printed without submitting the form. Again, there is nothing spectacular about this behaviour and you will see it quite often in forms in the wild (typically to validate usernames). But it’s a good exercise for looking at Ajax in Drupal 8.

Continue reading %Using Ajax Forms in Drupal 8%

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Another Drop in the Drupal Sea: DrupalCon LA Thursday Recap

Fri, 15/05/2015 - 17:38

There was a shortened day of sessions, finishing with the closing ceremony. In the morning I attended a discussion about documentation on D.O. I attended this session because the point of focus the group chose at my BOF was to do something to improve the documentation. The session was quite well attended, which apparently demonstrates that there's a good bit of interest in improving the documentation. So, I guess I'll be putting more of my time, energy and resources to getting involved.

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S. M. Bjørklund: How to migrate content from drupal 6 to 7 by using Migrate_d2d - Part 1

Fri, 15/05/2015 - 15:59

The normal way of performing a major upgrade in Drupal have traditionally been by running update.php, that fire off a lot of rather complex hook_update_N() tasks. They will try to upgrade configuration and content from one major version to another. Example Drupal 6 to 7. This is all about to change in Drupal 8. Drupal 8 have got the migrate module baked in, and upgrade is no longer a upgrade, but a migration of data and configuration from one system to another.

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Drupal Easy: DrupalEasy Podcast 154: DrupalCon Los Angeles - Day 3 Recap

Fri, 15/05/2015 - 15:29
DrupalEasy Podcast 154

Ryan managed to catch a few final interviews before leaving town on the last day of DrupalCon. He got in a traditional interview with a Blackmesh employee (who isn't Cathy Theyes), namely Jason Ford. Also is an 15 minute interview with Colleen Carrol of Palantir.net who recaps her session about Sustainable Recruiting Practices.

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