It is frequent that customers approach us asking for help to rescue their projects from site builders. Sometimes they have technological issues (mainly slow sites) but sometimes it's just plain bad usability os some wrong marketing concepts.
We recently were asked for help from a site that gets about 5,000 unique visitors a day. Despite the not so bad visitor numbers for their niche, this page was getting very low user interaction. They barely got a handful (<10) of comments and forum posts in a whole year timespan.Language English
On a recent project I was using the combination of Field Collection, Entity Reference, Taxonomy Terms, and Context to make a reusable set of references to terms on various content types. Then, based on the referenced term, I wanted to satisfy a context condition.
Due to the somewhat complex structure, the context was not aware of the term referenced through entity reference and the field collection.
In a case like this, creating a custom context plugin was a good solution.Read more »
I’m personally amazed at the new features and advances of Drupal 8. There are so many changes to talk about, but for this article I want to cover configuration management. In case you haven't yet heard, with the new version of Drupal we see all configuration stored in files instead of in the database. With the new version of Drush there are some built in tools to help manage these files.
At the time of this writing, the recommended version of Drush is 6; however, this article uses commands that were introduced with version 7. Before you can try any of these, you’ll need to be running that version of Drush. The tricky part is that it currently does not have a full release. Typically, you would not want to install a project’s dev release in a production environment. I’m going to assume you will be working locally, on a development server, or are confident you can’t hurt anything otherwise.
In a previous article I explained how to install Drush using Pear; however, the project is shifting to Composer. You can still install via Pear, or even manually, but it's recommended you switch to Composer. Drush has also been moved to GitHub; you will find additional instructions for installing with something other than composer there.
Assuming your environment already has Composer installed, get the latest release of Drush 7 and issue the below command.composer global require drush/drush:dev-master --prefer-source
Next, verify that it installed:drush version
The output should indicate you have Drush 7.0-dev, or something along those lines. If it didn't work you may need to log out and back in again before your SSH user will know it's installed.
Now that we have the latest and greatest, the next thing to do is get Drupal 8. Using Drush you can request a specific version of Drupal, or any project, by providing the version number. If you don’t provide a version it will find the recommended version and download that instead.
To get the dev version of Drupal, type this:drush dl drupal-8.x-dev
Next, let’s get a site installed. Keep in mind that you will need to configure your web server and database since this command only handles the install of Drupal.
Today is a much anticipated day. Some said it would never come. Others said that if it did come it could ultimately mean nothing. Still others, and myself, believe that it is a red-letter date that will be long celebrated as the day that Backdrop CMS 1.0 was launched.
Backdrop CMS is a comprehensive CMS for non-profits and small to medium sized businesses. Not inconsequentially, it is a Drupal fork.
I am on the record as saying that Backdrop CMS supplies a need in the market place. I believe that Drupal 8 is charging ahead into new and innovative territory and leaving behind a disenfranchised segment of the Drupal community. This segment includes both those who need websites and those who create them. The Drupal 7 methodology is a proven success. Backdrop CMS builds upon that success and prepares the way for a continued bright and prosperous future.
Before I continue my take on all of this, Let me give you a brief glimpse of the early days of BackdropCMS.
- June 2012
- Nate, Jen, and a few others have a conversation discussing the many changes in Drupal 8 and how those changes come with a cost. The idea comes up of getting "back" to the principles that lead to Drupal's amazing success. The phrase Backdrop is first coined.
- Nate registers BackdropCMS.org and on the same date publishes the Backdrop repository
- The first tweet appears referencing Backdrop
June 27, 2013
- Among the tweets is Nate's tweet announcing the purpose of the fork and the new BackdropCMS.org website.
September 11, 2013
- Also in September, an IndieGoGo crowd sourcing campaign is createdhttps://www.indiegogo.com/projects/backdrop-cms/x/5200252 to fund the development of BackDropCMS. By the close on November 10th, it raises $6,685 including contributions from some highly visible Drupal Community members.
- DrupalEasy Podcast- 9/16/13 - http://drupaleasy.com/podcast/2013/09/backdropeasy-podcast-114-no-crying-sprints
- Acquia Blog by Jesse Beach - “Drupal will not be ugly; we will not punish dissent” -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxCDI-ONqDo&noredirect=1
- Drupalize.me Podcast- 9/20/13 https://www.lullabot.com/blog/podcasts/drupalizeme-podcast/26-backdrop-drupal-fork
- synapsesoftware.com Podcast - 9/24/13 - http://synapsesoftware.com/podcast/episode-6-how-choose-software-development-company
- Talking Drupal Podcast - 10/2/13 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxCDI-ONqDo&authuser=0
- Quora.com - 10/8/13 - “Will BackDrop CMS - the fork of Drupal 7 - be a viable alternative to Drupal 8 or will it fail? What factors will determine its success or failure?” http://www.quora.com/Will-BackDrop-CMS-the-fork-of-Drupal-7-be-a-viable-alternative-to-Drupal-8-or-will-it-fail-What-factors-will-determine-its-success-or-failure
- Modules Unraveled - 10/11/13 - https://modulesunraveled.com/podcast/081-backdrop-and-drupal8-discussion-jen-lampton-nate-haug-john-albin-wilkins-and-alex
I don’t know how many people want to weed through all of those blogs and podcasts, but I can tell you that many of us lived through it and it was exciting! I was glued to my Mac trying to keep track of it all. I wanted to hear what the Drupal Easy guys had to say. I wanted to hear what Nate and Jen had to say on their interviews. I wanted some sense of what people thought about it, how they reacted, etc. In short, it was very important to me that I maintained some sense of how the Drupal Community at large felt about the whole idea of Backdrop CMS.
Why care what the Drupal community feels about BackdropCMS?
Well… Back on 9/11/13 when the twitter-sphere lit up about BackdropCMS, I too tweeted out that I supported it. Within minutes of my tweet, I got an email from Dries asking me why I supported it. We ended up discussing many aspects of the whole situation. We didn’t really end the exchange with anything concrete other than the fact that we started with different perspectives and feelings and we ended with those same different feelings and perspectives. Since then, I've enjoyed many conversations with community members as we discuss the impact that Backdrop CMS is having or will have on the Drupal Community.
As the title so boldly states, Backdrop CMS 1.0 is here! This is going to change many things. I look forward to watching as more and more people discover this new, and powerful tool and begin recommending it to their clients who already love Drupal and wish to enjoy increased functionality without the dramatic changes.Drupal Planet
Frameworks are pretty and shiny and like Drupal can be fun, but you have to use them in the right context. So here's when to use a Framework, and by default when not to as well.Read more
You can still make an important contribution to Drupal 8. Drupal Global Sprint 2015-New England takes place this Saturday, January 17, from 10 AM to 5 PM at Genuine in Boston. Acquia is co-sponsoring the event and we invite you to RSVP and jump into the community.
I've had some trouble using Twig's include statements in Drupal 8 theming. I'm not sure if this is a bug since it's at Beta 4, but it's sort of annoying. I include my content areas in page.html.twig in a separate include file in Drupal 6 and insert it into the area I need. For example, if I have a 3 column layout, I'm changing the Bootstrap classes from "col-md-12" to "col-md-9" and "col-md-3" (for a sidebar) if the sidebars have content in them. Inclu
- Okay, I can already see huge benefits of utilizing these tools. But, I’d love to get your opinion on what the benefits are for Developers/Site-builders/Themers?
- There are two big benefits as I see them, and another not so apparent. First, a lot of these tasks are repetitive. And things like copying a database may take a bit of time. Or merging code. Or running tests. Etc. Anything that you can automate means time you can spend on other things. Second, not everyone is as experienced - or maybe they don’t have the permissions - to execute all the tasks. You don’t want mistakes, you don’t want to give everyone permissions. So you figure out the best way to do it and then you automate it. The last reason is not as obvious. I think a lot of times we hack things together in our development environments to get it working - but then may run into issues later on. We don’t spend the extra time because its temporary. By spending a little extra time getting it right, we have created a reusable pattern that we can use on our next project. By encapsulating our best practices, we not only have a quicker setup, but we have a better one too.
- Perfect. So, save time by automating tasks like copying a database. Prevent mistakes by limiting who has permissions to execute tasks, and automating them so that even those who do have permission can’t introduce user error. And by setting up a process that uses best practices, creating new environments is faster, and better than if I had to try to remember all of the steps myself.
- Exactly. And I’ll add, ansible can be used for each of installation, configuration, and orchestration. The examples we’ve talked about so far are orchestration - moving databases, code, etc. It can also be used to install Apache, Mysql, Mongodb, etc. Any set of system commands that are repeatable.
- Oh... So if you’ve got a server that you have full access to, you could actually wipe and rebuild the entire server AND Drupal site? We’re not limited to just configuring the Drupal site?
- Exactly. And throw in Vagrant into the mix and now you can do that on your local machines using Virtual machines. Immagine spinning up a brand new VM and within a few clicks you have your entire development environment with a fresh drupal install all ready for you on a VM.
- Now, I do wonder who this is more geared toward. Developers, Site-builders or Themers. I understand that each of them can use these, and would probably help them all with their daily tasks, but who do you see benefiting the most from these tools. Or, do you have examples of people in each category that you know of that are using them?
- I think all three benefit from automation. For example, in a previous life where I didn’t use Ansible, my themer was insanely good at theming, but when it came to running commands remotely on a server to check out his work, he was a fish out of water. I wish I had written an Ansible playbook so that he could check his code out onto staging. Or even better, if I had set up Jenkins to run an Ansible playbook to automatically check it out his work each time he committed. He wouldn’t have had to wait on me, sometimes a few days if I was not around. That said, he would not have been able create the ansible playbook.
- As for who is using Ansible, well, Twitter does - they use it to roll out updates across their hundreds of machines. And of course BlackMesh, the hosting company I work for, also does. The product Cascade I mentioned uses ansible and Jenkins to do a lot of the things we talked about today, only we set it up so you don’t have to.
The Drupal 7 Auto Assign Role module allows you a lot of flexibility in deciding what roles users receive on your Drupal 7 website. If you have ever needed to allow a user to select their own role, or if you have ever needed to automatically assign a role to every user on your Drupal site. This is the module for you.Tags: DrupalUsersDrupal 7Drupal Planet
Happy birthday to Drupal! On this day in 2001, Drupal 1.0 was released.
This milestone is the perfect time to talk about some of the findings of our recent community survey. The survey findings offer a window into what community members are thinking as the project matures and evolves. It also gives us at the Drupal Association a way to better understand what we're doing right and what we could be doing better. There aren't many surprises (and that's a good thing), but all of the findings are educational. Here are three results we thought were particularly interesting and insightful.Drupal 8 Will Be Broadly Adopted
In the survey, about 80% of respondents said they either plan to start using Drupal 8 as soon as it is released, or plan to adopt it at some point after release. Another 8% said they did not have specific plans to adopt, but do plan to evaluate Drupal 8.
Drupal.org Remains an Important and Heavily-Used Tool
The overwhelming majority of respondents said they use Drupal.org more than once per week. Most also say they are satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the site. While that result is encouraging, it does not change the important mission to improve the experience of the site and make it a better tool for everyone from first time visitors to those who spend the majority of their working time on the site.
We Need to Create Broader Awareness of Drupal Association Programs
Community members who took the survey have great awareness of DrupalCons. Awareness of the work we are doing on Drupal.org seems to be steadily growing. But awareness is relatively low for Community Grants and our Supporter Programs that provide a way for organizations to give back to the Project. That awareness is clearly something we need to improve to promote transparency.
If you would like to read the full results, you can access them here (2.8M PDF). Thanks for reading, and thanks for being a part of this amazing community.
In an effort to continue the velocity of work on Drupal 8 criticals from the Ghent criticals sprint, we've taken it upon ourselves to get together for at least one hour each Friday to focus on Drupal 8 criticals
Read on to find out what we got up to in the first week, but also how you can get involved.
Last year we wrote about 5 technologies to focus on in 2014. Last year’s article is still worth a read. Many of the things on the 2014 list are still very relevant.
In keeping with the best of yearly traditions, we want to follow up with the 5 technologies worth your attention in 2015. These are not bleeding edge technologies. Rather, these are technologies or platforms or ideas that are starting to mature and are worth investing your time and getting ahead of the curve.DevOps & Security
If 2014 was anything, it was the year of security incidents, hacks, cracks and general information insecurity. In addition to the ones that actually made the headlines, Drupal suffered its own infamous moment during the so-called "Drupalgeddon". A vulnerability that if not fixed exposed your site to a critical attack.
Bluespark was one of a handful of shops that addressed the issue within minutes of the incident, which meant that clients hardly suffered. Drupal sites that did not benefit from the same care were exposed and, at worst, compromised.
What these security incidents highlighted is the need for site owners to have effective processes in place to update websites and servers. That points to developing an effective DevOps practice around your site. At Drupalcon Amsterdam, Bluespark talked about the value that DevOps generates. Part of that is precisely being able to deal with security incidents quickly. Security incidents cannot be prevented. The key is to be able to react quickly to them once vulnerabilities go public. Effective DevOps do just that.Web Everywhere
The past year has seen a proliferation of devices that are internet-connected and aim to augment what our laptops, tablets and phones already do. In 2015 we are going to see the Apple Watch land on people’s wrists and Samsung has announced that every device it produces will be connected to the internet.
It’s like we’re living in the future.
At the same time, Amazon has launched tools such as AWS Lambda that allow you to effectively react to a variety of events through services.
The opportunities and possibilities for customer engage are about to explode in a way only previously hinted at. And if you’re not taking advantage of this new ecosystem, your competitors will be.
There are still many, many questions about this new ecosystem. What can you do with the new products and services? How are people going to use them?
More importantly for you, though, are the systems that run your web infrastructure ready for these new developments? Are your web content management system and web-based services able to manipulate content and perform actions in a way that can take advantage of these new devices?
Web Everywhere means that overall engagement strategies need to be defined, content strategies refined and content management systems fine-tuned to produce the right message and appropriate interaction. After all, people might not be going to your website from their fridge, but that doesn’t mean that having an internet-connected fridge is pointless.Content-Driven Commerce
Many ecommerce sites are finally starting to catch on to a fundamental truth about sales: it’s not about the transaction, it’s about engagement. And how do you engage your audience? Certainly not by throwing out sale after sale. People are getting bombarded with promotions, their inboxes are getting clogged with the latest deals. It's time to take a step forward. Sort out how you can stand out from the crowd and connect with an audience that wants to make a purchase, though they aren't necessarily interested in being sold on something.
And that's the problem. If all your doing is selling, then you’re missing the point. Many e-commerce sites are so focused on the latest deal -- on the close -- that they forget a fundamental aspect of selling: telling a great story. People want to engage with a meaningful brand. They want a story that compels them to buy. A few brands are picking up on this, though not nearly enough.
Drupal is in a unique position to drive Content-Driven Commerce forward. Platform is one of the biggest challenges companies face when trying to integrate content and commerce. Drupal (along with Drupal Commerce or Acquia Commerce) tightly integrates both the commerce and content pieces of a website, making it easier than ever to craft stories that can drive conversions.Context-Rich Systems
Last year we also talked about personalization for websites and experience management, which is really just another way to talk about context -- albeit a simple form of context.
Context-Rich systems go deeper than personalized websites, though. They are systems that pull in a number of diverse signals about the user and their context -- from their location, to the weather, device they are on, speed they are traveling. And like personalized websites, context-rich systems can adjust content, display, and input methods based on the user’s current situation. They will allow better feedback for the user and they allow the user to perform more through the website by linking together disparate services seamlessly.
In 2015, these systems will start to form as people bring more and more internet-connected devices (creating a personal ecosystem) into the home and business. In the past, when companies have tried to take advantage of Context-Rich Systems, they have applied old paradigms of understanding (hence why internet-connected fridges are the butt of many jokes) to the new technologies. But the companies that realize the possibilities in a way that doesn’t disrupt their customer’s lives, they will truly leap ahead.Visualization
One of the technologies we mentioned in the 2014 article was deep analytics. Well 2014 has only increased the possibilities to collect even more data from more sources. The next step is to ensure that data is correlated correctly and visualized in ways that transform into useful, actionable information.
After all, what’s the use of data if you don’t know what to do with it?
Visualization technologies will become mainstream in 2015, and websites should expect to have information analyzed and presented in a variety of different ways so as to fit their needs. Vizualization libraries such as D3.js and search engines such as Solr have reached a level of maturity that allows for them to be fully and effectively exploited now.2015 will be...
Every year it seems like new technologies are hyped. Different visions of the future are trotted out as the “next big thing.” We’re definitely excited about these technologies and think that, over the next few years, they have the potential to really change the landscape of e-commerce and technology, in general. We encourage you to do your own research into the technologies and tell us what you think. More importantly, though, think about how you can make use of these technologies in your own business. If time and money weren’t an issue, how might you use these technologies to give your boost your business ahead of the competition?Tags: Drupal Planet
I'm updating a Drupal 6 theme to Drupal 8. One thing I'm doing is making the logo in my Twig template a Twig variable instead of hardcoding the path. Here's how you do it. This assumes a theme named 'acton', but you'll change that to your own theme's name.
In 'acton.theme', assuming your logo is 'logo.png' in your theme's root:
Lullabot has a new monthly show, hosted by Matthew Tift, featuring in-depth interviews with open source and free software advocates.
This inaugural episode of Hacking Culture introduces the idea of software forking, one of the fundamental characteristics of free software, and Matthew talks with Nate Haug about Backdrop, a Drupal fork.
It's that time again. Time to look back at 2014, and to look forward to 2015. For Drupal in 2014, it was all about Drupal 8. As Drupal 8's development enters its fourth (and hopefully, final) year of development, it's a good time to reflect on all the work achieved by the Drupal 8 team so far, and to talk about Drupal 8's momentum heading into the final stretch to the release.
Drupal 8 will have 200 new features. Among the larger features that I'm excited about are the responsive design, HTML5 support, the native web service support, the much improved multilingual support, the configuration management system, a built-in WYSIWYG editor, in-place editing, streamlined content editing, the improved entity system, and more. The list of improvements is long!
My favorite part of Drupal 8 is that it will make building all types of Drupal sites — both big and small — much easier than with Drupal 7.
Key accomplishments in 2014 include:Drupal 8 beta 1 released
October 1, 2014, amidst the fanfare at DrupalCon Amsterdam, we released Drupal 8 beta 1. This was an important milestone in the project, marking the finalization of major APIs, which enables contributed modules to begin porting in earnest.Total number of Drupal 8 contributors surpasses 2,500
Drupal 8's new object-oriented API represents a significant paradigm shift for developers (there are many benefits to this). To help Drupal 7 pros make the jump to Drupal 8, Acquia funded the Drupal Module Upgrader project. This project will not only scan a Drupal 7 module and generate a report pointing off to the appropriate documentation on how to port it, there is even a mode that automatically re-writes much of your module's code to Drupal 8 to eliminate a huge chunk of the work.Sprints, sprints and more sprints!
We organized dozens of sprints all around the world, and together hundreds of people came together in "real life" to help get Drupal 8 released. Sprints are a key part of momentum-building in Drupal, by laser-focusing on a specific goal, or by pairing both new and experienced contributors together for mentorship. Not only do sprints make solving tough issues easier, they also provide opportunities for building relationships and "leveling up" your skills.Drupal 8 accelerate fund
Though it was launched just a month ago, the Drupal Association's Drupal 8 Accelerate Fund is already helping to add velocity to Drupal 8, by paying key contributors to help fix particularly onerous critical issues.What is in store for 2015? Getting the Drupal 8 release done
Our current focus is resolving the Drupal 8 upgrade path issues, which will allow early adopters of Drupal 8 to upgrade their site data between beta releases, and should result in a further uptick to Drupal 8 development velocity.
Once we reach zero critical issues, we begin the release candidate phase. Among the areas left to polish up after the Drupal 8 upgrade path issues are bringing external libraries up to date, finalizing documentation, and performance.Continuous improvements after Drupal 8
Unlike prior versions of Drupal, Drupal 8 has adopted a new release cycle that will provide backwards-compatible "feature" releases every 6 months. I'm extremely excited about this change, as it means we can innovate on the core platform for years to come after release, versus holding all of the new goodies until Drupal 9.Getting more organizations to contribute
We're now one of the largest Open Source projects in terms of active contributors, if not the largest. That growth requires us to evolve how we work. Over the years, we've grown from a 100% volunteer-driven model to a model where there is a mix of volunteers, contributors who are partially funded by their customers or employers, and contributors who are paid full-time to work on Drupal.
While this shift has big benefits in making Drupal more sustainable, it also means there is increasingly more corporate participation and influence. One of our biggest challenges for 2015 is to figure out how we can get more commercial organizations to step up to take on more of the shared maintenance of Drupal, while at the same time respecting the needs and desires of our entire community.Improving our governance model
There has also been a lot of talk about optimizing the way in which we work, to make it more explicit who is responsible for what, how decisions are made, and so on. This year I plan to work with others in the community to revamp Drupal core's governance model to bring more transparency and appoint additional leadership.Conclusion
Overall, I'm thrilled with the progress that the Drupal core contributors have made in 2014, and want to extend an enormous thanks to each and every one of our 2,500 contributors who have brought us this far. I'm feeling very positive about our momentum going into 2015.
Drupal 8 will set a new standard for ease of use, power and flexibility, and will have something for everyone to love. Without a doubt, Drupal 8 will take our community to new heights. Let's do this!