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Chen Hui Jing: Drupal 101: A simple image carousel

Mon, 23/02/2015 - 03:51

The first Drupal 7 project I worked on had to have an image carousel with one of those dot pagers on its homepage. I may have been a Drupal newbie then, but I knew for a fact that Drupal did not come with that function built in.

Now, if you’ve just started out with Drupal, you may not have heard this phrase before, but it really should be on a t-shirt:

There’s a module for that.

Trust me when I say I would definitely wear that. But my point is, the best part about Drupal is its huge library of contributed modules that extend Drupal’s capabilities. So here’s a tip for newbie Drupalists, before you attempt to write a...

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal governance announcements: The Community Working Group: What We Do, and How We Do It

Mon, 23/02/2015 - 03:36

In previous posts, we’ve talked about who the Community Working Group (CWG) is and why we’re here, as well some of the work we’ve done around establishing a process for conflict resolution in the Drupal community.

In this post, I’d like to go into more detail about what happens when folks file incident reports with the Community Working Group, and open up the conversation on how we can more effectively address issues that have a larger impact on the Drupal community as a whole.

Currently, the CWG meets once a week over Google Hangout to go through any issues that might have been filed since our last meeting, as well as to discuss ongoing questions and concerns that have been brought to our attention through various channels (reports, individual conversations, etc.) and the overall health of the Drupal community.

As often as possible, we post the minutes of our regular meetings. By necessity, these are somewhat redacted due to the fact that we are often discussing matters of a sensitive nature that have been shared with us in confidence. We also maintain an email list where we discuss ongoing issues and other things that come up in the time between our regular meetings.

When an issue is filed, whether though the Incident Report Form, via e-mail, or in our public issue queue, it goes on the agenda for the next weekly meeting (if the matter is of a serious and immediate nature, CWG members may choose to take immediate action and/or meet outside our normal meeting time). We discuss each item as a group and come to agreement on next steps, then assign someone to follow-up with the individuals in question. If the issue is about something that doesn’t fall within the charter of the CWG, we may refer the matter to another group (e.g., the Technical Working Group or the Licensing Working Group), or reply back to the reporting individual with an explanation.

In cases where there is a dispute between two or more individuals, our general approach is to first gather as much information as possible from all involved parties. In order to ensure that people are able to share their stories with us in an open and honest manner, we do not share any names or other sensitive details outside the group without permission.

Once we have a sufficient level of detail, we meet again as a group to decide how to proceed. Depending on the situation, this may involve one or more CWG members providing mediation between the parties in conflict or suggesting ways that they can resolve the issue themselves. In cases where there is a clear Code of Conduct violation, we will talk directly to the person or persons who engaged in the violation to help them understand the impact of their words and/or actions and to take responsibility for them.

In some cases, we may receive an after-the-fact report about a situation that has already been resolved. In those cases, we review the incident, decide whether further action is necessary, and keep it on file for reference in case something similar happens in the future.

If this sounds long and drawn out, that’s intentional. Unless an issue requires immediate action, our process is designed to enable resolutions that are as thoughtful and permanent as possible. The Community Working Group is not the “Drupal police” and our role is not about deciding “who’s right” and “who’s wrong” in a given situation so much as it is about helping people in our community work together in a mutually respectful way. While many of the items that we tackle are initiated by issues that are reported to us, our process is not exclusively complaint-driven.

The people who volunteer their time serving on the Community Working Group are people with backgrounds in community leadership and conflict resolution who all have been working in the Drupal community for years. We believe that a culture that encourages healthy debate and disagreement is a big part of what gives the Drupal project and community its strength. What we are primarily concerned about are destructive conflicts that violate our shared community values and make the Drupal community a less welcoming place for everyone.

To that end, we’re looking for the community to help us shape our process for addressing systematic patterns of disruptive behaviours that have an impact that goes beyond just those individuals who are directly involved. Please read our proposal and give us your thoughts in the comments section. You can also share your thoughts privately by e-mailing us at drupal-cwg [at] drupal.org.

Thanks!

Categories: Elsewhere

Code Karate: Drupal 7 Touch Icons: How to add Apple specific icons

Mon, 23/02/2015 - 00:35
Episode Number: 194

Today, there exist many different options to digest content. One of the most popular options is Apple products like the iPhone and iPad. A unique thing about iOS is that they use specific icons when users want to add your website as a bookmark on their home screens. This icon is then used to quickly launch your website, similar to how you launch a bookmark in your browser.

Normally, websites don't have this icon available so what almost always ends up happening is Apple using a screen shot of the webpage as the icon. Having a generic screen shot can effect your branding message.

Tags: DrupalDrupal 7Drupal PlanetTips and TricksUI/Design
Categories: Elsewhere

groups.drupal.org frontpage posts: DrupalCampChina 2015 announcement

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 16:57
Start:  2015-03-14 10:00 - 18:00 Asia/Shanghai User group meeting


DrupalCampChina 2015 is a one day event that focuses on many aspects of Drupal in one location. Its focus is knowledge sharing among the community. Essentially, you’re getting the community together to do some community training. The term "Camp" comes from Barcamp, like an informal non-conference that happens at a bar.

Generally speaking, DrupalCampaChina is an extension of a meetup (e.g. the meetups in Shanghai).

Date:
10AM, Saturday, March. 14th, 2015.

Location/facility:
NYU Shanghai
1555 Century Ave, Pudong, Shanghai, China 200122
Metro: Century Avenue Station, Metro Lines 2/4/6/9 Exit 6
Bus: Century Avenue at Pudian Road, Bus Lines 169/987
Taxi Card
Google Map

Sessions and agenda:
There will be 6 sessions. 2 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon.

10AM-10:50AM: Pre-DrupalCamp training & announcement

11AM-12PM: DrupalCampChina 2015 Keynote: Opening Doors with Open Source eCommerce by Ryan Szrama. Ryan got his start in web development through an online sales company based in Louisville, KY, his home of over 10 years. It was there that he nursed Ubercart through its infancy to its use on over 20,000 websites as the Project Lead and community face of the project. Ryan joined Commerce Guys in 2009 and continued to lead Ubercart until branching out into Drupal Commerce, a new initiative focusing on empowering users to build e-commerce sites with the best new features that Drupal 7 has to offer. He focuses most of his time developing the code base, growing the community of contributors to the project, and training new users online and at community events.

12PM-12:30PM: Group photo, please follow the instruction during the Pre-DrupalCamp training & announcement session

1:30PM-2:20PM: Please propose to speak!

2:30PM-3:20PM: Please propose to speak!

3:30PM-4:20PM: Please propose to speak!

4:30PM-5:20PM: Please propose to speak!

Sessions proposed by community members
Please visit https://groups.drupal.org/taxonomy/term/136263

Attendance :
DrupalCampChina 2015 is a free event. The conference will also provide you with free food, drinks, WIFI and gifts.
Please use the "sign up" feature below.

Sponsorship:
This conference is sponsored by Techyizu, INsReady Inc., Ci&T, Drupal Association. If you or your organization would also like to sponsor this event, please contact skyredwang.

______________________________________________________________

2015年Drupal中国营(DrupalCampChina 2015)将为期一天,关注Drupal在中国发展的诸多方面。我们希望中国的Drupaller可以在这一天聚集到一起,通过知识交流的形式达到提升整个社区技术水平的目的。“Camp”来源于“Barcamp”,起初指一种非正式、非联盟性质的、在酒吧举行的聚会。

Drupal中国营广义上也是Drupal Meetup的扩展,比如在上海就有本城市的DrupalSH Meetup

日期:
2015年3月14日星期六上午10点

地点:
上海纽约大学
上海市浦东新区世纪大道1555号
地铁站名:地铁 2/4/6/9 号线世纪大道站(六号出口)。
上海

活动日程:
活动将分为6场会话,分为上午2场、下午4场。
10AM-10:50AM: DrupalCamp预演及公告

11AM-12PM: 2015年Drupal中国营主题演讲:打开开源电子商务的大门, 演讲嘉宾: Ryan Szrama. Ryan 在网站开发上的研究已经超过十年,在他的家乡美国肯塔基州路易斯威尔,他建立了他的网上营销公司。作为其项目的负责人及群组创始人,他孕育的公司Ubercart现在已经为超过二万个的网站所应用。在2009年,Ryan 加入了Commerce Guys,并且继续负责和领导Ubercart﹐延伸其技术并应用于Drupal 的电子商贸上。他利用了Drupal7 所提供的新功能,使用户能够建立最好的电子商贸网站。他的大部分时间都在专注在Drupal的代码开发,增加对Drupal 电子商贸社区上的贡献,并积极在活动上及网络上提供培训。

12PM-12:30PM: 集体照像,请在DrupalCamp预演及公告环节听取安排。

1:30PM-2:20PM: 请来演讲!

2:30PM-3:20PM: 请来演讲!

3:30PM-4:20PM: 请来演讲!

4:30PM-5:20PM: 请来演讲!

社区会员演讲话题提案
请浏览: https://groups.drupal.org/taxonomy/term/136263

参加:
本届Drupal中国营欢迎各位踊跃加入,不收取任何费用。主办方将提供免费食物、饮料、WIFI和礼品。
请使用下面注册登记参加活动。

赞助:
此次会议由Techyizu引锐信息科技有限公司Ci&TDrupal Association联合赞助。
如果您或您的组织也希望赞助,请联系skyredwang

AttachmentSize IMG_0996.JPG107.25 KB DrupalCampChina_logo_full_small.png42.15 KB
Categories: Elsewhere

Addison Berry: Drupal Association Board Elections Are Important

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 13:31

A week ago I stepped up and nominated myself for the Drupal Association (DA) At-large Board position. This wasn't a decision I made lightly, and I'm very excited to see so many other people have nominated themselves as well. There are 24 people up for the vote, which bodes well for a strong community. I think a lot of people in the Drupal community don't actually understand the board and this election process. It's an easy thing to ignore if you just want to move your patches forward, keep working on planning your local event, or focusing on all of the other community and personal tasks that consume us. I want to take a moment to explain both why I think it is important, and how it works.

Drupal Association

The Drupal Association (then, technically Drupal VZW in Belgium) was created in 2006. It's been through a lot of changes over the years to bring it to the organization it is today. I was a Permanent Member of the DA in the early days and, I'll be honest, we were a bunch of well-intentioned people with very little idea of what we were doing. Running the DA is a big job, given that its mission is to support the huge Drupal community, which has only grown exponentially over the years. The DA today has a volunteer Board of Directors which focuses on strategy and oversight of the DA's work. The DA also has paid staff, who work with community volunteers, to actually implement the solutions for the community's needs. The two most prominent needs that most people are familiar with are maintaining the Drupal.org family of sites, and managing our DrupalCons. The DA is also the organization that let's the community accept money, and then put it where it's needed. This manifests itself in such projects as the Drupal Community Cultivation Grants and the Drupal 8 Accelerate program. As you can see they are doing vital work that keeps our community moving forward, giving people the time, energy, and money to focus on the things they love and want to do.

Board of Directors

The Drupal Association is a non-profit organization. The Board of Directors (Wikipedia definition) is a group of appointed and elected members who oversee the work that the DA is doing. This quote sums up the main tasks of a board:

"The board of directors is the governing body of a nonprofit organization. The responsibilities of the board include discussing and voting on the highest priority issues, setting organizational policies, and hiring and evaluating key staff. Board members are not required to know everything about nonprofit management, but they are expected to act prudently and in the best interests of the organization. They approve operating budgets, establish long-term plans, and carry out fundraising activities."
- Foundation Center

You can get a sense of what this means in little more detail by looking at the list of Board Committees that they have. These are the main areas of oversight for the board, and consist of board members, DA staff, and community volunteers. Basically, the board needs to make sire the money is being managed properly, and to tackle the hard questions about running a non-profit and supporting a huge, diverse community.

The DA Board is comprised of 10 seats, which are appointed directly by the board itself, and 2 at-large seats, which are open to anyone in the Drupal community, and are elected by the community. The board appoints most of the positions to ensure that they have a good breadth of experience and knowledge that is specific to the tasks of the board. The 2 at-large positions are to make sure that the larger community has a direct voice in who is part of making these decisions for them. That brings us to the current election.

At-large Board Elections

Over the last two weeks people from around the community have been nominating themselves. (That's a requirement. You can't nominate other people.) These are people who are volunteering for a two-year term to take on the tasks of the board. Every single one of them is stepping up to a huge task. Nominations closed yesterday, so we now have our final list of 24 people from 14 countries. (Which is fricking awesome!)

Over the next two weeks everyone—meaning you—should get familiar with the nominees so you can form an opinion about how you want to vote. We have three 2-hour "Meet the Candidates" sessions coming up next week, on Tuesday/Wednesday (Tuesday 17:00 CET - find your time), Wednesday/Thursday (Thursday 2:00 CET - find your time), and Thursday/Friday (Thursday 21:30 CET - find your time). At these on-line sessions each person will have 5 minutes to introduce themselves and why they are running. You'll be able to ask us questions directly and get realtime answers. I'll be attending the Tuesday and Thursday sessions. (I love the community dearly, but I also love to be asleep at 2am.) You can also feel free to leave questions in the comments for an individual's candidate page. We'll be monitoring these pages over the next few weeks to answer questions that come in.

Voting

The voting begins on March 9th and goes through March 20th. There are some basic restrictions on who can vote: "Voting is open to all individuals who have a Drupal.org account by the time nominations open and who have logged in at least once in the past year." Nominations opened on February 9th, so you need a Drupal.org account opened prior to that. I'll talk more about the voting process in another blog post as we get closer to election time. It's pretty smart stuff.

Vote for Me!

I have to say that saying "vote for me" and writing up my nomination is a little uncomfortable. It feels too much like boasting and trying to say I'm better than everyone else. I really respect the other candidates, and I can't really say "I'm better than them." All I can honestly say is that I'm different from them, as they are each different from me. We all bring passion and a desire to serve the community in different ways. That said, I do feel like my experience matches well with the needs for a board member, and I'd be super stoked to be able to work on some tough issues at the board level. Either way, I'm not going to stop my community work, whether I'm on the board or not. My biggest hope from this election is to see the community participate. Take 30 minutes of your community time to learn what is happening, and take the time to vote. Engage in your, and our community's, future. That is the greatest reward I can ask for.

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal Association News: Let's Meet the Candidates!

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 01:44

Nominations are now closed for the single At-Large seat on the Association Board of Directors. We have an astounding 24 candidates from 14 different countries running for this seat. We are so thrilled that so many of you are so invested in our community that you are taking this step. As with any election, we want to have an informed electorate. So - we invite you to get to know these candidates in a couple of important ways.

Learn about the candidates online. 

Check out the slate of candidates and read what they had to say about their backgrouns and interest in servin gon the board. Each candidate page also features a comments section where you can ask about their plans, hopes, and views for the Association and the project. We only ask that you use this comments section as a place to ask questions, not endorse candidates please. 

Join a Meet the Candidates webcast.

In addition to the candidate profiles, we arfe hosting three live question and answer sessions where you can chime in and hear from the candidates directly. Not all canddiates will be on each call, but don't worry! If you aren't able to connect with a candidate in one of the sessions, we will be recording them, so you can check them out later. Here are the sessions:

Session One
: Tue 24 Feb 2015 at 16:00 UTC
  • 8 AM PST Tue 24 Feb, US and Canada
  • 11 AM EST Tue 24 Feb, US and Canada
  • 1 PM Tue 24 Feb, Sao Paulo Brasil
  • 4 PM Tue 24 Feb, London
  • 12 AM Wed 25 Feb, Beijing
  • 3 AM Wed 25 Feb, Sydney Australia

Join The Meeting

Session Two: Wed 25 Feb 2015 at 00:00 UTC
  • 4 PM PST Wed 25 Feb, US and Canada
  • 7 PM EST Wed 25 Feb, US and Canada
  • 9 PM Wed 25 Feb, Sao Paulo Brasil
  • 1 AM Thu 26 Feb, London
  • 8 AM Thu 26 Feb, Beijing
  • 10 AM Thu 26 Feb, Sydney Australia

Join The Meeting

Session Three: Thu 26 Feb at 20:30 UTC
  • 12:30 PM PST Thu 26 Feb, US and Canada
  • 3:30 PM PST Thu 26 Feb, US and Canada
  • 5:30 PM Thu 26 Feb, Sau Paulo Brasil
  • 8:30 PM Thu 26 Feb, London
  • 4:30 AM Fri 27 Feb, Beijing
  • 7:30 AM Fri 27 Feb, Sydney Australia

Join The Meeting

I hope we'll hear from you during this important part of the elections process. And mark your calendars - voting begins on March 9!

Categories: Elsewhere

Shomeya: The Incredible Power of Failure

Fri, 20/02/2015 - 23:30

"I really thought it would look...different.." the client on the other end bemoans. "And users really seem confused by where we put the login..."

This was ALL per their request. The login, the layout, everything they HAD TO HAVE. You protested gently, but hey you have to eat and it's their funeral..er website.

But you knew that they didn't know what they were asking for, you knew people aren't born knowing what their website needs, and everyone tells them they have to be. Unfortunately User Interface decisions are not fake it until you make it for most people.

And when their website failed, you became the scapegoat..er code monkey. Because of the precious EXPENSIVE project hours they spent on making, and remaking, decisions that really bring very little value to anyone in the long haul.

Read more
Categories: Elsewhere

Open Source Training: Recover from a Lost Drupal Administration Menu

Fri, 20/02/2015 - 23:15

We've taught a LOT of people to use Drupal 7 over the last 4 years and one bug comes up more than any other.

When enabling large new modules such as CTools via the admin interface, it's not uncommon for other modules to become unpublished.

When those modules are unpublished, people often lose access for to the administration menu. Needless to say, that's not a helpful situation for beginners.

So, here's a quick guide to recovering from a lost Drupal administration menu.

Categories: Elsewhere

Mediacurrent: Mediacurrent Dropcast: Episode 1

Fri, 20/02/2015 - 22:21

We're back again with a new episode! This week we talk lots of Drupal 8.

Your browser does not support the audio element.
Episode 1 Audio Download Link

 

Show Notes
  Participants

“Team Kool-aide” members:
Mark: @teampoop, Bob: @kepford, Jason: @jasonawant, Jay: @drupalninja, Ryan: @ryanissamson
 

Categories: Elsewhere

Four Kitchens: Have you submitted your session proposal to DrupalCon LA 2015?

Fri, 20/02/2015 - 21:46

Every year, thousands of open-source developers and business professionals travel great distances to share news, experience and knowledge. Oh, and consume fantastic food and drink with friends that we only see a few times a year. And explore new places and do goofy stuff that becomes the talk of legends. Is it all fun and games?

Travel DrupalCon Drupal
Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal Watchdog: PHPUnit and Drupal

Fri, 20/02/2015 - 17:48
Article

Rejoice!

Drupal 8 ships with PHPUnit!

PHPUnit is the PHP industry standard testing framework, and with it comes the potential to make significant gains in the way we test Drupal, both core and contrib.

There’s a lot to be said about setting up, configuring, running and integrating PHPUnit (and how to do it for Drupal in particular), about which there are ample generic resources on the web. http://drupal.org/phpunit is a good starting point; it has crucial links and information, particularly to the PHPUnit manual, which will become your best friend.

So, instead of duplicating what’s already out there, I’m going to focus on some principles that will help you get the most value from PHPUnit on your Drupal 8 sites and contributed modules. Principles go well with a printed medium, anyway – no motive to copy and paste!

Test the Right Thing

It’s important to identify the type of testing you really need to do. PHPUnit is capable of a number of different types: behavioral, functional, and unit, at the least. With Drupal, I tend to use it only for unit and narrowly-scoped functional tests (Simpletest has more tools for conventional Drupal integration testing), and I prefer Behat for behavioral testing.

Regardless of the type of test you’re writing, the first step is to properly understand what you’re testing. In testing parlance, this is the “system under test” (SUT). Clearly identifying the SUT can be surprisingly elusive, especially for those unaccustomed to testing. It is worth taking the time to get it right; a clear, well-understood SUT is the foundation of not only good tests, but good test suites.

When contemplating a unit or functional SUT, I always have one question: “What is the code I’m testing solely responsible for?”

Categories: Elsewhere

Chen Hui Jing: Drupal 101: Introduction to views

Fri, 20/02/2015 - 16:37

Views is an extremely popular Drupal module. As of time of writing, it has been downloaded 6,294,998 times and reported to be used in 876,607 sites. It’s so popular, in fact, that it has been included in core for the Drupal 8. So why is Views such an essential module?

If you’re not one of the 6,294,998 people who downloaded Views, or if you did but somehow just couldn’t grok it and just uninstalled it again, you may be wondering what the fuss is all about. Fact is, I almost fell into the latter category. Even though using Views is pretty intuitive to me now, I can still remember when it felt as complicated as trying to land Curiosity...

Categories: Elsewhere

Chen Hui Jing: Drupal 101: Content types

Fri, 20/02/2015 - 16:37

Content types are just a means of providing more structure to the data being used on your website. Drupal 7 comes by default with two content types, page and article. But you can create additional content types to suit the needs of your website.

For example, if you were creating a site for a research centre, odds are it would have content like publications, investigators, research areas and so on. Each of these types of content can have their own distinct fields. For example, every publication would have authors, a publication date and the journal in which it was published.

Rather than dumping all this data into a single body field, having different fields allow us to organise this...

Categories: Elsewhere

tombola: Drupal Sites Consolidation

Fri, 20/02/2015 - 12:19
Where I am at

I have been intermittently working with a drupal 7 multiple site ‘platform’ for several years, which originally emerged from a single site. I am the sole maintainer. The platform is not based on a drupal ‘multi-site’ configuration, as the shared codebase model seemed more hindrance than feature. Instead the (four) sites share a common pattern of base configuration, each cloned (direct copies of files and db) from an early version of the build. A set of custom modules is kept up to date as one git repo that is cloned into each of the sites. Similarly a base theme, and sub themes for all of the sites are also held in a single repo and cloned into each site. More recently, I created an entirely separate site to aggregate and index these sister sites (via feeds) to provide a more advanced, yet loosely coupled search facility.

The setup as described was intended to make maintaining these sites simpler, as extended functionality could be built into some sites whilst the other sites are left without the baggage of additional modules and configuration, making them more easily performative, and simpler to maintain. Sister sites can optionally share any new features, because the early build decisions are shared, so configuration is transferable, and custom modules/features from the shared repo can simply be turned on. I opted not to construct a single site segmented by Spaces, or equivalent pattern, because initially it was not clear how far the sites might diverge from one another.

This workflow has seemed to make a rough kind of sense until now, but I am returning to the decisions I made when creating the platform to try and get it ship shape now that each site has largely settled into a stable pattern of usage. I want to make sure that I have not incurred an impractical amount of technical debt, and that site maintenance is transferable, should it need to be. Another consideration is the approach of Drupal 8. When this transformative version is widely used, it will be much easier to migrate simplified, minimal sites.

Why rock the boat?

Drupal is endlessly configurable. A lot of this configuration is executed through the admin interface and captured in the database. This oft criticised lack of separation between configuration and content should soon be alleviated by the adoption of Drupal 8, but for the moment (maybe until the end of 2015?) it does not seem sensible to move to D8.

The sites I have created have evolved to meet the requirements of their users. Due to reactive (and sometimes undocumented) measures taken in individual sites sometimes similar workflow and layout objectives have been achieved in subtlely different ways. Earlier in the process, these changes were captured in Drupal Features as much as was possible, but this became complex in itself.

Now that I can see the way these sites are being used, and content/design policies have emerged that structure (admin)...

Categories: Elsewhere

Freelock : How do you rate Maintainability?

Fri, 20/02/2015 - 02:04

Lately at Freelock, we've been improving our Drupal site assessment. For years we've analyzed Drupal sites built by others to identify how well they are built, what pitfalls/minefields lurk there, and where we need to be extremely careful with budget recommendations when extending functionality.

In the past couple months, we've overhauled it to include a snapshot rating of the site, to let our clients know what we think of their site in 7 crucial areas.

One of them that's often overlooked is Maintainability.

Site AssessmentmaintenanceDeploymentDrupal Planet
Categories: Elsewhere

Dries Buytaert: Making Drupal 8 fly

Thu, 19/02/2015 - 20:57

In my travels to talk about Drupal, everyone asks me about Drupal 8's performance and scalability. Modern websites are much more dynamic and interactive than 10 years ago, making it more difficult to build modern sites while also being fast. It made me realize that maybe I should write up a summary of some of the most exciting performance and scalability improvements in Drupal 8. After all, Drupal 8 will leapfrog many of its competitors in terms of how to architect and scale modern web applications. Many of these improvements benefit both small and large websites, but also allow us to build even bigger websites with Drupal.

More precise cache invalidation

One of the strategies we employ in making Drupal fast is "caching". This means we try to generate pages or page elements one time and then store them so future requests for those pages or page elements can be served faster. If an item is already cached, we can simply grab it without going through the building process again (known as a "cache hit"). Drupal stores each cache item in a "cache bin" (a database table, Memcache object, or whatever else is appropriate for the cache backend in use).

In Drupal 7 and before, when one of these cache items changes and it needs to be re-generated and re-stored (the cache gets "invalidated"), you can only delete a specific cache item, clear an entire cache bin, or use prefix-based invalidation. None of these three methods allow you to invalidate all cache items that contain data of, say, user 200. The only method that is going to suffice is clearing the entire cache bin, and this means that usually we invalidate way too much, resulting in poor cache hit ratios and wasted effort rebuilding cache items that haven't actually changed.

This problem is solved in Drupal 8 thanks to the concept of "cache tags": each cache item can have any number of cache tags. A cache tag is a compact string that describes the object being cached. Thanks to this extra metadata, we can now delete all cache items that use the user:200 cache tag, for example. This means we've deleted all the cache items we must delete, but not a single one more: optimal cache invalidation!

Example cache tags for different cache IDs.

And don't worry, we also made sure to expose the cache tags to reverse proxies, so that efficient and accurate invalidation can happen throughout a site's entire delivery architecture.

More precise cache variation

While accurate cache invalidation makes caching more efficient, there is more we did to improve Drupal's caching. We also make sure that cached items are optimally varied. If you vary too much, duplicate cache entries will exist with the exact same content, resulting in inefficient usage of caches (low cache hit ratios). For example, we don't want a piece of content to be cached per user if it is the same for many users. If you vary too little, users might see incorrect content as two different cache entries might collide. In other words, you don't want to vary too much nor too little.

In Drupal 7 and before, it's easy to program any cached item to vary by user, by user role, and/or by page, and could even be configured through the UI for blocks. However, more targeted variations (such as by language, by country, or by content access permissions) were more difficult to program and not typically exposed in a configuration UI.

In Drupal 8, we introduced a Cache Context API to allow developers and site builders to express these variations and to make them automatically available in the configuration UI.

Server-side dynamic content substitution

Usually a page can be cached almost entirely except for a few dynamic elements. Often a page served to two different authenticated users looks identical except for a small "Welcome $name!" and perhaps their profile picture. In Drupal 7, this small personalization breaks the cacheability of the entire page (or rather, requires a cache context that's way too granular). Most parts of the page, like the header, the footer and certain blocks in the sidebars don't change often nor vary for each user, so why should you regenerate all those parts at every request?

In Drupal 8, thanks to the addition of #post_render_cache, that is no longer the case. Drupal 8 can render the entire page with some placeholder HTML for the name and profile picture. That page can then be cached. When Drupal has to serve that page to an authenticated user, it will retrieve it from the cache, and just before sending the HTML response to the client, it will substitute the placeholders with the dynamically rendered bits. This means we can avoid having to render the page over and over again, which is the expensive part, and only render those bits that need to be generated dynamically!

Client-side dynamic content substitution

Some things that Drupal has been rendering for the better part of a decade, such as the "new" and "updated" markers on comments, have always been rendered on the server. That is not ideal because these markers are different for every visitor and as a result, it makes caching pages with comments difficult.

The just-in-time substitution of placeholders with dynamic elements that #post_render_cache provides us can help address this. In some cases, as is the case with the comment markers, we can even do better and offload more work from the server to the client. In the case for comment markers, a certain comment is posted at a certain time — that doesn't vary per user. By embedding the comment timestamps as metadata in the DOM with a data-comment-timestamp="1424286665" attribute, we enable client-side JavaScript to render the comment markers, by fetching (and caching on the client side) the “last read" timestamp for the current user and simply comparing these numbers. Drupal 8 provides some framework code and API to make this easy.

A "Facebook BigPipe" render pipeline

With Drupal 8, we're very close to taking the client-side dynamic content substitution a step further, just like some of the world's largest dynamic websites do. Facebook has 1.35 billion monthly active users all requesting dynamic content, so why not learn from them?

The traditional page serving model has not kept up with the increase of highly personalized websites where different content is served to different users. In the traditional model, such as Drupal 7, the entire page is generated before it is sent to the browser: while Drupal is generating a page, the browser is idle and wasting its cycles doing nothing. When Drupal finishes generating the page and sends it to the browser, the browser kicks into action, and the web server is idle. In the case of Facebook, they use BigPipe. BigPipe delivers pages asynchronously instead; it parallelizes browser rendering and server processing. Instead of waiting for the entire page to be generated, BigPipe immediately sends a page skeleton to the the client so it can start rendering that. Then the remaining content elements are requested and injected into their correct place. From the user's perspective the page is rendered progressively. The initial page content becomes visible much earlier, which improves the perceived speed of the site.

We've made significant improvements to the way Drupal 8 renders pages (presentation). By default, Drupal 8 core still implements the traditional model of assembling these pieces into a complete page in a single server-side request, but the independence of each piece and the architecture of the new rendering pipeline enable different “render strategies" to be experimented with — different methods for dynamic content assembly, such as BigPipe, Edge Side Includes, or other ideas for making the most optimal use of client, server, content delivery networks and reverse proxies. In all those examples, the idea is that we can send the primary content first so the client can start rendering that. Then we send the remaining Drupal blocks, such as the navigation menu or a 'Related articles' block, and have the browser, content delivery network or reverse proxy assemble or combine these blocks into a page.

A snapshot of the Drupal 8 render pipeline diagram that highlights where alternative render strategies can be implemented.

Some early experiments by Wim Leers in Acquia's OCTO show that we can improve performance by a factor of about 2 compared to a recent Drupal 8 development snapshot. These breakthroughs are enabled by leveraging the various improvements we made to Drupal 8.

And much more

But that is not all. The Drupal community has actually done much more, including: complete asset dependency information (which allowed us to ensure zero JavaScript is loaded by default for anonymous users and send less data on AJAX requests), pluggable CSS/JS aggregation and minification (to support more optimal optimization algorithms), and more. We've also made sure Drupal 8 is fast by default, by having better defaults: CSS/JS aggregation enabled, JS assets being loaded from the bottom, block caching enabled, and so on.

All in all, there is a lot to look forward to in Drupal 8!

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal core announcements: Drupal core updates for February 19th, 2015

Thu, 19/02/2015 - 19:30

新年快樂 (Happy [Lunar] New Year)! Last week, the Drupal community converged on Bogotá, Colombia for DrupalCon Latin America 2015, and largely due to the pre– and post–DrupalCon sprints, the number of Drupal 8 critical issues has dropped to about 56! Also, all of the critical issues from the Drupal 8 core critical issues sprint at DrupalCamp NJ have been committed!

Some other highlights of the month were:

How can I help get Drupal 8 done?

See Help get Drupal 8 released! for updated information on the current state of the release and more information on how you can help. Webchick posted an excellent rundown of the remaining Drupal 8 critical issues on her personal blog which may also be helpful.

We're also looking for more contributors to help compile these posts. Contact xjm if you'd like to help!

Drupal 8 In Real Life Whew! That's a wrap!

Do you follow Drupal Planet with devotion, or keep a close eye on the Drupal event calendar, or git pull origin 8.0.x every morning without fail before your coffee? We're looking for more contributors to help compile these posts. You could either take a few hours once every six weeks or so to put together a whole post, or help with one section more regularly. If you'd like to volunteer for helping to draft these posts, please follow the steps here!

Categories: Elsewhere

Zivtech: How to Patch Drupal Modules

Thu, 19/02/2015 - 18:00

Have you ever worked with a Drupal developer who seemed to always be able to fix bugs by finding patches to apply seemingly instantaneously? At the risk of being dispelled from the Alliance of Magicians, I’ll share how I do it.

 

View All Issues

The first step to find a patch to a contributed Drupal module is to get to that module’s issue queue.  The path to the queue is always drupal.org/project/issues/[machine-name]. By default when you view a module’s issue queue only Open issues are shown. This excludes you from seeing all of the patches that have already been applied to the dev branch even if they have not been included in any stable release. When hunting for patches, be sure to look at All statuses.

You can save time finding the issue queue and showing all issues with a Chrome Search Engine keyword

My Drupal search keywords.

I have an “is” Chrome keyword, so I can type “is views” into Chrome and it takes me to https://www.drupal.org/project/issues/views?status=All

 

Search

First look at the top most recent issue titles for something similar. If these don’t look relevant use the Search to search within the issue queue. Using just one or two keywords in this search is typically best. Again scan the first few issue titles, opening up anything that looks relevant in a new tab. Don’t worry about the status of the issues or the number of comments (any relevant issue may provide a link to a better issue).

 

Scan

Don’t attempt to read issues in their entirety (unless you are going to be chiming in to the issue, in which case for the love of god do read and understand the entire issue before doing so). Start by quickly reading the summary of the issue (which may be the original poster’s issue or a revised summary) and then scan down the page looking for links to other issues, patches, and the last updates on the issue. Open any links to review in a new tab.

Stereotyping the actors in the issue based on their apparent professionalism helps you scan faster. If there are no patches and all commenters seem confused, look for a different issue as it may be a duplicate: the inexperienced may not have found the other issue where the real action is. Make sure you can tell the difference between an amateur (inappropriate status changes, complaints, excess punctuation??, not enough or irrelevant details) and a struggling English speaker (unusual word choice or grammar, speling erors) as the latter is much more likely to have a useful point. If someone stands out in the issue as knowing their stuff (often the maintainer), spend your time focused on their comments.

If the issue seemed unhelpful, close the tab. If it may be related but you’re not sure yet, leave it open. If it looks like exactly your issue, proceed to try out the latest version of any patch attached.

Go through all your open tabs scanning them this way. If you’ve scanned them all without a clear solution, next try looking more closely at the issues you still have open, or try different search keywords (you likely have learned a few relevant words from what you’ve scanned so far).

 

Declare Victory

Once you find a promising patch, to best impress your colleagues with your amazing speed you should declare victory in your chat room at this point. This will help add to the illusion that you have unusual speed at patch hunting. It helps to have some gifs ready for this occasion.

 

Apply a Patch

Instead of downloading a patch and then moving it to the right location on your machine or virtual machine, if you’ve already got a terminal open to the right spot it’s faster to copy the URL of the patch and use wget to download it. Don’t worry that the patch is for the dev version but you’re running the stable version- it will often apply anyway. The steps for patching Foo module are

    cd sites/all/modules/contrib/foo

    wget http://drupal.org/files/issues/foo.patch

    patch -p1 < foo.patch

Then you can use git diff (please be using git) to check your patch applied properly.

Note that many patches only change a few lines of code. If this is the case you may find it quicker to edit the files manually.

 

Test a Patch

Now, slow down. This isn’t the step to save time. You need to carefully test whether the patch fixed your problem and it’s easy to get confused when you do this (did I clear the cache? was I looking at the right environment? Did I attempt to reproduce it the same way?) which will get you completely off track.

 

Track a Patch

If the patch didn’t help or it broke something else, use git checkout to remove it. Read the issue the patch came from and if it still seems like the right issue, add a comment on your findings. Continue looking for patches or try another problem-solving technique (google? IRC? ask a colleague? debug the code? think of a workaround?)

If the patch solved your problem, chime in to the issue to say so (unless several folks have already said the same). If you now understand the involved code enough to review it, give it a code review and mark its status as Needs Work or Reviewed. If you want your patch to survive an update and not be a dirty hack (hint: you do) you need to track your patch according to your organization’s procedures. I highly recommend using a Drush Patch File workflow.

Happy patching!

 

Postscript: Check the Attitude

Do you get frustrated every time there’s a bug in your open source software and you need to find a patch or some other solution? You need to accept that bugs are a normal part of all software, and work with the rest of us as a giant team finding and fixing them as a part of our working process. You will be able to find solutions much more quickly when you look for them with calm confidence rather than frustration.

Terms: DrupalDrupal Planet
Categories: Elsewhere

Code Karate: Drupal 7 Interval Field module

Thu, 19/02/2015 - 17:46
Episode Number: 193

The Drupal 7 Interval Field module provides a simple way to create a duration or interval field on any Drupal 7 field-able entity. A common use for this might be on a content type that generally keeps track of dates. Sometimes it easier to summarize a group of dates to a user or visitor using an interval field rather than selecting multiple dates.

An interval field is useful for keeping track of data such as:

Tags: DrupalFieldsDrupal 7Site BuildingDrupal Planet
Categories: Elsewhere

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