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Updated: 25 min 34 sec ago

OpenLucius: Dependency injection in Drupal 8, an introduction.

Fri, 13/02/2015 - 10:45

So, like a bunch of other Drupal people, we're also experimenting with Drupal 8; for our Drupal distro OpenLucius. Us being 'less is more'-developers, one aspect we really like is dependency injection.

Categories: Elsewhere

Jimmy Berry: The woes of the testbot

Fri, 13/02/2015 - 01:43

For those not familiar with me, a little research should make it clear that I am the person behind the testbot deployed in 2008 that has revolutionized Drupal core development, stability, etc. and that has been running tens of thousands of assertions with each patch submitted against core and many contributed modules for 6 years.

My intimate involvement with the testbot came to a rather abrupt and unintended end several years ago due to a number of factors (which only a select few members of this community are clearly aware). After several potholes, detours, and bumps in the road, it became clear to me the impossibility of maintaining and enhancing the testbot under the policies and constraints imposed upon me.

Five years ago we finished writing an entirely new testing system, designed to overcome the technical obstacles of the current testbot and to introduce new features that would enable an enormous improvement in resource utilization that could then be used for new and more frequent QA.

Five years ago we submitted a proposal to the Drupal Association and key members of the community for taking the testbot to the next level, built atop the new testing system. This proposal was ignored by the Association and never evaluated by the community. The latter is quite puzzling to me given:

  • the importance of the testbot
  • the pride this open source community has in openly evaluating and debating literally everything (a healthy sentiment especially in the software development world)
  • I had already freely dedicated years of my life to the project.

The remainder of this read will:

  • list some of the items included in our proposal that were dismissed with prejudice five years ago, but since have been adopted and implemented
  • compare the technical merits of the new system (ReviewDriven) with the current testbot and a recent proposal regarding "modernizing" the testbot
  • provide an indication of where the community will be in five years if it does nothing or attempts to implement the recent proposal.

This read will not cover the rude and in some cases seemingly unethical behavior that led to the original proposal being overlooked. Nor will this cover the roller coaster of events that led up to the proposal. The intent is to focus on a technical comparison and to draw attention to the obvious disparity between the systems.

About Face

Things mentioned in our proposal that have subsequently been adopted include:

  • paying for development primarily benefiting instead of clinging to the obvious falacy of "open source it and they will come"
  • paying for machine time (for workers) as EC2 is regularly utilized
  • utilizing proprietary SaaS solutions (Mollom on
  • automatically spinning up more servers to handle load (e.g. during code sprints) which has been included in the "modernize" proposal

The following is a rough, high-level comparison of the three systems that makes clear the superior choice. Obviously, this comparison does not cover everything.

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Baseline Backwards modernization True step forward System Current "Modernize" Proposal ReviewDriven Status It's been running for over 6 years Does not exist Existed 5 years ago at Complexity Custom PHP code and Drupal Does not make use of contrib code Mish mash of languages and environments: ruby, python, bash, java, php, several custom config formats, etc.

Will butcher a variety of systems from their intended purpose and attempt to have them all communicate

Adds a number of extra levels of communication and points of failure Minimal custom PHP code and Drupal

Uses commonly understood contrib code like Views Maintainability Learning curve but all PHP Languages and tools not common to Drupal site building or maintenance

Vast array of systems to learn and the unique ways in which they are hacked Less code to maintain and all familiar to Drupal contributors Speed Known; gets slower as test suite grows due to serial execution Still serial execution and probably slower than current as each separate system will add additional communication delay An order of magnitude faster thanks to concurrent execution

Limited by the slowest test case

*See below Extensibility (Plugins) Moderately easy, does not utilize contrib code so requires knowledge of current system Several components, one on each system used

New plugins will have to be able to pass data or tweak any of the layers involved which means writing a plugin may involve a variety of languages and systems and thus include a much wider breadth of required knowledge Much easier as it heavily uses commons systems like Views

Plugin development is almost entirely common to Drupal development:
define storage: Fields
define display: Views
define execution: CTools function on worker

And all PHP Security Runs as same user as web process Many more surfaces for attack and that require proper configuration Daemon to monitor and shutdown job process, lends itself to Docker style with added security 3rd party integration Basic RSS feeds and restricted XML-RPC client API Unknown Full Services module integration for public, versioned, read API and write for authorized clients Stability When not disturbed, has run well for years, primary causes of instability include ill-advised changes to the code base

Temporary and environment reset problems easily solved by using Docker containers with current code base Unknown but multiple systems imply more points of failure Same number of components as current system

Services versioning which allows components to be updated independently

Far less code as majority depends on very common and heavily used Drupal modules which are stable

2-part daemon (master can react to misbehaving jobs)

Docker image could be added with minimal effort as system (which predates Docker) is designed with same goals as Docker Resource utilization Entire test suite runs on single box and cannot utilize multiple machines for single patch Multiple servers with unshared memory resources due to variety of language environments

Same serial execution of test cases per patch which does not optimally utilize resources An order of magnitude better due to concurrent execution across multiple machines

Completely dynamic hardware; takes full advantage of available machines.

*See below Human interaction Manually spin up boxes; reduce load by turning on additional machines Intended to include automatic EC2 spin up, but does not yet exist; more points of failure due to multiple systems Additional resources are automatically turned on and utilized Test itself Tests could be run on development setup, but not within the production testbot Unknown Yes, due to change in worker design.

A testbot inside a testbot! Recursion! API Does the trick, but custom XML-RPC methods Unknown Highly flexible input configuration is similar to other systems built later like travis-ci

All entity edits are done using Services module which follows best practices 3rd party code Able to test patches on public instance Unknown, but not a stated goal Supports importing VCS credentials which allows testing of private code bases and thus supports the business aspect to provide as a service and to be self sustaining

Results and configuration permissioned per user to allow for results to be public on the same instance as private results Implemented plugins Simpletest, coder None exist Simpletest, coder, code coverage, patch conflict detection, reroll of patch, backport patch to previous branch Interface Well known; designed to deal with display of several 100K distinct test results; lacks revision history; display uses combination of custom code and Views Unknown as being built from scratch and not begun

Jenkins can not support this interface (in Jenkins terminology multiple 100K jobs) so will have to be written from scratch (as proposal confirms and was reason for avoiding Jenkins in past)

Jenkins was designed for small instances within businesses or projects, not a large central interface like Hierarchical results navigation from project, branch, issue, patch

Context around failed assertion (like diff -u)

Minimizes clutter, focuses on results of greatest interest (e.g. failed assertions); entirely built using Views so highly customizable

Simplified to help highlight pertinent information (even icons to quickly extract status)

Capable of displaying partial results as they are concurrently streamed in from the various workers Speed and Resource Utilization

Arguably one of the most important advantages of the ReviewDriven system is concurrency. Interestingly, after seeing inside Google I can say this approach is far more similar to the system Google has in place than Jenkins or anything else.

Systems like Jenkins and especially travis-ci, which for the purpose of being generic and simpler, do not attempt to understand the workload being performed. For example Travis simply asks for commands to execute inside a VM and presents the output log as the result. Contrast that with the Drupal testbot which knows the tests being run and what they are being run against. Why is this useful? Concurrency.

Instead of running all the test cases for a single patch on one machine, the test cases for a patch may be split out into separate chunks. Each chunk is processed on a different machine and the results are returned to the system. Because the system understands the results it can reassemble the chunked results in a useful way. Instead of an endlessly growing wait time as more tests are added and instead of having nine machines sitting idle while one machine runs the entire test suite all ten can be used on every patch. The wait time effectively becomes the time required to run the slowest test case. Instead of waiting 45 minutes one would only wait perhaps 1 minute. The difference becomes more exaggerated over time as more tests are added.

In addition to the enormous improvement in turnaround time which enables the development workflow to process much faster you can now find new ways to use those machine resources. Like testing contrib projects against core commits, or compatibility tests between contrib modules, or retesting all patches on commit to related project, or checking what other patches a patch will break (to name a few). Can you even imagine? A Drupal sprint where the queue builds up an order of magnitude more slowly and runs through the queue 40x faster?

Now imagine having additional resources automatically started when the need arises. No need to works (and did so 5 years ago). Dynamic spinning up of EC2 resources which could obviously be applied to other services that provide an API.

This single advantage and the world of possibility it makes available should be enough to justify the system, but there are plenty more items to consider which were all implemented and will not be present in the proposed initiative solution.

Five Years Later

Five years after the original proposal, Drupal is left with a testbot that has languished and received no feature development. Contrast that with Drupal having continued to lead the way in automated testing with a system that shares many of the successful facets of travis-ci (which was developed later) and is superior in other aspects.

As was evident five years ago the testbot cannot be supported in the way much of Drupal development is funded since the testbot is not a site building component placed in a production site. This fact drove the development of a business model that could support the testbot and has proven to be accurate since the current efforts continue to be plagued by under-resourcing. One could argue the situation is even more dire since Drupal got a "freebie" so to speak with me donating nearly full-time for a couple of years versus the two spare time contributors that exist now.

On top of lack of resources the current initiative, whose stated goal is to "modernize" the testbot, is needlessly recreating the entire system instead of just adding Docker to the existing system. None of the other components being used can be described as "modern" since most pre-date the current system. Overall, this appears to be nothing more than code churn.

Assuming the code churn is completed some time far in the future; a migration plan is created, developed, and performed; and everything goes swimmingly, Drupal will have exactly what it has now. Perhaps some of the plugins already built in the ReviewDriven system will be ported and provide a few small improvements, but nothing overarching or worth the decade it took to get there. In fact the system will needlessly require a much rarer skill set, far more interactions between disparate components, and complexity to be understood just to be maintained.

Contrast that with an existing system that can run the entire test suite against a patch across a multitude of machines, seamlessly stitch the results together, and post back the result in under a minute. Contrast that with having that system in place five years ago. Contrast that with the whole slew of improvements that could have also been completed in the four years hence by a passionate, full-time team. Contrast that with at the very least deploying that system today. Does this not bother anyone else?

Contrast that with Drupal being the envy of the open source world, having deployed a solution superior to travis-ci and years earlier.

Please post feedback on issue.

Categories: Elsewhere

DrupalCon News: A place for at DrupalCon

Fri, 13/02/2015 - 00:19

DrupalCon Los Angeles will be the first Con where, home of Drupal and the Drupal community, has its very own track.

The track will feature presentations from the Drupal Association Engineering Team, where they share long and short term plans for website development, demo new and upcoming features, and gather community feedback.

A limited amount of spots are available for sessions submitted from the community. That’s where you come in.

Categories: Elsewhere

Mediacurrent: Efficient Drupal Development with Tmux and Tmuxinator

Thu, 12/02/2015 - 23:41

Have you ever wished you could just type one command and load up all of the things you need to work on for a project? Wouldn’t it be nice to have your terminal set up with the correct Drush alias, tailing the watchdog, with access to your servers just a couple keystrokes away? Sounds nice, right?

Categories: Elsewhere

Victor Kane: Setting up a Reusable and DurableDrupal Lean Process Factory - Presentation 2/11/2015 at DrupalCon Latin America 2015

Thu, 12/02/2015 - 22:52

[para español ver más abajo]

The purpose of the presentation was to describe how to use reusable tools and processes, tailored and in constant evolution, in order to finally defeat waterfall and guarantee delivered value in the development of websites and web applications.

The following main topics were covered in depth:

  • Kanban (not Scrum)
  • Project Inception and Vision
  • Team Kickoff
  • Development Workflow with Everything in Code
  • DevOps, Server Provisioning and Deployment
  • User Validation

Links to resources:

This is a huge amount of material, based on both my successful and unsuccessful experiences, and I earnestly hope it will help other web centered knowledge workers. If you have questions, please ask them on twitter @victorkane with hashtag #DurableDrupalLean. There were quite a few other fascinating and very good presentations on the subject of Process and DevOps, overlapping my own substantially and it should be very worthwhile to share them here: I greatly appreciate having had the opportunity to present at this incredibly important, fun and well-organized DrupalCon. See you all in Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro!

read more

Categories: Elsewhere

Morpht: How to Use Custom Markers for OpenLayers

Thu, 12/02/2015 - 22:00

OpenLayers module is a popular solution for mapping in Drupal. The biggest benefit is the ability to use different map providers, complete Feature support and, last but not least, the simplicity of creating custom markers.

Categories: Elsewhere

DrupalCon News: Apply for a DrupalCon Grant or Scholarship

Thu, 12/02/2015 - 21:11

In 2014 we received over 200 DrupalCon grant and scholarship applications. Thanks to our generous sponsor contributions, we were able to get over 60 individuals to DrupalCon Austin and Amsterdam. This year, we hope to award even more!

If you need help getting to DrupalCon Los Angeles, and are an active Drupal contributor or community leader, we're here to help you make YOUR dreams of attending DrupalCon a reality. Apply for a Grant or Scholarship!

Categories: Elsewhere frontpage posts: GCI 2014 Wrap Up and GSoC 2015 Kick Off

Thu, 12/02/2015 - 20:35

Congratulations to Google Code-In Winners

Did you know Drupal recently participated in Google's Code-In contest for high school students aged 13-17 and they contributed over one hundred tasks? For example, did you see the Drupal 8 Installation Guide @ or the following video on how to create modules for Drupal 8 @ ? Maybe you plan to use this event template at next user group meetup @ Learn more about Drupal's GCI efforts from Google @ These students also contributed to lots of contrib modules such as FB Like Button, Login Destination, Scroll to Top etc. Most importantly it is exciting to note that Drupal gained several Drupal 8 core contributors under the age of 18.

Although we value the contributions of all the GCI participants but since this was a contest, there has to be winners. We are proud to announce our grand prize winners: Getulio Valentin Sanchez Ozuna (gvso: and Tasya Aditya Rukmana (tadityar: who'll be attending an all expense paid trip to Google HQ in Mountain View California.

Google Summer of Code 2015 Announcement

GCI was fun, but now it is time for Google Summer of Code 2015 @ GSoC is an annual program for university students organized by Google with projects managed by open source organization mentors such as us (Drupal!). Are you or any colleagues available to be a mentor and/or provide a project idea? Please share project ideas even if you're not available to be a mentor in our wiki @ This is perfect timing for our our community and GSOC as Drupal 8 is almost stable providing plenty of projects to port common modules.

Did you know each accepted organization sends two mentors on an all expense paid trip to visit GooglePlex for the "Mentor Summit"? Organization applications started February 9th and we're currently working on our organization application. We'd like to apply with at least 30 solid project ideas, so if you have ideas for any project that might be suitable for GSoC, add them our wiki @ If you are unsure whether or not your project idea will be a good fit for GSoC, have a look at the projects from GSoC 2014 @

Feel free to contact myself (Slurpee: ) or Chandan Singh (cs_shadow: directly or create nodes in for additional information.

If you're a student, you can start by reading our getting started guide for GSoC @ Below is some useful information which may help you get selected in GSoC this year.

How to be a Drupal GSoC student in 10 Steps

  1. Register an account @
  2. Join Drupal's group for Summer of Code @
  3. Find a project on our ideas page @

    • Add your name as an interested student to project idea
    • Add your project idea summary (with or without a mentor)

  4. Contact mentors listed on project idea via contact page

    • If you don't hear back after 48 hours, try creating an issue in issue queue for project and contact org/mentor
    • Contact myself directly via contact page @
    • Chat with us in real time on IRC in #drupal-google or specifically during office hours listed below

  5. Complete "Drupal Ladder for GSoC Students" @

    • Completing additional ladders will help your application!
    • Creating additional ladders with lessons will help too!

  6. Utilize to find issues to work on with mentors willing to help
  7. Test and reroll patches in issue queue
  8. Write a patch that is contributed into Drupal 8 (making you a "core contributor")
  9. Become a maintainer of the project you're planning to work on by contributing code/patches/tests/documentation
  10. Hangout on IRC in #drupal-google on Freenode helping other students

10 Tips for Students Writing Applications

  1. Follow the Student application template @
  2. Treat this as a real job, would any software company actually pay you to work on this project all summer?
  3. Demonstrate your ability to contribute to Drupal and that you can immediately start producing code from day one of GSoC
  4. Create a complete project plan broken down by every week of GSoC
  5. Document and diagram the workflow of user experience by creating wireframes/mockups of UI and UX (
  6. Research and contact initiatives looking to accomplish related tasks
  7. Plan out your "support contract", do you plan to stay in the Drupal community after GSoC (example, how long will you support/update your code for the community after GSoC?)
  8. Explain your workflow for project, time, and task management (a tool such a Basecamp or Trello?)
  9. Describe your methods, tools, and frequency of communication with mentor for collaboration in a virtual environment (g+ hangout twice per week?)
  10. Request mentors and helpers in #drupal-google to review application via Google Drive with comments enabled prior to application deadline

10 Tips for Mentors Helping Students Write Applications

  1. List a project on our ideas page @
  2. Review the "Drupal Ladder for GSoC Students" to learn student prerequisites
  3. Update any of the Drupal Ladders to help students learn faster
  4. Respond to interested students that contact you via contact page

    • Please respond within 48 hours

  5. Test and review patches from students
  6. Facilitate contact with discussion between student and module maintainer of projects of interested student
  7. Create a project plan and timeline that student agrees on with specific deliverables, understanding you may need to fail student at midterm or final
  8. Review Google's guide on being a mentor in Melange (non-Drupal stuff) @
  9. Contact Drupal's org admins (Slurpee, slashrsm, cs_shadow) if you have any questions
  10. Hangout in #drupal-google answering student questions

Drupal's GSoC Office Hours (help in real time!)

Mentors are available on IRC in #drupal-google @Freenode thrice each weekday for one hour from March 16th until March 27th. Join us in real time at scheduled times below to chat with mentors in real time to ask questions, request application reviews, or simply hangout.

  • Asia/Australia 04:00 - 05:00 UTC (IST 09:30-10:30)
  • Europe 13:00 - 14:00 UTC (CET 14:00-15:00)
  • Americas 18:00 - 19:00 UTC (PDT 11:00-12:00)

Contributing to Drupal

Did you know many successful students started with zero Drupal experience prior to GSoC? If new to Drupal and willing to contribute, come to participate in core contribution mentoring. It helps anyone without any experience to get started with Drupal contribution development. Google wants to see students contributing to organizations prior to the starting of their GSoC project and this is a chance to demonstrate your skills. Office hours provide a chance for students that have problems with their patches or can't find issues to work on to seek guidance. Create an account at before you participate in core mentoring. Drupal core contribution office hours are Tuesdays, 02:00 - 04:00 UTC AND Wednesdays, 16:00 - 18:00 UTC. If you need help outside of office hours, join #drupal-contribute to chat with the community members willing to assist 24/7.

Details about core mentoring office hours @ and More information about contributing to Drupal @ and

Final notes from Google to Students

We are pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications from students to participate in Google Summer of Code 2015. Please check out the FAQs [1], timeline [2], and student manual [3] if you are unfamiliar with the process. You can also read the Melange manual if you need help with Melange [4]. The deadline to apply is 27 March at 19:00 UTC [5]. Late proposals will not be accepted for any reason.

[1] -

[2] -

[3] -

[4] -

[5] -

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Categories: Elsewhere

Chromatic: Automated Servers and Deployments with Ansible & Jenkins

Thu, 12/02/2015 - 19:47

In a previous post, Dave talked about marginal gains and how, in aggregate, they can really add up. We recently made some infrastructure improvements that I first thought would be marginal, but quickly proved to be rather significant. We started leveraging Ansible for server creation/configuration and Jenkins to automate our code deployments.

We spend a lot of time spinning up servers, configuring them and repeatedly deploying code to them. As a Drupal-focused shop, this process can get repetitive very quickly. The story usually goes something like this:

  1. Project begins
  2. Dev/Staging server(s) built from scratch (usually on Linode)
    1. Install Ubuntu
    2. Install Apache
    3. Install PHP
    4. Install MariaDB
    5. Install Git
    6. Install Drush
    7. Install Redis, etc.
  3. Deploy project codebase from GitHub
  4. Development happens
  5. Pull Requests opened, reviewed, merged
  6. Manually login to server via SSH, git pull
  7. More development happens
  8. Pull Requests opened, reviewed, merged
  9. Manually login to server via SSH, git pull
  10. and so on…

All of this can be visualized in a simple flowchart:

Development Workflow Visualized

View in Google Docs

This story is repeated over and over. New client, new server new deployments. How does that old programmer’s adage go? “Don’t Repeat Yourself?” Well, we finally got around to doing something about all of this server configuration and deployment repetition nonsense. We configured a Jenkins server to automatically handle our deployments and created Ansible roles and playbooks to easily spin up and configure new servers (specifically tuned for Drupal) at will. So now our story looks something like this:

Development Workflow Visualized w/Ansible & Jenkins

View in Google Docs

What is Ansible?

“Ansible is an IT automation tool. It can configure systems, deploy software, and orchestrate more advanced IT tasks such as continuous deployments or zero downtime rolling updates.”

Sounds like voodoo magic doesn’t it? Well, I’m here to tell you it isn’t, that it works, and that you don’t have to be a certified sysadmin to use it. Though you may need one to set it all up for you. The basic premise is that you create “playbooks” to control your remote servers. These can be as complex as a set of steps to build a LAMP server up from scratch (see below), or as simple as a specific configuration that you wish to enforce. Typically, playbooks are made up of “roles”. Roles are “reusable abstractions” as their docs page explains. You might have roles for installing Apache, adding Git, or adding a group of user’s public keys. String your roles together in a YAML file and that’s a playbook. Have a look at the official Ansible examples GitHub repo to see some real life examples.

Automate Server Creation/Configuration with Ansible

We realized we were basically building the same Drupal-tuned servers over and over. While the various steps for this process are well documented, doing the actual work takes loads of time, is prone to error and really isn’t all that fun. Ansible to the rescue! We set out to build a playbook that would build a LAMP stack up from scratch, with all the tools we use consistently across all of our projects. Here’s an example playbook:


  • Consistent server environments: Adding additional servers to your stack is a piece of cake and you can be sure each new box will have the same exact configuration.
  • Quickly roll out updates: Update your playbook and rerun against the affected servers and each will get the update. Painless.
  • Add-on components: Easily tack on custom server components like Apache Solr by adding a single line to a server’s playbook.
  • Allow your ops team to focus on real problems: Developers can quickly create servers without needing to bug your ops guys about how to compile PHP or install Drush, allowing them to focus on higher priority tasks.
What is Jenkins?

“Jenkins is an award-winning application that monitors executions of repeated jobs, such as building a software project or jobs run by cron.”

Think of Jenkins as a very well-trained, super organized, exceptionally good record-keeping ops robot. Train Jenkins a job once and Jenkins will repeat it over and over to your heart’s content. Jenkins will keep records of everything and will let you know should things ever go awry.

Deploy Code Automatically with Jenkins

Here’s the rundown of how we’re currently using Jenkins to automatically deploy code to our servers:

  1. Jenkins listens for changes to master via the Jenkins Github Plugin
  2. When changes are detected, Jenkins automatically kicks off a deployment by SSHing into our box and executing our standard deployment commands:
    1. cd /var/www/yourProject/docroot/
    2. git pull
    3. drush updb -y
    4. drush fra -y
    5. drush cc all
  3. Build statuses are reported to Slack via the Slack Notification Plugin

Here’s a full view of a configuration page for a deployment job:

The biggest benefit here is saving time. No more digging for SSH credentials. No more trying to remember where the docroot is on this machine. No more of the, “I can’t access that server, Bob usually handles…” nonsense. Jenkins has access to the server, Jenkins knows where the docroot is, and Jenkins runs the exact same deployment code every single time. The other huge win here, at least for me personally, is that it takes the worry out of deployments. Setting it up right the first time means a project lifetime of known workflow/deployments. No more worrying about if pushing the button breaks all the things.

What else is great about using Jenkins to deploy your code? Here’s some quick hits:

  • Historical build data: Jenkins stores a record of every deployment. Should a deploy fail, you can see exactly when things broke down and why. Jenkins records everything that happened in a Console Output tab.
  • Empower non server admins: Jenkins users can login to Jenkins and kick off manual deployments or jobs at the push of a button. They don’t need to know how to login via ssh or even how to run a single command from the command line.
  • Enforce Consistent Workflow: By using Jenkins to deploy your code you also end up enforcing consistent workflow. In our example, drush will revert features on every single deployment. This means that devs can’t be lazy and just switch things in production. Those changes would be lost on the next deploy!
  • Status Indicators across projects: The Jenkins dashboard shows a quick overview of all of your jobs. There’s status of the last build, an aggregated “weather report” of the last few builds, last build duration, etc. Super useful.
  • Slack Integration: You can easily configure jobs to report statuses back to Slack. We have ours set to report to each project channel when a build begins and when it succeeds or fails. Great visibility for everyone on the project.
Other possible automations with Jenkins
  • Automate scheduled tasks (like Drupal’s cron, mass emailing, report generation, etc.)
  • Run automated tests

Both of these tools have done wonders for our workflow. While there was certainly some up-front investment to get these built out, the gains on the back end have been tremendous. We’ve gained control of our environments and their creation. We’ve taken the worry and the repetition out of our deployments. We’ve freed up our developers to focus on the work at hand. Our clients are getting their code sooner. Our team members are interrupted less often. Win after win after win. If you’re team is facing similar, consider implementing one or both of these tools. You’re sure to see similar results.

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal Watchdog: Contributing to Open Source Projects

Thu, 12/02/2015 - 17:54

Drupal is one of the largest and most successful open source projects, and much of our success is due to the vibrant and thriving community of contributors who make the platform what it is – the individuals who help put on Drupal Conferences and events, the documentation writers, the designers and usability experts, the developers who help write the software, and countless others.

Participating in open source communities is a rewarding experience that will help you advance and develop, both personally and professionally. Through participation, you gain an opportunity to learn from your peers. You are constantly challenged and exposed to new and interesting ideas, perspectives, and opinions. You are not only learning the current best practices, you are also helping develop innovative new solutions, which will improve the tools in your arsenal and take your career to the next level – not to mention contributing to your personal growth. (One of the five Drupal core committers for Drupal 8, Angie Byron got her start only a few years ago – as a student in the Google Summer of Code – and has rapidly advanced her skills and career through open source participation.)

Participation gives you significantly better insight and awareness. By attending Drupal events and engaging online, you place yourself in a better position to understand and leverage the solutions that are already available, know where and how to find those solutions, and have a clearer sense of how you can leverage them to achieve your goals. With this knowledge and experience you become capable of executing faster and more efficiently than your peers who don’t engage.

Categories: Elsewhere

Code Karate: Drupal 7 Options Element: A quicker way to add radio and checkbox options

Thu, 12/02/2015 - 15:20
Episode Number: 192

We kept things simple for this episode of the DDoD. The options element module uses Javascript to create an easy way to create radio button and checkbox options for fields on a Drupal content type. Before this module you had to add key|value for each options you wanted. Using this module the key and value is broken down into two fields making it easier to distinguish the difference.

Tags: DrupalContent TypesFieldsDrupal 7Drupal PlanetUI/DesignJavascript
Categories: Elsewhere

ERPAL: The 6 most important steps of the ERPAL Platform roadmap

Thu, 12/02/2015 - 13:04

In 2014 I got in contact with many other Drupal shops. We had lots of great discussions about the future of Drupal, the future of ERPAL and the industries other than publishing that could definitely take advantage of Drupal. What with all the new ideas and results from these personal contacts, I want to take a little time now to make the ERPAL roadmap in 2015 more transparent to you. All our activities in 2015 will align with our vision to make Drupal – via the ERPAL distributions – into the most flexible web-based framework available for business applications.
In some of my previous blog posts and the Drupal application module stack poster, I’ve shown why I think Drupal has all the components needed for flexible business applications.

As we’re almost done with the development work to release a first beta version of ERPAL Platform, the next steps need to be planned out. In 2015 we’ll focus on the following six roadmap activities:

What, exactly, do these roadmap steps mean? Here are the details on each one:

Teach other developers how to develop business applications with Drupal
Modeling business processes and implementing them in software isn’t an easy job. Over the last three years, we’ve discovered many best practices for analyzing processes and using Drupal for business applications; we want to share these with the Drupal community, so we’ll release more screencasts and blogposts covering the most important ones. Sticking to best practices like using a combination of rules, entities, fields, feeds, views, and commerce modules – all modules that can be extended easily with custom plugins – will keep Drupal applications flexible, extendible and maintainable. 

Port ERPAL Platform to Drupal 8
Our goal is to have a first alpha release of ERPAL Platform ready six months after Drupal 8 has been released. Since there’s currently no reliable roadmap for the first Drupal 8 release, we can’t announce a fixed deadline. We’ve already started porting ERPAL Core to bring flexible resource planning to Drupal 8, but we do depend on the Drupal commerce roadmap for Drupal 8, which contains many improvements to the overall architecture of Drupal commerce. As soon as there’s a stable beta release of Drupal commerce, we’ll continue with our port of ERPAL Platform based on Drupal commerce 2.x.

Start our development partner network
In 2015 we’ll start our development partner program, building a network of qualified Drupal developers and shops who focus on the quality and flexibility of Drupal applications. Our development partners will benefit from our support in their projects as well as from new business opportunities stemming from our corporate marketing promoting them. For Drupal, this means more people striving to bring Drupal into other industries and increase its application range. This strategic goal is tightly related to the first roadmap activity, teach other Drupal developers to build business applications with Drupal.

Promote Drupal business applications and industry case studies created by the community
Two extremely important facts that I realized at Drupalcon in Amsterdam 2014 were

  • 1) that almost everyone agreed that Drupal is a better application framework than a CMS
  • 2) that it’s perfectly suited for business applications because it’s open, flexible and can be integrated with other enterprise legacy software

What’s missing, however, are public project references with case studies showing potential clients the power of Drupal – not only for content sites but also for business applications in different industries and their integrations. With this promotion, we want to help our partners grow their business in this market while simultaneously increasing Drupal’s uptake in other vertical markets.

Release the Drupal update automation service, “Drop Guard”
The technology to automate Drupal updates, and security updates in particular, has already been in use for more than 2.5 years at Bright Solutions. We realized with Drupalgeddon that Drupal security updates are business critical: they need to be applied within minutes after their release! This year we want to launch Drop Guard as a service for Drupal developers to help shops and agencies keep their clients’ sites secured – automatically. The service will integrate with their CI deployment processes and help Drupal avoid the negative press of hacked sites. If you want to know how it actually works in our internal infrastructure and how it’s integrated with ERPAL, read my previous blog post.

Provide cloud app integration for ERPAL Platform
With ERPAL for Service Providers we created a Drupal distribution that gives service providers a centralized, web-based platform for managing all their business processes within one tool. The Drupal distribution, ERPAL Platform, provides Drupal users and site builders with a pre-configured distribution to build flexible business applications based on Drupal commerce and other flexible contrib modules. Since ERPAL Platform implements the full sales process – starting with first contact and sales activity; quotes, orders and invoicing; all the way through to reports – and a slim project controlling feature, we want to let users extend this solution easily and with the best vertical cloud tools out there. Via this solution, ERPAL Platform can integrate with cloud apps such as Jira, Trello, Mite, Redmine, Basecamp, Toggle and many others. This has the benefit that users can use ERPAL Platform as their central business process and controlling application while their project collaboration is supported by specialized platforms. The clear advantage is that agencies will save lots of time in project controlling and administration, as many processes can be automated across all integrated applications. Using Drupal as their centralized platform, they remain flexible and agile in their business development.

What about the roadmap for ERPAL for Service Providers?
ERPAL for Service Providers is currently very stable and is already being used by more than 30 of our known customers at Bright Solutions. We will continue to maintain this distribution, fix bugs and give support to all users. During the lifecycle of Drupal 8, we’ll port ERPAL for Service Providers to be based on ERPAL Platform. So, in the future, ERPAL Platform will be the base distribution for building a vertical use case for service providers. 

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Annertech: 10 Great reasons why you should attend your local Drupal meet-up

Thu, 12/02/2015 - 12:41
10 Great reasons why you should attend your local Drupal meet-up

Drupal has a vibrant community supporting it. A lot of people around the world are involved in its development, way more than in a purely technical sense. How do they do it? Drupal Groups.

Drupal Groups: Where Drupal community members organise, plan and work on projects.

At you can find groups based on geography, or join online groups allocated to planning upcoming events, and working groups designated to a particular aspect of drupal and drupal distributions.

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Shomeya: Why you should ALWAYS have a troubleshooting guide

Thu, 12/02/2015 - 03:40

Your demo is in 4hrs. 4 hours! The issues you have left could take that much time, not even counting pushing the changes and hoping it doesn't break the dev site.

Oh, and did I mention...your design changes aren't showing up. So you can't fix anything right now. ANYTHING! You haven't changed an issue to DONE in over an hour.

You've tried everything.

Save. Reload. Save. RELOAD AGAIN. What could it be?

Read more
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SitePoint PHP Drupal: Push your Drupal Site’s Events to your Phone with Pushover

Wed, 11/02/2015 - 18:00

In this article I am going to show you how you can integrate Pushover with your Drupal site. I will illustrate a couple of examples of how you can use Pushover to notify yourself as soon as something happens on your site.

The code I write in this article is also available in this repository so you can just clone that if you want to follow along.

What is Pushover?

Pushover is a web and mobile application that allows you to get real time notifications on your mobile device. The way it works is that you install an app on your Android or Apple device and using a handy API you can send that app notifications. The great thing about this is that it happens more or less in real time (depending on your internet connection) as Pushover uses the Google and Apple servers to send the notifications.

The price is also very affordable. At a rate of $4.99 USD per platform (Android, Apple or desktop) paid only once, you can use it on any number of devices under that platform. And you also get a 5 day trial period for free the moment you create your account.

What am I doing here?

In this article I am going to set up a Pushover application and use it from my Drupal site to notify my phone of various events. I will give you two example use cases that Pushover can be handy with:

  • Whenever an anonymous user posts a comment that awaits administrative approval, I’ll send a notification to my phone
  • Whenever the admin user 1 logs into the site, I’ll send an emergency notification to my phone (useful if you are the only user of that admin account).

Naturally, these are examples and you may not find them useful. But they only serve as illustration of the power you can have by using Pushover.

Continue reading %Push your Drupal Site’s Events to your Phone with Pushover%

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Appnovation Technologies: How to create an area plugin for views

Wed, 11/02/2015 - 16:50

Sometimes using views, you need to place some dynamic content in the header or footer of a view.

var switchTo5x = false;stLight.options({"publisher":"dr-75626d0b-d9b4-2fdb-6d29-1a20f61d683"});
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Acquia: Working on Remote Teams – the Developers

Wed, 11/02/2015 - 16:33
Language Undefined

Part 1 of 2 – I ran into Elia Albarran, Four Kitchens' Operations Manager ... ahem "Funmaster", in the inspiring atmosphere of BADCamp 2014. She mentioned she'd read my blog post 10 Tips for Success as a Remote Employee; we started exchanging tips and ideas until I basically yelled, "Stop! I need to get this on camera for the podcast!" She graciously agreed and brought along two Four Kitchens developers for the session, too: Taylor Smith and Matt Grill.

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cs_shadow: Summary of Google Code-In 2014 and Welcome GSoC 2015

Wed, 11/02/2015 - 15:33

tl;dr Quick links
- Google Code-In 2014 results:
- Google Summer of Code announcement:
- Google Summer of Code Task Wiki:
- Relevant groups to join: and
- Getting started guide for GSoC students:

And that's a wrap for Google Code-In 2014

As you might be knowing, Drupal recently participated in Google Code-In 2014, which is a contest for high school students aged 13-17. We received great participation from students all around the world and they heavily contributed to Drupal during past couple of months. I served as one of the organization administrators for Drupal and had the wonderful opportunity to mentor these students and watch their transformation from complete newbies to Core contributors.

Tons of Core issues worked upon, lots of documentation created/updated and a bunch of modules ported - yes, that's what GCI meant for Drupal. For a more comprehensive list, you can look at the complete lists of tasks on Melange. Although all the participants did great, there are a few who stood apart from the others.

  • Getulio Sanchez (gvso) [Grand Prize Winner]. Among other tasks, he ported a bunch of interesting modules to Drupal 8 - FB Like Button, Login Destination, Administer Users by Role, Delete All to name a few. He also writes about his experience with Drupal in GCI and also why he chose Drupal on his blog: Its a good read especially for students who're interested in working with Drupal in GCI/GSoC.

  • Tasya Rukmana (tadityar) [Grand Prize Winner]. She rocked the Core issue queue and went on to become 2500th Core contributor (Albeit it was sheer luck, it was a nice motivation for her any way):

#Drupal 8 now has over 2500 contributors! Congratulations tadityar on becoming the 2500th D8 contributor on Dec. 9.

— xjm (@xjmdrupal) December 12, 2014

Read more about her experience on her blog post:

  • Akshay Kalose (akshaykalsoe) [Runner up]. Besides reviewing some of the GSoC 2104 projects and contributing to the issue queue, his most important task was to Set up a Drupal 8 installation using Load Balancing(using HAProxy) and you can read more about this on his blog post:

  • Our other two finalists were: Ilkin Musaev (Polonium) and Mark Klein (areke) who also did great.

Congratulations to all the finalists and prize winners!

Welcome Google Summer of Code 2015

While was GCI was a lot of fun, its over now. To keep the momentum going, we've decided to apply as an organization into GSoC again. To stay tuned for further updates regarding GSoC, join our discussion group here: If you or any of your friends/colleagues have an idea and/or want to mentor a project in GSoC 2015, please add that information to our GSoC 2015 Task Organization wiki.

We'd like to apply with at least 30 solid ideas and the deadline is 20th February (which is about 8-9 days from now), please add your ideas before 18th February, so that we've some time to review them before we submit them to Google. Even if you're not available as a mentor, please share the ideas page ( to help make Drupal more AWESOME for everyone.

If you've any issues/doubts, feel free to contact me or Matthew Lechleider (Slurpee) or directly either via our contact page or via comments below. You can also ask any questions on our IRC channel: #drupal-google on Freenode.

For Students: where to start

All the instructions that you need are documented here: but following is a short summary of most important stuff.

If you're a student reading this post, the first thing that you need to do is join our GSoC discussion group. Also, feel free to hangout on our IRC channel: #drupal-google. Even if don't have any specific doubts at the moment, just keep irc open in one window and try to follow the discussion if it interests you (whenever you can). If you want to start contributing to Drupal, you can go through the official Getting Involved Guide. Since the amount of text might be overwhelming to start in this guide, the above mentioned link should suffice you immediate needs.

The most important thing is that you should try to connect with mentors as much as possible so that you can discuss/refine your ideas further. If you find an idea in the Task Organization Wiki which interests you, feel free to contact the mentor either via mail or on IRC. If you've any interesting idea that you'd like to propose for GSoC, you can also add those to the wiki but you need to contact the admins first. If you'd like to read some tips for GSoC application, you can read my last post: Best of luck!

Tags: Google Summer of CodeDrupal Planetgsoc2015gsocGoogle Code-Ingci2014
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Drupalize.Me: Release Day: Free Introduction to PhpStorm IDE

Wed, 11/02/2015 - 15:15

This month, we're excited to partner with JetBrains and provide to our wonderful members and curious public (hey, that's you!) a completely free series that will get you up and running like a pro with PhpStorm.

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Amazee Labs: First Day of DrupalCon Latin America

Wed, 11/02/2015 - 13:43
First Day of DrupalCon Latin America

It is awesome to be here! Everything was well prepared and we were very warmly welcomed.

The 200-300 attendees come from everywhere - there is a good portion of people from the US, from Europe and of course many Latin Americans from all over the continent. It’s a unique and really fascinating mix of Drupalistas.

It started off with the introduction by Holly. Multilinguality is not only in core of D8 but also in core of the Drupal Association: Holly kick-off in fabulous spanish! 

More multilingual features of the Con are the real-time translations of talks in Portuguese and Spanish. And of course the entire organization team bridges the gap between the Latinos and the rest of the world.

A highlight of the day was the keynote of Dries. User experience will always win is his credo. Dries predicted for the next 10 to 20 years that the user experience will change from pull to push. Personal, aggregated and situation-based services such as Google Now will be predominant and push useful information to us. 

I personally like the talks of Larry Garfield about Design Systems a lot and also Andy Kucharski's talk about measuring support and client relationships.

Both talks are already online and fotos can be found on our flickr page

We are excited for day 2! Hasta Luego

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