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ImageX Media: Higher Education Notes and Trends for the Week of July 4, 2016

Fri, 08/07/2016 - 21:22

The landscape of higher education continues to shift toward changing student demographics, evolving different learning approaches and what seems like a perpetual shortfall of funding for post-secondary institutions. These trends mirror that of our client website aspirations which are now more than ever are focusing on engagement with key audiences such as prospective students and alumni due to greater competition in the marketplace with less dollars to spend. 

Categories: Elsewhere

Chromatic: Digging In To Drupal 8: Code Snippets for Site Builders

Fri, 08/07/2016 - 19:36

The more I work with Drupal 8, the more I realize how much has changed for developers in the Drupal community. While the transition to a modern, object-oriented system is what's best for the longevity of the platform, it certainly doesn't come without challenges. As someone who doesn't come from an OOP background, I've found the transition difficult at times. In many cases, I know exactly what I want to do, just not how to do it the "Drupal 8 way". On top of this, tutorials and blog posts on D8 are all over the map in terms of accuracy. Many posts written during D8's development cycle are no longer applicable because of API changes, etc.

Below is a list of snippets that might be helpful to site builders or developers more familiar with D7 hooks and procedural. It might also be useful to OOP folks who are new to Drupal in general. My goal below is to add to and update these snippets over time.

Routes & Links Determine the Current Drupal Route

Need to know what the current Drupal route is or need to run some logic against the current route? You can get the current route like so:

$route = \Drupal::routeMatch()->getRouteName();

To some, the \Drupal::routeMatch() syntax might look foreign (it did to me). Here's a rundown of what's happening here:

First, \Drupal. This is calling the global Drupal class, which, in Drupal 8, is a bridge between procedural and OO methods of writing Drupal code. The following comes from the documentation:

This class acts as a unified global accessor to arbitrary services within the system in order to ease the transition from procedural code to injected OO code.

Right. Moving on to ::routeMatch(). Here we're using the routeMatch() method which "Retrieves the currently active route match object." Simple enough. But what is "::" all about? This StackOverflow answer helped me to understand what that's all about.

From there, the getRouteName() method returns the current route name as a string. Here are some example routes: entity.node.canonical, view.frontpage and node.type_add.

Is this the Front Page Route?

Need to check if the current route is the front page route? There's a service and method for that:

// Is the current route/path the front page? if ($is_front = \Drupal::service('path.matcher')->isFrontPage()) {}

Here we're calling the path.matcher service (defined in /core/ and using the isFrontPage() method. For more on services, check out the "Services and Dependency Injection Container" documentation on which helped me understand how all of these bits work together and the why of their structure.

Get the Requested Path

Need to know what the current page's requested path was, as opposed to the route? You can do this:

$current_uri = \Drupal::request()->getRequestUri(); Redirect to a Specific Route

Need to redirect to a specific page? In Drupal 7, you would likely handle this with drupal_goto() in your page callback function. In Drupal 8, you can use RedirectResponse() for that. Here is the relevant changelog.

Here are some examples, borrowed heavily from said changelog. First, in procedural PHP:

use Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\RedirectResponse; function my_redirect() { return new RedirectResponse(\Drupal::url('')); }

Here is how you would use a Drupal 8 controller to accomplish the same thing:

use Drupal\Core\Controller\ControllerBase; class MyControllerClass extends ControllerBase { public function foo() { //... return $this->redirect(''); } } Links on the Fly

Drupal 7 and prior relied heavily on the l() function. (In fact, I would wager this was my most used function over the years. In Drupal 8, if you need to create links on the fly, utilize the Link class

$link = \Drupal\Core\Link::fromTextAndUrl($text, $url); Working with Entities Query Database for Entities

If you need to query the database for some nodes (or any other entity) you should use the entityQuery service. The syntax should be pretty familiar to most D7 developers who have used EntityFieldQuery:

// Query for some entities with the entity query service. $query = \Drupal::entityQuery('node') ->condition('status', 1) ->condition('type', 'article') ->range(0, 10) ->sort('created', 'DESC'); $nids = $query->execute(); Loading Entities

If you need to load the actual entities, you can do so a number of ways:

While the following will technically work in Drupal 8:

$node = entity_load_multiple('node', $nids);

This method has been deprecated in Drupal 8 and will be removed before Drupal 9, in favor of methods overriding Entity::loadMultiple(). To future-proof your code, you would do something like the following:

$nodes = \Drupal::entityTypeManager()->getStorage('node')->loadMultiple($nids);

Here's how you would do similar for a single node:

$node = \Drupal::entityTypeManager()->getStorage('node')->load($nid);

Here are a few other entity snippets that might be useful:

// Link to an entity using the entity's link method. $author_link = $user->toLink(); // Do the same thing, but customize the link text. $author_link = $user->toLink('Some Custom Text'); // Given a node object, here's how to determine its type: $type = $node->getType(); // To get the full user entity of the node's author: $author = $node->getOwner(); // To get the raw ID of the author of a node: $author_id = $node->getOwnerId(); Image Styles

Need to whip up an image using a particular image style on the fly? This will work for that:

// Create an instance of an image using a specific image style, given a path to a file. $style = \Drupal\image\Entity\ImageStyle::load('yourStyle_image'); $img_path = $user->field_profile_some_image->entity->getFileUri(); $img_style_url = $style->buildUrl($img_path);

That's it for now. I intend to keep this post updated as we learn more and more about the new world of Drupal 8. If you have a snippet worth sharing, drop us a line via Twitter and we’ll add it to this post (with credit of course).

Categories: Elsewhere

Chromatic: Be Promiscuous with Drush's core-quick-drupal

Fri, 08/07/2016 - 19:36
Aren't you a cutie?

Here at Chromatic HQ, the team is encouraged to give back to the open-source community. (And on company time!) One way to do this is by reviewing and contributing Drupal patches. For me, this can be both rewarding and frustrating. When things go well, I feel good about contributing and I might even get a commit credit! But there are times when patches don't apply, I have no clue what's wrong and I need to start fresh. First, I curse mightily at the time wasted, then I create a new db, and then re-install a fresh copy of Drupal, and then configure it etc. etc. Using drush site-install makes this process relatively easy, but what if it could be easier? (Hint: It is!)

Hooray for promiscuity!

I recently had a fling with Drush's core-quick-drupal command. I had known about it for years, but I hadn't realized what it could really do for me. This has now changed, and together we're having an open affair!

For the uninitiated, drush core-quick-drupal takes advantage of PHP's built-in web server (PHP >= 5.4) and uses a sqlite database to get a fresh, stand-alone copy of Drupal up and running, all in about a minute. It has two aliases: drush qd and, my personal preference, drush cutie.

Out-of-the-box overview
  • In about a minute it installs a full instance of Drupal.
  • Runs a web server at (no apache config).
  • Uses a self-contained sqlite file as the db (no mysql db to create and configure).

It's so much fun, you may want to follow along. From the command line, just cd to a folder of your choosing and run drush cutie --yes. (You'll need to have drush installed.)

Behind the scenes, a folder is created called quick-drupal with a timestamp appended to the end. (One of my older cutie folders is quick-drupal-20160214193640... a timestamp from a Valentine's evening with Drush that my wife won't soon forget!) Inside the new quick-drupal folder are subfolders with the latest D8 files and the sqlite db file. (There are lots of options to customize the Drupal version and environment, but the default nowadays is Drupal 8.)

Running it looks something like this drush cutie --yes Project drupal (8.0.3) downloaded to ... Installation complete. User name: admin User password: EawsYkGg4Y Congratulations, you installed Drupal! Listening on

(The output above has been edited to highlight the tastier bits!)

And with that I have the latest version of D8 running at As you can see from the shell output above, the superuser is admin with a password of EawsYkGg4Y.

Okay, okay, very cool, but what can I do with it? Here's a breakdown:
  1. Review patches with minimal fuss, thereby giving back to the Drupal community.
  2. Investigate new modules without sullying your main dev environment.
  3. Test that new Feature you created to see if it really works.
  4. NOT RECOMMENDED! When that friend asks you how long it will take to build him a website, respond with "about a minute" and fire it up.
You thought I was done?

Let's run through the steps to review a patch. This is where drush core-quick-drupal really shines because it's best to have a clean install of Drupal to work with; this minimizes the number of externalities that can interfere with testing. Having a single-command, throwaway copy of vanilla Drupal is the way to go.

You could call this a blog version of a live demo; I have chosen a patch out in the wild to review. I found this one for the core taxonomy module, that had a status of "Needs Review" on D.O.

The patch file itself is here:

Here are the steps I took on the command line:

# Install a temporary copy of D8 into a folder I named "test2644718" drush cutie test2644718 --yes

With the above command I got my environment running. The patch itself simply fixes the formatting in taxonomy-term.html.twig, which is a default template file for taxonomy terms, provided by the core taxonomy module.

I first tested to see the original template in action. Satisfied with the way it was working, I took steps to apply the patch.

# Move into the root folder of the new site cd test2644718/drupal/ # Use wget to grab the patch from D.O. wget # Apply the patch patch -p1 < taxonomy-term-twig-cs.patch patching file core/modules/taxonomy/templates/taxonomy-term.html.twig

The patch was applied successfully and a minor change in taxonomy-term.html.twig was made. I quickly tested to ensure nothing had blown up and was satisfied that the patch works as expected.

Back in D.O., I added my two cents and marked the issue as Reviewed & tested by the community. And that's that.


Though the patch originally sat awaiting review for 2 months, I'm happy to claim that my review got things moving again! After I posted RTBC, a flurry of activity took place with the scope increasing and new patches being created. I reviewed those too! A day later the patches were committed to 8.1.x. Nice.

Categories: Elsewhere

Mediacurrent: Friday 5: 5 Quick Ways to Check Your Site&#039;s Health

Fri, 08/07/2016 - 18:39

TGIF and welcome back to another exciting episode of The Mediacurrent Friday 5!

Categories: Elsewhere

Jeff Geerling's Blog: Getting Emoji and multibyte characters on your Drupal 7 site with 7.50

Fri, 08/07/2016 - 17:43

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a blog post titled Solving the Emoji/character encoding problem in Drupal 7.

Since writing that post, Drupal 7 bugfixes and improvements have started to pick up steam as (a) many members of the community who were focused on launching Drupal 8 had time to take a breather and fix up some long-standing Drupal 7 bugs and improvements that hadn't yet been backported, and (b) there are two new D7 core maintainers. One of the patches I've been applying to many sites and hoping would get pulled into core for a long time was adding support for full UTF-8, which allows the entry of emojis, Asian symbols, and mathematical symbols that would break Drupal 7 sites running on MySQL previously.

My old blog post had a few steps that you could follow to make your Drupal 7 site 'mostly' support UTF-8, but there were some rough edges. Now that support is in core, the process for converting your existing site's database is more straightforward:

Categories: Elsewhere

Zivtech: How to Grow Your Own Team

Fri, 08/07/2016 - 15:00
Lack of available talent is a common refrain of business owners. Give up on looking and complaining! Learn how to create a sustainable business.

Growing your own means hiring smart, motivated people with all the right soft skills and investing in them for the long haul. In return, they'll reward you with loyalty, teach your newer staff, and work in unison with a cohesive vision.

Where is the Talent? It’s not realistic to imagine that you live in a world where there are people that you can just hire for a decent price who already have all the skills you need. Just come in, hit the ground running, and make you a bunch of money. You wouldn't have any problems with them, and you wouldn't have to do much for them other than feed them some pizza and pay them.

So when managers can't find those people, they get upset, and they say, "There's not enough talent. People are not getting educated properly. We don't have the right people and the right programs out there."

The world is full of talent! No, they haven't learned the specific skills that you need, but there are so many intelligent people out there who would thrive with a little help.

What Are You Farming? When I started working in software development, I saw myself as someone who made websites. That was my output: I was making websites, or I was making code. Over the years now I see that my product is people. I'm selling their time, expertise, knowledge, and human capacity.

In web development, who cares about the code when you have the coder? It's like the egg and the chicken. You have to take care of the chicken, and not each little egg, because the chickens just keep making more.

Being a great website maker isn’t really that valuable. What is really valuable is being able to grow more people who can do the work. Then you really scale up. You're only going to do so well as a solo practitioner. If you're able to grow more and more skilled people, not only is your business doing better, but you start to realize that the task of training people is more important than building websites.

Download the full Grow Your Own white paper for free.
Categories: Elsewhere

OSTraining: How to Display PDFs on a Drupal Site

Fri, 08/07/2016 - 14:10

An OSTraining member asked us about attaching PDFs to a Drupal site.

It is possible to use the default File field and allow people to download the PDF. However, this member wanted visitors to read the PDF directly on the site.

Categories: Elsewhere

Drop Guard: Why we don’t (continuously) update our Drupal websites

Fri, 08/07/2016 - 13:00


Two weeks ago we decided to run a little survey asking Drupal folks one simple, but provocative question “Why I don’t update my website continuously”. I decided to present you the results - and I can tell that some serious voices got out!

First, I want to speak highly of least 38 of 78 participants, who actually update their website continuously and seem to know exactly what happens if they wouldn’t do it.

Drupal Drupal Planet Security Survey
Categories: Elsewhere

Leopathu: 6 Essential Drupal Interview Questions*

Fri, 08/07/2016 - 12:06
1. Name and describe the five conceptual layers in a Drupal system.
Categories: Elsewhere