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IXIS: The Amsterdam Sessions 2014

Planet Drupal - ven, 05/09/2014 - 11:15

With the 2014 European Drupal conference fast approaching, the Ixis team members attending this year have scoured the schedule for their must see see sessions this year, and why.

For the Developers

Content Staging in Drupal 8 (Wednesday 10:45) - moving content about from dev to production has always been a huge pain in Drupal, so hopefully we'll get a chance to see how this might work in Drupal 8 and finally put an end to the question of when and where the client should start adding their conent during the development phase.

read more

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DrupalCon Amsterdam: DrupalCon for Frontend developers

Planet Drupal - ven, 05/09/2014 - 11:05

DrupalCon Amsterdam is less than one month away! I'm excited to meet up with all the Frontend developers who are coming to learn new things from each other.

Ruben and I have worked really hard as chairs of the Frontend track. We defined the track theme Futuristic Tools and Techniques. We aimed to select the right sessions with the best variety and balance that also flow together into one cohesive track.

The State of Frontend

We wanted to kick off the track with a big keynote-style history lesson and insight into the future of Frontend development. Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the ever-changing evolution of front-end development? Me to. After David and Brian's excellent session at DrupalCon Austin, My brain is Full, we really wanted them to continue that theme and aim for something bigger.

David and Brian are also working really hard to create an introduction to the entire track, pointing signposts towards other sessions in that track that can fill in more in-depth knowledge about particular subjects. I would encourage everyone with an interest in Frontend development to attend the session if only to better understand which sessions in the Frontend track are right for them.

We also have a few session that compliment and feed in to each other. Here are a few sessions we think work really well together.

Managing Complex Projects with Design Components & Layout Design Patterns & GSS - The CSS Layout System that's 2 Generations Ahead

John Albin led the initiative to bring OOCSS-style CSS standards into Drupal 8, so I'm inclined to say he knows a thing or two in this area. Managing Complex Projects With Design Components, is a great introduction to to whys, hows, and gotchas of writing better CSS.

After you know your component variants from your component modifiers (spoilers!), you can take a really deep dive into another color of the SMACSS rainbow with Layout Design Patterns. I really like the structure of this walk, that covers the foundations of CSS layouts, grid systems, and implementation in Drupal.

You think you know layouts? Maybe you think flexbox is cool? Prepare to get your *mind blown* by Alan Burke in GSS - The CSS Layout System that's 2 Generations Ahead. A grid system that is unlike any other.

*I've been informed that the Drupal Association™ does not encourage nor condone the projection or discharge of any grey matter. Goggles are not provided and any stain susceptible clothing is worn at the attendees own risk.

Getting a Clue at the Command Line & Automated Frontend Testing

As a designer/front-end dev, I've never had a formal education on the command line, it's always been something I've picked up as I've needed it. It used to scare me. I'm so happy Emma Jane is talking on the command line in Getting a CLUE at the Command Line in the same vein as her introduction to Git at DrupalCon Prague last year. The command line is an immensely powerful and productive tool and I'm looking forward to picking up a few tips.

Now that you no longer fear the command line, you'll definitely be better equipped to take in Chris's session Automated Frontend Testing. He's already told me that he won't hold back, and I know he has little fear for live demos. This session is going to be jam packed with useful information on how to keep your Frontend looking good and loading fast, using some automated scripts.

We also have some great sessions on some really focused areas. I can't imagine walking out of any of these sessions without my brain sparkling with new knowledge and ideas.

Getting Content to a Phone in less than 1000ms

1000ms. The holy grail of performance. Can it be done? Or is it just fantasy?

I'm really glad Ian submitted this talk. It's great to have a performance talk with a focused goal. Performance is still as important as ever.

The future of Drupal and CSS

HTML5 and CSS3 is so last decade. No one wants your border radius any more. If you hate the idea of trawling through W3C specifications then this is a good talk for you. Preston presents another forward facing talk that we can also make use of today, a nice roundup of where browser technology is heading.

If you love the idea of trawling through W3C specifications then I can't help you.

Building Modern Web Applications with Ember.js and Headless Drupal

Ember.js is an excellent framework with a vibrant community. There are many frameworks out there and Ember.js is only one of them, but we felt it's important for DrupalCon to be introducing new perspectives and ideas. I'm really glad Mikkel is covering both sides of an Ember.js project using Drupal 7 or 8.

--
Lewis Nyman (LewisNyman)
DrupalCon Amsterdam Frontend Track Chair

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Drupalize.Me: Unravelling the Drupal 8 Plugin System

Planet Drupal - ven, 05/09/2014 - 00:30

Plugins play an important role in Drupal 8, and understanding how the entire plugin system works will help us better understand how, when, where, and why we use plugins.

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Matthew Saunders: Anatomy of a Drupalcamp - Tasks and Timing

Planet Drupal - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 23:50

This is the second post in my Making A Drupalcamp Happen series. I've been involved in camps for about 7 years and recently was the main project manager for Colorado. The first post was around tools, coordination and management. This post is really focused on tasks and when they need to be done to not go crazy.

There are certain things that need to happen every year. The earlier you can sort them out, the easier things will be as you approach the deadline of your event. So, I've listed some tasks below along with some rough timing and notes on some of the items. This is by no means an exhaustive list and the timing might be a little off on tasks, but I think it does give a sense of task, scope, and order.

drupaldrupalcampevent planningtasks
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Junichi Uekawa: Bluetooth network error.

Planet Debian - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 23:19
Bluetooth network error. I think it's a network-manager feature to be able to use bluetooth tethering. I think it's a network-manager bug that when bluetooth tethering fails due to some error, and does not report that error. Yesterday I finally figured out what was going wrong after staring at hcidump. It was obvious after I did. I've reset my tablet so bluetooth PIN was wrong. If only the GUI told me that.

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Junichi Uekawa: I wanted to file a bug but Debian BTS doesn't seem toreceive my SMTP mail for some reason.

Planet Debian - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 23:18
I wanted to file a bug but Debian BTS doesn't seem to receive my SMTP mail for some reason. Somewhere between the MTA and the server something is wrong.

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Acquia: Help Adam and Angie build the Drupal Module Upgrader!

Planet Drupal - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 23:01

This week: Meet Adam "phenaproxima" Hoenich! Learn what the Drupal Module Upgrader can do for you! And what you can do for it! Come to Webchick's BoF at DrupalCon Amsterdam! Contribute!

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Mediacurrent: Death to Field Arrays!

Planet Drupal - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 22:44

Calling all Drupal Devs: Write better code with EntityMetadataWrapper! Have you ever...

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KnackForge: Adding custom menu tabs and menu items to navbar

Planet Drupal - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 20:47

Mobile Friendly Navigation Toolbar, shortly known as navbar, is a back-port of toolbar in Drupal 8. The problem it tries to solve is pretty obvious from it's name.

Navbar is an often used module in our Drupal projects. In our recent project we were asked to develop a bunch of menus to quickly access admin pages as and when needed. Unlike Shortcuts, we want this appear dynamically like notification.

For instance, if there are any new comments awaiting approval, the menu should show up and a few more items similar to this. Thought, Navbar could be leveraged for this requirements.

This mighty developer friendly module makes this possible for any module by implementing hook_navbar(). Similar to hook_menu(), an array of menu items to be returned but in renderable array format. If you need an example, function navbar_navbar() is a good place to get started.

The menu it offers can be seen as,

  1. The navbar tab by its name acting as menu item (e.g. Home)
  2. The navbar tab on click expands to show menu item(s) it has got underneath (e.g. Shortcuts) depends on the way navbar item defined in the hook_navbar().

Example code for #1,

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Blair Wadman: Why you should not always use Drupal Features for settings, and what you can use instead

Planet Drupal - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 20:05

The Drupal Features module covers a lot of our needs with automating the deployment of database settings for Drupal 7. It allows you to export configuration to code and nicely wrap it up as a module. This means you easily deploy your changes to the live site (or a staging site) without having to repeat the configuration changes. It also means you can apply the changes to a different site.

But using Features is not always the best approach. Even if you can export something using Features, it doesn't mean you always should. Read on to find out when it is not appropriate to use Features and what you can use instead.

Tags: Drupal Module DevelopmentDrupal DeploymentFeaturesPlanet Drupal
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Bluespark Labs: The Business Value of DevOps in Drupal Survey

Planet Drupal - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 19:19

tl;dr:

We will be presenting a session on the business value of DevOps at Drupalcon Amsterdam and would greatly appreciate your response to this (very) brief survey on Drupal and DevOps from a business perspective.

The wordy version:

At the upcoming Drupalcon in Amsterdam, Adrian Rollett and I will be presenting work we did to derive the true business value of the DevOps activities within Bluespark through real life analysis. This will be a particularly useful session for those who either plan on, or are in the process of introducing devops within their organization and need some concrete arguments to help them with the process.

To measure the success of DevOps implementations within Bluespark, we developed a framework that allows us to quantify various aspects of our processes into specific business gains. We then inspected a number of different projects, analyzing a range of issues such as time logs, number of times a specific activity took place, etc. As a result we were able to quantify the efficiencies gained by implementing automated testing, continuous integration and other DevOps principles. We will be presenting this framework and the results obtained in Amsterdam.

In addition, we are seeking to get a sense of the current adoption of DevOps in the Drupal world from a business perspective. We have created a very brief survey to gather this information. This is a complementary effort to the very excellent and more technically-oriented survey that is planned (http://www.krisbuytaert.be/blog/upcoming-conferences) for a different Drupalcon session. We will of course be sharing the insights we gather with the entire community.

Many thanks in advance for your responses, and we hope to see you in Amsterdam!

Click here to fill in the survey

Tags: DrupalconDevOpsDrupal Planet
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Steve Kemp: If you signed my old key, please consider repeating the process

Planet Debian - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 19:08

I'm in the process of rejoining the Debian project. When I was previously a member I had a 1024-bit key, which is considered to be a poor size these days.

Happily I've already generated a new key, which is much bigger.

If you've signed my old key, and thus trust my identity was confirmed at some point in time, then please do consider repeating the process with the new one.

As I've signed the new with the old there should be no concern that it is random/spurious/malicious.

Obviously the ideal scenario is that I meet local-people to perform signing rites, in exchange for cake, beer, or other bribery.

Old key:

pub 1024D/CD4C0D9D 2002-05-29 Key fingerprint = DB1F F3FB 1D08 FC01 ED22 2243 C0CF C6B3 CD4C 0D9D uid Steve Kemp <steve@steve.org.uk> sub 2048g/AC995563 2002-05-29

New key:

pub 4096R/0C626242 2014-03-24 Key fingerprint = D516 C42B 1D0E 3F85 4CAB 9723 1909 D408 0C62 6242 uid Steve Kemp (Edinburgh, Scotland) <steve@steve.org.uk> sub 4096R/229A4066 2014-03-24
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Lullabot: Drupal as a Services Platform

Planet Drupal - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 18:29

The next issue of Drupal Watchdog features articles about Drupal as a Services Platform. Several authors in the issue and the executive editor will be sharing various perspectives on web services in Drupal and in the wider world. With hostess Amber Himes Matz and her guests Peta Hoyes, Scott Hooker, Lin Clark, and Larry Garfield.

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Liran Tal's Enginx: “Oh you lazy cron!” – learning on Drupal cron issues

Planet Drupal - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 18:19

We’re still working with Drupal 6 at work, and we’re triggering our notifications and other cron related tasks through a small script that crontab is running, and with the help of drush at the command line. The following problem and description of the scenario we had applies to Drupal 7 too as these are pretty much close with regards to implementation.

Drupal’s cron job will most often run smoothly and without any issues, it will appear to “just work”. The reason for that is that behind the scenes, anything related to creating scheduled tasks in Drupal will have to implement hook_cron, and simply enough, not a lot of modules will be doing that. So when you first setup your Drupal application and get it to run, you’ll wrap up any issues with cron and from there it’s smooth sailing… Or not! There are practices you should be aware of when you program modules in Drupal that are not related to cron, yet can still mess it up.

So back to the story, at some point we noticed our notifications aren’t being sent out in our development environment, and because cron is responsible for running the notifications, then that’s the immediate suspect. Problem is, debugging cron isn’t that easy, mainly because Drupal will just fire off those hooks and you’ve got no idea where the culprit code is.

Search for the problem begins by checking quickly all the modules that implement hook_cron, primarily your very own and recently added modules are the prime suspects. If that yields no results, as did in my case you’re going to have to broaden the search and a good way to quickly figure out where this happens is by inspecting Drupal’s module.inc to catch the cron hook. One way of doing that is through a debugger, another quick and easy way is by using Drupal’s own watchdog (or PHP’s own errorlog) function to capture this data:


function module_invoke_all() {
$return = array();
foreach (module_implements($hook) as $module) {
$function = $module .'_'. $hook;
if ($hook == 'cron') watchdog('cron', "hit $module cron"); // add line to log in db log

}

}

Inspecting the information there from the change or through the debugger we’ll be able to see which cron hook last ran successfully.

I will spare the rest of the debugging process but the research led to Drupal’s own implementation of hook_cron which further led to module calls of node_invoke and node_invoke_nodeapi where it was then failing. At that point, all custom, and recent changes to anything the codebase related to hook_nodeapi revealed the culprit:


function my_module_nodeapi($op...) {

switch ($op) {

case ‘view’:
drupal_goto(”);

break;

}

}
This makes perfect sense. Nodes get loaded through the node_load() and the rest of Drupal’s hooks for the sake of handling the notifications, which in turn calls nodeapi hook all around, and having a drupal_goto() doesn’t really help drush when its running from the command line.

Lesson learned.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

The post “Oh you lazy cron!” – learning on Drupal cron issues appeared first on Liran Tal's Enginx.

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Joseph Bisch: My First Package

Planet Debian - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 16:14

I got my first package uploaded to Debian this week. That package is winetricks. It was orphaned and I adopted it. Now the lastest version (0.0+20140818+svn1202) is available in sid and should migrate to testing in nine days.

I moved the vcs from collab-maint to a personal repo, since I don’t have access to collab-maint.

I also have a sponsor for slowaes. It is also a package that was orphaned that I am adopting. The changes I made are more minor than those for winetricks. Besides adding myself as a maintainer, I just fix some lintian warnings. Slowaes should be uploaded soon.

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Code Karate: Drupal 7 Node Class Module

Planet Drupal - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 15:39
Episode Number: 166

In this episode you will learn how the Drupal 7 Node Class module works with the basic page content type. The simplicity of the Node Class module provides an easy way for site builders and themers to add a CSS class directly to the wrapper on the node. Using this module allows for various different layouts and styles to be called based on defined CSS rules.

Tags: DrupalContent TypesDrupal 7Layout ToolsDrupal PlanetCSS
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Jakub Wilk: Joys of East Asian encodings

Planet Debian - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 14:01

In i18nspector I try to support all the encodings that were blessed by gettext, but it turns out to be more difficult than I anticipated:

$ roundtrip() { c=$(echo $1 | iconv -t $2); printf '%s -> %s -> %s\n' $1 $c $(echo $c | iconv -f "$2"); } $ roundtrip ¥ EUC-JP ¥ -> \ -> \ $ roundtrip ¥ SHIFT_JIS ¥ -> \ -> ¥ $ roundtrip ₩ JOHAB ₩ -> \ -> ₩

Now let's do the same in Python:

$ python3 -q >>> roundtrip = lambda s, e: print('%s -> %s -> %s' % (s, s.encode(e).decode('ASCII', 'replace'), s.encode(e).decode(e))) >>> roundtrip('¥', 'EUC-JP') ¥ -> \ -> \ >>> roundtrip('¥', 'SHIFT_JIS') ¥ -> \ -> \ >>> roundtrip('₩', 'JOHAB') Traceback (most recent call last): File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module> File "<stdin>", line 1, in <lambda> UnicodeEncodeError: 'johab' codec can't encode character '\u20a9' in position 0: illegal multibyte sequence

So is 0x5C a backslash or a yen/won sign? Or both?

And what if 0x5C could be a second byte of a two-byte character? What could possibly go wrong?

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Adnan Hodzic: Debian PPA Utility

Planet Debian - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 13:55

Debian remains to be my favorite distribution, however there’s one thing that’s missing, that thing is called PPA.

There were numerous discussions on this topic inside of Debian, but AFAIK without any visible movement. Thus, I decided to publish a utility I’ve been using for some time now.

PPA’s

Since its introduction, PPA’s are exclusively connected to Ubuntu and its derivatives (Mint, Elementary, etc …). But over time, a number of interesting projects appeared whose whole development is happening inside of PPA’s. To name few, I’m talking about TLP, Geary, Oracle Java Installer, Elementary OS and etc … Some of these projects are in WNPP without much happening for a long time, i.e: TLP

One option was to repackage these packages and then have them uploaded to Debian, or just go rogue and install them directly from its PPA’s. Title of this post might hint which path I took.

In theory, adding Ubuntu packages on your Debian system is a bad idea, and adding its PPA’s is probably even worse. But, I’ve been using couple (TLP, Geary, couple of custom icon sets) of these PPA’s on my personal/work boxes, and to be honest, never had a single problem. Also, setting Pinning priority to low for the PPA you added is never a bad idea.

Most of the PPA’s I use, are usually fairly simple packages with single binary and dependencies which are found in Debian itself. Of course, I don’t recommend adding PPA’s on production boxes, or even PPA’s such as GNOME3 Team PPA’s, but rather add Apt Pinning on your system and fetch those packages directly from Debian.

Debian PPA Utility

Is a very simple utility, which adds “add-apt-repository” binary script that allows you to add PPA’s on Debian. Code is available on GitHub, it’s licensed as GPLv3, so feel free to fork it, improve it, use it and abuse it.

How to use it?

Download/Build package

You can download my signed package (source and changes file are in same directory)

Or you can build your own by running "dpkg-buildpackage -uc -us" inside of the debian-ppa source directory.

Install/Add PPA’s

After you install the package, you’re able to run “add-apt-repository” and add PPA’s. i,e:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp

Currently, Debian PPA Utility only works on >= Wheezy.

At this point I have no plans to try pushing this utility into Debian, as I’m sure even this blog post will be labelled as heresy by many.

Update!

It was just pointed to me that “add-apt-repository” is available in “software-properties-common” package. However, PPA’s added by “add-apt-repository”  binary present in this package instead of adding Ubuntu codename’s to your list file, will add Debian codenames which without change will make whole PPA entry useless.

I believe codename handling is better in “Debian PPA Utility”. I admit, my only mistake is, instead of fixing things in “software-properties-common” package, I made a completely new utility which aims to do the same thing.

Added: conflicts/replaces: software-properties-common to debian/control file.

Anyway, enjoy!

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Drupal core announcements: Drupal core updates for September 4, 2014

Planet Drupal - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 11:59
What's new with Drupal 8?

It has been a month since the last update on Drupal core development. In the meantime we met and worked hard together at TCDrupal and Drupalaton at the start of August triaging outstanding critical issues and resolving some. Also we collaborated on making Drupal's frontend better at Frontend United at the end of the month.

We've been doing such a great job taking care of the beta blocker issues that we are currently down to only one beta blocker as of this writing. What does this mean? Once we are down to no beta blockers left, a final alpha release is published. If there are no more beta blockers identified during a two-week window, the first beta release is published. Then we'll focus on resolving the hundred or so remaining critical issues to get to release candidates (once all of them are resolved).

Right now, help with the remaining beta blocker as well beta deadline and beta target issues is most welcome. Beta target issues may get in anytime later, but beta deadlines may not unless re-evaluated for inclusion regardless.

The best opportunity to get to work with Drupal developers in person is the 9 (nine) days of sprint opportunities coming up at the end of September at and around DrupalCon Amsterdam. It is the best way to learn Drupal 8 hands-on and help on the way.

Where's Drupal 8 at in terms of release?

Last week, we fixed 8 critical issues and 12 major issues, and opened 4 criticals and 7 majors. That puts us overall at 104 release-blocking critical issues and 644 major issues.

Where can I help? Top criticals to hit this week

Each week, we check with core maintainers and contributors for the "extra critical" criticals that are blocking other work. These issues are often tough problems with a long history. If you're familiar with the problem-space of one of these issues and have the time to dig in, help drive it forward by reviewing, improving, and testing its patch, and by making sure the issue's summary is up to date and any API changes are documented with a draft change record, we could use your help!

More ways to help
  • Pick a critical issue or beta deadline issue, take the time to thoroughly read the issue (including doing some background reading if necessary to understand the problem space), and then update the issue summary for the issue. Include a summary of the current status and remaining tasks for the issue, and identify any API changes the issue would introduce. Consider whether the change would require a change record or updates to existing change records. Consider what the implications of not resolving the issue would be, or of resolving it after the first beta or after release.
  • We also need help writing help text for core modules like Field UI, Image, Taxonomy and Toolbar. This is an easy way to learn the Drupal Core contribution process and start contributing to Drupal Core.

As always, if you're new to contributing to core, check out Core contribution mentoring hours. Twice per week, you can log into IRC and helpful Drupal core mentors will get you set up with answers to any of your questions, plus provide some useful issues to work on.

You can also help by sponsoring individual Drupal core development.

Notable Commits

Some of the best of git log --since "August 4, 2014" --pretty=oneline (277 commits in total):

  • Issue 1510544 by swentel, Bojhan, Gábor Hojtsy, merlinofchaos, Cottser, Wim Leers, plopesc, aspilicious, sannejanssen, larowlan, tim.plunkett, nod_: Fixed Show previews in front-end theme, able to select different view modes. This was a long time coming. Finally, your node preview will not appear on the backend!
  • Issue 2248767 by effulgentsia, beejeebus, alexpott: Use fast, local cache back-end (APCu, if available) for low-write caches (bootstrap, discovery, and config). Improves performance for some critical data a great deal.
  • Issue 2224761 by Gábor Hojtsy, alexpott, pfrenssen, effulgentsia, xjm, mlncn: Add a generic way to add third party configuration on configuration entities and implement for field configuration. Resolved a beta blocker by adding a facility for configuration entities to support third party settings. To be used for node types and other things as needed as well. Provides a simple solution when a full-on plugin architecture as in views is not suitable, but extension mechanisms are needed for configuration.
  • Issue 1966436 by naveenvalecha, cesarmiquel, Berdir, mr.york, jlbellido, segi, vasi1186, Leksat, Gábor Hojtsy, Schnitzel, grisendo, Aron Novak, likin, penyaskito, vijaycs85, kfritsche, fago: Fixed Default *content* entity languages are not set for entities created with the API. Now made Drupal properly create entities in the right language regardless of through the UI or API (eg. when adding a tag or uploading a file). Also makes entities created from the creation of the site be in the right language always.
  • Issue 2295469 by Cottser, dawehner | effulgentsia: Add support for static permission definitions with *.permissions.yml. Makes it possible to simply define permissions in a simple YAML file making this system consistent with several other in Drupal 8.
  • Issue 2271529 by attiks, alexpott, Lowell, YesCT, Jelle_S | mdrummond: Move breakpoint settings to theme and module *.breakpoints.yml files at root level. Improves developer experience providing breakpoints.
  • Issue 2317085 by pfrenssen | rteijeiro: Added the possibility to create a REST export when creating a new view. Makes it much easier to create simple web service views of Drupal content.
  • Issue 2250119 by ParisLiakos, Devin Carlson: Run updates in a full environment. Now that updates are not supposed to operate in API-incompatible environments, their implementation was unified with any other Drupal environment.

You can also always check the Change records for Drupal core for the full list of Drupal 8 API changes from Drupal 7.

Drupal 8 security

With the API stabilizing we are focusing on security again. In our last issue we already reported on Twig autoescape now being on, sometimes resulting in unwanted HTML strings appearing on the page because of double escape bugs. Please check the meta issue if you see these.

  • The router service is now access aware so there is no need now to separately access check the routes returned from it.
  • Building on this, now menu links, shortcuts and link fields use a unified path validator service..
Drupal 8 Around the Interwebs 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. Read more about how you can volunteer to help with these posts!

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Rapha&#235;l Hertzog: The problem of distributing applications

Planet Debian - jeu, 04/09/2014 - 10:29

A few days ago I watched a Q/A session with Linus Torvalds at Debconf 14. One of the main complaint of Linus towards Linux distribution was the way that distribution ends up using different versions of libraries than what has been used during application development. And the fact that it’s next to impossible to support properly all Linux distributions at the same time due to this kind of differences.


And now I just discovered a new proposal of the systemd team that basically tries to address this: Revisiting how we put together Linux Systems.

They suggest to make extensive use of btrfs subvolumes to host multiple variants of the /usr tree (that is supposed to contain all the invariant system code/data) that you could combine with multiple runtime/framework subvolumes thanks to filesytem namespaces and make available to individual applications.

This way of grouping libraries in “runtime subvolumes” reminds me a bit of the concepts of baserock (they are using git instead of btrfs) and while I was a bit dubious of all this (because it goes against quite a few of the principles of distribution integration) I’m beginning to believe that there’s room for both models to work together.

It would be nice if Debian could become the reference distribution that upstream developers are using to develop against Linux. This would in turn mean that when upstream distribution their application under this new form, they will provide (or reference) Debian-based subvolumes ready for use by users (even those who are not using Debian as their main OS). And those subvolumes would be managed by the Debian project (probably automatically built from our collection of .deb).

We’re still quite far from this goal but it will interesting to see this idea mature and become reality. There are plenty of challenges facing us.

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