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godel.com.au: Use Behat to track down PHP notices before they take over your Drupal site forever

lun, 18/08/2014 - 15:15
Mon August 18, 2014 Use Behat to track down PHP notices before they take over your Drupal site forever

Behat is one of the more popular testing frameworks in the Drupal community at the moment, for various reasons. One of these reasons is the useful Behat Drupal Extension that provides a DrupalContext class that can be extended to get a lot of Drupal specific functionality in your FeatureContext right off the bat.

In this post, I'm going to show you how to make Behat aware of any PHP errors that are logged to the watchdog table during each scenario that it runs. In Behat's default setup, a notice or warning level PHP error will not usually break site functionality and so won't fail any tests. Generally though, we want to squash every bug we know about during our QA phase so it would be great to fail any tests that incidentally throw errors along the way.

The main benefits of this technique are:

  • No need to write extra step definitions or modify existing steps, but you'll get some small degree of coverage for all functionality that just happens to be on the same page as whatever you are writing tests for
  • Very simple to implement once you have a working Behat setup with the DrupalContext class and Drupal API driver
  • PHP errors are usually very easy to cleanup if you notice them immediately after introducing them, but not necessarily 6 months later. This is probably the easiest way I've found to nip them in the bud, especially when upgrading contrib modules between minor versions (where it's quite common to find new PHP notices being introduced).
The setup

Once you've configured the Drupal extension for Behat, and set the api_driver to drupal in your behat.yml file, you can use Drupal API functions directly inside your FeatureContext.php file (inside your step definitions).

Conceptually, what we're trying to achieve is pretty straightforward. We want to flush the watchdog table before we run any tests and then fail any scenario that has resulted in one or more PHP messages logged by the end of it. It's also important that we give ourselves enough debugging information to track down errors that we detect. Luckily, watchdog already keeps serlialized PHP error debug information serialized by default, so we can unserlialize what we need and print it straight to the console as required.

You will need to write a custom FeatureContext class extending DrupalContext with hooks for @BeforeSuite and @AfterScenario.

Your @BeforeSuite should look something like this:

<?php /** * @BeforeSuite */ public static function prepare(SuiteEvent $event) { // Clear out anything that might be in the watchdog table from god knows // where. db_truncate('watchdog')->execute(); }

And your corresponding @AfterScenario would look like this:

<?php /** * Run after every scenario. */ public function afterScenario($event) { $log = db_select('watchdog', 'w') ->fields('w') ->condition('w.type', 'php', '=') ->execute() ->fetchAll(); if (!empty($log)) { foreach ($log as $error) { // Make the substitutions easier to read in the log. $error->variables = unserialize($error->variables); print_r($error); } throw new \Exception('PHP errors logged to watchdog in this scenario.'); } }

My apologies, I know this code is a little rough, I'm just using print_r() to spit out the data I'm interested in without even bothering to process the Drupal variable substitutions through format_string(), but hey, it's still legible enough for the average PHP developer and it totally works! Maybe someone else will see this, be inspired, and share a nicer version back here...

David MeisterDirector & lead developerDave is one of the two directors of Godel. He is also our best developer. Dave spends his time improving processes, researching new and shiny techniques and generally working on making Godel the best it can be. Want to work with us?

If you have a project that requires a creative but practical approach...

Get in touch Turn your emails in to actions with ActiveInbox Thu July 31, 2014 Harness email hell with ActiveInbox, which turns your Gmail in to actionable tasks and helps you remind yourself to do the things you said you would.
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Deeson Online: Using Grunt, bootstrap, Compass and SASS in a Drupal sub theme

lun, 18/08/2014 - 08:37
*/

If you have a separate front end design team from your Drupal developers, you will know that after static pages are moved into a Drupal theme there can be a huge gap in structure between the original files and the final Drupal site.

We wanted to bridge the gap between our theme developers, UX designers, front end coders, and create an all encompassing boilerplate that could be used as a starting point for any project and then easily ported into Drupal.

After thinking about this task for a few weeks it was clear that the best way forward was to use Grunt to automate all of our tasks and create a scalable, well structured sub theme that all of our coders can use to start any project.

What is Grunt?

Grunt is a Javascript task runner that allows you to automate repetitive tasks such as file minifying files, javascript linting, CSS preprocessing, and even reloading your browser.

Just like bootstrap, there are many resources and a vast amount of plugins available for Grunt that can automate any task you could think of, plus it is very easy to write your own, so setting Grunt as a standard for our boilerplate was an easy decision.

The purpose of this post

We use bootstrap in most projects and recently switched to using SASS for CSS preprocessing bundled with Compass, so for the purpose of this tutorial we will create a simple bootstrap sub theme that utilises Grunt & Compass to compile SASS files and automatically reloads our browser every time a file is changed.

You can then take this approach and use the best Grunt plugins that suit your project.

Step 1. Prerequisites

To use Grunt you will need node.js and ruby installed on your system. Open up terminal, and type:

node -v ruby -v

If you don't see a version number, head to the links below to download and install them.

Don’t have node? Download it here

Don’t have ruby? Follow this great tutorial

Step 2. Installing Grunt

Open up terminal, and type:

sudo npm install -g grunt-cli

This will install the command line interface for Grunt. Be patient whilst it is downloading as sometimes it can take a minute or two.

Step 3. Installing Compass and Grunt plugins

Because we want to use the fantastic set of mixins and features bundled with Compass, lets install the Compass and SASS ruby gems.

Open up terminal, and type:

sudo gem install sass sudo gem install compass

For our boilerplate we only wanted to install plugins that we would need in every project, so we kept it simple and limited it to Watch, Compass and SASS to compile all of our files. Our team members can then add extra plugins later in the project as and when needed.

So lets get started and use the node package manager to install our Grunt plugins.

Switch back to Terminal and run the following commands:

sudo npm install grunt-contrib-watch —save-dev sudo npm install grunt-contrib-compass —save-dev sudo npm install grunt-contrib-sass —save-dev Step 4. Creating the boilerplate

Note: For the purposes of this tutorial we are going to use the bootstrap sub theme for our Grunt setup, but the same Grunt setup described below can be used with any Drupal sub theme.

  • Create a new Drupal site
  • Download the bootstrap theme into your sites/all/themes directory
    drush dl bootstrap
  • Copy the bootstrap starter kit (sites/all/themes/bootstrap/bootstrap_subtheme) into your theme directory
  • Rename bootstrap_subtheme.info.starterkit to bootstrap_subtheme.info
  • Navigate to admin/appearance and click “Enable, and set default" for your sub-theme.

Your Drupal site should now be setup with Bootstrap and your folder structure should now look like this:

For more information on creating a bootstrap sub theme check out the community documentation.

Step 5. Switching from LESS to SASS

Our developers liked less, our designers likes SASS, but after a team tech talk explaining the benefits of using SASS with Compass (a collection of mixins with an updater with some cleaver sprite creation), everyone agreed that SASS was the way forward.

Officially Bootstrap is now packaged with SASS, so lets replace our .less files with .scss files in our bootstrap_subtheme so we can utilise all of the mixin goodness that comes with it SASS & Compass.

  • Head over to bootstrap and download the SASS version
  • Copy the stylesheets folder from boostrap-sass/assets/ and paste it into your bootstrap_subtheme
  • Rename the stylesheets folder to bootstrap-sass
  • Create a new folder called custom-sass in bootsrap_subtheme
  • Create a new file in the custom-sass called style.scss
  • Import bootstrap-sass/bootstrap.scss into style.scss

​You should now have the following setup in your sub theme:

We are all set!

Step 6. Setting up Grunt - The package.json & Gruntfile.js

Now lets configure Grunt to run our tasks. Grunt only needs two files to be setup, a package.json file that defines our dependencies and a Gruntfiles.js to configure our plugins.

Within bootstrap_subtheme, create a package.json and add the following code:

{ "name": "bootstrap_subtheme", "version": "1.0.0", "author": “Your Name", "homepage": "http://homepage.com", "engines": { "node": ">= 0.8.0" }, "devDependencies": { "grunt-contrib-compass": "v0.9.0", "grunt-contrib-sass": "v0.7.3", "grunt-contrib-watch": "v0.6.1" } }

In this file you can add whichever plugins are best suited for your project, check out the full list of plugins at the official Grunt site.

Install Grunt dependencies

Next, open up terminal, cd into sites/all/themes/bootstrap_subtheme, and run the following task:

sudo npm install

This command looks through your package.json file and installs the plugins listed. You only have to run this command once when you set up a new Grunt project, or when you add a new plugin to package.json.

Once you run this you will notice a new folder in your bootstrap_subtheme called node_modules which stores all of your plugins. If you are using git or SVN in your project, make sure to ignore this folder.

Now lets configure Grunt to use our plugins and automate some tasks. Within bootstrap_subtheme, create a Gruntfile.js file and add the following code:

module.exports = function (grunt) { grunt.initConfig({ watch: { src: { files: [‘**/*.scss', '**/*.php'], tasks: ['compass:dev'] }, options: { livereload: true, }, }, compass: { dev: { options: { sassDir: 'custom-sass/scss', cssDir: 'css', imagesPath: 'assets/img', noLineComments: false, outputStyle: 'compressed' } } } }); grunt.loadNpmTasks('grunt-contrib-compass'); grunt.loadNpmTasks('grunt-contrib-sass'); grunt.loadNpmTasks('grunt-contrib-watch'); };

This file is pretty straight forward, we configure our watch tasks to look for certain files and reload our browser, and then we define our scss and css directories so that compass knows where to look.

I won’t go into full detail with the options available, but visit the links below to see the documentation:

Watch documentatation

SASS documentatation

 

Step 7. Enabling live reload

Download and enable the livereload module into your new Drupal site. By default, you will have to be logged in as admin for live reload to take effect, but you can change this under Drupal permissions.

Once you enable livereload, refresh your browser window to load the livereload.js library.

Step 8. Running Grunt

We are all set! Head back over to Terminal and check you are in the bootstrap_subtheme directory, then type:

grunt watch

Now every time you edit a scss file, Grunt will compile your SASS into a compressed style.css file and automatically reload your browser.

Give it a go by importing compass into the top of your style folder and changing the body background to be a compass mixin.

@import 'compass'; @import '../bootstrap-sass/bootstrap.scss'; /* * Custom overrides */ body { @include background(linear-gradient(#eee, #fff)); }

To stop Grunt from watching your files, press Ctrl and C simultaneously on your keyboard.

Step 9. Debugging

One common problem you may encounter when using Grunt alongside live reload is the following error message:

Fatal error: Port 35729 is already in use by another process.

This means that the port being used by live reload is currently in use by another process, either by a different grunt project, or an application such as Chrome.

If you experience this problem run the following command and find out which application is using the port.

lsof | grep 35729

Simply close the application and run “grunt watch” again. If the error still persists and all else fails, restart your machine and try to stop Grunt from watching files before moving on to another project.

Next steps…

This is just a starting point on what you can achieve using Grunt to automate your tasks and gives you a quick insight to how we go about starting a project.

Other things to consider:

  • Duplicating the _variables.scss bootstrap file to override the default settings.
  • Adding linted, minified javascript files using the uglify plugin
  • Configure Grunt to automatically validate your markup using the W3C Markup Validator
  • Write your own Grunt plugins to suite your own projects
Let me know your thoughts - you can share your ideas and views in the comments below.

 

Read moreUsing Grunt, bootstrap, Compass and SASS in a Drupal sub themeBy David Allard | 18th August 2014
Catégories: Elsewhere

Victor Kane: Super simple example of local drush alias configuration

dim, 17/08/2014 - 16:12

So I have a folder for drush scripts _above_ several doc root folders on a dev user's server. And I want to run status or whatever and my own custom drush scripts on _different_ Drupal web app instances. Drush has alias capability for different site instances, so you can do:

$ drush @site1 status

So, how to set up an aliases file?

(I'm on Ubuntu with Drush 6.2.0 installed with PEAR as per this great d.o. doc page Installing Drush on Any Linux Server Out There (Kalamuna people, wouldn't you know it?)).

Careful reading of the excellent drush documentation points you to a Drush Shell Aliases doc page, and from there to the actual example aliases file that comes with every drush installation.

So to be able to run drush commands for a few of my local Drupal instances, I did this:

  • In my Linux user directory, I created the file ~/.drush/aliases.drushrc.php
  • Contents:
<?php $aliases['site1'] = array( 'root' => '/home/thevictor/site1/drupal-yii', 'uri' => 'drupal-yii.example.com', ); $aliases['site2'] = array( 'root' => '/home/thevictor/site2', 'uri' => 'site2.example.com', );

Then I can do, from anywhere as long as I am logged in as that user:

$ cd /tmp
$ drush @site1 status
...
$ drush @site2 status

and lots of other good stuff. Have a nice weekend.

read more

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Wesley Tanaka: Fast, Low Memory Drupal 6 System Module

sam, 16/08/2014 - 03:24

A Drupal 5 version of this module is also available.  If you would like this patch to be committed to Drupal core, please do not leave a comment on this page—please instead add your comment to Drupal issue #455092.

This is a drop-in replacement for the system.module of Drupal 6.33 which makes your Drupal 6 site use less memory and may even make it faster. A test I ran in a development environment with a stock Drupal 6 installation suggested that I got:

read more

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Appnovation Technologies: Some World-Class Museums Using Drupal

ven, 15/08/2014 - 22:56

I love museums and galleries! I love Open Source! I love Drupal! Why not weave them all together into a single, harmonious blog post, I thought….

var switchTo5x = false;stLight.options({"publisher":"dr-75626d0b-d9b4-2fdb-6d29-1a20f61d683"});
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Mediacurrent: Join Mediacurrent for These Drupal and Digital Marketing Events

ven, 15/08/2014 - 22:16

Some Mediacurrent's top talent will be leading discussions on the latest developments in Drupal and digital marketing trends in many upcoming events. Check out the links below for more information and to register. We hope to see you there and make sure you stop by and say “hello”!

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Drupal @ Penn State: Drupal, Singularity, Digital Activism, and saving our institutions

ven, 15/08/2014 - 19:51

It is as important to tell a great story using technology as it is to author technology that allows more stories to be told.

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Acquia: New Commons Media Integration

ven, 15/08/2014 - 16:22

Drupal is known for providing a broad range of functionality with its extensible core and the tens of thousands of free contributed modules which add or extend functionality. One challenge for people who are building applications on top of Drupal is taking advantage of this flexibility and broad range of available functionality without compromising the usability of their applications for end users, and even for themselves as site maintainers.

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Four Kitchens: Frontend roundup: DrupalCon Amsterdam

ven, 15/08/2014 - 15:50

As many of you might know, I am now on the other side of the pond, so I’ve paid extra attention to the DrupalCon Amsterdam schedule as it has been coming together. I want to highlight a few frontend goodies that I’m particularly excited to see.

DrupalCon Sass CSS JavaScript Drupal
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Mediacurrent: Responsive Web Design using Sass at Drupalcamp Los Angeles

ven, 15/08/2014 - 14:44

I'm very excited to be a featured speaker at this year's DrupalCamp Los Angeles on Saturday, September 6th and Sunday, September 7th. This event, held at annually at the conference center at the University of California, Irvine, is a free event for the Drupal Community of Los Angeles, Orange County, and the Greater Southern California area. My session will focus on Responsive Web Design using Sass.

Catégories: Elsewhere

Morten.dk: Frontend United copenhagen 2014

ven, 15/08/2014 - 12:29

Welcome back from your summer vacation. Now its time to get out of the sun, and get indoors and geeking out!
Its gonna be the fifth time for Frontend Drupal Badass'es that we gather and discuss & talk Drupal Frontend. We have done this since 2010 (Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, London) and now its time for the bike loving city of copenhagen to again host a little Drupal Event.

read more

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IXIS: We are 10 today - A look back

ven, 15/08/2014 - 11:33

We are 10 today (ok strictly tomorrow but it's the weekend!)  We're all off to Centre Parcs over the bank holiday weekend to celebrate, and thought it was good time to reflect on some of the highlights and changes over the previous ten years.

read more

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Drupal 8 and iOS: GSoC 2014 : An example iOS app project status

ven, 15/08/2014 - 07:56
GSoC 2014 : An example iOS app project status

Hello Drupal Community,

I and my mentor Jeff Linwood ( https://www.drupal.org/u/jefflinwood ) we are very glad to inform you that GSoC 2014 project - an example iOS application for Drupal 8 has been completed.Links to all these projects along with demo video is given below. 

 

DrupalRESTKit : https://github.com/vivekvpandya/DrupalRESTKit

Tips&Tricks AFNetworking : https://github.com/vivekvpandya/TipsAndTricksAFNetworkingDrupal

Tips&Tricks NSURLSessionAPI : https://github.com/vivekvpandya/TipsAndTricksCFNetworkingDrupal

Demo :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iny71Kwgn_I

 

As per the requirement we have demonstrated CRUD operation for content entity , login - logout , fetching data from REST export ( for view). Due to file related bug in REST module () we are unable to demonstrate CRUD on file resources. We have used AFNetworking and we have also created same project with NSURLSession API.

 

 We have also created a generic DrupalRESTKit it simplifies developers task for CRUD on content entity, user, and comments. And still we are improving it. Any suggestion and feature requests are welcomed. If  you are an iOS developer then you can participate too. 

 

We have several other ideas in mind like we want to create an iOS app that can control Drupal 8 settings and configuration like putting site on maintenance mode, approving comments , user etc.

Is you face any problem regarding iOS and Drupal 8 communication ( specially REST module ) I would like to help you please mail me at vivekvpandya@gmail.com. If you find my project useful please intimate me. 

 

Tags:
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Metal Toad: Drupal 7 Form API: Using #states with multiple conditionals (AND, OR and XOR)

jeu, 14/08/2014 - 20:53

I've been playing with D7 forms lately and have found #states to be somewhat challenging due to lack of documentation on Form API page.
I've poked around a bit and decided to write a blog with my findings in case someone else is in need of this info down the road.
If you are looking for a robust solution for conditional fields, I would suggest looking into conditional fields.

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Dries Buytaert: Drupal.com refresh launched

jeu, 14/08/2014 - 19:52
Topic: Drupal

Back in the early days of Drupal, Drupal.com looked like this:

Drupal.com as launched in 2005.

On August 14 2009, I relaunched Drupal.com to replace the oh-so-embarrassing placeholder page. The 2009 re-launch turned Drupal.com into a better spotlight for Drupal. It wasn't hard to beat the white page with a Druplicon logo.

Drupal.com as launched in 2009.

What was a good spotlight five years ago though is no longer a good spotlight today. Five years later, Drupal.com didn't do Drupal justice. It didn't really explain what Drupal is, what you can use Drupal for, and more. Along with sub-optimal content, the site wasn't optimized for mobile use either.

Today, exactly five years later to the day, I'm excited to announce that I relaunched Drupal.com again:

Redesigning Drupal.com to make it more useful and current has been one of my New Year's resolutions for a number of years now. And as of today, I can finally strike that off my list.

The new Drupal.com has become richer in its content; you'll find a bit more information about Drupal to help people understand what Drupal is all about and how to get started with Drupal. On a desktop, on a tablet, on a phone, the site has become much easier to navigate and read.

I believe the new Drupal.com is a much better, more relevant showcase for Drupal. The goal is to update the site more regularly and to keep adding to it. My next step is to add more use cases and to include short demo videos of both the Drupal backend as well as the showcases. Drupal.com will become an increasingly helpful resource and starting point for people who are evaluating Drupal.

The changes are not limited to content and look; Drupal.com also has a new engine as the site was upgraded from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 alpha (don't try this at home). We're using Drupal 8 to push the boundaries of site building and responsive design and to uncover bugs and usability issues with Drupal 8. Because we're using an alpha version of Drupal 8, things might not function perfectly yet. We’d still love to hear feedback from designers and front end developers on how it’s working.

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Aten Design Group: Making Sense of Drupal Views Relationships and Entity References

jeu, 14/08/2014 - 17:43

If you're not already familiar with the subject, check out Joel Steidl's intro to Entity References.

Drupal has some powerful tools for creating and managing complex content relationships. Views relationships using Entity References across more than one content type can be used to establish multi-tiered content relationships. The results can be great, but setting up Entity References across content types with Views can be... well, complicated.

We recently added new functionality to a client’s site that involved Entity References to group content and display it dynamically. The project included a sidebar of links to all the related content that spanned three content types. This wasn’t really possible as a menu block because the links needed to contain some of the actual content. I also considered doing all of this in code but that could mean running a number of extra database queries on every page load. With Views, all of that can be easily cached.

When it comes to relationships in Views, creating a relationship from one content type to another, the number of permutations is usually small enough that it only takes a few minutes to try all of them until you get the desired output. When you try to relate content to content to content, the permutations of configuration options in Views gets a little unwieldy. And, I create and/or modify Views with complicated relationships so infrequently that I never remember how to do it. Trying to debug the query built by Views looks even scarier. Clayton Dewey was able to assist me, and we got relationships working even when needing to chain five different nodes together through their reference fields.

Here’s one portion of the sidebar:


Rather than go through the specific case with our client, I’ve setup a very general one.

Content Type A has an entity reference field to Content Type B. Content Type B has an entity reference field to Content Type C:


Here’s how that content relates.


When trying to set this up in views, relationship descriptions for entity reference fields don’t help. Is it A bridge to the Content entity that is referencing Content via field_other_content or is it A bridge to the Content entity that is referenced via field_content?

A bridge to the Content entity that is referenced via field_content means your entity is referenced by another via an entity reference field. A bridge to the Content entity that is referencing Content via field_other_content means your entity has the reference field. This will become more clear as we go through our example.

Let’s say we’re on the page for node 4, of Content Type C, and on this page we want to list all the related nodes that are of Content Type C. To do that, you need the B node referencing your C node. Then the A node referencing the B node. Next all the B nodes referenced by the A node. Finally, all C nodes referenced by the B nodes. Phew!

To do this with Views, we start with a contextual filter of the current node.


Next we setup the layers of relationships. First from that C node to the B node. Thus we’re using an entity reference relationship called A bridge to the Content entity that is referencing Content via field_c. Each B node has an entity reference field to its C nodes. To make things easier to read we’re setting the Identifier and the Administrative title.


To get the A node we need another relationship for the entity reference field in A nodes I’ve named field_b. A bridge to the Content entity that is referencing Content via field_b. Again, the content this relationship gives you is doing the referencing. And we’re connecting it to the previous relationship.


Now we want to go back down the chain and get all B nodes. So, now we’ve got content that is referenced. So, we use A bridge to the Content entity that is referenced via field_b. Again, include the previous relationship.


To get all C nodes it’s done the same way.


Finally, to output the titles of all those C nodes, we use the correct relationship for that field. For this Views preview we use the nid of C 4, and get the following output of node titles:


You’ll want to turn on caching for the database queries and if possible, for the rendered HTML in query settings.

See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Catégories: Elsewhere

Localize.drupal.org: We love localize.drupal.org BoF at DrupalCon Amsterdam

jeu, 14/08/2014 - 17:42

There is a huge amount of exciting things happening around Drupal multilingual at DrupalCon Amsterdam. This time we'll have a meetup of all the people who love localize.drupal.org. The site seriously needs people who care about it enough to devote time to maintaining and fixing bugs. I set up this BoF to gather people interesting in the well-being of the site titled We love localize.drupal.org. We need to upgrade to Drupal 7, support the whole range of new Drupal 8 APIs, drastically improve performance and then get new features going. See you there!

read more

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Drupal Association News: NERD Summit: Building Diversity in New England's Open Source Community

jeu, 14/08/2014 - 16:45

Sometime last year, a local Drupalist named Kelly Albrecht reached out to me. He had this idea that came out of his own personal experiences, and was further inspired by NYC Camp and Forest Mars (Forest, of course, coined the acronym NERDS). The first-ever NERD (New England Regional Developers) Summit will be held at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, September 12-14, 2014. Its seed was, in part, the Western Mass Drupal Camp. But in the interests of making Drupal better, NERDS has a bigger mission and a bigger tent.

In starting NERDS, Kelly’s “a-ha!” moment came when he was having trouble finding good developers to hire at Last Call Media. He found an amazing new addition to his development team, but she had to be urged to apply for the job because she assumed she wasn’t good enough. Now she’s one of his best developers. All of this caused him to wonder: How many more closeted tech geeks, who are usually marginalized in our industry for various reasons, could be encouraged to learn the skills they need to be great web professionals?

Kelly was also thinking about all the other things going on right now in Drupal, and in other open source communities. We all know the incredibly important post by Larry Garfield, Getting off the island. Drupal is working hard to cross-pollinate with other open source technologies. I like to call that “tech diversity”. We also know that the Drupal community is working hard to increase human diversity in its community as well. And there is increasing awareness that diversity in open source, and in tech in general, will help make our technologies, our companies, and our working lives better.

As the NERDS steering committee came together to start talking, a clear vision started to form. What if we put a huge effort into making a richer, more diverse talent pool in New England? What if we put on a free, welcoming, friendly, annual conference, where people could come together to learn with and from peers?  Would that start to shift things for the better? What if we also brought Drupal, Wordpress, general web development, UX strategists, Rubyists, Python coders, hackers, and everyone together for this event, so that we could get off our islands and out of our silos and grow our communities? Would these connections then help spur momentum for ongoing collaborative, informal learning and business networking throughout the rest of the year?

So those are the main ideas behind NERDS. Kelly, myself, and a great bunch of volunteers are working to help make it a reality. Even though we’re new and a little disorganized, we’ve got momentum, passion, and the willingness to experiment and iterate. If being part of this idea appeals to you, please consider submitting a session by 8/15, volunteering to do planning tasks now or event tasks on the day(s) of the conference, or joining Acquia, Pantheon, and others in sponsoring the conference (there are many levels and options, and you can get mad karma points for sponsoring childcare). Tomorrow’s richer, better, more diverse open source communities will thank you.

NERDS in a Nutshell
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Drupal Association News: Join the Next Drupal Association Board Meeting: 20 August

jeu, 14/08/2014 - 16:35

Our next board meeting is scheduled for 20 August, 2014 and in addition to our regular updates we will have a couple of great topics to discuss: DrupalCon Austin Recap and Licensing issues on Drupal.org. 

Our DrupalCon Austin Recap will cover all the results of the Con, from the logistics to the sessions, to the marketing, to the finances. There is a lot of great news to report, along with some really great questions that we are going to have to answer to continue to improve the conference.

Licensing on Drupal.org has been an issue for a very long time now. With so much contributed content, so few volunteers in this area, and with little guidance, the policies we do have in place have been applied inconsistently and some issues that have been reported have never really been addressed. I pulled together a group of folks who have been working on licensing over the years and they developed a proposal for the board's consideration about how to best move forward to provide clear, consistent, and timely action for licensing issues. 

All of the materials for the board meeting can be found online, and we hope you'll join us on 20 August!

Flickr photo: Kristen Pol

Catégories: Elsewhere

Forum One: Running Drupal on HHVM

jeu, 14/08/2014 - 16:14

Last March, Facebook announced HACK, a new open source programming language for its HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM) touted to interoperate seamlessly with PHP. Following the announcement, I was fascinated watching everything they attempted with the new release in trying to wring as much performance as possible from PHP. This gave me an idea: Although we don’t face the exact challenges that Facebook does on a daily basis, it would be interesting to see what would happen if I tried running Drupal under HHVM, the latest iteration of Facebook’s execution engine.

Official HHVM packages are only distributed for Ubuntu and Debian, but thankfully some enterprising people have packaged them up for CentOS. So with a quick stand up of a Virtual Machine and some additional packages, we were good to go. To test, we chose a fairly complex site that we developed last year, built on the usual Panels and Display Suite with significant relationships between the content. This meant that on any given page, Drupal was likely to load and render several entities beyond just the one on the page.

I took the current PHP and database for the site and stood it up on a local VM with 4 cores and 6.5 GB of memory. We did some minor optimization of FPM to set the number of servers, along with some increases to the caches in MySQL. Other than that, it’s pretty much a vanilla installation of PHP 5.3 with XCache, Percona 5.5, and nginx. The goal was to provide as much of an “apples to apples” comparison of the two interpreters without as much regard for making everything as fast possible. We then spidered the site and sampled out 1000 URLs at random and ran JMeter to generate 30 concurrent requests against the site running with HHVM and PHP-FPM. We recorded time and load on the server.

PHP-FPM

Starting off, we ran the test against a cold start of the site. We cleared the Drupal cache and restarted nginx, PHP-FPM and MySQL. We then hit the home page with a single request to build the persistently cached items. As the requests started ramping up, the time to complete each one went up as expected.

Average response time sampled every 5 seconds, cold start

What was happening on the server mirrors that.

Overall CPU and memory usage, cold start

We checked the actual processes that were generating the CPU and memory usage, in this case only pulling out mysqld since tracking each process from PHP-FHM was challenging.

CPU usage for mysqld, cold start

Memory usage for mysqld, cold start

MySQL was using anywhere from 40 – 60%, with a few spikes to just over 100% of one core. All the other cores were entirely used by PHP-FPM. Similarly, MySQL was using, on average, about 300 MB of memory. I’m not entirely sure what was causing the areas where processing pauses and response times spike. I saw them on all scenarios, and my guess is that they were due to some sort of I/O blocking, maybe from MySQL or nginx.

As a second test, we ran the exact same URLs against the system, clearing the Drupal cache to see if a burn in iteration for XCache and MySQL would help. Overall, it reduced the median response time by a whole 400 milliseconds and increased the throughput by a whopping 2.081 pages per minute. The response times in general were a little more choppy with fewer of the peaks and valleys from the previous run, but the results were pretty consistent.

Average response time sampled every 5 seconds, warm start

Overall CPU and memory usage, warm start

HHVM

After that we restarted the machine, switching out PHP-FPM for HHVM. Thankfully, it supports fastCGI, so it was a simple matter of altering the nginx configuration slightly. The setup was the exact same as for PHP-FPM; we made sure that the Drupal cache was cleared and restarted MySQL and nginx. We then hit the homepage with a single request and started up JMeter.

Average response time sampled every 5 seconds, cold start

The first thing we noticed was that it completed in just under half the time, 6:28 as opposed to 13:21. Every part of the response graph was better, and both the peaks and valleys were significantly lower. The little hiccup at the very start before it dropped, was the JIT compiler running.

Looking at the server stats, those were improved as well.

Overall CPU and memory usage, cold start

HHVM runs as a single process, so we were able to capture CPU and memory usage separately for them.

CPU usage for mysqld and hhvm, cold start

Memory usage for mysqld and hhvm, cold start

Just looking at these graphs, it’s pretty easy to tell a couple of things. Namely, both CPU and memory usage for HHVM are improved over PHP-FPM. Peak memory usage for HHVM was just about 320 MB for a total system usage of approximately 20% compared to the 25 – 26% under PHP-FPM. Likewise, total CPU usage was lower with only a couple of spikes to over 90% and the median closer to 60%, compared to consistent spike to 95% CPU and a median closer to 70 – 75%.

Similar to the PHP-FPM test, we also ran the scenario against a warm start of HHVM. Like PHP-FPM, there was very little difference, only about a 200 millisecond difference in median response time.

Analysis

If we are to look at the high level, HHVM compares very well to PHP-FPM.

We saw more than double the throughput and less than half the average response time. Combined with the decrease in system resources needed, it’s a pretty compelling argument to switch to HHVM.

There are some important considerations, however. The biggest is that while the HHVM team is attempting to get as close to Zend PHP as possible, they aren’t there yet. As of the latest reports, HHVM passes 99.83% of the unit tests for Drupal, but there’s no idea how whatever idiosyncrasies exist in various contributed modules will affect it. For instance, we couldn’t get GD to work at all, despite all indications that it should. Thankfully, it’s easily replaceable with ImageMagick – for most manipulations. In fact, we didn’t run into any pages during our test that failed with HHVM, but you never know what might not work until you actually run into it. In addition, the testing was done entirely on the front end. While we went through a couple of common scenarios on the administrative side, we didn’t test that thoroughly. Some PHP modules have been ported, such as APC and memcache, and there is work by third parties to add others, such as MongoDB, Ice and Redis, but many modules haven’t and probably will never be.

It’s also a moving target. Right now the HHVM team is looking at around an 8-week release cycle. Presumably there won’t be significant regressions as they move forward, but you never know. Similarly, they are targeting Ubuntu and Debian for official packages, so if you’re running Fedora or CentOS you have to either build from source or depend on a third party repository that may not be up to date.

Disclaimers

The performance results shown above are from running a production site on a very much ‘non-production’ virtual machine running on MacBook Pro with a 2.3 GHz Core i7 processor. There was very little tuning on any portion of the stack to ensure best performance. Load testing was performed from a separate machine over a wireless network, albeit one that was not being used for any other purpose. The load testing did not include any wait time or requests for non-PHP assets and was not intended to simulate real usage, merely to benchmark the performance of the PHP interpreters.

 

Catégories: Elsewhere

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