Drupal

Acro Media: Drupal for Education: Why Universities use Drupal, but not Commerce

Planet Drupal - 1 May 2018 - 8:00am

A lot of universities use Drupal in some capacity. Universities don't typically have just one site; they're made up of a ton of different pieces put together for course registrations and calendars and events and alumni and so on. So a couple of those pieces might use Drupal. Or one or two departments might use Drupal even if others do not.

Many educational institutions like Drupal because it's open source. Universities are often publicly funded and favor open stuff more than proprietary products. Plus, they need to manage a ton of content by a ton of different people, so they need a really big robust CMS.

 

 

Introducing OpenEDU 3.0

The new OpenEDU 3.0 is a Drupal distribution setup for educational institutions. The older version was mostly a set of custom configurations, whereas 3.0 actually has unique functionality. It has analytics and monitoring built right into it, for instance. There's a new analytics dashboard that allows a central admin to see what's going on in all the different sections without having to check a while bunch of different accounts, which is pretty cool. There's also new functionality related to content management, workflows and editing flows that universities need to handle.

OpenEDU is also being integrated into the Commerce (keep an eye out at commercekickstart.com), so you can have both of them together.

The Commerce Disconnect

Strangely, a ton of universities are using Drupal, but they are not using Commerce. Even those they use Drupal and perform ecommerce are typically using pretty terrible antiquated systems, if they have a system at all.

Lack of awareness is a big factor in this. A lot of universities are so focused on the publishing end that they don't even think about commerce. Another stumbling block is security—they don't want to deal with the compliance issues around online payments, so they just keep doing what they're doing (i.e. accepting cash or taking credit card details over the phone, which is even less secure).

The reality is that businesses or organizations within a university could really benefit from using Commerce, particularly if they already use Drupal. They could just tack on a bit of Commerce and easily sell club memberships and accept donations (remember: Commerce has a built-in point of sale). There could be one central system that IT could maintain and keep secure, and everyone could still spin up their own customized version of it.

TL:DR - Educational institutions already use Drupal and so should really adopt Drupal Commerce to replace their old, antiquated payment systems.

More from Acro Media Chat with us

Our team understands that one-size does not fit all, especially in the education space, so we listen and work together to bring your students and staff the most secure and integrated open source solution available in the Commerce arena. Contact us today to discuss how Drupal Commerce can fit it with your existing systems.

Categories: Drupal

Manifesto: Drupal’s Plugin API – an introduction through examples

Planet Drupal - 1 May 2018 - 7:58am
My second session at DrupalCamp in March aimed to provide an introduction to Drupal 8’s Plugin API, illustrated by examples. The plugin system in Drupal 8 provides a powerful way for developers to swap in and out reusable bits of code within modules, reducing the amount of code you need to write to provide versatile,. Continue reading...
Categories: Drupal

Acquia Developer Center Blog: Experience Express in Philadelphia: Promoting Drupal at Drupaldelphia

Planet Drupal - 1 May 2018 - 7:54am

When Phillies hats begin to dot the landscape and one of the most beautiful train stations in the country materializes around you, you know you're in Philadelphia, a city I can never seem to stop loving. After a brief hiatus, Drupaldelphia was in full swing this year, attracting developers, creatives, and businesspeople from all over Pennsylvania and surrounding states to a conference that is always full of pleasant surprises.

Tags: acquia drupal planet
Categories: Drupal

Zoocha Blog: Drupal and Bootstrap

Planet Drupal - 1 May 2018 - 6:07am
Drupal Drupal and Bootstrap

Bootstrap 3 With all previous large scale Drupal projects, we have used Bootstrap 3. It has worked well as an all round solid framework with a good structure for handling mobile and desktop styling. The grid system is the most useful and helpful thing about it, saving us time and…

01 May 2018 Drupal and Bootstrap
Categories: Drupal

Redirect after login

New Drupal Modules - 1 May 2018 - 5:52am
Categories: Drupal

Azure Storage Blob File System

New Drupal Modules - 1 May 2018 - 4:01am

This module create a Drupal 'file system' that integrates with Microsoft Azure Storage Blob containers.

This module is under active development.

Categories: Drupal

Routes list

New Drupal Modules - 1 May 2018 - 3:09am

Module provides a simple dashboard with a list of all available in the system and access information,
It's useful for quick overview of permissions configuration and security check to ensure if there is no hidden URLs with full access to anyone.

How to use:
Go to Reports > Routes list

Don't forget to configure permissions to 'Routes list' page.

Categories: Drupal

Zivtech: How to Prevent Your Server from Getting Hacked

Planet Drupal - 1 May 2018 - 2:00am

When coming up with a security plan for your Drupal website, or any website for that matter, you need to take several key factors into account. These key factors include your server host, server configuration, and authorized users. Typically, the weakest link in that chain is how your authorized users access the server, so first we want to secure access to allow your admins and developers in, but keep hackers out.

Hosting Provider

Choosing your hosting provider is one of the most important decisions to make when it comes to site security. Your server is your first line of defense. Not all hosts have the options that you need to implement best practices for securing the server itself, let alone websites or other services that will be running on it too. 

At Zivtech, we use VPS servers for some hosting solutions for our clients, but we also use specialized hosting solutions such as Pantheon and Acquia when it makes sense. Taking the time to figure out which services your site(s) needs prior to moving to a host will save time later; you won’t need to move to another when you realize they don’t provide the services you really need. It’s the concept of “measure twice and cut once.”

Authorized Users

Many shared hosting solutions are set up with cPanel, which typically gives users FTP access to their web server environment by default. FTP is not encrypted like communications over SSH, so configuring sFTP is recommended if that’s all your host allows. 

Read more
Categories: Drupal

Matt Glaman: Using Drupal Console to manage your RESTful endpoints

Planet Drupal - 1 May 2018 - 2:00am
Using Drupal Console to manage your RESTful endpoints mglaman Tue, 05/01/2018 - 04:00

This is a follow up to my early blog post about enabling RESTful web services in Drupal 8Jesus Olivas, one of the creators of Drupal Console, brought up that you can actually manage your RESTful endpoint plugin configurations direct from the command line!

Categories: Drupal

Appnovation Technologies: Expert Corner: Getting started with React and Drupal

Planet Drupal - 1 May 2018 - 12:00am
Expert Corner: Getting started with React and Drupal Over the weekend I decided it was long overdue that I learnt React, or at least understood what all the fuss was about, so with npm in hand I installed yarn and started my quest. We're going to use Create React App to setup our base React install. First install then run the command to create a react app called "drupal-react": ...
Categories: Drupal

Lullabot: JSON-RPC to decouple everything else

Planet Drupal - 30 April 2018 - 9:43pm

At this point, you may have read several DrupalCon retrospectives. You probably know that the best part of DrupalCon is the community aspect. During his keynote, Steve Francia, made sure to highlight how extraordinary the Drupal community is in this regard.

One of the things I, personally, was looking forward to was getting together with the API-First initiative people. I even printed some pink decoupled t-shirts for our joint presentation on the state of the initiative. Wim brought Belgian chocolates!

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I love that at DrupalCon, if you have a topic of interest around an aspect of Drupal, you will find ample opportunity to talk about it with brilliant people. Even if you are coming in to DrupalCon without company, you will get a chance to meet others in the sprints, the BoFs, the social events, etc.

During this week, the API-First initiative team discussed an important topic that has been missing from the decoupled Drupal ecosystem: RPC requests. After initial conversations in a BoF, we decided to start a Drupal module to implement the JSON-RPC specification.

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Wikipedia defines RPC as follows:

In distributed computing, a remote procedure call (RPC) is when a computer program causes a procedure (subroutine) to execute in a different address space (commonly on another computer on a shared network), which is coded as if it were a normal (local) procedure call, without the programmer explicitly coding the details for the remote interaction.

The JSON API module in Drupal is designed to only work with entities because it relies heavily on the Entity Query API and the Entity subsystem. For instance, it would be nearly impossible to keep nested filters that traverse non-entity resources. On the other hand, core’s REST collections based on Views, do not provide pagination, documentation or discoverability. Additionally, in many instances, Views will not have support for what you need to do.

We need RPC in Drupal for decoupled interactions that are not solely predicated on entities. We’re missing a way to execute actions on the Drupal server and expose data that is not based on entities, for read and write. For example, we may want to allow an authenticated remote agent to clear caches on a site. I will admit that some interactions would be better represented in a RESTful paradigm, with CRUD actions in an stateless manner on resources that represent Drupal’s internals. However because of Drupal’s idiosyncrasies sometimes we need to use JSON-RPC. At the end of the day, we need to be pragmatic and allow other developers to resolve their needs in a decoupled project. For instance the JS initiative needs a list of permissions to render the admin UI, and those are stored in code with a special implementation.

Why the current ecosystem was not enough

After the initial debate we came to the realization that you can do everything you need with the current ecosystem, but it is error prone. Furthermore, the developer experience leaves much to be desired.

Custom controllers

One of the recommended solutions has been to just create a route and execute a controller that does whatever you need. This solution has the tendency to lead to a collection of unrelated controllers that are completely undocumented and impossible to discover from the front-end consumer perspective. Additionally, there is no validation of the inputs and outputs for this controller, unless you implement said validation from scratch in every controller.

Custom REST resources

Custom REST resources have also been used to expose this missing non-entity data and execute arbitrary actions in Drupal. Custom REST resources don’t get automatic documentation. They are also not discoverable by consumers. On top of that, collection support is rather limited given that you need to build a custom Views integration if it’s not based on an entity. Moreover, the REST module assumes that you are exposing REST resources. Our RPC endpoints may not fit well into REST resources.

Custom GraphQL queries and mutators

GraphQL solves the problem of documentation and discovery, given it covers schemas as a cornerstone of the implementation. Nevertheless, the complexity to do this both in Drupal and on the client side is non-trivial. Most important, bringing in all the might of GraphQL for this simple task seems excessive. This is a good option if you are already using GraphQL to expose your entities.

The JSON-RPC module

Key contributor Gabe Sullice (Acquia OCTO) and I discussed this problem at length and in the open in the #contenta Slack channel. We decided that the best way to approach this problem was to introduce a dedicated and lightweight tool.

The JSON-RPC module will allow you to create type-safe RPC endpoints that are discoverable and automatically documented. All you need to do is to create a JsonRpcMethod.

Each plugin will need to declare:

  • A method name. This will be the plugin ID. For instance: plugins.list to list all the plugins of a given type.
  • The input parameters that the endpoint takes. This is done via annotations in the plugin definition. You need to declare the schema of your parameters, both for validation and documentation.
  • The schema of the response of the endpoint.
  • The PHP code to execute.
  • The required access necessary to execute this call.

This may seem a little verbose, but the benefits clearly surpass the annoyances. What you will get for free by providing this information is:

  • Your API will follow a widely-used standard. That means that your front-end consumers will be able to use JSON-RPC libraries.
  • Your methods are discoverable by consumers.
  • Your input and outputs are clearly documented, and the documentation is kept up to date.
  • The validation ensures that all the input parameters are valid according to your schema. It also ensures that your code responds with the output your documentation promised.
  • The module takes care of several contrived implementation details. Among those are: error handling, bubbling the cacheability metatada, specification compliance, etc.

As you can see, we designed this module to help Drupal sites implement secure, maintainable, understandable and reliable remote procedure calls. This is essential because custom endpoints are often the most insecure and fragile bits of code in a Drupal installation. This module aims to help mitigate that problem.

Usage

The JSON-RPC module ships with a sub-module called JSON-RPC Core. This sub-module exposes some necessary data for the JS modernization initiative. It also executes other common tasks that Drupal core handles. It is the best place to start learning more about how to implement your plugin.

Let's take a look at the plugins.list endpoint.

/** * Lists the plugin definitions of a given type. * * @JsonRpcMethod( * id = "plugins.list", * usage = @Translation("List defined plugins for a given plugin type."), * access = {"administer site configuration"}, * params = { * "page" = @JsonRpcParameterDefinition(factory = "\Drupal\jsonrpc\ParameterFactory\PaginationParameterFactory"), * "service" = @JsonRpcParameterDefinition(schema={"type"="string"}), * } * ) */ class Plugins extends JsonRpcMethodBase {

In the code you will notice the @JsonRpcMethod annotation. That contains important metadata such as the method's name, a list of permissions and the description. The annotation also contains other annotations for the input parameters. Just like you use @Translation you can use other custom annotations. In this case each parameter is a @JsonRpcParameterDefinition annotation that takes either a schema or a factory key.

If a parameter uses the schema key it means that the input is passed as-is to the method. The JSON schema will ensure validation. If a parameter uses the factory key that class will take control of it. One reason to use a factory over a schema is when you need to prepare a parameter. Passing an entity UUID and upcasting it to the fully-loaded entity would be an example. The other reason to choose a factory is to provide a parameter definition that can be reused in several RPC plugins. An example of this is the pagination parameter for lists of results. The class contains a method that exposes the JSON schema, again, for input validation. Additionally it should have a ::doTransform() method that can process the input into a prepared parameter output.

The rest of the code for the plugin is very simple. There is a method that defines the JSON schema of the output. Note that the other schemas define the shape of the input data, this one refers to the output of the RPC method.

/** * {@inheritdoc} */ public static function outputSchema() { // Learn more about JSON-Schema return [ 'type' => 'object', 'patternProperties' => [ '.{1,}' => [ 'class' => [ 'type' => 'string' ], 'uri' => [ 'type' => 'string' ], 'description' => [ 'type' => 'string' ], 'provider' => [ 'type' => 'string' ], 'id' => [ 'type' => 'string' ], ], ], ]; }

Finally, the ::execute() method does the actual work. In this example it loads the plugins of the type specified in the service parameter.

/** * {@inheritdoc} * * @throws \Drupal\jsonrpc\Exception\JsonRpcException */ public function execute(ParameterBag $params) { // [Code simplified for the sake of the example] $paginator = $params->get('page'); $service = $params->get('service'); $definitions = $this->container->get($service)->getDefinitions(); return array_slice($definitions, $paginator['offset'], $paginator['limit']); } Try it!

The following is a hypothetical RPC method for the sake of the example. It triggers a backup process that uploads the backup to a pre-configured FTP server.

Visit JSON-RPC to learn more about the specification and other available options.

To trigger the backup send a POST request to /jsonrpc in your Drupal installation with the following body:

{ "jsonrpc": "2.0", "method": "backup_migrate.backup", "params": { "subjects": ["database", "files"], "destination": "sftp_server_1" }, "id": "trigger-backup" }

This would return with the following response:

{ "jsonrpc": "2.0", "id": "trigger-backup", "result": { "status": "success", "backedUp": ["database", "files"] "uploadedTo": "/…/backups/my-site-20180524.tar.gz" } }

This module is very experimental at the moment. It’s in alpha stage, and some features are still being ironed out. However, it is ready to try. Please report findings in the issue queue; that's a wonderful way to contribute back to the API-First initiative.

Many thanks to Gabe Sullice, co-author of the module, and passionate debater, for tag teaming on this module. I hope that this module will be instrumental to coming improvements to the user experience both in core's admin UI and actual Drupal sites. This module will soon be part of Contenta CMS.

Header photo by Johnson Wang.

Categories: Drupal

Drupal.org blog: What’s new on Drupal.org? - April 2018

Planet Drupal - 30 April 2018 - 2:18pm

Read our Roadmap to understand how this work falls into priorities set by the Drupal Association with direction and collaboration from the Board and community.

Drupal.org Updates Drupal.org's new front page and persona pages launched

As you've probably seen by now, just before DrupalCon Nashville we launched a makeover of the Drupal.org front page. This was a research-based redesign focused on addressing the three key personas that come to Drupal.org: Developers, Marketers/Content Editors, and Agencies.

The new redesign simplifies the number of calls to action on the front page, and directs each of these personas into a more focused funnel, to ensure they are more likely to find the information they really need. To learn more about this redesign and the Promote Drupal initiative, read our recent blog post. We want to thank SixEleven for their help with this new design initiative.

Promote Drupal Initiative

Redesigning the front page was just the start, we kicked off DrupalCon by announcing a new 'Promote Drupal' initiative, asking the community to come together to help bring Drupal to new audiences, and to convince people who've used older versions in the past to give Drupal 8 another look.

We need your support to make the Promote Drupal initiative happen!

Updated top navigation and IA

Along with the front page changes, we've updated Drupal.org's top level IA, providing a more logical structure for navigating to the major areas of the site depending on a user's persona.

Promoting Nonprofit solutions built with Drupal

And last, but not least, in our efforts to #PromoteDrupal we've launched a new Nonprofit solution page, promoting the power of Drupal for Nonprofits and NGO's around the globe. Drupal has long been the choice for well-recognized, global nonprofit organizations to extend their reach and maximize their impact.

Simplify Drupal Initiatives

In project founder Dries Buytaert's keynote at DrupalCon Nashville he proposed a series of initiatives to simplify Drupal - lowering the barriers to adoption and improving the user experience of site administrators and content editors. Some of these initiatives are to improve features of Drupal core itself, whereas others are focused on the evaluator experience and will be managed in collaboration with the Drupal Association.

In particular, the Drupal Association will collaborate with the core initiatives teams on:

These initiatives are not going to be quick or easy. They rely on collaboration between the Drupal Association, Drupal's core committer team, and a variety of volunteers throughout the community. We'll need your help.

Drupal.org and GDPR

GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation passed by the EU last year, begins enforcement on May 25th, 2018. We've been preparing for this new regulation for some time, and will be implementing a few changes in the coming weeks:

Security Release SA-CORE-2018-003

Drupal Core coordinated a security release with the CKEditor team to ensure that the security fix for CKEditor was immediately available in Drupal 8. As Drupal becomes further integrated into a world of third party dependencies, this kind of coordination between open source projects becomes increasingly important. We want to thank the CKEditor team and the volunteer Drupal Security team for their hard work and careful collaboration.

SA-CORE-2018-004

After the release of SA-CORE-2018-002 in March, a related vulnerability was discovered and an additional security advisory for Drupal 7 and 8 released in April. If you have not yet updated your Drupal sites to address these vulnerabilities they may already be compromised. If that is the case, we encourage you to read this PSA, which provides some steps you can take.

Security releases tend to spark quite a bit of conversation in the community about the nature of software security, proprietary vs open source, and related issues. Community member @rickmanelius provided some much-needed context to keep these security focused efforts in perspective:

The recent SA-CORE-2018-004 and SA-CORE-2018-002 security advisories have sparked a lot of conversations in the Drupal community regarding all things security. IMHO, it's important to highlight several talking points to keep things in perspective.

— Rick Manelius, PhD (@rickmanelius) April 26, 2018

DrupalCI: Support for DrupalCI.yml

DrupalCI now supports the use of Drupalci.yml files in projects to customize and override elements of testing. This makes the testing capability of DrupalCI much more powerful and flexible for project maintainers. We're still working on documenting these new features, but you can read about the new features here.

———

As always, we’d like to say thanks to all the volunteers who work with us, and to the Drupal Association Supporters, who make it possible for us to work on these projects. In particular we want to thank:

If you would like to support our work as an individual or an organization, consider becoming a member of the Drupal Association.

Follow us on Twitter for regular updates: @drupal_org, @drupal_infra

Categories: Drupal

Chromatic: Lessons Learned from Localization, Part 2

Planet Drupal - 30 April 2018 - 2:03pm

We recently helped implement a Japanese translation for a client’s site - which was a pretty sizable challenge! The site was already broken down by country, but all the countries were in English. We ran into some unexpected challenges and wanted to break down how we overcame them.

Categories: Drupal

Jacob Rockowitz: Welcoming people to Drupal's diverse and inclusive community

Planet Drupal - 30 April 2018 - 1:48pm

The importance of welcoming people to the Drupal community

Our meetups and in-person interactions are where we welcome and include new people in our community. Of course, people come and go from every community; new faces bring new ideas and innovations.

At the beginning of DrupalCon Nashville at the Community Summit, someone told a story of how they attended a meetup and literally no one talked to them or even really acknowledged their presence. As a result, the individual never returned to that meetup. Organizers of meetups absolutely need to make a concerted effort to make sure that everyone who attends is - minimally - welcomed and acknowledged - that is community-building 101. This story really sat with me because it made me question whether I’m doing enough at the local NYC Drupal Meetup to make people feel welcomed and included.

Remembering who welcomed me to the Drupal community

I ran into Robbie Holmes (robbiethegeek) at DrupalCon and standing in exhibition hall, we reminisced about how he was the first person who welcomed me to the Drupal community. An interesting fact about our relationship is that we grew up around the corner from each other in Brooklyn and knew the same people, but met for the first time in the Drupal community. For many years, Robbie, with the help of others in the community, would always offer to split off from the general, sometimes very technical discussion, to offer a newbie discussion where people new to Drupal can ask them anything and get help. To date, Alexander Ross (bleen) was initiating these discussions at the NYC Drupal Meetup, but it is not reasonable to expect one person to be responsible for welcoming people to the Drupal community.

So, I am going to...Read More

Categories: Drupal

Static Site Generator

New Drupal Modules - 30 April 2018 - 11:12am

This module is similar to the Drupal 7 Static Generator module ("static"). Since static is a reserved word in PHP, the project has been renamed "static_generator".

The static module generates a complete copy of your website in html form including all js, css, images and other assets. This can then be transferred to run the website from a simple web server without PHP, MySQL or memcache.

Categories: Drupal

Drupal blog: How Drupal influences other Open Source projects

Planet Drupal - 30 April 2018 - 9:48am

This blog has been re-posted and edited with permission from Dries Buytaert's blog. Please leave your comments on the original post.

If you are interested in Open Source and have some time this weekend, watch Steve Francia's DrupalCon keynote called "Drupal and the secret of my success". Steve has been involved in Open Source for over 20 years, and has had the unique opportunity to lead three of the most successful Open Source companies in history. He was Chief Developer Advocate of MongoDB, Chief Operator of Docker, and now he is the Product Lead for the Go programming language at Google. Watch the video to hear Steve's personal story about how Drupal influenced his career, in addition to influencing MongoDB, Docker and Go. I don't often get emotional, but I had to wipe a few tears away during his presentation. Thanks for telling your story and being an inspiration, Steve!

Categories: Drupal

govi_encabezado_institucional

New Drupal Modules - 30 April 2018 - 8:18am

This is a feature of Govimentum which is a Drupal Distribution of Mayor's Office of Bogotá that provides the structure of institucional page header as defined from graphical guidelines of this Mayoralty.

This feature includes:

  • Page title
  • Blocks of search and social network icons
  • Both, view of Entity logo and Colombia logo
  • Baseline main menu
Categories: Drupal

Third & Grove: Seven Must-Do Checks to Ensure Your Drupal Site Is Ready for GDPR

Planet Drupal - 30 April 2018 - 6:00am
Seven Must-Do Checks to Ensure Your Drupal Site Is Ready for GDPR justin Mon, 04/30/2018 - 09:00
Categories: Drupal

Dries Buytaert: Mollom: The story of my first SaaS startup

Planet Drupal - 30 April 2018 - 4:57am

Last month, Acquia discontinued service and support for Mollom, the spam service I started more than ten years ago. As a goodbye, I want to share the untold story of how I founded Mollom.

In 2007, I read Tim Ferriss' book The 4-Hour Work Week, and was hooked. The book provides a blueprint for how entrepreneurs can structure and build a business to fund the lifestyle of their dreams. It's based on Ferriss' own experience; he streamlined his business, automated systems and outsourced tasks until it was not only more profitable, but also took less of his time to operate. The process of automation and outsourcing was so efficient, Ferriss only spent four hours a week to run his business; this gave him time and freedom to take "mini-retirements", travel the world, and write a book. When I first read Ferriss' book, I was inspired by the idea of simultaneously having that much free time and being financially stable.

While I was reading Ferriss' book, I was also working on a website spam filter for my blog, called Mollom. I had started to build Mollom as a personal project for exclusive use on my own blog. Inspired by the 4-Hour Work Week, I was convinced I could turn Mollom into a small SaaS service with global customers, complete self-service, and full automation. This would allow me to operate Mollom from anywhere in the world, and would require just a few hours of my time each week. Because I was starting to use machine learning, I enlisted the help of one of my best friends, Benjamin Schrauwen, a professor in machine learning at the University of Ghent.

In the same year, Jay Batson and I met at DrupalCon Sunnyvale, and we had already started to explore the idea of founding Acquia. My oldest son Axl was also born in the summer of 2007, and I was working hard to finish my PhD. Throughout all of this, we were also working to get Drupal 6 released. Needless to say, it was a busy summer.

With my PhD nearly complete, I needed to decide what to do next. I knew that starting Acquia was going to have a big impact, not just on Drupal but also on my life. However, I was also convinced that Mollom, while much smaller in scope and ambition, could provide a path to the freedom and independence Ferriss describes.

Mollom's foundational years

Exciting 2007, I determined that both Acquia and Mollom were important opportunities to pursue. Jay and I raised $7 million in venture capital, and we publicly launched Acquia in November 2007. Meanwhile, Ben and I pooled together €18,000 of our own money, bootstrapped Mollom, and publicly launched Mollom in March 2008.

I always made a point to run both businesses separately. Even after I moved from Belgium to the US in the summer of 2010, I continued to run Mollom and Acquia independently. The Mollom team was based in Europe, and once or twice a week, I would get up at 4 AM to have a two-hour conference call with the team. After my conference call, I'd help my family get ready for the day, and then I was off to work at Acquia.

By 2011, Mollom had achieved the goals our team set out to accomplish; our revenues had grown to about €250,000 annually, our gross margins were over 85 percent, and we could pretty much run the business on autopilot. Our platform was completely self-serviced for our users, the anti-spam algorithms self-learning, the service was built to be highly-available, and the backend operations were almost entirely automated. I often joked about how I could run Mollom from the beach in Greece, with less than an hour of work a day.

However, our team at Mollom wasn't satisfied yet, so instead of sitting on the beach, we decided to invest Mollom's profits in feature development. We had a team of three engineers working on adding new capabilities, in addition to re-architecting and scaling Mollom to keep up with its growth. On average, Mollom handled more than 100 web service requests per second, and we regularly saw peaks of up to 3,000 web service request per second. In a way, Mollom's architecture was ahead of its time — it used a micro-services architecture with a REST API, a decoupled administration backend and relied heavily on machine learning. From day one, our terms of service respected people's privacy, and we never had a data breach.

A photo of the Mollom team at an offsite in 2011: it includes Daniel Kudwien, Benjamin Schrauwen, Cedric De Vleeschauwer, Thomas Meire, Johan Vos and Vicky Van Roeyen. Missing in the picture is Dries.

In the meantime, Acquia had really taken off; Acquia's revenue had grown to over $22 million annually, and I was often working 60 hour work weeks to grow the company. Acquia's Board of Directors wanted my full attention, and had even offered to acquire Mollom a few times. I recognized that running Mollom, Acquia and Drupal simultaneously was not sustainable — you can only endure regular 4 AM meetings for so long. Plus, we had ambitious goals for Mollom; we wanted to add many-site content moderation, sentiment analysis and detection for certain code of conduct violations. Doing these things would require more capital, and unless you are Elon Musk, it's really hard to raise capital for multiple companies at the same time. Most importantly, I wanted to focus more on growing Drupal and driving Acquia's expansion.

Acquia acquires Mollom

By the end of 2012, Ben and I agreed to sell Mollom to Acquia. Acquia's business model was to provide SaaS services around Drupal, and Mollom was exactly that — a SaaS service used by tens of thousands of Drupal sites.

Selling Mollom was a life-changing moment for me. It proved that I was able to bootstrap and grow a company, steer it to profitability and exit successfully.

Selling Mollom to Acquia involved signing a lot of documents. A photo of me signing the acquisition paperwork with Mary Jefts, Acquia's CFO at the time. It took three hours to sign all the paperwork.
Acquia retires Mollom

By 2017, five years after the acquisition, it became clear that Mollom was no longer a strategic priority for Acquia. As a result, Acquia decided it was best to shut down Mollom by April 2018. As the leader of the product organization at Acquia, I'm supportive of this decision. It allows us to sharpen our focus and to better deliver on our mission.

While it was a rational decision, it's bittersweet. I still believe that Mollom could have continued to have a big impact on the Open Web. Not only did that make the web better, it saved people millions of hours moderating their content. I also considered keeping Mollom running as part of Acquia's "Give back more" principle. However, Acquia gives back a lot, and I believe that giving back to Drupal should be our priority.

Mollom's end-of-life announcement that replaced the old https://mollom.com.

Overall, Mollom was a success. While I never got my 4-hour work week, I enjoyed successfully creating a company from scratch, and seeing it evolve through every stage of its life. I learned how to build and run a SaaS service, I made some money in the process, and best of all, Mollom blocked over 15 billion spam comments across tens of thousands of websites. This translates to saving people around the world millions of hours, which would otherwise be devoted to content moderation. Mollom also helped to protect the websites of some of the world's most famous brands; from Harvard, to The Economist, Tesla, Twitter, Sony Music and more. Finally, we were able to offer Mollom for free to the vast majority of our users, which is something we took a lot of pride in.

If you were a user of Mollom the past 10+ years, I hope you enjoyed our service. I also want to extend a special thank you to everyone who contributed to Mollom over the past 11 years!

Rest in peace, Mollom! Thank you for blocking so much spam. I'll think about you next time I visit Greece.

Categories: Drupal

Mollom: The story of my first SaaS startup

Dries Buytaert - 30 April 2018 - 4:57am

Last month, Acquia discontinued service and support for Mollom, the spam service I started more than ten years ago. As a goodbye, I want to share the untold story of how I founded Mollom.

In 2007, I read Tim Ferriss' book The 4-Hour Work Week, and was hooked. The book provides a blueprint for how entrepreneurs can structure and build a business to fund the lifestyle of their dreams. It's based on Ferriss' own experience; he streamlined his business, automated systems and outsourced tasks until it was not only more profitable, but also took less of his time to operate. The process of automation and outsourcing was so efficient, Ferriss only spent four hours a week to run his business; this gave him time and freedom to take "mini-retirements", travel the world, and write a book. When I first read Ferriss' book, I was inspired by the idea of simultaneously having that much free time and being financially stable.

While I was reading Ferriss' book, I was also working on a website spam filter for my blog, called Mollom. I had started to build Mollom as a personal project for exclusive use on my own blog. Inspired by the 4-Hour Work Week, I was convinced I could turn Mollom into a small SaaS service with global customers, complete self-service, and full automation. This would allow me to operate Mollom from anywhere in the world, and would require just a few hours of my time each week. Because I was starting to use machine learning, I enlisted the help of one of my best friends, Benjamin Schrauwen, a professor in machine learning at the University of Ghent.

In the same year, Jay Batson and I met at DrupalCon Sunnyvale, and we had already started to explore the idea of founding Acquia. My oldest son Axl was also born in the summer of 2007, and I was working hard to finish my PhD. Throughout all of this, we were also working to get Drupal 6 released. Needless to say, it was a busy summer.

With my PhD nearly complete, I needed to decide what to do next. I knew that starting Acquia was going to have a big impact, not just on Drupal but also on my life. However, I was also convinced that Mollom, while much smaller in scope and ambition, could provide a path to the freedom and independence Ferriss describes.

Mollom's foundational years

Exciting 2007, I determined that both Acquia and Mollom were important opportunities to pursue. Jay and I raised $7 million in venture capital, and we publicly launched Acquia in November 2007. Meanwhile, Ben and I pooled together €18,000 of our own money, bootstrapped Mollom, and publicly launched Mollom in March 2008.

I always made a point to run both businesses separately. Even after I moved from Belgium to the US in the summer of 2010, I continued to run Mollom and Acquia independently. The Mollom team was based in Europe, and once or twice a week, I would get up at 4 AM to have a two-hour conference call with the team. After my conference call, I'd help my family get ready for the day, and then I was off to work at Acquia.

By 2011, Mollom had achieved the goals our team set out to accomplish; our revenues had grown to about €250,000 annually, our gross margins were over 85 percent, and we could pretty much run the business on autopilot. Our platform was completely self-serviced for our users, the anti-spam algorithms self-learning, the service was built to be highly-available, and the backend operations were almost entirely automated. I often joked about how I could run Mollom from the beach in Greece, with less than an hour of work a day.

However, our team at Mollom wasn't satisfied yet, so instead of sitting on the beach, we decided to invest Mollom's profits in feature development. We had a team of three engineers working on adding new capabilities, in addition to re-architecting and scaling Mollom to keep up with its growth. On average, Mollom handled more than 100 web service requests per second, and we regularly saw peaks of up to 3,000 web service request per second. In a way, Mollom's architecture was ahead of its time — it used a micro-services architecture with a REST API, a decoupled administration backend and relied heavily on machine learning. From day one, our terms of service respected people's privacy, and we never had a data breach.

A photo of the Mollom team at an offsite in 2011: it includes Daniel Kudwien, Benjamin Schrauwen, Cedric De Vleeschauwer, Thomas Meire, Johan Vos and Vicky Van Roeyen. Missing in the picture is Dries.

In the meantime, Acquia had really taken off; Acquia's revenue had grown to over $22 million annually, and I was often working 60 hour work weeks to grow the company. Acquia's Board of Directors wanted my full attention, and had even offered to acquire Mollom a few times. I recognized that running Mollom, Acquia and Drupal simultaneously was not sustainable — you can only endure regular 4 AM meetings for so long. Plus, we had ambitious goals for Mollom; we wanted to add many-site content moderation, sentiment analysis and detection for certain code of conduct violations. Doing these things would require more capital, and unless you are Elon Musk, it's really hard to raise capital for multiple companies at the same time. Most importantly, I wanted to focus more on growing Drupal and driving Acquia's expansion.

Acquia acquires Mollom

By the end of 2012, Ben and I agreed to sell Mollom to Acquia. Acquia's business model was to provide SaaS services around Drupal, and Mollom was exactly that — a SaaS service used by tens of thousands of Drupal sites.

Selling Mollom was a life-changing moment for me. It proved that I was able to bootstrap and grow a company, steer it to profitability and exit successfully.

Selling Mollom to Acquia involved signing a lot of documents. A photo of me signing the acquisition paperwork with Mary Jefts, Acquia's CFO at the time. It took three hours to sign all the paperwork.
Acquia retires Mollom

By 2017, five years after the acquisition, it became clear that Mollom was no longer a strategic priority for Acquia. As a result, Acquia decided it was best to shut down Mollom by April 2018. As the leader of the product organization at Acquia, I'm supportive of this decision. It allows us to sharpen our focus and to better deliver on our mission.

While it was a rational decision, it's bittersweet. I still believe that Mollom could have continued to have a big impact on the Open Web. Not only did that make the web better, it saved people millions of hours moderating their content. I also considered keeping Mollom running as part of Acquia's "Give back more" principle. However, Acquia gives back a lot, and I believe that giving back to Drupal should be our priority.

Mollom's end-of-life announcement that replaced the old https://mollom.com.

Overall, Mollom was a success. While I never got my 4-hour work week, I enjoyed successfully creating a company from scratch, and seeing it evolve through every stage of its life. I learned how to build and run a SaaS service, I made some money in the process, and best of all, Mollom blocked over 15 billion spam comments across tens of thousands of websites. This translates to saving people around the world millions of hours, which would otherwise be devoted to content moderation. Mollom also helped to protect the websites of some of the world's most famous brands; from Harvard, to The Economist, Tesla, Twitter, Sony Music and more. Finally, we were able to offer Mollom for free to the vast majority of our users, which is something we took a lot of pride in.

If you were a user of Mollom the past 10+ years, I hope you enjoyed our service. I also want to extend a special thank you to everyone who contributed to Mollom over the past 11 years!

Rest in peace, Mollom! Thank you for blocking so much spam. I'll think about you next time I visit Greece.

Categories: Drupal

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