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Acquia: Drupal: Helping NGOs & Civil Society in Myanmar and beyond

Planet Drupal - 19 June 2015 - 7:11am
Language Undefined

When Tom Feichter told me he only gets to one Drupal event a year, I wanted to know why. When he told me it's because he runs a Drupal shop–mspiral creative media–in Yangon, Myanmar, I had to know more! We talked about Tom's history in Drupal, how Drupal's multilingual capabilities have helped him, how excited he is about Drupal 8's architecture, his history working with NGOs on the Thai/Burmese border and how that has flowed into ethical digital agency work, and more.

Categories: Drupal

InfoDesk Summer Reading

New Drupal Modules - 19 June 2015 - 6:42am

InfoDesk Summer Reading provides summer reading program functionality for libraries. Readers can login and track their own reading time and also see the total reading time for the whole community.

Sponsored by Jefferson County Public Library and currently in use on http://jeffcolibrary.org/summerreading

Categories: Drupal

Blink Reaction: Building Native Apps - Part 4

Planet Drupal - 19 June 2015 - 6:00am
Building native mobile apps with Ionic Framework and Drupal back-end: request data from Drupal Define app constants

Now we have a REST server from which we will get all required data for our application. First of all let’s define an Angular constant and store some configuration variables in it - for example, where we’ll we set the base url for services requests. In the app.js file, add a new constant method with that value.

gist link

Ionic Framework comes with a couple of useful directives that can help in app building. I decided to make one small user experience improvement: when categories list our article details page as loading, we should show a loading overlay to indicate progress. To do this, we will use the $ionicLoading service. To change its default options you must add another constant - $ionicLoadingConfig - to the app.js file.

gist link

Configure services

Previously, we had defined factories for categories and articles in the services.js file, but the endpoints were empty. Now we can set them. First of all, we have to transfer newly created config objects to the factories and prefix url property value in $http options object with config.serviceBaseUrl. We should also pass the page parameter to Categories get and Articles all methods to handle pagination. And finally we set endpoint variables. Here is the final services.js:

gist link

Complete templates

Now we should create templates for each tab using Ionic directives. Let’s look closer at the index.html file. Here we have a main Angular directive ng-app, which defines our app on a global scope; inside it we can see ion-nav-bar, the global dynamic navigation bar. Next to it there is the ion-nav-view directive; this helps to handle application routing according to the UI Router config in app.js. All template content should render inside this directive.

The first screen of our app is a tab with an all articles list, using the tab-articles template. Here we use ion-view to define the tab controller scope and set the title of this page with the view-title directive. Inside this view we set the container for content with ion-content. Inside it we set ion-list with an ion-item child. Also, we set the ng-repeat directive in ion-item. Angular should walk though all articles data and render each article with title and image; for image, we use ng-src directive instead of src attribute. At the bottom of ion-content we add ion-infiniteiscroll - it gives us an opportunity to portionally load more articles.

gist link

The template for the single category is very similar to the articles tab; the changes are in the link structure to the article details pages, and the view title, which in this case will be the name of the current category.

gist link

On the categories tab we should show the list of categories with the number of articles in each; the list item should be linked to a single category page.

gist link

The last template that we need is an article-details.html. Here, we will show the article image, title and body text. We use the ng-bind-html directive to render the body with its html markup, for example: paragraphs, lists, links etc..

gist link

Controllers

Previously we have created empty controllers for all templates, so we will add the code for them now. We should start from more simple controllers: CategoriesCtrl and ArticleDetailCtrl. CategoriesCtrl are attached to the tab-categories template; we will pass the $ionicLoading service to it, to show data loading progress to user. Inside this controller we show a loading overlay calling the show method on $ionicLoading, and load categories list with Categories factory. All of our factories return promises, so after the call it method we then add the method in which we pass 2 functions: first will run on success, second on error. In this tutorial I route all error messages to the browser console.

gist link

ArticleDetailCtrl is the same, but here we get an article data by its id, which we get from the state parameter.

gist link

CategoryCtrl and ArticlesCtrl are similar so we define a loadMore function in them, that will try to load more articles on scrolling the page down and concatenating them with articles that have been already loaded. Then it will broadcast that the infinite scroll process was completed, and there are no additional results.

gist link

gist link

You can clone and try all this code from my github repository; to get code for this part, checkout the part4 branch(just run “git checkout -f part4”).

Test, build and compile

Before compiling and testing an app on an emulator or real device you may run it in the browser with command “ionic serve” from you project directory.

If the application worked fine in your browser you can test it in emulators, but first let’s add a platform to our project with command “ionic platform add android”, if you are using a Mac you can also add iOS platform with the command “ionic platform add ios”. Before running the app in emulator you must build it and run “ionic build android” (“ionic build ios” for iOS app). Then you can try the application in emulator by running “ionic emulate android” to emulate it in the native Android emulator that comes with Android SDK, or by running “ionic run android” to use the Genymotion emulator (it is faster and has a lot of device settings), which you can get here.

To emulate iOS you must work on Mac OS and run “ionic emulate ios”.

To build apps for production you must run

“cordova build --release android”

then navigate to project folder platforms/android/ant-build/ and generate a key to sign app -

“keytool -genkey -v -keystore starter-release-key.keystore -alias alias_name -keyalg RSA -keysize 2048 -validity 10000”

and sign your application -

“jarsigner -verbose -sigalg SHA1withRSA -digestalg SHA1 -keystore starter-release-key.keystore CordovaApp-release-unsigned.apk alias_name”.

To optimize your apk you should run

“zipalign -v 4 CordovaApp-release-unsigned.apk TutorialApp.apk”

and you will be ready for publishing the file TutorialApp.apk in Google Play. You can find more information about publishing available here.

 

In the next part of this series I will show how to integrate user authentication in your app with Drupal session login.

DrupalBest PracticesDrupal How toDrupal PlanetDrupal TrainingLearning SeriesPost tags: AppsIonic
Categories: Drupal

Drupal core announcements: Recording from June 19th 2015 Drupal 8 critical issues discussion

Planet Drupal - 19 June 2015 - 3:37am

This was our fourth critical issues discussion meeting to be publicly recorded in a row. (See all prior recordings). This time to make discussions easier to follow for all of us, we switched to #drupal-contribute in IRC to post links, so those following real time can follow the links and we can just paste the meeting log here as well. Here is the recording of the meeting from today in the hope that it helps more than just those who were on the meeting:

Unfortunately not all people invited made it this time. If you also have significant time to work on critical issues in Drupal 8 and we did not include you, let me know as soon as possible.

The meeting log is as follows (all times are CEST real time at the meeting):


[11:07am] plach: https://www.drupal.org/node/2478459
[11:07am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2478459 => FieldItemInterface methods are only invoked for SQL storage and are inconsistent with hooks [#2478459] => 93 comments, 19 IRC mentions
[11:07am] dawehner: https://www.drupal.org/node/2500527
[11:07am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2500527 => Rewrite \Drupal\file\Controller\FileWidgetAjaxController::upload() to not rely on form cache [#2500527] => 34 comments, 6 IRC mentions
[11:08am] plach: https://www.drupal.org/node/2453153
[11:08am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2453153 => Node revisions cannot be reverted per translation [#2453153] => 107 comments, 31 IRC mentions
[11:09am] jibran: https://www.drupal.org/node/2263569#comment-10039344
[11:10am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2263569 => Bypass form caching by default for forms using #ajax. [#2263569] => 219 comments, 35 IRC mentions
[11:11am] Fabianx-screen: https://www.drupal.org/node/2354889
[11:11am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2354889 => Make block context faster by removing onBlock event and replace it with loading from a BlockContextManager [#2354889] => 66 comments, 13 IRC mentions
[11:11am] WimLeers: https://www.drupal.org/node/2375695
[11:11am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2375695 => Condition plugins should provide cache contexts AND cacheability metadata needs to be exposed [#2375695] => 75 comments, 25 IRC mentions
[11:13am] GaborHojtsy: Fabianx-screen is talking about https://www.drupal.org/node/2354889
[11:13am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2354889 => Make block context faster by removing onBlock event and replace it with loading from a BlockContextManager [#2354889] => 66 comments, 14 IRC mentions
[11:14am] WimLeers: No, he was talking about https://www.drupal.org/node/2501989
[11:14am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2501989 => [meta] Page Cache Performance [#2501989] => 24 comments, 5 IRC mentions
[11:14am] WimLeers: (i.e. the very first part of what he said)
[11:14am] GaborHojtsy: (I directly copied the link he posted in hangouts :D)
[11:14am] WimLeers: lol ok :P
[11:16am] WimLeers: https://www.drupal.org/node/2429287
[11:16am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2429287 => [meta] Finalize the cache contexts API & DX/usage, enable a leap forward in performance [#2429287] => 102 comments, 7 IRC mentions
[11:17am] WimLeers: https://www.drupal.org/node/2450993
[11:17am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2450993 => Rendered Cache Metadata created during the main controller request gets lost [#2450993] => 35 comments, 14 IRC mentions
[11:18am] larowlan: GaborHojtsy: still working sorry, sent apology to dawehne_r this morning with my update
[11:18am] GaborHojtsy: larowlan: yeah jibran relayed that :)
[11:19am] GaborHojtsy: https://www.drupal.org/node/2495179
[11:19am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2495179 => Twig placeholder filter should not map to raw filter [#2495179] => 53 comments, 7 IRC mentions
[11:20am] GaborHojtsy: https://www.drupal.org/node/2487972
[11:20am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2487972 => [META] Results of testing localize.drupal.org on Drupal 7 in June 2015 [#2487972] => 18 comments, 5 IRC mentions
[11:21am] jibran: https://www.drupal.org/node/2453153
[11:21am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2453153 => Node revisions cannot be reverted per translation [#2453153] => 107 comments, 32 IRC mentions
[11:31am] larowlan: jibran++
[11:31am] larowlan: GaborHojtsy++
[11:31am] GaborHojtsy: Fabianx-screen: what’s the issue link?
[11:33am] jibran: https://www.drupal.org/node/2489024
[11:33am] dawehner: https://www.drupal.org/node/2508591
[11:33am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2489024 => Arbitrary code execution via 'trans' extension for dynamic twig templates (when debug output is on) [#2489024] => 18 comments, 7 IRC mentions
[11:33am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2508591 => Move Drupal into subdirectory and get external dependencies/libraries out of the web-accessible path [#2508591] => 8 comments, 3 IRC mentions
[11:42am] dawehner: https://www.drupal.org/node/2508654#comment-10039315
[11:42am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2508654 => File inclusion in transliteration service [#2508654] => 17 comments, 2 IRC mentions
[11:43am] GaborHojtsy: dawehner: that one yeah
[11:43am] GaborHojtsy: https://www.drupal.org/drupal8-security-bounty running for 2 more months
[11:43am] jibran: https://www.drupal.org/node/1305882
[11:43am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/1305882 => drupal_html_id() considered harmful; remove ajax_html_ids to use GET (not POST) AJAX requests [#1305882] => 153 comments, 22 IRC mentions
[11:48am] dawehner: https://www.drupal.org/node/2500523
[11:48am] Druplicon: https://www.drupal.org/node/2500523 => Rewrite views_ui_add_ajax_trigger() to not rely on /system/ajax. [#2500523] => 6 comments, 2 IRC mentions

Categories: Drupal

Tyler Frankenstein: Headless Drupal with Angular JS and Bootstrap - Hello World

Planet Drupal - 18 June 2015 - 11:50pm

This tutorial describes how to build a very simple de-coupled Drupal web application powered by Angular JS and Bootstrap. The inspiration for writing this tutorial came after completing my first Angular JS module (angular-drupal), which of course is for Drupal!

To keep things simple, and in the spirit of "Hello World", the application will let us login using credentials from the Drupal website.

The complete code for this example app is available here: https://github.com/signalpoint/headless-drupal-angular-bootstrap-hello-w...

Ready? Alright, let's go headless...

Categories: Drupal

Entity Context

New Drupal Modules - 18 June 2015 - 1:48pm

This module integrates with the Acquia Lift suite and provides functionality allowing mapping of the "current" entity's fields/properties to UDF fields on the Acquia Lift Profiles page.

Categories: Drupal

Lullabot: Project Management

Planet Drupal - 18 June 2015 - 12:56pm

In this week's Drupalize.Me podcast, hostess Amber Matz chats about all things Project Management with Seth Brown (COO at Lullabot) and Lullabot Technical Project Managers Jessica Mokrzecki and Jerad Bitner. To continue the conversation, check out Drupalize.Me's series on Project Management featuring interviews and insights from these fine folks and others at Lullabot.

Categories: Drupal

DrupalCon News: Register for DrupalCon Barcelona

Planet Drupal - 18 June 2015 - 12:42pm

Registration is live! For those of you have been waiting to purchase your ticket to DrupalCon Barcelona, the time has come!

Categories: Drupal

Open Source Training: Allow Users to Delete Their Drupal Accounts

Planet Drupal - 18 June 2015 - 11:40am

It's good practice to allow users to leave your site completely.

That means users should be able to delete their account entirely, together with all the data associated with it.

In Drupal, you can allow users to delete their accounts. Here's how the feature works:

Categories: Drupal

Drupal Association News: My Week at DrupalCon, part 2

Planet Drupal - 18 June 2015 - 11:30am

Part 1 of My Week at DrupalCon

Part 2:

As our community grows, so do our programs.  This year in addition to hosting trainings and both the Community Summit and Business Summit, we offered a Higher-Ed Summit at DrupalCon.  As soon as it was announced folks clamored to sign up, and the tickets sold out at a rapid pace.  We at the Drupal Association feel like this is a great example of how the growing variety of offerings at DrupalCon illustrates the increasing diversity of our community’s interests and skillsets.

The Higher-Ed Summit was a huge hit and that was due largely in part to the efforts of the Summit Leads, Christina and Shawn.  They worked hard to understand what the Higher-Ed community wanted and needed from the Summit and strategized to provide it down to the last detail.  Their planning and experience were integral to the popularity of the event, and we look forward to working with these awesome volunteers again in the future.    

Maybe I’m naive or a wide-eyed optimist, but meeting and speaking to people from all over the world is invigorating and exciting to me. Throughout the course of DrupalCon I had the opportunity to meet with community organizers from near and far. While it’s true that many attendees came from the United States and Canada, there were also organizers who came from as far away as Latin America, Europe, India, and Japan, and talked about how Drupal has affected their communities and their livelihoods.  It is always such a pleasure to see Drupal changing lives and bringing opportunities for personal growth and business everywhere.  

After an exhausting week of keynotes, and BOFs, and meetings, and dinners, I launched into the sprints on Friday with the purpose of understanding Drupal more.  I always enjoy discussing Drupal’s unique qualities with developers, site-builders, and themers, but this DrupalCon I really wanted to engage in more than just conversations.  I wanted to experience what it is like to directly develop and work with Drupal.  At the Friday sprints, my friend and new mentor Amy agreed to sit down with me and help me put together my own blog, run on a Drupal website.  During the process, I realized that there is no better way to start to understand the complexity of Drupal than to use the product myself.  

When learning to use Drupal in the sprint, I realized that we really are about fostering a friendly, inclusive, and diverse community. We talk the talk and we walk the walk.  Amy sat down with me and patiently showed me step-by-step how to start my site.  We picked a hosting site, domain name, downloaded Drupal, and began the process of organizing our modules and features. Finally, I started to really get it, which was incredibly exciting. Both personally and professionally, it meant a lot to me that someone would take the time to help me on my journey. It really brought home the fact that Drupalers genuinely care, are excited and willing to share knowledge, and have fun while doing it.  

DrupalCon Los Angeles was a spectacular event.  I feel like this blog wouldn’t be a proper message from LShey without some shout-outs and kudos, so please join me in celebrating others. I’d like to say out a big thank you to our talented Events team at the Drupal Association for organizing a seamless and beautiful event.  Thank you to our sponsors who help us put on this event with their support.  Thank you to our dedicated volunteers: whether you were a sprint-mentor, room-monitor, or speaker, your time and expertise is appreciated and valued.  Our volunteers truly make DrupalCon a wonderful event.  I’d like to share a special shout-out to the team who keeps us all informed, too: thank you to Alex and Paul for running the @drupalconna twitter handle.  Thank you to Emma Jane, who was our MC this DrupalCon, and who engaged our keynote speakers with witty and thoughtful interviews.  Lastly, thank you to you all, our community.  DrupalCon would not be the same without you.  I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the next one!  

Drupal on, 

Lauren Shey
Community Outreach Coordinator
Drupal Association
@lsheydrupal

Categories: Drupal

Acquia: How Weather.com Improved Their Page Load Times

Planet Drupal - 18 June 2015 - 10:07am

In November, 2014 Weather.com launched on Drupal and became one of the highest trafficked websites in the world to launch on an open-source content management system (CMS). Mediacurrent and Acquia are excited to announce a new, 3-part blog post series that will share insight around how Weather.com was migrated to Drupal. Our team of experts will share best practices and what lessons we learned during the project.

There's an old saying, “Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” While we are a long way from controlling the weather, Weather.com has done a spectacular job of delivering accurate weather news, as rapidly as possible, to all kinds of devices.

This is a small miracle, especially when you consider Weather.com served up a billion requests during its busiest week. Even slow weeks require delivering hundreds of dynamic maps and streaming video to at least 30 million unique users in over three million forecast locations. The site has to remain stable with instantaneous page loads and 100 percent uptime, despite traffic bumps of up to 300 percent during bad weather.

Page load times are the key to their business and their growth. When The Weather Channel's legacy CMS showed signs of strain, they came to Drupal.

On their legacy platform, Weather.com was tethered to a 50 percent cache efficiency. Their app servers were taking on far too much of the work. The legacy platform ran on 144 origin servers across three data centers. It takes all that muscle to keep up with the number of changes that are constantly happening across the site.

Traditionally, when you have a highly trafficked site, you put a content delivery network (CDN) in front of it and call it a day. The very first time a page is requested, the CDN fetches it from the origin server and then caches it to serve to all future requestors.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way for a site like Weather.com.

Consider this: If a user in Austin visits a forecast page, they see a certain version of that page. A visitor from Houston sees a slightly different version of that page. Not only are there two different versions of the page, one for each location, but much of the information on the page is only valid for about five minutes.

At the scale of three million locations, that's a lot of pages that have to rebuild on an ongoing basis only to be cached for 5 minutes each. Couple this with the fact that the number of served locations kept increasing as developers worked on the site, and you can see that things are rapidly getting out of control.

The first thing we did was break up the page into pieces that have longer or shorter life spans based on the time-sensitivity of the content. That allowed us to identify the parts of the pages that were able to live longest and that we could serve to the majority of users. The parts that varied, we no longer change on the origin servers, but instead delegate to systems closer to the user where they actually vary.

To accomplish that trick, we switched to a service-oriented architecture and client side rendering, using Angular.js, ESI (Edge Side Includes), and some Drupal magic. The combination of these three components boosted cache efficiency, page performance, and reduced the required number of servers to deliver it.

The result? After launch, we showed Weather.com a 90 percent cache efficiency. In other words, in going from 50 to 90% cache efficiency they reduced the number of hits to the origin servers, which means that you need fewer of them. Post launch, we were able to increase cache efficiency even further.

This cache efficiency was also measured only at the edge. Varnish (a caching proxy) further reduced the amount of traffic, meaning that Drupal itself and the Varnish stack were serving less than 4 percent of their requested traffic. The benefits of the service-oriented architecture also mean that scaling is simpler, architectural changes are less painful, and the end user can experience a richer user experience.

Doing something about the weather is still way out on the horizon, but Weather.com can certainly claim that it has improved the delivery of weather news.

Tags:  acquia drupal planet
Categories: Drupal

Lullabot: Drupal 8 Theming Fundamentals, Part 2

Planet Drupal - 18 June 2015 - 10:00am

In our last post on Drupal 8 theming fundamentals, we learned to set up a theme and add our CSS and JavaScript. This time around we’re talking about the Twig templating engine, how to add regions to our theme, and then finish with a look at the wonderful debugging available in Drupal 8.

Categories: Drupal

Drupal Watchdog: Small Sites, Big Drupal

Planet Drupal - 18 June 2015 - 8:58am
Article

In a much-analyzed 2013 interview with Computerworld, Drupal founder and “benevolent dictator” Dries Buytaert laid out a future path for the software focused squarely on enterprise clients (see also “Will the Revolution be Drupalized?”). While small sites had their place, Buytaert asserted, “I think we just need to say we’re more about big sites.” With Drupal 8, he concluded, “I really think we can say we’ve built the best CMS for enterprise systems.”[1]

Where does this bright future leave the smaller sites that up till now have formed the mainstay of Drupal adopters?

What’s in the Pipe

Drupal 8 is not all bad news for smaller sites; there are many new features and enhancements that should lower or eliminate some previous barriers.

  • More in core Many areas of key functionality that previously required downloading, installing, and configuring modules and other dependencies now will work out of the box. Case in point: WYSIWYG editing.
  • UI improvements A lot of customization that previously required specialized modules or custom code is now exposed via the core admin interface.

That said, there are signs of trouble ahead:

Hosting Barriers

Drupal 7 performance already pushed the limits of the typical, inexpensive, shared hosting that most small sites rely on. And Drupal 8? Watch out. It has what Drupal 8 maintainer Nathaniel Catchpole frankly called “an embarrassingly high memory requirement.”[2] Yes, memory issues can be addressed through solutions like reverse proxy caching or pushing search indexing to Solr. But those options are precisely the ones that are missing from the vast majority of shared hosts.

DIYers Beware

Small Drupal sites have benefited from the ease of dabbling in Drupal development. Drupal 8, in contrast, has been rewritten from the ground up with professional programmers in mind. Dependency injection, anyone?

Categories: Drupal

Phase2: Developer Soft Skills Part 1: Online Research

Planet Drupal - 18 June 2015 - 8:32am
Developer Soft Skills

One of my earliest jobs was customer service for a call center. I worked for many clients that all had training specific to their service. No matter the type of training, whether technical or customer oriented, soft skills were always a included. Margaret Rouse said, “Soft skills are personal attributes that enhance an individual’s interactions, career prospects and job performance. Unlike hard skills, which tend to be specific to a certain type of task or activity, soft skills are broadly applicable.”

In this blog series I will be discussing what I call “developer soft skills.” The hard skills in development are (among others) logic, languages, and structure. Developer soft skills are those that help a developer accomplish their tasks outside of that knowledge. I will be covering the following topics:

  • Online research
  • Troubleshooting
  • Enhancing/Customizing
  • Integrating
  • Architecting
Part 1: Online Research

One of the first skills a developer should master is online researching. This is an area with some controversy (which will be discussed later) but a necessary skill for learning about new technologies, expanding your knowledge, and solving problems.

One of the best reasons for research is continuous education. For many professions (such as the military, education and medical fields) continuing education is required to keep up on updated information, concepts, and procedures. As a developer, continuing to grow our skill set helps us develop better projects by using better code, better tools, and better methods.

Search engine queries

When researching a topic on the internet it usually involves using a search engine. Understanding how a search engine works and how to get to the results.There are two parts to how a search engine works. Part one is data collection and indexing. Part two is searching or querying that index. I will be focusing on how to write the best possible query, to learn more about how search collect and index data see this link. In order to write good queries we should understand how search engines respond to what we type into the search box. Early search results were rendered based on simple (by today’s standards) comparison of search terms to indexed page word usage and boolean logic. Since then search engines have started to use natural language queries.

So we can get better results by using this to our advantage. If I wanted to research how to make a calendar with the Java programming language. instead of searching for keywords and distinct ideas “java -script calendar” by them selves; use natural language to include phraseology and context in our queries: “how can I make a calendar with java”. The first result from the keyword search returns a reference to the Java Calendar class. The first result from the second query return example code on writing a calendar in Java. The better the query the better the results.

Search result inspection

Once we have the right query we can then turn our attention to the results. One of the first things I do is limit the results to a date range. This prevents results from the previous decade (or earlier) to be displayed with more recent and applicable ones. Another way to focus our search is to limit the site that the search takes place on. If we know we want to search for a jQuery function search jquery.com.

Once we have filtered our results, it’s time for further inspection. When viewing a results page, the first thing I look for is the context of the article or post. Does the author and/or site have a lot of ads? This can sometimes mean that the site is more about making money then providing good answers. Does the page have links or other references to related topic or ideas? This can show if the author is knowledgeable in the subject matter.

The controversy

Earlier I mentioned online researching can be a controversial topic. One of the points of controversy is discussed in Scott Hanselman’s blog post, Am I really a developer or just a good googler? While I agree with his major point, that researching bad code can be dangerous, I contend that using a search engine can produce good results and learning opportunities.

Almost anytime you search for any programming topic, one site or group of sites is predominant in almost every result: Stack Overflow or the Stack Exchange group of sites. Several articles have been written about reasons not to use, consequence of using and why some developers no longer use Stack Overflow. Using Stack Overflow will not solve all your problems or make you a better developer.

Again, these arguments make some good points. But I think that using Stack Overflow correctly, just like good use of search engines, can produce good results. Using a Stack Exchange site comes with the benefit of community. These sites have leveraged Stack Exchange Q&A methodology for their specific topic or technology and can be a great resource on how to solve a problem within the bounds of that community. One of my development mentors told me that there were thousands of ways to solve a programming problem and usually several wrong ones. The key is to not do one of the wrong ones and try to find one of the best ones. Searching within a Stack exchange site for answers can highlight the wrong ones but also provide the ones that work best in that system.

Here is an example of a Stack Overflow Drupal community response that came up when I searched for: “drupal create term programmatically.”

This response is correct, but if you look at the link provided, you will see this is for Drupal 6. If you were looking for how to do this in Drupal 7, for instance, the answer provided would not be correct. We could have improved our results by adding “Drupal 7″ to our query. But most important is to keep in mind that sites like Stack Overflow, or other community sites such as php.net include a mix of user generated responses. Meaning anyone can respond without being vetted.

Keep going

The best piece of advice I can offer for the arguments against using online search results and Stack Overflow is: “This is not the end.” Keep going past the result and research the answer. Don’t just copy and paste the code. Don’t just believe the top rated answer or blog post. Click the references sited, search the function or api calls that are in the answer, and make the research a part of your knowledge. And then give back by writing about your article or posting your own answers. Answering questions can sometimes be just as powerful a learning tool as searching for them.

In the end, anything you find through search, blog, and code sites should be considered a suggestion as one way of solving a problem – not necessarily the solution to your concern.

In the next post I will discuss a good use case for Stack Exchange sites, Developer Soft Skills Part 2: Troubleshooting.

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Categories: Drupal

Palantir: D8FTW: The Drupal 8 Tour

Planet Drupal - 18 June 2015 - 7:40am

Drupal 8 is expected out this fall sometime (good lord willin' and the crick don't rise, as my mother used to say). It's a big change, but a long-needed one. It's also one that the whole PHP community is looking forward to, if what I've seen at conferences over the last few years is anything to go by.

One of my foci this year has been to help the Drupal and PHP communities get ready for Drupal 8. That's why I've been submitting Drupal 8-centric sessions to conferences across the country and around the world, and why conferences keep asking for them! (Tip for people who want to submit sessions to PHP conferences...)

Without intending to, I have basically kicked off my own Drupal 8 World Tour!

Where has the tour been so far in 2015?

(I was also at Midcamp here in Chicago, but of all places they didn't want a Drupal 8 talk from me!)

If you haven't caught the tour yet, it may be coming to a town near you soon. My travel schedule for the rest of the year is pretty booked as well. Join me at any of the following events (which should be great events in their own right) to get a Crash Course in Drupal 8 or more!

And stay tuned for a few other possibilities in October...

Let's get together and learn about Drupal 8!

Categories: Drupal

Blink Reaction: Building Native Apps - Part 3

Planet Drupal - 18 June 2015 - 7:16am

 

Building native mobile apps with Ionic Framework and Drupal back-end: configure Drupal REST server

 

Today, we continue to build our mobile app with Ionic Framework. Acquia has a service called Acquia Cloud Free which provides a development and staging environment for free. With this, you can create test servers with Drupal, and install drush with a few mouse clicks. Also, you get a git repository from which your site which will build a lot more features. I have created a simple blog website with some dummy content by a Devel module - you can check it out here.

 

 

Required modules

 

To create a REST server for this blog we should use a few contrib modules:

 

Services and Views Datasource. So, let’s install them and enable the following: “Services,” “REST Server” and “Views JSON modules.” Next, you should go to /admin/structure/services and click on Add link on the top of page. You can download and enable the CORS module to have the ability to test mobile apps in your browser before compilation. Here is the example of CORS configuration that will allow you to request data from all /api urls and retrieve the user session token from /services/session/token (which we should use to make user authorizations in our app). You can remove this module with settings after testing for security reasons.

 

 

REST server setup

 

Next, you must configure your new REST server and its output. Set the machine name of our server, select REST type, and create base path for all resources as /api. You should also enable Session authentication, to make it later in the app.

 

 

We must select the “json" esponse formatter, and the “application/json” and “application/x-www-form-urlencoded” request parsers so the app will send and receive all data in json format.

 

 

We won’t enable any resources for now. We should create views to catch data that we will use in our app. We do it this way to receive only the fields that we need, and to have a flexible configuration on each field output.

 

Adding views resources

 

Next, we’ll add a new view of a type page, with JSON data document format and a path of “api/articles.” We should also set the output limit to 10 articles, and check “Use a pager.” This will give us an articles list with pagination, showing 10 articles per page. In our application we will create functionality in an articles controller to load more so they can be retrieved with a page parameter in the request.

 

 

JSON output settings prettify output data. We removed the Root object name and Top-level child object to get an unnamed json array of objects. We can configure each field output by adding a label for it; for example we changed image_field to image.

 

 

We added title, nid and image fields to this view. This data will be used on the articles tab in our application.

 

 

Now if we visit the /api/articles page, we should get json data of the first 10 articles. We can also add a page GET parameter.

 

In the same way, we create a view page with path /api/article/% and a contextual filter to get a single article by nid. Here we add nid, title, image, body and comment_count fields. This will be used on an article details page.

 

 

We also need a view to get a non-empty categories list (/api/categories). We then create a relationship Taxonomy term: Content with a term to count how many articles exist in each category, and a filter to show only categories that contain one or more articles. We will use this data to make a categories tab in the hybrid app.

 

 

Single categories by tid (/api/category/%) and a list of articles in this category display by relationship taxonomy term: content with term, with pagination. We also add fields of category tid and name, article nid, title and image (article fields and format are the same as in the articles view), so we should show all articles related to the current category in the mobile application.

 

 

Now we have a REST server from which we can get articles and categories of a blog, as json data that we can request and use from our app. In the next part, we should configure our application services. This tutorial continues tomorrow so be sure to check back in.

DrupalBest PracticesDrupal PlanetDrupal TrainingLearning SeriesPost tags: AppsIonic
Categories: Drupal

InternetDevels: Drupal vs Wordpress: functionality vs simplicity

Planet Drupal - 18 June 2015 - 3:18am

Drupal and WordPress are very popular content management systems for website development. They are both built on PHP + MySQL, they are both free, they are almost of the same age (Drupal was “born” in 2001 and Wordpress in 2003). However, they have significant differences in the ease of use, functionality, flexibility and more. Accordingly, each CMS has a passionate army of its own fans.

Rivals in different categories

Read more
Categories: Drupal

ECK Devel

New Drupal Modules - 18 June 2015 - 1:31am

Provides enhanced developer information for ECK entities.

@TODO:
Implement Devel generate functionality.

Categories: Drupal

Views CSS Tables

New Drupal Modules - 17 June 2015 - 10:08pm

Adds a table display type to Views which prints fields out in a pure CSS table.

Why use this?

Views default table display style is packed with features such as column sorting, alignment and separators however the HTML table tag is notoriously difficult to override and style. Using CSS Tables (see http://caniuse.com/#feat=css-table for support) you can create views tables that work well on both mobile and desktop with minimal overrides.

Categories: Drupal
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