Drupal

Mediacurrent: Migration with Custom Values in Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 5 January 2017 - 5:39am
Custom Preprocessing

In Drupal 7 there were numerous ways to preprocess data prior to migrating values. This was especially useful when inconsistencies in the data source needed to be addressed. One example I have dealt with in the past was migrating email addresses from an old system that didn’t check for properly formatted emails on its user fields. These errors would produce faulty data in the new Drupal site. I preprocessed the field data for the most common mistakes which reduced the amount of erroneous addresses brought over.

Categories: Drupal

Leaflet countries

New Drupal Modules - 5 January 2017 - 4:42am
About this module

This module provides:

Categories: Drupal

Panels Material Design Lite layouts

New Drupal Modules - 5 January 2017 - 4:37am

This module adds new layouts based on Material Design Lite's grid system.

Currently the module only provides three layouts and you can only define the pane's width through adding your own MDL grid CSS classes to the pane.

TODO:

  • Make the pane's width customizable
  • Create a flexible layout
Categories: Drupal

Liip: Drupal 8 Migrate Multilingual Content using Migrate API

Planet Drupal - 5 January 2017 - 2:24am

As a follow-up to my previous blog post about the usage of Migrate API in Drupal 8, I would like to give an example, how to import multilingual content and translations in Drupal 8.

Prepare and enable translation for your content type

Before you can start, you need to install the “Language” and “Content Translation” Module. Then head over to “admin/config/regional/content-language” and enable Entity Translation for the node type or the taxonomy you want to be able to translate.

As a starting point for setting up the migrate module, I recommend you my blog post mentioned above. To import data from a CVS file, you also need to install the migrate_source_csv module.

Prerequisites for migrating multilingual entities

Before you start, please check the requirements. You need at least Drupal 8.2 to import multilingual content. We need the destination option “translations”, which was added in a patch in Drupal 8.2. See the corresponding drupal.org issue here.

Example: Import multilingual taxonomy terms

Let’s do a simple example with taxonomy terms. First, create a vocabulary called “Event Types” (machine name: event_type).

Here is a simplified dataset:

Id Name Name_en 1 Kurs Course 2 Turnier Tournament

You may save this a csv file.

Id;Name;Name_en 1;Kurs;Course 2;Turnier;Tournament

The recipe to import multilingual content

As you can see in the example data,  it contains the base language (“German”) and also the translations (“English”) in the same file.

But here comes a word of warning:

Don’t try to import the term and its translation in one migration run. I am aware, that there are some workarounds with post import events, but these are hacks and you will run into troubles later.

The correct way of importing multilingual content, is to

  1. create a migration for the base language and import the terms / nodes. This will create the entities and its fields.
  2. Then, with an additional dependent migration for each translated language, you can then add the translations for the fields you want.

In short: You need a base migration and a migration for every language. Let’s try this out.

Taxonomy term base language config file

In my example, the base language is “German”. Therefore, we first create a migration configuration file for the base language:

This is a basic example in migrating a taxonomy term in my base language ‘de’.

Put the file into <yourmodule>/config/install/migrate.migration.event_type.yml and import the configuration using the drush commands explained in my previous blog post about Migration API.

id: event_type label: Event Types source: plugin: csv # Full path to the file. Is overriden in my plugin path: public://csv/data.csv # The number of rows at the beginning which are not data. header_row_count: 1 # These are the field names from the source file representing the key # uniquely identifying each node - they will be stored in the migration # map table as columns sourceid1, sourceid2, and sourceid3. keys: - Id ids: id: type: string destination: plugin: entity:taxonomy_term process: vid: plugin: default_value default_value: event_type name: source: Name language: 'de' langcode: plugin: default_value default_value: 'de' #Absolutely necessary if you don't want an error migration_dependencies: {}

Taxonomy term translation migration configuration file:

This is the example file for the English translation of the name field of the term.

Put the file into <yourmodule>/config/install/migrate.migration.event_type_en.yml and import the configuration using the drush commands explained in my previous blog post about Migration API.

id: event_type_en label: Event Types english source:   plugin: csv # Full path to the file. Is overriden in my plugin path: public://csv/data.csv # The number of rows at the beginning which are not data. header_row_count: 1 keys: - Id ids: id: type: string destination: plugin: entity:taxonomy_term translations: true process: vid: plugin: default_value default_value: event_type tid: plugin: migration source: id migration: event_type name: source: Name_en language: 'en' langcode: plugin: default_value default_value: 'en' #Absolutely necessary if you don't want an error migration_dependencies: required: - event_type

Explanation and sum up of the learnings

The key in the migrate configuration to import multilingual content are the following lines:

destination: plugin: entity:taxonomy_term translations: true

These configuration lines instruct the migrate module, that a translation should be created.

tid: plugin: migration source: id migration: event_type

This is the real secret. Using the process plugin migration,  we maintain the relationship between the node and its translation.The wiring via the tid field make sure, that Migrate API will not create a new term with a new term id. Instead, the existing term will be loaded and the translation of the migrated field will be added. And thats exactly what we need!

Now go ahead and try to create a working example based on my explanation. Happy Drupal migrations!

Categories: Drupal

Flocon de toile | Freelance Drupal: Using the Drupal 8 Cron API to generate image styles

Planet Drupal - 5 January 2017 - 2:08am

We saw in a previous post how we could automatically generate the image styles defined on a site for each uploaded source image. We will continue this post for this time to carry out the same operation using the Cron API of Drupal 8, which allows us to desynchronize these mass operations from actions carried out by users, and which can therefore penalize performances.

Categories: Drupal

Deeson: New version of Warden, open source site tracker and manager for Drupal

Planet Drupal - 5 January 2017 - 2:00am

We’re very pleased to announce a new beta release of our popular open source Warden software, developed in-house at Deeson and which reports and keeps track of multiple Drupal websites on different platforms. This version updates the MongoDB PHP driver driver version, but also fixes a number of number of other issues.

As well as this, we’re also planning our next release, which we’re looking at including JavaScript library versions (jQuery, Backbone, React.js etc) and server package versions (Apache, Nginx, Varnish, MySQL etc). This will help provide further information about the package versions being used by sites and servers you’re running, helping you understand where vulnerabilities could be and highlight libraries that need updating.

The Warden server software itself is written in Symfony and can be downloaded from GitHub. It works by providing a central dashboard which lists all the Drupal sites a developer might be working on, highlighting any that need issues, for example those that need updates. It’s composed of two parts - a module which needs to be installed on each of your websites and a central dashboard hosted on a web server.

Hosting companies like Acquia and Pantheon have their own reporting tools, but only if work if you only host websites on their platforms. If you have a number of websites running on multiple platforms, you need Warden to report on them all. Here is a guide to how Warden works.

Categories: Drupal

Agiledrop.com Blog: AGILEDROP: Drupal Blogs from December

Planet Drupal - 5 January 2017 - 12:08am
Last month we began with an overview of our blogs that were written in November. We promised that from now on, at the beginning of every month, you will be able to see, which Drupal blogs we have written for you over the past month. With that, you will be better informed. So, here's our December's work. Besides an overview of November's blogs from us and from other authors, we began our December's work with Drupal Camps in Middle America. There have been some complaints about the choice of the term Middle America, but we stand by our decision, which we also explained in the blog post.… READ MORE
Categories: Drupal

Log Events

New Drupal Modules - 4 January 2017 - 11:44pm

Provides a generic event log. Currently integrations with login activity events only. Can easily be extended to support additional events.

Categories: Drupal

Jeff Geerling's Blog: Thoughts on the Acquia Certified Drupal 8 Site Builder Exam

Planet Drupal - 4 January 2017 - 2:01pm

Another year, another Acquia Certification exam... (wait—I think I've said that before).

The latest of the updated Acquia Certification Exams is the Acquia Certified Drupal 8 Site Builder. It's meant for the average Drupal site builder to test and evaluate familiarity with building websites using Drupal 8, and it's the same as all the previous exams in style: a series of 40 questions posed in the conversational manner, with answers you would provide if you were telling a project manager or site owner how you would implement a feature.

Categories: Drupal

John Svensson: Cron and Queues in Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 4 January 2017 - 1:27pm

Cron is used to perform periodic actions. For example you would like to:

  • Send a weekly newsletter every Monday at 12:00 a.m.
  • Create a database backup once per day.
  • Publish or unpublish a scheduled node.
  • Send reminder emails to users to activate their accounts.

... or some other task(s) that has to be automated and run at specific intervals.

Cron in Drupal

Cron configuration can be found at Administration > Configuration > System > Cron

What tasks does Drupal perform when cron is run?

This depends entirely on what modules you have enabled and use of course, but here are some pretty usual examples on what tasks are run in cron:

  • Updating search indexes for your search engine when using Search core module.
  • Publishing or unpublishing nodes when using the Scheduler module.
  • If you have Update Manager module enabled, a task is run to look for updates. It also sends an email if you configured it to do so.
  • If you have dblog (Database logging) enabled this task deletes messages after a set limit.
  • Temporary uploaded files are deleted by the File module.
  • Fetch aggregated content when using Aggregator module.
Running cron

First we have the Automated Cron core module (sometimes referred as Poor man's cron) which during a page request checks when cron was last run and if it has been to long it processes the cron tasks as part of that requests.

Cron is set to run every third hours.

There are two things to consider when using this approach. If no one visits your website the cron doesn't run. Secondly, if the website is complex or the cron tasks are heavy the memory can exceed and slow down the page request.

The second approach is to actually setup a cron job that runs at the intervals you specify. Configuring this up depends on what system you use, but typically isn't that hard to do. If you use a shared host it's most likely you can do that right off in your control panel, and if you have your own server you can use the crontab command.

Read the Configuring cron jobs using the cron command on drupal.org for more details.

Implementing Cron tasks in Drupal

Cron tasks are defined by implementing the hook_cron hook in your module, just like in previous Drupal versions.

/** * Implements hook_cron(). */ function example_cron() { // Do something here. }

And that's pretty much it. Rebuild cache and next time cron runs your hook will be called and executed.

There are a couple of things we have to take in to consideration:

When did my Cron task run the last time?

One way to remember that is using State API which stores transient information, the documentation explains it as such:

It is specific to an individual environment. You will never want to deploy it between environments.
You can reset a system, losing all state. Its configuration remains.
So, use State API to store transient information, that is okay to lose after a reset. Think: CSRF tokens, tracking when something non-critical last happened …

With that in mind, we could do something like:

$last_run = \Drupal::state()->get('example.last_run', 0); // If 60 minutes passed since last time. if ((REQUEST_TIME - $last_run) > 3600) { // Do something. // Update last run. \Drupal::state()->set('example.last_run', REQUEST_TIME); }

To ensure our task is only run once per hour. Again though, if our Cron is set to run in a periodic longer than one hour it won't run every hour. (Who could have guessed that?) If you use Automatic cron and have no activity during some hours, the cron won't be run then as well.

How time consuming is my task?

Operations like deleting rows from a table in the database with timestamp as condition is pretty light task and can be executed directly in the hook_cron implementation. Like so:

// Example from the docs. $expires = \Drupal::state()->get('mymodule.last_check', 0); \Drupal::database()->delete('mymodule_table') ->condition('expires', $expires, '>=') ->execute(); \Drupal::state()->set('mymodule.last_check', REQUEST_TIME);

But if you have to run tasks that takes time, generating PDF, updating a lot of nodes, import aggregated content and such you should instead use something called QueueWorkers which lets you split up the work that needs to be done in to a queue that can later be processed over the course of later cron runs and prevents that a single cron eventually fails due to a time out.

QueueWorkers and Queues

So, we have a long-running task we want to process. As mentioned earlier we shouldn't just put all the processing into the hook as it can lead to timeouts and failures. Instead we want to split up the work into a queue and process them. The queues will later be processed in a later cron.

So let's pretend we've created a site where user can subscribe to things and when they do, they get an email sent with an attached PDF, for the sake of the example we'll also send emails to the admins that someone subscribed. Both sending emails and generating PDF are long running tasks especially if we are doing them at the same time, so let's add those items to an queue and let a queue worker process it instead.

To add a queue, we first get the queue and then add the item to it:

// Get queue. $queue = \Drupal::queue('example_queue'); // Add some fake data. $uid = 1; $subscriber_id = 2; $item = (object) ['uid' => $uid, 'subscriber_id' => $subscriber_id]; // Create item to queue. $queue->createItem($item);

So we get an queue object by a name, a name which is later used to identify which Queue Worker that should process it. And then we add an item to it by simply calling the createItem method.

Next we'll have to create a QueueWorker plugin. The QueueWorker is responsible for processing a given queue, a set of items.

Let's define a plugin with some pseudo long running task:

modules/custom/example_queue/src/Plugin/ExampleQueueWorker.php:

<?php /** * @file * Contains \Drupal\example_queue\Plugin\QueueWorker\ExampleQueueWorker. */ namespace Drupal\example_queue\Plugin\QueueWorker; use Drupal\Core\Queue\QueueWorkerBase; /** * Processes tasks for example module. * * @QueueWorker( * id = "example_queue", * title = @Translation("Example: Queue worker"), * cron = {"time" = 90} * ) */ class ExampleQueueWorker extends QueueWorkerBase { /** * {@inheritdoc} */ public function processItem($item) { $uid = $item->uid; $subscrition_id = $item->subscription_id; $user = \Drupal\user\Entity\User::load($uid); // Get some email service. $email_service = \Drupal::service('example.email'); // Generate PDF $subscriber_service = \Drupal::service('example.subscriber_pdf'); $pdf_attachment = $subscriber_service->buildPdf($subscriber_id, $user); // Do some stuff and send a mail. $emailService->prepareEmail($pdf_attachment); $emailService->send(); $emailService->notifyAdmins($subscriber_id, $user); } }

So let's break it down.

We use the Annotation to tell Drupal it's a QueueWorker plugin we created.

/** * Processes tasks for example module. * * @QueueWorker( * id = "example_queue", * title = @Translation("Example: Queue worker"), * cron = {"time" = 90} * ) */

The id argument is the most important since it must match the machine name of the queue we defined earlier.

The cron argument is optional and basically tells Drupal that when the cron is run it should spend maximum this time to process the queue, for this example we used 90 seconds.

Then we implement the public function processItem($item) { method which will pass the data we gave for each item when we created the queue.

In the pseudo example I'm loading the user uid we passed in to the queue item and then getting 2 services which one generates a PDF (pretty heavy operation) and the second one that supposedly later emails it. We then send emails to all the admins through the notifyAdmins method. So that was pretty simple. We simply create a new plugin class, use the Annotation to tell Drupal its a plugin and then implement the method which gets the data from where we added the item to the queue.

For this example we just added some operation to be processed in a queue that doesn't necessarily belong in the cron hook but instead when the user actually subscribed for something. So what I'm essentially saying here is that you don't need to create a queue in a cron hook, but can do that anywhere in your code.
In practise its the same thing, you get the queue $queue = \Drupal::queue('example_queue') and then add item to the queue $queue->createItem($data) and then define ourselves a QueueWorker which then processes the queue items when cron is run.

So the question we should ask ourselves here: Should we add individual tasks to a queue and let cron process it? And the answer - it depends. If the task slows down the request and keeps the user waiting, it's definitely something to consider. These things may be a better case for using something like a Background job, but you may not always be able to do that (and nothing that comes out of the box in Drupal) and if so a cron will take of some significant time from the request so it's not too slow for the user (..or timeouts for that matter).

Here's all the code without the pseudo code that you can use as boilerplate:

<?php /** * @file * Contains \Drupal\example_queue\Plugin\QueueWorker\ExampleQueueWorker. */ namespace Drupal\example_queue\Plugin\QueueWorker; use Drupal\Core\Queue\QueueWorkerBase; /** * Processes tasks for example module. * * @QueueWorker( * id = "example_queue", * title = @Translation("Example: Queue worker"), * cron = {"time" = 90} * ) */ class ExampleQueueWorker extends QueueWorkerBase { /** * {@inheritdoc} */ public function processItem($item) { } }

For a real example, take a look at the Aggregator module which uses Cron and QueueWorkers.

Categories: Drupal

UI Patterns

New Drupal Modules - 4 January 2017 - 10:49am

Work in progress on this GitHub repository.

Categories: Drupal

Ben's SEO Blog: Drupal is Better for SEO than Adobe Experience Manager

Planet Drupal - 4 January 2017 - 10:35am
Introduction

There are many choices out there for Web Content Management Systems (WCMS). Many commercial tools tout features and say that they compare favorably to Drupal, the leading open source solution for sophisticated WCMS. In this brief, I have researched to the best of my ability the features that make Drupal stand out from Adobe Experience Manager SEO.

I offer these caveats to my findings: 1) I have never personally used Adobe Experience Manager (AEM). That, in and of itself, is a drawback to the system. It is difficult to get a working demo of the platform. In Drupal, anyone can download and install it. 2) I have not talked to any Adobe representatives about these findings. Instead, I used Adobe’s public documentation to do my research. I also looked at third party how-to websites and a handful of published books. I have included links to publically available resources when available. 3) I am a Drupal SEO expert, not an Adobe Experience Manager expert so my viewpoint is skewed. However, I am a big fan of Adobe and have been since I started using Photoshop in 1993. I believe that these findings are fair, accurate, and truly reflect some of the advantages that Drupal brings to the table and the work still ahead for AEM.

Community Responsiveness

In Drupal, you get an open source community that has proved willing to do anything to make the product, site builder, marketer, and user experiences better. A very recent example of this is the release of Google AMP (https://www.ampproject.org/). Announced in late 2015, the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project is “an open source initiative that embodies the vision that publishers can create mobile optimized content once and have it load instantly everywhere”. It’s a way to give a much faster content experience to mobile users. While still in its infancy, it’s a very promising technology that will benefit the entire web. Google has specifically stated that it will start giving preference (e.g. higher rankings and more traffic) to sites that use AMP. (http://www.wired.com/2016/02/google-will-now-favor-pages-use-fast-loading-tech/) The Drupal community released a beta AMP feature in late Feb, 2016. This allows almost any Drupal 7 or 8 site to serve AMP-powered pages. As of May 16, after extensive online searches, I can’t find any documentation of support in Adobe Experience Manager for Google AMP. (Note that Adobe Analytics is an active partner in AMP so tracking AMP pages does exist however there are no instructions or references on how to serve AMP in any documentation that I can currently find.)

Advanced Tools for Paths

In Adobe Experience Manager, vanity URLs do not support regex patterns. (https://docs.adobe.com/docs/en/aem/6-2/deploy/configuring/resource-mappi...) What this means is that you can’t do redirects like specify a pattern like "old-blog/*" and a target like "new-blog" and all pages under old-blog will be redirected to the page new-blog.

In Drupal, this functionality has been supported since September 2013 with the Match Redirect module (https://www.drupal.org/project/match_redirect). This greatly simplifies and reduces work, as anyone who has decided to change their site structure can attest.

Migration is Easier

Another path-related example that seems to have no corollary in Adobe Experience Manager is Pathologic. (https://www.drupal.org/project/pathologic) Pathologic is an “input filter” module. This means that it runs on your content and makes some adjustment or change to it before the server pushes it out to the visitor’s browser. In this case, Pathologic fixes broken links in situations when URLs have changed. For example, if you move to a new domain name or your site structure changes, say, you moved your Drupal installation from one directory to another. Well, normally, that breaks hundreds or thousands of links, images, and references. Pathologic cleanly fixes this problem easily. Another great example is that relative links or embedded images that use relative URLs don’t work in RSS feeds. Pathologic fixes that quickly and easily.

Automatic Fixes to Rewritten URLs

Yet another path-related issue is that Adobe Experience Manager doesn’t seem to offer any type of automatic fixes if a path is changed. In Drupal, this is handled by the Redirect module. So, for example, you write a Product page on your site called “Keywords and Me” which lives at www.myurl.com/keywords-and-me. But then, after a year, you realize that to SEO that page, you need to change it to “Key Phrases and Me” and change the URL to “www.myurl.com/key-phrases-and-me”. Drupal, when properly configured, would automatically create a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new URL. This would preserve much of the value of your incoming links, provide a better user experience, and update Google that the old content lives at a new address.

Duplicate Content

In fact, the whole vanity URL system in Adobe Experience Manager has a tendency to create duplicate content. That is, content that lives on two different URLs. (See the video: https://helpx.adobe.com/experience-manager/kb/vanity-urls.html). The video demonstrates how content lives at one URL but the vanity URL also shows the exact same content. This would require, at the minimum, a canonical tag to let Google know where the content actually lives. Either Adobe expects users of their system to already know this, it was overlooked, or it’s not possible.

Preventing Common Errors

The page (https://helpx.adobe.com/experience-manager/kb/vanity-urls.html) describes a situation where the Adobe Experience Manager admin accidentally defined two different pages to resolve on a single URL “dealoftheday”. There is a complicated set of steps and a separate “Sling Resource Resolver” tool required to identify the problem and address the issue. In Drupal, this simply cannot happen as a warning would occur that allows the content creator to fix this glaring problem when the content is created. In fact, these kinds of user-friendly warnings that prevent common errors are used throughout the Drupal admin interface to help prevent the inevitable cruft that builds up in long-standing web projects.

Simplicity for Marketers

Drupal has taken great strides in making it as easy as possible for you to SEO your website. There are many tools to accomplish just about anything you can imagine. And, most of them use the same admin interface embedded in Drupal that is familiar. There is extensive documentation as well as embedded help text.

After spending a few hours reading Adobe’s Experience Manager documentation, I’ve concluded that SEO on Adobe Experience Manager is a complex undertaking. Take a look at https://docs.adobe.com/docs/en/aem/6-2/manage/seo-and-url-management.html. An example sentence:

The SCR annotation for this type of servlet would look something like this: @SlingServlet(resourceTypes = "myBrand/components/pages/myPageType", selectors = "myRenderer", extensions = "json”, methods=”GET”) In this case, the resource that the URL addresses, an instance of the myPageType resource, is accessible in the servlet automatically. To access it, you call: Resource myPage = req.getResource();

That's not exactly marketing-friendly.

Here’s another one:

The SlingResourceResolver can be found at /system/console/config on any AEM instance and it is recommended that you build out the mappings that are needed to shorten URLs as regular expressions and include these configurations under a config.publish OsgiConfig node that is included in your build. Rather than doing your mappings in /etc/map, they can be assigned directly to the resource.resolver.mapping property:

resource.resolver.mapping="[/content/my-brand/(.*)$&lt;/$1]"

This isn’t something that any marketer can or should have to understand. I understand that there are likely developers involved in a web project that understand this kind of tech-speak. However, the more I rely on a technician to fix my SEO issues, the less control I have and the longer (generally) that it takes to make the changes I need.

The Power of Taxonomy

Drupal has a system called Taxonomy that is an SEO’s dream. When a content creator tags content, Drupal automatically creates a page for that tag that is well optimized for search engines. That tag page is automatically added to the XML Sitemap so it shows up in Google quickly. And, when additional content is tagged with the same tag, the tag page is automatically updated. Of course tag pages can be even further optimized similarly to how node pages are optimized - with additional text and meta data. Adobe Experience Manager does support tagging but it seems to be limited to showing “tag clouds”. It does not support custom tag pages and the site admin must “Select the page to be referenced” by each tag - a time-consuming process that is not updated dynamically. (See https://docs.adobe.com/docs/en/aem/6-2/author/page-authoring/default-com... #Tag Cloud )

The Development Effort Required for Great SEO

Adobe Experience Manager requires significantly more effort in configuration than Drupal to achieve optimal SEO. This means that there is more to maintain, more things that could go wrong, and more reliance on the time and technical expertise of your development team. Examples that can be taken from https://docs.adobe.com/docs/en/aem/6-2/manage/seo-and-url-management.html include Canonical URLs, Case Sensitivity, and XML Sitemap. I’m sure there are others.

Conclusion

It’s clear that there are many distinct SEO advantages to using Drupal for your website. While this review is not conclusive, and it is almost certain that Adobe will continue to improve their product and make it a better tool and easier for marketers, as it stands today, Drupal is the clear winner. Even if Adobe does soon bring parity for SEO, the ongoing competitive advantage that Drupal has is the one addressed first: that of Community. The Drupal community is many, many times larger than the Adobe development team. That means that there is and always will be more resources going into making Drupal the best that it can be. Drupal is backed by Acquia, who provides a level of support on par with Adobe and many more advanced personalization tools that make Adobe Experience Manager so attractive. In my opinion, Drupal wins and will keep winning.

A comparison of major SEO functionality between the two platforms clearly shows Drupal winsdrupal seo, adobe experience manager, seo, Planet Drupal
Categories: Drupal

Acquia Developer Center Blog: What is DevOps?

Planet Drupal - 4 January 2017 - 8:06am

DevOps is a much used term, but it seems like everyone you talk to has a different definition of it. Here's my own interpretation.

Tags: acquia drupal planet
Categories: Drupal

Deeson: Thinking fast and slow in digital

Planet Drupal - 4 January 2017 - 7:36am

Successfully delivering a digital project starts by understanding how we, as humans, think. The better we get at identifying what might mislead us and learning to focus on what is important, the more chances we have for delivering a successful project. We need to cultivate our ability to think slow in order to deliver something that will enable others to act fast.

In the book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, psychologist Daniel Kahneman provides a conceptual framework to help us better understand how we think. The basic tenet is that we have two systems that influence us and they are in constant competition.

System 1, as Kahneman calls it, is fast, instinctive and emotional. System 2 is more deliberative, rational and effortful. He goes on to describe a number of experiments that demonstrate how we often allow System 1 to lead us down the wrong path when faced with complex and unusual situations as we attempt to anchor them in what we know and relate them to patterns we’ve seen in the past.

Digital projects, it could be argued, are almost perfectly designed to set these traps for our minds and lead us down the wrong path. Here are some examples.

Framing

What on the surface can appear as a simple request such as “our organisation needs a website”, once unpacked, opens up a significant number of questions that go well beyond what people intuitively consider the domain of digital design. Framing, as psychologists call it, significantly influences our subsequent choices. If we frame the problem of creating a website in terms of “what CMS will allow us to create pages quickly” as opposed to “what reactions do we want to generate from users”, we will go down a very different (and not very useful) path.  

Substitution problem

The relatively young age of the discipline of digital design means there is an unusually high level of noise within the information available. It is easy to be misled as to the actual complexity of the task and become overly concerned with a specific aspect (which CMS, which technology, which colours, etc). Breaking through the noise to get to what is really useful challenges the very core of how we as humans are equipped to think. In particular Kahneman describes, through what he calls the substitution problem, how we are naturally inclined to substitute complex questions (e.g. “What is the most important message our organisation should get across?”) with apparently simpler, but not as useful, questions (e.g. “What colour should the page footer be in?”).

The Planning fallacy

The actual realisation of a project requires a variety of different disciplines to complete. Digital strategy, design, user experience, analytics and software engineering all come into play. Each brings its own terminology and set of norms and you are taken on a whirlwind tour of the possibilities and called to sign-off in time for the project to keep pace and stay within budget. Unfortunately, as Kahneman explains, humans are also inflicted by a planning fallacy. We tend to consistently underestimate the time required to complete a task. At the same time optimism bias means that we overestimate the benefits.

Think slow to allow others to act fast

What are we to do then? Understanding both how we think and how people that interact with our website think is central to delivering a successful digital project. We improve our chances of success by recognizing that designing, planning and delivering the project is going to take deliberative, rational and effortful thought.

As we have seen, we have to avoid a number of pitfalls and stereotypes and challenge what we think we know in order to create something that achieves our goals. At the same time, the project we deliver needs to engage with people in a manner that is fast, instinctive and emotional. We cannot expect visitors to engage with our site using their slow and rational systems.

At Deeson we have built a project delivery process that helps us avoid or minimise the risks of these pitfalls. During our Discovery phase we hold a one-day Blueprint workshop that directly aims to address the framing issue by getting all stakeholders in a single room and guiding them through a discovery process, with the aim of defining the problem we are trying to solve.

Ongoing internal debates and unlimited training budgets for all employees means that we are not afraid to explore the hard questions and avoid the substitution problem. Finally, empowered and multi-disciplinary teams working closely with clients through an agile methodology mean that the state of the project is kept in check and planning is focused on realistic deliverables.

In short, we need to engage our deliberative and rational side in order to produce systems that are beautiful, intuitive and emotional. Deeson’s approach is designed to achieve just that.

 

Categories: Drupal

lakshminp.com: Composer autoloading and Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 4 January 2017 - 6:55am

Ever wondered what exists inside the vendor/ directory of your Drupal or PHP codebase? Let's dive down the rabbit hole and see.

A little bit of history

Let's digress into a little history lesson to see why things are they way they are in the PHP autoloading world.

Categories: Drupal

Mediacurrent: Creating and Updating Comments with Drupal’s REST Services and Javascript

Planet Drupal - 4 January 2017 - 6:48am

I recently had a need to allow users to create a single comment on two node types, of which only the author could access.  Part of the decision for limiting users to one comment per node was to keep the database size down.  We only wanted one comment to be made per node, and future comments made as edits to the original.

Categories: Drupal

Config Token

New Drupal Modules - 4 January 2017 - 6:47am

Allows custom tokens to be stored and exported via configuration manager.
It works in a similar way of Token Custom, the main difference is the storage.
This module works with Domain module.

Categories: Drupal

Mediacurrent: Fight Bad Intranets with Killer User Personas

Planet Drupal - 4 January 2017 - 5:57am

Intranets get a bad reputation. Probably because there are so many outdated and confusing corporate intranets suffering from content sprawl.

Content sprawl happens when there isn’t a content management plan for how to remove outdated content, how to curate content, and/or a process for how to ensure new content gets added to the right spot. Not having a plan might not be so bad for the first couple months after an intranet launches, but fast forward a little bit and you can have a tangled mess of content spaghetti.

Categories: Drupal

Drupal Association News: 2017 Community Board Elections Begins 1 February

Planet Drupal - 4 January 2017 - 5:11am

Now that Drupal 8 is a year old, it is an exciting time to be on the Drupal Association Board. With Drupal always evolving, the Association must evolve with it so we can continue providing the right kind of support. And, it is the Drupal Association Board who develops the Association’s strategic direction by engaging in discussions around a number of strategic topics throughout their term. As a community member, you can be part of this important process by becoming an At-large Board Member.

We have two At-large positions on the Association Board of Directors. These positions are self-nominated and then elected by the community. Simply put, the At-large Director position is designed to ensure there is community representation on the Drupal Association Board. If you are interested in helping shape the future of the Drupal Association, we encourage you to read this post and nominate yourself between 1 February and 19 February 2017.

How do nominations and elections work?
Specifics of the election mechanics were decided through a community-based process in 2012 with participation by dozens of Drupal community members. More details can be found in the proposal that was approved by the Drupal Association Board in 2012 and adapted for use this year.

What does the Drupal Association Board do?
The Board of Directors of the Drupal Association are responsible for financial oversight and setting the strategic direction for serving the Drupal Association’s mission, which we achieve through Drupal.org and DrupalCon. Our mission is: Drupal powers the best of the Web.  The Drupal Association unites a global open source community to build and promote Drupal.

New board members will contribute to the strategic direction of the Drupal Association. Board members are advised of, but not responsible for matters related to the day-to-day operations of the Drupal Association, including program execution, staffing, etc.

Directors are expected to contribute around five hours per month and attend three in-person meetings per year (financial assistance is available if required).

Association board members, like all board members for US-based organizations, have three legal obligations: duty of care, duty of loyalty, and duty of obedience. In addition to these legal obligations, there is a lot of practical work that the board undertakes. These generally fall under the fiduciary responsibilities and include:

  • Overseeing Financial Performance
  • Setting Strategy
  • Setting and Reviewing Legal Policies
  • Fundraising
  • Managing the Executive Director

To accomplish all this, the board comes together three times a year during two-day retreats. These usually coincide with the North American and European DrupalCons as well as one February meeting. As a board member, you should expect to spend a minimum of five hours a month on board activities.

Some of the topics that will be discussed over the next year or two are:

  • Strengthening Drupal Association’s sustainability
  • Understanding what the Project needs to move forward and determine how the Association can help meet those needs through Drupal.org and DrupalCon
  • Growing Drupal adoption through our own channels and partner channels
  • Developing the strategic direction for DrupalCon and Drupal.org
  • And more!

Please watch this video to learn more.

Who can run?
There are no restrictions on who can run, and only self-nominations are accepted.

Before self-nominating, we want candidates to understand what is expected of board members and what types of topics they will discuss during their term. That is why we now require candidates to:

What will I need to do during the elections?
During the elections, members of the Drupal community will ask questions of candidates. You can post comments on candidate profiles here on assoc.drupal.org and to the public Drupal Association group at http://groups.drupal.org/drupal-association.

In the past, we held group “meet the candidate” interviews. With 22 candidates last year, group videos didn’t allow each candidate to properly express themselves. This year, we will replace the group interview and allow candidates to create their own 3 minute video and add it to their candidate profile page. These videos must be posted by 20 February, the Association will promote the videos to the community from 20 February through 4 March, 2017.

How do I run?
From 1 - 19 February, go here to nominate yourself.  If you are considering running, please read the entirety of this post, and then be prepared to complete the self-nomination form. This form will be open on 1 February, 2017 through 19 February, 2017 at midnight UTC. You'll be asked for some information about yourself and your interest in the Drupal Association Board. When the nominations close, your candidate profile will be published and available for Drupal community members to browse. Comments will be enabled, so please monitor your candidate profile so you can respond to questions from community members.

Reminder, you must review the materials listed above before completing your candidate profile:

Who can vote?
Voting is open to all individuals who have a Drupal.org account by the time nominations open and who have logged in at least once in the past year. If you meet this criteria, your account will be added to the voters list on association.drupal.org and you will have access to the voting.
To vote, you will rank candidates in order of your preference (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.). The results will be calculated using an "instant runoff" method. For an accessible explanation of how instant runoff vote tabulation works, see videos linked in this discussion.

Elections process
Voting will be held from 6 March, 2017 through 18 March, 2017. During this period, you can review and comment on candidate profiles on assoc.drupal.org and engage all candidates through posting to the Drupal Association group. Have questions? Please contact Drupal Association Executive Director, Megan Sanicki. Many thanks to nedjo for pioneering this process and documenting it so well!
Flickr photo: Clyde Robinson

Categories: Drupal

XIO Blog: Combining Drupal 7 and 8: a new public site in Drupal 8, maintaining a separate login site for customers or members in Drupal 7

Planet Drupal - 4 January 2017 - 3:15am
Often websites are upgraded to Drupal 8 because the time has come for a new, fresh look in order to generate business and attract new customers or members. This does not affect the separate member or customer section per se. There the emphasis tends to be on integrated tools for providing support to the users and these tools do not need to be upgraded that often.  
Categories: Drupal

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