DrupalCon is one of my favorite weeks of the year. Now that it’s over, I’ve had some time to go back and reflect a bit about the week and what I got out of it.
Let’s delve into Drupal module development!
Here is a practical guide by InternetDevels developer
on how to create modules for Drupal 8.
In this article, we will look at the process of building modules for Drupal 8. Specifically, we will create two pages, one of which will add data to its own table, and the other will display the content the right way for us. So let’s begin!Read more
The Dish on Crushing it as a Drupal Developer
Whether you are with an organization switching to Drupal, or you have chosen to make Drupal the focus of your web developer career, your future can be a lot of different things depending on your goals, your focus and your personality. It’s never easy shifting your career, and with Drupal, there are no official, defined developer career recipes to guide you.
The good news is, the ingredients are out there. Within the open-sourcey, especially welcoming, social melting pot that is the Drupal Community, there are a lot of career resources, organizations, individuals, advice and success stories that you can draw on to help you make good choices. Here are a few tips to add to the mix.
Learn early on to do things the right way
Drupal is to web development what snowboarding is to winter sports. They say that it takes a lot longer to learn to snowboard than to ski, but once you get the hang of it, you learn advanced things more quickly, and are able to do a lot more (and have a lot more fun) on a snowboard than you could on skis.
Investing a good amount of time and focus on learning the foundations of Drupal and developing habits based on best practices will really help you reach proficiency, and let you go farther, faster in the long run. The key is making sure you take the time to learn best practices, and don’t go for shortcuts before you’ve got the basics.
Another part of learning the right technical skills is to learn key elements of Drupal, not just in the right way, but in an order that will give you stackable skills. Getting key concepts down at the start will help to not only build your abilities, but feed your confidence. At DrupalEasy, we call them the Big 5:
We feel that mastering these concepts is so important, that in our long-form career training program, the curriculum is designed with examples and excercises that specifically draw on the Big 5 as solutions over and over to ensure that they become second nature for every participant.
Don’t be shy, even if you are
The Drupal Community is unique. There is always an opportunity to help, and there always seems to be someone to provide a little guidance or an answer when you have a question. Make sure you become part of Drupal.org, find an IRC channel that you feel comfortable with, and go to local meetups.
We really can’t overstate how key getting involved in the Drupal community is to your technical and professional success. Once you register on Drupal.org, you can access myriad ways to get involved and help with the Drupal project. Helping to test, sorting out issues and contributing to documentation will not only help build your skills and confidence, it will build your reputation. Even before you are ready to contribute on the technical side, you can join your local Drupal Users’ Group and start by attending, meeting others, and eventually helping to organize events.
Drupal friends and mentors really come in handy as you progress along your career path, more so than in other industries because of the nature of Drupal. We all rely on each other to build, enhance, fix and grow the project, so the more we work together, the better the project, and the better we will be as Drupal professionals. We feel really strongly about this as well, which is why we require all of our Drupal Career program participants to get involved, and we provide everyone a community mentor to kick-start their community efforts from the start of the program.
Just do it, and do it again, and again
With anything, if you want to master it, you need to practice, and practice a lot. Build sites for fun and experience. Like snowboarding, it is especially hard when you first start out, but if you stick with it, and take the struggles as opportunities to learn and get better, you will surely succeed. You’ve also got a lot of potential help and guidance through the community (since you have already taken that advice to heart,) so take advantage of it early on and be prepared to give back when you can.
Our training programs stress this concept of practice, repetition of key skills as you learn more and more, as well as different methods to help you learn them. We are strong believers in building your skills and really understanding Drupal, and that means live instruction by practicing experts, lesson guides, examples, exercises and screencasts to help you soak in the material in different ways. However you learn, take advantage of resources, find different ways to absorb and engage, and practice, practice, practice.
If you would like to learn more about how to succeed in Drupal and our long-form training program, you can sign up for one of two, no-cost Taste of Drupal workshops coming up and explore the resources below.
Taste of Drupal free workshop
Drupal Career Online Program
Last week the Couchbase team released the new 4.5 version of Couchbase Server.
You can see all the new introduced features here:
- Exposing reverse entity reference fields in Drupal
- Drupal Session Handler: everything you need to know
- Couchbase 4.5 released: now x6 faster than MongoDB
- Making namespaced callbacks work in Drupal 7 (without hacking core and with bound parameters)
- Drupal 8 Couchbase Integration
- Distinct options in a views exposed filter: The Views Selective Filters Module
- Twig PHP extension binaries for Windows
- Benchmarking Drupal 7 on PHP 7-dev
- Drupal 8 Wincache Integration
- Build GIT on Windows from Sources
Entities were introduced from Drupal 7. I would say in Drupal 8 , entities are essential part takers like node, users, files, images and comments, etc.. Still sometimes you need to create custom entities according to your requirements. From the experience of working with some of the top level Media companies in the world, sometimes we need to create custom entity types. Example like recently we got the requirement to create the entity for string the analytic data of the Articles. Why we need to create the custom entity instead of using nodes or exiting entities, because the client doesn’t want to show the data in content administration page (‘admin/content’). Still it should be able…
DrupalCamp Bristol is back for a second year, with a variety of talks covering hot topics in the Drupal (and wider digital) area. This year we will be hosting the event over 3 days with a Business Day, Conference Day and Sunday Sprints which is open to all.Business Day (Friday 22nd July)
The event is aimed at business leaders and decision makers who are already familiar with Drupal, however client-side digital managers who are either responsible for a Drupal website or are considering using Drupal as a CMS of choice in the future will certainly find the day useful.
The event will be held within Colston Hall's prestigious Lantern room, and will feature lunch and refreshments throughout, along with a social event later in the evening at Colston Yard. Thank you to our kind sponsors for providing the bar tab!
This year we welcome the following talks:
- New and improved … and amazing! Selling tech as business value, not shiny widgets. - Jeffrey A. "jam" McGuire (Open Source Evangelist, Acquia)
- Elementary, my dear Watson (the movie guide to accessibility) - Léonie Watson (Senior Accessibility Engineer, The Paciello Group)
- We hold these Online truths to be self-evident - Andrew Godleman (Transport for London Online)
- Story mapping and sketching: humanising the requirements process - Mike Dunn, Will Scott (UX Consultants, Sift Digital)
- Personalisation: The Holy Grail - Ben Wilding (MD, Cameron & Wilding)
- Client Panel: a Q+A session with digital managers and product owners managing Drupal websites
The event is primarily aimed at agency teams who use Drupal regularly, such as developers, PMs/AMs, and other agency team roles, and will consist of both high level talks and in-depth technical talks to suit all. This year we are welcoming a larger number of speakers over 3 individual tracks.
The event will again be held at the University of Bristol's School of Chemistry, and will feature lunch and refreshments throughout, along with a social event later in the evening at Zero Degrees. We are still looking for a Saturday Social Sponsor - please get in touch if you are interested.
We are also pleased to announce a Quiz this year as a change to the closing session. Prizes will be given to the best teams!
If you are interested in staying for the weekend and would like to get involved with Drupal community contribution, then please feel free to attend the Sunday sprints. Torchbox have kindly provided their offices from 10am to 4pm and refreshments will be provided. Tickets are free, although we ask you to sign-up via Eventbrite to register your interest.
Looking forward to seeing everybody there,
The DrupalCamp Bristol Committee.
Written by: Rick Donohoe, Account Manager
Microserve is a Drupal Agency based in Bristol, UK. We specialise in Drupal Development, Drupal Site Audits and Health Checks, and Drupal Support and Maintenance. Contact us for for further information.
The TWG coding standards committee is announcing two coding standards changes for final discussion. These appear to have reached a point close enough to consensus for final completion. The new process for proposing and ratifying changes is documented on the coding standards project page.
New issues for discussion:
Updates on existing issues:
- Stop disallowing camelCase for local variables / parameters - is approved and in the core queue for official core approval.
- [Policy, no patch] PHP 5.4 short array syntax coding standards
- Should we require a blank line after <?php? is approved by core and sniff implemented in coder - ratification of this rule is pending.
- Allow camelCase also for local variables / parameters (the committee is drafting a comment)
- [policy, no patch] Standardize indenting on chained method calls has been moved to the core queue for core approval.
- Add type hinting to function declaration coding standards has been moved to the core queue for core approval.
- [Policy, no patch] Delete permission to pad spacing in a block of related assignments has been marked "needs work" and discussion continues for now. Committee to reevaluate.
- [Policy, no patch] PHP 5.4 short array syntax coding standards Currently marked "needs work" but discussion appears to have stalled. Committee to review at next meeting.
These proposals will be re-evaluated during the next coding standards meeting currently scheduled for July 12. At that point the discussion will likely be extended, or if clear consensus has been reached one or more policies may be dismissed or ratified and moved to the next step in the process.
On behalf of all contributors to the MongoDB module suite for Drupal over the years, I am pleased to announce the 8.x-2.0-alpha1 release of the MongoDB package for Drupal 8, six years after we started this project on Drupal 6.
This release is the first step to an initial stable release of the MongoDB package for Drupal 8, containing:
- mongodb a module exposing the new PHP library as Symfony services exposed to a Drupal 8.x instance. It is designed as a minimal and consistent connection layer on top of the PHP library for MongoDB, for all modules targeting MongoDB on Drupal 8.x, be they contributed or bespoke.
- mongodb_watchdog a PSR-3 logger storing event data in MongoDB. On top of the features already present in 6.x and 7.x versions, it introduces a per-request report showing all events logged during a request, in order.
It’s summertime, but tireless drupalers are as active as ever in bringing Drupal 8 to perfection — it looks like the sun gives them the energy! Each day, they are making the latest major version of this famous site-building framework more and more ready for any kinds of complicated projects.Read more
The Core Conversations track is a place for sessions that spark discussion, open questions, and form the base for an ongoing development in the Drupal core space. We’d like to offer all accepted sessions some help facilitating or moderating discussion. The session could be a debate style panel, or a more traditional presentation.
Welcome to the first installment of our three part Drupal 8, Pantheon & GitKraken series. For more information on what this series will be covering check out our intro HERE.
We have several Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 upgrade projects going on, which is particularly challenging given how quickly the Drupal Migration system is changing. Given that a couple of them are nearing launch, and were missing some node references, I set out to get the content updated from the production sites before launch.Drupal 8Drupal MigrationDrupal PlanetDrupal upgrade
Vladimir Roudakov and I sat down at DrupalCon New Orleans to talk about an event close to my heart: the 2016 edition of Drupal South. This year, it'll be held in Australia's Gold Coast. Knowing the Australasian Drupal community, this will be a very high quality event in terms of what you'll be able to get out of it. And knowing the location, right by the world famous "Surfers' Paradise" beach, if you're into sun, fun and Drupal, you'll be in for a treat!
Below is a little information about the event and Vlad, plus video, audio, and a text transcription of our conversation.Drupal South 2016
- Website: goldcoast2016.drupal.org.au
- When: 27-28 October, 2016
- Where: Q1 Resort, Gold Coast, Australia
- What: 300-400 Drupal friends and experts sharing and learning
- Call for Papers: Submit sessions!
- Call for Sponsors: Become a sponsor!
- Name: Vladimir Roudakov
- Work affiliation: Senior Engineer, Educator, Social Engagement - Technocrat
- Drupal.org: VladimirAus
- Twitter: @handle
- LinkedIn: Vladimir Roudakov
jam: So Vladimir and I are in glamorous downtown New Orleans at DrupalCon 2016 in North America. How’s your Con been so far, Vlad?
Vlad: It was pretty overwhelming. It’s my second Con in the US and third Con altogether and it’s been amazing. Everyone should try it. Everyone should try at least one DrupalCon in their life.
jam: As you can hear from his accent, Vlad is from Australia.
jam: You work for Technocrat, right?
Vlad: That’s correct. Yes, I work for a company based in Sydney called Technocrat.Vlad meets Drupal
jam: How long have you been doing Drupal?
Vlad: I’ve been doing Drupal since 2009. I actually kind of gave up on enterprise back in the day and went to a small company that was run from a basement. The owner came to me with a pile of paper like that and said, “Do you know Drupal?” I said, “I worked with Joomla! before” and he said, “Well, here are all the passwords of my clients. Can you fix the sites?” It was a few Drupal 5 sites and majority of them were Drupal 6 sites. So that’s how I met Drupal. In the basement of the Queensland – well, it’s actually called “Queensland” there – the house. So it’s like in a basement of the house back in Australia.
jam: So your introduction to Drupal was a hundred rescue projects.
Vlad: About 50, yes - not a hundred.
jam: So what did you think about Drupal after opening those up?
Vlad: Well, I don’t think I had time to think about it. I was actually trying to learn it for quite a bit. So just doing it all myself. Yes, it took quite a while and again, was overwhelming but the interest and bit--and still today ... So it was – I guess almost seven years to-date. I keep learning every day, which is – I guess – the most exciting part.
jam: Have you been paying attention to Drupal 8? Have you been excited about that?
Vlad: Yes, I actually just certified as Drupal 8 Acquia certified developer and we just released two projects as a part of Technocrat with at least two Drupal 8 projects into the wild.
jam: Wow! So what are you most excited about, technically in Drupal 8? How is it going to make your job better?
Vlad: Well, it’s already doing it. The fact that it packages a lot of stull than before – we used to use as the modules. So making it more stable is one thing. The second – and I guess the most exciting bit that it kind of comes with hidden gems like a backbone frontend library and Symfony. It’s invisible for a naked eye – for a person who starts doing Drupal 8 or just get introduced for Drupal, but for us as the developers, that brings enormous amount of stuff hidden that we actually can leverage and use. So that’s very, very exciting.
jam: What would you say your favorite thing about Drupal is in all these years?
Vlad: That’s a tough one. There are too many things but I guess community. Yes. So basically, whenever I go to: DrupalCon in the US--I haven’t been to any Drupal events in Europe yet--but in Australia as well. It becomes like a second family.
jam: Yes. I feel really privileged to be able to have close friends that I can see two-three-four-five times a year all over the world in different places and you sort of pick up the conversation that you were having before. It keeps going it – really, it does sort of feel like a family but the good kind of family, I guess.Drupal South 2016
jam: So you might know that I grew up in New Zealand and you’re on the Drupal South organizing team this year for 2016. When and where is Drupal South going to be this year?When and Where?
Vlad: So this year, Drupal South is actually coming to the Gold Coast, which is on the east side of Australia. Coming from very cold and rainy Melbourne last year, it actually would be nice to see the sun. So we decided to do it right on the beach on Gold Coast. Originally, Drupal South used to be called Drupal Downunder because Australian and New Zealand events were two different events. So at the moment, they are packed together as Drupal South.
jam: So last week of October – for those of us in the northern hemisphere, if we want one more dose of warm weather, we should come to the Gold Coast. What can people expect from a Drupal South? Is it 80 people in a university basement or what is it like?
Vlad: We keep going back to basements. Now, it’s a – we’re actually going up this year. So I’ll talk about that a bit later but what’s actually happening is a few people came to me during this conference to say, “So what is Drupal South? Is it actually another Drupal camp?” and I’ll say, “No, no, we actually have three Drupal camps in Australia every year and this is an actual conference.” So this is pretty much what – if any of you came to DrupalCon 2013 in Sydney, that’s going to be exactly what it was there. So we are looking at approximately 300-350 people sharing the knowledge. There are some similarities with DrupalCon and the fact that DrupalCon is a big inspiration for me but also it’s going to be a bit different. So there’s going to be a few differences. Talking about the location, the Gold Coast itself, it’s a fun, family destination. We actually are located – I think half a block from the beach. We specifically moved it to October. First of all, not to smash too close together to events like DrupalCon but also because it’s going to be much, much warmer. The Gold Coast is a perfect destination because there are amusement parks, there are entertainment districts. It’s a strip of high rises that people were building since the ‘60s and ‘70s and it’s pretty much like a completely separate city. Actually, a few cities packed together. So it’s very nice. So if you are looking at some family vacations as well as learning or teaching some Drupal, you should definitely come.International Visitors
jam: Alright! Last week of October, 2016. I have been to the last two Drupal Souths and I was really, really happy. One of the things that I like at different Drupal events is the different mix of people but there were an awful lot of international guests in Melbourne. For example, a lot of people from India, a lot of people from China who I might not see in other places. So you’re expecting about 300 or 400 people. What kind of focus and what kind of activities are there going to be?
Vlad: Well, it’s basically – we are targeting mostly Drupal crowds as usual but this year, it’s a bit different. First of all, I think DrupalCon in Asia changed the perspective in Asia on DrupalCon and a few events like camps happening all over Asia like Manila, Shanghai also, I think to promote Drupal quite a bit. I talked to a few people here and we do expect international guests from India or from China and I think there are a few sponsors that are coming up from there so Australia definitely becoming an international destination in terms of Drupal.Student Day
Apart from your standard Drupal event where you have a number of sessions, maybe training, a few parties, we’re actually planning a few surprises and one of them – it’s a student day. So actually, at the moment we’re looking at a pre-conference day where we’re trying to get as many students as we can and either go to a local university, which we are trying to work out now. And actually teach Drupal to students or maybe organize a mini conference for them and promote the actual conference. We’re also trying to do that in advance before the conference. So just work with local universities and promote Drupal a bit more.Conference Sharing
Another thing is conference sharing. Something interest – I realized while traveling to different conferences in Australia, not many people are aware of conferences that are actually happening apart from stuff they’ve been doing for ages. For example, last year I went to WordCamp, WordPress mini conference that was in Brisbane and realized we don’t really have much overlap. There are excellent events happening for Python conference, excellent events put together by Linux Australia – a Linux conference. So what I’m trying to organize is to actually have a table or something to promote other conferences in Australia and New Zealand region to people. So I actually have more people going to PHP conferences next year because it would make sense for people doing Drupal to do that. So that’s another thing.More hands-on
The last thing we were planning to do is more hands-on session. So usually at DrupalCon, you come and listen to the person for a number of minutes. So say a half-an-hour session or a 45-minute session. So what we are looking at the moment – I’m not sure it’s going to happen – or how it’s going to happen and what format it’s going to be, but we are planning to have a hands-on session where the actual session itself is a mini training course and people can come in and learn about Views not just by watching the presentation but actually will try to present or to actually put together the mini-course so people can actually come and go away with something they built.
jam: Oh! So I can have a concrete achievement from having attended a session like that. That sounds great! That sounds like a really, really, really good idea.Call for Papers, Call for Sponsors
jam: When is the call for papers? Who should be coming to present? What else do you need?
Vlad: Head to the website to find out more information about sponsorships and sessions as well. So we accept sessions from everyone. If you are using Drupal as a company, if you are planning to use Drupal, if you have any experience in Drupal or so that you want to share, we’re going to have a – not that many actual session tracks but we’ll try to definitely have a distinct line between development, project management, and business. So that’s something that I also have a strong opinion about because a lot of project managers and businesses came to me and said, “Look, we are non-technical people and we also want to share.” On the same note, a lot of advanced developers came in and complained about not having enough advanced session.
jam: Nobody is ever happy ;-)
Vlad: Yes, that’s true but I’m actually trying to cater for that. Although the conference is not very big, we’re really, really trying to do that. So head to the website. There is a sponsor section there. There is a call for paper section there. Submit your session. I’m sure we’re going to have a good conference. One more thing to add is I was talking about heading up before. So one of the things is we are having the conference at Q1 building. It’s the Q1 Resort building. I think it’s an 80-something floor building. So it’s one of the tallest in the Gold Coast. It used to be tallest but someone already built much, much higher. So we’re actually going to split the conference between level two and level 78 and we’re going to have an access to an observation deck. So that’s one of the reasons to actually come in and see the Gold Coast from the level 77 and 78.
jam: What’s that website?
Vlad: The website is goldcoast2016.drupal.org.au.
jam: Alright. I will link to that in the show notes. I just want to say that I’ve been to a PHP conference in a hotel where the sessions were divided between the ground floor and the sixth floor and being in Germany, their elevators are small and slow. Make sure you’ll give us enough time to get between sessions in the elevator. Taking into account how many elevators there are because it jammed up the process at this thing that I’ve been to before.
Vlad: Well, I think we’re not going to split the actual sessions. We’ll either going to do some sponsors talks up in the sky or maybe have a coding lounge or something like that.
jam: That would be cool!Outta here!
jam: This is Vlad. He’s on the team for Drupal South 2016, which is happening in October and it sounds like it’s going to be a great venue. It sounds like it’ll be a great opportunity to combine it with some vacation time – very, very, very nice. I have been to a couple of these in the past and I really, really enjoyed them and I’ve been to another Drupal conference in Australia and I’ve gotten a lot out of them. So this is a great community. If you want to come and meet some new interesting Drupalists, I would say it’s very, very likely to be a good conference.
Alright Vlad, great talking to you! Have a great rest of DrupalCon. If you could see behind us, the lunch queue is starting to move and yes, it’s time to go get some food. Take care, man. Good to see you.
Vlad: Thanks a lot. Thanks a lot, jam.Skill Level: BeginnerIntermediateAdvanced
The following post is from the Acquia Lightning blog. Acquia Lightning, “the Drupal distribution for Enterprise Authoring,” is a Drupal starter kit that enables developers to create great authoring experiences and empower editorial teams. Lightning provides users with a lightweight framework for building working solutions in Drupal. For more information, including a product roadmap, and installation instructions, check out the Acquia Lightning site.Tags: acquia drupal planet
Six years ago the team at Amazee decided to start a Drupal agency called Amazee Labs in Zurich, Switzerland (read more about the Amazee journey) where I worked as a Drupal developer. Over the years, our small team at Amazee Labs grew and my responsibilities as a developer shifted. Suddenly I wasn’t coding all day. I became a team lead and finally CTO. I code much less now than I did during those first years.Michael Schmid Fri, 07/01/2016 - 15:48
Along with growing the team, we also grew Amazee. We added Amazee Metrics, Amazee Labs in Austin, Amazee Labs in Cape Town, and our newest venture, amazee.io. Each company demanded my attention, so I spent and still spend quite a lot of time in airplanes and on the road.
This growth has been awesome and a never ending journey of new challenges and learning. It’s also been exhausting and caused tensions and bottlenecks some times, as each group waited for my attention and time. Fortunately, this also taught me a very important lesson of good management: letting go.
Let go, enable your team, and make yourself redundant.
This is why I step down as CTO of Amazee Labs Zurich and pass the CTO-torch along to the next person who leads our tech team in Zurich: I’m very happy to announce that Josef Dabernig is our new CTO at Amazee Labs in Zurich from July 1, 2016 on.
Josef joined Amazee Labs in August of 2014 and has demonstrated his leadership and technology skills every day since then. He even taught me an important skill, that sometimes you need to slow down in order to be effective.
I wish Josef all the best with his new role. I am looking forward to see what his team will release. From what I’ve seen so far, they stand to deploy some pretty epic projects in the coming months.
As for me? I’ll be be spending this newfound freedom as the new CTO of Amazee Group, racking up travel miles and providing support and technical guidance for all our companies, specifically amazee.io, which we recently launched back in May.
Sarah Thrasher (sarahjean), front-end developer with Acquia, joins Andrew (remember him?), Kelley, and Mike to discuss the upcoming Drupal GovCon, what is means to be a junior developer, how the Drupal community is helping to make sure our community members stays healthy, and we bid farewell to Mike using the word "pimp". All that and our picks of week and five questions!Interview
- The Fall, 2016 session of Drupal Career Online begins September 26; applications are now open.
- Let's be human at DrupalCon - track description for DrupalCon Dublin.
- 10 Things Every Jr. Drupal Web Developer Should Know - blog post by Jonathan Westman.
- DrupalNorth wrapup.
- MyDropWizard.com - Long-term-support services for Drupal 6, 7, and 8 sites.
- WebEnabled.com - devPanel.
- Mike - Textio.com - helps HR folks write better job descriptions (via YesCT).
- Andrew - Become a Certified Drupal Association Member.
- Kelley - Typogrify.
- Sarah - Liberty.
- NYC Camp - July 8-11.
- Drupal4Gov - July 20-22, Custom Content Migrations to Drupal 8 (Mike's session).
- Design4Drupal - July 22-24.
- Learning Japanese
- Speaking at Drupalcon
- Before 2008 was a print designer. They had an internal site that needed update so hey, Drupal. Read "Using Drupal" from cover to cover and created the site.
Sorry about the audio quality in this episode. We had to go to our emergency recording of the call which is only two channels (our regular recording is one channel per participant) and heavily compressed.Intro Music
- Glory Glory: The Battle Hymn of the Association - from the DrupalCon New Orleans pre-note performed by Adam Juran, Campbell Vertesi and Jeremy Macguire.
If you'd like to leave us a voicemail, call 321-396-2340. Please keep in mind that we might play your voicemail during one of our future podcasts. Feel free to call in with suggestions, rants, questions, or corrections. If you'd rather just send us an email, please use our contact page.
With phone in hand, laptop in bag and earbuds in place, the typical user quickly scans multiple sites. If your site takes too long to load, your visitor is gone. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’ve lost precious traffic. That’s why it’s essential to build well organized, mobile ready sites.
But how do you get good results?
- Understand whom you’re building for
- Employ the right frameworks
- Organize your codebase
- Make your life a lot easier with a CSS preprocessor
Design For Mobile When you look at usage statistics, the trend is clear. This chart is from Mary Meeker's 2016 Internet Trends Report.
A vast array of mobile devices accomplish a variety of tasks while running tons of applications. This plethora of device options means that you need to account for a wide assortment of display sizes in the design process.
As a front end developer, it’s vital to consider all possible end users when creating a web experience. Keeping so many display sizes in mind can be a challenge, and responsive design methodologies are useful to tackle that problem.Frameworks that Work
Bootstrap, Zurb, and Jeet are among the frameworks that developers use to give websites a responsive layout. The concept of responsive web design provides for optimal viewing and interaction across many devices. Media queries are rules that developers write to adapt designs to specific screen widths or height.Writing these from scratch can be time consuming and repetitive, so frameworks prepackage media queries using common screen size rules. They are worth a try even just as a starting point in a project.
Organizing A Large Code Base Depending on the size of a web project, just the front end code can be difficult to organize. Creating an organizational standard that all developers on a team should follow can be a challenge. Here at Zivtech, we are moving toward the atomic design methodology pioneered by Brad Frost. Taking cues from chemistry, this design paradigm suggests that developers organize code into 5 categories:
Basic HTML tags like inputs, labels, and buttons would be considered atoms. Styling atoms can be done in one or more appropriate files. A search form, for example, is considered a molecule composed of a label atom, input atom, and button atom. The search form is styled around its atomic components, which can be tied in as partials or includes. The search form molecule is placed in the context of the header organism, which also contains the logo atom and the primary navigation molecule.Now Add CSS Preprocessors Although atomic design structure is a great start to organizing code, CSS preprocessors such as Sass are useful tools to streamline the development process. One cool feature of Sass is that it allows developers to define variables so that repetitive code can be defined once and reused throughout.
Here’s an example. If a project uses a specific shade of mint blue (#37FDFC), it can be defined in a Sass file as $mint-blue = #37FDFC. When styling, instead of typing the hex code every time, you can simply use $mint-blue. It makes the code easier to read and understand for the team. Let’s say the client rebrands and wants that blue changed to a slightly lighter shade (#97FFFF). Instead of manually finding all the areas where $mint-blue is referenced on multiples pages of code, a developer can easily revise the variable to equal the new shade ($mint-blue = #97FFFF; ). This change now automatically reflects everywhere $mint-blue was used. Another useful feature of Sass is the ability to nest style rules. Traditionally, with plain CSS, a developer would have to repetitively type the parent selector multiple times to target each child component. With Sass, you can confidently nest styles within a parent tag, as shown below. The two examples here are equivalent, but when you use Sass, it’s a kind of shorthand that automates the process.
SassAlthough there are a lot of challenges organizing code and designing for a wide variety of screen sizes, keep in mind that there are excellent tools available to automate the development process, gracefully solve all your front end problems and keep your site traffic healthy.
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