All RPGs and Storygames by Tod Foley are now available at DrivethruRPG and RPGnow. Bring these games to your table!
I am currently building a Drupal 8 application which is running outside Acquia Cloud, and I noticed there are a few 'magic' settings I'm used to working on Acquia Cloud which don't work if you aren't inside an Acquia or Pantheon environment; most notably, the automatic Configuration Split settings choice (for environments like local, dev, and prod) don't work if you're in a custom hosting environment.
You have to basically reset the settings BLT provides, and tell Drupal which config split should be active based on your own logic. In my case, I have a site which only has a local, ci, and prod environment. To override the settings defined in BLT's included config.settings.php file, I created a config.settings.php file in my site in the path docroot/sites/settings/config.settings.php, and I put in the following contents:
What's your favorite tool for creating content layouts in Drupal? Paragraphs, Display Suite, Panelizer or maybe Panels? Or CKEditor styles & templates? How about the much talked about and yet still experimental Drupal 8 Layout Builder module?
Have you "played” with it yet?
As Drupal site builders, we all agree that a good page layout builder should be:
In this post, I take a look at the two main methods of creating custom blocks and go through each one of them separately.READ MORE
Drupal Atlanta Medium Publication: Sponsoring a DrupalCamp is Not About the Return on Investment (ROI).
Organizing a DrupalCamp takes a lot of commitment from volunteers, so when someone gets motivated to help organize these events, the financial risks can be quite alarming and sometimes overwhelming. But forget all that mess, you are a Drupal enthusiast and have drummed up the courage to volunteer with the organization of your local DrupalCamp. During your first meeting, you find out that there are no free college or community spaces in the area and the estimated price tag is $25,000. Holy Batman that is a lot of money!
Naturally, you start thinking about how we are going to cover that price tag, so you immediately ask, “how many people usually attend?” Well unless you are one of the big 5, (BadCamp, NYCCamp, GovCon, MidCamp or FloridaCamp) we average between 100 and 200 people. Then you ask, “how much can we charge?” You are then told that we cannot charge more than $50 because camps are supposed to be affordable for the local community and that has been the culture of most DrupalCamps.
Drupal is the Enterprise solution. Drupal has forgotten about the hobbyist and is only concerned about large-scale projects. Drupal developers and companies make more per hour than Wordpress developers. These are all things I have heard from people within the community. So if any of these statements are valid, why are all the camps priced like it is 2002 and we are all sitting around in a circle singing Kumbaya? In 2016 for DrupalCamp Atlanta, we couldn’t make the numbers work, so we decided to raise the price of the camp from $45 to $65 (early bird) and $85 (regular rate). This was a long drawn out and heated debate that took nearly all of our 2 hours allotted for our google hangout. At the end of the day, one of our board members who is also a Diamond sponsor said,“when you compare how other technology conferences are priced and what they are offering for sessions, DrupalCamps are severely under-priced for the value they provide to the community.”Courtesy of Amaziee.io Labs
If a camp roughly costs $25,000 and you can only charge 150 people $50, how in the world are DrupalCamps produced? The simple answer, sponsors, sponsors, and more sponsors. Most camps solely rely on the sponsors to cover the costs. One camp, in particular, BADCamp has roughly 2,000 attendees and the registration is FREE. That’s right, the camp is completely free and did I forget to mention that it’s in San Francisco? Based on the BADCamp model and due to the fact the diamond sponsorship for DrupalCon Nashville was $50,000, getting 10 companies to sponsor your camp at $2,500 will be no sweat. Oh and don’t forget Drupal is the enterprise solution, right?
With all of your newfound confidence in obtaining sponsorships, you start contacting some of the larger Drupal shops in your area and after a week nothing. You reach out again maybe by phone this time and actually speak to someone but they are not committing because they want some more information as to why they should sponsor the camp such as, what other perks can you throw in for the sponsorship, are we guaranteed presentation slots, and do you provide the participant list. Of course, the worst response is the dreaded no, we cannot sponsor your conference because we have already met our sponsorship budget for the year.
At this point, you feel defeated and confused as to why organizations are not chomping at the bit to fork over $2,500 to be the sponsor. Yep, that’s right, twenty-five hundred, not $25,000 to be the highest level, sponsor. Mind you many Drupal shops charge anywhere between $150 — $250 an hour. So that means donating 10–17 hours of your organizations time to support a Drupal event in your local community. Yes, you understand that there are a lot of DrupalCamps contacting the same companies for sponsorship so you ask yourself, what has changed from years past?
At DrupalCon Nashville, I got an awesome opportunity to participate in a session around organizing DrupalCamps. It was really interesting to hear about how other organizers produce their camp and what were some of the biggest pain points.Group Photo — DrupalCon 2018 Nashville by Susanne Coates
During this session, we were talking about a centralized sponsorship program for all DrupalCamps (that I personally disagree with and will save that discussion for another blog post) and an individual asked the question,“why should my company sponsor DrupalCamp Atlanta? There is nothing there for me that makes it worth it. We don’t pick up clients, you to don’t distribute the participant list, so why should we sponsor the camp?”
Needless to say, they caught me completely off guard, so I paused then replied,“DrupalCamp Atlanta has between 150–200 people, most of them from other Drupal shops, so what is it that you are expecting to get out of the sponsorship that would make it worth it to you? Why do you sponsor any DrupalCamps?”Have Drupal Companies Outgrown the Need to Sponsor DrupalCamps?
On the plane ride back to the ATL it got me thinking, why does an organization sponsor DrupalCamps? What is the return on their investment? I started reminiscing of the very first DrupalCamp that I attended in 2008 and all the rage at that time (and still is), was inbound marketing and how using a content strategy and or conference presentations can establish your company as thought leaders in the field, therefore, clients will find your information useful and approach you when its time to hire for services. Maybe this is why so many camps received a ton of presentation submissions and why it was easy to find sponsors, but that was over 10 years ago now and some of those same companies have now been established as leaders in the field. Could it be, that established companies no longer need the visibility of DrupalCamps?What happens to DrupalCamps when companies no longer need the visibility or credibility from the Drupal community?
The Drupal community thrives when Drupal shops become bigger and take on those huge projects because it results in contributions back to the code, therefore, making our project more competitive. But an unintended consequence of these Drupal shops becoming larger is that there is a lot more pressure on them to raise funding thus they need to spend more resources on obtaining clients outside of the Drupal community. Acquia, the company built by the founder of Drupal, Dries Buytaert, have made it clear that they are pulling back on their local camp sponsorships and have even created their own conference called Acquia Engage that showcases their enterprise clients. Now from a business perspective, I totally understand why they would create this event as it provides a much higher return on their investment but it results in competing with other camps (ahem, this year’s DrupalCamp Atlanta), but more importantly the sponsorship dollars all of us depend on are now being redirected to other initiatives.
The reality of the situation is that sponsoring these DrupalCamps are most likely not going to land your next big client that pays your company a $500,000 contract. So what are true reasons to sponsor a DrupalCamp:
When sponsoring these DrupalCamps most of us organizers do a pretty good job of tweeting thanks to the company and if the organization has presenters we usually promote the sessions as well. In addition, most camps print logos on the website, merchandise, and name after parties. Yes, its only a little bit but the internet is forever and the more you are mentioned the better off you are. But you are from a well established Drupal shop so you don’t need any more visibility.
Even the companies who are have been established need their staff to be credible. There will always be some amount of turnover and when that happens your clients still want to know if this person is talented. And if your company is new, being associated with Drupal in your local community does provide your company a sense of credibility.
I saved the best for last. Collegiality is highly overlooked when looking at sponsoring camps. Most companies have a referral program for new hires and when the time comes for you to hire, people tend to refer their friends and their professional acquaintances. There is no better place to meet and interact with other Drupalist than a DrupalCamp. What about employee engagement? In a recent focus group I participated in with a Drupal shop, many of the staff wanted more opportunities for professional development. These local camps are affordable and can allow staff to attend multiple events in a year when you have small budgets.
I must end by saying, that there are so many great Drupal companies that I have had the pleasure to work with and if it were not for the Acquia’s of the world Drupal wouldn’t exist. I understand that CEO’s are responsible for their employees and their families so I don’t want to underestimate the pressures that come with making payroll and having a client pipeline. The purpose of this post was to explain how it feels as a volunteer who is doing something for the community and the frustrations that sometimes come with it.
If you are interested in sponsoring a DrupalCamp check out Drupical and sponsor a camp today! All of us organizers need your help!!
If you are also interested in contributing to the Atlanta Drupal Users Group (ADUG) Medium Blog publication, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sponsoring a DrupalCamp is Not About the Return on Investment (ROI). was originally published in Drupal Atlanta on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
As part of the session I presented in Drupal Europe, REST Ready: Auditing established Drupal 8 websites for use as a content hub, I presented a module called “Entity Access Audit”.by Sam Becker / 2 November 2018
This has proved to be a useful tool for auditing our projects for unusual access scenarios as part of our standard go-live security checks or when opening sites up to additional mechanisms of content delivery, such as REST endpoints. Today this code has been released on Drupal.org: Entity Access Audit.
There are two primary interfaces for viewing access results, the overview screen and a detailed overview for each entity type. Here is a limited example of the whole-site overview showing a few of the entity types you might find in core or custom modules:
Here is a more detailed report for a single entity type:
The driving motivation behind these interfaces was being able to visually scan entity types and ensure that the access results align with our expectations. This has so far helped identify various bugs in custom and contributed code.
In order to conduct a thorough access test, the module uses a predefined set of dimensions and then uses a cartesian product of these dimensions to test every combination. The dimensions tested out of the box, where applicable to the given entity type are:
- All bundles of an entity type.
- If the current user is the entity owner or not.
- The access operation: create, view, update, delete.
- All the available roles.
It’s worth noting that these are only common factors used to determine access results, they are not comprehensive. If access was determined by other factors, there would be no visibility of this in the generated reports.
The module is certainly not a silver bullet for validating the security of Drupal 8 websites, but has proved to be a useful additional tool when conducting audits.Tagged Entity Access
BADCamp 2018 just wrapped up last Saturday. As usual it was a great volunteer organized event that brought together all sorts of folks from the Drupal Community.
Every year Kanopi provides organizational assistance, and this year was no exception. We had Kanopian volunteers working on; writing code for website, organizing fundraising, general operations planning, assisting as room monitors, and working the registration booth.
An event like this doesn’t happen without a lot of work across a lot of different areas and we’re very proud of Kanopi’s contributions.
Personally, Kanopi was able to send me down from Vancouver, Canada to spend time doing a day long training course, as well as doing the regular conference summits and sessions.
The course I chose was “Component-based Theming with Twig” which was really informative. We covered the basics Pattern Lab and then worked on best practice methods to integrate those Pattern Lab tools in to a Drupal theme.
Some of the takeaways:
- The Gesso (https://www.drupal.org/project/gesso) theme is a great starting place for getting Pattern Lab in to your project.
- Make sure you are reusing all your basic html components and make the templates flexible. Resist the urge to simply copy and paste markup into a new template.
- The best way to map Pattern Lab components in Drupal is to use Paragraph types and their display modes.
- To get the most out of Twig template, make sure you are using the module Twig Tweak (https://www.drupal.org/project/twig_tweak)
For the regular conference sessions, the most interest seemed to lie in the possibilities of GatsbyJS (https://www.gatsbyjs.org/). All the developers with whom I spoke are focused on the performance and security perspective, as it can be completely decoupled from Drupal, allowing for fewer security issues. One interesting talk on Gatsby was this one by Kyle Mathews.
Kanopi was also fortunate enough get four sessions selected:
- Jim and Sean talked about upgrading a cleaning franchise site from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 and the optimisations they worked into the project.
- Jim then discussed the various meta-tag flavours and what types of things to do to entice Google to index your data more thoroughly.
- Kat showed how to get data about user interaction on your site while still respecting a user’s privacy.
- Lastly, Anne covered what types of things to consider when upgrading or rebuilding your Drupal site especially in the context of Drupal end of life dates.
All in all BADCamp 2018 was a great experience. It’s terrific to meet our distributed co-workers as well as see friends from other parts of the Drupal community.
As Drupal 8 has matured as an enterprise content management system, so has its ability to connect with enterprise SaaS CRMs such as Salesforce. As the undisputed IBM of CRM solutions (for now, anyway) Salesforce is a cornerstone for most businesses. And now with tighter integrations than ever before, Drupal 8 can be too.
With that, let's explore some key considerations involved in connecting Drupal 8 with Salesforce.All Hail the Cloud
At its most basic core, Salesforce is really a database of contacts in the same way that Drupal is a database of content. Yes, Drupal also has users and Salesforce often houses products, events, etc., but you get the idea. What’s important is that customers interact with both systems. Whether it’s reading website content or opening an email from a salesperson, customer data across all fronts is critical to consolidate, manage and leverage.Integration is a Dirty Word
You may be wondering what’s involved with a Drupal integration with Salesforce. Ah, the dreaded “I” word...integration. So often the herald of scope creep and blown budgets. Integrating Salesforce with Drupal 8 can vary between something as simple as submitting contact forms to the CRM, to running a global ABM effort supported by a sophisticated Drupal website equipped with real-time personalization. In either case, leveraging Drupal 8’s API-first architecture and its plethora of open source modules are key. In this case, the Drupal Salesforce module is our starting point.Modules Make the World Go Round
The Drupal Salesforce Suite module is a testament to both the ingenuity and passion of the Drupal community and the flexibility of Drupal as an enterprise platform. As a contributed module, the Salesforce Suite for Drupal enables out of the box connection with Salesforce, no matter your configuration.
Available free on drupal.org, the module offers:
Single Sign-On (SSO) with OAUTH2 authentication, which lets you pass credentials to Salesforce (and log in seamlessly. Salesforce events are also accessible through Drupal 8. Handy!
Entity mapping, which means tying fields in your Drupal site to those in Salesforce, such as “Markets” you serve for upcoming events or hidden user fields like “Lead Score.”
Ability to push data to Salesforce from Drupal, such as users engaging with gated content, new leads, or activity data to ensure Salesforce has all the information it needs to make decisions. This is critically important with AI advancements such as Salesforce Einstein.
Ability to pull data such as new products, syncing events, etc into Drupal. Often, this takes the form of rough data imports for critical fields (like product information) that site admins can add to using Drupal 8’s editing capabilities.
While the Salesforce Suite module is a great start, any complex integration requires an experienced and competent Drupal development team to implement. Establishing an API connection is one thing, but building a Drupal 8 site to adapt to changing conditions on the Salesforce side is critical, as well as sound architecture on the Drupal 8 side to ensure data integrity and easy management for non-technical site admins.
Looking to connect Drupal 8 with Salesforce? Contact us about your project and see how we can help.
Looking to tighten up your Salesforce integration?We can help
Content migration is a topic with a lot of facets. We’ve already covered some important migration information on our blog:
- Howard Rheingold, The Virtual Community, 1994
Communities are important for the success of any multimedia information systems, today. Gaming is no exception, especially when it has become a part of our new media culture, entertaining people of all ages. The satisfaction of gaming community members can influence the success of a game and it is no secret why highest selling games have the largest communities.
“The famous AR game, Pokemon, managed to give an unprecedented swiftness, leading to Nintendo’s stock value increasing dramatically and achieving $470 million in revenue in just 80 days.”
The Power Of Gaming: Why Gaming Industry Needs Community?
To keep up the community and the platform with the latest trends, features, and functionalities, it is important that you choose the right technology for your platform. Drupal is an easy choice. But why are gaming communities increasingly opting for Drupal as the platform of their choice?
Not very often will we associate the word community with gaming. And yet, these community platforms are where the games really mature. In terms of engagement and shared values, a common cultural background plays an important role, which can be reflected by the spatiotemporal distribution of the gamers.
The community of gamers can be identified either as a whole or part of video game culture. It comprises of people who play games and those are interested in watching and reading about it.
Community support is important for both game development and community building.
- User Acquisition: A shared goal, interest provides the reason for being a part of the community. A community is what builds a game, and community is what drives the game beyond its niche success into the blockbuster — shaping the success of ROI for an engaged, excited community is off the charts.
Intense interactions and strong ties are not only important for online multiplayer games, they enhance the intensity and user experience too.
Over 53% of US teenagers play online games with people they know in their offline lives (Pew Research, 2015). Community support allows integration of offline friend circles into online communities.
- User Retention: Gaming communities form a very crucial part in retaining the users as video games have grown into a subculture since their birth.
Community services enhance competition within games, which builds up customer loyalty as a consequence. Games and gaming communities are strongly intertwined and experience permanent co-development.
Discussions on new features, the problems they encounter at playing, advice about gaming strategies via forums is where the retention starts at.
The modern games provide direct in-game communication, which is not restricted to a simple message exchange, but also involves further service functionality.
- Improves Quality: Gaming communities are a place of intense interaction after all games are about shared experiences, rendered with extraordinarily interaction and ownership. All successful games have communities. The infamous butt pose - Tracer' over the shoulder victory poseAnd this where the changes come from. Remember the infamous Tracer butt controversy from 2016? Well, it was after the community chose to put their outrage did the gaming giant Blizzard Entertainment had to pull down the post to show the accurate representation of the values.
Why are Gaming Communities Opting for Drupal?
What does Drupal offer to the gaming communities that they are opting for it? Here is a list of why Drupal is the choice for the community platforms.
- Decoupled Drupal for Intuitive Game Live UI Experiences
Much like physical sports, video games demand a certain standard of ability where the player can enjoy from the very moment the game is started. Regardless of whether there is an explicit tutorial, players must instantly intuit what to do, what the basic rules are, what is good, what is bad, and how to go about doing the various things that can be accomplished.
The more the realism your game offers to the gamer, the longer they would want to play.
The headless site advancement can possibly release the imaginative influence of the diversion with intense gaming experience which is faster, more natural, intuitive and responsive at the gamers’ end. The end result is smoother and faster games played live.
- Gameplay based customizations
Games allow players to perceive themselves in alternate ways in their imagined worlds. Player identification – with Avatar and Character – helps build the interest while also improving the gameplay experience and is important to maintain the identity in the possible communities as well.
An example of this could be the website of League of Legends – built on Drupal – which is a team-oriented strategy game where the goal is to work together and bring down the enemy nexus located in the middle of the game.Roles offered in the Leagues of Legend
Drupal has tools and services for building user profiles, fostering the creation of virtual sessions, allowing communication with third party serious games, and storing and processing the game analytics. This is important since it helps the gamer take the game more seriously and relate to it on a virtual level.
Zynga – a leading developer of the world's most popular social games – website is built on Drupal. It claims to have 100 million monthly unique visitors, making it the largest online gaming destination on the web.Scalability is Drupal’s middle name
Handling high volumes of visitors, content, and users is a tough job. But Drupal does it easily. As it is said, “scalability is Drupal’s middle name”. Some of the busiest sites across the world are built on Drupal.
It is apt in handling sites that burst with humongous traffic, which means your gaming website can perform spectacularly even on the busiest of the days without breaking or bending.
- Multimedia support
Visit the famous StarWars The Old Republic (SWOTR) website and the background has video snippets playing from the game. Multimedia support is not new to the gaming industry. To keep the engagement high, you need to support multimedia features like scorecards, videos, photos, audios among others.
Drupal is a highly versatile and customizable CMS. It has various modules available to support this need. The photo gallery module, media entity module, and easy to use templates to customize appearance are just a few from the list.
Not just this the photo gallery module helps you customize images with templates, build you scorecards
- Mobile Responsiveness
Video games have once again found themselves more widely played and accepted, thanks to the increasing smartphone reach. Add to it one more feature, your game needs to be device responsive too with easy and intuitive controls.
Drupal 8 is device responsive out-of-the-box. Which means your content adjusts well from the big screen of your desktop to the little screen. Image size changes, menu items shift to drop-downs, other items are pushed around to make sense of content and size of the device.
But games are not just about the squeezing to a different size thing. They need to offer the same experience as in the native web application without taking away the intuitive design. This can be sorted with the Hammer.js module in Drupal. Hammer.js helps you enhance the user experience by providing cross-browser support and taking away a lot of complexity when implementing touch and pointer gestures. Leveraging it in Drupal is easier than ever due to the Library API of Drupal 8.
- Adding complex categories and catalogs
Gaming communities are a lot different from what the gaming websites offer. Since each game will have different sub-communities, it becomes a need to build those categories with design and category apt to the theme.
Drupal provides a powerful taxonomy engine, allowing gaming companies to support intricate designs and complex categories and catalogs, without much ado. The flexibility of adding different types of products and content is ensured by content creation kit (CCK). CCK allows you to add custom fields to any of the content types using a web interface
- Discussions, Reviews, and News
Communities are all about discussing what is happening or happened. Therefore one of the primary community needs is for a easy content creation with different content types. The more the types, higher the engagement, more the users will interact. Blogs, events, FAQs, news are all important.Screengrab from League of Legends
- Quick Search
Communities are a busy place with a lot of activities happening at the same time. Content that might interest a user can get lost in the myriad of content. In Drupal, Solr is used to get more accuracy within less time.
Drupal has Solr integrated for a quicker search. Solr is a highly reliable, scalable and fault tolerant search application which provides distributed indexing, replication, and load-balanced querying with a centralized configuration.
- E-commerce Solution
Integrating commerce with the website is an old practice and most gaming companies leverage this opportunity to boost their sales. Klei – an Independent game studio – chose Drupal to create a seamless shopping experience for both mobile and desktop users.
According to The Jibe, "Klei needed a site and store that was as easy for them to manage as it was for their customers to buy: easy sorting, featured items, promo-code inputs, simple searching, and clear calls-to-action."
After integrating the online store with Drupal the team can easily add new products and games on the fly while also managing the promotions and highlighting featured items easily.
DrupalCommerce and Commerce Kickstart are two of the most popular solution that Drupal offers. With easy payment gateway integration, your online transactions are secure with Drupal.Drupal vs. Wordpress 2018 Building a Community website
Building an online community, a network of people with shared interests and goals with target niche audience to be part of it with easy usability and navigation.
Example: Pinterest CommunityWinner: Drupal 8
Why? For an extensive user management in your community, it would require custom fields, different content types, scalability, varied user roles and permissions among the others - all of which are easy to build in Drupal 8. In case you need a simple to-do community with limited features and functionalities, then maybe Wordpress will work. But then that format would be closer to a blog, anyway.Building a Gaming Website
These are the sites featuring direct online gaming with single or multiplayer and can include games of any type from the different genre.
Example: ZyngaWinner: Drupal 8 (Clearly)
Why? While you might think of Drupal as a preconfigured PHP framework, it is vastly more suited to developing an online game than Wordpress is. Drupal is fast, mobile responsive and scalable. It can handle as content as much as you want, as many people as you can think of - without crashing.
And as far as WordPress is concerned, why would you want to choose a software built from a blogging background to create a game?Building a Basic Gaming related Website
These are the types devoted to the world and culture of computer gaming. Will includes gaming news, magazines, FAQs, and resources.Winner: WordPress
Why? Although Drupal 8 more suited to handle the content, WordPress has a slight edge here. All the types mentioned here are related to publishing. Being a blogging platform (niche) WP can suit the needs better since its out-of-the-box configuration comes closer to your goals.
Although in case there are varied features added like user login, reviews, managing multimedia content, and discussions then, Drupal is clearly the hero.Building a Media-Streaming Website
These are the sites that offer audio/video streaming services, such as podcast, television and film, sports, music, among others.
Example: AXNWinner: Drupal 8
Why? Drupal 8 can handle multimedia content much more flexible than WordPress. While WordPress can excellently handle content that's primary text, Drupal 8 makes all types of a media a first-class citizen.
With clear taxonomy and easier role management, coupled with faster-load time, it won’t bend or break when streaming content live.Summing Up
Community platforms have become an easy measure to the success of any game since they serve a combination of purposes varying from technical to human factors. Further community satisfaction measures need to be considered in order to improve the product model and quality in future.
Drupal mostly serves the needs of the gaming industry, is should be a no-brainer when opting for it. Drop a mail at email@example.com to connect with us if you are building your gaming website or community platform.blog banner blog image Gaming Community Community Drupal Blog Type Articles Is it a good read ? On
Visualise that you are working for an organisation that builds web applications for its clients. Every time you gain a new client for a web application, you visit AWS or any cloud provider for that matter. You wind up with 2 VMs for running the app and for the associated database. You will need at least two copies this infrastructure for production and staging and then start deploying the code for that client. And this process starts all over again for a new client and so forth. Instead, by utilising Infrastructure as Code (IaC), you run a bit of code and that’s it, you are all set to go!
Solving environment drift in the release pipeline
Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) teams must disrupt their traditional infrastructure architecture strategies with IaC. This comprises of investing in hybrid cloud, containers, composable infrastructure and the automation for supporting these workloads. As we hurtle through the wall-to-wall internet of things (IoT) and edge computing, a holistic strategy for IaC becomes more significant to enterprises than ever before. It will be interesting to witness the power of Infrastructure as Code for the deployment of Drupal-based web applications. Before we dive into that, let’s see how IaC helps in efficient software delivery.
Infrastructure as Code refers to the governance of infrastructure in a descriptive model by leveraging the same versioning as DevOps team uses for source code
Infrastructure as Code refers to the governance of infrastructure (networks, virtual machines, load balancers, connection topology) in a descriptive model by leveraging the same versioning as DevOps team uses for source code. In a similar principle that the same source code generates the same binary, an IaC model generates the same environment whenever it is applied. It is an integral DevOps practice and is used in combination with Continuous Delivery.
IaC evolved to solve the environment drift in the release pipeline because:
- The teams must maintain the settings of separate deployment environments without IaCs.
- Over a period of time, each environment becomes a snowflake. In other words, it leads to a unique configuration that cannot be reproduced automatically.
- Inconsistent environments incur deployment obstacles.
- With snowflakes, management and maintenance of infrastructure constitute manual processes which were difficult to track and contributed to errors.
Idempotence, a principle of IaC, is the property in which no matter what the environment’s starting state is, deployment command always sets the target environment into the same configuration. It is attained by either automatically configuring an existing target or through the recreation of a fresh environment by discarding the existing environment.
With IaC, DevOps teams can test applications in production-like environments early in the development cycle. These teams expect to provision several test environments and on-demand. Infrastructure represented as code can also be validated and tested for avoiding common deployment challenges. Simultaneously, the cloud dynamically provisions and tears down environments based on IaC definitions.
Implementing Infrastructure as code helps in delivering stable environments faster and at scale. By representing the desired state of their environments via code, teams avoid manual configuration of environments and enforce consistency. Infrastructure deployments are repeatable and safeguard against runtime issues that are caused by configuration drift or missing dependencies. DevOps teams can work in combination with a unified set of practices and tools for delivering applications and their supporting infrastructure quickly, reliably and at scale.
- Minimising Shadow IT: Allowing a fast response to new IT requirements through IaC assisted deployment ensures higher security, compliance with corporate IT standards and helps with budgeting and cost allocation.
- Satisfying Customers: Delivering a quality service component with a short time period leads to customer satisfaction and enhanced perception of IT within an organisation.
- Reducing operational expenditures: An enterprise can configure and deploy a completely tested and compliant new IT infrastructure asset in just a matter of few minutes either with minimal or no human intervention at all This saves a superabundance amount of work time and security-related financial risk potential.
- Reducing capital expenditure: A developer accomplishing the task of several team members on his own, particularly in the context of DevOps, highly benefits the project capital expenditure.
- Standardisation: When the creation of new infrastructure is coded, there is consistency in the set of instructions and standardisation.
- Safer change handling: Standardisation assurance allows safer alterations to take place with lower deviation rates.
- Organisational resistance to change: Largest organisational challenges stem from budget limitations as it can deter an organisation’s ability to hire or retrain staff lead to an overall resistance to change.
- The dearth of expertise in-house: Lack of in-house expertise can pose a technical hurdle.
- Shortage of tools, skills and the fear of loss of control: As IaC languages are more code-like than script-like, so developers are more comfortable with them in general but this poses issues for Ops team. Ops is more concerned with configuration control conflicts as they have traditionally had all control over configurations.
Infrastructure as Code tools Source: Forrester Wave™: Configuration Management Software For Infrastructure Automation, Q4 ’17
- The Puppet open source engine emphasises on supporting configuration management on numerous platform such that if a system is reachable by IP then it must be configurable.
- Puppet Enterprise augments the open source Puppet providing a web-based UI to enable visibility into configurations, dependencies and events.
- The Chef open source engine leverages an imperative approach with support for several operating systems, containers and cloud services.
- Chef Automate builds on the Chef open source automation engine which incorporates respective projects of Habitat and InSpec and offers a web-based GUI and dashboard for compliance visibility.
- The Salt open source project provides the option to run the modular software with or without agents and using push or pull processes.
- SaltStack Enterprise builds on the open source Salt offering that gives you an enterprise GUI and API for integration.
- Normation Professional Services sells plug-ins for Window/AIX support, auditing and HTTP data sourcing integration
- Rudder is an open source automation platform that emphasises on continuous reliability.
- Ansible open source project emphasises on minimalism and easy usage. It does not require any agents and relies on SSH and WinRM to remotely control member nodes which limits the resource usage and potential network traffic.
- Ansible Tower is an enterprise solution for Ansible that emphasises on improving the open source project’s analytics and compliance capabilities.
- Microsoft Azure Automation is a SaaS-based suite for process automation.
- Microsoft PowerShell DSC is a configuration management execution engine which is developed primarily for Windows with support for Linux and MacOS added recently.
- CFEngine Community Edition is an open source automation engine which is considered the father of modern-day configuration management.
- The Enterprise version of CFEngine offers GUI/dashboard to manage and monitor node health, user-based and role-based management, richer reporting, asset management capabilities, and modules to support AIX and Windows
A digital agency showed how to automate the whole deployment process from the start to finish by leveraging Ansible. Ansible, being agentless, has a great ecosystem, the YAML syntax is easy to read, understand and maintain. This could be automated using any other provisional tool like Chef or Puppet as well.
Project involved making the Ansible playbooks a part of their codebase. It will live alongside the Drupal code. Also, it is considered an industry-wide good practice to have infrastructure and deployment as a part of the code. It is still not technically 100% Infrastructure-as-Code setup as they only had the provisioning scripts checked in and not the code to spin the actual servers. The playbooks assume that the servers are already present with Docker, Docker compose is installed and having SSH access.
This setup made the deployment process consistent and repeatable as any developer with necessary permissions in the team could run the script and get the same results all the time. Moreover, when the build fails, it fails loud and clear where exactly things went wrong.Challenges in the project
They did not guarantee a rollback for this process. If for instance, you perform a deployment and it fails, you would have to manually perform the rollback to the previous state. But it does store DB backups. So, it would not be an arduous task to add a rollback mechanism with the tag rollback and some parameters like what commit to rollback to, which DB to reset to etc.Steps to be performed
A significant precursor to automating is to document and have a script for each step. They split the tasks into two categories namely
- Setting up the system like creating DB backup directories
- Running the DB updates via Drush
Ansible has the concept of tags for which 2 tags were defined namely ‘setup’ and ‘deploy’.
The listicle of setup only tasks included:
- Creation of a directory for DB files to persist
- Creation of a directory for storing DB backups
- Creation of a directory for storing file backups
The listicle of tasks for both setup and deployment included:
- Creation of a backup of files and DB
- Cloning the correct code, that is, specified branch or bleeding edge.
- Creating .env file
- Building and booting the latest containers for all services
- Running composer install and DB updates, importing config from files and clearing cache (Drupal specific)
It is important to secure your servers prior to the deployment of the application. Ansible helps in storing the sensitive information in an encrypted fashion like DB credentials, the SSH key pair and the server user credentials. This setup enables you to easily build production replicas or non-production environment.In the years to come
IaC has a bright future with its ability in provisioning and managing computing resources. While it does come its own set of implementation barriers, the benefits that it delivers far exceeds the challenges it currently faces.
As the tools the frameworks that are associated with Infrastructure as Code mature, it has the potential of becoming the default standard to deploy and govern infrastructure.
Increase in the adoption rates of Infrastructure as Code is a major trend in the global DevOps platform market
Technavio analysts forecast the global DevOps platform market to post a CAGR of more than 20% during the period of 2018 to 2022. One of the major trends that are being seen in the global DevOps platform market 2018-2022 is the increase in the adoption rates of Infrastructure as Code. DevOps tools are being implemented by the organisations to shift from manual configuration of IT infrastructure to programmable IT infrastructure.
The report goes on to state that one of most significant reasons contributing to the growth in the global DevOps platform market is the need for reducing the time to market. Asia-Pacific region is projected to see the maximum enhancement in the market share of global DevOps platform. The Americas region and Europe-the Middle East-Africa region, which holds a large market share currently, will witness a decline in the market share over the forecast period.Conclusion
Customer-obsessed technology puts the broader charter of service design on the infrastructure and operations team. I&O leaders should own the design for the full system of interacting parts that are sourced from a rich and dynamic software-defined ecosystem. Infrastructure as Code holds a great potential in disruption of traditional infrastructure architecture strategy and can be efficacious for Drupal deployments.
With years of expertise in Drupal Development, Opensense Labs has been providing a wondrous digital experience to its partners.
Talk to our Drupal experts at firstname.lastname@example.org to know how can we implement Infrastructure as Code with Drupal to power your digital transformation endeavours.blog banner blog image Drupal Infrastructure as Code Infrastructure as Code Infrastructure as Code for Drupal IaC Configuration Management Infrastructure as Code tools IaC tools Drupal DevOps DevOps Blog Type Articles Is it a good read ? On
As you already learned in a previous tutorial, CKEditor, the default WYSIWYG Editor for Drupal 8, can be enhanced through the installation of different plugins. They add buttons to the editor with additional features.
Content editors often need to embed accordion tabs into their articles, for example, to present a group of Frequently Asked Questions with their answers or to visually divide a topic into several subtopics.
The CKEditor Accordion module for Drupal 8 allows editors to insert an accordion directly into the WYSIWYG Editor (and therefore into the node) without the need to configure additional modules or even views.
This tutorial will explain the usage of this module. Let’s start!
Did you miss MidCamp 2018? Or are you just ready to get hyped for 2019? While the MidCamp team is busy getting things ready for 2019, you can re-live all of the amazing sessions from 2018 by checking out our playlist on YouTube. Take time to check out the reaction roundup to find out what others thought of MidCamp 2018 or read through our Fearless Leader’s musings on MidCamp 2018.
If you haven’t been keeping in touch with friends you met at MidCamp, then be sure to join other Drupal Slacks and reconnect with all the folks you met.Get involved for 2019!
If you’re interested in getting involved with MidCamp 2019, we’re on MidCamp Slack and we’d adore the opportunity to welcome you to our team. We completely empathize with being busy, so don’t feel bad if you can’t contribute as much as you’d like - every little bit helps! You can also contribute by telling us what topics you’re interested in seeing in the 2019 program.
Join the conversation
Ashday's Digital Ecosystem and Development Tips: Cache Contexts and Tags: Advanced Cache Handling in Drupal 8
Leveraging Drupal's cache effectively can be challenging at first, but the benefits for your site's performance make it well worth the effort. It all starts with figuring out what sort of rules your site should use to cache its content. The improved page load times that come from properly handling caching rules can help improve SEO and are generally more appealing to those that visit the website. In the right hands, the techniques outlined in this article can get a website into a much more specialized caching system.
As you may know, Drupal 6 has reached End-of-Life (EOL) which means the Drupal Security Team is no longer doing Security Advisories or working on security patches for Drupal 6 core or contrib modules - but the Drupal 6 LTS vendors are and we're one of them!
Today, there is a Critical security release for the Session Limit module to fix a Insecure Session Management vulnerability.
The session limit module enables a site administrator to set a policy around the number of active sessions users of the site may have.
The module does not sufficiently tokenise the list of sessions so that the user's session keys can be found through inspection of the form.
See the security advisory for Drupal 7 for more information.
Here you can download the Drupal 6 patch.
If you have a Drupal 6 site using the Session Limit module, we recommend you update immediately! We have already deployed the patch for all of our Drupal 6 Long-Term Support clients. :-)
If you'd like all your Drupal 6 modules to receive security updates and have the fixes deployed the same day they're released, please check out our D6LTS plans.
Note: if you use the myDropWizard module (totally free!), you'll be alerted to these and any future security updates, and will be able to use drush to install them (even though they won't necessarily have a release on Drupal.org).
Ten Halloweens ago I shared a story of Drupal haunting. The post survives only in the faint afterlife of archive.org's Wayback Machine, having long since disappeared from the site of CivicActions where I was working at the time, so I thought I'd reprise it here. First, the original post. Then some notes on what's changed in the years since--and what remains chillingly accurate.
Have you thought of expanding your online business overseas? Or having identical platforms available to visitors in Spanish, French and German? There is one certain way to increase your business globally — create a multilingual website!
One might think that it is easy to translate any platform into any languages. However, there are a number of factors to consider when creating multilingual sites.Read more
Today, Acquia announced a partnership with Elastic Path, a headless commerce platform. In this post, I want to explore the advantages of headless commerce and the opportunity it holds for both Drupal and Acquia.The advantages of headless commerce
In a headless commerce approach, the front-end shopping experience is decoupled from the commerce business layer. Headless commerce platforms provide a clean separation between the front end and back end; the shopping experience is provided by Drupal and the commerce business logic is provided by the commerce platform. This decoupling provides advantages for the developer, merchant and shopping experience.
- For developers, it means that you can decouple both the development and the architecture. This allows you to build an innovative shopping experience without having to worry about impacting a system as critical as your commerce backend. For instance, you can add ratings and reviews to your shopping experience without having to redeploy your commerce platform.
- For merchants, it can provide a better experience for administering the shop. Traditional commerce solution usually ship with a lightweight content management system. This means that there can be competition over which system provides the experience layer (i.e. the "glass"). This can introduce overlap in functionality; both systems offer ways to manage URLs, create landing pages, manage user access rights, etc. Because headless commerce systems are designed from the ground up to integrate with other systems, there is less duplication of functionality. This provides a streamlined experience for merchants.
- And last but not least, there is the shopping experience for end-users or consumers. Simply put, consumers are demanding better experiences when they shop online. They want editorials, lookbooks, tutorials, product demonstration videos, testimonials, and more. They want the content-rich experiences that a comprehensive content management system can provide.
All this is why Acquia is excited about our partnership with Elastic Path. I believe the partnership is a win-win-win. It's a win for Acquia because we are now better equipped than ever to offer personal, unique and delightful shopping experiences. It is a win for Elastic Path as they have the opportunity to provide contextual commerce solutions to any Acquia customer. Last but not least, it's a win for Drupal because it will introduce more organizations to the project.
Note that many of the above integration challenges don't apply to native solutions like Drupal Commerce for Drupal or WooCommerce for WordPress. It only applies when you have to integrate two entirely different systems. Integrating two different systems is a common use case, because customers either already have a commerce platforms in place that they don't want to replace, or because native solutions don't meet their needs.Acquia's commitment to best of breed
Acquia remains committed to a best-of-breed strategy for commerce. There isn't a single commerce platform that meets the needs of all our customers. This belief comes from years of experience in the field. Acquia's customers want to integrate with a variety of commerce systems such as Elastic Path, SAP Hybris, Salesforce Commerce Cloud (Demandware), Magento, BigCommerce, Reaction Commerce, Oracle ATG, Moltin, and more. Our customers also want to use Drupal Commerce, Drupal's native commerce solution. We believe customers should be able to integrate Drupal with their commerce management solutions of choice.
Join us on November 5th for the Zurich Drupal Meetup at the Amazee Labs Zürich office.Laura Simonetto Wed, 10/31/2018 - 09:07
- The File Management Module for Drupal 8 - Lightning talk + Q&A by David Pacassi Torrico
- Outlook Drupal Switzerland Activities 2019 - Discussion by Josef Dabernig (Amazee Labs)
- Propose your topic in the comments!
The Zurich Drupal Meetup is dedicated to people interested in the Content Management System & Framework Drupal.
We welcome everybody from beginners to Drupal ninjas and would be happy to see you present a recent project of yours or talk about any other Drupal-related topic.
- Lightning talk (max. 10 minutes)
- Short talk (max. 25 minutes)
- Full talk (max. 45 minutes)
If you would like to join us, sign-up here: https://www.meetup.com/Zurich-Drupal-Meetup/
In this episode, we cover the Drupal 8 Linkit Module. This module extends the link functionality of your Drupal 8 WYSIWYG editor (like CKeditor) to make it easier to link to other pages on your website. Rather than having to go find a page on your website you would like to link to, copy the URL, and paste it in the link field, this module allows you to do it in one step!DrupalContribDrupal 8Site BuildingDrupal Planet