Janez Urevc: Playing with the Sculpin static site generator

Planet Drupal - 29 January 2017 - 1:08pm
Playing with the Sculpin static site generator

I can hear you asking: "What the hack is that?" Let me quote the Sculpin's authors:

Sculpin is a static site generator written in PHP. It converts Markdown files, Twig templates and standard HTML into a static HTML site that can be easily deployed.

Few days ago a need for a very simple website arose which was way too simple to use Drupal 8 for it. Even Wordpress would be way over the top. On the other hand I really wanted to try static HTML generators for a while and this seemed a perfect opportunity to do that.

There are many static HTML generators out there, Jekyll probably being the most popular (it is also supported by GitHub pages, which makes hosting trivial). I, however, decided to go with Sculpin because it is written in PHP and is using Symfony and Twig. I am already more or less familiar with all this technologies, which made the task a bit easier.


Few hours, very simple Bootstrap based theme, FlexSlider, some Markdown and violà! Site was done and running. It is performant, I can host it literary everywhere, no need to clear caches every time when something behaves strange, no updates, security out of the box, ...

I could totally use something similar for this blog too. Heresy against The religion of Drupal™ you say? Maybe.... But think about it. I am already using Markdown (not really a WYSIWYG fan) to write my posts. That wouldn't change at all. I use Disqus for comments, which would play perfectly fine with static HTML. I could use Liquid Forms or something similar to run the contact form or simply ask people to reach out via Twitter or IRC. That's it. It could probably be done in a day while it took me 3 or 4 days to migrate my Drupal 7 blog to Drupal 8. Not to mention the significantly easier maintenance.

I might even consider doing that when the migration to Drupal 9 comes around. We'll see what the hip thing at that time will be...

All this got me thinking...

Solutions like Jekyll and Sculpin are gaining popularity in the lowest end of the web market. By that they are eating into what used to be market of CMSes like Drupal and Wordpress just a few years ago. Benefits are clear (mainly performance and easy maintenance). The user experience and the ease of use is still on the CMS side, but for slightly tech savvy users it is completely doable. And this might very likely change in the next few years (every software tries to improve over time, right). That said, this kind of tools might (together with pure SaaS solutions) dominate the lower-end web market in the future.

"But Drupal 8 is enterprise-oriented. That's what we care about!" you'll say. OK. Probably true, but...

It is easier than ever to build custom web projects in PHP. In the times before Composer, Packagist and all other nice stuff that we have today existed it was total PITA to find and bring a bunch of 3rd party libraries together to help you build a custom app. In just a few short years this became much simpler and will become even easier as our tools and ecosystem evolve. And PHP is not alone in this world. There are many new and modern languages/platforms that are all doing similar things from this perspective. All of them have some kind of package manager, dependency resolver, repositories of 3rd party packages, etc. It is to be expected that this will only continue. Tools will become even easier to use, 3rd party libraries/packages will become more powerful and building custom projects based on them even faster.

Higher-end projects usually have some budget to invest into development. What would you choose if the cost of development using a CMS like Drupal would be similar to the cost of building a custom project? Specially if you don't need all the features and complexity that CMS offers?

"Are you saying that Drupal is going away?" you ask.

Of course not. Drupal is a great tool that can efficiently solve many problems. But there are definitely better tools for some others. It also seems that there is strong competition on all sides of the web market, which is eating into the pie that was reserved for traditional CMSes in the past. Drupal will need to think about this and position itself into that segment of the market where it is the strongest. The days of "Drupal for everything" are clearly over.

What is your opinion about this? What do you think future will bring us? Let's continue the discussion in the comments below!

slashrsm Sun, 29.01.2017 - 22:08 Tags Drupal web Enjoyed this post? There is more! Join us at the next Drupal Media sprint at the Mountain camp in Davos! Drupal dev environment on Docker Entity browser feature freeze will happen in two weeks
Categories: Drupal

Red Route: Do you really need Drupal for that? How to choose the right technology for your project

Planet Drupal - 29 January 2017 - 10:40am

We're moving house soon, and we're planning to rent out the flat we live in now. We could use an estate agent, and get the flat up on all the usual property boards. But, in the spirit of the IndieWeb, and because we don't want to pay commission to agents, we decided to put up our own website advertising the flat.

As with most developers, as soon as I had the idea of a project, my mind was racing with possibilities, and I had to stop myself from jumping straight into a code editor.

What technology will we use?

Whenever a web project starts, this is one of the most fundamental questions to answer. Until you've decided this, you can't get very far with building the thing.

A lot of developers will default to their standard toolkit. We tend to use what we've used before, what we're comfortable with. Most of the sites I've built over the last few years have used Drupal. For a while I used to choose Wordpress for smaller, simpler sites, and Drupal for anything that needed more flexibility and complexity, but as I got more familiar with Drupal, I became more efficient with it, to the point where it was quicker and easier to use Drupal.

Besides, often those smaller sites will end up evolving into something more complex, and with Drupal it's fairly straightforward to set the CMS up so that it isn't too intimidating to the editors. In my mind, that leaves the ease of updates as the only thing in favour of Wordpress, and that's a double-edged sword if people don't test updates properly.

But it's important to remember that developer convenience shouldn't be the deciding factor in how you approach a project. Your technology choice should be guided by the needs of the project and its stakeholders.

Does the site even need a CMS?

There are two questions I’d always ask when planning a project:

  1. How often is the content going to be updated?
  2. Who’s going to be updating it?

Content management systems are very useful and very powerful, but they bring additional complexity with them. You have to make sure that the software and the server it's running on are configured correctly, and that they're kept up to date. The more you can reduce the complexity, the fewer challenges you'll have.

These days, for simple sites, I'd be more inclined to use a static site generator like Jekyll, as long as the people editing the content would be able to handle writing in Markdown. Security and performance both get a lot easier to handle if you're just serving flat files.

For this project, the content is hardly ever going to change, and when it does, it will be me who edits it, and I’m comfortable editing raw HTML. So no, we don't need a CMS. And because there's only enough content to fill a single page, we don't even need any kind of site generator. Just a single HTML file, with some CSS and JavaScript - keep things as simple as possible.

Where do we start?

No matter how complex your project, there’s always the option of starting from a completely blank slate, but unless what you're doing is very bespoke, do you really need to roll your own every single time? The problems that you’re likely to face in a web project are almost certainly problems that somebody else has already solved, so why not stand on the shoulders of giants?

Having decided to build a single page site, I found a single page template based on Bootstrap that looked OK. Bootstrap and Foundation are often criticised for contributing to a culture where a lot of websites look the same, and perhaps rightly so. But a lot of the time, the people who publish content websites don't want or need their site to be unique. There's a reason why a lot of startups use these frameworks - they want to get something out there quickly, so that they can show the market what they've got, so that they can get some income and start iterating.

Yes, I feel a little lazy for spending five minutes googling single page templates, but what would be the value for me of doing something else? Perhaps I could use this side project as a learning opportunity? A chance to try out a new technology, or a new way of doing things?

Those can be good reasons to choose a technology, especially for a personal project, but I wanted to get a basic site together quickly. I wanted it to be good enough with minimal effort on my part. By starting with a template, I very quickly had something presentable enough to start showing to people. If I’d started from an empty file, perhaps I would have built something with more of myself in it, something I could be more proud of, but it would have taken a lot longer. Moving house is stressful, and I've got a day job and a family, and a bunch of other things on the go, so I didn't want to spend enormous amounts of time on this.

In short, I had a fairly clear idea of my minimum viable product, and using a template meant that I was quickly able to reach the point where I could focus on the content. After all, the content should always be the main thing.

Being a developer, I'm always looking for things to improve. For instance, perhaps I could get the site loading faster by converting FontAwesome to inline SVG, or maybe I could do something clever with the images or critical CSS.

But the point is that the website isn't there to impress other developers - it's there to get a message out to the world - that we're looking for someone to rent our flat.

Tags:  development technology Drupal All tags
Categories: Drupal Drupal Developer's blog: Drush commands for every day usage

Planet Drupal - 29 January 2017 - 9:56am
Drush stands for "Drupal shell" which means a powerful tool for managing Drupal installation from command line interface. Drush provides a lot of useful commands for dealing with a cache, modules, cron, database etc. But some of contrib modules also provide some extra drush commands for specific functionality (like features module comes with commands for managing features). Here's a bunch of a useful drush commands which I use every day.
Read more »
Categories: Drupal

Noscript Tag

New Drupal Modules - 29 January 2017 - 8:06am

Noscript tag module displays noscript tag when javascript is disabled in users browser. Site admin can configure what content to be displayed in the noscript tag. In some browsers the script tag is disabled or javascript is disabled, which leads to bad user experience. In those cases this module comes in handy by displaying a message in top of site.

Site admins can configure what content can be displayed in the noscript tag. Admins can add plain text or markup in the noscript tag via this module.

Categories: Drupal

Video Game Deep Cuts: The Neo Geo Yakuza - by Simon Carless Blogs - 29 January 2017 - 7:08am
The latest Video Game Deep Cuts, picking the smartest longform video game articles and videos of the week, looks at Neo Geo collecting insanity, Yakuza translations, and more.
Categories: Game Theory & Design


New Drupal Modules - 29 January 2017 - 4:07am

Jumper provides a simple integration with Jump.js, a small, modern, dependency-free smooth scrolling library.

Categories: Drupal

DrupalOnWindows: Continuous integration and testing with Drupal on AppVeyor

Planet Drupal - 28 January 2017 - 10:00pm

You can now easily test your Drupal projects on AppVeyor. Currently, AppVeyor is the major player in CI regarding Windows Servers. On other CI systems (Travis, Bitbucket pipelines) you are limited to Docker containers for the *nix platform. (This will soon change as some CI will throw Windows containers into the mix).

Until then, the only tool to CI your Drupal (or any PHP project) on a Windows based environment using IIS is AppVeyor.

Language English More articles...
Categories: Drupal

Follow Me

New Drupal Modules - 28 January 2017 - 5:53pm

Follow Me provides an API for keeping track of what views, taxonomy terms, etc.
a user has viewed leading up to viewing the current page.

Categories: Drupal

Threads of the Orb Weaver

New RPG Product Reviews - 28 January 2017 - 10:34am
Publisher: 0one Games
Rating: 4
0one Games are building a loosely-connected series of adventures in a corner of the Eerie Woods - which can be placed anywhere suitable in your campaign world, to mix in seamlessly with anything else you have going on. Everything is designed so that it is easy - references to \'a nearby kingdom\' for example.

We start off with some background, telling of a hitherto respectable scholar who went a bit off the rails after finding an artefact... add in that since his death many folk have ransacked his manor house in search of said artefact and we have a familiar story. Fortunately before he went totally strange, he left a sketch of the artefact at the religious academy where he had been working which has just turned up... and the clerical-scholars would like some brave adventurers to go and see what they can find. They\'ve already sent an apprentice to look the place over, but he was chased away by \'giant spiders\' and unfortunately he ended up dead in an alley with a crossbow bolt in his back, so the party won\'t be able to speak with him...

A few hooks are provided to help you get the party involved. Once they\'ve been hired the scholars invite them to a meeting where they explain pretty much all of the backstory and show them the sketch, then it\'s off to Spiderhaunt Manor to start their investigations. The actual journey is left to you to arrange, although there are a few rumours that can be picked up along the way. The Manor itself is a bit of a mess, earthquakes have reduced it to ruins, but there still are places to explore which are described and mapped for you to make running the investigation easy.

There\'s a villain to this piece, and he is described in detail. Shall we say he\'s found the artefact and made headway in learning how to use it...? This gives rise to a cinematic climax with the party racing to rescue a sacrificial victim before the final stage in the artefact\'s activation can occur.

In some ways the adventure is quite basic, but there are lots of little touches that make it come to life and add drama to the proceedings. The plans provided are definitely \'DM eyes only\' and thought could be given to providing some player versions to lay in front of them to help them picture the scene. There\'s also the odd spelling mistake that a good proof-read ought to have caught. But don\'t be put off, if you have a suitable level party eager for a bit of action this should keep them happily occupied - provided they are not scared of spiders!
Categories: Game Theory & Design Drupal 8 survey Feeds/Migrate usage and functionality

Planet Drupal - 28 January 2017 - 8:25am
We are working on porting Feeds to Drupal 8 today at the Global Sprints weekend in Amsterdam. We would like to know from you how you use these and similar import/export modules and what functionality you like but still miss in Drupal 8. Please take the survey here:
Categories: Drupal

Shuigong - The Emperor's Watery Secret

New RPG Product Reviews - 28 January 2017 - 8:12am
Publisher: Gaming Paper
Rating: 4
An review

This module clocks in at a total of 16 pages, minus 3 for the editorial etc., leaving us with 13 pages of content, so what do we get?

This module was moved up in my reviewing-queue due to me receiving a print copy of this book at Gencon.

The world of Orbis is one where steampunk influences abound, thanks to a special type of wood called scaldwood, which allows for the cleaner and more efficient generation of steam. Situated on this world, there is a nation roughly modeled after China - the Ten Thousand Scales, where the truth about the function of scaldwood and the actual use of steampunk-y technology is a jealously guarded secret, kept by advisors and bureaucracy from falling into the hands of the public, with the scheming at court keeping most issues far away from the emperor\'s notice. The PCs are contacted by the bureaucracy to deal with a rather significant issue - with 5 sample traits providing justification for them being chosen. The traits generally are solid and have but one issue: They do not specify their trait type.

Where should they go? Well, the deal offered to them provides a HUGE monetary benefit to go into Shuigong, the eponymous and restricted access filtration/sewer/water-processing system.

Anyways, this module is intended to be used with Gaming Paper\'s Mega Dungeon 3: The Sewers game aid, but does not require it - the final page is devoted to depicting the set-up of the gaming paper sheets, but also doubles as a map of the complex - player-friendly, in case you were wondering...

...and this is as far as I can go without SPOILING anything. Potential players will want to jump to the conclusion from here on out.




All right, I mentioned the huge reward before, right? Well, players should be skeptical and if they manage to get on the bureaucrat\'s good side, they may gain some additional information: There is a monster hiding in Shuigong, and its body-count is rapidly rising. While details are scarce, public persons have been eliminated and the military had been sent in. To no avail. The dread \"Beast Below\" that has been causing the deaths in no monster, at least not in the classic sense of the word; rather than that, it is a man named Zihao, one born as a fourth son, but with serious magical talent. Emotionally and physically tortured by his brothers for the perceived favoritism he received, they sought to break his heart via a courtesan...and instead broke his mind. Zihao stalks the tunnels and has created a web of death the PCs are now in the process of entering.

Shuigong is not a cosmetic backdrop - it is a proper environment: Pitch-black, slippery and potentially lethal, the place\'s structure influences CMD and Acrobatics and you should definitely know what you are doing - high Dex-characters will have some chance to shine here.

Exploring the dungeon that is Shuigong is btw. an internally consistent manner - it makes sense from the perspective of the deranged mastermind as well as from that of the GM: The obstacles the PCs will encounter focus on crippling PCs, on generating slowly a means of decreasing their potency; from deathblade poison-covered hidden blades to the creatures - which deserve special mention: The first would be hungry fleshes, which not only are diseased, they also accrue growth points and regenerates when hit by the wrong type of weapon, making for basically a puzzle-foe from the get-go.

This level of imaginative potential has been applied to more critters - take the plasmic otyugh, which can change its shape when in water - the interesting component here being definitely that the creature does not need to adhere to the standard formation of creature space, allowing for a creative application of flexibility and interesting tactical options I have not seen executed in any other critter so far. Even skeletons with filed feet or amphisbaena can be found here and astute players will slowly notice a sense of cohesion, that something is amiss - and indeed, the whole structure amounts to a gauntlet to soften up the pesky adventurers. From huecava and necrocrafts, the PCs will need more and more resources, as they slowly make their way towards the darkness and madness of Zihao and his ghoul retinue...

Editing and formatting are generally very good; while my print copy lacks some formatting among the statblocks (bolding/italicization), I have been told that this was cleaned up. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports several nice, original b/w-artworks. The print-version is a nice softcover. The cartography-overview page is solid and unfortunately, I can\'t comment on any pdf-versions, since I\'m not sure there even exists one.

Dan Comrie\'s Shuigong is a nice, unpretentious, internally consistent dungeon crawl against relatively challenging foes that shows some sparks of brilliance and creativity among the builds for the adversaries; less so for the BBEG, but there is some true creativity herein. Considering the evocative twist on the classic sewer level trope, one can definitely consider this a nice module, particularly for slightly more experienced groups and convention play. While certainly not super-hard, it is definitely a potentially challenging module and I mean that in a good way. Not all encounters reach the highlight-level of brilliance, but for the brevity, the module does indeed deliver a fun excursion. All in all, a fun module - which is why my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

MidCamp - Midwest Drupal Camp: Vote for your favorite MidCamp T-Shirt Design

Planet Drupal - 28 January 2017 - 7:38am

MidCamp 2017 T-Shirts

We need your help. We have all these great options for this year's MidCamp T-Shirts, and we just can't decide which one to make. Please fill out our poll to make your voice heard!

Vote for your favorite

Visit the site for the poll.

Sponsor MidCamp

We're currently seeking Lunch and Coffee sponsors for MidCamp 2017.  Lunch is the perfect opportunity to get your name in front of all of the attendees!  Drupalers like coffee. Some might even say Drupalers love coffee!  Earn the gratitude of our attendees by having your name and logo associated with the liquid refueling station! We are looking to four sponsors for each day to cover the costs.  Find out more.

Join Us Stay connected:
Categories: Drupal

Web Form Queue

New Drupal Modules - 28 January 2017 - 3:20am

Provides a queue handler for Webform to store form submissions in a queue.

Old Namespace -

Categories: Drupal

Domain pages metatag

New Drupal Modules - 28 January 2017 - 2:09am

This module is an extension for Metatag module for multi domain site installation that is based on Domain API module.
It gives users the ability to configure meta tags separately for each page and each domain.

Categories: Drupal

How closing borders kills understanding, and censors art - by Brandon Sheffield Blogs - 28 January 2017 - 1:50am
As the US closes its borders, we lose out on opportunities for cultural understanding. Because of the border closure, no US citizen can attend the Tehran Game Convention, a huge potential stepping stone in our international game development community.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Drupal core announcements: Drupal 8 and 7 core release window on Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Planet Drupal - 27 January 2017 - 4:22pm
Start:  2017-01-31 12:00 - 2017-02-02 12:00 UTC Organizers:  stefan.r David_Rothstein Fabianx catch xjm cilefen Event type:  Online meeting (eg. IRC meeting)

The monthly core patch (bug fix) release window is this Wednesday, February 01. Drupal 8.2.6 and 7.54 will be released with fixes for Drupal 8 and 7.

Also, Drupal 8.3.0-alpha1 will be released during the window.

To ensure a reliable release window for the patch release, there will be a Drupal 8.3.x and 8.2.x commit freeze from 12:00 UTC Tuesday to 12:00 UTC Thursday. Now is a good time to update your development/staging servers to the latest 8.2.x-dev or 7.x-dev code and help us catch any regressions in advance. If you do find any regressions, please report them in the issue queue. Thanks!

To see all of the latest changes that will be included in the releases, see the 8.2.x commit log and 7.x commit log.

Other upcoming core release windows after this week include:

  • Wednesday, February 15 (security release window and beta window for 8.3.x)
  • Wednesday, March 01 (patch release window and release candidate window for 8.3.x)
  • Wednesday, April 5 (scheduled minor release)

Drupal 6 is end-of-life and will not receive further releases.

For more information on Drupal core release windows, see the documentation on release timing and security releases, as well as the Drupal core release cycle overview.

Categories: Drupal

Why games are critical to Tencent's Disney-esque ambitions

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 27 January 2017 - 4:20pm

In an interesting Backchannel analysis, a former Riot Games employee analyzes how Riot owner Tencent may be trying to build an entertainment empire to rival Disney -- on the back of video games. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Flight Games Announces Runewars Organized Play Kits

Tabletop Gaming News - 27 January 2017 - 3:00pm
From the recent Runewars preview, people are wondering when the game will be hitting gaming tables all over the world. Well, there’s not much longer to wait, as Fantasy Flight Games is taking pre-orders for the launch event kits. There’s two you can get in order to make sure that the release day is a […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Asmodee Announces Dice Forge Board Game

Tabletop Gaming News - 27 January 2017 - 2:00pm
The gods have summoned you from the mortal realms to the world of the celestial islands. You’re there to compete against other mortals, with the winner becoming a new demigod. Dice Forge is a new board game coming from Asmodee and Libellud. The game uses a unique dice-altering system where it’s like a deck builder, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Sewer Bestiary

New RPG Product Reviews - 27 January 2017 - 1:06pm
Publisher: Gaming Paper
Rating: 5
An review

This little bestiary clocks in at 16 pages, 3 of which are devoted to editorial, etc. - leaving us with 13 pages for the critters herein.

The review is based on the dead-tree version I received at Gencon in exchange for an unbiased, critical review. Due to me receiving a print copy, this was moved up in my review-queue.

All right, so we begin this bestiary with the CR 1 Chimerette, which is an AMAZING concept: Think of these guys as anti-familiars, instilled with an intense hatred for spellcasters and a will to free their enslaved brethren. And yes, non-spellcasters may gain these as companions with a new feat presented herein.

The CR 4 Cystling is a similarly evocative concept - basically a fey that has literally been consumed and trasnformed by the cancerous growth of unchecked civlization\'s refuse into a horribly disturbing mockery of its former self. Yeah...evocative.

The giant cone snail and its increased emperor iteration at CR 1/2 and 3, respectively, are similarly cool: Trails of slime make terrain difficult, poisonous stings, soft bits and the option to traverse walls make these nasty threats Speaking of animal-like threats: The vessel-capsizing CR 5 black boar with its jagged tusks is another effective, deadly threat that maintains the streamlined emphasis on efficiency you expect from animal builds.

The denlock, at CR 3, are basically long-necked, hairless degenerate dwellers of the realms below, adept at swarming and leaping pounces. The CR 2 plague drake is a great story foe - they hatch from dragon eggs corrupted and diseased and thus can make for a perfect angle to introduce draconic mentors or do one of the scaled majesties a favor.

At CR 7, the gatorpede is actually one of the few examples of weird hybrid creatures where I really can see it work - unique and deadly, it has the potential to become as popular as the classic owlbear. The CR 3 filth golem is usually not created - it happens when refuse manages to gain accidental sentience, emitting a powerful stench, nauseating blows and the classic immunity to magic make this for a great foe.

The CR 6 prismatic cube determines its color and precise effects anew every single round - from fire to acid and poison, it is a unique twist on the gelatinous cube. I\'ve, as often, kept the best for last: The CR 9 rat emperor is basically a composite entity composed of a swarm of rats that grant it a collective intelligence - as such, it can swarm, spellcast, inflict the bubonic plague on foes...and worse. That\'s campaign BBEG-material, just add the required class levels and there we go, even at higher levels. My favorite critter herein, one you will never see. No, not even with invisibility purge. Dire Midge Swarms, at CR 4, cause horrible itching and painful welts and they are particularly nasty when facing foes that are bleeding...oh, and they are so small you can\'t see them. This is amazing and I already know how I\'ll be using these critters.


Editing and formatting are very good; I noticed a minor formatting glitch of a purely aesthetic nature, but the Gaming Paper-crew has since told me they had fixed it, so consider this to be excellent. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly, solid 2-column b/w-standard and each critter herein has a nice, original piece of artwork, all adhering to a uniform style. The softcover is solid and does not leave much to be desired for such a booklet.

A bestiary at this length has a tough job - it NEEDS to be all killer, no filler to warrant its dead tree price point, which is why you don\'t see too many small bestiaries at this length. Thankfully, the Gaming Paper crew has hired industry-legend Owen K.C. Stephens to write this pdf. This may be the first bestiary of his I have read and it\'s absolutely glorious, an all-killer, no-filler beauty that I really want to use in my games. Not a single creature herein is even \"only\" good - every single critter here is superb, making this one of the best small bestiaries I have read in a long, long while - and Legendary Games has spoiled me big time regarding great creature design. This is superb and well worth getting in print. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design


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