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Metroid Prime and Player Agency in Narrative - by Damon Reece

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 27 June 2016 - 7:28am
Narrative design in modern open-world games is lacking due to developers' propensity to avoid the painful task of content curation and a failure of designers to create meaningful changes in their game environments.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Flight Games Previews Grand Inquisitor For Imperial Assault

Tabletop Gaming News - 27 June 2016 - 7:00am
The Jedi Order had been around for quite a long time before the Emperor decided, “well, that’s enough of that” and started working at getting rid of them all. Sure, he got a lot of them right away with Order 66, but remnants of the Jedi Order were all over (galaxies are pretty big places, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Datetime Extras

New Drupal Modules - 27 June 2016 - 6:40am

Widgets, formatters, and other tools to extend the core Datetime module.

Categories: Drupal

Featurize

New Drupal Modules - 27 June 2016 - 6:13am
Cover your whole site with features

Features are great until it comes to build the features for what you're developing. You're all good when you have only few features. Things get messy when your site has tons of features.

Categories: Drupal

Ratlings Enemy Box Added To Massive Darkness Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 27 June 2016 - 6:00am
Rats. Some people keep them as pets. But as an adventurer, you know that you’re probably going to have to go deal with some oversized rats at some point. Though much of the time the rats aren’t armed and armored. The Ratlings in Massive Darkness are armed and armored and are a new add-on for […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Liip: Personal report about Drupal Developer Days Milano 2016

Planet Drupal - 27 June 2016 - 5:55am

DDD is mostly for – surprise! – Drupal developers. This year it took place between 21 and 26 of June in Milan. People were on code sprints all week long and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday there were sessions and workshops as well.

I went to 2 sessions. The keynote of Bojan Živanović was about building reusable php libraries. Bojan is the architect behind Drupal Commerce 2 which is a prominent example of adopting the “leave the Drupal island” principle. They are not only advocating the usage of external solutions in Drupal but also creating libraries that are usable outside Drupal.

The session of Major Zsófi about organizing Drupal events could not have been given from a more authentic source. She shared her experience about the practical aspects of building a community and the importance of providing coffee.

All session recordings are or will be available online.

I attended three workshops. A really excellent one by Florian Loretan was about the trending search solution, elasticsearch. Pieter Frenssen had a workshop about Automated testing in Drupal 8. For me this proved to be the most valuable one since I could not keep up with the changes in this field since Drupal 7 and I need it in my contrib work. All my respects to Pieter who was able to present for 3.5 hours in a way that noone fell asleep even though we were just after lunch.

The third workshop I attended was my own 2 hours workshop about Caching in Drupal 8. I learnt a lot about this important topic during preparation and since only around one person left the room it might have been useful for the audience as well.

In the sprint room I joined the Commerce team. The team seemed to have been cursed. A laptop was stolen from the sprint site on Wednesday. Then on Thrusday night Bojan’s MacBook got also stolen from a restaurant with days of uncommitted work. In spite of this we could finish several issues in the Commerce, Commerce Migrate, Token and Address modules.

Sightseeing with drupalists

But the most important part of DDD was the social aspects. I met old friends and got to know new interesting people. Wednesday evening there was a quantitywise challenging dinner for speakers. On other nights we visited several parts of the beautiful city of Milano. Huge thanks to all the organisers, you did an amazing job! Hope to see you next year!

Categories: Drupal

A Sampling of RPG Podcasts

Gnome Stew - 27 June 2016 - 3:24am
Today’s guest article comes from Keith Garrett, an avid Gnome Stew reader, oft times guest article contributor, and he has now outed himself as a podcast listener. If you like podcasts, check out the Gnome Adjacent podcasts – Misdirected Mark (Chris, Phil, Bob) , She’s a Super Geek (Senda), and Talking Games (Send and Phil). And now, on with the show… review and descriptions by Keith. – John “I’ve got a voice for print” Arcadian

There are many, many podcasts dedicated to roleplaying games (and other games, for that matter). There’s probably at least one for your favorite game. In case you’re new to podcasts, here’s the gist: a podcast is a regularly-recorded show (usually audio only) that you can have sent via Internet to your smartphone or music player automatically. (You can also listen to them online using a web browser.) Amateur and professional podcasters (and plenty in between) produce a variety of show types targeted to gamers: some focus on a single game, others cover gaming in general regardless of system; some talk about gaming in a scholarly way, while others present recordings of actual play sessions.

I only started listening to RPG-related podcasts about a year ago, so I am by no means an expert resource. But since going podcast crazy on my drive home from Gen Con 2015, I’ve listened to many hours of RPG shows every week. (I even listened to some of the podcasts listed below for the entire distance of the marathon I ran last year!) So I wanted to list some of my favorites here to help even more people find them. I’m also looking for more to listen to, so please suggest your favorites in the comments.

 

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff If you’ve heard of any of the podcasts on this list, it’s likely you’ve heard of the multiple ENnie-award-winning “Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff.” Game industry luminaries Ken Hite and Robin Laws discuss gaming, game design, writing, occultism, history, cooking, and other nerd-related topics. They’re great at deep-diving into GM and game design advice, such as how to use RPGs to teach history, or different ways of handling stealth in a game. Each episode consists of four topics, clocking in at slightly more than an hour. Spellburn Purely devoted to the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, Spellburn is a model of how a podcast can make sweet audio love to its subject matter. The charming hosts (Judges Jim, Jobe, Jeffrey, and Jen) thoroughly explore game rules, interview DCC designers, review products, recap convention appearances, and discuss all matters related to the mythical Appendix N (Gary Gygax’s list of inspirational reading from the 1st Edition AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide). I just finished listening to the entire Spellburn backlog, and I’m about to start through my second round of every episode. GM Intrusions Lex Starwalker’s tribute to Monte Cook’s Cypher System games has been officially retired in favor of the next entry on this list, but it’s still worth listening to all 78 episodes if you’re a fan of Numenera or The Strange. The podcast’s content includes interviews (of both designers and fans), reviews, creature overviews, in-depth rule explorations, and lots of what the title promises: GM intrusions (a Cypher System game mechanic). Lex is a humble and insightful host, and provides great ideas and thought-provoking discussions. Game Master’s Journey During his long run hosting GM Intrusions, Lex Starwalker realized that a lot of the topics he discussed would apply to other games. So he started Game Master’s Journey, my other favorite podcast of his. (Lex has produced several—he’s kind of a human podcasting machine.) As I write this, his most recent episodes have focused on D&D, but he’s also discussed Edge of the Empire, 13th Age, and other games. Beyond game-specific topics, he also talks about general issues like how to be a good player, how to improvise, and how to run an adventure for new players. One of Lex’s popular topics is worldbuilding, and he’s devoted a healthy number of episodes to demonstrating how he’s creating his D&D campaign setting, Primorida. Dragon Talk Wizards of the Coast recently split their previous podcast into two different ones: Dragon Talk, focusing on interviews, and Dungeon Delve, specializing in live play sessions.  I haven’t listened to the latter, but I often like the interviews on Dragon Talk, like a recent one with Mike Selinker about the upcoming Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk expansion. Of course, the subject matter is usually related to games by Wizards, but that works for me when I want to learn about, say, the new Curse of Strahd book. Numenera: The Signal The Signal is distinctive for being both the shortest podcast on this list as well as the only one that is presented “in-universe”–the idea is that the episodes are messages transmitted from an inhabitant of Numenera’s Ninth World. Each transmission talks about something weird going on in a different part of the world, providing adventure hooks that are dripping with Ninth World atmosphere. It’s a really fun format and great for sparking adventure ideas for a Numenera game, or a different game if it’s sufficiently weird. Miskatonic University Podcast This one is a good source for information and inspiration related to Lovecraftian gaming. In addition to covering Call of Cthulhu, MU discusses Mythos-related art, fiction, Kickstarter projects, and other board and card games (like Cthulhu Wars). The two things I like best about this podcast are its timely supply of Mythos news and its thorough discussions of Lovecraftian RPG topics, such as how to use (and abuse) the players’ NPC contacts. You’ll find some nice, evil ideas here. Go Pods! Sanctum Secorum This podcast is basically a book club focusing on the works that defined fantasy roleplaying (the Appendix N mentioned previously). The hosts start off by discussing an inspirational work of literature, then follow up by giving ideas for how this piece of fiction can inspire (or has inspired) an RPG adventure. Sanctum Secorum is strongly focused on the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG (indeed, co-host Jen Brinkman is also one of the Spellburn crew), but there’s plenty of good stuff here even if you don’t play DCC. That’s it for my list. What about you? What’s your favorite gaming podcast, and where do you listen to it? Keith Garrett is a freelance writer from Memphis. He’s been a roleplayer for 30 years, and firmly believes you can never have too many dice. He writes more things like this at adventuresofkeithgarrett.com, and on Twitter he’s @keithagarrett.
  • Brief Bio: Keith Garrett is a freelance writer from Memphis. He’s been a roleplayer for 30 years, and firmly believes you can never have too many dice. He writes more things like this at adventuresofkeithgarrett.com, and on Twitter he’s @keithagarrett.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Simple Sync

New Drupal Modules - 27 June 2016 - 2:26am

Provides an easy way to synchronise site configuration between multiple environments such as development, test and live versions of a site.

Simple Sync is useful when dealing with ad hoc configuration changes. For the initial site building, the Features module may be more relevant.

Categories: Drupal

Game devs weigh in on the 'Brexit' decision

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 27 June 2016 - 1:03am

The world is changing. Last week, the U.K. voted to exit the European Union. Now U.K. game developers, investors and others weigh in on what such a 'Brexit' means for the game industry at large. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Vypress Weapon Art Development Profile - by Justin Gostick

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 27 June 2016 - 12:02am
Learn about the weapons used by the Vypress class in Mirage: Arcane Warfare, an upcoming game from Torn Banner Studios, creators of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fuzzy Thinking: Adventurers Have Moms, Too

RPGNet - 27 June 2016 - 12:00am
Fuzzy family.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Mirador

New Drupal Modules - 26 June 2016 - 9:06pm

Mirador is a multi-repository, configurable, extensible, and easy-to-integrate viewer and annotation creation and comparison environment for IIIF resources, ranging from deep-zooming artwork, to complex manuscript objects. It provides a tiling windowed environment for comparing multiple image-based resources, synchronised structural and visual navigation of content using openSeadragon, Open Annotation compliant annotation creation and viewing on deep-zoomable canvases, metadata display, bookreading, and bookmarking.

Features:

Categories: Drupal

File Accept

New Drupal Modules - 26 June 2016 - 1:22pm

Adds an accept attribute to all file upload fields that have allowed extensions set. When provided with this information, browsers will only allow files of that type to be uploaded via dialogs, instead of offering all files.

Categories: Drupal

CKEditor Balloon Panel

New Drupal Modules - 26 June 2016 - 8:43am
Introduction

This module enables the Balloon Panel plugin from CKEditor.com in your WYSIWYG. The Balloon Panel plugin provides the ability to create a floating, balloon-shaped container capable of presenting content at a precise position in the document.

This module used in CKEditor Accessibility Checker to create the floating panels with accessibility tips.

Requirements

CKEditor Module (Core)

Categories: Drupal

Vardot: Most Popular Drupal University Websites in the Middle East

Planet Drupal - 26 June 2016 - 6:04am
Case Studies Read time: 15 minutes

There are several interesting rankings of top government sites built with Drupal. However, Drupal is good not only for Ministries and NGOs - it is also a great choice for schools and universities. Harvard, Yale, MIT and many other of the most prominent schools worldwide choose Drupal as a CMS for their sites because of its scalability, flexibility and security.

Complete list of Drupal advantages

But what about the Middle East? Do Arab universities and schools realize the benefits that Drupal can give them or do they still use cheaper solutions? Only a deep dive into the knowledge pool of various universities’ websites can help us reach a conclusion. Thus, we made a detailed study into the same and prepared the list of 10 most popular Arabic educational Drupal websites according to Alexa global rank.

Being formatted in ascending order, the list contains the basic introduction about each university, its Drupal version, Alexa global rank and the general features of its website witnessed by a common visitor. Here are the top 10 universities located in Middle East.

 

10. Princess Sumaya University For Technology

Alexa Global Rank: 293,597

Drupal Version:  7.3x

 

Founded by the Royal Scientific Society in 1991, Princess Sumaya University for Technology is actually the most prominent Applied Research Center situated in Jordan. It is a non-governmental and non-profit university that offers Bachelor & Master programs in all the engineering disciplines. Apart from this, the university offers higher education programs in Business Management as well.

Princess Sumaya University for Technology consists of four schools; each school delivers quality education in its specialized discipline. This means Computer Science, Engineering, Business Management, and Research each have their own specialized school at the university.

The university website is a unique blend of creativity and technical capabilities. The design itself displays an excellent thought process utilized in its development. The usability, user experience and easy navigation are the features this website contains. The high definition pictures of the university kept in homepage slide add a feather to the cap of this user-friendly website.

A homepage in 5.97 MB size takes only 4 seconds to load shows its feature of speed friendly website. Rather than filling the homepage with so many elements, the most prominent features such as e-services, e-learning, media, video gallery, sitemap etc. have been given a highlighted space. All other informative links have their perfect position in the header and footer.

 

9. German Jordanian University

Alexa Global Rank: 276,566

Drupal Version:  7.3x

 

German Jordanian University, founded in 2005 in Mushaqqar, Jordan comes on 9th position among top 10 Universities in Middle East. The university was established with a motto of enhancing knowledge transfer between Jordan and Germany by blending together their best educational models.

Currently, the university is offering 20 undergraduate and graduate programs to approximately 5000 students in which female students are almost the half. The university has its own specific curriculum different from all the other Jordanian universities, because it has been developed in relevance to the German Applied Sciences model.      

Just like its unique curriculum and rich education methodologies, the Website of the German Jordanian University is also a unique one in its thought process. The best designed and the easiest usability makes it better than all the previous options. The homepage slide containing the real pictures of university students and campus displays everything you want to know about the university. The color theme, graphics and other technical elements are excellently utilized and thus, make it a user-friendly website.

The Homepage is 4.1 MB, but still takes only 3.34 seconds to load. Both the header and footer contain links that directly navigate you to the information you are looking for. Thus, the usability, user experience, and speed are better than your expectations. See the announcements slide below the university pictures. You are kept updated with all the latest announcements on the Homepage itself.

 

8. University of Bisha

Alexa Global Rank: 202,495

Drupal Version:  7.4x

 

The eighth position among top 10 universities in Middle East has proudly been secured by University of Bisha located in Saudi Arabia. Founded only a couple of years ago the university has achieved a worldwide recognition by offering quality higher education. Certain features such as quality education, modern infrastructure, students’ friendly campus especially for girls and latest educational & technical amenities are responsible for giving the best learning experience to students, here, at University of Bisha.

‘Simplicity dipped into soberness’ is the easiest phrase to describe its website in short. The homepage itself exhibits the uniqueness of thought process, utilized while developing the website. The very first positivity that hits a visitor is its multilingual accessibility. The website is accessible both in Arabic and English language making it easy for non-Arabic visitors to find the information they need.

Apart from this, the header is designed with a feature of easy navigation, especially for the students and faculty. Here the students and employees are given an easy navigation to the links they need as the information in these links each have its specific page. And in the footer every link has been individualized with a specific logo.  

When we look into the technical features of the website, we find it perfect here also. The homepage is made of 7.8 MB size that takes only 6.50 seconds to load making a speed-friendly. In a nutshell, the university website has all the features to recognize it as a user-friendly website.  

 

7. Gulf University for Science & Technology

Alexa Global Rank: 155,830

Drupal Version:  7

 

Founded in 2002, Gulf University of Science & Technology (GUST) commonly known as Gulf University is a private university located in West Mishref, Kuwait. It seems really surprising that a young University that celebrated its first commencement ceremony in June 2007 stands on the 7th position among the top 10 universities in Middle East.

Currently, Gulf University has been inculcating capable professionals in various technical and professional disciplines. Approximately 145 well-known academic faculty members from 31 different countries have been saturating their meticulous knowledge and skills to thousands of students.

The blue and white color combination of the website makes it catchy and attractive. The website has been developed in relevance to the usability and user experience. Though the heavy homepage of 2.4 MB slows down its speed as it takes 7.61 Seconds to load yet the easy navigation and smooth functioning makes a visitor forget the speed issue. And also, the website is available in English version only, it sometimes creates language problem for Arabic native speakers.

Simple but impressive exhibition of all the website elements and relevant links makes it a user friendly website. There is no hustle-bustle of content, sections, or links on the homepage. You will find only the required information on it. Thus, it can be called a cutting edge website that has the capacity to grab good reviews from the visitors.

 

6. Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University

Alexa Global Rank: 38,831

Drupal Version:  8

 

Among top 10 universities in the Middle East, Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University owns the proud position of being on the sixth rank. Formerly known as Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz University or the University of Al-Kharj, Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University was established in 2007 in the city of Al-Kharj, Saudi Arabia.

The current name of the university was adopted in the beginning of 2015. Currently, the university is delivering higher education to approx 30,000 students in 80 different programs. It is only the quality education that has brought various national and international accreditations for different programs.

The university has an excellently designed website that is built with the latest Drupal 8. It greatly speaks about the university, its features, academic programs, and guidelines for a new visitor. The header in the website contains everything in a nutshell. Whatever information is required related to administration, courses, jobs, research programs, and more, the header will provide a direct link to the same. Thus, the website features an easy navigation for a visitor.

Main reasons to migrate to Drupal 8

The homepage that acquires a size of 1.1 MB takes 4.2 seconds to load. It designates the website to be speed-friendly. The social media platforms of the university have been given a place at the right top. All the other useful links have been placed in the footer. The website, thus, provides a user-friendly experience as well. So, the overall experience of the website is very positive.

 

5. Majmaah University

Alexa Global Rank: 37,501

Drupal Version:  7.4x

 

Founded in 2009 in Al Majma'ah region, Majmaah University can be regarded as one of the youngest universities located in Saudi Arabia. Having a total number of 13 academic schools, the university has been established with a motto of expanding higher education around the region and providing quality education to the growing number of young graduates in the Middle East.

It is one of the only perfect utilization of educational resources and the unified efforts of management, faculty and students established just within 7 years; Majmaah University stands tall on the fifth rank among top 10 universities in the Middle East with Drupal website. Currently, the university offers diploma, bachelor, masters, and research programs in various disciplines.

The university website has also played a major role in bringing the university to its heights. The Website of Majmaah University is an outcome of rich creativity and professional capabilities. The beautiful layout of the website, the extraordinary color combination, and unique design concept is really a treat to the eyes when visited for the first time. The high definition picture on the homepage showing students from various streams brings an artistic touch.

In technical terms, the website is capable enough to provide an excellent experience to its users. A size of 1.5 MB takes only 1.28 seconds for the homepage to load. The header has all the sections and subsections with links that take the visitor directly on the page he/she wants. So the navigation feature of the website is just as a user likes. Thus, the website contains all the features of being speed-friendly and user-friendly.

 

4. King Khalid University

Alexa Global Rank: 30,282

Drupal Version:  7.4x

 

Being established in 1998 in Aseer region, KKU has evolved into a premier institution in Saudi Arabia just within a short span of time. The various factors such as modern infrastructure, latest educational amenities, a wide gamut of undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate programs, a large number of disciplines, meticulous faculty and much more have elevated the reputation of the university throughout the Middle East.

Recently, King Khalid University (KKU) has secured the 604 rank among top 700 universities in the world and also achieved a prominent position among the best universities in the Middle East. Inculcated from the merger of two schools, King Khalid University also enjoys the designation of the biggest academic institution saturating quality higher education to approx 72000 students.

The university website exhibits really a different design and thought process. The whole website designed on a white background looks so beautiful in the first look. The pictures have been utilized on the website just in accordance to the theme of the page.

The website’s homepage having a size of 3.0 Mb is overfilled with the informative links yet it only takes 5.36 seconds to load. And also, the visitors find it easy to operate due to its well designed header & footer. Thus, the website is sure to get good reviews from the visitors in relevance to the user experience.  

 

3. The University of Dammam

Alexa Global Rank: 26,233

Drupal Version:  7

 

The third rank among the top ten Middle East universities goes to the University of Dammam located at Dammam, Saudi Arabia. The university that was established in 1975 with two colleges – College of Medicine and College of Architecture has now expanded into 21 colleges in the Eastern province. From graduate to research programs, the University of Dammam is providing quality education to approx 45000 students. Currently, the University has been offering a broad spectrum of bachelor, masters, and research courses in Medicine, Engineering, Science and Management and Arts disciplines.

The university website has been developed and maintained meticulously. The very first advantage of the website is its rich content framework. Every section, every landing page contains a rich informative content. Secondly, the color combination of the website is really fantastic. The beautiful combination of blue, white and cream colors make it look more beautiful. And the multicolored main menu on homepage looks like a rainbow on a white sky. Thirdly, each page link is available on the homepage that makes the website navigation an easy task. The header and the footer have all the required links that make it easy to navigate to the required page.

The website homepage takes only 3.20 seconds to load due to its speed-friendly size of 585.6 KB. Therefore,, the website is not only easy to operate but provides a speedy navigation as well. Thus, the website provides a better user end experience.

 

2. The American University in Cairo

Alexa Global Rank: 22,309

Drupal Version:  7.4x

 

Being established in Egypt in 1919, The American University in Cairo was founded by Charles A. Watson. Though AUC was the first English-University in the Middle East, yet it was established with a motto of contributing to the intellectual, social and cultural growth of the Arab World. In the beginning, it was both a preparatory school and a university with only men allowed to get admission.

Since its inception, AUC went through various changes and advancements that shaped it into the 2nd most famous university in the Middle East. Currently, AUC is spread in 260 acres having 25 departments and institutes, and offering approximately 36 undergraduate, 44 masters, and two research programs.

When it comes to the AUC website, the very first thing that strikes in a visitor’s mind is that the university website is so simple and sober. A beautifully designed yet an easily accessible website that makes a visitor grab his/her required information by going directly to the specific link. Both the main menu navigation and the footer have all the required links to navigate on the specific page you require. You can also see all the social media symbols on the footer that will direct you on the social platforms of the university.

The website saturates a pleasing user end experience due to its perfect design, impressive landing pages, good speed, and easy navigation. The home page is so impressively designed that it attracts a visitor to explore more into it. The real pictures of the university add beauty to the website. And mainly the homepage that is of 1.0 MB takes only 2.11 seconds to load. Thus, in terms of speed and navigation, the website is really user-friendly.

Vardot Introduces the American University in Cairo's New Website

 

1. King Saud University

Alexa global rank: 6,098

Drupal version: 7.43

 

Established in 1957, King Saud University owns the pride of being not only the first but also the most famous University in Saudi Arabia. In 1953, Abdulaziz al Saud announced to establish the first higher education institution in Saudi Arabia to enhance the cultural and scientific knowledge in the country along with spreading Islamic faith among the coming generations. Subsequently, King Saud University was founded in Riyadh.

Today, the university has been accelerating higher education in all the streams such as Engineering, Medical Sciences, and Humanities and so on. Being a premier institution with 24 colleges, King Saud University has been ranked no. 1 in the Middle East. The greatest feature of the university is that it has separate colleges for girls just to initiate higher education among girls in a country where girls don’t enjoy much freedom in their social life.

The Website of King Saud University presents an actual display of the university itself. The very first feature of the university website is its compatibility in English language along with Arabic. It enables the visitors throughout the globe to find the information they require. Secondly, the website has been designed and executed in a way that stresses more on giving the detailed knowledge into everything rather than focusing on designs only. Thirdly, each informative topic on the website has a different page for it and is easily accessible for a visitor to find his/her relevant information.

If we talk about the user end experience, everything on the website such as design, speed, content, and information is capable enough to grab good reviews and a five-star rating from its visitors. The homepage size is only 1.3 MB that just consumes 3.50 seconds to load.  

 

Conclusion

As promised, we have presented a deep insight into every university’s basic information. Though all the information is just true as it is taken from reliable sources yet only the figures may differ sometimes according to the changing trends.

Although the most of these websites are relatively new, they have achieved great popularity and high rankings. On one hand their popularity depends on high academic level and number of students, but on the other hand Google doesn’t rank high websites that have problems with the code and are not SEO-optimized. The success of sites listed in this article is also achieved with their powerful CMS.

Drupal is the latest Content Management System in vogue these days. Having various versions, Drupal saturates the achievements for a website far above the expectations. And that’s the reason why most of the academic institutions or schools in the Middle East prefer Drupal distributions when building their websites.

If you have plans to build a site and achieve highest rankings, Drupal is the right fit for you. For assistance migrating to Drupal or building a modern website for your university, contact Vardot.

Tags:  Drupal Planet Higher-ed & Schools drupal 8 Title:  Most Popular Drupal University Websites in the Middle East
Categories: Drupal

UTF8MB4 Convert

New Drupal Modules - 26 June 2016 - 4:46am

Drush command that converts existing MySQL UTF8 databases into UTF8MB4.

THIS IS NOT A MODULE. YOU CAN'T ENABLE IT. Make a backup of your database before running this!

Categories: Drupal

ARREA-Systems: Custom Block in Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 25 June 2016 - 6:56pm
Custom Block in Drupal 8 JK Sun, 06/26/2016 - 09:56

In this article, we will see how we built custom blocks in EK management tools suite with a sample basic block in a module called 'mymodule' used for demo. It can be used to display multiple content, static or dynamic as in the example above.

Create the block script

First we will create a script that will display some content within a block. the script file will be called MyBlock.php and is placed in /mymodule/src/Plugin/Block/.


/**
 * @file
 * Contains \Drupal\mymodule\Plugin\Block\MyBlock.
 */
namespace Drupal\mymodule\Plugin\Block;
use Drupal\Core\Block\BlockBase;
use Drupal\Core\Session\AccountInterface;
use Drupal\Core\Access\AccessResult;

/**
 * Provides a 'Custom module widget' .
 *
 * @Block(
 *   id = "my_block",
 *   admin_label = @Translation("My custom block"),
 *   category = @Translation("mymodule Widgets")
 * )
 */

Categories: Drupal

Review Roundup

Tabletop Gaming News - 25 June 2016 - 11:00am
Saturday! Glorious Saturday! As you read this, I’m at a library that a friend works at. They’re having their first Board Game Day and so I’m playing some board games. Actually, there’s a very high likelihood that I’m playing Guild Ball, which isn’t really a board game, but it’s still alright. Anyway, while I’m doing […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

DrupalEasy: A Deep Dive into Views in a Unique Fashion (Book Review: Mastering Drupal 8 Views)

Planet Drupal - 25 June 2016 - 10:52am

Gregg Marshall's Mastering Drupal 8 Views is one of the (I can only assume) many Drupal 8-focused books that will be released in the coming months. It is a very good deep dive into many of the hidden corners of the Views module, albeit with an interesting format. Not completely structured like a typical how-to software book, Gregg takes a bit more of a novel approach (pun intended) - he takes the reader on a journey through the Views module through the eyes of Lynn, a small business owner (Lynn's cat and Drupal consultant also have prominent roles). While some readers might find the story-ish elements distracting, they add a certain degree of warmth to the book - something I can only assume a subset of readers will more than appreciate.

The author does a nice job of setting the stage, identifying the intended audience for the book, and speaking directly to them (through the book's characters). There are sections of the book that may cause confusion with this structure, on several occasions I found myself reading long, multi-paragraph sections that I didn't immediately realize that a character was speaking, and not the author. It seems that the use of quotations to indicate when characters were speaking was not consistently applied.

While the technical content of the book is often well-written and clear, there are some places in the book where things seem out-of-order - none more so than the first lesson diving into the Views "settings" page - something that most people new to the subject don't need to consider until they need to modify the (very sane) default values. Another example early in the book has the author creating a new view "display" prior to a full explanation of what Views display are.

There are, however, many areas of great explanation on topics that I don't recall ever seeing in other Drupal-related books. Sections on the new "entity reference" and "REST export" display types stood out in the first few chapters, as well as some of the best explanations (and details) on the "table" format, and field rewrites (more on this in a bit).

There are several lessons that have starting points that aren't necessarily considered "best practice", including one that has the reader cloning the admin/content view as a starting point for a public facing view. In my opinion, the reader would be better served by starting a brand new view using the Views "wizard" interface. As a stickler for best practices, there were several things in the book that made me cringe a bit, including the use of the (outdated?) GMap and Location modules (instead of Geofield-related modules) and (even more so) the use of the admin area's "Install new module" functionality.

I found the discussion and lessons around contextual filters to be extremely effective. The story-ish nature of the book allowed the author to almost naturally introduce a problem that is elegantly solved with contextual filters. Along with relationships, contextual filters are often one of the major stumbling blocks in learning Views, and this book does as good a job as anything else I've read and taking the reader down in the deep, dark recesses of it ("Default value" options included!) The chapter on Views relationships is similarly structured and just as effective.

This is perhaps one of the only Drupal books I've read that purposely sends the reader (in this case, the main character as well) down a dead-end in order to introduce a new topic. I think that many readers will find this comforting, in that it allows the author to introduce a new topic in order to direct the reader to a solution.

As a big fan of display modes, combined with the fact that they are much more visible in Drupal 8, I hoped that the author would utilize them more often in the various lessons (instead of relying on adding fields to most views).

The book really shines in chapters that normally are only a small section in other Drupal resources. There is an entire chapter on field rewrites, and it is wonderful. The author takes Lynn and the reader through various examples, each exposing a new aspect of field rewrites. For anyone who doesn't dare dive into this section of Views field configuration, this chapter alone is worth the price of the book.

The chapter on all the settings in the "Advanced" fieldset is also something that the author covers extremely well. In most Views references, many of these settings are glossed over, but this book provides an almost ("aggregation" isn't covered as deeply as I hoped) complete reference to all the various available settings.

While the vast majority of the examples in the book are well structured, many of them depend on content types and other information architecture that exists on "Lynn's" site. While details of the information architecture are provided in an appendix, it would be very helpful for the author to provide them via GitHub or some other electronic mechanism to readers. Otherwise, it seems like a tedious and error-prone process for readers to recreate the information architecture on their own in order to follow the examples in the book.

The author does a nice job of walking the reader through the use of several Views-related contributed modules as well. For my taste, I think there should have been just a little more explanation about how various contributed modules fit together with Views. As an example, the fact that Views Slideshow provides a new display plugin is glossed over. I think it would serve the readers well to specifically mention that many Views related modules are simply plugins for various parts of the Views infrastructure. This would provide readers with a higher-level view of the Views ecosystem. That's a bit of a nitpick though, as this section is really, really solid.

One of the last chapters in the book covers theming views, and I think it doesn't go into enough details and/or examples. The section on adding CSS classes to various parts of a view is very useful, but the section on overriding template files feels incomplete.

Overall, this is a welcome addition to the Drupal family of books, and one that I can honestly recommend for users that feel like there are aspects of the Views module that are still a mystery to them. The novel-like structure of the book normally doesn't get in the way of the lesson, but for readers who normally doesn't read technical books front-to-back (instead cherry picking only chapters of interest), it might be a bit distracting. While this is properly identified as a Drupal 8 book, much of the content is also valid for Drupal 7, including some of (in my opinion) the strongest chapters.

Categories: Drupal

Varnish purge

New Drupal Modules - 25 June 2016 - 7:23am

This is the varnish purger for the Purge module.

For now this is only a copy of the Generic HTTP Purger module, we are working on extending it to do more than http purges, and therefor forked from that module. All work done until now should be credited to nielsvm

Categories: Drupal

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