All RPGs and Storygames by Tod Foley are now available at DrivethruRPG and RPGnow. Bring these games to your table!
The Rise of The Influencerâ - âAnd Why Epic's New Store Approach Is Huge - by Meredith Hall
Acquia Developer Center Blog: Building Usable Conversations: How to Approach Conversational Interfaces
To kick off 2019 properly, the Experience Express is taking a break from Drupal and web development to consider an oft-forgotten component of new digital experiences in the conversational space. Though many organizations, some of Acquia's customers included, have leapt headlong into building conversational interfaces, sometimes it can be difficult in such a newfangled paradigm to consider all possible angles where things can go awry.Tags: acquia drupal planet
Drupal celum:connect is a Drupal 8 extension, which allows you to download assets from CELUM via the CELUM Asset Picker directly into the Drupal 8 filesystem and use it in a post, or just link it from celum in your Drupal 8 post.
I’ve written about the agony and frustration of organizing a gaming group before, offering advice on how to coordinate schedules and expressing my frustration when the rest of the group isn’t on the same page. Recently, I was talking with a friend about this subject again and we were commiserating on how hard it is to get a group’s schedule to line up and how frustrating it can be when it isn’t the same level of importance to everyone involved.
Over the years, I’ve seen how groups live and die based on scheduling and how much the group respects that scheduling. My first group that started in high school was a loose collection of people the GM would wrangle. It all revolved around him and because of the nature of what we were playing (usually super lethal 1e and 2e D&D) there were rarely campaign concerns that needed a consistent group of players. The folks I found in college were much more static about who was involved, but there was still only one GM and he often had difficulty maintaining a commitment to any one campaign. Eventually, we all stayed close friends, but the gaming faded away as adult lives got in the way. Today I have a local group that has been going strong for well over a decade, but that has taken a lot of determination from a couple of us that are too stubborn to fail. I also have a couple of online/remote groups, but scheduling is still tough and though our campaigns are wonderful, they’re sporadic.
Over the years, to maintain my own sanity, I’ve had to accept that not everyone is going to rank their commitment to a game group as high as I do. Gaming means a lot to me and it’s a hobby I have obsessed about for literally decades. I mean, I do write for a blog about this stuff after all. Not everyone who enjoys gaming is going to hold it to the same lofty pinnacle that I do. Many of these folks are still totally worth gaming with, but they’re not going to be the ones to initiate organizing and wrangling a group into playing. There are also of plenty of folks who love gaming just as much and will do it whenever they can, but simply do not have the right temperament or skills to be good at organizing. The struggle is real.
If you’re organizing your game group:
- Be patient but persistent. When you’re trying to herd cats, patience is a virtue. Even if you’re working with a small group of gamers, it can be trying to try and balance everyone’s schedule and make the timing work. Finding a time that everyone can make requires patience or it will drive you insane. You also need to be persistent that a decision is made. So many groups will debate things endlessly and never actually decide on anything. Or worse, some folks will think a time was set, but the rest didn’t get that same message. Your persistence also helps in making sure everyone stays on the same page. Even though my group has a nominal ‘every-other-Friday’ agreement, I still send out a reminder at the beginning of the week to make sure everyone remembers what, when, and where.
- Find the method that works for you. This should go without saying, but if you’re in charge of keeping the group organized, you have to find a method of organization that works for you. Honestly, if you’ve stepped into the role as a group’s organizer, you’re probably pretty organized to begin with, but everyone needs to start somewhere. My group uses a shared Google calendar, but relying on only that doesn’t work. At the end of every game session, I check in with folks about the next session. This helps remind folks to bring up things like vacations, cons, or special events, and it lets us potentially reschedule which night we play on if necessary. There’s also that ‘week-of’ reminder I send out.
- Don’t burn yourself out trying to accommodate everyone. This is important. As I said above, not everyone will or can rank gaming at the same level of importance as you or I do. This doesn’t mean they’re not fun to game with, but their priorities may be different for a wide variety of reasons. Be honest with yourself when you’re struggling to coordinate and one person is consistently the problem. Maybe it’s worth it because you love gaming with that person, but maybe they shouldn’t be part of a weekly group. If the problem is they often forget about the game or have to frequently cancel, it might be time to say goodbye. Find the people that are at least in the same ballpark with your priorities. I accept that not everyone in my group will be as dedicated as I am, but they’re all willing to try and maintain our schedule.
If you’re agreeing to join a game group:
- Respect the efforts of the organizer. I don’t say this just because I am an organizer, but you will absolutely frustrate and burn out your group’s organizer if you’re dismissive of how much work they do to keep things going. Or, if you constantly brush off gaming because something else came up, you’re disrespecting the time and effort of not only the organizer, but the rest of the group. If you’ve agreed to be part of a group and agreed to a time to game, you owe it to them to do your best.
- Give as much warning as possible if you need to cancel. Life happens and things do come up, so it should be common sense to let everyone know as soon as possible when you have to cancel gaming. Unfortunately, I’ve seen the last-minute cancel that shouldn’t have been last-minute way too often to not bring it up. It’s incredibly disrespectful to the group as a whole and to the GM of the group. Do you know how much it sucks to be the GM who planned an adventure with a focus on a particular character only to have that character’s player not show up for game?
- Be realistic about your availability. Folks really want to game, so they sometimes agree to games that almost immediately fall apart because no one could admit they really didn’t have the time for it. Recognize when you’re the one consistently making scheduling difficult and take a moment to think about whether or not this group is going to work. Sometimes difficult scheduling is okay because everyone is on board with it, but sometimes it’s just getting in the way of everyone else’s fun. I have one online group that has difficulty with scheduling, but we generally still make it work. Another fledgling group I was part of last year died essentially on the vine because we as a whole weren’t realistic about what our time commitment could be. Understand your own limitations and find the group that fits that.
I think this is a pretty universal struggle for all of us who try and game regularly. There’s a reason there’s a ton of memes out there about the impossibility of game scheduling. I’m curious about your struggles and what you and your groups have done to get past this issue. I’d love to hear your advice on the subject.
One of our customers asked how to build a mega menu in Drupal 8.
Mega menus are menus with multi-column navigation. They are fastly becoming a trend in web design.
The Ultimenu module allows you to insert Drupal blocks into a menu. You can easily use it to build fairly complex menu layouts.
In this tutorial, you will learn how to build a simple mega menu using the Ultimenu module and Bootstrap.
Online tutoring company Byju'sÂ announced yesterday that it hasÂ acquired Osmo, developer of educational games for children, for $120 million. ...
SuperData's end-of-year report lists PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds as 2018's top premium earner on console and PC, beating out Fifa 18, Grand Theft Auto V, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. ...
Drupal 7 core, together with Drupal contrib, has the ability to ship a powerful platform for our digital requirements in the enterprise world. The multilingual feature is one of the prime reasons that Drupal is a distinguished and a preferred solution to achieve business goals. Drupal 8 includes the multilingual package in the core itself, but Drupal 7 requires some extra amount of effort to build this package as a whole to make Drupal multilingual ready.Tags: acquia drupal planetmultilingualdrupal 7custom entity
It's the conclusion of a week-long public back and forth between the two companies, one that both began and ended with changes to Unity's Terms of Service. ...
This module helps you to block entire countries from visiting your site (and generating massive page load), if you are using the free plan of Cloudflare protection.
When we say DrupalCon, the upcoming DrupalCon Seattle 2019 event is probably what first comes to mind. But while we have been selecting sessions, setting up BoFs, and letting you know about the additions to our Con, we at the Drupal Association have also been looking ahead to DrupalCons of the future. We are excited to share those with you now.
In the past, we used to announce the next DrupalCon location during the closing session of the previous Con. This was a lot of fun, but created some logistical problems for the events team, and made it difficult to do all the work we need to do to secure our next con locations. It is a multi-year process to secure a venue for DrupalCon, so we've made some changes that help us coordinate with venues, hotels, and partners without relying on a veil of secrecy.
You first saw this change during the DrupalCon Nashville Closing Session, where we announced both 2019 (Seattle) and 2020 (Minneapolis).
We're taking these changes a step further by looking far into the future to announce the North American DrupalCons for 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. We're thrilled to announce the selected cities, as well as share the process that went into making these selections.Where DrupalCon is going
Together with each of our partner cities, we're excited to announce the upcoming locations for DrupalCon North America:
- DrupalCon Boston 2021 (April 16-21)
- DrupalCon Portland 2022 (April 25-29)
- DrupalCon Pittsburgh 2023 (June 2-9)
- DrupalCon Portland 2024 (May 6-10)
Want to understand the process that goes into city selection? The search for each location starts four or more years before the event, and you can read on for the inside scoop into how this plan came together. Wondering why all the selected cities are in the USA? We encourage you to read our prior blog about why the sustainable choice for North American locations is in the United States for the foreseeable future.How we got here Planning for the future
Historically, DrupalCon locations have been contracted a couple of years before they happened, in a city where we were excited to host the community, that we revealed in a fun fashion at our Closing Session the prior year.
However, announcing the new event only a year in advance—and selecting new cities for every event—created some logistical problems; conference center venues large enough to host DrupalCon are often booked four or more years in advance. This has meant that cities we would love to visit have often simply been booked during the dates that would work with our community needs, or are too expensive because we couldn't make multi-year commitments - which took a lot of options off the table.
In benchmarking ourselves with comparable conferences (in size, audience, and program), it became clear that many established organizations were booking multiple years in advance. This is in part due to the availability of desirable cities, but also that securing locations in the future equates to more competitive pricing.
As the Drupal Association matures and starts leading change in the community and in the open source world, we determined it was best to look farther into the future for our largest annual conference.Creating a location pattern that the community can count on
We took a serious look at data from past attendance, the locations we're trying to reach, and where we see the most traction from the community.
In analyzing data from DrupalCons dating back to DrupalCon Austin 2014, we were able to deduce some high-level insights about our attendees:
- 88% of attendees at DrupalCon North America come from the United States
- In hosting a DrupalCon in a coastal city in the USA, attendance from the regional community local to those cities can be 13-17% higher than the regional attendance we see in other cities (not counting those who travel greater distances).
- Conversely, when hosting a Con in the center of the country, attendance decreases significantly from the coastal audiences and does not significantly increase from the hosted-area region.
With the majority of our conference attendees in mind, we set out to host our conference in coastal cities, where, by ‘showing up’ our community has proven they want to go. This led us to primarily work on sourcing East Coast and West Coast cities for the upcoming years.
With our upcoming DrupalCon Seattle 2019 on the West Coast, and DrupalCon Minneapolis 2020 in the middle of the USA, we aimed to host DrupalCon 2021 on the East Coast, and from there, jump between the coasts for the foreseeable future.The benefits of repeating cities
As we did with timing and location, we also stepped back to ask ourselves, why do we move this conference every year? The logical answer is that it makes the conference more accessible to new audiences in different areas. But our past attendee data doesn't support this conclusion. So we asked ourselves again: If it isn't bringing in large numbers of new first-time attendees, why do we search for a new city every year?
We had heard anecdotally that it was because ‘Drupalers like to go on vacation in new cities’ and that ‘it helps grow the community in a new city,’ but these answers aren't well supported by the data, so we decided to re-evaluate our strategy.
When we release our RFP to the world, we work internally with the Drupal Association Board to determine our Selection Criteria. A lot of this hasn’t changed because the Con hasn’t changed drastically in a few years. The top 5 things that we evaluated in each city’s bid were:
- Large/versatile venue - Could the venue fit our 150+ sessions, 3,000 people for lunch, and the breadth of programming offered at our Cons?
- Popular tourist area - Do people want to go there? Is there a wealth of activities for them post-sessions each day?
- Strong business community - Do we already have partners in the city? Is it a place our sponsors have expressed as a city where they’d like to do business?
- Tech-focused city - Is the city supportive of tech and open source? Are there businesses and organizations that may participate in our event because we are in their city?
- Large and strong Drupal community - Does this city have a community that has hosted a successful camp in the past? Is there a solid community that regularly meets and would help support the planning of a Con?
It had been a few years since we selected new DrupalCon cities, so reviewing and updating the criteria seemed prudent. We added and changed the following criteria:
- CHANGE: In the venue criteria, we included the ability to change the program around, since as the community grows and changes, we want to be able to flex our program.
- ADD: Welcoming to all attendees. We wanted to make sure that topics such as legislative actions, political climates, and inclusiveness of the cities were taken into account to ensure that we were placing our Con in a city where all members of our community would feel welcome.
- CHANGE: When DrupalCons were mostly managed by the community, the need for a large and strong community was imperative to the success of a Con. Since the Drupal Association has taken on the bulk of planning, pricing, and executing of the Con, the need for the community to be of a certain size is no longer a qualifying factor. In fact, by changing the focus, we could look at cities that didn’t have large community groups at the time, but maybe a Con could inspire one.
When we examined our search criteria and started matching it up with real cities that we could reach out to, the list became short. With that reality, it became apparent that we would need to begin repeating cities. We seized the opportunity to proactively address that reality.
In speaking with tech event leaders from other communities and organizations, it was helpful to get a fuller understanding regarding the benefits of repeating a city location:
- Time: Securing multiple years can save an organization time, money and peace of mind. By doing this, you eliminate the need to do site visits and RFP gathering again the following year.
- Staff Capacity: By hosting an event somewhere you’ve already been, the staff does not need to learn a new floor plan, crew, process, regulations, etc. It is estimated that in eliminating these normal challenges of a new venue, that the staff capacity can be reduced by 25%, freeing them up to focus on the event itself.
- Negotiation: Planners can gather information on the facility once and focus on strategic negotiating, which translates to consistent concessions and commissions with minimal increases in rates/pricing annually.
- Cost Savings: Event budgets can be determined early, giving the planner more time to focus on the important things like planning for the success of the event. And, if you have done all of this well in the beginning, you will have the peace of mind to know that you are prepared for surprises that inevitably come along.
- Relationships: Multiyear contracts require a partnership. Planners, venues, and hotel partners can create a strategic plan to build the event and their services. In working with a crew for more than one year, improvements can be made and the crew is better prepared to serve the attendees the next time around.
We released our RFP on August 13, 2018, on the Drupal Association blog. It was also sent to multiple cities that met our criteria. Within our RFP, we shared our tight timeline, with the goal of signing contracts for 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 by the end of 2018. Below is a glimpse into the work that transpired between launch date and sign date.
- September 4, 2018. Is the date that we requested cities submit their detailed bids. Per our RFP, we had multiple questions about space needs, catering, AV, diversity and inclusion, internet, hotels, and more.
- September 5-11. Partnering with our fantastic production partner, Groundswell Marketing, we reviewed the proposals to see if any questions arose initially about the information provided. Most proposals were 30+ pages of information with pricing grids, proposed hotel blocks, and ‘why our city’ info. We ask each city for some hard numbers on regular items like a gallon of coffee or the hourly rate of an AV technician. This helps us immediately get a picture of a Con cost.
- September 11 - September 17. For cities we hadn’t been to before, the next step was to interview the city via a Zoom call to better understand how they were a good fit for our conference. Questions like ‘how would attendees be made to feel welcome in your city?’ and ‘How easy and affordable is it to get from the airport to the Convention Center?’ are asked in our initial determination.
- September 18 - 21. Once we determined cities that met our criteria, we dug a bit deeper into each city’s numbers. We laid out the entire Con on their floor plans to determine if we could fit and how. We inquired about real quotes for line items like our AV and our internet. We costed out catering estimates and space rental.
- September 24 - October 26. With our list in hand, we did our due diligence visiting possible future Con locations. In these meetings we reviewed the space and discussed how the attendee experience would feel. We met representatives from various departments of the Convention Center’s team to negotiate pricing and discuss pain points. We also did a whirlwind tour of the city to get a feel of what attendees would see/do after the Con each day.
- October 29 - November 14. We reviewed all of this information with the Drupal Association leadership team and collaboratively determined the priority of cities based on our search criteria. Going further, we then included data points on pricing, incentives, conference dates, etc, to come to a final recommendation for each year.
- November 15 - December 3. Built a working budget with concrete numbers for each preferred city to get an accurate future picture of finances. This involved getting future pricing on catering, network, hotel rates, etc. Worked back and forth with the city to negotiate down pricing.
- December 5. Presented recommendation to the Drupal Association Board for buy-in and support.
- December 6 - 27. Requested contracts from our preferred venues and hotels. Each city has one Convention Center, and at least 5 hotels, so in asking for these hotels, we had about 20 contracts to review. By looping in our legal team and our insurance group, we were able to further negotiate terms that make committing to future years smart, sustainable, and safe.
- December 28. Signed the last contract and sent it off to the cities. Signing before the end of the year met a contracting deadline that gave us a lot of financial benefits.
- End of December. CELEBRATED the end of this intense and action-packed process, and the future of sustainable and secured DrupalCon programming.
We aim toward growing adoption, one of the Drupal Association’s main goals. In planning ahead and setting ourselves up for a sustainable and fiscally responsible future conference plan, we can allocate our resources better to focus on creating a successful event that drives to this goal. By making these decisions now, we work to strengthen the foundation of the Association in order to continually work to serve our incredible and growing open source community.
We appreciate the questions and interest that community members have had in this process and were happy to do a deep dive to show you the planning, strategy, and work involved in selecting a city for a future DrupalCon. We invite you to share your thoughts and comments below, and we look forward to seeing you at a Con in the future.
This tutorial is all about managing users on your Drupal 8 site.
I'll show you how to control who can do what on your site:
- Who can create, delete, and edit content?
- Who can upload modules and themes?
- Who can modify menus and blocks?
You also see how to make user accounts more interesting. You do this by allowing users to add more information about them.
If your library hosts community programs and events, you should check out Intercept: a new product for helping libraries run better events. Intercept makes it easy to create and manage events. Even better, it provides actionable reports to help measure success and recommend strategic improvements for your programs in the future.Intercept Features
Intercept provides valuable features for event management, equipment reservations, room reservations and customer tracking.Event Management
- Easily add and edit events.
- Book rooms at the time of event creation.
- Host events at outside venues.
- Make custom templates for quickly creating future events.
- Create recurring events.
- Set up registration for events, including waitlists.
- Browse events as a list or grid-style calendar.
- Filter events by type, audience, location, date and keyword.
- Save and register for events.
- See similar events based on type and location.
- Receive recommendations for other events based on your preferences, events you’ve attended and/or saved.
- Analysis for events.
- Browse and reserve available equipment.
- Set reservation periods by item.
- Manage and approve requests.
- Report on equipment usage.
- Customize rooms and locations.
- Browse rooms by type, capacity and timeframe.
- Reserve rooms with validation to ensure rooms are not double-booked.
- Deny or approve reservation requests, with email notifications.
- Staff reservations are automatically approved.
- Ability to integrate with popular Integrated Library Systems (ILS).
- Integrates with Polaris ILS.
- Single sign-on with website and ILS.
- Allow attendees to scan into events with their library cards.
- Gather and analyze feedback from customers.
- Analyze event attendance numbers with population segmentation
- Download a CSV report on attendance.
Intercept was built as one part of a large redesign and redevelopment project with Richland Library. From the beginning, Richland’s vision was to both create a product to help measure the effectiveness of its own events, and to release that product to the wider community of public libraries. More than five years of user research, planning and beta testing have gone into this product to date. Intercept was designed and developed by a team intimately familiar with the problems that it solves.Open Source
Intercept was architected as a suite of modules for Drupal 8, is open source, and is freely available to all. You can download an early version of the code from Drupal.org at https://drupal.org/project/intercept, and the most recent version will available there soon. If you’re interested in learning more about using Intercept to help make your library’s events even better, we’d love to help! Just drop us a line on our contact page and we’ll be in touch right away.