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Hi, I'm your friendly North American Unreal Engine Evangelist! - by Christian Allen

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 31 October 2017 - 3:30am
Christian Allen joins Epic Games as the Unreal Engine Evangelist for North America.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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New Drupal Modules - 31 October 2017 - 2:31am
Categories: Drupal

Amazee Labs: Amazee Agile Agency Survey Results - Part 1

Planet Drupal - 31 October 2017 - 2:00am
Amazee Agile Agency Survey Results - Part 1

A few weeks ago I published a call for feedback on a project I've begun to assess agile practices in our industry (Take the Amazee Agile Agency Survey 2017). I would like to share a preliminary overview of the results I have received for the Amazee Agile Agency survey so far. Twenty-five individuals have completed the survey to date, so I have decided to extend the deadline a few more days, to November 5th, in order to gather more responses. Thanks to everyone who has participated so far! 

Josef Dabernig Tue, 10/31/2017 - 10:00 Initial Observations Popular Methodologies

Given the initial survey results, Scrum (or a Scrum hybrid or variant) is the most widespread development process used by agencies. Many teams consider it their top priority in order to deliver a successful project. Following Scrum as methods most use by agencies are Kanban or Waterfall.

ScrumBan (a hybrid of Scrum and Kanban) has not been widely adopted.  

In addition to those processes presented, Holocracy, Extreme Programming or DSDM have also been mentioned.

At Amazee, we began using Scrum to deliver projects a little over two years ago and have made great progress on it since then. In the last year, we also started a maintenance team which uses Kanban. Just recently, we began evaluating ScrumBan as a way of integrating our maintenance team with one of our project teams.

Project Teams 

Agencies ranging in sizes from 1-5 people to over 100 people have responded to the survey. Of those surveyed, the most common team size for project work are, in order from most common to least common:

  • three people or fewer
  • five people
  • four people
  • six people  

In terms of co-located or working remotely, team location varied wildly, but skewed towards 'mostly co-located' with some degree of remote. More than 50% of agencies form a new team with the launch of a new project, followed by stable teams which deliver multiple projects at the same time. Following multiple-project delivery are stable teams which deliver one project at a time.

At Amazee, we started out spinning up a new team with each new project, but soon realized that the constant starting and stopping of mid-sized projects was too disruptive. These days, we use stable teams to deliver multiple projects.

Sprints

Most teams surveyed deliver in two-week sprints. The remaining 33% of respondants deliver anywhere from single-day sprints to month-long sprints.

Team Integration

Frontend and backend developers are usually specialized but mostly work together on one team.

DevOps, QA/Testing, as well as the Scrum Master role, are shown in all variations of integrated or totally separate teams.

UX & Design are split, with this role either in a separate team (or external resource) or as part of a stable team. 

At Amazee, we try to hire T-shaped experts that can work across most disciplines on a team. For example, a Frontend developer may also have experience with backend tasks, which can help alleviate work silos and ticket bottlenecks. 

Staying Connected

Most agency teams rely on written communication to stay connected. This can take the form of tickets or via a chat tool such as Slack.

The majority of teams hold team meetings and 1-on-1 meetings, while fewer teams communicate mainly via blogs, wikis or even pull requests.

The majority of standups last fifteen minutes while some are only 5-10 minutes.

At Amazee, our hubs differ. Our Zurich office holds a company-wide standup that takes about ten minutes, followed by a team-specific standup that takes another ten minutes. Our Austin office holds a company-wide standup, which includes a client, which lasts about fifteen minutes. 

Splitting up the Work 

Many agencies vary in their approach to defininig, writing, reviewing, and estimating tasks and tickets. For most agencies, the project team is involved in each step of the ticket creation process. In others, creating tickets falls to the client, project manager, or product owner. In most cases, a technical lead is involved in the high-level ticket creation and the team is brought in for estimations. 

The most common approach to estimating ticket is time based (hours, days, weeks) followed by story points (t-shirt sizes, fibonacci sequence) 

Client Communication 

When it comes to meetings between the team and the client, the top mentioned options where 'less frequently' followed by 'more or once per week' and 'every two weeks'.

At Amazee, depending on the project size, our teams meet weekly or bi-weekly with the client. Clients are encouraged to talk directly with the team via Slack. We'd like to offer a daily standup with some clients, but haven't figured out how to do this easily as usually a team works on multiple projects at the same time. 

Delivery Practices

Most teams surveyed deliver rolling deployments, pushing code whenever necessary.

Peer reviews / code reviews have been named equally “somewhat in use” as well considered “very important”.

While the majority of agencies considers user testing very important, for automated testing the majority still tends only towards “somewhat in use”.

While a number of agencies have pair programming somewhat in use, Mob programming is mostly unknown.

The majority of teams consider automated deployments / continuous integration very important.

When it comes to story mapping, most agencies are unfamiliar. Those which do implement this tool, however, consider it very important.

At Amazee, peer review for every ticket is a normal part of our development flow. Our developers implement pair programming whenever necessary. This is an excellent practice for sharing knowledge and increasing the team's technical confidence. We are actively exploring story mapping. 

Take our Survey

This initial post is just a taste of the information I have collected, there is a lot more to be shared. Besides the numerical data, I am especially excited about the free-form responses which give valuable insights into the tangible, real-world decisions that are being taken in agencies to define daily agency life.

Before sharing a deeper analysis and the full, anonymous, survey results, I wanted to share this preliminary data to give an idea of what’s coming in. I hope this information is helpful in determining industry alignment or to find inspiration for what to try next.

Our Agile Agency survey will remain open until Sunday, November 5th at midnight UTC -7. After the survey closes, I will tabulate the results and prepare Part 2 of this series where I look forward to sharing my findings.  

Categories: Drupal

PayPal Promotions and Insights

New Drupal Modules - 31 October 2017 - 12:48am

Helps increase sales through the power of PayPal shopping data with targeted promotions

Categories: Drupal

ADCI Solutions: Cloud hosting platforms. Part one: Pantheon

Planet Drupal - 30 October 2017 - 11:52pm

The story of your life: you are searching for a hosting because you need to share code between teammates and show an intermediate result to a client. You don’t need too much: an SSH access, Git, and Drush. You also would like to have a simple and convenient administration panel and have isolated environments and technical domains.

 

We know what hostings do have all these features. Let's talk about Pantheon that allows you to start a new Drupal 7 or Drupal 8 project in a few clicks.

 

Observe Pantheon

 

Categories: Drupal

Devs can now peruse the talks and data from Twitch's inaugural Dev Day

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 30 October 2017 - 3:58pm

This month Twitch took a swing at hosting a Developer Day ahead of its annual TwitchCon event, and now the fruits of that labor are available online for curious devs to peruse at their leisure. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Dog Might Games Announces Countdown: Action Edition

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 3:00pm
I love a good ’80s action flick. They’re just so over-the-top crazy, you simply have to smile, even if the plots are strange, the clothing odd, and the one-liners could often use some work. Countdown: Action Edition looks to bring everything you love about 80s action movies and put it on your tabletop. There’s a […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Museum Rush Board Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 2:00pm
I always get a rush when I got to a museum. I mean, there’s just so many cool things to see! Granted, some people want to see that stuff, but don’t want to go to the museum. So they decide to take it for themselves. Thankfully, security’s there to keep the priceless objects where they […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Wyrd Monday Preview

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 1:00pm
Mondays are generally considered pretty rough. You’re ripped from the weekend and tossed back into the work week as far from another weekend as possible. But Wyrd does their best to soften the blow with their regular previews. They’ve decided to give us another look at the upcoming Above the Law book. This time around, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Mediacurrent: 7 Ways to Evaluate the Security and Stability of Drupal Contrib Modules

Planet Drupal - 30 October 2017 - 12:59pm

Keeping up with Drupal security updates is key to protecting your site, but assessing contrib module security before implementation is just as important. In a new guest post on the Pantheon blog, Mediacurrent Senior Drupal Developers David Younker and Joshua Boltz share a practical guide for sizing up the security of contrib modules.

Try this 7-Step Security Inspection 

To ensure a safe and solid foundation for your Drupal site, consider this 7-point assessment:

1. Has the module maintainer opted in to the security coverage?

Categories: Drupal

Dead Sprint Zombie Board Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 12:00pm
While just about any time is a good time for zombies, this week is a particularly good one for them. Now, besides a bullet to the brain, the best way to get away from a zombie is to just run. Rule #1: cardio, and all that. Well, in Dead Sprint, you’re looking to get away […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Monday Terrain Corner

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 11:00am
It’s a frosty, frigid morning here in Atlanta. I know most Southerners think that anything below 60F is “freezing” but it literally was freezing this morning (as evidenced by having to scrape frost off my windshield before driving into the office). So while there might be frost on the pumpkins, it’s still Halloween Eve. And […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Aten Design Group: The Importance of an Accessible Website - Part 3: Make Your Drupal 8 Site More Accessible

Planet Drupal - 30 October 2017 - 10:09am

Accessibility should be part of the criteria for picking a CMS. Fortunately, many CMSs out there are getting that right. Building on the information from Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I’m going to focus on leveraging Drupal 8’s accessibility features to enhance any user’s experience.

Drupal 8 Core

Drupal 8 makes it much easier to add accessibility features than previous versions. Some of the most significant improvements for accessibility within Drupal 8 core are:

  • Core code uses semantic HTML5 elements and the addition of aria landmarks, live regions, roles, and properties to improve the experience of screen readers.
  • Creating aural alerts for users who use audio features to navigate and understand a website are easy to implement using Drupal.announce().
  • Users have more control navigating through content with a keyboard using the new Tabbing Manager.
  • Hidden, invisible or on-focus options for all labels have been included so screen readers can give more context to content – without impacting design decisions for traditional screens.
  • Fieldsets have been added for radios and checkboxes in the Form API.
  • Alt text is now required for all image fields by default.
  • The default Bartik Theme is now underlining links so that it is much easier for people to identify links on the page.
  • D8 now includes an optional module to include form errors inline to easily associate errors with inputs when filling in a web form.
Theming

Out of the box, Drupal core is a great starting point for creating an accessible website. Usability issues tend to arise when designers and developers begin the theming process. In order to achieve a desired design or function, they inadvertently remove or alter a lot of Drupal’s accessible defaults. With knowledge gained from the previous posts and the following tips, you will be on your way to theming a more accessible site for everyone!

Links

Make sure pseudo :focus and :active styles are always included for users navigating by keyboard. This helps the user visually understand where they currently are on a page. This can be the default browser styling or something more brand specific.

You may include “read more” links on teasers, but make sure there is a visually hidden field to include what the user will be “reading more" about for aural users.

Display None vs Visually Hidden

Drupal 8 core now has this option for labels when creating content types and forms, but it also includes simple class names to hide content properly. A great example of this usage is fixing a “read more” link to something more descriptive for screen readers.

<a href="{{url}}">{{'Read more'|t}} <span class="visually-hidden"> {{'about'|t}} {{label}}</span></a> Anchor and Skip Links

Providing a way to skip links and navigation on a page can improve the usability of a keyboard or aural user on your site. This is a great addition to your site and easy to implement. As mentioned in the previous post, screen readers have the ability to skip and search your site by sections, headings, links, etc. Adding another way to skip various types of content gives the user an easier way of flowing through and skipping heavy or repetitive information on a page. Just remember that this should be visibly hidden and not display: none;!

Forms

Always include a button for users to submit their form information. Exposed forms within Drupal have the option for an “auto submit” setting, which automatically submits the form once an element is interacted with or changed. Having one action which invokes two outcomes can cause major confusion for users navigating with assistive technologies.

For Example: A user chooses an item within a select dropdown, and the form submits this change which modifies the content on the page. All of this happens just by selecting an item within a dropdown. Ideally, the user should be able to choose the item in the dropdown, and then press submit to search. Each item should only have one action.

Be careful that you are not reducing the accessibility of forms when using hook_form_alter and other techniques to modify forms. Following the basic form guidelines while implementing forms through this technique will ensure that your forms work well for everyone.

Final Thoughts

We have seen great improvements in Drupal’s core code over the past few years to accommodate everyone. Drupal 8 has a lot of accessibility features built in and as developers we need to take advantage of those features or at the very least, not remove them.

Categories: Drupal

Steamforged Previews New Harry the Hat Minis For Guild Ball

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 10:00am
The Union in Chains event continues along. It sees the Union guild captured, tortured, interrogated, and then make a break for freedom. Who will make it out? Who will end up with other guilds? Well, we know some things if you’ve been reading along with the fluff and following the results (all my teams are […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Mediacurrent: Top 4 Takeaways from Acquia Engage

Planet Drupal - 30 October 2017 - 9:47am

This October, Mediacurrent was excited to participate in our 4th Acquia Engage conference in Boston. As returning sponsors we enjoyed connecting with friends, partners, customers and potential customers, all set to a backdrop of Boston Harbor. The sessions were interesting and the receptions boasted delicious local fare (hello lobster rolls!), but the real highlight was to listen in on the strategy behind Acquia’s latest product announcements.

If you were unable to attend, never fear because we have you covered with the biggest topics from this year’s event.

Categories: Drupal

Looney Labs Taking Pre-Orders for Zendo

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 9:00am
I love logic puzzles. You’re given an image or set of images and you have to figure out what’s alike between them or what rules were used in creating them. Doing just that is what you’ll do in Zendo. One player will create an arrangement of pieces, then the other players have to guess at […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Flight Games Previews New Star Wars: Destiny Starters

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 8:00am
Well, you gotta start somewhere. Might as well start at the beginning. This is where we got the job, so this is the beginning. That job? Well, either bounty hunting or saving the galaxy from a tyrannical regime. Take your pick, depending on which of the new Star Wars: Destiny starter sets you want to […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Shadespire Releases Available To Order From Games Workshop

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 7:00am
Games Workshop has started taking orders for a batch of new Shadespire releases. They include a pair of new warbands. Seeing as it’s Halloween, they’ve got an undead band. They’ve also got an Ork band, because it’s never a bad time for a WAAAGH!! There’s also dice. Because dice. You can never have too many […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Drop Guard: International PHP & JavaScript Conference - these guys sec you up!

Planet Drupal - 30 October 2017 - 6:30am
International PHP & JavaScript Conference - these guys sec you up!

Our CEO Manuel spoke at the IPC 2017 in Munich about DevSecOps automation. We took a look around and picked the two other security related sessions which struck our eyes.

 

Dip Your Toes in the Sea of Security - by James Titcumb

Drupal Planet Events Security Business
Categories: Drupal

New Releases Available From CMON

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 6:00am
It’s just about Halloween, so it’s all about scary dreams and darkness. That’s what we’re getting from CMON this month, anyway. Ok, so Dream On doesn’t have to be about scary dreams, but we’ve all had dreams that seem just fine one minute and then go off the rails the next. The other releases are […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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