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Drupal @ Penn State: Cache warming authenticated sites with XMLRPC

Planet Drupal - 16 November 2015 - 12:56pm

This video talks through how XMLRPC Page Load and HTTPRL Spider can be used to warm caches on private / authenticated sites. XMLRPC Page Load provides a callback that tricks Drupal into thinking that it’s delivering a page to certain user account. It does this by simulating page delivery but then never actually writing the output anywhere.

Categories: Drupal

Drupal @ Penn State: The future of Drupal under the hood

Planet Drupal - 16 November 2015 - 12:56pm

I’m in the middle of several Drupal Camp / Con’s (any event over 1000 people is no longer a “Camp” but that’s for another time) and it’s occured to me: I can no longer learn by going. Now, this is learn in the traditional sense of what I used to go to Camps for (been coming to camps for 8 years now).

Categories: Drupal

Video: 4 questions to help you find the best theme for your game

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 16 November 2015 - 12:42pm

As part of the GDC 2013 Microtalks sessions, Plants vs. Zombies creator George Fan hopped up on stage to quickly run down four questions he'd created to help clarify the themes of his games. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Chromatic: TheaterMania: Lessons Learned on Localization

Planet Drupal - 16 November 2015 - 12:28pm

We recently launched a new site for an existing client, TheaterMania. We helped launch and currently maintain and develop The Gold Club, which is a subscription-based discount theater club in New York City. The new site is the same thing, but in London – same language, same codebase, new database, different servers. We only had to migrate users, which were already exported for us, so nothing exceptional there. Shouldn’t be a big deal, right? We learned that’s not always the case.

Architectural Decisions

One of our first problems, besides the obvious localization issues (currency, date formats, language), was to decide what we were shipping. Were we just building another site? Were we packaging software? There will most likely be more sites in other cities in the future – how far did we want to go in terms of making this a product that we could ship? In the end, we wound up going somewhere in the middle. We had to decide initially if we would use Organic Groups to have one site with multiple “clubs,” one Drupal multisite installation, or multiple Drupal installations. The final decision was to combine the latter two choices – we created multisite-style directories so that if we need to take the site in a multi-site direction, we can easily do that. The sites each have a site-specific settings file, full of various configuration variables.

Now that the site has been launched, we’re not sure if this list of variables will be developer-friendly moving forward, and have been keeping in mind that we may want a more elegant solution for this. The best part about this setup is that we have one codebase, one master branch, and each site is configured to use the appropriate settings. The most important thing is that this is all very thoroughly documented, both in the code, README files, and the repo wiki.

Currency & Recurly: Easier than Expected

One of the issues I thought would be very problematic was currency, but that wasn’t actually an issue. All of the existing transactions are set up in cents – ie, 100 instead of 1.00 for a dollar, and that translates perfectly from dollars to pounds. We use Recurly, an external payment and subscription processor, so we didn’t have to worry about any localization issues on that front. Most of the currency abstractions I did were to remove any hard-coded references to the dollar sign, and create functions and variables to get the appropriate currency symbol.

Dealing with Dates; Ugh.

Date formats were something I expected to be easy, but that wound up being more complex. I discovered hook_date_combo_process_alter() to change the display of the date in calendar popup fields. This made what I’d thought was going to be a difficult series of view handlers really simple. We have several fields using the date combo box on both content types and entities, and this function took care of them.

* Implements hook_date_combo_process_alter().
* Changes the date format.
function gc_display_date_combo_process_alter(&$element, &$form_state, $context) {
  if (isset($element['#entity']->type)) {
    switch ($element['#entity']->type) {
      case 'event':
        $element['value']['#date_format'] = variable_get('date_format_short');

      case 'partner':
        $element['value']['#date_format'] = variable_get('date_format_short');
        $element['value2']['#date_format'] = variable_get('date_format_short');

      case 'promo_offer':
        $element['value']['#date_format'] = variable_get('date_format_short');
        $element['value2']['#date_format'] = variable_get('date_format_short');

  elseif (isset($element['#entity']->field_name)) {
    if ($element['value']['#instance']['widget']['type']  'date_popup' && $element['#entity']->field_name  'field_user_csr_notes') {
      $element['value']['#date_format'] = variable_get('date_format_short');

I took the dozen or so existing date formats from Drupal, altered some of them to meet our needs, and added a few more. My head also started spinning when testing because I’m so used to M/D/Y formats that D/M/Y formats look really strange after a while, especially because code changes needed to be tested on the US and UK sites, so I had to be really careful when visually testing a page to make sure that a US page was showing 9/1/15 and the UK page was showing 1/9/15. In the future, I’d definitely advocate for a testing suite on a project like this. Overall, making sure all of the dates were changed was somewhat tedious, but not difficult. It required a lot of attention to detail and familiarity with PHP date formats, and vigorous testing by the whole team to make sure nothing had been missed.

Proper Use of t() Early == Wins Later

This project made me extremely grateful for the t() function. Since both sites were in English, we didn’t have a need for site-wide translation, but we did need to localize a handful of strings, both for language issues (words like ‘personalize’ vs ‘personalise’), and the general language preference of the stakeholders. It was easy enough to find the strings and list them in locale_custom_strings_en to switch them out. One gotcha we came across that I wasn’t familiar with – you cannot use t() in your settings files. The function isn’t available at that point in the bootstrapping. You can use get_t(), but we opted to remove the translation strings from any variables and make sure that t() was used when the variable was called. This wasn’t something I had run into before, and it caused some problems before we figured it out.


A few tricky miscellaneous problems cropped up, too. There was a geolocation function enabled in Recurly, which was defaulting to the US and we were unable to change the settings – we also didn’t realize this when testing in the US, and we scratched our heads when the London team told us the field was defaulting to US until we came across the culprit. We were able to fix it, and put in a patch for the library causing the issue.

I also realized how many various settings default to the US when working on this project – a lot of the location-related work was just abstracting out country defaults. Something to keep in mind if you’re working on a project with locations. Don’t make more work for developers who live or work on projects outside of the US. Plan for the future! Assume nothing!

Looking Back

I’m really glad that I worked on this project, because it’s made me develop with a better eye for abstraction of all kinds, and making sure that it’s easy for developers or users to work with my code anywhere. In the future, I’d put more thought into managing our configurations from the start, as well as automating the testing process, both for time-saving and better QA.

If you’ve ever worked on a site with challenges like these, I’d love to hear how you handled them! What are your best practices for managing custom locale strings and other site-specific variables? To what extent do you abstract things like dates and currency when developing a site, even when you don’t know if those will ever change?

Categories: Drupal

Acquia Developer Center Blog: Open Sourcing Statsgod, a StatsD Implementation In Go

Planet Drupal - 16 November 2015 - 12:10pm
Kevin Hankens

Acquia Engineering is excited to be open-sourcing Statsgod, a reimplementation of StatsD we created internally to help scale our metrics collection effort.

Acquia developers often create tooling to build, deploy, and monitor applications we run on Amazon Web Services, and Statsgod is one such tool that we want to make publicly available. Statsgod was designed to be highly scalable and easily deployed.

Tags: acquia drupal planet
Categories: Drupal

DrupalOnWindows: Exposing reverse entity reference fields in Drupal

Planet Drupal - 16 November 2015 - 11:55am
Language English

Entity references in Drupal is the mechanism used to do some "proper" (sorry for the quotes but what you can achieve with Drupal is years behind a real ORM such as the Entity Framework in terms of usability, reliability, flexibility and overal quality) data modeling without having to write everything from scratch including queries, widgets and storage. 

More articles...
Categories: Drupal

Don't Miss: 'Flow' and the psychology of great game design

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 16 November 2015 - 11:31am

Microsoft Studios researcher Sean Baron takes a look into the often discussed but rarely defined concept of 'Flow' in this classic 2012 feature, with suggestions for helping players get into the zone. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Pantheon Blog: Better Behavior-Driven Development on Remote Servers

Planet Drupal - 16 November 2015 - 9:48am
Behavior-Driven Development is a widely-used testing methodology that is used to describe functional tests—that is, tests that operate on the whole of a system—in natural, readable language called Gherkin syntax. The goal of this methodology is to make the contents of the tests approachable to non-technical stakeholders. This makes it possible for a project’s functional tests to be meaningfully used as the acceptance criteria for the product.
Categories: Drupal

Red Route: How to add classes to links in Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 16 November 2015 - 8:48am

As I start porting the modules I maintain to Drupal 8, I'm hitting a few places where things haven't been intuitive to me. I'll try to work on the documentation when I get a chance, but in the meantime I figured it would be worth writing up a few notes.

A common task is creating a link, and adding classes and other attributes to it. The Responsive Share Buttons is basically just a block of links to social networks, so this was a key building block.

In Drupal 7 this was pretty simple - the link building function took three arguments - a title, a path, and an array of options:

$link = l(t('Link Title'), '', array(
  'attributes' => array(
    'class' => array(

In Drupal 8, the l function now takes a Url object with attributes, rather than a string, so it's a little different. Here's how to build a link to an external URL and add a class to it: First the Url class needs to be brought into scope:

use Drupal\Core\Url;

And then you can build the Url object and call setOptions on it:

$url = Url::fromUri('');
$link_options = array(
  'attributes' => array(
    'class' => array(
$link = \Drupal::l(t('Link title'), $url);

Incidentally, the other gotcha here that had me scratching my head for a while was how to get the current page title, and how to get the current URL. Drupal 7 had easily accessible functions for these tasks, but the object-oriented approach

Drupal 7 $title = drupal_get_title();
$current_url = url(current_path(), array('absolute' => TRUE)); Drupal 8 $request = \Drupal::request();
$route_match = \Drupal::routeMatch();
$title = \Drupal::service('title_resolver')->getTitle($request, $route_match->getRouteObject());
$current_url = $request->getUri();

My own learning journey with Drupal 8 is very much in its early days, and a lot of the old Drupalisms are pretty familiar to me, but it does seem a little long-winded. Give it a while, and I'm sure I'll get up to speed, and start seeing the benefits of the object-oriented approach in Drupal 8.

Tags: Drupaldrupal 8
Categories: Drupal

Zivtech: oEmbed in Drupal: Embed all the things!

Planet Drupal - 16 November 2015 - 8:44am

​WordPress has great support for oEmbed, allowing content creators to paste in URLs that are automatically displayed as rich embedded content. You may also be familiar with similar behavior on Facebook and in chat services like Slack. Meanwhile in Drupal 7, most sites are using Media module with their WYSIWYG and are able to (with some effort) embed from certain providers. In Drupal 8, we finally have WYSIWYG in core, but no solution for adding videos and other embedded content. How can we have the ease of use of Wordpress for embedding 3rd party content?

oEmbed Module

The Drupal oEmbed module, despite its humble project description, works nicely, and can easily give you a similar experience as you get in Wordpress. I recommend signing up for an account with the service, and setting the cache lifetime high in the oEmbed module settings. This gives you access to a large number of oEmbed providers and for many sites if you use a high cache lifetime you can stay within the free usage tier. OEmbed module gives you the option of using an input filter to turn URLs in your textareas into embeds, or you can use oEmbed Field submodule, which allows you to add link fields and use an oEmbed display formatter.

Asset Module: How are you so awesome and so overlooked?

The ability to use oEmbed in a field got me thinking about one of my favorite (and highly underrated) modules: Asset module. Asset module is essentially an alternative to the widely-used Media module (Scald is a third option in this space). While Media currently boasts 262,680 site installs, Asset is used by a humble 1,167. Drupalers are often advised that a good way to tell which module is the best when choosing between similar modules is to pick based on usage statistics and how much active development is occurring. Unfortunately, this is not foolproof advice: beware echo chambers.

If you've worked with Media module much (disclaimer: I was involved in early stages of Media module architecture and development), you're probably familiar with some of its flaws: an ever-changing variety of complex bugs on its 2.x branch, complicated relationship between Media and File Entity configurations, no straightforward method to add captions to images, multiple dialogs to click through just to add an image, bugs when you disable and re-enable rich text, and difficulty editing items after you add them to the WYSIWYG, to name a few.

Asset module in contrast has a lovely UI, provides common features out of the box (add an image to the WYSIWYG with working captions and right/left alignment), is simple to configure and use, relatively bug-free, and stable. It provides many of the same features as Media, like a library of reusable media assets you can add to a WYSIWYG or display in Views and the ability to add your own fielded bundles for various types of assets. In addition Asset module lets you pick your own WYSIWYG button icons and have a separate button in your WYSIWYG for each type of asset (image, video, document) and unlike Media module it is not directly tied to files. This means you can create Asset types for reusable, centrally-managed structured content that are not file-based at all. I like to make Asset types for things like Addresses and Calls to Action which authors can use within their WYSIWYG. You can quickly explore the wonders of Asset module on its demo site - make sure in addition to the WYSIWYG buttons you try out the 'Asset Widget' on the right side of the content creation page and see how you can drag existing assets into not only textareas but also entityreference fields.

oEmbed with Asset Module

What does this have to do with oEmbed? Well, guess what happens if you add a new Asset type with a link field you set to display as oEmbed? Yup, now you have an Embed button on your WYSIWYG that lets your authors paste in a URL from any of those services, or reuse embeds they've already added to their Asset library. No more adding separate modules to be able to integrate with YouTube, Vimeo, and more. In fact, now we have a better user experience than WordPress! The embeds even show up already rendered right in your WYSIWYG.

Here are some examples of embeds I can put into this WYSIWYG (content from myself and my old band from around the internet):

A song on Rdio

A video on YouTube

A tweet

.@tizzo at work

— Jody Hamilton (@JodyHamilton) June 28, 2015

A photo on Flickr

A LinkedIn user

A Github gist

A JibJab

Editor Experience

Want to see how it looks in my WYSIWYG? Let me embed a screenshot with my Asset image button!

My WYSIWYG right now... Like my caption?

The buttons on the right in my WYSIWYG are for Assets. I have a Document, Image, 'Call to Action', and then Embed Asset Types, followed by the Search button that lets me use my Asset library. By the way, the 'Call to Action' is just a link field that outputs like:

Get Asset Module!

When I press the Embed button, I embed an asset like

To add an embed, just paste in a URL. Note you pick your Asset button - here I'm using a heart because I heart this setup. You can also add your own icons (patch in the queue).

Please tune in for Part 2 of this series on how to set this up on your Drupal 7 site and Part 3: Embedding in Drupal 8.

Terms: Publishing Workflow Ready for Publishing
Categories: Drupal

Drupal Camp NJ 2015: Announcing Mike Anello as the Keynote for DrupalCamp NJ 2016!

Planet Drupal - 16 November 2015 - 8:35am

Mike Anello (@ultimike) is co-founder and vice president of DrupalEasy, a

Categories: Drupal

Pronovix: Retooling on Drupal 8: free training materials

Planet Drupal - 16 November 2015 - 7:55am

We are working on a set of free training materials for Drupal 8. To make sure we build something that others will be able to reuse we would like to get your input on the kind of trainings you would like to use to retrain your team.

Categories: Drupal

Drupalpress, Drupal in the Health Sciences Library at UVA: Setting up Shibboleth + Ubuntu 14 + Drupal 7 on AWS with integration

Planet Drupal - 16 November 2015 - 7:48am

We’ve recently begun moving to amazon web services for hosting, however we still need to authenticate through ITS who handles the central SSO Authentication services for  In previous posts we looked at Pubcookie aka Netbadge - however Pubcookie is getting pretty long in the tooth (it’s last release back in 2010) and we are running Ubuntu 14 with Apache 2…. integrating pubcookie was going to be a PITA…. so it was time to look at Shibboleth – an Internet2  SSO standard that works with SAML  and is markedly more modern than pubcookie – allowing federated logins between institutions etc…

A special thanks to Steve Losen who put up with way more banal questions than anyone should have to deal with… that said, he’s the man

Anyhow – ITS does a fine job at documenting the basics -  Since we’re using ubuntu the only real difference is that we used apt-get

Here’s the entire install from base Ubuntu 14

apt-get install apache2 mysql-server php5 php-pear php5-mysql php5-ldap libapache2-mod-shib2 shibboleth-sp2-schemas drush sendmail ntp


Apache Set up

On the Apache2 side  we enabled some modules and the default ssl site

a2enmod ldap rewrite  shib2 ssl
a2ensite default-ssl.conf

Back on the apache2 side here’s our default SSL 

<IfModule mod_ssl.c>
<VirtualHost _default_:443>
ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
DocumentRoot /some_web_directory/
<Directory /some_web_directory/>
AllowOverride All

SSLEngine on

SSLCertificateFile /somewheresafe/biocon_hsl.crt
SSLCertificateKeyFile /somewheresafe/biocon_hsl.key

<Location />
AuthType shibboleth
ShibRequestSetting requireSession 0 ##This part meant that creating a session is possible, not required
require shibboleth

the location attributes are important – if you don’t have that either in the Apache conf you’ll need it in an .htaccess in the drupal directory space

Shibboleth Config

The Shibboleth side confused me for a hot minute.

we used  shib-keygen as noted in the documentation to create keys for shibboleth and ultimately the relevant part of our /etc/shibboleth/shibboleth2.xml looked like this

<ApplicationDefaults entityID=””
REMOTE_USER=”eppn uid persistent-id targeted-id”>

<Sessions lifetime=”28800″ timeout=”3600″ relayState=”ss:mem”
checkAddress=”false” handlerSSL=”true” cookieProps=”https”>
<!–we went with SSL Required – so change handlerSSL to true and cookieProps to https

<SSO entityID=””>
<!–this is the production value, we started out with the testing config – ITS provides this in their documentation–>

<MetadataProvider type=”XML” file=”UVAmetadata.xml” />
<!–Once things are working you should be able to find this at – it’s a file you download from ITS = RTFM –>
<AttributeExtractor type=”XML” validate=”true” reloadChanges=”false” path=”attribute-map.xml”/>
<!–attribute-map.xml is the only other file you’re going to need to touch–>

<CredentialResolver type=”File” key=”sp-key.pem” certificate=”sp-cert.pem”/>
<!–these are the keys generated with shib-keygen –>
<Handler type=”Session” Location=”/Session” showAttributeValues=”true”/>
<!–During debug we used with the  showAttributeValues=”true” setting on to see what was coming across from the UVa  Shibboleth IdP–>

/etc/shibboleth/attribute-map.xml looked like this

<Attribute name=”urn:mace:dir:attribute-def:eduPersonPrincipalName” id=”eppn”>
<AttributeDecoder xsi:type=”ScopedAttributeDecoder”/>

<Attribute name=”urn:mace:dir:attribute-def:eduPersonScopedAffiliation” id=”affiliation”>
<AttributeDecoder xsi:type=”ScopedAttributeDecoder” caseSensitive=”false”/>
<Attribute name=”urn:oid:″ id=”affiliation”>
<AttributeDecoder xsi:type=”ScopedAttributeDecoder” caseSensitive=”false”/>

<Attribute name=”urn:mace:dir:attribute-def:eduPersonAffiliation” id=”unscoped-affiliation”>
<AttributeDecoder xsi:type=”StringAttributeDecoder” caseSensitive=”false”/>
<Attribute name=”urn:oid:″ id=”unscoped-affiliation”>
<AttributeDecoder xsi:type=”StringAttributeDecoder” caseSensitive=”false”/>

<Attribute name=”urn:mace:dir:attribute-def:eduPersonEntitlement” id=”entitlement”/>
<Attribute name=”urn:oid:″ id=”entitlement”/>

<Attribute name=”urn:mace:dir:attribute-def:eduPersonTargetedID” id=”targeted-id”>
<AttributeDecoder xsi:type=”ScopedAttributeDecoder”/>

<Attribute name=”urn:oid:″ id=”persistent-id”>
<AttributeDecoder xsi:type=”NameIDAttributeDecoder” formatter=”$NameQualifier!$SPNameQualifier!$Name” defaultQualifiers=”true”/>

<!– Fourth, the SAML 2.0 NameID Format: –>
<Attribute name=”urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent” id=”persistent-id”>
<AttributeDecoder xsi:type=”NameIDAttributeDecoder” formatter=”$NameQualifier!$SPNameQualifier!$Name” defaultQualifiers=”true”/>
<Attribute name=”urn:oid:″ id=”eduPersonPrincipalName”/>
<Attribute name=”urn:oid:0.9.2342.19200300.100.1.1″ id=”uid”/>

Those two pieces marked in red are important – they’re going to be the bits that we pipe in to Drupal

For  debugging we used the following URL to see what was coming across – once it was all good we got a response that looks like

Session Expiration (barring inactivity): 479 minute(s)
Client Address:
SSO Protocol: urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:protocol
Identity Provider:
Authentication Time: 2015-11-16T15:35:39.118Z
Authentication Context Class: urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:ac:classes:PasswordProtectedTransport
Authentication Context Decl: (none)

uid: adp6j
unscoped-affiliation: member;staff;employee

The uid and eduPersonPrincipalName variables being the pieces we needed to get Drupal to set up a session for us

Lastly the Drupal bit

The Drupal side of this is pretty straight

We installed Drupal as usual  and grabbed the shib_auth module.


and on the Advanced Tab

Categories: Drupal

Drupal Commerce: Contributor Spotlight: Joël Pittet

Planet Drupal - 16 November 2015 - 6:53am
Say hi. (who are you and what do you do in the Commerce ecosystem)

Hi:) My name is Joël Pittet and I’m out of Vancouver, BC, Canada. I offered to help co-maintain commerce_discount and a few other Commerce modules as well as likely involved in messing about with patches all over Commerce ecosystem.

How did you get involved with contributing to Drupal Commerce?

Started working on a Drupal Commerce project, noticed things could use some fixing up and jumped in the deep end. I was recognized for helping triage the commerce queue in a fervor to fix all the things.

Categories: Drupal

Drupal Easy: DrupalEasy Podcast 164 - Dentistry (Paul Johnson - Drupal Social Media)

Planet Drupal - 16 November 2015 - 6:18am
Download Podcast 164

Paul Johnson (pdjohnson) joins Mike Anello and Ted Bowman to talk about Drupal's social media presence, how community members can get involved, and the forthcoming release of Drupal 8!

read more

Categories: Drupal


New Drupal Modules - 16 November 2015 - 5:52am

Resume is a front-end for the open source libresume library that helps you easily build resumes.

libresume allows you to build your resume once and apply any number of free resume designs.

Categories: Drupal

Workbench Notifier

New Drupal Modules - 16 November 2015 - 3:03am

Extends Workbench moderation and provides a way for administrators to configure notification transitions based on user roles and notification messages between those transitions. Transition notification will be shown as push notification with help of taskbar activity.

Categories: Drupal

Jim Birch: No more View pages

Planet Drupal - 16 November 2015 - 2:00am

Views has long been one of the magic pieces that makes Drupal my CMS of choice.  Views allows us to easily create queries of content in the UI, giving great power to the site builder. 

When you first create a view, the default, obvious choice is to create a "Page" display of the view.  A Page has a URL that people can visit to see the information, and gets us as site builders closer to job done.  However, I don't want you to do it!

When you first create a view, the options are that you can make a Page and a Block.  Selecting neither will allow you to create a "Master" display, and additional modules can hook it and add addtional displays for your view.  In the screenshot below, you see we have additional displays of Attachment, Content pane, Context, and Feed in addition to the Block and Page displays.

All of our sites already have some sort of "Page" content type, for basic content of the site.  In this page content type, we add fields, set meta descriptions, get added to the xml sitemap, and include the pages in Drupal's core search.  When you create a view page, we only get the output as a url, we miss the benefit of having a "Page" node at that url.

Read more

Categories: Drupal

Delete Content Directly

New Drupal Modules - 16 November 2015 - 1:04am

Delete Content Directly module helps users to delete content without filling the required fields of content edit form.

Any user who has "delete content directly" or "delete content" permissions can view Delete Content link in the content edit form.

When user clicks the delete content link he is not required to fill all the required fields which are empty. He is directly taken to confirmation page of content deletion process.

Categories: Drupal

Chris Hall on Drupal 8: Drupal Site Builder role

Planet Drupal - 16 November 2015 - 12:59am
Drupal Site Builder role chrishu Mon, 11/16/2015 - 08:59
Categories: Drupal
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