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Acquia Hosting Now Available in EU

Acquia Hosting just got faster for our European users! Our customers asked for it and we can now deploy our high-availability, Drupal-tuned hosting stack in the EU. A closer web server means faster, more responsive web site. Acquia's new EU data center markedly improves performance for European users. Compared to hosting in our US data center, we've measured network performance that's consistently three times faster with roundtrip times improving from over 100ms to 30-40ms. In the UK, they're even faster -- a 20ms roundtrip! Acquia's EU hosting still features our same 24x7 monitoring and... More

203 people tell What I wish I knew when I started Drupal

We had 226 respondents to a survey about roles in the Drupal community. Though we pilot tested the survey and honed down the questions, the findings were inconclusive, though we could draw one result. Apparently we use terms like "themer" or "module developer" yet these platonic ideals seem to only exist in our heads. In reality, a person on a team will find themselves handling many roles. In the context of a larger organization, Drupal is one tool in a larger set to be integrated with. In a smaller dev shop, Drupal is again, one tool of many which are used. Slicing up Drupal developers into... More

Drupal Gardens adds drop-down menus, reset site, and more

Last week we pushed out a new Drupal Gardens update containing several very popular requests that we are thrilled to deliver!  In addition, we are now in the home stretch towards a Drupal 7 release candidate, with only 5 critical bugs left as of this post.  The Acquia engineering team has been spending 30% of its time working with the community directly on Drupal 7 core and contrib module efforts, and we are all counting down the days until release.  Exciting times!We just released a new version of Drupal Gardens with the following new features: Drupal... More

Delivering the "Right" Search Results

The Apache Solr search server that powers Acquia Search has many powerful features. One of the less appreciated ones is the ability to specify at query time that documents matching certain criteria should get an extra "boost" in their relevancy score. This means that they appear higher in the search results. Imagine that you are maintaining a site and you have recently added Acquia Search. Your boss, Bob, is not pleased, however. He says "I thought you told me this new search would do a better job of finding the most relevant results - but... More

OpenPublish Gaining Momentum, Version 2.3 Released

We’ve been working hard with the Phase2 Technology team to bring a managed OpenPublish solution to market, offering Phase2’s site implementation services along with Acquia’s hosting, support, and remote administration. This powerful Drupal distribution for the online publishing industry is one of the many different distributions that is gaining momentum and one of one of three that are part of our software publishing program and now on our “Solutions” tab. (We’ll... More

Why Varnish Rocks (and details on Boston training)

We are big fans of Varnish Cache, the incredibly fast and flexible open-source, caching software. Varnish delivers a significant fraction of the content for our Acquia Hosting and Drupal Gardens users. Traffic spikes often occur when a widely read site links to a page on your site. Varnish shines in this scenario. Since those page requests are usually anonymous and limited to just a few URLs, Varnish can deliver these pages directly and the requests are never passed through to the back-end web server and database. Of course, there are a few Drupal... More

How to learn Drupal

Though it's not always a linear process, hopefully with training, we can make the learning process a bit smoother for you, by connecting you to development expertise. Especially for those who are new to it, learning Drupal is also a series of evaluations. Does Drupal have the right features? Does it integrate with our existing services? Most of this is discovered through site building. I drafted the minimum steps and evaluations in a "How to learn Drupal" guide posted on the course at P2PU. It's not a... More

Drupal Gardens adds video support with media galleries

Four weeks ago, the Drupal Gardens team introduced the image gallery feature to all Drupal Gardens sites. While that was great, we wanted galleries to be true media galleries, and so last week the team introduced video support to galleries in a seamless way. Built on top of the awesome Media module and supporting Media: YouTube module, it's architecture is easily extended to support video from many other sources in the future. Read on for the details:... More

Install Drupal localized without further user effort - a new distribution

I've been involved with Drupal localization since the early times I'm with Drupal and was looking at ways to keep improving language and translation setup. Still, if you need to install Drupal 6 localized, you need to download Drupal 6 in English and when prompted in the installer, go and grab a package for your language. That has a structure resembling Drupal core itself, and if you extract it to the right directory, each translation file will fall into place. Then if you go back to install Drupal, it will go localized. While many people learned the tricks of the trade, this is not entirely... More

Where is the Media module at or why I spent DrupalCon in a corner w/ my laptop

Like many Drupalcons, I spent nearly the entire conference preparing my presentations. This is no fun, but we’ve been so busy trying to get the new gallery feature in Drupal Gardens released that it was the only way.  Anyone else have this experience? My Agile presentation got the pretty slides and practiced talking points... More

What do you do at your Drupal Meet up?

At DrupalCon, Barry Madore & Allie Micka from Advantage Labs organized a BoF: Drupal x10 inspired by Dries’s keynote. There were some interesting examples given. Growing the community is really a learning gap. At Acquia, we’re working with partners to roll out Drupal training... yet we need to seek out more avenues for learning. I see one of the biggest challenges and opportunities for growth is the local user group meet-up. What works in... More

How Drupal improves and evolves, the basics behind the community

It is that phase of my life! I'm just turning 30 in a month, working with Drupal for 7 years and just had my third Acquia anniversary a week ago. Time to look back and evaluate how things went, all the good and bad things; even better if the wisdom can be shared with others. This was part of my thinking when I submitted the session titled "Come for the software, stay for the community" for Drupalcon Copenhagen. I was interested to distill and share how Drupal came to be as unstoppable... More

Facet queries? Making custom Solr facets for fun and profit.

It sounded like a really simple request: "Is it easy to add a search filter for 'My posts'?". In other words, add a search result facet for posts by the current (logged in) user through the Apache Solr Search Integration module APIs? But then the wheels start turning - we want not just one blind link, but a real facet link that tells us how many results we'll get. Also, if we are filtering by 'My posts' then we probably have an equal use case for the opposite filter 'Posts not by me'. So we really need a facet block with two links and... More

Drupal 7 Apache Solr Search Mastery

It is day two at Drupalcon Copenhagan, and Robert Douglass and I presented this afternoon on Apache Solr Search Mastery. While the concepts in this talk apply to the Drupal 6 versions, all the code examples are taken from the Drupal 7 port of the Apache Solr module. Changes in the Drupal 7 version include wrapping all the data for the Solr query into the $query object and transforming the CCK integration from 6.x-2.x into an integration with the Drupal 7 Field API. Of... More

Drupal Security Presentation at Drupalcon

Drupalcon has started! I had the pleasure this morning of giving one of the sessions in the first time slot at Drupalcon Copenhagen. It was treat to present "Drupal Security for Coders and Themers" with Jakub Suchy from Dynamite Heads and one of my colleagues on the Drupal Security Team. One of the goals of the security team is to help educate the Drupal community about secure coding, secure configuration, and best practices for running a Drupal site. Attached here... More

Drupal Gardens gets beautiful image galleries and a new look in the August 20th update

In the last Drupal Gardens survey of site builders, the #1 requested item was image galleries.  We wanted Drupal Gardens' galleries to be built on Drupal 7's new files and fields architecture, and developed using the powerful media and styles modules.   After working on these modules to support galleries, we turned our efforts to finishing an easy to use Drupal 7 lightbox and media-based gallery module leveraging the fantastic... More

Drupal 7: Get Real, Get Dirty, and Get It Done

Yesterday I participated in the Drupal 7 code sprint with a host of excellent people. We made good progress and also talked about the state of the Drupal 7 release. Apparently Moshe and I came to a very similar conclusion about what needs to be done and both decided to blog about it; in fact I stole the title of this post from him. Drupal 7 has been in development for 2.5 years. The good news is that we are finally, finally reaching the end. As I write this, there are only 8... More

Details about the new Drupal 6 release process

Ever since Drupal uses major versions for compatibility changes and minor versions for bugfix and security updates (since Drupal 5), it was most often the case that a new minor Drupal release included bugfixes and security fixes packaged into one update. The process to bundle bugfixes and security fixes into one was so common that the Drupal 6.17 release that did not include security fixes but only covered bugs was a grand surprise to many people. We have even seen "security researchers" who ran automated version detection scripts, and considered... More

Module authors: In SQL, don't assume INCREMENT(1) == 2

Trivia question: Suppose you execute the MySQL queries CREATE TABLE t1 (  id INT UNSIGNED NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,  n INT NOT NULL,  PRIMARY KEY (id))INSERT INTO t1 (n) VALUES (100)INSERT INTO t1 (n) VALUES (200) What are the values for the id column in your two rows? If you said "1 and 2", you are in good company but you are mistaken. If you want your module to be good enough to run on Drupal.org or Acquia Hosting some day, keep reading. The correct answer is "they could be anything." On Acquia Hosting, the results are: mysql> SELECT * FROM t1;+----+-----+| id | n   |+----+-----+|  1 |... More

Problem with the Drupal learning curve

What's so wrong with saying "Drupal has a steep learning curve?" Well, it's not the most helpful analogy. And it's one of my pet peeves. I agree, it is a myth. Yes it is. We have to keep in mind that the curve is not the path, and the initial sensation of difficulty comes from getting one's habits unstuck. Using this tired analogy... More

Views for the average Joe

The primary goal of DrupalGardens is to maximize Drupal adoption. Since Drupal adoption amongst developers is taking off like a rocket ship, we’ve focused the majority of our attention on site builders and designers. To succeed at attracting these types, Drupal—and the modules we’ve decided to include—need to be easy to use. My latest endeavor is to simplify Views. The vast majority of Drupal sites use Views but learning it is a challenge. For designers inexperienced with Drupal (our primary target), Views is just too hard. Simple Views is closer, but unfortunately Simple Views isn’t... More

Membase and Drupal

Barry and I just met with a team from Northscale -- the startup formed to support and extend Memcached, the popular key-value cache used by the largest web sites. We learned about their new database project, Membase, and talked about how it could help high-volume Drupal sites including our Acquia Hosting customers. Membase is built on the core Memcached technology and supports the Memcached API. I'm excited about what they've done to extend Memcached: Persistence: Today, while Membase includes its forerunner's fast in-memory key-value store, it also persists data to disk. If you reboot your... More

Pipe Dream: Geographically Distributed Drupal

The speed of light is, unfortunately, still a constant. If your Drupal site has users in San Francisco, New York, London, Tokyo, Delhi, and Australia (and whose doesn't?), you've had no good way to give all of them fast access to your site. No matter where you put your master database server, most people have to cross an ocean to access it. Perhaps you can put read-only slave databases with local web servers in locations around the world, but then the remote users still have a long haul when they want to log in and create content---which is, after all, what your Drupal site is for. I am... More

Recent Acquia Hosting Updates

The hosting team at Acquia has been busy! While we continue to focus on making Acquia Hosting the most reliable and scalable Drupal hosting service anywhere, we've recently made significant enhancements to its usability and to the data we provide our customers. First up are several improvements to our Acquia Hosting UI. We've added a new tab to show statistics at several points in the hosting stack including before and after the front end cache and well as a count of total Drupal requests. For more detail, please read Kurt Gray's... More

Drupal 7, the cocoon and the butterfly

There exists an interesting story about a man and a butterfly cocoon. It is about a man that found a cocoon, and brought it home to watch it turn into a butterfly. As the butterfly inside matured, it struggled to get out of its cocoon, but couldn't quite get free of it. One day, the man became tired of waiting and decided to help the butterfly. He removed the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly was pleased, but it had a swollen body and small, wrinkled wings. As a result, the butterfly never succeeded in flying and spent its entire life crawling around. What the man didn't... More

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