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Three important start-up lessons I learned

The blog post below was a guest article I wrote for Inc Magazine and was published in September 2013. It has been a while since I shared a startup lesson on my personal blog so I'm cross-posting my article here. When I started working on Drupal in my college dormitory 12 years ago, I had no idea that one day it would be used by 2 percent of the world's websites. What is even more exciting is the open source community that has grown up around Drupal. I co-founded... More

The Future of PHP is ... Here Already

Things are a-buzz in the Drupal community, with a major new release on the horizon: Drupal 8. It heralds many excellent features of course, but one major change is that Drupal 8 will require PHP 5.3 as a minimum platform. PHP 5.3 adds a ton of goodness for Drupal and other PHP users (see "Feature Heaven" below), but there's even better in store for you in PHP 5.4 (faster) and 5.5 (more efficient)! The Drupal project is in a great place using PHP 5.3, but if you're wishing that PHP would be faster, have more features, or make better use of your hardware, the next versions of PHP have already... More

Ops Team Keeps Bassmaster Site Reeled In

Each year Bassmaster.com tackles approximately 36 live events that feature some of best anglers in the world, and with a large fanbase following Fantasy Fishing and four levels of competitive fishing events, site functionality and stability are imperative to their success. “You never know where the event will take the anglers,” said Jim Sexton, Chief Digital Officer at Bassmaster.com. “We started in Detroit for one event and some anglers went to Lake Erie and others to Lake Huron because of the quality of fishing at our starting location. This meant that reporters, videographers,... More

Drupal 8: A View Into Performance

Drupal 8: A View Into Performance (This article does not represent the current state of Drupal 8 development.) Templating in Drupal 8 relies on Twig, but monitoring Views performance is still an open question. Views is one of the most installed Drupal modules with over two thirds of Drupal sites reporting that they have it installed. Soon,... More

A Look at PHP's Continuing Evolution

Guest post by Larry Garfield – Larry Garfield is a Senior Architect at Palantir.net, a web consultancy based in Chicago. When not developing sites for clients, he can also be found leading the Drupal 8 Web Services Initiative, evangelizing good coding practices, working to bring the PHP world closer together through the PHP Framework Interoperability Group, or providing training either for clients or the Drupal community. Occasionally he remembers to sleep. PHP is not a young language. As of 2013, it's 18 years old; that's old enough to vote. Many... More

Getting your site ready for Drupal 8

Note: Last update April 28, 2014 The drumbeat has started. On an almost daily basis, I'm asked How do I get my site ready for Drupal 8? Here is my best answer. If you go dutifully through this list, your site will be in peak condition when Drupal 8 is released. Start giving your administrators a taste of D8 now Significant parts of Drupal 8 are already available for Drupal 7. These modules are not quite as strong as their D8 counterparts, but they are a great investment you can make today. Get your admins excited about their future by... More

Commons 3.3: Brought to you by the GRAMMY Awards & the Drupal Community

We're excited to announce the release of Drupal Commons 3.3 with several great new features and usability improvements sponsored by The Recording Academy, presenter of the annual GRAMMY awards. Drupal Commons is Acquia's social business software that makes it easy to start a collaborative community website. Drupal Commons has no license fees, is 100 percent open source, and competes directly with software from... More

Drupal 8: Building Twig Performance

(This article does not represent the current state of Drupal 8 development.) There's been a lot of excitement over Drupal 8's switch to Twig, a modern templating engine written in object oriented PHP code, but the process of making the switch happen has been an adventure on its own. The plan to adopt Twig required abandoning PHPTemplate completely, which is a mammoth undertaking requiring converting every Drupal 8 core template and theme function to a Twig equivalent. Even with a feature freeze... More

Complying with Open Gov: The November Deadlines

(Part 2 of the "Open Gov" blog series) Federal agencies are currently wrestling with determining what they must do to comply with the White House’s Executive Order on open data. Until something more definitive is published, the best guidance might come from the Implementation Guide page on Project Open Data. The guide lists eight steps with minimum... More

The Wisdom of Crowds and The Open Source Way

What do high-speed rail, ash tree dieback, and changing world demographics have in common? These are just three projects that are actively harnessing what James Surowiecki refers to as, The Wisdom of Crowds. Open Source Design Let’s start with Elon Musk’s Hyperloop proposal for high-speed public transportation. Musk has taken an incubator approach, with Telsa and SpaceX staff involved in... More

What does the White House's Executive Order mean for Open Government?

(Part 1 of the "Open Gov" blog series) The White House's Executive Order of May 9, will cause a shift in the way that Federal agencies present data. The Executive Order, “Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information,” mandates that, “the default state of new and modernized Government information resources shall be open and machine readable.” So what does this mean for Federal agencies? Well, that’s a bit... More

Following the Sun, Ops Team Keeps the Lights on for Client’s Big Media Push

(Part 1 of "The Adventures of the Acquia Cloud Ops Team" blog series) You’re in your office, feet up on your desk bathed in the luminescent glow of your multiple large screen monitors. You’re feeling good because your site is going to be getting some great media coverage, and you and your team have prepped for this based on all the projections provided by your Marketing team plus a bit of a buffer. And then... Your manager comes racing in saying that the analytics are showing the site traffic numbers are way beyond what Marketing had predicted. “How are we holding up?” he asks. Panicked,... More

5 Takeaways from Capital Camp

Last weekend was Capital Camp, that annual time when Drupalists descend on Washington DC for two days of conversation and sessions on everything Drupal. If you weren't able to make it, here are 5 takeaways to apply to whatever you are working on: 1. Drupal is great for .gov Woven throughout the sessions were case studies for large government entities who turned to Drupal and found success, both on the state and federal level. One example, Gerogia.gov, used Drupal to transition to a responsive site... More

Drupal 8: Configuration Performance Management

(Part 2 of the "Site Performance with Drupal 8" blog series). Just getting started? Check out Part 1 (This article does not represent the current state of Drupal 8 development.) Drupal sites are all about content, but the site itself is more than just the code and the data it stores. The difference between production and staging isn't just which database to point it: It's the entire configuration. Storing, updating, and accessing this configuration is a big part of what Drupal does. Each module needs to read a different part... More

Drupal & MySQL - an open source history

(The below blog is part of the Drupal Meets MySQL blog series by Michael Benshoof, MySQL Consultant @ Percona and Andrew Kenney, VP Platform Engineering @ Acquia) Together, Drupal and MySQL run some of the largest websites on the planet. Both are renowned for having thriving developer and user communities. But how did they get this way, and what does the future hold? In this series we'll cover the history of these great open source projects, how they work seamlessly together and how best to leverage them in the cloud. In the late 90s the... More

Code Review with Pull requests

“You say Pull Requests! I say Streamlined Code Reviews! ???” Code Reviews – Hmm... The Hoopla!!! Every development team knows how absolutely essential and remarkably significant code reviews are to the quality of code that is delivered. Yet, code reviews can be reminiscent to many developers of commotion, hassles, bugs, lack of accountability; just to name a few! Most teams, as efficient as they claim to be always plead guilty in this regard. Sounds strange, yet painfully true! Wonder Why? Code Reviews, when streamlined can be a boon to development teams. Even the best developer out there... More

A Drupal Dev Workflow for everyone: git flow, or just your flow

When it comes to building Drupal sites with a team of developers, there's perhaps nothing more important than establishing a productive workflow. Conferences are buzzing with talk of Continuous Integration, DevOps, Deployments and everything of the sort, and that's because as project sizes grow, these topics become central to the question of building great websites. But what is the best way to turn your development team into a well oiled deployment machine? Unfortunately, I can't prescribe that for you, because your development workflow needs to fit your own needs, not mine. But what I can do... More

The evolution of the toolbar; Drupal 7 to Drupal 8

Blog series: #1 of 5. As we saw in Dries’ keynote in Portland there’s a new toolbar in Drupal 8 that looks—and works—quite different to the one in Drupal 7. This series will give some history on how the new toolbar came to be as well as some of the design thinking behind it and how it can be used and extended by content authors, site builders, themers, and module developers. Why did we need to change the toolbar? The Drupal 7 toolbar was a big improvement over what we had in Drupal 6 but just in the short few years since it’s introduction the whole landscape of front-end design has changed... More

Site Performance with Drupal 8 and Symfony - Part 1

(Part 1 of the "Site Performance with Drupal 8 and Symfony" blog series) (This article does not represent the current state of Drupal 8 development.) In over five years of developing Drupal, the most interesting announcement I’ve read was that the SCOTCH and WSCII initiatives had resulted in refactoring Drupal 8 code to use Symfony components. The switch comes with a lot of fascinating possibilities for performance improvements, but on the other hand, frameworks are often maligned for being bloated... More

My (good) adventures with using SVN to manage my code

Back in the days of yore there was FTP, and it was OK (don’t fool yourself, it was never ‘good’). And we used FTP to upload files to our servers and we messed things up and we overwrote good code with bad and well... we made a mess. Then some genius (bless his or her soul) thought of creating a system that you could use to maintain a history of every version of your code. They also thought it would be neat if it supported more than one person working on the code and could also give you ‘diffs’ between two versions. There are a fair number of systems providing these features and they are... More

Migrate 2.6 - UI changes

The Migrate module provides services for migrating data from various sources (other CMS frameworks, external web services, or other Drupal installations) into the local Drupal environment. It has been used to migrate sites such as The Economist, Examiner.com, ... More

Getting Started: Collaborative development with Git

This post is part of the "All you need to know to become a great Drupal developer" blog series. Git is a version control system, like "track changes" for code. It's fast, powerful, and easy-to-use version control system. But the thing that's really special about Git is the way it empowers people to collaborate. All the projects on drupal.org are stored in Git, and there are millions of public projects hosted by GitHub.com. Whether... More

SemTechBiz: Schema.org, Knowledge Graph, and prospects for Drupal

Last week’s SemTechBiz San Francisco was packed with insightful keynotes and sessions showing trends for semantic web technologies. The hot topics of the conference were Google’s, Yahoo’s and Wikidata’s Knowledge Graphs, as well as the adoption of schema.org, an initiative launched 2 years ago by the major search engines to standardize and promote structured data on the Web. An increasing number of companies and organizations presented how they support schema.org and semantic web technologies in their... More

How-To with PHP

Part of the "all you need to know to become a great Drupal developer" blog series. Performing a quick search online, many vocal critics of PHP air it's perceived shortcomings in comparison to "real" programming languages. Yet if you cut through the noise, W3Techs estimates that more than 80% of websites whose server-side programming language is known is coded in PHP. So in other words, it pretty much runs the web. This post will introduce PHP in it's simplest form and explore it's evolution into a modern, mature programming language with established standards and reusable libraries. To start... More

Migrate 2.6 - framework changes

The Migrate module provides services for migrating data from various sources (other CMS frameworks, external web services, or other Drupal installations) into the local Drupal environment. It has been used to migrate sites such as The Economist, Examiner.com,... More

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