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Database Magic on Acquia Hosting

As I discussed in my previous screencast, Drupal site building workflow involves a separate development, staging, and production environment. The different environments use different databases, generally on different database servers since you do not want your testing activities to impact your production site. Traditionally this means you need to juggle multiple Drupal settings.php files containing your database credentials and manually configure database replication and failover yourself.
In this screencast, I show how Acquia Hosting... More

It’s almost here - 77 days and counting until DrupalCon Chicago

This year's DrupalCon Chicago event is shaping up to be the best ever; there are session proposals from top Drupalists around the country, Drupal 7 will be GA when we meet and well what’s more fun than winter in the windy city.
To help make the best of your DrupalCon experience I wanted to highlight some key sessions submitted by Acquia’s finest, I hope you find this list valuable and take the time to vote on these sessions. Voting is easy, simply log on to http://drupal.org then go to https://chicago2011.drupal.org/... More

Playing with New Relic on Acquia Hosting

During the past month, I've been trying New Relic on my personal blog. New Relic is a performance management tool. It can help to monitor, debug and optimize a site. It includes features like slow page request analysis, slow database query analysis, error tracking, scalability analysis, performance alerts, weekly e-mail reports, up-time monitoring and even very specialized features like Apache Solr profiling. It's a bundle of developer goodies that can be used on live production websites.
I'm a bit of a profiling geek. In my previous life, I spent a lot of... More

Drupal benefits from venture capital

Things are heating up in the Drupal world as both CommerceGuys and SubHub raised venture capital money. We're still waiting for an official announcement, but word on the street is that CommerceGuys raised around 1 million euros to develop a number of e-commerce products and services for Drupal. SubHub raised more than 1.2 million euros to date to develop... More

Drupal in Greece

Greece hasn't had an easy ride lately. Through the financial crisis and collapse of public sector funding and wages, many young Greeks have suddenly lost their prospective career path. The trash collection and public transportation workers have been striking, meaning not only will you have to walk to work, you might have to avoid gigantic piles of trash, ironically decorated with Christmas lights, along the way. To add insult to injury, it snowed the day I arrived - a rare event - and many of the smaller roads in the mountains were closed.
It would be easy to feel held down in such an... More

Part 2: Testing and applying patches for d7cx

I wanted to show how so-called "non-coders" can make significant contributions to the Drupal project. Probably the quickest way to make friends with a module maintainer is to help out in the issue queue. You can also help out with triage on some of the busiest projects. This requires no coding at all. (Check out the Views bug squad!) After triage, the next things you can do are:
Try to replicate bugs - are you finding the same problems under the same conditions?
Download and test patches - does the patch work as expected under your conditions?... More

Drupal Commons rocks

How do I love Drupal Commons? Let me count the ways.
Ok, so maybe this is just me being enthusiastic about a great day at work. But ok - that's what blog posts are, right? Personal expressions of what's happening?
Today I spent a bit over 1/2 day with a customer prospect who is considering using either Drupal Commons or a (proprietary) Social Business Software alternative. (Initial Caps Intentional.) These guys are working on a project that could have big cultural impact in the U.S., and have a user community of millions of users. It's a site you may end up visiting sometime in the next... More

Importing a Drupal site into Acquia Hosting

Drupal site building often involves moving a site from one environment to another: from a local development environment to a staging server on the web to a full production cluster. This short screencast shows how to export a site from Drupal Gardens and import that site into Acquia Hosting.
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Help make my Drupal Gardens site look great!

Thank goodness I only have black socks in my drawer. Otherwise I’d walk around with black and blue mixed and never notice! To say that design isn’t my forté would be missing the point. I can sum up most of what I know about CSS in one line: border: solid red 1px; It's called "The Rob", and it's what you do to an element to see if you've selected it correctly. Given these limitations, I usually leave designing websites to those who can. Whenever in need, I usually ask someone I know to help out.
As it happens, I'm presently in need. I made myself a Drupal... More

The right amount of venture capital to raise

In this post, I want to focus on one of the most difficult questions for entrepreneurs raising money from investors: what is the right amount of capital to raise? We debated this question extensively in each of the three rounds of raising venture capital at Acquia. It's particularly a tricky question for people like me who are relatively new to venture capital. I spent plenty of time thinking about this and talked about it with numerous successful entrepreneurs that have raised money before.
Based on my own thoughts and my informal survey, my current best... More

Part 1: Drop everything and Help module maintainers fulfill their d7cx pledge

Drupal 7 RC 1 needs testers. And now more than ever, your favorite modules need testing too. As Moshe wrote yesterday, they're here to collect on the D7CX pledge. This is a great way that a new Drupal user can make a significant contribution, and make some friends in the process :)
I was amazed at the most recent DrupalCamp in Ireland that some people I spoke to weren't trying out Drupal 7 yet. I've been using Gardens so much, I adore D7 and get all itchy when I use D6. Come in, the water's fine!
Well,... More

We raised a whopping $23,500 for Movember

Movember has come to an end, and soon I will remove the moustache that I groomed so carefully during the month of November. Before I shave, though, I want to thank everyone who sponsored my moustache.
The Acquia team, of which I am a part, raised a whopping $23,500 USD, and donations are still coming in. That puts us in the top 25 teams nationally. When we first started talking about doing a Movember campaign at Acquia, no one would have thought we'd have the impact that we did... More

Movember and the Power of Community

November has come to a close. For most people, this means the cold edge of winter taking hold and the start of the holiday season, but for almost half a million men around the world, it means finally shaving off ridiculous moustaches we've been cultivating for the past month and celebrating a remarkable $56 Million raised for a great cause. Sound bizarre? Welcome to Movember.
The official Movember web site describes the charity event better than I can;
"The... More

Minding the gaps

Several people in the Drupal Gardens forums have asked how they can eliminate the vertical gaps between major sections of their themes.  Here's an illustration of these gaps.

To get rid of these gaps, look for top margin and top padding, usually on the elements with very distinct and descriptive ID's.  For example, the banner.

In the example above, the top padding of the #banner element is set to 27px.
And the navigation.

In the example above, the top margin of the... More

Stock options and employee equity

To my surprise, a lot of people that I interview at Acquia don’t understand stock options or have never heard of it. This blog post explains what stock options are about. It is a very technical topic but for the sake of this post, I am going to keep it really simple and make some over-simplifications.
In essence, a stock option is a right given to an employee to purchase stock at some point in the future at a set price.
When a company is founded, the founders own 100% of the company. When they raise money from investors, they give them a share of the company... More

Is it mouthwash or hand soap?

Last week in a restroom in New York city, I washed my hands inadvertently with mouthwash. It sounds silly, but it looked like the soap to me. The bathroom was so posh and the container it came in was deceptive: who expects to find mouthwash in a restroom? But, this wasn't a normal restroom.
I was at the Yale Club of NYC representing Drupal and Acquia, as well as trying to make the point that Drupal fits in the enterprise world.
The Yale Club of NYC with its... More

Drupal - Have it YOUR Way (Or, the Constraints of Social Business Software)

One of the most common complaints that we hear from our prospects & customers when in the market for Community Software and/or Social Business Software is that the licensing models of the proprietary vendors are very inflexible. They often end up charging their customers on a per user basis, annually, - and on top of that, bundle in typical proprietary software maintenance costs. In the end of the day, the customer ends up with a very expensive, annually recurring, inflexible licensing situation, - and on top of that, the customer pays additional dollars each time they request a new... More

Movember

Each year, the 'Mo' (slang for moustache) and November come together for Mo-vember.
At the beginning of the month, I joined the growing club of modern gentlemen who believe in the virtues of fine moustachery, immaculate grooming and growing a moustache for Movember. Along with me, about 20 other Acquians.
Movember is about raising funds and awareness for men's health, specifically for prostate and testicular cancer. One in two men will be diagnosed with cancer in his lifetime, and one out of... More

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

Down On the Street at the New York Drupal Business Summit

We kicked-off the first of our multi-city Drupal Business Summit events in the Big Apple yesterday and it was a rousing success. For me, every Drupal event is a learning experience, and yesterday’s event was no exception.
Speakers including Bob Kerner, VP of Technology at NYSE Euronext, Jamie Clark from Zagat and Andrew Hoppin, CIO of the New York State Senate, shared great stories about how they are using Drupal as a platform for... More

Impossible to Catch

Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of PHP, commented in an interview with France's leading newspaper Le Monde, that "it will be practically impossible to create today a proprietary alternative to Drupal". The remarks were in the context of the evolution of open source in the market.
Lerdorf backs this up by highlighting that in the server infrastructure layer today, open source dominates. "There are several server... 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

Acquia Partner Strategy

When I joined Acquia 18 months ago, one of our top priorities was communicating our partner strategy. As a priority, it’s still right up there, an indication that, while we have made progress, we need to be more transparent, more communicative than we have been.
Having a strong and diverse ecosystem around Drupal is vital for the continued health and growth of Drupal. Code contributors are key of course, but so are other roles from documentation to marketing to organization of conferences and camps. Acquia has an express goal of facilitating and growing this ecosystem, through... 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

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