Home / Resources / Blog

Thoughts that Count

Recent Posts

Drupal.org redesign code sprints

As promised, we're organizing a series of sprints to help push the drupal.org redesign closer to completion. The drupal.org redesign is a massive project, and, when implemented, will be an important milestone for our community.
The Drupal.org website was originally launched in 2001 and last redesigned in 2005; over time we've simply outgrown it. The community has made it clear that new features were needed, and the Drupal... More

Migrating the Drupal way. Part IV: helping your admins with hook_help() and Advanced Help

Training is a huge consideration when moving to a new software platform. You have to ask yourself, how steep is the learning curve? How many people do you have to train? How many of those people are going to drag their feet? It has been my experience that no matter how much easier the new solution is, people still resist change. Sooner or later, you will have to send them off and running. For the fourth installment of my migration blog, I'm going to recommend leveraging Drupal's built in help functions as well as the Advanced Help module to make the... More

DrupalCamp Köln

On January 17-18, I'll be in Germany to attend DrupalCamp Köln (aka DrupalCamp Cologne) and hang out with the German Drupal community. DrupalCamp Köln is organized by Thomas Narres, Daniel Niehaus, Jürgen Brocke, Torsten Zenk, Florian Latzel, and others in the Köln/Bonn users group.
The venue is sponsored by GFU, a leading German IT training organization. Other sponsors include Host Europe, the Kölner Internet Union,... More

Acquia supports everything Drupal 6

Last year, Acquia opened for business, offering commercial support for a defined software distribution called Acquia Drupal. One could purchase commercial support for all the modules in Acquia Drupal. As I mentioned last week in my 2009 predictions for Drupal, one of the things we learned relatively fast is that people wanted more than just Acquia Drupal. They wanted support for all modules, themes and custom code.
No surprise, but when we set out to build Acquia... More

Drupal Ubercart training in Cologne, Germany

On January 19 and 20, 2009, in Cologne Germany, Commerce Guys and AF83 will be joining forces to offer Drupal Ubercart training (registration link). Drupal is a leading web content management system, and Ubercart is a full e-Commerce solution and shopping cart that is built on top of Drupal.
In the training you will learn how to build a web site for a rock band... More

My predictions for 2009

It is that time of year again. Time to reflect on 2008, and to put on my Drupal Nostradamus hat and look forward to 2009. But first of all, thanks for 2008! It's been a pretty crazy ride.
My personal Drupal highlights for 2008 include the Drupal 6 release (the best Drupal release ever!), both DrupalCon Boston and DrupalCon Szeged, the Drupal.org redesign that is in progress, and, of course,... More

Happy New Year - taking the rest of the year off

It has been a really exciting year at Acquia and I am celebrating with Champagne with my colleagues at Acquia for a couple of reasons, one of them being the New Year. It has been a lot of fun the last few weeks helping our sales team deal with a huge amount of interest in our new products.
I just literally finished helping a customer who called in this afternoon to evaluate and buy a professional subscription at 11:59PM EST. I am taking the rest of the year off, all 3 hours of it. Here's looking to a successful 2009!


Acquia Podcast 8: Interview with FunnyMonkey's Bill Fitzgerald

In this podcast, Robert Douglass sat down Bill Fitzgerald from FunnyMonkey at Do It With Drupal to talk about Bill's new book, Drupal for Education and E-learning and to get an update on things at Funny Monkey. Bill talks about FunnyMonkey Commons, a platform for teachers and educators built on Drupal.

Migrating the Drupal way. Part III: managing multiple sites with Drupal

OK, you've got a few sites. Maybe you are a company with a handful of product sites, or maybe you are a university with hundreds of department sites. When working with more than one site you will inevitably run into problems with maintenance, revision control, deployment and the like. For my third installment on migrating to Drupal, I'd like to show you how using Multisite installations can make your life a whole lot easier.
Drupal Multisite
Drupal natively allows you to run multiple sites from a single installation. These sites can act as... More

Fields in core code sprint debrief

I just got back from the Fields in core code sprint at Acquia that I helped organize. Our participants all had the same goal for this five-day sprint: get CCK functionality into Drupal 7. The participants were Yves (CCK maintainer), Karen (CCK maintainer), Barry Jaspan (CCK contributor),... More

ApacheSolr search presentation from Do it With Drupal

Last week Acquia sent me to New Orleans to be a speaker at Lullabot's Do it With Drupal conference. The conference went very well and I gave a presentation about ApacheSolr, and how faceted search will change the way you think about finding things on your site. Since Acquia recently announced that we will be launching a hosted Solr search service even more people have shown interest in ApacheSolr. My next talks on ApacheSolr will be at DrupalCamp Cologne... More

Acquia at DIWD, Dude

If you didn't get a chance to attend DIWD (Do it with Drupal) - apparently pronounced "Dude" - you definitely missed out. Bryan, Linea, Chuck, Robert, Gábor and I all boarded planes on Tuesday to head down to New Orleans for the three-day event. None were disappointed.
Gábor deified
We six Acquians spent three days rotating between booth duty, attending seminars, presenting seminars, talking Drupal and enjoying lots of good food. There were all types of attendees from... More

S-Files: Customizing a theme with a sub-theme

This is the first in a two-part post about creating a sub-theme and using the sub-theme to customize the display of a views block on an Acquia Drupal site. The first installment will include creating the sub-theme and adding some CSS. In part two we'll get into updating the theming for a views block.
One of the questions that comes up frequently in providing support for Drupal is how to make changes to the theme. There is, of course, the option of opening up the files and making the desired changes directly. However this method causes no end of problems when it comes time to upgrade. However... More

Using meet-up for San Francisco local group meeting blows up attendance

Greg Beuthin, from AF83 has been running San Francisco Drupal local group meetings for the last year. He moved from San Francisco to Paris last month, and long time Drupal user John Faber stepped up to take over Greg's AF83 responsibilities including keeping a vibrant San Francisco Drupal users group going.
In the past the San Francisco local groups have had mixed attendance rates. When the topic was a solid and popular presentation, attendance was pretty good, but if it was just a casual meet-up then attendance has been light. In October, there were just three of us, although it was a few... More

DrupalCamp is coming to Germany

What are you doing on January 17th and 18th? Hopefully you'll be coming to DrupalCamp Cologne and hanging out with Drupallers from all over the world! This is the first ever Drupal-specific camp or conference that Germany has ever seen, so it will be quite an event.
Dries Buytaert (Drupal founder and project lead, Acquia co-founder and CTO, Mollom co-founder) will be there to talk... More

Redesigning the Acquia Home page

In an attempt to respond to you - our most valued customer - we're revising our home page. In our current state, we've heard you say through our usability sessions "the page has too much text," and we've seen you have trouble finding important links like "Download Acquia Drupal." In addition, we think we can do better at making our value proposition more clear.
Our home page is so important to us. Through it, you can download Drupal bundled with several highly rated/used modules. We've tried to help eliminate the burden for new users to figure out which modules to start with. The home... More

Fields in Drupal core code sprint

Good news! During the week of December 15, we're organizing a 5-day Fields in Drupal core code sprint at Acquia! The goal is to get CCK functionality into Drupal 7.
So far, Karen, Yves and Barry have signed up -- Karen and Yves are the main CCK maintainers, and Barry has done a lot of work on CCK as well.

To help us fund the sprint, please consider making a donation using the ChipIn widget on this page... More

S-Files: Adding Basic Search Fields and Filters to Views

Tech Support Case Studies
Being that Views is both a very popular module and included in Acquia Drupal, we get a lot of questions regarding how to configure and customize views in various ways. One thing that has come up a few times is a customer wanting to add custom searching or filters to their views.
While this is a core feature of Views, it's often overlooked and can seem mysterious to those new to Drupal. I'm going to walk through adding a textfield search which will search our node's titles, as well as a drop down filter to our taxonomy... More

When bad things happen to good Drupal site owners

Lately we've been having a few discussions about the various things that can go wrong with a Drupal site. We certainly see a flow of such things in the Acquia Network forum and in our support ticket system. But I'd like to throw open the doors and get a broader set of feedback.
If you have a moment, please complete the following Google Apps form. I'll gather the data and report back what I find. It should make for some interesting reading.
Loading... More

Migrating the Drupal way. Part II: saving those old URLs

For the second part of my migration blog, I want to touch on the importance of maintaining URLs from your old site and demonstrate some examples of how to capture them in Drupal. Search engine traffic and other referrals are invaluable when it comes to the success of a site. I've managed sites that have received upwards of 100,000 referrals a day from Google alone. This is not even to mention all of the external links and bookmarks to your pages. If you are thinking about migrating to Drupal and have not considered the importance of maintaining old... More

The Google iPhone voice app angle that no one is talking about

I checked out the new voice-activated Google Mobile App for iPhone this morning. It works pretty well - not perfect - but solid.
read more

A hosted search service for Drupal

Jay just announced Acquia's plans to get into the hosted search business. By doing so, we hope to provide Drupal sites a (i) faster, (ii) more scalable search solution that (iii) can work across multiple sites, that (iv) can handle broader content, (v) that offers faceted navigation and more.
Content management systems with basic keyword search are going nowhere but out of style. Content management systems that do search really well can improve a site's navigation in new and significant ways. We want Drupal sites to be... More

Hosted Solr site search for Drupal is on the way

The search technology area is highly important to people with websites. As a result, I've spent serious time looking at it. Several things have come from this time spent:
The important thing: We'll soon be adding "hosted site search" capabilities to the Acquia Network for our subscribers. More about this below.
The unimportant thing: Search was modestly influential in the selection of our company name. ah-kwe-eh is the (native American) Navajo WW II code talker word for "Locate." I reasoned that this made sense... More

The S-Files: "Why can't a user edit content?"

A few days ago a user emailed with a problem about giving users the ability to edit content. The problem started with a small site that had been added to over time. Now that there were a few more pages to maintain the webmaster wanted to give access to other users to manage a few pages.
Since they had started out with only a couple of content types and needed extra control they added the Content Access module and configured it properly. The webmaster's goal was to give Sally, the company president, the ability to edit the "Executive... More

The freemium business model: giving away pays

I've recently been thinking a lot about the freemium business model. For those unfamiliar with the freemium business model, it was first articulated by venture capitalist Fred Wilson in 2006:
"Give your service away for free, possibly ad supported but maybe not, acquire a lot of customers very efficiently through word of mouth, referral networks, organic search marketing, etc., then offer premium priced value added services or an enhanced version of your service to your customer base."
I've been thinking about the freemium... More