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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.
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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
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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

The S-Files: "Help I deleted my theme"

Tech Support Case Studies
One of the core services that Acquia offers is support for people building sites with Drupal. "The S-Files" are stories about the day-to-day life of our support team. Each one contains a nugget of Drupal knowledge that helped a customer succeed with Drupal. Enjoy!
"Hello, I installed a new theme on my site but I didn't like it. So I deleted it. Now I can't log into my site and it really looks broken."
That's the message that appeared in my email inbox. It was a voicemail message that a customer had left after calling our support hotline:... More

Acquia Upgrade Team: Mission Copenhagen

Acquia documentation agent Jam* and I will be heading to Denmark this weekend where we'll be geeking out with Scandanavian Drupallers at the first ever DrupalCamp Copenhagen. You will recognize us by our Acquia shirts and our inability to speak Danish. Our mission is to help you upgrade your Drupal 4 or 5 sites to Drupal 6. We will come armed with Jam's upcoming migration guide (you will find this in our download section soon, as an appendix to the freely available Getting Started Guide), and a slew of tips,... More

Drupal in the formative stages of adding RDF(a) for Semantic Web

There has been a lot of hand waving about the semantic web, RDF, and Drupal. This is good, and it is important for there to be excitement about the possibilities that this opens to us. Now the first concrete plans are being laid and the first patches are being written and evaluated. If you’ve ever wondered about this semantic web business, or if you thought microformats were a good idea, or if you’ve been secretly (or... More

Migrating the Drupal way. Part I: creating a node.

Update: Acquia has released a great migration whitepaper to help you get ready to move to Drupal.
My position with Acquia will find me helping out with a lot of migrations and upgrades. I'm going to embark on a multiple-part blog to discuss some of the common techniques that I use when moving clients to Drupal.
Migrating to Drupal can seem intimidating if you already maintain a database-driven website. However, populating a Drupal site with your current content might be... More

I work for Acquia, allow me to introduce myself

I'm still a little surprised to tell people that I work for Acquia. My fascination with Drupal started in late 2007 and quickly turned into an addiction. While building my first large project, I spent countless hours on drupal.org meeting cool people and getting advice from the Drupal community. Then in February, I found out about Acquia and kept a close eye on them as they filled up their roster with some amazing talent. At the time, I was living in Boulder, Colorado, hard at work on VeloNews.com. Acquia seemed like a dream job, but it also seemed to be... More

The DX Files: Static caching in Drupal

This is part four of my series, The DX Files: Improving Drupal Developer Experience. I started this series with fairly simplistic suggestions. They proved not very popular and some of them I agree were of questionable benefit due to PHP’s nature. I was pleased to discover, however, that they nevertheless had quite an impact on raising the visibility of “Developer Experience” within the Drupal community. I am therefore ready to move on to some of the more complex DX issues in Drupal.
The most important DX change... More

Two more Drupal user experience studies underway

The Drupal project has been doing user experience work for several years but the pace has really picked up in 2008. This year alone we've have already completed two studies, both for Drupal 6.
Over the last week Leisa Reichelt, from Mark Boulton design has continued her user experience studies with iteration four of the redesigned Drupal.org site. In testing iteration four here's what the team from Mark Boulton design found.
We need to remove the word ‘Join’. Users need to be steered towards joining the community in the context of when they need to, not before. It just sends the wrong... More

Bay Area Drupalcamp 2008 - Testing party and BADCamper party

Last weekend I attended BADCamp. The camp was organized by Tao Starbow, Dan Robinson, Chris Bryant, Dmitri Gaskin, and Jen Lampton. The event was a big success and filled up to capacity with the waiting list closed weeks in advance.

One of the big things I was looking for was a measure of the health of the Drupal economy. From what I saw it was still pretty hot. There was a popular job fair and the jobs board had about a dozen listings. I was actively recruiting organizers for the San Francisco Drupal user group. New recruits included Ben Bannone from Bioraft, Dan Kurtz from Trellon,... More

Lullabot podcast #65

I was featured on the infamous Lullabot podcast series. Jeff Robbins and I talk about Acquia, Mollom and Drupal 7. Check out the Lullabot podcast #65 (mirror) if you want. We kick it off talking about Acquia, the Mollom part starts around minute 25 and the Drupal... More

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