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Acquia Podcast 26: Ryan Szrama on Drupal Commerce

Drupal Commerce, the logical successor to Ubercart, is the new e-commerce platform for Drupal 7. It has been completely re-written from the ground up to take advantage of the new Fields API in Drupal 7, and is incredibly powerful and flexible. Join me as I talk with Ryan Szrama of Commerce Guys, the driving force behind Drupal Commerce, as we talk about the development process and all the cool things you can do with Drupal Commerce.

Apache Solr module Chicago Slides and Roadmap

At Drupalcon Chicago, Chris Pliakas and I presented Attain Apache Solr Coding Chops to an enthusiastic audience. While some of the content was similar to past presentations, we updated it to highlight more of the changes in the Drupal 7.x-1.x version, and Chris added new recipes for building customized search forms and results.

Shoot the Drupalist

When I submitted my session for DrupalCon Chicago, I wanted to present something that was of a heightened necessity to the community. Working everyday to support some of the most world-class customers in the Drupal space gives you an incredible insight into what challenges sites face most often.

Why I love BoFs at DrupalCon

birds of a feather

Attribution Some rights reserved by wildxplorer

Wanna come to a BoF about BoFs?

Birds of a Feather, has such a nice ring to it. This way of self-organizing allows people of like minds to flock together in their motley way spontaneously sprung from the confines of the well architected schedule which didn’t quite fit their needs.

It’s a testament to the efforts of conference organizers at DrupalCon that they can field submissions from such a large number of presenters striving to satisfy the needs of thousands of people with wildly popular sessions. In Copenhagen, rooms were filled to the brim with eager listeners, and even afterwards people seek out the recordings of the sessions they missed. It’s an ideal opportunity to broadcast the latest and greatest in Drupal.

But then there’s the fringe. And the DrupalCons provide for that too. Many computing conferences allow for physical spaces for BoFs: Birds of a Feather sessions. A whiteboard is used to mark the available time slots and locations, where people put in their suggestions and find their niche.

Not seeing anything on the official schedule that suits? Head on over to the BoF board! There's now a forum on the DrupalCon website where people are chatting about BoFs already! I really love BoFs, and I think we can even make them better and get more out of them.

BoF board at DrupalCon

Attribution Some rights reserved by ellyjonez

Making a better BoF

At DrupalCon San Francisco, I had an epiphany, OK, not a huge one. BoFs kinda suck when you spend 20 mins going around and introducing one another, and then you get into the meaty bits and it’s already over. There’s an alternative: Open Space Technology.

Drupal Gardens adds custom surveys, forms and questionnaires

Lately the Drupal Gardens team has been busy adding several highly-requested mega-features.  A mega-feature is a feature so large, some companies build entire products based on that feature.  Webforms is the most recent mega-feature we have added.  Since mega-features can be complicated, we invested hundreds of design hours and thousands of engineering hours to make webforms easy-to-use.

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.

Drupal in Greece

Athens, 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 environment; not so the Greek Drupal community. The buzz and energy at this weekend's DrupalCamp Athens was palpable, and one could taste the optimism as plans were made for testing Drupal 7, holding translation sprints, and sharing resources on finding venture capital for startups.

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?

Previously in Part 1 - I described how you can simply download and test your favorite modules to make sure they are working in Drupal 7. Even simple modules like "Environment Indicator" have alpha versions available for Drupal 7. That project has no issues for 7.x version. But has it been fully tested? Give it a whirl! If you find a bug, then say so.

In this next part, I have 2 videos which will show your how I apply and test a patch with a GUI; then how I create a new patch. Now we'll look at patches: applying, testing and submitting.

First: What's a patch?

Does the word "patch" sound mysterious to you? Never had a chance to "apply a patch"? or "Reroll a patch"? Or possibly even submit a new one?

Patches are text files they have instructions indicating differences with lines preceeded by a "-" to indicate that a line will be deleted, and a "+" sign to indicate a line will be added. This set of instructions is saved, instead of just making the changes directly. This means you can pass along this fix. By sharing this fix, other people can apply this patch and get the same fix.

When we say "don't hack core" in Drupal, it means don't change the files directly. You can however write neccessary patches, apply and share them. Patches are written to fix a bug, but sometimes can introduce new problems. Because of that, they need to be tested. And we'll see how to do that.

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.

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.

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