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An improved Webform user interface for Drupal

At Acquia, we spent a lot of time improving the Webform module, one of the top 10 most popular Drupal modules, as well as the Form Builder module, a companion module that provides an improved user interface for the Webform module. The Webform module and the Form Builder module allow people to create custom forms such as contact forms, online surveys and more.

Building blocks of a scalable web crawler

I recently had the pleasure of serving as a thesis advisor on a work by Marc Seeger, who was completing a portion of his requirements for a Master of Science in Computer Science and Media at Stuttgart Media University. Marc's thesis was titled "Building blocks of a scalable web crawler".

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.

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.

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.

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.

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, except that many of your favorite modules aren't quite ready yet. Many module maintainers took the D7CX pledge to be ready for the release of Drupal 7. That looks to be in about 7-10 days! There's a mad rush on and even as a non-coder, or a new user to Drupal you can help.

Download Drupal 7, and test your favorite modules. Report bugs and submit patches! It's easy, right? I'll be making a few posts this week to take "the scary" out of testing patches, and show you exactly how I do it. In this post, we'll get D7 up and running, and determine the best way to locate modules which need help, and the specific issues which need testing.

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;

Acquia Raises More Than $17,500 for the Movember Foundation

Acquia employees join forces to help fight men’s cancers

Woburn, MA – December 1, 2010 – Acquia, the company accelerating the adoption of open source social publishing, today announced, it has raised more than $17,500 for the Movember Foundation. At release time Acquia’s team Fu ManDrupal’s is ranked number 32 nationally of more than 100 teams. The funds raised through Movember’s US campaign benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

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