Drupal 8 Preview for Site Builders


Are you wondering what Drupal 8 holds in store for your team? If you’re a developer, you might already be learning about the new changes in the low-level architecture and how it affects your custom code. However, if you’re a site builder there are some noticeable improvements and new ways to control the configuration of your site.

In this session, we will give you a preview of the important differences including the new configuration management system and new terminology in Drupal 8.

In this webinar, you will learn:

Click to see video transcript

Moderator: This webinar is Drupal 8 Preview for Site Builders with guest speaker, Heather James, who’s the manager of Learning Services here at Acquia. We’re really excited to have Heather on the call today. Heather, now I’m going to pass it over to you.

Heather James: Thank you so much for coming into this and checking out this sneak preview of Drupal 8 Site Building. So I hope you’ll be as excited as I am after you watch this presentation and I’m looking forward to your questions. You can ask me the questions right on Twitter @learningdrupal. If you have any questions about training for your team, I’m sure you’re curious about either the transition from 7 to 8 or when 8 is ready, please contact myself or Ben Ortega, the Director of Learning Services. I also invite you to check out our event listings to see courses that are happening near you and online and you can learn with our very talented partners who are immersed in Drupal development day to day so they can give you a lot of insights into the practical aspects of Drupal.

So what I’ll cover today – if you’ve already read the blog post that I’d been writing over the last couple of weeks, we’re really going to be spring boarding off of those somewhat. I’m going to be referring to them in the presentation so please do check back at those in more detail. So I’m going to be giving of course the obligatory warnings about being on this construction site and how to check out Drupal 8 on overview of the admin changes, things you’ll notice right from the start. Of course, we’re going to be focusing mainly in Site Building in the second half of the presentation.

So we’ll be digging into building with blocks and content types and making the most of out of your data, the schema.org as well as a dip into Configuration Management. So I won’t be covering a high-level overview of sort of how we got here and of the “under the hood” stuff. We will be coming back with some information about theming, made some tutorials on those, but there just simply isn’t enough time today. I would recommend checking [Jules Shimar’s] webinar from yesterday. The slides are available here which you can get through this link here but the recording should be up soon.

You’re probably wondering how to get your hands on Drupal 8. I wanted to give you a bit of an orientation. This diagram is really great because it shows you where we’re at in development. You can see this sort of “we are here” cloud down at the bottom left there. We’re in the API Completion phase. So the Alpha releases are coming out. You can see over on the right, this is the Site Builder. It’s what - our swim lane I guess you could say. We’re invited to come when the Beta releases are coming out. So we’re a little bit ahead of the game in this presentation. I mean considering that – so there’s simply so much curiosity though about Drupal 8. I want to give you a sneak preview now. The caveat will come out through the presentation. You’ll notice the little under-construction signs. There are going to be bugs. There may even be new bugs that I’ll discover as I’m playing around with the latest version of Head that I just downloaded.

So Alpha 4 is out right now. It was just released on October 18th, and the purpose of these Alpha releases is to help the modular developers actually identify any API problems they’re having while they can still actually be fixed. So you may have heard about API freezing. Well, sort of freezing it as a process. So it’s in the process of freezing and maybe you consider it like a flash or something like that. The question I was probably dreading is when is it going to be ready? So we can think of as – it’ll be ready when it’s ready. We have to consider this with our training program because we do have clients coming to us asking even for Drupal 8 training now. But we can’t be teaching clients on unstable dev versus the software and advising it confidently.

Yet we are also preparing ourselves - and we do actually have some clients who are building in Drupal 8, but we’re also working very closely with them. They’re taking a risk, but they’re also testing that upgrading process. That’s what everybody should be doing it right now if they have this ability to test upgrading your modules and themes, reporting those problems with the API. There’s a great presentation here on how to upgrade your modules with Drupal 8, so do check that out. Some of the facts will have changed since then but I think the process itself is pretty clear in the presentation.

Even if you’re not a developer, that is great. You can actually participate in a user experience research study. So if you just are using Drupal 8 to or Drupal itself or any content management system to create or edit content anywhere on the web, please get in contact. It may not be you. It may be a colleague that you could encourage to take part in this. Even if you don’t have time, you can tell others about it. So please do check out these announcements you’ll see about the user research. They’re recruiting now. As far as I know, you can do them online. They also have events such as BADCamp.

So with all that said, it doesn’t mean that site builders aren’t welcome to give Drupal 8 a whirl. So a really quick way to check out Drupal 8 would be to try out the free 30-minute demo on simplytestme. This is available on the Drupal 8 landing page right now. So you can actually test it out online. I won’t be doing that today. I’m going to be installing. I’ve already installed again I should say and I’ve already cloned Drupal. The instructions are fairly clear on how to do this. I use actually Acquia Dev Desktop to locate my codebase folder and then use it to create - use Dev Desktop to create a new database. Dev Desktop includes the latest version of – not the latest version of PHP excuse me, but the correct version of PHP for Drupal 8, MySQL, and Apache and so it really makes it a lot easier to start new sites. I would recommend, if you’re on Mac, to use the Beta version. You’ll find some good benefits from that.

So as soon as you start this install process, you’ll notice that it looks really slick. It looks nice. I think it’s got a good - it’s kind of pretty. That’s not the important thing. What’s really important in the new install process is that you can install in any language. So that’s going to hopefully help us even get more adopters over to Drupal. As you go through this install process, you’ll start seeing hints of new modules that are available like the tour modules, so you probably have your curiosity well-piqued by now. With that said, I really couldn’t go any further without us making us wanting utterly clear – I’ve mentioned it already, but while I’ve been using Drupal 8, I find it’s really snappy. It’s slick. Things work really well. Now and again, I bump into problems. So it would be irresponsible really to go any further without making that clear.

There are changes happening daily. You can see even a few moments ago really there were probably changes on Drupal 8. One of these examples is, like a case in point, I guess you could say is contact form field. I get so excited when I saw this. It’s like, “Everything has fields now, yay, even the contact form.” This is going to make it so I could possibly not even have to install the web form module in some cases I guess you could say because I can add fields to my contact form. This is yay. But I then started playing around with it, it was like, “Oh, wait a second. How do I expose these various categories?”

Of course, I’m not the only one wondering. It turns out yes, there’s an issue for that. I even found some funky errors that I came into. You’re going to come across stuff like that as you’re playing with Drupal 8. So what to do? The first thing is make sure you can replicate the error and describe the steps and conditions to repeat it. Search for the errors in the issue queue. So don’t be afraid to actually go into the issue queue and say, “I went through these steps and I had that same problem where…” or something like that. It’s not hard to learn how to play with patches if you’re interested. There’s also core mentoring, but the issue queue itself is openly, easily searchable. So please check it out.

So with that said, let’s look at what’s new with Drupal 8. Starting in the administration just like an overview, the first thing you’ll notice - I mean the way I saw it when I first opened Drupal 8 was kind of like, “Oh, well, that’s not very different.” So if you’re familiar with Drupal 7, you’ll find it quite comfortable and familiar. I don’t think it’s as drastic a change as it was from 6 to 7. The benefits are big. The fact that the menu can be docked on either side and you can actually administer it on mobile. That’s a really big thing even though the changes are quite subtle I guess.

There’s little things too, just overall making design more consistent across all of the administration. You might find the delete button before in random places like, “I don’t know that there was a delete tab in there. Sometimes there was a dialogue.” It’s all these strange ways of going about the delete button. Now, they’ve put it in the lower right hand corner. I had a little construction guy there though because I have a feeling they’re going to change the design of this. [Laughter] Just so you know, that’s where it’s at now.

Overall, you’ll also see some new functionality added to administration of the site. A lot of these are based on modules you already know and love such as the modules over here. So in some cases, the actual modules had been included and in other cases, similar functionalities added where - it means you won’t need that x contrib module. So one case for example is using Core. This really is a wholesale inclusion of views. It just works and it works very similar to how it did in Drupal 7. It’s just been brought into Core. So there are some UI differences perhaps but overall it works as it did. I mean it’s probably something you’ve already heard of obviously, but the benefits are far-reaching because all of the advantages had been converted to views. So there’s more filtering options available now. I think the potential is there to be able to customize administration.

So this is again a little construction guy here because as they prepared this two weeks ago, I was able to do a demo including adding the author, like an author field as a filter. I was proposing that. Someone might like to add this as a filter on their content listing. When I went in today just about an hour before the presentation, I found out, “Oh, wait a second. You can’t add exposed filters other than those that are included.” I didn’t even have time during my preparation to discover if this was a bug or this is a feature. Anyway, I think the potential is there to customize administration, customize these views. At least, you’d be able to clone this view and you’d be able to adopt it.

So for more detail, there’s simply so many. There are 32 contrib modules, which I would say are mooted by Drupal 8. That is again, either they are included in Drupal 8 or a similar functionality is in Drupal 8, that means you won’t need a certain contrib module. That’s more detailed there in the blog post and I didn’t want to go into – I’m assuming that if you’re watching this presentation, you probably came out of reading these blog posts. So they’re all in there. I think worth mentioning though in some detail are the major changes that your content administrators are going to see with the additional of WYSIWYG. It’s simply amazing for the cycle there because it’s going to save you so much time.

A lot of what you probably were doing already, adding in like this Save Draft button, you don’t have to do that. You can see here there’s a Save as Unpublished, which - it’s solving a lot of the problems that content editors were having already. There’s in place editing, which simply means you can edit the content right as you’re looking at it. So it’s even changed the images or changed text and the WYSIWYG allows you to paste directly from Word. It’s a really common problems obviously. It leaves and clear out the – I recognize it’s coming from Word and that allow you to clean it before pasting.

Overall, the WYSIWYG experience is just so much easier to configure in Drupal 7. You have a bunch of different modules. You might have to use a variety of different options to choose from. While you could still override whatever is here, all you see was Core. If you just open it up, it just works out of the box. This is the kind of thing I guess – I’ll probably mention it again, but with our Drupal 7 Site Building Training, we do spend time teaching our developers how to create customized and improved administration experience because what we know is the success of that content editing, the success of those staff people who are editing on your site, that’s just as important to the success of your project as your end-users. So this kind of thing just working out of the box is going to be a huge time-saver for site builders.

I did find some bugs though of course. I noticed I made a new content type and I set some defaults like Promoted from page or Sticky up at top of list. These default settings could have these deselected I should say. They’ll actually be reselected again automatically. So anyway, it turns out yes there are some bugs and in fact even that Sticky option might even get removed altogether. You could be watching this presentation in maybe two weeks’ time and find that there is no Sticky option anymore. So for more details about those content editing enhancements, check out this blog post again. Like I said, we spend a significant time [laughter] - significant time with Drupal 7, our site building in Drupal 7 class teaching developers how to improve this experience so seeing that this in Core is a huge bonus. It is worth going into a little bit of detail about the handling of images in Drupal 8, images and picture. I want to deal with the rule separately from the WYSIWYG aspect.

The first thing to note is that images in Drupal 8 are just responsive out of the box no matter what way you slice it. You can resize your screen and you’ll notice, like I said, even the admin menu will respond and other content itself will respond to the width of the browser. So in Drupal 8, you really have two methods for getting images to your site and I think it suits - I mean there has been some debate within the community about these two different - really almost different approaches, but I think there really are two distinct pieces for adding images to any website.

Here on the left, for example, we see image fields. Maybe for example, that might be a listing of restaurants where you want others to add in four images no more no less, and these will be displayed in a slideshow. So designers get a lot of control there over what’s input, how it’s validated, how it’s displayed, and the size of the images even possibly the color treatment. Whereas on the right, somehow it’s a different case altogether where you want inline images, where you’ve got, say an article or maybe a review of a meal and you want – use photographs of different dimensions and have the text flow around it. The writers have control so your designers give up control over how those images display.

Drupal 8 actually satisfies both right out of the box. You can choose for yourself whether or not you’re going to allow image input in the WYSIWYG to allow non-images or you can choose whether or not you want to have a combination. In fact, the article content type right out of the box will allow you to have an image field so you could have a lead image. You could actually require, for example, that a writer put in a lead image right at the top, but then they can put in inline images. So I’ve got this cookie cutter lead image. Then I’ve got this little boat on the right and I’ve got it inserted in a line to the right. I’ve just shown this sort of zoomed out, sort of widescreen, and sort of resized, a little more narrow and you can see the image resizing there. I guess we can look at that in really more detail but just generally, image handling is so much easier. Even the image sizes are easier to identify because they include the dimensions on the size - excuse me - do dimensions on the filename.

You can also have an arbitrary number of values. Before you can only have a limited number of – you could have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 up to 10 but after that, you can only have unlimited. So if you wanted to say limit to 15 or limit to 40, you couldn’t do that before. This goes for any field, not just images of course, but I think it’s worth mentioning little things like these have been done to improve things. So this is the inline image, just to show you what this looks like. You can see in the body field hopefully on the right, just kind of tiny here, there’s a little image insert link and once we do that we got a pop-up dialogue I guess or you could say an overlay that allows us to select the image and choose a caption, an alignment. Basically that’s your garden variety inline image and it just works. You can grab that whole thing and drag it around the page. It’s so much easier to use.

As well, there is a new format, not image but also there’s now a picture. So I’m going to do a demo of this because it’s probably a little bit easier to understand when you look at it. The new picture formatter gives you control actually over the breakpoints - I think it’s probably easiest to understand if we look at it, but we’ll go here and look at – I’m sorry, look at some content here that has an image. Okay. Sorry, I’m going to add some content first. So I have an article, maybe this is a little bit like a – [Pause] so we’ll get a nice big image here. [Pause] You can see – I mean really isn’t that different. I’ve added an image field just so you can see what this looks like. We’re just going to save and publish it. Okay. Go back. There we go. So just to show you how the normal responsive behavior works. It’s better to see it I guess.

You’ll notice I don’t control the breakpoints. These are set within the theme, but they’re sensible. I think the defaults here are sensible and standard probably at this point. However, you could imagine a situation where, say for example, you have a landscape lead image like this. Everything looks fine, but you may want that on narrower devices. Maybe you want this to turn this into a square because you want to zoom into something maybe. I’m just giving you an example. So that’s where the picture module would come in handy. Picture module gives you control over what image styles matched which breakpoints. So we’ll just show you how that works.

So in our Go to Structure content type, article, manage – actually we’ll go to Manage display. This is something I have more detail about online but you’ll notice that there’s manage field, manage form display, and manage display now. This is kind of completely changed with Drupal 8 which looks really similar, but the nice thing is you can actually create more custom display settings than you have on offered here. Anyway, so here’s your image format. We only have the image format available right now. So the first thing we have to do - actually, excuse me - first of all, we’ll have to is enable the picture module. So this is nice because you can see the – get a preview of the new Extend tab. You can see the module filter here. Once that’s available, we can change the picture mappings.

So this is a little bit different than what we saw with image styles. You are probably hopefully already familiar with the idea of image styles, but we’ll just say – we’ll call this lead image. Excellent. These actual breakpoints are set from my enabled theme so we’re working here with the breakpoints available from SASS which shifts with Core. These standards I think are pretty consistent so we could set, for example, on Y that we have large and then maybe medium, and then obviously we could go small. So that seems pretty standard.

I guess it’ll be more useful just realizing now, what I will do is actually create my own image styles. So you can actually see – because that isn’t going to make any difference at all. I don’t like it 200 bytes. We’ll make it go scale and crop. [Pause] Oops, that would have been funny, 20 x 200. Sorry about that. Let’s also add - maybe desaturate so it’s utterly obvious what the difference is. So that’s our square thumbnail. So I’m going to go back to my picture mapping here for lead image and choose my square thumbnail, save it and go back to the article content type. Remember we’re looking at managing the display of that article. We’re going to change the format from picture – sorry, from image to picture and reflect a picture mapping. So we have only one picture mapping available as your theme so far and reset default back image.

So what happens by default basically - let’s use large in this case. So here we are looking at our grand reopening. I think it’s refreshed already. Oops, I closed my menu. You can see the image resizing. Oops, and as I get to the most narrow you can see changes to the square thumbnail. So you probably as well kind of trace what’s happening in the markup. It’s actually using in here a picture. As you can see here, there’s a picture tag. This is a – I sort of I guess you could say it’s sort of a draft specification from HTML5, but I think it’s a good example of how Drupal 8 is really way ahead of the game. I mean when Drupal 7 was coming out, everything was 960 grids and everybody was really happy about that. [Laughter] I didn’t even think really verdict was even done on a grid system actually. Maybe it was actually. I shouldn’t say that, but I guess what I mean to say is Drupal 8 is really getting ahead of the game by keeping and tracking what’s happening with the development of HTML5. So a picture module gives you access to that and that type of functionality. So it’s really great actually. A lot of work has gone into that. So I hope now that’s given you a pretty good sort of detailed look at some of the changes even with the way you manage fields in Drupal 8 and the picture module. I have some more detail in this blog post I just did last week – oh no, this week actually. So please do read that for some more tips.

Next, we can look at the blocks. What’s really kind of amazing - I think the first most stunning thing everyone is quite excited about, you probably heard already, is that you can place the same block in multiple places. Woohoo! I mean you could obviously create a whole page of all the search bars you want and that’s kind of silly, but it does solve a real problem. Say, for example, you’re probably not likely to have the search bar showing up twice on a page. If on the front page you want it to be in the side bar but on subsequent pages you want it in the header. In Drupal before, that would have been quite awkward. Now, it’s much easier.

What you’ll notice in the blocks UI is that the blocks themselves are instances of blocks. So I probably could have come out with a better diagram, but we can actually picture that customs blocks are created from types and those custom blocks, once you place them in the position in a region, they’re an instance of the block so you do get some flexibility in that way. So the custom – oh sorry, and the other thing that’s amazing about blocks now is that you can have fields and blocks. So this solves a problem where – I mean it was so common that people are doing convoluted things before to say, get something into a sidebar or into a header or into a footer, making special content type and making a view. Often you wouldn’t need something like that. Now, you could for example have a feature block, where editors can simply create a piece of content maybe with a link and image and have those individual fields. So, blocks themselves can have types.

So I think this is really going to change even the language around how we talk about Drupal. We’re not going to be emphasizing so much to think about just content type. We’ll really going to be pulling back and getting a bigger, more abstract view and talking about data. I think we’ll probably be comfortable talking about using the word entities, for example.

Hannah, just while you’re listening to me, I want to make sure I’m tracking the time. I realize I didn’t keep note of the time that we started.

Moderator: We’re okay for time. You probably have about 20 more minutes.

Heather James: Twenty more minutes, oh fantastic. That’s great. Cool. Alright. So, alright, about 25 past 10:00 is a good deal.

So considering that we have limited time and I’m a little more than halfway through, I’m going to - just to run through a quick example of custom type. So under menu of Structure, block way out. This is that new user interface I was talking about. I should I say have a construction sign here because I think they’re also still working on improving this, but like I said, you can place something multiple times. So there we go. Now it shows up in your top listing. Cool. So the type is what’s sort of interesting I guess. In the custom block library, we can have - well, first of all you can make any custom block. The custom block is the similar one that you’ve grown to know and love with the description and simply a text field and that basic block does the job for many cases. What we may like to have is a custom block type without a basic block and we’ll have this one be our feature block. [Pause]

To make it different obviously than our basic block, we can manage fields. All those things we can add, for example – you may want to have a link, maybe have an affiliate link. [Pause] Oh, aha, here’s an interesting thing. I was just going to add a new link because link is one of those new fields we’ll talk about in a second when we go into content types. Actually, I have enabled it as a module. So it’s available which is great. So I’m going to go back, enable the link fields and when I refresh – [Pause] there we go. There is the link.

So this is another kind of I suppose useful thing. We’ll leave this as it is for now. You’ll notice in manage fields back in Drupal 7, we would manage fields and add them and rearrange them as they should appear on the form at one page. Now, there’s a separate area just for managing how the form appears. So you may want to have the website link at the top. You can also placeholder text so you can remind people that they should have the HTP for example. Let’s see how this looks. Let me save this. Under manage display, obviously you can keep a different - make the website link appear at the bottom.

So let’s go back to the custom block library and add a custom block of the feature block type. Here you can see my placeholder text. It’s showing up there. As soon as I start typing in it’ll disappear. Okay. [Pause] Okay. So now there’s our feature block available. We’ll go back to block layout and place it into the sidebar. I’m totally expecting at some point something funny to happen with the presentation. [Laughter] I’m just wondering when I’m going to run into that error I can’t recover from. Let’s see. Let’s find out. Yay, it worked. The triple feature-block appeared, yay. So I guess that’s what’s new and different about blocks is that you’ve got – you can think of it as starting with block types - for custom blocks anyway. You start with block types and then your blocks then become - your custom blocks become instances of that block type. Then when you place them in the layout, there are instances of those in separate blocks. So that’s kind of new.

Okay. So next, we’ll look at content type fields. So I’ve kind of dipped into a little bit of field things while I’ve just shown you the block interface for example, but I think it’s worth just having a moment to think about this, what’s happening with content type and what’s really so different. There’s a recent article on this blog Inside Intercom, which they picked up on a design trend of these cards. It made me think that really our data and the information we put on our site is going to be hashed up and reused and chewed up in other places. So you’re going to be reusing that even for your own services or affiliate services and who knows what in so many different places. You’d probably want a lot more control over that. So they came up with this idea, this – they’ve sort of pointed out that these cards are kind of taking things over.

So when we think about content modeling and Drupal, we can actually kind of gain a lot of advantages. If we got stuck, it’s a lot easier with Drupal 8, especially. We can think about the fields we described, how we described the data with fields. Maybe not everything really needs to be a content type. We can create much smarter markup with schema.org attributes and properties I should and we can also output RESTful web services. So I mentioned – I kind of hinted at there are some new fields with Drupal 8 for example. These are again well-loved contributed modules you were using already anyway.

I think one of the things worth mentioning here is that the date module, the date time field is included, but it doesn’t include all the functionality of the date module so there’s no recurring date functionality for example. So there are still some things where you’ll go to the contrib modules or the correlated contributed modules for something still for some advanced functionality. It’s just amazing that there’s just so much more you can do out of the box. Comments as well are actually now a field. So before, if you remember with your content type in Drupal 7 and before, comments whether or not they’re allowed was simply default setting that an author could override. Now, I guess it’s something you’ll actually add to a content type so you can’t just add comments to anything randomly as you go which is nice.

As you see, and I mean I’ve kind of given you a little preview of that, there’s really not much – it sort of doesn’t look that different. Things have been cleaned up quite a bit, but that was the only new thing really is the manage form display. You’ll notice that with the display setting similar to what you have before. Okay, you’ve got your full content, your teaser, but what’s different is now you can actually have your own custom display settings. You can make display settings now, which is great. Of course, you’ve got custom content type. So I wanted to bring in these ideas of schema.org and we’ll dig into it in a minute or two, but I just want to introduce this notion that the content type that you’re creating has probably been created by someone else somewhere else. So what the search engines are doing is sort of standardizing these things. So it’s definitely a good reference when you’re starting to design things.

As well, I guess I sort of - this is probably out of order actually. As I mentioned, you can actually have these custom display modes. If you already know Display Suites, this is going to be a little bit familiar to you. It’s quite that you can’t do, I would say that it may turn out that if you really love Display Suite, you’re probably still going to love it and you’re probably still going to use it in Drupal 8, but you can do so much more now with lead modes in Drupal 8. You could reach Drupal 7.

So considering the time we have left, I’ve kind of already given you a demo of creating many fields done on the block and showed you custom placeholder text. So I’m going to skip that demo and go into another step. I wanted to give you a quick introduction of multi-cycles irrespective of configuration management. I’m giving this for construction guys because this is really going to greatly change the experience for us, site builders, yet there’s so much. It’s really a shifting environment. There’s so much still changing about this workflow. As it is, out of the box you get an active and a staging directory. We’ll put it that way.

Oh, I think is out of order. Okay, an active and staging directory which – let me just go to here for a second, in which all of your configuration is actually saved and filed. So if you’ve ever done something like with your views, maybe backed them up in a module, you exported your configuration from views. You saved it in a module and then you try to put that into version control for example. Now, this just works out of the box with Drupal. So anything that is configuration is saved in the MO files and this is a standard that’s used with other systems. So people who are already familiar with this will find this easy to understand.

Just going back here, what will happen – what actually happens is as you’re creating these files, they will be saved in your active directory. I mean I don’t know necessarily if all the best practices and workflow have been decided on, but it’s probably advised you don’t edit the active configuration manually. When you are probably I think that – again, this is how – they have some more construction guys on here. Your staging directory should match your current active directory, but as you’re changing things before you’re adding new configurations for example, but in fact, setting PHP will allow you to put these staging directories anywhere and you can even rename them and do whatever you need with them to suit your own system. This is really I mean one of those things where this is going to change quite a bit.

There are some ways you can import via the UI so right now you can export within the active directory. Okay. That’s alright. What you export are all of the MO files for your full site configuration. So you could take that and bring it into the staging directory of another site, but when I tested it I run into trouble with that. So to make it easier for me, for example, when I have a new fresh Drupal 8 site, I can actually take my new content type. For example, like this restaurant content type, and if I bring over it all over into staging I’ve noticed I can actually put this new files into staging and then import the changes. Again, probably, I’m not the person to be telling you about configuration management. Again, a lot of this is changing quite a bit.

So the good news is though, is that these configurations will all be able to be version controlled and shared. So you’ll be able to see and keep track of any changes that you’re making. Like I said, you’ll be able to – I think in the end, I think this is how it’s kind of worked anyway is that you can synchronize the changes. So you can see what’s new. So new files for example, it will show, “Oh there’s a new file being added and you can import it.” I noticed some problems obviously. I created problems for myself when I had made some changes to the active directory or sorry the active configuration in between sort of importing some things and it’s going to think, “Oh, you’re trying to delete something.” It’s hard to explain without giving a demo of this, but just so you know, be careful in this area when you’re playing around. [Laughter]

You can also do really silly things like I did. You can import orphan fields. So if you had just tried to pull over one file just out of curiosity like just the field that’s declared – for example, an image field, that was from the – we’ll refer to the restaurant content type, it will allow you to do that. You’ll have no trouble allowing you to do that, but it does mean basically you have an orphan field that you can’t get rid of. You could add it to other content type, but you won’t be able to do much there. So in the future, there’s possibly going to be improved UI and contrib.

There’s an issue to check out if you’re curious about - you could possibly be allowed to bring individual configuration files. Like that dependency problem I showed you with that orphan image field, I don’t think that’s going to resolve this. It could do things to break your sites though. Yes. Like I said, it’s like the four construction men warning on this area.

I think this is really kind of – I saved this for the last because I think this is really exciting, is the integration with schema.org. To appreciate it, I think you can check out this page on Google.com about their recipe search. So you could try this yourself. You could actually go and search for a recipe. You’ll notice you can do things like search for recipes by a certain number of calories or the cooking time or ingredients and the different websites will actually be outputting that content to you. So Google does a really good job of parsing whatever crazy markup people are outputting anyway. What the various search engines have done is they standardized these conventions to help then restructure markup and help you understand how to create structured markup with this micro data.

So Google, Yahoo, Bing, they’ve all gotten together and I think this is fantastic news. You can see here the search results are much easier to scan and view. I guess if you are allrecipes.com, you might be as excited about this because it means people don’t necessarily need to go directly to your site to find that information. However, it’s almost as the sea tide [laughter] and almost like the flooding waters of information and data are increased exponentially every week, sifting through this information and helping people find relevant information is absolutely so important. That’s probably never been more important than now. This is one area that Drupal is way ahead of the game. As you can see, Google spending time trying to teach site owners how to integrate their sites with this but I think Drupal is going to make it work out of the box.

So for example, if I was going to add a new content type recipe, I can go and see the schema.org declaration for that and I can decide, “Oh okay. I can follow these standards that are already there.” What schema.org reads, I suppose what their engines, excuse me, are reading is this markup that has its micro data in it that says, “Oh around in here we have the calories and over here we have the prep time.” So you can actually map your arbitrary fields to these classifications. It’s pretty much anything. It’s already set up to work perfectly fine with the Core content types of articles and your basic page.

So an article, for example, is a creative work and a creative work has the author and comments, et cetera. In the article markup then you can see outputs these properties. This is what the search engine is looking for. So if we want to create a custom one so such as a restaurant for example, how would I be able to do that? Restaurant has its own special property, but it does actually inherit just like the article does. It inherits the properties of your local business, the organization and things, et cetera. So what I would have to do is actually create a custom mapping. This is how we take the custom - the Core example and then adopt it. So I’m just really giving you a quick view of it here. We’d say that with this certain pattern we’d give it a unique ID and then match - you literally match your fields with whatever properties you want to go with.

As I gave you the warnings about configuration management, I had to make sure that my active directory would think with my staging then I put my new RDF mapping in my staging directory, in my configuration staging directory and went over to synchronize, and I was able to import it. Voila, happy days. I’ve got my restaurant listings and you can see the property except reservations. It’s really tiny on the screen. Sorry about that. You can see the property now appearing in the markup.

So I think that’s in the future. Speaking with Stefan “scor” about this, he said, “In the future it could be that there’s a user interface in contrib that means you’ll be able to manage this more easily.” There’s also a presentation he and Nick Veenhof are giving about search in SEO at that BADCamp so if you’re in the area, please do check that out. [Laughter] I think that it’s just – this is the kind of thing I think that separates Drupal from the other kind of systems that are out there. It’s very forward thinking and it’s going to help you do stuff that is going to be needed even in the next six months to a year.

So I see the time and we have just a few minutes left. [Laughter] I just wanted to say a couple of things. You’re probably wondering – okay. Well, if I can’t use Drupal 8 now, when can I use it? You can – oh sorry. Basically, you could actually experience Drupal 8 even now in a way. There’s a lot of things you could be doing if you configured your Drupal 7 site to be taking advantage of things that are even backported to Drupal 7. So my colleague knows most of the great blog posts about these different modules you could be using for example and so I think that’s – everyone has worked on Drupal 8 doesn’t want anyone to have to wait for good stuff if it’s possible.

Of course, we have the cycling courses. I think if you’re watching this and you’re not using Drupal yet at all, you really probably will be using Drupal 7 obviously and we’d want you to adopt it and get involved with it and so please check our cycling courses.

So thank you for watching. At this stage, I don’t think there’s going to be any questions. Hannah, is there?

Moderator: No, there’s no questions. I just want to thank everybody who did attend. We’ll send these files and recording out in the next 24 hours. Thank you.

Heather James: Okay. Bye.

- End of Recording -

How to Migrate, Manage and Centralize your Web Infrastructure with Drupal


Drupal has long been empowering organizations to publish their content on the web, but under the hood, Drupal is much more than just another content management platform.

Drupal’s ability to power multiple custom sites from a centralized install allows organizations to scale effectively, supporting hundreds of sites from a single core. This webinar will review some of Drupal’s powerful features for migrating content, management of multi-site Drupal installations, and best practice recommendations for keeping your infrastructure tuned and manageable.

Click to see video transcript

Moderator: Today’s webinar is Intro to Commons, Part 1: How to manage your online community, with Heather James who is the Manager of Learning Services at Acquia. We’re really excited to have Heather on the call.

Heather James: An introduction to Drupal Commons and I’m going to give you some details about it. As Molly said, I’m the Manager of the Training Program. We have a really active list of events. I think there’s something in a lot of major parts of the US, there are events in Europe and Canada. So I hope if you are interested in learning more about Drupal that you do check that out. It’s a great way especially if you’re just taking the Drupal tutorial. It’s a great way to get your head around some different possibilities with Drupal. So even I looked at the calendar and I couldn’t believe how many specific days we got multiple events on in multiple cities so I hope you do check that out.

So in this webinar, we’re looking at Drupal Commons. Drupal Commons is a piece of software that you can use, your team can use to build your own community website. The example I’ll give is Dev.twitter.com, which in the beginning, they actually started with Drupal Commons, not this newest version but a previous version. In fact at this stage, I guess you could say they’ve customized their site so much that probably, it’s quite customized at this stage but it is built in Drupal. It is an example of a company that’s using the community to help each other. So there, you have a community of developers that provide peer support and ideas and resources so they’ve got ways of sharing ideas about how they’re developing applications that work with Twitter, and the documentations, the discussions. Of course, Twitter is busy managing their own software so they don’t want to have to do that. So of course Drupal makes a really great alternative for them. It allows them to bring together multiple aspects of their developer community. So maybe you can relate to that.

This session really is for community managers who probably want to know what Commons can do or you might already a Drupal Commons site or you may be getting one soon and you want to know what’s going to be like for you to manage your Drupal Commons site. You can also schedule a demo, so you can get a personalized demo where you can ask questions and really dig in with one of our sales engineers. So definitely check that out. Like Molly said, the schedule points out that we have a part two next week. We are going to have a more advanced version of this, an introduction for developers who maybe know all the basics but want to know - and maybe even know a little bit about Drupal, but want to know how to expand commons, or how to use it, or how to customize it. So that’s coming soon. It’s not listed on the site so please do go to Acquia webinar’s list and see what’s there soon.

So let’s assume you are a community manager then, what do you do all day? It sounds like you have a really great job. You may be working in lots of different types of communities, so that may be peer-led product support, sort of what we saw at Twitter’s dev site. You may be a moderator in a sensitive community related to health or something where personal identity or safety is very important. You may be working as the public face of a government agency, a health agency, or some type of initiative or you may be in a social, like just a social group, just like I have a group for people who like to meet about Drupal once a month. You may have something like that for your own hobbies or interest, or your archery group or whatever. So as a community manager, I wanted to think about your job and make this webinar relate to what you have to do. Part of what you’re doing is obviously making content that gets people interested and also listening to what people are doing especially if you’re running a social community for a company, you want to hear what people are saying, what they’re talking about, what their interests are so that you can communicate that back to your company. So you’re actually acting as a liaison between the community and your organization.

Of course, you need to analyze as well, monitor how things are going, and generally commit to be friendly. I know that a lot of what you have to do to make people feel comfortable is probably entertain a lot. So there are a lot of aspects to the community manager role I find really fascinating. Probably, some of the challenges you have right now are that balance of representing your company organization without sounding like a marketer, [Laughter] making sure you balance the growing membership at a steady pace, and encouraging people to participate, and also get the message across whatever it is that the aim of your community is. A lot of organizations have all these kind of fractured across a lot of different systems. So they’re maybe using Legacy CMSs that have a really page-centric content or CMS where you really can’t have a forum, or a blog, or a wiki. So you, of course, had to go to other software or you end up having a discussion forum software, another one for blogs, and another wiki for a knowledge bases. What we’re finding is that companies are coming to Acquia because they want to bring these together to make them easier because in the end, you want to be able to share content. You may have a great knowledge resource, whether that’s an article or some type of a documentation that you want to share in your forums or in your various groups to people who are interested in specific topics.

So some of these old models don’t really apply that well. So you may be using a lot of different tools whether that’d be social media, the different environment or certain communities you’re part of, your e-mail campaign tools, your analysis software. Like I was saying, there’s this fractured system. So what we’re talking about with Drupal Commons really is trying to bring some of these elements together, some of these systems together.

So we’re going to do a general introduction to Drupal Commons now. I’m going to take you through a tour and a bit of a guide of what you can do. We’re going to see how to log in, what members can do, and groups, creating groups, and adding content, and moderating that. So first thing you’ll notice when you load up a Drupal Commons page especially if you haven’t logged in yet is you’ll see some streams of what’s going on and you’ll see a welcome message, for example. When you log in, it looks quite different. So what I’m going to do right now is just go to my own browser and show you a page where I’m actually logged in already. So I’m going to go to my home page here. It says, “What’s going on?” So here I can see recent site activity list, content that’s interesting to me that’s related to some things that I’m following and that I’m interested in. If we compare that to another user, this person has similar content but she’ll have something different because she sees something different than I do, she follows different groups, et cetera. So what we can gather from this is that Commons is really trying to give people an easy way to find out where the relevant and interesting content is for them. So for example, I’m going to show you the groups landing page here. I can see a lot of different groups available so I can, for example, I’m not following the New York Group. If I click follow and I go back to my own, my home page any New York content is going to show up there. So let’s test that out. I’m going to go back to my – I’m going to clear a browser here and I’ll go to my groups. This is me logged in. I keep on - sorry to switch back and forth. I’m switching back between two different users I’m keeping in two different browsers. I figured that would be an easier way for us to keep track of what a different experience is like. So I’m going to post in here and we’ll go back to Lisa, she’s a moderator. I’m going to go back to her home page. So she sees the recent post from someone and she can even see which group it’s in, for example.

If I were to log out from that, from Lisa’s account, I’m going to log in as a different user. We’re going to log in as - bear with me a second. I forgot Joe actually is already in the New York City group. [Laughter] If I don’t follow, I can’t unfollow this. I’m not actually following it. I am a contributor in the group actually. Here’s my profile, Joe Nono. So as a contributor, I’ll actually get updates for it, for a specific group. Let me go back, actually, at Lisa again. Right, so I guess what I’m trying to show you is that the way the groups work is that you don’t actually have to join a group in order for you to post to it. So just like your forums - I guess we’ll talk about this in a little bit, just like with forums, you don’t have to join a specific topic forum in order to post to it, so that’s sort of how these groups work. Yes. So they’ll look different whether or not you’re logged in. The whole idea with allowing non-members, for example, this is what’s configured by default anyway, is that it’s like forums that you can lower barriers to participation. We all know that if there’s any barrier or any hoops that people have to go through to participate, it’s going to make it much more difficult. So if you add another button to click, and you add another thing to sign, and we want to just make that as minimal as possible I guess.

So instead, the language in Commons is really all about following, following content that you are interested in and topics that you are interested in as opposed to finding yourself to a group, for example. Instead of seeing just members who arbitrarily just listed themselves as members of a certain group, instead, the contributors list here shows people who’ve actually added content to a group. So in that sense, it encourages people and actually highlights the activity and contributions that people are making. It encourages people to participate. Overall, that’s the gist of the software. So hopefully, we’ll dig in to some of the little examples of the things you can do and hopefully that will come through.

So look at right now at your users. Your user name is actually based on your e-mail, that’s just the way it’s setup by default, and my default users can’t change their user name. I’m making modifications in this site. I’m going to highlight them as we’re talking. I made a change where people can change their own user name, so I’ve made that okay. A lot of these modifications will be done at the time you develop your site. It’ll be done by your developer team.

Are there decisions that you have to make about how your site is going to work? If you want to know more about that, I did mention I’m going to be doing a follow up to this where I’m going to be speaking more to a developer and someone who has to work with your team to make the decisions and make these configuration changes. So I’m just sort of making some assumptions that these changes have been made. Most likely, your site will be very unique in a way. So for example with creating accounts, by default, anyone can register, any visitor can register an account. I’ve changed it so that visitors can register accounts but administrator approval is required. Again, that’s probably something that you may change. For example, in our internet at Acquia, the only people that can register accounts are administrators. So that’s a decision you’ll have to make based on your own group.

So let’s look at the profiles. Profiles have some info; a name, biography, and the profiles are hidden from public view by default. So it’s sort of like Facebook, you wouldn’t be able to just look at the profile of somebody unless you’re part of that community, for example. It depends. I suppose you can actually choose with Facebook. It’s a little bit different. [Laughter] The next part of that is your account listing and your account, like I said, you can’t edit your user name by default, but I’ve set that in mine. That’s where you change your password, your e-mail, and your picture. The final setting people will be able to do is their notifications. Let’s look at an actual profile so you can see what it looks like. I’m going to click on Lisa’s profile here. This is her profile as she sees it. If I go to Mary Manager, she’s going to look at groups here and look for Lisa’s profile. Here we go. So this is what I see as Mary looking at Lisa’s profile, so a few differences there. Obviously, I can’t see any “Edit it” links, for example.

So as Lisa, I’m going to click on editing my profile. I can change, obviously, my first and last name, biography, and add in my social links and edit the account. I can set my time zone, for example, a password and sort of my regular account settings. This isn’t by default, this is something I’ve changed. I’ve allowed it so that my users can actually disable the private settings options so I can actually set it to make it so nobody can e-mail me if I was Lisa. I wouldn’t want anyone to contact me, for example. So I’ve given that option to my users. Notification settings, giving you really fine-grained control over what things I want to get e-mailed about. So it will show me for example, specific topics that I’ve followed, so this is actually for example, an event or maybe this is someone’s question. If I reply to it, it will automatically show up in my list of accounts that I follow. So I may not want to follow it as sort of activities die down or something. I’m also able to follow up people and I can also follow specific topics. So in this sense, I can actually choose then if I want to get specific e-mails about a topic or something like that. So I think that participants have a little bit more control.

So the roles that are available within Drupal Commons, if you look on the left here, this is a list of the roles that are available outside of the box. What role allows you to do is group different capabilities. So by default for example, there’s an anonymous and an authenticated user, someone who’s not logged in and someone who’s logged in. Anonymous users for example, we’ve made it so that they can’t look at user profiles. We’ve let authenticated users add content to any open groups. They’ve also added some other roles, content moderator and administrator and I’ve added a community manager role. So this is again a decision you’ll make as you’re developing with Commons. You’re going to think about what roles you need. This is something that specific to Drupal. It’s quite different from other systems because first thing, you’d have multiple roles and roles should be generic. So they probably wouldn’t be matched directly to your business functions, you don’t need per department roles, for example. We try and keep the functionality and what the capabilities are generic enough so they can be reused across your organization. So I’ve added the community manager role and I’ve listed a whole bunch of changes I’ve put in here but you don’t have to write these down or take notes because all these slides are going to go up on slide share and of course the recordings are going to be up so you can come back to this if you like. Just so you know that, they have a lot more editing capabilities, they can administer things. I’ve given this community manager like more robust roles. I’m actually also going to assign my community manager administration roles so that you can see what the difference is towards the end.

So let’s looks at next. Member to member communication within Drupal Commons. So I’ve mentioned before that people can follow contents. So you can follow topics, you can follow groups, and you can also follow up people. So if I look at someone’s profile, I have an option to follow them and add a trusted contact. So following is like Twitter in that I don’t have to prove someone to follow my Twitter feed but you also can’t control I suppose, unless you’ve got a private Twitter account. Anyway, the follow is kind of like a one to many in a way. As a trusted contact, it’s more like Facebook because it has to be agreed on both sides. So if I go to add someone as a trusted contact, then I’ll get a message as you can see here on the bottom right that it’s waiting confirmation. When Lisa logs in, she then has to approve the request. At that point, when she approves the request, I’ll be listed then under her trusted contacts or Mary will be listed under trusted contacts. If she looks at my profile then, she’ll see an option to message me. She won’t see anything about managing the relationship. You can see under trusted contacts, I can select a specific one and break a contact. So it’s sort of a different model.

It does mean then that once we’ve added it as trusted contacts, we can send these private messages to each other. So I’m going to give you a demo of reading your private message and adding a trusted user and sending a private message. Let’s see how this looks. So here I am, Mary Manager, and I see up in the upper right-hand corner – I’m just going to make it a little bit bigger. You can see I’ve got a little notification and a little green one telling me that there is a new private message. So oh boy, she’s saying, “Hello, Mary. Did you see that post in the New York group? That Joe guy is not cool.” So something is not working out here, “I’ll go check it out.” So something must have happened, obviously. I’ll go over to our groups and go to New York City and there’s obviously a troll who can’t type. He’s obviously not making any sense. He’s talking non-sense and stuff again. They’re going to be something against our guidelines, our community guidelines. At this point, I can report this as inappropriate. Now, I’m actually a content moderator so I can actually help fix this problem. I’m going to show you just briefly what it looks like as a regular administrator. So I’m going to go content. This is again a different browser now, I’m in Chrome. I’m logged in as kind of administrator over the whole site so I can see things up none of my users can see and this is sort of the back end of the site. I could look at the list of reported content and I can see there are a number of reports, there are two. It’s looking pretty bad so we’re going to have to deal with that a little bit later.

So what’s happened is I’ve received a private message and I’ve reported the content but I have a feeling that the group manager probably may not have noticed this. He obviously maybe didn’t see it. The group organizer in this case is Drew. I’m looking over at Drew’s profile and I’m going to add him as a trusted contact. That’s awaiting confirmation and I’m going to log out as Lisa. We’re going to pretend we’re logging as Drew this time. Drew got a message or little notification up there, the number one next to his profile and there’s an invitation. I’m going to trust Mary Manager so I’m going to approve her. At this stage, I’ll get a notification back at Mary’s profile. What will change, basically, is that I can message him now. Let’s see. Okay, so now that I can direct message him, I sent him a message. So only Drew can see that and Drew is going to get e-mails about those notifications based on his settings so we’ll just go back to this notification settings. No, I think that’s actually what happens basically. This will automatically get sent to him. So let’s go back here. So what we’ve seen, basically, is someone reading a message, adding a trusted user, and sending a private message. We’ll follow up with that story in a few minutes.

So let’s think now about really the group dynamics. I sort of hinted, I almost kind of hinted at this and give it away in a sense. Groups are like forum topics in a way. Actually groups’ people’s conversations in a way, rather than the type of group we have in Facebook. You can customize this and change this behavior completely but just so that you understand. When you create a group and open a group, you can have privacy settings where any site member can contribute. So like I said, it’s a bit more like a forum than say a Facebook group. You can change those privacy settings though and I’ll show you one where joining requires an invitation where all of the content is totally private and only people involved in that group can post to that content. Only people involved as members can post to that group. So whenever someone post a new group, it becomes subject to moderation and you can change this again as this is something you can customize as well but by default and in my website, I don’t want people to be creating groups willy-nilly because sometimes they can just miss the fact that there’s one very similar to it so I’m going to have some moderation happening where after the group that’s created, I want to be able to approve that.

So I’m going to show you the demo of adding a closed group. So in this case, what we do is create a group which we’re upon joining, it requires an invitation. That means only the person who’s administering the group can add people and people can’t even see the group actually. It’s a totally protected group meaning that even if I found the link somewhere or someone had shared the link, I could not get it. I would have to log in to access any of the content. The activity is even hidden from non-members, so even the fact that someone created a group, it wouldn’t be available for everybody to see. Again like I said, you can lower the barriers in a way so you don’t need to join the group but anyone can add content. That’s going to make it a bit easier. So let me show you what that looks like. So I’ll go here to the groups and I’m logged in as Drew. I’m going to create a group here. Okay, topics: food, cooking, recipes, travel. Every topic, I’m adding I’m pressing a comma. Those topics then categorizes the content and categorize the group so we can find an image and that group logo will show up on the listings for example, and I’m going to set it so any site member can contribute. As you saw, I’m getting that message that, “This group center has entered the moderation queue,” and it’s even showing up pink. So I can see that it’s a little bit different. This is actually unpublished as it is. It’s not available, it’s not public.

I’m going to go back in. This is again, I’m in as an administrator so this is something that’s not available. I didn’t make available to my community managers, for example. It just depends on what’s appropriate for your group. So I’m going to go to my – this is in the content list under groups and I can see that there’s a new group available and I’m going to publish. These are proposed group. Sorry if I didn’t make that quite clear. These are proposed groups and these are published groups. I’m going to click on the published group, this is quite small. I think that’s better. So in the proposed groups, there’s quite a number that have been proposed. I’m going to okay these three groups and publish. Now, I can see there are no groups waiting to be moderated. Here it is, listing there. When we go back, Drew will see that his groups are available, it’s public there, and it’s showing up as a new group listed. So let’s see, all right. So I think for now we can go and dig in a little bit to talk about engaging content. I think this probably to me seems like the most fascinating part of the job as a community manager. I know that you probably are working hard to stay current, relevant, making sure you’re not planning too far ahead because you want to see how people react to your content and where the activity is and where the interest is. So that work is sort of like more responsive in terms of making something that New York Community members really want.

Engaging content is the type of content that people want to reply to, so questions, and guessing games, and debates. Instead of just having a boring old update, you can put it into a poll and get people’s feedback. I’m going to show you the different types of engaging content you can make. You’ll notice when we look at the demo, just pay attention I guess, that the forum for adding content appears above a list of summaries so that encourages people to see what’s already happening there before they go add something new. So in a way, I think it’s another way that Commons is almost engineered to try and get people to communicate together and sort of knit the community together more strongly, and just something quite so like that. Another thing we’re going to look at is adding a wiki page. So a wiki page, if you aren’t familiar with Wiki, it just simply means that multiple people can edit content - a piece of content, and collaborate on it. I’m going to show you how you can add a wiki page into multiple groups. So I’m going to show you those two types of group content first. So I’m going to look at a new member - or sorry, a different member I should say, at the group’s list. See that? There’s this new brilliant recipes group, which I love recipes so I’m definitely going to follow that group, and here is Mary Manager. I see there are some posts available. It’s like that what posts are post simply as a one simple text field.

At Q&A, I’ll allow someone to ask a question. Wiki, again I was mentioning about that’s a collaborative document, and then a poll. Okay, so let’s see. I will actually add in a Wiki. I already added one for rice pudding actually, [Laughter] but maybe I’ll find – okay here we go. So thank you BBC. I’m borrowing some content for this demo. So here, you can see, as it’s pasted in, there’s a lot of formatting. I have some options to format the content within, I suppose within the constraint of the WYSIWYG editor, this little editor here. You’d probably want to keep things as simple as possible. You’ll notice that not all the formatting is probably going to come through exactly the way you embed it and I suppose that’s not that unusual in a way. So here’s the wiki page I’ve created. When I go back to look at it here, I see the formatting isn’t exactly as I pasted it in. So there we go. So back to the favorite recipes page – or sorry, the favorite recipes group, excuse me. I can see that someone’s added a cupcake recipe. Then you’re sort of seeing not the whole page but – not the whole recipe I should say, you’re seeing just sort of a snapshot of it or a summary I guess. So let’s add a quick Q&A. Actually, sorry. We’ll add a poll. Cupcakes or fairy cakes, it’s an eternal debate, at least if you travel over in the UK, I guess. So I’ve created a poll and when I go back to the favorite recipes page, I can see a new poll has been added and I can vote on it.

So let me go back and look at it now with Mary but I’m going to look at it as Drew. He’s going to check out his favorite recipes page and he’s probably quite pleased that somebody’s joined his group and that other people are adding content. So you sort of get to see that he’s getting a different view of things I suppose. I almost wish I had a third browser, a fourth browser. [Laughter] That would be useful. I’d love to show you a non-logged in user which will help, so we’ll just log out, sorry. So again, as a non-logged in user, all I can see is that this is the group. Now, this is a recent group that’s been out and this is recent content that’s there. Basically, what Commons is doing in the background is it’s bringing more active groups and more active content up to the top. So we’re able to make sure the most relevant, interesting stuff is available.

Right. So we’re going to go back and look at another type of content which is, for example, just a page. What’s interesting is if you look at some other software like your garden variety forum software, it’s easy enough to configure the forum and add in posts and topics, but it was difficult to add just a standard page. There’s a lot of software that sort of works really well as a content management system or it works really well as a community forum. So what Commons has done is actually brought some of these things together.

So what I’m going to show you is adding a demo page – sorry, adding an actual page, a basic page I should say. So here’s the about page on my site and what I would like is a link here that has the community guidelines. It’s really clear that I can show Joe and anybody else. If there are some things I don’t approve of, I can add it there. By default, let me go back to my moderator group. Right. So I’ve actually created this moderator group and I’ve customized this page here where I have a list of all the different content types and the manage content link.

What I’m going to show you is just adding a page outside of the group. You’ll notice that in the group listing, you can add a page to a group. That’s just the way it’s setup. You could configure it to be able to add pages to groups but that’s just how this is done. So we have our guidelines and I’m just going to get some Latin here. It’s written in Latin so that absolutely everybody can read it. That’s very important for a guideline and the size, we’re done with this already but you can select text and do a certain amount of formatting with it. It gives you some of the different options. One thing is maybe happening in my browser, so probably I may be having trouble with this, I guess. Not showing up. Let’s see how it looks like. We did give a title. Let’s try one more time here. Okay, one more time, just see. I’m trying to select some text and put it to Heading 3. Let’s see. Okay, well the formatting is coming through. It could just be a browser glitch.

So you’ll notice that the guidelines page here is actually not showing up in my menu yet, I have to go back and edit that. Sort of rush through. I’m going to put in an image, first of all. This is something that I’ve configured out of box. There isn’t an option for a banner for pages. It’s something that’s been out in development, for example. I’m doing these changes so you can get a sense of how things work. So I’m going to save that, right? Okay. As a manager, I’m actually not able to modify any menus on the sites here. So this is something I want to go back - excuse me, again, as the administrator. You can see the site looks very different for this type of user. So I’m going to go to structure, menus, this is again something as a community manager, you won’t really have to do ever. This is just so you can sort of see how things work. I’m going to go to the “For more information” menu. That’s where I’m going to be adding a link. Here, we can see community guidelines. In order for me to add a link, I’m going to be simply going back to getting a link to my page, basically. Just put it up there, and when I go back - I’m sorry I’m clicking the wrong one. Refresh. I’ll see my links are showing up now. This is something you could allow your community managers to be doing. So just allow them of course to modify the menus, but again, it’s probably something you’d want to decide at the time of development.

So that’s a different type of content. Again, that’s something you don’t see available within the groups by default. So back to the favorite recipes posts, questions and answers, wikis, polls, all of the content that’s in these groups by default are things that really encourage participation, so that’s the type of the activity that you want to see. If you want to see how you can add other content types or for example a review content type, I’ll definitely come in-in about two weeks’ time and you can see how that works. We can see another group here called food lovers with a little bit more content. There’s a poll, for example, and I can see the results of the poll. Okay. Let’s go back to our presentation. So as I’ve said, there are lots of different types of content. The ones I’ve highlighted in bold here are the ones that are attached to the groups and you can even add different types of contents. So you may have documentation where you want to have a list of parts for some type of machine or something and you can make a content type for parts with a skew, with an image, with dimension, with materials. So if you’ve ever had to do anything where you’re managing a database and creating models of data and Drupal is basically that. That’s where when you’re discussing ideas and plans for your own community, you have so much flexibility underneath Drupal Commons. There’s quite a lot you can do with content. I mean, I’ve really only scratched the surface here.

So the next part, what we’re going to look at is really engaging and growing your community. I’m sort of summarizing this here. We’re going to go and talk about this in more details next week, but I wanted to give you a sense of the ways you can get people involved in the community. So of course, you’re probably trying to focus in your role on quality and not quantity. As we saw as well guidelines of what’s acceptable and what’s correct and finding ways where as a moderator, what’s difficult is that it’s hard to stand by and watch something languish. You want to see responses to it but you have to be patient and really give other’s a chance to reply to each other because if someone like as a moderator or someone like a community manager, if you step in and you make a comment, it looks like you were a final word. It’s done and people will be discouraged to reply. So it can be helpful especially to get people dominating the community to have a counter point or show another point of view and that sometimes bring people out of the woodwork. So when you look a little bit at again some more of the different types of content on the side and ways you can manage conversation. So users can add events in the site which is something we haven’t looked at yet. They can actually allow participants to register right on the site so you’ll actually get a list of attendees or you can use something on another site like event site and not have registration on your own site.

Users can add content as we were mentioning before and they can even revise content and put in revisions to content. Finally, we can moderate content. This is one of the things where you want to see people adding in content and putting in comments but you want it to be of the right tone and of course, it should be appropriate. So of course, we have an option to flag as an inappropriate. After you flag something, you will have to confirm that you’re going to report this as inappropriate. I sort of gave this away. I kind of jumped into this earlier and I shouldn’t have done. The site administrators can actually see this accumulate so the numbers of reports can accumulate. You could have a policy where you may look at something after a number of reports and say, “Well, it’s been reported three times. There’s enough people that are annoyed about it. We’re going to have to talk to the person,” or you may have a zero tolerance policy and simply take it down if it’s reported at all. It’s up to yourselves and your own community guidelines on what’s appropriate. So the defaults are that you can if you’re going to report inappropriate comments or inappropriate content, but within the Drupal Commons, there’s also the ability to flag user views or even specific groups. Someone can report that a group is inappropriate. Maybe there’s a moderation and still not correct or appropriate.

So another thing to show you, I’m going to go back. This is again as you could see me logged in as the administrator, everything looks a little bit different. Looking at my reported content as I kind of gave you preview of it before, I can see this has been reported twice. So this is giving me basically two options, I can un-publish the content which simply means that nobody can see it on the site but it’s still saved there, or I can delete the content and block author’s account. So I mean this is really the delete and block. It would be kind of the most severe thing to do. It means that person won’t be able to log back in so Joe will no longer or cannot log in and that content is completely gone from the system. So I mean literally completely gone. It’s not recorded anywhere at that stage. So probably, it depends on your own policy. Un-publishing content maybe something - an earlier stage where things haven’t gotten so bad, you want to save it and you want to talk to somebody about it.

I’m going to show you. Let me go back as Mary Manager and she’s created this moderator group. So as it happens with most communities, you’ve got your community manager. This is the person who may be hired and employed or have some type of authority over the entire group but then you also have community moderators, people who are more active and kind of bubble up to the surface a bit. So what Mary has done here is created a moderator’s group so she can get people to share feedback with each other. I’ve also added - this is something again, it’s not out of the box with Drupal Commons, you can change it anyway you like, but there’s a content list here for example which makes it possible for Mary to see all the content that’s been created across the site, what’s been published, and where the action is in that sense. Yes. It gives you an idea.

I just realized the time, actually. I’m kind of getting down to the end of my presentation. I just wanted to ask finally if there are any questions. I think we’ve pretty much have covered it all for this week. I’m just curious what types of questions you have. We do have next week to come back as well. So as you’re thinking questions, Molly is going to be gathering your questions if you do have any and I’m just sort of going to recap what we’ve covered today.

Moderator: All right, thanks Heather.

Heather James: So what we’ve talked about today is that Drupal Commons is really focused on activity and making activity relevant and helping people find relevant content and get notifications of things and follow things that are interesting to them. There’s also a lot of ways you can control privacy and security. So we look at also users having trust relationships with each other or even being able to send private messages between each other. Then we also showed some moderation capabilities where you can report content that can be moderated. Underneath all that, I also showed you some of the things I’ve done through developing this demo site just to show you some ways you can tweak and change. There are so many things you can do. There really is. Underneath Drupal Commons is Drupal Core and there’s so much you can do under the hood. So I’m very curious to hear what types of questions of you have.

Moderator: Great. We’ve got a couple trickling in. So the first question is any tips for integrating conference functionality into a Commons site?

Heather James: Actually, not that I know of. That’s a really good question. I have a feeling that you’re probably not the only one to ask that question. If you would let me, I can find out which of our clients have done something similar. When you say conference functionality, I assume you mean something very light, what we’re having now through WebEx where you’ve got phone call and you’ve got desktop sharing, for example. So I can find that out for you next week.

Moderator: Sure. Then another question. How modular is Commons built? Are there some kind of functionality that could be easily reported to other Drupal sites as well?

Heather James: That is a really good question and I guess based on what you’ve just asked, you’re probably someone who’s quite familiar with Drupal and you want to know how are these features packaged up. All the functionality in Drupal Commons is featurized in that sense so you could package it up, but there are a lot of dependencies with some Commons-specific modules, for example, and quite a lot of modifications that are made to some of the contributing modules so you may be better off actually taking Commons and modifying it. You may find that quite a bit easier. It depends on where you’re at though. So if you’ve already got an existing Drupal site, it’s a different thing, isn’t it.

Moderator: Great.

Heather James: That’s actually what’s going to be covered in about two weeks’ time. We’re going to go into a lot of detail about how you’d add modules to Drupal Commons, how you would modify the theme, and how you’d use the features within Drupal Commons.

Moderator: Okay. We have a clarification for the first question that I mentioned. So this attendee asked about the conferencing and so they meant that conference more in terms of Drupal COD, the platform that Drupal con sites are built on, et cetera.

Heather James: Okay. Yes, I suppose one of the interesting things is that COD, Commons Organizing Distribution, is actually built on organic groups which Commons is also built on, but organic groups really wasn’t as - it’s probably a personal thing. It probably wasn’t an ideal solution for COD in a lot of ways because some of the ways, if you ever used that, you’d know the scheduling system and individual tracks become groups and in a way it depends, I suppose, what your goals are for your conference. You do have events which I may have crossed over a little bit, actually. You do have events but what you don’t have within commons is something like a scheduling system. So what you need for conference for example is proposing sessions, some type of moderation of those proposals, and then a listing of tracks and schedules, et cetera. So there isn’t that functionality within commons, no.
Moderator: Okay.

Heather James: It would be useful, for example, for the conference community itself to create, ad hoc groups around specific topics which would be brilliant in a lot of - maybe on conferences for example and let people self-organize. That could actually work really well.

Moderator: All right. I think this will be our final question. How difficult is it to migrate forums on Drupal 6 to Drupal Commons?

Heather James: I think in that sense, there probably won’t be any sort of automated way to do that. There is actually work starting on a migration tool that will go from Drupal 6 Commons to Drupal 7 Commons. So we’re looking at Drupal 7 Commons here, 7.3 actually, and so they’re going to have an automated migrate tool where it will make it take over the bulk of whatever you’ve done except for any modifications or customizations you’ve made. Your question is related to Drupal 6 generic form, so as far as I know, there’s nothing. I’m not aware of anything myself. I will be happy to ask though and just double check, but I’m not aware of anything. In that sense, I would say you’re just going to do a straight migration. If you’ve ever seen the migrate module, that would be your first step. What that allows you to do is map your content types. You have your forum content type and your topics, for example. You’ll have to map those over to something that relates to Commons like groups and maybe posts within the groups, for example.

Moderator: Great. Well, thank you so much Heather and thank you everyone for attending. This was a great presentation and the slides will be posted to SlideShare and the recorded webinar will be posted to acquia.com in the next 48 hours. So be sure to sign up for the webinar next week. That’s how to customize your Commons site. Thank you so much everyone.

Improving Website Performance and Scalability with Memcached


Installing Memcached is an effective way to improve the scalability and performance of your website. In this presentation, we’ll walk you through a common use case and demonstrate the necessary steps to get Memcached up and running on your site. We’ll look at Memcached in depth, review how it benefits your site and discuss best practices, including when -- and when not -- to use it.

In this webinar, you will learn about:

How to Configure Solr Search on Your Site


A site with good content is only as good as the users ability to find the content. A great search experience is crucial to providing the exact content your customers are looking for. When setting up a search experience on Drupal it is important to pick the best combination of modules and properly configure them to deliver highly relevant search results.

Drupal Essentials: Content Editing and Administration in Drupal 7


Drupal Essentials: Content Editing and Administration in Drupal 7

In Content Editing and Administration, you’ll get an overview of how to manage content in Drupal 7 in different situations. Each Drupal site is unique and requires a different amount of customization. The entire content administration experience in Drupal can be completely modified to suit your needs.