Tag: drupal planet english

A book about Configuration Management in Drupal 8

In December 2013, Packt Publishing asked us to write a book about the upcoming Drupal 8. They had seen the Drupal Association survey that showed the new feature Configuration Management was the most popular topic they wanted to learn about in Drupal 8. Since we are long-time evangelists of tracking configuration changes in code, we were excited about having the opportunity to write this book, which is expected to be published in March 2015 (like this week!). It's even more exciting because Packt actually donates a portion of sales of Drupal-related books to the Drupal Association. For this to work, you need to order or pre-order directly at Packt.

Since we did so much testing with and writing about Drupal 8, we also wanted to build something with it. So we built a microsite for the book and we were surprised about how smooth this worked. It took 9 hours on a Sunday to find an appropriate HTML template, install and configure Drupal and make it look the way it does now. After the book is published, the site will get some more functionality so we can publish questions and answers as well as errata. Since it will be quite a while until Drupal 8 is actually released, we are expecting there will be a few changes and some of our code might become outdated.

You can read a sample chapter in an article on Packt's website.

What will be in the book?

Chapter 1, Understanding Configuration Management, will give you a quick overview of Configuration Management. You will learn what types of configuration exist, why managing configuration is a good idea, and how to get started with it. It will provide a look at the several ways in which configuration was managed in Drupal 7 and then show how Drupal 8 approaches the problem.

Chapter 2, Configuration Management for Administrators, provides an introduction on how to use Configuration Management for users who are not developers, but administrators of a Drupal website who want to make use of the advantages of this new feature. We will show you how to use the Configuration Management interface and how to create a copy of your website, and you will learn how to move a configuration made on one site to another site.

Chapter 3, Drupal 8's Take on Configuration Management, will show you the inner workings of the Configuration Management system in Drupal 8. You will learn about config and schema files, and read about the difference between simple configuration and configuration entities.

Chapter 4, Configuration Management API, will teach you how to get your hands dirty and learn about the Configuration Management API of Drupal 8. Here, you will dive into the Simple Configuration API and learn how configuration can be overridden. Later, you will take a closer look at how to create custom configuration entity types, and we'll also teach you about the configuration's context system.

Chapter 5, The Anatomy of Schema Files, covers schema files and explains how Drupal uses them for Configuration Management. You will learn about the structure of schema files used by Drupal and write your own schema for custom configuration.

Chapter 6, Adding Configuration Management to Your Module, will teach you how to access configuration objects and how schema files are structured in the previous chapters. (You will surely want to know how to get all this fancy stuff into your shiny new module for Drupal 8). You will learn how to include the default configuration in custom modules, how to define and use your own configuration, and how to create configuration forms.

Chapter 7, Upgrading Your Drupal 7 Variables to Drupal 8 Configuration, will show you ways to convert your Drupal 7 variables into Drupal 8 Configuration objects and how to provide an upgrade path in your modules.

Chapter 8, Managing Configuration for Multilingual Websites, allows you to build comprehensive multilingual websites in which you can display a site's content in different languages and translate the user interface. While many features were built into Drupal's core in previous versions, building multilingual sites remained a very painful task. In this chapter, we will take a look at how Drupal 7 deals with different languages on a site and how Drupal 8 is trying to fix weaknesses from previous versions.

Chapter 9, Useful Tools and Getting Help, provides a list of links and tools provided by the Drupal community; these will be useful if you reach a point where you need help when dealing with Configuration Management.

Like what you see?

Go pre-order the book directly on Packt's website, or follow us on Twitter.

Make your styleguide a living styleguide!

Don't you know that, too? You or your team is building a site and during this process all implemented parts are styled through templates and CSS. The CSS files (at best you are using a CSS preprocessor like SASS) are getting bigger, more sophisticated and even more confusing - not to mention that these files are getting almost unmaintainable and more and more error-prone.

How to convince potential customers to use Drupal

We are always on the lookout for new clients. And there are many clients looking for services like ours. Some clients know they want Drupal. Others still have to be convinced. Especially here in Germany, we have to compete against TYPO3, because it's an established content management system for the enterprise. We believe Drupal is similar or superior to what TYPO3 and others can accomplish, but it's not easy to convince others about it.
In order to win a client, you might list some advantages of Drupal and show some of the sites you've built with the system. However, you can't show the backends of most sites you've built for clients and a plain install of Drupal is not very convincing.
 
A demo system is a great way to show the potential of Drupal, but creating your own is time-consuming to build and maintain.
 
Gladly, Acquia provides a free demo distribution called Demo Framework. The demo is a personalized, multilingual platform with modern responsive capabilities including previews for different devices. With its beautiful interface and sample commerce and multimedia integration, it's perfect to show just what our favorite content management framework Drupal is capable of.

Google Summer of Code 2014

This year Google celebrates the 10th birthday of their global program „Google Summer of Code“. The open source program offers student developers over the age of 18 the possibility for a scholarship. Mentoring organizations' application deadline is February 14th.

Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is very popular amongst projects of the open source scene, because students can take on tasks that otherwise wouldn't get done. Participants earn scholarship funds of 5.500 USD, of which 500 USD go to the specific project and their mentors. This concept has a very high success rate and the participator list shows almost all popular open source projects.

We at undpaul love Drupal and the open source idea, which is why we decided to provide mentors to support the development of the Drupal modules FluxPocket, Leaflet and Paragraphs. You can view our proposals in the Task Organization Wiki at groups.drupal.org.

Also make sure to check out these links if you're interested in mentoring or applying for a scholarship.

Managing obsolete modules

In every Drupal project, it is crucial for your application to be fully defined in code at every time and every state. When working with a configuration management based upon Git, Features, Drush based shell scripts and Master, it is possible to represent your whole Drupal 7 application's configuration state in a traceable and reproducible way.

Watch your Drupal modules

This way your team has a good tool to manage the development of the application and even manage the state of the Drupal modules in your application. Especially in large Drupal projects it is always important to know the modules you are dealing with, what modules to enable and to know what modules you can disable. Even already disabled Drupal modules influence your system and the overall development experience of your team.

For example, if you provide a large set of modules in your project, there will be a lot of noise for the developers when working on the sprint issues (e.g. a developer might find search results in the IDE for a code snippet in modules that are not meant to be enabled anymore). Therefore it is important all modules that should not be enabled are really disabled and uninstalled from the Drupal project. And, if possible, after that the modules should be removed from the file disk. As we are (hopefully) always dealing with a version control system like Git, we are safe to remove those modules without losing any information of the project's evolution.

Remove modules with Master

In projects that have grown for several months and no-one had a look at the modules directory, it will be very painful and time intense to remove those obsolete modules. To ease such tasks in the development workflow, we created the Master module some time ago. With the latest release of Master, we have also introduced a new command to assist you in finding the modules you really don't need anymore in your directory.

Twig Screencast

The template engine Twig will be a component of the Drupal 8 core and is replacing PHPTemplate. The new syntax brings a lot of changes and a simpler system. The function access is restricted, which results in a more secure system. The consistent use of the syntax improves the readability of template files extremely.

Motivation

New module to limit the amount of menu items per menu

In a recent project, we had to provide a way to easily limit the amount of menu items for several menus separately. Drupal does not provide this functionality out of the box so we had to hit the keyboard and take care of this functionality on our own. The result is our newest contrib module Menu Item Limit.

Creating a "collapsible" Views Exposed Filter

When building sites for our customers we usually create some administrative views (like for content or user administration) to make it easier for editors to work with the site. For a little more user experience we modify these views (especially the exposed form providing the filters). One of these modifications is to create a "collapsible" filter dropdown.

Theming in Drupal 8 - Conversion of themes to Twig

This post adds to the successful and popular "Theming in Drupal 8 with Twig?" (Part 1, Part 2) series from Steffen. It deals with converting Drupal phptemplate themes to use the new Twig template engine, like we recently did with our Busy theme. This is all for Drupal 8, so this might not be helpful to you just yet, but if you wanna get a headstart on converting your phptemplate theme to Twig, nothing's holding you back from starting right now! If you don't know how to get your Drupal 7 theme to Drupal 8, there's an older write-up on how to convert a Drupal 7 theme to Drupal 8 in our blog (keep in mind that things in Drupal 8 change rapidly so some of that text might already be outdated).

Introducing Master for Drupal

Whenever working in a Drupal project you have to deal with a bunch of modules - core, contrib, custom and features. In the lifetime of a project you enable new ones and disable and uninstall modules you don't need anymore or replaced with a better one. But how do you track that, and how do you make sure that those modules that should not be active really are not?

I did not find any existing solution in the Drupal contrib modules that deals with this issue, so I wrote a small helper module: Master.

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