Drupal Articles

Maintaining your installed Drupal distro

Drupal.org provides a number of pre-packaged distributions (e.g., Drupal Commons, DKAN, etc.) that allow users to get a fully-featured Drupal installation up and running in no time, but maintaining an installed distribution can be tricky. You may need to juggle distribution updates with contrib module updates, core updates, and your own customizations. If you aren't careful, it can become a maintenance nightmare!

The Drupal community has a few tools for dealing with common maintenance problems, but you'll be hard pressed to find comprehensive documentation on the matter. This blog post will make an attempt to codify best practices for maintenance of an installed distribution.

Let's start by establishing some goals. In maintaining an installed distribution, I'd like to:

Introducing Views Cache Bully: You're gonna cache your views, and you're gonna like it.

views cache bully admin settingsTucked away under the Views UI's "advanced" fieldset is a too-seldom-used option: Views caching. It allows you to cache the query results and/or rendered markup for any given view. This can drastically improve your site's performance.

Unfortunately, many people don't use this option. Maybe they don't know about it, maybe they've forgotten about it, or maybe they don't like. Well, the Views Cache Bully module is here to say "Too bad. You're gonna cache your views, and you're gonna like it."

To quote Dave Stoline (dstol):

CapitalCamp Presentation: Building an API (that people will actually use)


Uploading a copy of the CapitalCamp 2013 presentation given by David Platek and me:

If you attended the presentation, please feel free to leave feedback below!

Presentation description:

Learn why and how to expose your Drupal installation’s data and functionality via an API, and entice developers to extend your application’s reach through supportive documentation, implementation examples, and even SDKs.

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Installing XHProf for Drupal

There are many ways to install XHProf, but at the end of the day, you need to accomplish the same basic set of tasks:

I found all of the various methods a bit overwhelming, so I've put together this page a resource to help you 1) Know the options, and 2) Find corresponding tutorials.

Install XHProf on your system

Here are the basic methods for getting XHProf onto your system:

Building a Multistep Registration Form in Drupal 7 using Ctools

This article provides a step-by-step tutorial for creating a custom, multistep registration form via the Ctools Form Wizard in Drupal 7. If you'd prefer to solely use the core Form API, take a look at Building a Multistep Registration Form in Drupal 7, a previous blog post. In the interest of saving time, I'm going to be lifting some text directly from that post, given that there are a number of overlapping tasks.

Why use the Chaos Tools module to build a multistep form? Well, Ctools offers a number of tools that build upon the core Form API, allowing you to create a multistep form faster. This includes providing a method for caching data in between steps, adding 'next' and 'back' buttons with associated callbacks, generating a form breadcrumb, etc.

Introducing Devit

Devit Admin
You have a live website and you need to copy a fresh version of the (live) database onto your local machine for development. Next, you need to run through one or more of these rote tasks:

  • Disable Drupal core caches (page cache, block cache, CSS & JS optimization, etc.)
  • Sanitize user data
  • Update Drupal's file system paths (public, private, tmp directories)
  • Enable email rerouting
  • Update logging and error level settings
  • Re-configure a contrib module. E.g., Secure Site (enable, set permissions, guest accounts).

Does this sound familiar? If so, I have good news! I've created a module that will help you automate that process.

Introducing Writer: A Drupal blogging theme for developers

Writer Theme
My friend and co-acquian, Bryan Braun, recently released a new, beautiful, minimalist blogging theme on Drupal.org called Writer. I'll let Bryan make the official introduction:

"The story is quite simple. I am a front-end developer who blogs. I searched the Drupal theme repository, but I was unable to find a blogging theme designed specifically for developers. So I made one.

This theme was designed using three driving principles:

  • Brutally simple design
  • Fantastic typography
  • Support for code snippets

These principles guided me through the tradeoffs and helped me make various design decisions. Let's get into the details..."

Field API - Creating your own field formatters

Drupal 7's Field API is amazing—it allows us to easily add fields to any type of entity, and customize those fields with various widgets and display formats. I'm going to walk you through two examples of how you can leverage the Field API to create your own custom field formats.

Example use cases:

  1. You're using the phone field to display phone numbers, but you'd like to customize the HTML output to make it mobile-compatible (click to call).
  2. Your nodes display full addresses via the addressfield module, but you'd like to render those addresses as google maps links.

Let's start at the beginning: you're going to be creating a custom module. Let's call is grasmash.module for vanity's (and sanity's?) sake.

We'll start by letting the Field API know that we have a new field format for it to play with.

Create a "password_reset" resource for Services

Just another quick snippet to add to the Grasmash Services archive.

This will allow you to POST an email address to /your_endpoint/user/password_reset and trigger a 'Forgot Password' email to be sent to the appropriate user.

Snippet Snack: Create Display Suite fields for Flag & Flag Count

I've decided to make a new home for the small snippets that I post periodically: Snippet Snacks. This will be small repository for useful Drupal snippets.

Here's the first one—a snippet that forms a bridge between Display Suite and Flag.

When added to a custom module, this snippet will provide Display Suite 'Flag this' and 'Flag Count' fields for each applicable Flag type.

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