Please replace the LAMP

Do NOT ... do NOT replace the LAMP! :-)

I always think it is funny to see a "a A /|" (bigger text selections) on a website. The decision to use this is always made by people who are not visually handicapped and think adding this to a website has anything to do with accessibility.

Blind people are blind on every website and use a braille browser, people with bad eyes are handicapped on every website and have a [control][plus] key combination in their browser. Mirroring browser functionality in the site is in fact a bad thing. Adding the "bigger text" buttons in a website does nothing for accessibility.

I always think it is funny to see a discussion about adding ZIP files on a website instead of a tarball. The decision to add this fileformat is always made by people who do not have a windows machine and and think adding this to a website has anything to do with gaining market-share.

Developers using windows are developers on all projects they work on and have a third party tool to unpack a tarball, people with interest in Drupal but no able to unpack a tarball can be pointed to a simple helptext. Solving problems with technology when it can be dealt with procedures is always a bad thing. Adding a zip distribution does nothing for marketshare but a lot for maintance costs.

Not that I consider windows users to be handicapped... Not at all... :-)

Drupal Dev Days, a retrospective

Last week we held the “Drupal Dev Days" at the HQ of dop.nu. This post reflects some thoughts on why we organised this camp, what we did and what we learned.

We started the smaller unconference Dev camp because we want to facilitate smaller groups to come together and work on targeted items. In the Netherlands we also have the DrupalJam’s. The last Jam had nearly 300 attendees and with the growing demand of Drupal services, this conference will grow for some time, 400 attendees in half a year is realistic.

Robert Douglass’ keynote during last DrupalJam, (c) Wessel Zwiers

To put this in perspective, a DrupalJam now is as big as a European DrupalCon only 4 years ago. And while having a big local conference is a good thing for networking and promotion, there is a growing need to get smaller more focussed “unofficial" camps to get better communication and more interaction. So DOP decided to facilitate a smaller camp with only developers, laptops, wifi, a nice location, tents, a BBQ, some beer and water-pistols. All the ingredients for having a good Drupal camp!

360 panorama of the place where DDD was held

And we did have a good time, the weather was very nice, lots of people brought local beer and while there was no program, we actually did a lot. That is, some just wanted to site and discuss, other wanted to learn and share and some just wanted to code.

For an impression of the camp, see this collection.

So what did we do during these three days apart from throwing buckets of water?

  • Marc van Gend and Erik Stielstra started a module codenamed “turn me on" that enables the current site of a state to be saved. The idea is to have multiple states of a site for staging and production so one can easy turn on and off modules or settings that you want in a preproduction environment but not on a production site. This module will be released once completed.

  • 10 people discussed on how to get a better User Interface for Hansel “breadcrumbs done right!" by co-worker Maurits Lawende. Hansel is a very powerful way of providing very flexible breadcrumbs on all pages and views yet with this power is currently hidden in a sub optimal interface. Hansel will never be as popular as the direct “competitors" (such as custom breadcrumbs) since you need to understand arguments and rules, yet we cam up with an easier interface that will hit d.o in the next release.

  • Coworkers Maarten Verbaarschot and Sietse de ruiter did some work on the base theme Ink Ribbon

  • Karten Frohwein gave a good presentation on simpletest

  • The best part IMHO was kicked of by Clemens Tolboom, a session about helping develops -and users- to clean up their issue queue by using a system called Triage. Triage is a way to of prioritising patients based on the severity of their condition by relatively unskilled personal. This so professionals (doctors, maintainers) have a better queue where they can focus on musts and shoulds and users are forced to give better input to them. This system is in use at Gnome and seems to work fine there. For example, bigger modules like views have more then 1000 issues open, unworkable for those wanting to help out and the maintainer(s). If we would have a system where anyone could help by classifying bugs and by asking for more information or closing old bugs related to 4.x version, all benefit. If you want to help out in this prococes, please read 838682 and work from there.

  • Maurits also worked on the Rate module. A module build on voting API that has a broader range then for example 5star with more value types. See a screenshot below:

  • and

  • Morten -lead organiser of the upcoming DrupalCon in Copenhagen, skyped in to promote in his special way this event and was shown on the beamer. Nearly all of the attendees were already planning on visiting the DrupalCon Copenhagen, yet spreading the word always helps!

So what did we learn? The number of no shows is always high on these events. Sending out mails to the attendees on a regular basis is a good way to get feedback and ask if people are really coming. It is also a good thing to have some kind of program as a backup even if it is an unconference.

It was fun co-organising this with Rolf van de Krol and we will be doing this again next year!

Drupal data visualisation

Via PBS.org I found dataviz.org A website funded by Knight with a data visualization toolkit called VIDI.

I love good visualisations of data. And while most of the modules that are available are not that shocking, but the fact that one can use this as SAAS or download the modules and drop them on your own site, gives the power of data visualization to the masses.

Great work and I expect to see a lot more data and presentation of data on the web. Many small eyes for a better vision :-)

ooh, and please put these modules on d.o

This is Drupal's next version!

You are looking at Drupal's next release, with the internal name D7A4. It was found lost in a bar in Antwerp, Belgium. Camouflaged to look like an ordinary Drupal 6 on an USB stick. We got it. We disassembled it. It's the real thing, and here are all the details.

While Drupal may tinker with the final packaging and design of the award winning CMS, it's clear that the features in this lost-and-found next-generation Drupal version is drastically new and drastically different from what came before. Here's the detailed list of our findings:
What's new

  • Better security
  • Usability enhancements
  • database abstraction layer
  • Better Documentation in core
  • Several Performance Improvements Implemented
  • Beter themes
  • Better file handeling
  • Better image handling
  • Custom fields

What's changed

  • Color module now usable by themes other than Garland.
  • Usability improvements including re-weightable roles and saner Forum module defaults.
  • A variety of optimizations made to data import-related functions to make migrations faster.
  • Lots of previously missing documentation for hooks has now been documented. Hooray!
  • Increased test coverage, particularly core Tokens.
  • Lots of smaller bug fixes, security patches, and improvements.

How it was lost

Dries on Facebook
Dries Buytaert—a PhD in Computer Science and Engineering graduate of the University of Ghent and talented amateur photographer—is a Drupal Software Engineer working on the core Drupal Software, the little program that enables communities to florish. A dream job for a talented engineer like Buytaert, a PHP fan who always wanted to meet Rasmus Lerdorf.
On the night of April 27, he was enjoying the fine local ales at a pub, a nice Belgian beer garden, in Antwerp. He was happy. The place was great. The beer was excellent. "I underestimated how good Belgian beer is," he blogged on his next-generation CMS he was testing on the field, cleverly disguised. It was his last blog post update on the secret Drupal version. It was the last time he ever saw the USB stick, right before he abandoned it on bar stool, leaving to go home.

The Aftermath

Weeks later, Boerland.com got it for $5,000 in cash. At the time, we didn't know if it was the real thing or not. It didn't even get past the Druplicon installer screen. Once we saw it inside and out, however, there was no doubt about it. It was the real thing, so we started to work on documenting it before returning it to Buytaert. We had the software, but we didn't know the owner. Later, we learnt about this story, but we didn't know for sure it was Buytaert's USB stick until today, when we contacted him via his phone.

Dries Buytaert: Hello?
Bert Boerland: Is this Dries?
Dries Buytaert: Yeah.
B: Hi, this is Bert Boerland from boerland.com.
D: Hey!
B: You work at Drupal software, right?
D: Um, I mean I can't really talk too much right now.
B: I understand. We have a device, and we think that maybe you misplaced it at a bar, and we would like to give it back.
D: Yeah, I forwarded your email [asking him if it was his USB stick], someone should be contacting you.
B: OK.
D: Can I send this phone number along?
B: [Contact information]

He sounded tired and broken. But at least he's alive, and apparently may still be working with Drupal software—as he should be. After all, it's just a stupid USB stick and mistakes can happen to everyone. The only real mistake would be to fire Dries in the name of Drupal's legendary impenetrable security, breached by the power of Belgian beer and one single human error.

What does it mean for you

After consulting our lawyers, we decided to test the next version o this Drupal CMS and to offer a free download link so you can enjoy the works of this Drupal engineer as well. This so you can get familiar with the new slick industrial interface and the new API's. We higly encourage you to download the software and help test drive it.

And for those not getting satire, please read this bad checkbook journalism

Drup dot al

My very own Hansel and Gretel
Every day or so I try to browse so modules that might be of use for customers. Not that my team is afraid of building own modules. Not at all as the Hansel module for example shows. A rather cool module for developers to make better breadcrumbs that we build for the NCRV.nl and was donated by them. Not afraid to make own modules that make "awesomeness happen". But using Open Source means building on the shoulders of giants and no matter how tall you are, there is always someone taller then you. So despite being 2 meters tall, I always look for smarter people writing interesting code/functionality.

So the other day I came across the Drupal anywhere module that uses twitters anywhere service. Anyway, clicking the demo link brought me to... drup.al!

And this is what I wrote about that domain-name back in 2006:

If Drupal would have started in 2005 and Albania would have had a real NIC, we wouldnt have claimed drupal.org but drup.al.

But we arent followers, not here to be hip and we were twodotooo before Tim could spell it out. So we are Drupal.org, rocking without being Beta Two Dot Oooh!


And I still think it is true today. Even if Time gave an excellent keynote at DrupalCon SF. Drup.al is a funny domain-name. Demoing a nice module, that is all it is. And when the Albanian NIC was any more open back in 2001 when I registered drupal.org I am sure I would have looked at drup.al as well. Nice domain name, but search engines are the new DNS, Google is the new Bind. Funny name, drup.al. But most outsiders already think that the name Drupal by itself is funny enough.

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