Tech Talk 4 recap

@Hoppinger

The fourth Drupal Tech Talk was held in Rotterdam (@Hoppinger) yesterday, and included talks from Rolf van de Krol about Ctools (especially howto create plugins and make modules exportable via ctools) and Heine Deelstra about Drupal security (best practices and tips). Rolf demonstrated ctools by showing a cool module called "gnome planks" which allows easy control of blocks in contexts without users having to access context admin UI.

Using regular expressions in views fields

XKCD regular expressions

I try to avoid regular expressions whenever I can, but sometimes it's just the easiest/fastest way to get stuff done. For example, I had these ugly RSS aggregated titles which were full of HTML entities and other jibberjabber. They were displayed using Views and the core aggregator. Using Views Field Rewrite I cleaned up the titles with some regexp.

How does caching work in Drupal?

Question

In my experience, there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding how Drupal caching works. I'm not talking about advanced caching mechanisms like Varnish, APC or memcache here, I'm talking about the core Drupal caching: page cache and block cache which are available in Drupal 7 core. Drupal 6 is similar but works a but differently because page caching was simplified for Drupal 7 (e.g. aggresive mode is now a available as a settings.php var) and the entire system also has become pluggable.

SOLR search within a radius distance in Drupal 6/7

Drupal 7 geospatial SOLR search

Great article by Domique de Cooman about howto setup SOLR with Drupal 7 and geospatial search which allows you to search within a distance radius using the location/gmap modules. Some of these modules (search API) are not available for D6, but there is another module available for Drupal 6 and an alternative approach by upgrading SOLR to 3.1.

Frontend United Netherlands 2012

Frontend United Netherlands 2012

Another Drupal event coming up this spring: the Frontend United Netherlands (FUN for short?) was previously known as the Drupal Design Camp and now a yearly conference targeted at Drupal frontend people. Designers and themers unite! The event will be held from 20-22 April in Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam. Read more about it at the official site.

Livethemer

Livethemer

This looks like an interesting concept which was just launched yesterday: Livethemer, a way to change the layout and style of your site, almost the way you can in a DrupalGardens site. The service requires a module, an account on livethemer.com is optional. According to the site, the team worked for almost 2 years on this project. While I don't believe you should give clients this kind of theming power, and professional themers won't use this either, there might be a niche target group for it. Check out a demo video on vimeo.

First Drupal Tech Talk of 2012 in Rotterdam

Drupal Tech Talk Rotterdam

The next Dutch Drupal Tech Talk, and the first of 2012 has been announced. You are welcome to toast on the new year and talk about Drupal in Rotterdam (Hoppinger) on thursday the 19th of January. For more info about the talks and signup information, check out the drupal.nl site. The previous Drupal Tech Talk was in november.

Drupal 8 progress

Dries and Sam Boyer creating a Drupal 8 branch

One year after Drupal 7 has been released, Dries announced that version 8 is probably 2 years away. In case you are interested, the best way to track progress is following this group (RSS) and follow the websites/twitter/google+ feeds of the six core initiatives maintainers. Also, don't forget to keep an eye on Dries' tweets/blog and his Drupal 8 co-maintainer 'catch'.

Fixed-price/scope/date and SCRUM

Scrum

We use scrum (agile development) in our larger projects, and recognize this issue: clients demand a fixed price for a project which is based on a fixed scope and fixed date. According to an article in the Automatiserings Gids (Dutch), this is still possible with scrum by dividing the original scope in iterations, but it does have its limitations and challenges. It's not the preferred way, but it's way better than not using an agile approach. In the meantime, we try to convince clients and partners to consider scrum.

See you all in 2012!

2011 was a great year for us at Merge, and we wanted to thank everybody who made this possible, especially everybody at ezCompany and everyone else @villaminoretti. Here is a little video we made with our best wishes!

Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and see you all in 2012!
Erik, Bernard and Albert.

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