DrupalCon CPH day two

Here is a quick update of our second day at Drupalcon Copenhagen. See also the posts about day one and day three.

10:00 How Earth day handled 80 million hits in 2 days (link)

  • don’t use statistics module (additional sql queries)
  • watch out with apache solr search
  • use drupal 7 if you don’t want headaches with high performance sites (D7 has pluggable caches out of the box) *
  • Varnish runs into a queue when the amount of requests is higher than the amount able to handle

* Actually, you could also take a look at Pressflow which has a lot of the performance upgrades from Drupal 7 backported to 6. 10:00 Communicating Drupal Visually (link) A great session (almost a workshop actually) explaining how important it is to use visuals when you are explaining Drupal. Especially if you are talking to non-Drupal people. One picture says more than a thousand words, and people are visual beings who tend to ignore text and look at pictures. So don't be afraid to draw! Personally, I always liked the way Development Seed is doing this in explaining how Open Atrium works to customers. Just look at this for an example.

11:00 keynote Rasmus Lerdorf Rasmus (creator of PHP)
was also a keynote speaker at DrupalCon Szeged. That time, he did a quick analysis of Drupal and gave some pointers how to improve the system performancewise. I loved his frank way of speaking and he was clearly disappointed by the fact that some things in Drupal 7 are still the same as two years ago. He especially pointed out all the require_once includes which should be require only, which would gain an instant (but small) boost. I looked up if there was an issue about this and found this one which explains why this is probably not going to happen. Another thing he talked about was how Drupal could benefit by using c++ or hiphop (a php to c++ converter) to speed things up. However, converting Drupal to another language would be a huge waste of time according to Rasmus, and it would make much more sense to (eventually) allow language independent modules, so if somebody would make a module in Python, this would be possible.

13:30 Mark Boulton - What you need to know about Grids and 960 won't teach you (link)
Another great talk by Mark Boulton, explaining Grids from scratch and how to use them in todays world where content can be viewed in more and more contexts and platforms. Every webdesigner should watch this session (video's will be available on archive.org)

14:45 Every site a .make file (link)
This a cool session because we started using drush make (an extension to drush) about a month ago for the same reasons as mentioned in this session:

  • It allows you to create distributions
  • Helps with the deployment workflow of Drupal
  • Doubles as documentation: you know exactly what is used for that site (including patches, module versions,  etc)
  • Forking for karma: encourages patches to be released upstream on d.o.
  • You can pull in external libraries (e.g. tinymce)
  • Perfect fit with Aegir to handle live production sites

Other tips, gotchas, best practices:

  • You can include other .make files in your make file like: includes[openatrium] = http://...
  • Always use version numbers
  • Use comments in .make file
  • profile.make vs distro.make: distro includes core
  • patches need to be public so this actually encourages contributing on drupal.org
  • consider Squid if downloading takes too long

16:00 Translation management for the enterprise (link)
Explaining the translation management module: a great workflow tool if you have a big site with lots of languages and you typically have many translators who need to translate nodes but don't need to be bothered with anything else on the site.

17:15 All your HTML are belong to us #2.5 Revenge of the Markup (link)
Morton's second session, this time explaining some more on why drupal outputs this load of html markup as it does, and what you can do against it (and create more semantic code). This session was about cleaning up html, and I think it plays nicely with Mverbaar's session about cleaning up CSS (in core). Of course, you can override a lot of .tpl files and make things a lot better, but there are also a couple of modules which can help:

Or check out Morten's own clean up theme called mothership, it allows you to get rid of a lot of classes (like the body classes) which you don't need, simply by using the theme settings. And you can use your own (base) theme together with this one. Evening / Night: Dinner with Dutch Drupalistas and more FooBar!

DrupalCon CPH day one

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