Balancing Theory and Practice

Posted on Fri, 09/23/2016 - 09:02

When you are building a tool, how do you measure the success of your efforts? There are data driven approaches around adoption, like number of times your tool has been downloaded or installed. Similarly, success could be defined as how effectively you solved the problem. This could be measured by the number of issues filed, the (hopefully) lack of vulnerabilities, or the number of feature requests created. But, in any measure, success is actually defined by other people. And, as an engineer, it's such a difficult task to put yourself in their shoes. How do you deal with that? Theory People are

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Setting up your system for Drupal coding standards

Posted on Wed, 08/24/2016 - 17:09

As a bit of background, my main objective is to integrate Drupal coding standards into PHPStorm. I would imagine similar steps can be taken with other IDEs. I'm mainly writing this blog post to remind myself of these steps if/when I need to do this in the future. But, it occurred to me others might benefit from this as well. DependenciesComposer is the lone dependency. And, bear in mind, the instructions are for PHPStorm. Installing tools PHPCS is the defacto tool used to do code sniffing. And, Drupal has built in PHPCS libraries with it's Coder tool. composer global require "squizlabs/php

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The Technical Lift of Drupal 8

Posted on Wed, 07/27/2016 - 13:13

Drupal 8 has been widely praised for improving the developer experience (DX). The "best of breed" adoption of tools (see: Symfony, Guzzle, PHPUnit, Composer, etc) clearly positions Drupal to mature and evolve beyond that which one community is able to do alone. But, there are many different considerations of DX that need explored. And, what lift is required for the community to grasp this new version? And, what is the impact? DX ConsiderationsProbably the number one thing that is praised with Drupal 8 is the technical modernization. Drupal is already challenging to learn effectively. But, if

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Theming Drupal 8 Field Collections

Posted on Fri, 07/01/2016 - 13:59

I'm a big fan of Field Collections. It provides a high level of flexibility in setting up an auxiliary (and potentially shared) data structure that can associate with another entity. As such, it's a highly customizable way to do relational data in Drupal. This shouldn't be confused with Inline Entity Form which helps embed an entity within another entity (and is also an amazing project). One of the major challenges is around the fact that the Field Collection entity is decoupled from the entity in which it is hosted. This complicates practically everything from rendering, Views, and much more

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A slideshow in Drupal 8

Posted on Tue, 03/15/2016 - 19:33

I thought I'd play around with creating this feature in Drupal 8. Here's the step-by-step run down. This is assumed your logged in with an administrative user. 1. "Slideshow Item" data structureCreate a slideshow item content type with any structure you desire. In my case, I added an image, a title, a description, and a link. This was all done by core provided field types.Manage > Structure > Content TypesAdd Content TypeFill out the form for slideshow items and SaveEnter the fields you desire for the data structure 2. Slide orderingI considered adding a weight as a numeric field. However, I

development drupal

Site Updates in Drupal

Posted on Thu, 03/03/2016 - 15:16

Site updates in Drupal are one of the most critical, proactive things needed to eliminate vulnerabilities on your site. While the open source community strives to make these updates smooth, there are no guarantees there won't be issues for your specific site based on how you've extended your Drupal instance. This is because each site may have it's own custom code, it may have it's own combination of contributed modules with unique interactions, and it may have it's own visual theme. The key point is that it's not a safe assumption that site updates meet all use cases. Most module maintainers

development drupal

Common DrupalVM Use

Posted on Mon, 02/29/2016 - 10:26

I long struggled with how to effectively do local development in Drupal. Few would argue the merits of doing local development over working directly on a production system. While the problem seems straightforward, nothing seemed to work quite right. It took me quite a while to land on DrupalVM. I'd like to explain how I landed here and some of the ways I use/configure DrupalVM to support my needs. RequirementsThis whole experiment made me think about what criteria I was evaluating these against...MOST IMPORTANT - I really want my solution to JUST WORK with as little set up as possible. Most

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"Just Enough" Planning - An Agile Concept

Posted on Wed, 12/02/2015 - 14:09

The Agile framework is all the rage. It aims to solve limitations introduced by waterfall. The framework is driven by value and priority, not fixed scope and heavy upfront planning. But, Agile and its Scrum variant is just a set of theories not intended to fully prescribe practice. There are many challenges that observing strict Agile/Scrum can present in practice, especially for agencies attempting to adopt it outside of a product development process. Background I believe the theory behind Agile and Scrum is sound. Where waterfall advocates for rigid planning first and foremost, Agile/Scrum

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Patterns of DevOps Practices

Posted on Tue, 11/10/2015 - 12:24

Recently, I read Codifying devops practices, a blog post written by Patrick Debois. This is food for thought. I spent some time trying to identify the patterns I recognize in daily practice. I may continue to update this as I learn more opportunities and categories. Approached with a build-measure-learn philosophy, patterns are less about the "how" and more about opportunities to improve and grow. These opportunities may be considered best practice, but are circumstantial based on your organization, your project, or other factors. I personally advocate addressing the most glaring problems


Engineering Tenets of Agile

Posted on Wed, 10/21/2015 - 10:40

BackgroundI recently changed companies and am going through the process of onboarding. One of the big draws to the new company was an emphasis on people and culture. The whole balance between a for-profit business and a focus on employee needs, in my experience, can be in conflict. I have been learning more about how these goals are achieved. In some onboarding documentation, there has been a reference to "The Agile Manifesto". A swift Google search, let me to this page. The core values are defined as follows:Individuals and interactions over processes and toolsWorking software over

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