Blue Drop Shop: Drupal Recording Initiative: #DrupalCampLDN, #MidCamp, #NERDSummit

Drupal Recording Initiative: #DrupalCampLDN, #MidCamp, #NERDSummit

top view of hauppauge pvr rocket with zoom audio recorder

kthull
Fri, 04/03/2020 – 09:12

March was a crazy month and I neglected my regular updates. Between touristing my first time in London, recording #DrupalCampLDN in person, flying back home just hours before the UK travel ban kicked in, adjusting to life in quarantine, working with my team to convert #MidCamp to an all-virtual conference, coordinating with #NERDSummit to also go virtual the same weekend as MidCamp, and then recovering from what was very likely Covid-19 myself (all the symptoms, but not bad enough to get tested), I had my hands full.

I’m better now and life is returning to its new normal. Below are links to three separate March #Drupal events, for your viewing pleasure:

Enjoy!

Droptica: Build your corporate website on Drupal

Blog article main image

Corporate websites are often large and packed with many different functionalities. This makes building a website very time-consuming and, consequently, expensive. At Droptica, we have developed a way to build a corporate website on Drupal faster and cheaper. From this article, you will learn how we do it.

 

Mobomo: Usability and UX Can Make Space Cool for Everyone

argument-open-source

Back in 2013, when I first joined Mobomo, we migrated NASA.gov from a proprietary content management system (CMS) to Amazon Cloud and Drupal 7. It goes without saying, but there was a lot riding on getting it right. The NASA site had to handle high traffic and page views each day, without service interruptions, and the new content management system had to accommodate a high volume of content updates each day. In addition to having no room for compromise on performance and availability, the site also had to have a high level of security. 

Maybe the biggest challenge, though, was laying the groundwork to achieve NASA’s vision for a website with greater usability and enhanced user experiences. If NASA’s audience all fell into the same demographic, that goal probably wouldn’t have seemed so intimidating, but NASA’s audience includes space fans who range from scientists to elementary school kids. 

Our mission was to create a mobile-first site that stayed true to NASA’s brand and spoke to all of the diverse members of its audience. A few years later, we relaunched a user-centric site that directed visitors from a dynamic home page to microsites designed specifically for them.

Making Space Seem Not So Far Away

NASA.gov includes data on its missions, past and present. To make this massive amount of data more user-friendly, we worked with NASA to design a site that’s easily searchable, navigable, and enhanced through audio, video, social media feeds, and calendars. Users can find updates on events via features such as the countdown clock to the International Space Station’s 20th anniversary. NASA.gov users can also easily find what they need if they want to research space technology, stream NASA TV, or explore image galleries. 

The NASA.gov site directs its younger visitors to a STEM engagement microsite where students can find activities appropriate for their grade level. The site also includes the NASA Kids’ Club where students can have some fun while they’re learning about exploration. For example, they can try their hands at virtually driving a rover on Mars, play games, and download activities. 

Older students with space-related aspirations can learn about internship and career opportunities, and teachers can access lesson plans and STEM resources.

How to Make it Happen

To successfully achieve NASA’s goals and manage a project this complex, we had to choose the right approach. Some website projects are tailor-made for a simple development plan that moves from a concept to design, construction, testing, and implementation in a structured, linear way. The NASA.gov project, however, wasn’t one of them.

For this website and the vast majority of the sites we develop, our team follows DevOps methodology. With DevOps, you don’t silo development from operations. Our DevOps culture brings together all stakeholders to collaborate throughout the process to achieve:

Faster Deployment

If we had to build the entire site then take it live, it would have taken much longer for NASA and its users to have a new resource. We built the site in stages, validating at every stage. By developing in iterations, and involving the entire team, we also have the ability to address small issues rather than waiting until they create major ones. It also gives us more agility to address changes and keep everyone informed. This prevents errors that could put the brakes on the entire project.

Optimized Design

NASA.gov has several Webby Awards, and award-winning web design takes a team that works together and collaborates with the organization to define the audience (or audiences), optimize the site’s navigation and usability, and strike a balance between the site’s primary purpose and its appeal. 

Mobile-First

Because NASA.gov users may be accessing the site from a PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other device, it was also pivotal to use mobile-first design. Mobile-first starts by designing for the smallest screens first, and then work your way up to larger screens. This approach forces you to build a strong foundation first, then enhance it as screen sizes increase. It basically allows you to ensure user experiences are optimized for any size device. 

Scalability

NASA.gov wasn’t only a goliath website when we migrated it to Amazon Cloud and Drupal. We knew it would continue to grow. Designing the site with microsites that organize content, help visitors find the content that is most relevant to their interests, and enhance usability and UX informed a plan for future growth. 

Efficient Development Processes

DevOps Methodology breaks down barriers between developers and other stakeholders, automates processes, makes coding and review processes more efficient, and enables continuous testing. Even though we work in iterations, our team maintains a big-picture view of projects, such as addressing integrations, during the development process. 

Planned Post-Production

DevOps also helps us cover all the bases to prepare for launch and to build in management tools for ongoing site maintenance. 

What Your Business Can Learn from NASA

You probably never thought about it, but your business or organization has a lot in common with NASA, at least when it comes to your website. Just like NASA, you need a website that gives you the ability to handle a growing digital audience, reliably and securely. You’re probably also looking for the best CMS for your website, one that’s cost-effective and gives you the features you need.

Your website should also be designed to be usable and to provide the user experiences your audience wants. And, with the number of mobile phone users in the world topping 5 billion, you want to make sure their UX is optimized with mobile-first design. 

NASA’s project is also an illustration of how building your website in stages, getting input from all stakeholders, and validating and testing each step of the way can lead to great results. You also need a plan for launching the site with minimal disruption and tools that will make ongoing management and maintenance easier. 

You probably want to know you are doing everything you can to make your content appealing, engaging, and interactive. You may think NASA has an advantage in that department since NASA’s content is inherently exciting to its audience.

But so is yours. Create a website that showcases it. Not sure where to begin? Click here and we’ll point you in the right direction.

The post Usability and UX Can Make Space Cool for Everyone appeared first on .

Gábor Hojtsy: Four ways to track a list of Drupal issues a group of you cares about

Drupal 9.0.0-beta2 was released this week and there are only 63 days to go for Drupal 9.0.0’s release. Many product developers, distribution authors and so on are now looking at what is left to be Drupal 9 compatible and which of their dependencies are doing what where. So effectively tracking a list of drupal.org issues somewhere is on many people’s minds. While you can follow issues on drupal.org that only works for your personal needs. Actually Surabhi Gokte asked me yesterday about tools for group issue tracking, and I decided to write up a quick blog post because the answers are likely useful for many people. Here are two public and two possibly private ways to track drupal.org issues. I’ve used each in some form throughout my years with the project and you may find some of them useful.

Public: use a drupal.org META issue

Drupal.org project developers, this is a good way to track your tasks belonging to a larger goal like Drupal 9 compatibility. Create a regular drupal.org issue for your project and use the issue link filter. [#123456] is the format to use to link to issues and get their title and even status colors represented on your issue. The only thing you need to keep an eye on is that issue summaries are cached, so as the status/title of listed issues are updated, that is not reflected on the summary. As you are likely to adjust the list as things get done and new things are discovered, the status and titles of the listed issues should get updated in the meantime. An example of this technique is [META] Requirements for tagging Drupal 9.0.0-beta1. This technique allows anyone with a drupal.org account to help maintain your list of issues.

Once you have a META issue like this for Drupal 9 compatibility, please link it from your Drupal 9 plan on your project page, see:

Public: use Contrib Kanban

Contrib Kanban is a great service developed and ran by Matt Glaman of Centarro. You can register and create custom boards based on a list of issues, such as this kanban board for Umami’s Spanish translation. Only you will be allowed to maintain your issue list but the results are shown very visually and dynamically in a kanban board style.

Public/Private: use any tool with the Drupal issue Chrome browser extension

Matthew Grasmick built the Drupal Issue Chrome browser extension which turns links to Drupal.org issues on any webpage to their colored and titled forms very much like in the META issue method. This will pull the data for issues live, but only people with the extension installed will see the titles and statuses. You can use this for private tracking or public tracking. We use it at Acquia to track some drupal.org issues through Jira tickets.

Public/Private: use a scripted spreadsheet

This method could work in any scriptable spreadsheet system. We used it extensively at Acquia with Google sheets and I believe it originates from Andrea Soper (ZenDoodles) and Jess (xjm) from several years ago. Set it up like this:

  1. Assuming an empty spreadsheet, designate a column for issue numbers. You will use this column to enter the ID of issues you want to track. Let’s assume this is column E for the rest of the example. Also let’s assume you use the first row for header text for the columns.
  2. Add this to F2: =IF(E2="","", regexreplace(importxml(hyperlink( concat("https://www.drupal.org/node/", E2)), "//*[@id='block-project-issue-issue-metadata']/div/div/div/div/div/text()"), "n","")). This column will be your issue status.
  3. Add this to G2: =if(E2="","", hyperlink( concat("http://www.drupal.org/node/",E2),concat("#",E2))). This will be your issue link.
  4. Add this to H2: =if(E2="","", substitute(regexreplace(importxml(hyperlink( concat("https://www.drupal.org/node/", E2)), "//title/text()"),"n",""), " | Drupal.org","")). This will be your issue title.

At least in Google sheets, you can hold-drag these values to fill in the rest of columns F-H with appropriate computed values. You can also apply conditional styling to status values, etc. A clear benefit of this approach is that you can assign tabular metadata to issues, like your private severity or priority information or assignments within your company as to who is planning to look into it without getting into a priority argument on the issue.

By the way it would definitely be more reliable to pull this data from the Drupal.org REST API. We used this method extensively for years at Acquia to track high priority issues leading up to Drupal core releases. However we are not currently using this method and I did not go to convert the logic from our old sheets, so improvements welcome.

These are methods I used that are still available and work fine. Do you have better ways to do issue list tracking? Let me know in the comments.

Promet Source: How to Facilitate an Innovative Remote Meeting

Recent challenges sparked by widespread work-at-home mandates are revealing an essential need to ensure productivity and engagement for remote meetings.

Many of us are familiar with the internet meme video, A Conference Call in Real Life.  It may resonate as all too real (but still very funny!). 

With the right approach, however, remote meetings can be productive, engaging, and spark creativity. 

Drupal blog: Sustaining the Drupal Association in uncertain times

This blog has been re-posted and edited with permission from Dries Buytaert’s blog.

Blue heart

Today, I’m asking for your financial support for the Drupal Association. As we all know, we are living in unprecedented times, and the Drupal Association needs our help. With DrupalCon being postponed or potentially canceled, there will be a significant financial impact on our beloved non-profit.

Over the past twenty years, the Drupal project has weathered many storms, including financial crises. Every time, Drupal has come out stronger. As I wrote last week, I’m confident that Drupal and Open Source will weather the current storm as well.

While the future for Drupal and Open Source is in no doubt, the picture is not as clear for the Drupal Association.

Thirteen years ago, six years after I started Drupal, the Drupal Association was formed. As an Open Source non-profit, the Drupal Association’s mission was to help grow and sustain the Drupal community. It still has that same mission today. The Drupal Association plays a critical role in Drupal’s success: it manages Drupal.org, hosts Open Source collaboration tools, and brings the community together at events around the world.

The Drupal Association’s biggest challenge in the current crisis is to figure out what to do about DrupalCon Minneapolis. The Coronavirus pandemic has caused the Drupal Association to postpone or perhaps even cancel DrupalCon Minneapolis.

With over 3,000 attendees, DrupalCon is not only the Drupal community’s main event — it’s also the most important financial lever to support the Drupal Association and the staff, services, and infrastructure they provide to the Drupal project. Despite efforts to diversify its revenue model, the Drupal Association remains highly dependent on DrupalCon.

No matter what happens with DrupalCon, there will be a significant financial impact to the Drupal Association. The Drupal Association is now in a position where it needs to find between $400,000 and $1.1 million USD depending on if we postpone or cancel the event.

In these trying times, the best of Drupal’s worldwide community is already shining through. Some organizations and individuals proactively informed the Drupal Association that they could keep their sponsorship dollars or ticket price whether or not DrupalCon North America happens this year: Lullabot, Centarro, FFW, Palantir.net, Amazee Group and Contegix have come forward to pledge that they will not request a refund of their DrupalCon Minneapolis sponsorship, even if it will be cancelled. Acquia, my company, has joined in this campaign as well, and will not request a refund of its DrupalCon sponsorship either.

These are great examples of forward-thinking leadership and action, and is what makes our community so special. Not only do these long-time Drupal Association sponsors understand that the entire Drupal project benefits from the resources the Drupal Association provides for us — they also anticipated the financial needs the Drupal Association is working hard to understand, model and mitigate.

In order to preserve the Drupal Association, not just DrupalCon, more financial help is needed:

  • Consider making a donation to the Drupal Association.
  • Other DrupalCon sponsors can consider this year’s sponsorship as a donation and not seek a refund should the event be cancelled, postponed or changed.
  • Individuals can consider becoming a member, increasing their membership level, or submitting an additional donation.

I encourage everyone in the Drupal community, including our large enterprise users, to come together and find creative ways to help the Drupal Association and each other. All contributions are highly valued.

The Drupal Association is not alone. This pandemic has wreaked havoc not only on other technology conferences, but on many organizations’ fundamental ability to host conferences at all moving forward.

I want to thank all donors, contributors, volunteers, the Drupal Association staff, and the Drupal Association Board of Directors for helping us work through this. It takes commitment, leadership and courage to weather any storm, especially a storm of the current magnitude. Thank you!