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Drupal @ Penn State: The low-down on DrupalcampPA July 30/31 in Pittsburgh!

Mon, 2016-07-11 13:26

DrupalcampPA is July 30 and 31st in Pittsburgh PA and Yinz-all should come! We just announced our full schedule with keynotes, giveaways, and more. Some quick highlights of why you should come! Submissions this year tried to take the stance of “getting off the island” by having more and more presentations about topics that plug into or are affiliated with Drupal without just being about Drupal.

Categories: Drupal

Daniel Pocock: Let's Encrypt torpedoes cost and maintenance issues for Free RTC

Mon, 2016-07-11 06:34

Many people have now heard of the EFF-backed free certificate authority Let's Encrypt. Not only is it free of charge, it has also introduced a fully automated mechanism for certificate renewals, eliminating a tedious chore that has imposed upon busy sysadmins everywhere for many years.

These two benefits - elimination of cost and elimination of annual maintenance effort - imply that server operators can now deploy certificates for far more services than they would have previously.

The TLS chapter of the RTC Quick Start Guide has been updated with details about Let's Encrypt so anybody installing SIP or XMPP can use Let's Encrypt from the outset.

For example, somebody hosting basic Drupal or Wordpress sites for family, friends and small community organizations can now offer them all full HTTPS encryption, WebRTC, SIP and XMPP without having to explain annual renewal fees or worry about losing time in their evenings and weekends renewing certificates manually.

Even people who were willing to pay for a single certificate for their main web site may have snubbed their nose at the expense and ongoing effort of having certificates for their SMTP mail server, IMAP server, VPN gateway, SIP proxy, XMPP server, WebSocket and TURN servers too. Now they can all have certificates.

Early efforts at SIP were doomed without encryption

In the early days, SIP messages would be transported across the public Internet in UDP datagrams without any encryption. SIP itself wasn't originally designed for NAT and a variety of home routers were created with "NAT helper" algorithms that would detect and modify SIP packets to try and work through NAT. Sadly, in many cases these attempts to help actually clash with each other and lead to further instability. Conversely, many rogue ISPs could easily detect and punish VoIP users by blocking their calls or even cutting their DSL line. Operating SIP over TLS, usually on the HTTPS port (TCP port 443) has been an effective way to quash all of these different issues.

While the example of SIP is one of the most extreme, it helps demonstrate the benefits of making encryption universal to ensure stability and cut out the "man-in-the-middle", regardless of whether he is trying to help or hinder the end user.

Is one certificate enough?

Modern SIP, XMPP and WebRTC require additional services, TURN servers and WebSocket servers. If they are all operated on port 443 then it is necessary to use different hostnames for each of them (e.g. turn.example.org and ws.example.org. Each different hostname requires a certificate. Let's Encrypt can provide those additional certificates too, without additional cost or effort.

The future with Let's Encrypt

The initial version of the Let's Encrypt client, certbot, fully automates the workflow for people using popular web servers such as Apache and nginx. The manual or certonly modes can be used for other services but hopefully certbot will evolve to integrate with many other popular applications too.

Currently, Let's Encrypt only issues certificates to servers running on TCP port 443. This is considered to be a privileged port whereas any port over 1023, including the default ports used by applications such as SIP (5061), XMPP (5222, 5269) and TURN (5349), are not privileged ports. As long as Let's Encrypt maintains this policy, it is necessary to either run a web server for the domain associated with each certificate or run the services themselves on port 443. Running the services themselves on port 443 turns out to be a good idea anyway as it ensures that RTC services can be reached through HTTP proxy servers who fail to let the HTTP CONNECT method access any other ports.

Many configuration tasks are already scripted during the installation of packages on a GNU/Linux distribution (such as Debian or Fedora) or when setting up services using cloud images (for example, in Docker or OpenStack). Due to the heavily standardized nature of Let's Encrypt and the widespread availability of the tools, many of these package installation scripts can be easily adapted to find or create Let's Encrypt certificates on the target system, ensuring every service is running with TLS protection from the minute it goes live.

If you have questions about Let's Encrypt for RTC or want to share your experiences, please come and discuss it on the Free-RTC mailing list.

Categories: Drupal

DrupalEasy: Best Practices = Effective Government

Mon, 2016-07-11 05:52

When it comes to serving their constituents with effective online access, the Iowa Public Employee Retirement System keeps getting it right.

From the time IPERS was first deciding to shed their Dreamweaver framework a few years ago for something more robust, to ensuring that they have well-trained internal Drupal talent; the IPERS Application Programming Services and Communication teams rocked the process and aced the outcome by sticking with best practices.  

The IPERS APS and Communication teams chose Drupal through an extremely efficient process, focused on what other agencies had already put in place, how the transition went, and how the new framework was working out. The solution would of course have to be cost effective, ensure that the needs of the agency and their 700 daily users were met, be implemented in a timely way, and utilize the ability of their internal team to deliver and maintain high levels of service for years to come.

Carla Stoner

Carla Stoner, who has been with IPERS for 19 years, is the APS team member directly responsible for the technical function of the web site and coordination with the Office of the Chief Information Officer. APS and the Communication teams streamlined their selection process, using the experiences and examples of other Iowa agencies that had already upgraded their web sites. Once they narrowed down the field of potential frameworks, a final demo of DotNetNuke by a fellow state agency made Drupal the clear choice. They contracted and worked closely with an outside consulting company to develop the new IPERS site, which went live in the summer of 2015.

While the new build was going on, Carla was made aware of DrupalEasy’s Drupal Career Online program. “My supervisor was the one who found the DrupalEasy training course for me,” she explains, “He wanted a type of training that would have substance and not something that would last only a week and be crammed with spoon-fed work exercises.”

The DCO is long-form training with integrated instruction, an actively-engaged expert teacher (MIke Anello; ultimike on Drupal.org) focused on student learning, a built-in learning community, and comprehensive learning and resource materials. The program emphasizes Drupal best practices and community participation.

“My supervisor and I were both impressed with the length of the course, knowing that there would be a lot of material covered. We also liked the idea of all the ‘hands on’ experience…” she recalls. With this in mind, they decided to wait on formal training for Carla until her schedule allowed her to really engage. After the transition to the new site, she was encouraged to devote the 11+ hours per week to the 12-week session of the DCO that began that September.

“I had zero background in Drupal, but had used Dreamweaver, which gave me exposure to HTML and CSS,” she said. She continued, “...All of the topics covered in the DCO are very relevant to my work.  Even though our test and production environments are setup a bit differently from the norm (Drush and Git aren’t used as prevalently), learning these basic tools of Drupal have increased my skills for when I do get to use them.”

She added, “The DrupalEasy course is laid out in such a way that it keeps building on each segment. You don’t just learn it once and forget it.  Michael has you continually utilizing what you learned and then reapplying it... I also enjoyed the “community” we developed amongst ourselves, the classmates.  We helped each other.  Michael fostered an atmosphere that made learning fun... It helped build camaraderie.  I still feel that same camaraderie to this day.”

Carla’s learning also continues. “My DrupalEasy class ended last November (2015) and even now as I come across a request to change our website, I remember back to when Michael taught us how to accomplish that.  And if I don’t remember, I can always review the very handy screencasts he has done.”  She is also among the DCO alumni who take advantage of Mike’s open office hours every Thursday afternoon.“We all try to help each other. Even though I am by no means an expert...there are times that I feel I’m making a helpful suggestion or can see as I’m watching Michael demonstrate how to solve a person’s issue…,” she concludes.

IPERS transition to their Drupal site, starting with the selection of the framework, into the site development and continuing on with internal staff development demonstrates the effectiveness of using tried and true best practices.   They looked at their needs, found the most cost-effective solutions, and committed the time and effort to ensure the best possible outcomes. That’s effective government.

If you would like to learn more about Drupal Career Online, you can attend one of two Taste of Drupal informational workshops coming up in August and September. 

Categories: Drupal

Appnovation Technologies: Selling the Drupal Community to Those Here for the Code

Mon, 2016-07-11 05:15

Throughout the software development world there are many “evangelist” roles who sell the code to the community, but maybe we need the other side? Maybe we need to sell the community to the those who are just there for the code.

Categories: Drupal

Mediacurrent: Brain Food for Your Post-DrupalCon Slump

Mon, 2016-07-11 05:10

DrupalCon always provides many opportunities to discover new methods and tools, and this year’s conference in New Orleans was no different.

Categories: Drupal

Liip: An opensource Drupal theme for the Swiss Confederation

Mon, 2016-07-11 05:08

After having contributed to the official styleguide of the Swiss Federal Government and having implemented it on a couple of websites, we decided to go further and bring these styleguide into a theme for Drupal, a well-known, pluripotent and robust CMS we implement regularly at Liip.

The current result is a starterkit providing the essential bricks to start in a snap a website project for the federal government running with Drupal 8, based on the version 3 of the official styleguide.

Navigation modules, multilingual environnement per default (German, French, Italian, Rumantch and English), responsive layout following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, we threw the fundamental stones for bootstraping a web platform for the Confederation.

con~foederatio : to build a league, together.

In other words, joining forces, to support a common cause. From the very start of the project we decided to opensource the code, as a participatory initiative.
Learn more about this intent (German only).

Any developer working on a new website for the swiss government can now quickly start developing with this Drupal starterkit, then modify, contribute and improve it collegially. Pulling requests and opening issues on GitHub is the recommended way to help us extend further the project.

What’s inside the box

The Bund-Starterkit provides theme and elements based on the official styleguide (version 3.0.0) of the Swiss Federal Administration.

This starterkit also contains a base to quickly implement a website running on Drupal 8 for the Swiss Federal Administration. Currently, it provides the following Drupal and frontend elements:

  • Multilingual main navigation blocks
  • Multilingual service navigation blocks
  • Multilingual footer service navigation blocks
  • Logo block
  • Language switcher block with German, French, Italian, Rumantsch enabled
  • All the assets (CSS, SASS. JS files) provided by the official styleguide
  • A ready-to-use SASS workflow
Installation process, an overview

Please check the Readme file to quickly start your project. But let’s have a look at the details of the installation process. First of all, Composer (a PHP dependencies manager) is binding together for us the following repositories:

After downloading the sources with Composer and setting your vhost and hosts files, you have two options. Continuing with a few drush commands to run the Drupal installation process, or following the installation wizard in the browser. If you choose this last option, don’t forget to select the «Bund profile» option when the wizard ask you to choose a profile:

Continue with the last steps of the wizard and that’s it. you should be able to see an empty Drupal 8 website, painted with the swiss administration’s corporate sauce.

Inserting menus content

With the help of a .CSV file and some drush commands, you can quickly import your menu structure. Once done, create and assign your content the the freshly created menu items through the Drupal administration interface.


Don’t forget to create a personal Drupal sub-theme from the bund_drupal_starterkit_theme, as a Drupal best practice.  Don’t edit the existing theme directly or you could loose your changes after a future update.


This starterkit use the official styleguide (version 3.0.0) as a submodule. All existing CSS/JS files and assets are imported and available per default, but not necessary integrated as a drupal module at the moment. We highly encourage you to check the official styleguide before adding any new CSS style or JS files to your project. Based on the existing styles, it should be possible to create a lot of Drupal templates without modifying or extending any CSS. And as already said, we invite you to share any Drupal template matching the styleguide you would develop for your project.

Further reading
Categories: Drupal

Tim Millwood: Selling the Drupal community to those here for the code

Mon, 2016-07-11 05:03
Throughout the software development world there are many “evangelist” roles who sell the code to the...
Categories: Drupal

OpenLucius: Update OpenLucius | June 2016

Mon, 2016-07-11 01:28

We just updated OpenLucius, these are the most important changes:

Categories: Drupal

PreviousNext: Refactoring Drupal batch API callbacks to increase testability

Sun, 2016-07-10 23:44

Drupal's Batch API is great, it allows you to easily perform long running processes with feedback to the user.

But during Drupal 8's development processes it was one of the remaining systems that didn't get the full object oriented, service-based architecture.

Much of the batch API is largely unchanged from Drupal 7.

But that doesn't mean you can't write unit-testable callbacks.

Let's get started.

Categories: Drupal

Wuinfo: Joy Of Collaboration

Sat, 2016-07-09 17:26

We make our life easier by making our colleague's lives easier. If our manager is in a stressful state, we'd better find the way to do something. It is such a fulfill feeling when we can do something together and contribute as a member of a productive team.

I had been in a financial system project for a company in NYC. We needed to migrate a huge amount of content from old system to a new one (Tech: Drupal 5 to Drupal 7). The business is making money by selling data. So, data accuracy was a big thing. Due to the complexity of the data, couple months into the project, we had not got the content migrated. Some technical problems prevented us from going forward. Everyone in the team was under pressure and working very hard. Company executives were starting to losing patience and doubt our ability to get the job done. Our boss was under a lot of stress. In a weekly meeting a few weeks after I joined the project, our manager told us that he was not sure he would still be working for the company the next day. He was afraid he might get fired by his boss. It was like a stone in my stomach. What would happen to us if he lost the job? The whole team was quickly motivated. We all liked him and did not want it to become reality. We all know it was the time all out for a greater good.

For the interest of the group, we did not care about a small personal loss. When migrating location nodes, we needed Google map API to translate hundreds of thousands postal address. It is not free. To save time from asking permission to buy the service, one of our colleagues just went ahead and created an account with his personal credit card. It cost him some money but saved some time for the whole team. We all worked late, collaborated closely and more efficiently. We did not mind to sacrifice for the interest of the project.

My job was to assistant the other backend developer to migrate the content. It was such a compelling feeling to be a part of it and wanted the success of the project. It occupied my mind. When eating, walking, taking a shower, sleeping and even dreaming I had been thinking the ways to solve some technical problems; contemplating the best possible solutions. Many of us include myself were a little bit sick. But, physical health with good rest and diet is the key to a clear and sharp mind. Even though we had a lot of stress, I believe that was one of the key elements to the success of the project. I had learned some time management skill before. Not wasting a minute, I allocated enough time to eat and sleep, and that help me to keep my mind fresh and calm all the time. Two weeks after the meeting, we successfully overcame all the major technical difficulty and got the content migrated.

Everyone seemed to be relaxed right away. It was a pleasure to the conversation during the following meeting. Like fighting a battle should by should against a ferocious enemy and win it, everybody in the team felt closer and more connected to each other. We helped each other and collaborated closely and made our life easier. It is a real joy from collaboration.

Categories: Drupal

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