Bryan Ruby


Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

Open Source

Drupal 8.4 Available and Fixes Significant Database Caching Issues

Druplicon

Your hosting account was found to be causing an overload of MySQL resources. What can you do? Upgrade your Drupal 8 website to Drupal 8.4 or higher.

One of my goals in rebranding my website from CMS Report to socPub was to write diverse articles beyond the topic of content management systems. Yet, here we go again with another CMS related article. The Drupal open source project recently made available Drupal 8.4 and for me this version has been a long time coming as it addresses some long standing frustrations I've had with Drupal 8 from the perspective of a site administrator. While Drupal 8.4 adds some nice new features, I'm just as excited about the bug fixes and performance improvements delivered in this new version of Drupal.

When Drupal 8 was introduced it made significant improvements in how it caches and renders pages. That's great news for websites that use Drupal's built-in caching to speed up delivery of pages or page elements. But there was one unwanted side effect to the cache enhancements, excessive growth of cache tables with tens or hundreds of thousands of entries, and gigabytes in size. For my own website it is not too uncommon to see my database reach 4 GB in size. Let's put it this way, it was no fun to receive a letter from my hosting provider that they weren't too happy of my resource usage. Worse they threatened shutting down my website if I didn't manage the database size better. Just in the nick of time for you and me, Drupal 8.4 delivers a fix to the cache growth by introducing a new default limit of 5000 rows per cache bin.

Mailbag: DRUD Tech Launches ddev Community Open Source Toolkit

Logo of DRUD Technologies

Last week, I received an email inviting me to take a sneak peak at a press release that became public today. In the email, I was asked if I would be interested in hearing "news from new open source startup, DRUD Tech, founded by a couple of long-time Drupal contributors". According to the email, the company has been in "stealth mode" quietly working on their new product which is ready for launch this week. Given that I'm a long time fan of the Drupal content management system of course I said yes.

The new product is ddev (pronounced Dee-Dev) Community which is an open source solution intended to automate a number of web development tasks that frustratingly takes too much time and resources to manually accomplish. Having already mentioned Drupal, I should probably also mention that this toolkit is also intended for other CMSs including open source favorite WordPress. I've attached below a copy of the latest version of the press release I received. I also did a little digging around DRUD's website and found a video I placed under the press release which shows off some of the features in an earlier version of ddev.

DRUD Tech Releases ddev Community, the Premier Open Source Toolkit to Simplify End-to-End Web Development Processes

The new enterprise-grade, open source solution automates local web development processes to deliver unmatched cost and labor efficiencies

Denver, Colorado – September 19, 2017 – DRUD Tech, provider of open source development tools that automate workflows and web application development with popular CMSes including Drupal and WordPress, today announced the release of ddev Community. Web developers can download ddev Community today at https://github.com/drud.

WordPress 4.8 introduces four new widgets

New WordPress 4.8 widgets

WordPress 4.8 is named "Evans" in honor of jazz pianist and composer William John “Bill” Evans.

WordPress 4.8 is now available and introduces users to new content management tools including three media widgets covering images, audio and video. The "Evans" release also includes link improvements, an updated text widget that supports visual editing, and an upgraded news and events section in your dashboard. 

When Matt Mullenweg announced the release of WordPress 4.8 he mentioned that this new version was built with you in mind. While the updates seem minor, he indicated that users will find that the improvements intuitive enough that "you’ll welcome [the changes] like an old friend".

New Widgets for WordPress

As mentioned, Wordpress includes three new media widgets and one rich text widget. Below is a description of all four widgets:

1. Image Widget

Adding an image to a widget is now a simple task that is achievable for any WordPress user without needing to know code. You simply insert your image right within the widget settings and see it appear automatically.

2. Video Widget

You can now add any video from the Media Library to a sidebar on your site with the new Video widget. WordPress gives examples of how this widget could be used including "to showcase a welcome video to introduce visitors to your site or promote your latest and greatest content".

3. Audio Widget

Despite the increased popularity of video in content, interest in podcast creation is making its own comeback. WordPress sees their new audio widget being welcomed by podcasters, musicians, and avid bloggers. Users just need to upload their audio file to the Media Library, go to the widget settings, select your file, and the page is ready for listeners.

Joomla 3.7 Offers Seven Significant Improvements

Joomla 3.7

A more feature rich Joomla! has just been released.

This week, the Joomla! Project announced the release of Joomla 3.7. This new release in the Joomla! 3 series features over 700 improvements to the popular content management system, including many features which "make administration of Joomla! Web sites easier and more feature-rich, as well as several security updates". The following are the seven biggest new feature improvements I found in Joomla 3.7.

1) Custom Fields

Administrators now have the ability to add Custom Fields to their articles, users, and contacts. Extension developers can also use this feature within their own custom Joomla! Extensions. With Custom Fields, there are now 15 different field types that can be utilized to structure more complex content entry systems which in-turn allows content authors to easily enter their data in a standard manner and display it consistently for site visitors.

2) Multilingual Associations Component

The Multilingual Associations Component allows administrators and authors to easily translate content from one single, unified interface. 

3) Improved Workflow

A category, article, or menu item can now all be created in one step from within the menu manager.

4) New Backend Menu Manager

Intended for sites where multiple people are accessing the Backend/Admin-side of the site is the ability to easily manage the admin menu with the new Backend Menu Manager. Now one can can create custom menus for the Backend just like you can for the Frontend. This feature allows site administrators to control which users can see what admin menu options

5) TinyMCE Improvements

More can now be done with the included rich-text editor including new buttons to easily add menu links and contacts.

Umbraco 7.4 focused on the User Experience

Umbraco Logo

Niels Hartvig recently posted that Umbraco 7.4 has been released. With much focus on improving the user experience, this new version of Umbraco is being subtitled as the "Content type editor update".

Features and improvements highlighted in this update includes:

  •  New content type editor
  •  Some UX polish + documentation
  •  Media library improvements
  •  Grid polish
  •  Password for user panel (no dashboard)
  •  Models Builder

A new era for Drupal begins with Drupal 8

As was mentioned earlier this week, today is the day Drupal 8 becomes official and is released for public consumption. The last time CMS Report was given the opportunity to talk about a major Drupal release was in January 2011 with the release of Drupal 7. If you thought the three year waiting period from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 was long, waiting nearly half a decade for Drupal 8 certainly feels like a lifetime in the world of content management. During this cycle of development, Drupal's own open source community has evolved and its developers have introduced hundreds of changes into the Drupal content management platform.

Since the release of Drupal 7, the Drupal community considered not only how they could influence the content management industry, but has also looked outward to consider how the best practices of developers, designers, and publishers could influence Drupal's own to build a better Drupal. Dries Buytaert, founder and project lead of Drupal, in a blog post remarked that "Drupal 8 has been a big transformation" for the open source community. 

The pace of change in the digital world has become dizzying. If we were to ignore these market forces, Drupal would be caught flat-footed and quickly become irrelevant.

Date for Drupal 6 end-of-life announced

I admit it. When looking at the calendar my eyes have been focused on November 19, 2015. This is the date that Drupal 8, under development since 2011, is expected to be released. But for Drupal 6 users, the beginning of Drupal 8 also marks the beginning of the end for Drupal 6 support. Announced on Drupal.org, Michael Hess writes that Drupal 6 will reach end-of-life on February 24 2016.

As announced in the Drupal 6 extended support policy, 3 months after Drupal 8 comes out, Drupal 6 will be end-of-life (EOL).

On February 24th 2016, Drupal 6 will reach end of life and no longer be supported.

What this means for you:

  • Drupal 6 will no longer be supported by the community at large. The community at large will no longer be creating new projects, fixing bugs in existing projects, writing documentation, etc. around Drupal 6.
  • There will be no more core commits on Drupal 6.x to the official tree. (see What if I have a Drupal 6 site still)
  • The security team will no longer provide support or Security Advisories for Drupal 6
    All Drupal 6 releases on project pages will be flagged as not supported.
  • At some point in the future update status may stop working for Drupal 6 sites.

The policy of the Drupal community is to support only the current and previous stable versions. (When Drupal 8 is released, Drupal 7 will continue to be maintained but Drupal 6 be marked unsupported.) This policy was created to prevent Drupal's core and module maintainers from having to maintain more than two active major versions of Drupal.

CMS Made Simple 2.0 is released

Over the weekend, the core developers for CMS Made Simple, an open source project, announced the release of CMSMS 2.0. While not a complete rewrite, CMSMS 2.0 is a significant re-factoring and renewal for the content management system. Many of the changes involved are focused on giving the web professional an easier and simpler editing experience within the CMS.

In the announcement, Robert Campbell further explains how CMSMS 2.0 came to a final release.

After a very, very long wait (around three years for this attempt alone) and a great deal of effort, we are overjoyed to announce the public release of CMSMS 2.0. The next generation in the evolution of making managing web content simple.

CMSMS 2.0 has been a long and tiring uphill war, with many large and small battles; some of which we won, and some of which we lost. Throughout our battles the Dev Team has always remembered our primary goal and tagline: "Power for the Professionals, Simplicity for the End Users." This means that the professionals have a standards-oriented, powerful engine to build websites and web based applications, and the system still remains simple and fast for the average non-technical user to be able to manage the content of his or her website.

The primary focus for the developers along with feature changes of CMSMS 2.0 include:

  • Significant improvements in the editing experience:

    CMSMS 2.0 includes a new WYSIWYG editor, an improved and dynamic file manager, and a brand new content managing module. Content editors can now easily find, control and edit thousands of pages without concern that they will accidentally erase somebody else's work (that's important!).
     

The Aaron Winborn Award

On March 24, 2015, the Drupal community lost Aaron Winborn who was diagnosed with ALS a few years ago. In honor of Aaron, the Drupal Association and Angie Bryon recently announced the Aaron Winborn Award. The announcement reads as is:

Announcing The Aaron Winborn Award to honor amazing community members

In honor of long-time Drupal contributor Aaron Winborn (see his recent Community Spotlight), whose battle with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (also referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease) is coming to an end later today, the Community Working Group, with the support of the Drupal Association, would like to announce the establishment of the Aaron Winborn Award.

This will be an annual award recognizing an individual who demonstrates personal integrity, kindness, and above-and-beyond commitment to the Drupal community. It will include a scholarship and stipend to attend DrupalCon and recognition in a plenary session at the event. Part of the award will also be donated to the special needs trust to support Aaron's family on an annual basis.

Thanks to Hans Riemenschneider for the suggestion, and the Drupal Association executive board for approving this idea and budget so quickly. We feel this award is a fitting honor to someone who gave so much to Drupal both on a technical and personal level.

Thank you so much to Aaron for sharing your personal journey with all of us. It’s been a long journey, and a difficult one. You and your family are all in our thoughts.

Joomla! allows you to go your own way with Joomla Framework 1.0

A couple years ago, if you would have asked me what I thought about Joomla! I would have told you I think they've lost their way. Their community of developers seemed to be searching on how best to innovate and take risks with a well established stable content management system. I feared that the open source group was stuck looking back and that all we could expect was dull incremental changes to their CMS. Despite the fear, I knew better. Open source communities have a way of reevaluating their priorities and creating spectacular results where you least expect them to do so.

In the second half of 2012, we started seeing something "new" from Joomla! As they started to embrace displaying and managing content on mobile devices, they also embraced the idea that not all core development has to be confined "in-house". With Joomla 3.0 they became the first major CMS that included the Twitter Bootstrap framework to help make their CMS better in the mobile arena. This week, Joomla! has turned the tables and now offers the opportunity for you to allow their framework to make your own web applications better. With Joomla Framework 1.0, Joomla! has proven that they're much more than content management but also a platform for developers to spread their wings.

The Joomla Framework is a new PHP framework (a collection of software libraries/packages) for writing web and command line applications in PHP, without the features and corresponding overhead found in the Joomla! CMS. It provides a structurally sound foundation that can be adapted and extended. This new initiative enables developers to more easily combine features from the Joomla Framework with features from other open source frameworks as they custom-build their own app or CMS.