Latest Blog Posts

Content Moderation and Workspace module

Submitted by timmillwood on Thu, 25/08/2016 - 09:23

Drupal 8.2.0 will see a bunch of new experimental modules. Once of these is Content Moderation. This is a port of the Drupal 8 release of Workbench Moderation, with a number of updates to make it suitable for core.

Work is currently underway to get Content Moderation working for Workspaces. Workspaces, defined by the Workspace module and it’s dependency Multiversion, are a way of creating different versions of your site’s content and getting the elusive “full site preview” functionality. With Content Moderation you are able to moderate a whole Workspace. Then once published all content will be deployed to the live workspace.

The screencast below shows adding some content on the Stage Workspace and confirming the content doesn’t exist on the Live Workspace. Then publishing the Stage Workspace results in the content being on both Workspaces.

Selling the Drupal community to those here for the code

Submitted by timmillwood on Mon, 11/07/2016 - 13:03

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.

Drupal is famed for its community, with the slogan “Come for the code, stay for the community”, but as Drupal starts to evolve into a more enterprise platform it’s expected to see more organisations coming for the code, and staying just for the code. Why should we care?

Drupal Cores lists 3635 contributors to Drupal 8 core. Without these people you wouldn’t have Drupal. If you’re not supporting these people your business model is flawed. Many organisations sell Drupal to clients and / or use Drupal themselves. What would happen if Drupal wasn’t a sustainable platform anymore?

The Drupal Association doesn’t have anything to do with the code itself, but they do run the platform that packages the code, hosts the code, tests the code, markets the code, as well as many other roles within the community. This year and last year the Drupal Association had to lay off a number of staff members due to funding issues. Organisations really need to get behind the Drupal Association otherwise there will be no Drupal. There are a number of ways you can support the Drupal Association, and it’s great to see more and more non-dev-shops listed on

At Appnovation we have had a lot of growth over the last 2 years and with this growth community contributions have not kept up. Therefore we’re currently working on a community contributions program to try to inspire the company as a whole to work closer with all the open source communities. We’re also embedding this within the sales and pre-sales process too, so we can ensure our clients know about and understand the open source communities behind the software we’re using with them.

It’d be great to hear your thoughts, ideas, and views. In return there will be more blog posts with progress updates.

Workflow Initiative: What am I doing?

Submitted by timmillwood on Mon, 27/06/2016 - 16:45

The Workflow Initiative was announced just over a month ago and since then I have been working on the first phases full-time. Here’s what I’ve touched:

In Drupal 8.1.x the RevisionLogInterface was introduced, but not used. In 8.2.x the Node entity will use it. Also BlockContent entity will use it.

When we make everything revisionable we’ll need all entities to get their base fields from the base class. So from 8.2.x all content entities inherit their base fields.

To help people make sensible decisions Node revisions will now be enabled by default.

We got into a pretty annoying issue when trying to add revision fields to entities which already had data because the revision field couldn’t be set to NOT NULL. Andrei wrote an awesome patch to allow an initial from field to be set. We therefore set the revision id as the entity id.

When we make everything revisionable we’ll need an upgrade path, to test this the Shortcut entity is being upgraded to revisionable by a new service. This has still not been committed, so reviews are welcome.

We’re trying to get Workbench Moderation into core as Content Moderation. Still lots to do to make this happen, but the patch is there with passing tests.

Initial work has also started to get an archive field into all entities. This will allow us to have CRAP (create, read, archive, purge) workflow, create a trash system, and replicate entity deletion through environments.

Drupal Deploy demos

Submitted by timmillwood on Fri, 06/05/2016 - 08:32

Single site content staging with Deploy

This demo shows creating content on a stage workspace then deploying it to live. Once deployed an edit is made on the live workspace and an update is done on stage to pull from live.

Cross site content staging with Deploy

Now with RELAXed Web Services installed cross-site deployments can be done. First replicator users are setup with the permissions to replicate content. These users are added to the Relaxed settings on Drupal 1. A remote is added to Drupal 1 for Drupal 2. The live workspace is updated to set the upstream workspace to Live on Drupal 2. Content is created on Drupal 1 and deployed to Drupal 2. A change is then made on Drupal 2, and Drupal 1 is updated to pull the changes from Drupal 2.

DrupalCon New Orleans 2016 - Proposed sessions

Submitted by timmillwood on Mon, 29/02/2016 - 10:53

This year I have proposed three sessions for the North American DrupalCon based on the topics I have been working on for the last 9 months.

Please take a look, ask questions, make comments, and share.

Building sites with Composer
If you have been keeping up to date with by blog you will notice I have been working a lot with Drupal and Composer. In this session I will share this knowledge and look from a site builders perspective.

Managing and staging your content
In Barcelona and Mumbai, Dick Olsson and I, presented on content management and content staging solutions. We have been continuing to work on improving these solutions and wish to give an updated session in New Orleans.

Drupal is a CMS, so how can we better manage content?
This session will discuss many of the same topic as the earlier session “Managing and staging your content” however from a much more technical point of view, and with the goal of, how do we get this into Drupal core. Drupal 8 now has configuration management, it’s time we also focussed on content management.

Where have the dependencies gone?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 03/02/2016 - 14:40

<p>As of <a href="; target="_blank">1:23pm GMT on Febuary 3rd 2016</a> there are no dependencies in the Drupal 8.1.x git branch.</p>


<p>There was no reason to have them there. It makes the repository bigger, and therefore takes longer to download. <a href="; target="_blank">No one</a> <a href="; target="_blank">else</a> <a href="; target="_blank">does it</a>.</p>

<h2>What does it mean?</h2>

<p>Not much really.</p>

<p>If you download Drupal via the zip file or tarball then the packager will run <code>composer</code> so the dependencies will be there for you.</p>

<p>If you submit a Drupal core patch on then DrupalCi testbot will run <code>composer install</code>.</p>

<p>It’s only if you clone Drupal 8.1.x or higher directly from git, you will need to run <code>composer install</code> in the Drupal root directory</p>

<p>Top tip: <code>composer install --prefer-source --no-interaction</code> can often be quicker.</p>

Composer dependencies in Drupal contrib

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/01/2016 - 11:51

<p>Drupal 8 is out, Drupal 8.1 will be out before we know it, but it seems contrib is still catching up. One question that seems to keep coming up is around installing a Drupal 8 module. In this post I will look at the different ways to install a module and resolving dependencies.</p>

<p><a href="; target="_blank">Deploy</a>, <a href="; target="_blank">Search API Solr Search</a>, and <a href="; target="_blank">Commerce</a> are just a few of the modules with Drupal 8 releases that require dependencies loaded via composer. This means you can’t just download the module’s ZIP file, unzip it in your modules directory, and enable it. You need to install the dependencies.</p>

<p>One simple way to do this is the <a href="; target="_blank">Composer Manager</a> module. This module has <a href="; target="_blank">extensive documentation</a> on how to use it. Essentially what it does it merge the composer.json that ships with core and the composer.json files from all the contrib module you have, then downloads the dependencies. You may notice that this will also update core dependencies, but this is a good thing! The core composer.json has been written in such a way that it won’t introduce API breaking dependencies and only uses stable releases. So you will benefit from any bug fixes or security fixes rolled out in these dependencies before they’re rolled out with Drupal.</p>

<p>The two other ways we’re going to look at involve directly using Composer.</p>

<p><strong>Just the dependencies</strong><br/>
It’s possible to carry on installing Drupal modules exactly as you always have, download the zip or tarball, then unzip it into your modules directory. As mentioned earlier this will not install the dependencies, therefore you will need to look inside the module’s composer.json file, see what the dependencies are, and install them manually. Let’s take Deploy module as an example, this depends on the dev-master version of <a href="; target="_blank">relaxedws/replicator</a>. So, go to your Drupal docroot and run the command <code>composer require relaxedws/replicator:dev-master</code>. This will add relaxedws/replicator to Drupal’s composer.json, download it, and put it in the vendor directory ready for the module to make use of. This will not change any other other dependencies you have. Then to update the dependencies you can either run <code>composer update</code> to update relaxedws/replicator and all core dependencies or <code>composer update relaxedws/replicator</code> to just update the relaxedws/replicator package.</p>

<p><strong>The module too</strong><br/>
If you install all you Drupal modules via composer, all of the dependencies will automatically be installed too. First you will need to add a new repository, so run <code>composer config repositories.drupal composer <a href="; target="_blank"></a></code&gt; in your Drupal docroot, this will add the <a href="; target="_blank"></a&gt; repository to your drupal composer.json. Now you can install any module from via composer. So going back to the example of Deploy you can run <code>composer require drupal/deploy:8.1.0-alpha5</code> in your Drupal docroot and it will install Deploy in the modules directory. It will also install key_value, multiversion, and relaxed, which are all Drupal modules required by Deploy. Furthermore it will install relaxedws/replicator as we know is a PHP package needed for Deploy, and doctrine/couchdb which is a PHP package needed for releaxedws/replicator.</p>

<p>I hope this helps those confused what to do with Drupal 8 modules that have composer dependencies. Now go do the smart thing, rebuild your site using Composer!</p>

Putting the M back in CMS

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 21/12/2015 - 14:16

<p>For the last 6 months I’ve been helping <a href="; target="_blank">Dick</a> and <a href="; target="_blank">Andrei</a> with a number of Drupal modules to enhance the management of content.</p><p><b><a href="; target="_blank">Multiversion</a></b></p><p>This module enhances the Drupal core Entity API by making all content entities revisionable. Revisions are enabled by default and not optional. This means that edits to users, comments, taxonomy terms etc are created as new revisions.</p><p>Another ground breaking advance is that deleting any of these entities now just archives it. Delete is a flag in the entity object, and just like any other update, it creates a new revision.</p><p>The concept of workspaces has also been added, this allows for a new instance of the site, from a content perspective, can be created. An example use case for workspaces would be to have a dev, stage and production workspace, and move content between them as it gets promoted through the workflow.</p><p><b><a href="; target="_blank">Trash</a></b></p><p>Now that deleting content entities just means a new revision marked as deleted we need a way to recover or purge them. The trash module is a UI on top of Multiversion allowing users to do just this.</p><figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="707" data-orig-width="995"><img src="…; data-orig-height="707" data-orig-width="995"/></figure><p><a href="; target="_blank"><b>Relaxed Web Services</b></a></p><p>Drupal 8 has always been about <a href="; target="_blank">getting off the island</a>, Relaxed Web Services furthers this by getting content off the island. It uses Drupal core’s REST API to expose CouchDB compatible endpoints. This means that replicating content is just a case of using CouchDBs replicator. Then creating a <a href="; target="_blank">decoupled Drupal site</a> is as simple as using <a href="; target="_blank">PouchDB</a>.</p><p>This works really well with Multiversion’s Workspaces, where each workspace is exposed as a separate CouchDB database.</p><p><a href="; target="_blank"><b>CouchDB Replicator</b></a></p><p>So that we don’t need to depend on CouchDB for replication, the replicator has been rewritten in PHP. This will allow us replicator content from within Drupal or even via Drush.</p><p><b><a href="; target="_blank">Deploy</a></b></p><p>There is a long history for Deploy in Drupal, but now in Drupal 8 it’s little more than a UI for the PHP based CouchDB replicator. It allows replication of content between workspaces, between Drupal sites, and between CouchDB databases.</p><p><a href="; target="_blank"><b>Mango</b></a></p><p>Something we’re currently working on is Mango, inspired by MongoDB and based on <a href="; target="_blank">Cloudant’s implementation for CouchDB</a>. Mango will allow querying for content entities over the Relaxed Web Services API. This is going to be very interesting to those creating decoupled sites because PouchDB supports the same querying API.</p>