Responsive Web Design State of the Art at DrupalCon Denver 2012

I didn’t attend any responsive web design sessions at DrupalCon Denver 2012 because there was just too much going on under the hood, both for Drupal 7 and Drupal 8. But before this milestone event fades into the past, it is necessary to grab what this historic “reaffirmation” DrupalCon tells us about the state of Drupal is in this key area and how the rest of us should incorporate it into our development process. What frameworks, base themes, standard configurations, and other approaches should we adopt?

This corrects the grave omission of the whole key subject of responsive web design from my recent report back article on DrupalCon Denver 2012.

Here I attempt to address the question by treating myself to an Easter Sunday responsive web design marathon, and grabbing my first conclusions, synthesized with my thinking up to the present (“Mobile first” is the tip of the iceberg and when blithely repeated reduces to a buzzword without addressing the huge multi-server and services, real time and single page app challenges that are increasingly facing the web app builder. While mobiile first (there, I’ve said it) responsive web design is key, promiscuous Drupal with multi-node servlets and services integration is fundamental). But this material is absolutely essential, there’s a lot to learn, don’t go to work without it: I present here my take on each of the following presentations: Rethinking responsive building techniques with drupal – johnalbin, Responsive web design: the past, present, and future – lewisnyman, A responsive project process – daveruse, Creating responsive and mobile-first drupal themes – himerus, Html 4 s – while we’re waiting for the revolution – mortendk, and finally Keynote – Luke Wroblewski. BTW, Panopoly is responsive out of the box (what does that even mean?).

Report back on a set of key DrupalCon Denver 2012 presentations

For many reasons DrupalCon Denver 2012 was a source of “fresh air” and excitement in the community, with emerging developments promising the “democratizing of technology” and a new head start in Drupal 7 site building (see What’s new in panels and several references to the panopoly distribution below). All this of course in the context of the push towards Drupal 8 (currently estimated to be usable in approximately 18 – 24 months from now) and the debate as to what it will be like.

This (longish but I hope useful) article is an objective as possible review of the presentations I recognized as being absolutely key, out of the handful I was able to attend directly. I have organized them into a couple of main threads, as a prelude to a “What’s up with Drupal” series of articles to be published in the near future covering my own recommendations and perspectives for site building and web application development with Drupal over the next couple of years.

The two threads covered here are “State of Drupal” (the official position on the future of Drupal and Drupal 8); and “Drupal 7 now for the rest of us” (promising developments, tools and resources for current work). The presentations I am reporting on, which I feel are key for the future of Drupal and the Drupal community, are the following: State of Drupal (Dries Buytaert Keynote), The Initiatives Formerly Known as WSCCI, Drupal 8 meets Symfony2, Directions for Drupal core Node.js Javascript and the Future, What’s new in the Panels Universe, Open Academy: a higher education drupal product for departmental websites, and finally Delivering Drupal (Sam Boyer on devops and deployment).

Review of Drupal 7 Business Solutions

Drupal 7 Business SolutionsYou can think of Drupal 7 Business Solutions as a magnificent and never ending blog post showing how a business owner can truly get an extremely functional website going using the CMS framework Drupal. The book, written by Trevor James and Mark Noble and published by Packt Publishing, is of course so much more: it includes all the details, all the steps actually required, to design, build, launch and maintain such a website (in this case, the Artisan Bakers Collective Website is the case study used throughout).

Installing Acquia Commons on an Amazon Web Services EC2 instance

Preparation

Main site: http://aws.amazon.com/

Console overview, tour, all categories of info: http://aws.amazon.com/console/

For example, Amazon EC2 Features at http://aws.amazon.com/console/#ec2

I watched the EC2 tutorial at http://d36cz9buwru1tt.cloudfront.net/console/AwsConsole.html

AWS Documentation: http://aws.amazon.com/documentation/

EC2 Documentation (Getting started (recommended), user’s guide, etc.): http://aws.amazon.com/documentation/ec2/

Signing up

Go to http://aws.amazon.com/ and click on the button which says Sign up for a free Amazon Web Services Account – Sign Up Now.

You can use your existing Amazon customer account email and password if you already have one.

My Los Angeles presentation Installation Profiles as everything in code Drupal process strategy (video, slides and code)

So I’m back in L.A. and gearing up. No better way than to present at a local Drupal User’s group.

We look at Features (actually a lot) vs Installation Profiles as everything in code process, which is necessary for the adoption of best practices in development.

Slides: https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dcg2pmwb_109hpc8m8c4

Video: http://blip.tv/ladrupal/installation_profiles_as_an_everything_in_code_development_process_-_flash_-large-_-_20111019_07-46-41pm-5660107

“It seems everyone is talking about using Features for “everything in code” development, but what about installation profiles? This oft-overlooked part of Drupal core is available to us all and provides the tools needed for successful, repeatable development and deployment. Victor Kane is an Drupal developer and trainer with deep roots in the Los Angeles Drupal community. He is the author of Leveraging Drupal: Getting Your Site Done Right. This presentation is a continuation of his articles on the subject at https://awebfactory.com/node/448 and https://awebfactory.com/node/458 “

Code: http://drupal.org/project/pft

I would really love some feedback on all of this.

If your business depends on adopting an agile Drupal devlopment process in Southern California, I can help. Contact me. See Mentoring at AWebFactory.

Updated code in a repo ready to run for two great and useful Node.js Express CouchDB (and MongoDB) tutorials

Up-to-date, executable code for two great tutorials on rolling a blog with express, Node.js and a noSQL database: https://github.com/victorkane/couchblogtut

The first, Blog rolling with mongoDB, express and Node.js, takes you “through the steps required to get a fully-functional (albeit feature-light) persistent blogging system running on top of node. It was first published on February 18, 2010 by Ciaran Jessup and last updated May 14, 2010.

The second, Blog rolling with CouchDB, Express and Node.js, was published on February 7, 2011 by Ian Wootten, and was commented on just this last April.

This pedagogical repo brings it up to date (as of June 22, 2011), makes a MongoDB branch basing the persistence on MongoDB; and a CouchDB branch (ultimately merged into Master) after the more recent article.

Github itself for Agile Project Management madness! Right here in Fargo!

Due to the complexity of modern software development, you absolutely have to use software for agile project management. For the simple reason that the human brain cannot by itself separate the trees from the forest, cannot zoom in to be able to concentrate without distraction on a current task, then zoom out by degrees to see the various bigger pictures.

Any software you feel helps you is fine. The lighter the better, generally speaking.

Since one of the most important considerations is that it all be as close as possible to the code, and allow full traceability from requirements to commits and back, my latest experience is making use of GitHub itself for a self-contained, light agile process tracking experience.

You can take a look at an open source example here: https://github.com/victorkane/lit/issues

Hey Jade!

Far from being a wannabe “missing manual” for Jade this article is simply my own “path of understanding” of how the Jade template engine is utilized in the Express framework, expressed in a simple “work in progress” app which you can find here: https://github.com/victorkane/heyjade

Now, everyone complains that there is “no documentation” for Jade. Actually, just on github, there is a lot in the Readme.md, plus a huge examples directory, plus a jade example in the Express source. Not to mention the Express Guide, which enlightens us on many aspects of how Jade is used with Express.

So I thought I would just work my way through a good part of that, by building a little sample app on github that you can step through by branching through the commits. Again, please follow along here, and check back every now and then for updates as my comprehension goes deeper and deeper (I hope).: https://github.com/victorkane/heyjade