April 2007 Vancouver League of Drupaliers Meeting

April 26, 2007 saw a close encounter of the Drupal kind at the Bryght offices in Vancouver's Gastown. Attendance wasn't counted but people were scrambling for chairs. Meeting topics included:

  • OSCMS Roundup
  • Drupal 6 Update
  • Scott Hadfield's Summer of Code Project on Drupal Scalability
  • Install Profiles
  • Pro Drupal Development Book
  • General Q&A

What follows are my notes from the meeting, including audio excerpts (Recording credits go to Roland Tanglao and myself).

April 2007 Drupal Meeting

OSCMS Roundup

mp3: DrupalMeeting2007Apr-OSCMS.mp3 (12 min.)

Boris Mann gave a wrap-up of the OSCMS:

  • Happened at end of March at Yahoo campus in California
  • 2007.oscms-summit.org
  • Yahoo provided the space and the cost to Yahoo "was approximately gi-normous"
  • Full capacity attendance at approximately 380 people over 2 days
  • Less competition between open source projects than commercial software, information isn't proprietary and a lot of info sharing
  • A touch Drupal heavy
  • Dries presentation was interesting and somewhat provacative
  • Boris recapped Dries' presentation about how Drupal has changed the role of the webmaster and DBA/developer, and designers should be next on the list.
  • Install Profiles will make things easier for the end user
  • Meeting people face-to-face was great
  • We should lift Karen S. up on our shoulders and carry her through the streets!
  • Next OSCMS is in Barcelona 3rd week of September, 21st to 23rd: barcelona2007.drupalcon.org/
  • Explanation of how Drupal conferences alternate between North American and Europe
  • Unfortunately there were many US border hassles for Europeans entering the US, may affect conferences locations in the future
  • May be a Drupal presence at OSCON, but Boris hopes someone else plans it!
  • A lot of big corporations were present at OSCMS
  • Yahoo is using a lot of Drupal
  • Listed some of the reasons that big organizations are running Drupal

Drupal 6 Update

mp3: DrupalMeeting2007Apr-Drupal6.mp3 (36 min.)

Steven Wittens gave an overview of the current state of Drupal 6. Boris also jumped in to expand on some points.

  • No fixed release date
  • Code freeze is June 1st
  • At point of code freeze, no more features will be added
  • During code freeze there are beta releases
  • when everything is good there are release candidates
  • When all is good there's a release
  • Based on history, anticipate Drupal 6 release right before the next DrupalCon in September
  • Drupal policy on backward compatibility is we provide an upgrade path for the data. No guarantees on API compatibility.
  • "Drupal will never avoid breaking a certain API convention or mechanism just to maintain backward compatibility if the new solution is much more superior"
  • Drupal 6 has completely changed the way menus work on the backend
  • Menus used for more than just navigation, also used for callback and dispatch
  • CHX has done bulk of work on this and it's a lot faster and cleaner
  • Question about release timing, Developers must stopped thread referenced (Dale: Think it's this one The Developers MUST Be Stopped!)
  • Boris did a recap of the thread. If the site works for you, you don't have to upgrade. You do have to manage client expectations when they see the shiny new features
  • Discussion of different between maintenance/security releases and "feature" releases
  • Discussion around how to stay on old versions and the pros and cons
  • Drupal 6 theme system improvements
  • Merlin of Chaos has implemented the theme registry
  • A way of overriding theming functions by dropping a file in your theme directory without creating a stub to pick it up
  • Info files for themes, which describe theme features. Used to be in code, now in info files, makes it friendlier for themers
  • New language subsystem which is part of the internationalization work
  • Built-in support for language properties like right to left
  • Supports browser based language detection
  • Language code in URL supported. e.g., /en for English, /fr for French
  • Lots of this stuff moved to core, which should promote a lot more activity
  • Database logging options added, can log to syslog, email hook
  • Aside: Will be back-ported to Drupal 5 if people chip in for funding, see Help fund backport of watchdog external logging for Drupal 5
  • Some stuff in the queue like file caching and performance improvements.
  • Boris notices more cooperation happening to focus on a number of areas
  • Cool jquery stuff, Steven did demo
    • Alternative to "<!--break-->, splits screen into two text areas, one for teaser and one for remainder. Also option for different teaser text like "Excerpt" module
    • Table header locks at the top as table is scrolled
  • New installer uses Garland theme w/task overview
  • More technical description of the menu system internal changes. Purely performance.
  • Discussion about Rasmus Lerdorf's request to drop support for PHP4.
  • Would be really nice to have more specific information around what PHP versions Drupal users are using, suspect it is different from the community at large

Scott Hadfield's Summer of Code Project

mp3: DrupalMeeting2007Apr-SHadfieldSoC.mp3 (5 min.)

Scott Hadfield is a successful summer of code applicant. He gave a brief overview of his project.

  • Topic is scalability
  • Three parts to it
  • 1st part, Automated data generation
  • 2nd part automated stress test using the auto-generated data
  • An aspect of this is the ability to automatically test module, with ability to select module combos
  • 3rd part, if time, more documentation on how to scale across multiple servers
  • If issues are found in Drupal core, would submit patches or recommendations
  • Details at http://groups.drupal.org/node/3751#comment-11243

Install Profiles

mp3: DrupalMeeting2007Apr-InstallProfiles.mp3 (28 min.)

Boris Mann did an overview on Install Profiles.

  • If you have additional install profiles available they will be presented at install time
  • Installs per normal, maybe a few more messages
  • Profiles can predefine different content, like stories
  • Can have pre-defined profiles fields with profiles turned on
  • eg tiny mce enabled by default
  • pathauto turned on
  • Can set theme
  • There is handbook documentation
  • Boris did a walk through of an install profile file
  • default.profile is Drupal's default profile in Bryghts public svn repository https://svn.bryght.com/dev/browser/bryghtbase/DRUPAL-5/trunk/profiles/basic

Pro Drupal Development Book

  • New Drupal book: Pro Drupal Development
  • Written by Drupal community members John VanDyk and Matt Westgate
  • Excellent source of Drupal programming information
  • Top seller on Amazon
  • Boris had a copy for people to look at

Other References