Migrating 20,000 images, audio clips, and video clips into Drupal 8

tl;dr: If you want to skip the 'how-to' part and explanation, check out the pix_migrate example Drupal 8 migration module on GitHub.

For a couple years, I wanted to work on my first personal site migration into Drupal 8, for the last Drupal 6 site I had running on my servers. I've run a family photo/audio/video sharing website since 2009, and through the years it has accumulated hundreds of galleries, and over 20,000 media items.

Family Photos and Events website display - desktop and mobile
The home page of the Drupal 8 photo sharing website.

Drupal VM supports MySQL, MariaDB, and PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL elephant transparent PNG
The PostgreSQL logo. Same family as PHP's mascot!

For the past few years, I've been intending to kick the tires of PostgreSQL, an open source RDBMS (Relational DataBase Management System) that's often used in place of MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle, MS SQL, or other SQL-compliant servers. Drupal 7 worked with PostgreSQL, but official support was a bit lacking. For Drupal 8, daily automated test builds are finally being run on MySQL, SQLite, and PostgreSQL, so many of the more annoying bugs that caused non-MySQL database engines to fail have finally been fixed!

Interview with Cal Evans on Voices of the elePHPant

A few months ago, when I spoke at php[tek] in St. Louis, I had the honor of being interviewed by Cal Evans on the Voices of the elePHPant podcast! In the interview, we discussed Drupal 8, Acquia, the Raspberry Pi Dramble, and the PHP community.

Check out the interview: Interview with Jeff Geerling - Voices of the elePHPant.

There's also a video recording of the podcast, embedded below:

Change the displayed username in Drupal 8 ala Realname

Recovering from surgery finally gave me time to update my last D6 site—a 7 year old private photo and media sharing site with nearly 10,000 nodes and 20+ GB of content—to Drupal 8. Drupal 8 has become a lot more mature lately, to the point where I'm comfortable building a site and not having the foundation rot out from beneath as large ecosystem shifts have mostly settled down.

One thing that I thought would have the simplest implementation actually took a little while to figure out. I needed to have users' full name display instead of their usernames throughout the site. For D6 (and for similar D7 use cases), the easiest way to do this was to enable the Realname module, configure it a tiny bit, and be done with it.

In Drupal 8, however, Realname doesn't yet have a full release (see this issue for progress), and the way usernames are generated has changed slightly (see change record hook_username_alter() changed to hook_user_format_name_alter()).

Increase the Guzzle HTTP Client request timeout in Drupal 8

During some migration operations on a Drupal 8 site, I needed to make an HTTP request that took > 30 seconds to return all the data... and when I ran the migration, I'd end up with exceptions like:

Migration failed with source plugin exception: Error message: cURL error 28: Operation timed out after 29992 milliseconds with 2031262 out of 2262702 bytes received (see http://curl.haxx.se/libcurl/c/libcurl-errors.html).

The solution, it turns out, is pretty simple! Drupal's \Drupal\Core\Http\ClientFactory is the default way that plugins like Migrate's HTTP fetching plugin get a Guzzle client to make HTTP requests (though you could swap things out if you want via services.yml), and in the code for that factory, there's a line after the defaults (where the 'timeout' => 30 is defined) like:

Register and Submit Sessions for DrupalCamp St. Louis - Sep 10-11 2016

DrupalCamp St. Louis 2016 Logo

The time is here! The rest of the DrupalCamp St. Louis 2016 organizers and I were working feverishly this week to get all our ducks in a row, and we now have online registration opened up for DrupalCamp St. Louis 2016! Here are the relevant details:

You'll get a snazzy T-Shirt, a catered lunch, and the fuzzy warm feeling of being part of the great Drupal open source community! Plus I'll be there!

Should I disable PHP warnings and notices?

This is a reposting of what I wrote on the Acquia Dev Center blog in 2016, Should I disable PHP warnings and notices?.

Drupal onscreen logged PHP error messages and warnings

Many developers who work on Drupal (or other web/PHP) projects have error reporting disabled in their local or shared dev environments, for a variety of reasons—some don't know how to enable it, some are annoyed by the frequency of notices, warnings, and errors, and some don't like to be reminded of how many errors are logged!

There are a few important reasons you should make sure to show all errors when developing, though:

Changing the font for one character in a string on a Drupal site

File this under the "it's a very bad idea, but sometimes absolutely necessary" category: I was working on a site that wanted to use a particular font for headlines throughout the site, but the client detested one particular character (an ampersand), and requested any time that character were to occur in the page title, it would be swapped out for a different font.

If at all possible, you should avoid doing what I'm about to describe—but in the off chance you need to have an automated way to scan a string of text and change the font family for one particular character, this is what to do:

First, you need to create a special CSS class that you can apply to the individual character, so in your theme's CSS, add something like:

How to attach a CSS or JS library to a View in Drupal 8

File this one under the 'it's obvious, but only after you've done it' category—I needed to attach a CSS library to a view in Drupal 8 via a custom module so that, wherever the view displayed on the site, the custom CSS file from my module was attached. The process for CSS and JS libraries is pretty much identical, but here's how I added a CSS file as a library, and made sure it was attached to my view:

Add the CSS file as a library

In Drupal 8, drupal_add_css(), drupal_add_js(), and drupal_add_library() were removed (for various reasons), and now, to attach CSS or JS assets to views, nodes, etc., you need to use Drupal's #attached functionality to 'attach' assets (like CSS and JS) to rendered elements on the page.

In my custom module (custom.module), I added the CSS file css/custom_view.css:

Hide the page title depending on a checkbox field in a particular content type

In Drupal 8, many small things have changed, but my willingness to quickly hack something out in a few lines of code/config instead of installing a relatively large module to do the same thing hasn't :-)

I needed to add a checkbox to control whether the page title should be visible in the rendered page for a certain content type on a Drupal 8 site, and there are a few different ways you can do this (please suggest alternatives—especially if they're more elegant!), but I chose to do the following:

  1. Add a 'Display Title' boolean field (checkbox, using the field label as the title, and setting off to 0 and on to 1 in the field settings) to the content type (page in this example).

    Drupal 8 Basic Page 'Display Title' checkbox


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