Recent Blog Posts

Thoughts on the Acquia Certified Back end Specialist - Drupal 8 Exam

Continuing along with my series of reviews of Acquia Developer Certification exams (see the previous one: Drupal 8 Site Builder Exam, I recently took the Back End Specialist – Drupal 8 Exam, so I'll post some brief thoughts on the exam below.

Acquia Certified Back End Specialist - Drupal 8 Exam Badge

Acquia finally updated the full suite of Certifications—Back/Front End Specialist, Site Builder, and Developer—for Drupal 8, and the toughest exams to pass continue to be the Specialist exams. This exam, like the Drupal 7 version of the exam, requires a deeper knowledge of Drupal's core APIs, layout techniques, Plugin system, debugging, security, and even some esoteric things like basic webserver configuration!

Adding Configuration Split to a Drupal site using BLT and Acquia Cloud

Note: As of Config Split beta4, you no longer need to use drush csex/csim to export and import config accounting for splits. You instead install both Config Filter and Config Split, then use the normal Drush commands (drush cex/cim).

I've been looking at a ton of different solutions to using Drupal 8's Configuration Management in a way that meets the following criteria:

Tips for Managing Drupal 8 projects with Composer

It's been over a year since Drupal 8.0.0 was released, and the entire ecosystem has improved vastly between that version's release and the start of the 8.3.0-alpha releases (which just happened a couple weeks ago).

One area that's seen a vast improvement in documentation and best practices—yet still has a ways to go—is Composer-based project management.

Along with a thousand other 'get off the island' initiatives, the Drupal community has started to take dependency management more seriously, by integrating with the wider PHP ecosystem and maintaining a separate Drupal.org packagist for Drupal modules, themes, and other projects.

Profiling Drupal 8 Sites in Drupal VM with XHProf and Tideways

XHProf, a PHP extension formerly created and maintained by Facebook, has for many years been the de-facto standard in profiling Drupal's PHP code and performance issues. Unfortunately, as Facebook has matured and shifted resources, the XHProf extension maintenance tailed off around the time of the PHP 7.0 era, and now that we're hitting PHP 7.1, even some sparsely-maintained forks are difficult (if not impossible) to get running with newer versions of PHP.

Enter Tideways.

Tideways has basically taken on the XHProf extension, updated it for modern PHP versions, but also re-branded it to be named 'Tideways' instead of 'XHProf'. This has created a little confusion, since Tideways also offers a branded and proprietary service for aggregating and displaying profiling information through Tideways.io. But you can use Tideways completely independent from Tideways.io, as a drop-in replacement for XHProf. And you can even browse profiling results using the same old XHProf UI!

YAML formatting and Drupal 8 - making things readable

As someone who loves YAML syntax (so much more pleasant to work with than JSON!), I wanted to jot down a few notes about syntax formatting for the benefit of Drupal 8 developers everywhere.

I often see copy/pasted YAML examples like the following:

object:
  child-object: {key: value, key2: {key: value}}

This is perfectly valid YAML. And technically any JSON is valid YAML too. That's part of what makes YAML so powerful—it's easy to translate between JSON and YAML, but YAML is way more readable!

So instead of using YAML like that, you can make the structure and relationships so much more apparent by formatting it like so:

Preserve the ability to Quick Edit nodes when theming node templates!

...aka, avoid the annoying Javascript error below:

drupal.js:67
TypeError: undefined is not an object (evaluating 'entityElement
      .get(0)
      .getAttribute')

Many themers working on Drupal 8 sites have Contextual menus and Quick Edit enabled (they're present in the Standard Drupal install profile, as well as popular profiles like Acquia's Lightning), and at some point during theme development, they notice that there are random and unhelpful fatal javascript errors—but they only appear for logged in administrators.

Eventually, they may realize that disabling the Contextual links module fixes the issue, so they do so and move along. Unfortunately, this means that content admins (who tend to love things like contextual links—at least when they work) and up not being able to hover over content to edit it.

There are two ways you can make things better without entirely disabling these handy modules:

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