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:

  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:

Re-save all nodes of a particular type in an update hook in Drupal 8

I recently needed to re-save all the nodes of a particular content type (after I had added some fields and default configuration) as part of a Drupal 8 site update and deployment. I could go in after deploying the new code and configuration, and manually re-save all content using the built-in bulk operation available on the /admin/content page, but that would not be ideal, because there would be a period of time where the content isn't updated on the live site—plus, manual processes are fragile and prone to failure, so I avoid them at all costs.

In my Drupal 8 module, called custom, I added the following update hook, inside custom.install:

Can't upload more than 20 files using Media Image Entities in Drupal 8?

After migrating an older Drupal 6 site with 20,000 media items to Drupal 8, I found a strange problem with image uploads. On the Drupal site, using Image FUpload and Adobe Flash, I could upload up to 99 images in one go. On the new Drupal 8 site, I was only able to upload 20 images, even though I didn't see an error message or any other indication that the rest of the images I had selected through the Media Image upload form were not successfully added.

I could choose 21, 40, or 500 images, but only 20 were ever added to an album at any time.

There were no apparent warnings on the screen, so I just assumed there was some random bug in the Media Image Entity or Media module suite that limited uploads to 20 files at a time.

But due to an unrelated error, I glanced at the PHP logs one day, and noticed the following error message:

Testing redirections using Behat and the Behat Drupal Extension

One project I'm working on needed a Behat test added to test whether a particular redirection works properly. Basically, I wanted to test for the following:

  1. An anonymous user accesses a file at a URL like http://www.example.com/pictures/test.jpg
  2. The anonymous user is redirected to the path http://www.example.com/sites/default/files/pictures/test.jpg

Since the site uses Apache, I added the actual redirect to the site's .htaccess file in the docroot, using the following Rewrite configuration:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
  RewriteEngine on

  # Rewrite requests for /profile_images to public files directory location.
  RewriteRule ^ pictures/(.*)$ /sites/default/files/pictures/$1 [L,NC,R=301]

Testing with curl --head, I could see that the proper headers were set—Location was set to the correct redirected URL, and the response gave a 301. So now I had to add the Behat test.

Drupal VM Tips & Tricks - brief remote presentation for DrupalDC

Yesterday I presented Drupal VM Tips & Tricks at the DrupalDC meetup, remotely. I didn't have a lot of time to prepare anything for the presentation, but I thought it would be valuable to walk through some of the neat features of Drupal VM people might not know about.

Here's the video from the presentation:

Some relevant links mentioned during the presentation:

Add a set of Taxonomy terms via a custom Drupal module's update hook

From time to time, I've needed to have a default set of Taxonomy terms created at the same time as a content type, as in the case of a field with a required Taxonomy term reference, using a Taxonomy that is not 'free tag' style.

Instead of requiring someone to go in and manually add all the terms after code is deployed, you can add terms in a custom module's update hook, like so:


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