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Apache, fastcgi, proxy_fcgi, and empty POST bodies with chunked transfer

I've been working on building a reproducible configuration for Drupal Photo Gallery, a project born out of this year's Acquia Build Hackathon.

We originally built the site on an Acquia Cloud CD environment, and this environment uses a pretty traditional LAMP stack. We didn't encounter any difficulty using AWS Lambda to post image data back to the Drupal site via Drupal's RESTful Web Services API.

The POST request is built in Node.js using:

Dealing with Drupal 8 and a giant cache_render table

There are a number of scenarios in Drupal 8 where you might notice your MySQL database size starts growing incredibly fast, even if you're not adding any content. Most often, in my experience, the problem stems from a exponentially-increasing-in-size cache_render table. I've had enough private conversations about this issue that I figure I'd write this blog post to cover common scenarios, as well as short and long-term fixes if you run into this issue.

Consider the following scenarios I've seen where a cache_render table increased to 10, 50, 100 GB or more:

DrupalCamp St. Louis 2017 Keynote announcement: Adam Bergstein

DrupalCamp St. Louis 2017 - September 22-23

(It's not too late to submit a session—and register for DrupalCamp soon, since early bird pricing ends on August 1!)

The organizers behind DrupalCamp St. Louis 2017 are happy to announce we have a speaker scheduled to present the Keynote, Adam Bergstein—Associate Director of Engineering at CivicActions!

Adam's Keynote is titled "Restoring Our Lost Imagination", and here's a short summary:

Drupal VM does Docker

Drupal VM on Docker Hub

Drupal VM has used Vagrant and (usually) VirtualBox to run Drupal infrastructure locally since its inception. But ever since Docker became 'the hot new thing' in infrastructure tooling, I've been asked when Drupal VM will convert to using Docker.

The answer to that question is a bit nuanced; Drupal VM has been using Docker to run its own integration tests for over a year (that's how I run tests on seven different OSes using Travis CI). And technically, Drupal VM's core components have always been able to run inside Docker containers (most of them use Docker-based integration tests as well).

But Docker usage was always an undocumented and unsupported feature of Drupal VM. But no longer—with 4.5.0, Drupal VM now supports Docker as an experimental alternative to Vagrant + VirtualBox, and you can use Drupal VM with Docker in one of two ways:

Call for Sessions is open for DrupalCamp St. Louis 2017 - come and speak!

DrupalCamp St. Louis logo - Fleur de Lis

DrupalCamp St. Louis 2017 will be held September 22-23, 2017, in St. Louis, Missouri. This will be our fourth year hosting a DrupalCamp, and we're one of the best camps for new presenters!

If you did something amazing with Drupal, if you're an aspiring themer, site builder, or developer, or if you are working on making the web a better place, we'd love for you to submit a session. Session submissions are due by August 1.

Composer and Drupal are still strange bedfellows

More and more sites are being built in Drupal 8 (over 160,000 as of DrupalCon Baltimore 2017!). As developers determine best practices for Drupal 8 site builds and deployment, they need to come to terms with Composer. In one of the most visible signs that Drupal is 'off the island', many modules are now requiring developers to have at least a fundamental grasp of Composer and dependency management.

But even more than that, many developers now use Composer in place of manual dependency management or a simpler tools like Drush Make files.

With these major changes comes some growing pains. Seeing these pains on a daily basis, I wrote Tips for Managing Drupal 8 projects with Composer to highlight some best practices and tricks for making Composer more powerful and helpful.

But many developers still wrestle with Composer, and mourn the fact that deployments aren't as simple as dragging zip files and tarballs around between servers, or checking everything into a Git repository and doing a git push. For example:

  • If I manage my codebase with Composer and follow Composer's own recommendation—don't commit dependencies in my vendor directory, what's the best way to actually deploy my codebase? Should I run composer install on my production web server? What about shared hosting where I might not have command line access at all?
  • Many modules (like Webform) require dependencies to be installed in a libraries folder in the docroot. How can I add front end dependencies via Composer in custom locations outside of the vendor directory?

And on and on.

DrupalCon Baltimore 2017 - participants sitting and waiting to see the opening Keynote
Over 3,000 community members attended DrupalCon Baltimore 2017.
(Photo by Michael Cannon)

During a BoF I led at DrupalCon Baltimore 2017 (Managing Drupal sites with Composer), we identified over 20 common pain points people are having with Composer, and for many of them, we discussed ways to overcome the problems. However, there are still a few open questions, or problems which could be solved in a number of different ways (some better than others).

I've taken all my notes from the BoF, and organized them into a series of problems (questions) and answers below. Please leave follow-up comments below this post if you have any other thoughts or ideas, or if something is not clear yet!

Don't drown in your open source project!

I presented Just Keep Swimming! Or, how not to drown in your open source project at DrupalCon Baltimore 2017, as part of the Being Human track. Below is a text summary of the presentation (along with the associated slides).

Here's a video of the presentation; scroll past it to read through a transcript and slides:

And the slides/transcript:

Just Keep Swimming - Slide 2

Composer BoF at DrupalCon Baltimore

Update: The BoF has come and passed... and I put up a comprehensive summary of the session here: Composer and Drupal are still strange bedfellows.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, April 25), I'm leading a Birds of a Feather (BoF) at DrupalCon Baltimore titled Managing Drupal sites with Composer (3:45 - 4:45 p.m. in room 305).

Composer for PHP - Logo

I've built four Drupal 8 websites now, and for each site, I have battle scars from working with Composer (read my Tips for Managing Drupal 8 projects with Composer). Even some of the tools that I use alongside composer—for project scaffolding, managing dependencies, patching things, etc.—have changed quite a bit over the past year.

Using Ubuntu Bash in Windows Creators' Update with Vagrant

When Microsoft announced the Windows Subsystem for Linux, now seemingly rebranded as Bash on ubuntu on Windows, I was excited at the possibility of having Drupal VM (and other similarly command-line-friendly open source projects) work better in a Windows environment. But unfortunately, the Anniversary update's version of WSL/Ubuntu Bash was half-baked, and there were a lot of little issues trying to get anything cohesive done between the Windows and Ubuntu Bash environments (even with cbwin).

Then, a year or so later, Microsoft finally announced that tons of improvements (including upgrading Ubuntu in the WSL from 14.04 to 16.04!) would be included in the 'Creators Update' to Windows 10, dropping tomorrow, April 11.

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