drupal 8

Thoughts on the Acquia Certified Developer - Drupal 8 Exam

Another year, another Acquia Certification exam...

Acquia Certified Developer - Drupal 8 Exam Badge

I'm at DrupalCon New Orleans, the first North American DrupalCon since the release of Drupal 8. In addition, this is the first DrupalCon where the Acquia Certified Developer - Drupal 8 Exam is being offered, so I decided to swing by the certification center (it's on the 3rd floor of the convention center, in case you want to take any of the certification exams this week!) and take it.

Set up faceted Apache Solr search on Drupal 8 (2016 - deprecated)

Note: A lot has changed in Drupal 8 and the Search API module ecosystem since this post was written in May 2016... I wrote a new blog post for Faceted Solr Search in Drupal 8, so please read that if you're just getting started. I'm leaving this up as a historical reference, as the general process and architecture are the same, but many details are different.

In Drupal 8, Search API Solr is the consolidated successor to both the Apache Solr Search and Search API Solr modules in Drupal 7. I thought I'd document the process of setting up the module on a Drupal 8 site, connecting to an Apache Solr search server, and configuring a search index and search results page with search facets, since the process has changed slightly from Drupal 7.

Migrate a custom JSON feed in Drupal 8 with Migrate Source JSON

June 2016 Update: Times change fast! Already, the migrate_source_json module mentioned in the post has been (mostly) merged directly into the migrate_plus module, so if you're building a new migration now, you should use the migrate_plus JSON plugin if at all possible. See Mike Ryan's blog post Drupal 8 plugins for XML and JSON migrations for more info.

Recently I needed to migrate a small set of content into a Drupal 8 site from a JSON feed, and since documentation for this particular scenario is slightly thin, I decided I'd post the entire process here.

I was given a JSON feed available over the public URL http://www.example.com/api/products.json which looked something like:

Yes, Drupal 8 is slower than Drupal 7 - here's why

tl;dr: Drupal 8's defaults make most Drupal sites perform faster than equivalent Drupal 7 sites, so be wary of benchmarks which tell you Drupal 7 is faster based solely on installation defaults or raw PHP execution speed. Architectural changes have made Drupal's codebase slightly slower in some ways, but the same changes make the overall experience of using Drupal and browsing a Drupal 8 site much faster.

When some people see reports of Drupal 8 being 'dramatically' slower than Drupal 7, they wonder why, and they also use this performance change as ammunition against some of the major architectural changes that were made during Drupal 8's development cycle.

First, I wanted to give some more concrete data behind why Drupal 8 is slower (specifically, what kinds of things does Drupal 8 do that make it take longer per request than Drupal 7 on an otherwise-identical system), and also why this might or might not make any difference in your choice to upgrade to Drupal 8 sooner rather than later.

Use Drupal 8 Cache Tags with Varnish and Purge

Varnish cache hit in Drupal 8

Over the past few months, I've been reading about BigPipe, Cache Tags, Dynamic Page Cache, and all the other amazing-sounding new features for performance in Drupal 8. I'm working on a blog post that more comprehensively compares and contrasts Drupal 8's performance with Drupal 7, but that's a topic for another day. In this post, I'll focus on cache tags in Drupal 8, and particularly their use with Varnish to make cached content expiration much easier than it ever was in Drupal 7.

Happy #PiDay 2016 - Celebrating with the Raspberry Pi

I think today was my most Pi-full π day, ever! Let's see:

Early in the morning, I finished upgrading all the Ansible playbooks used by the Raspberry Pi Dramble so my cluster of five Raspberry Pis would run faster and better on the latest version of official Raspberry Pi OS, Raspbian Jessie.

Later, opensource.com published an article I wrote about using Raspberry Pis placed throughout my house to help my kids sleep better:

Honeypot makes an appearance on the Modules Unraveled podcast

I've been subscribed to the Modules Unraveled podcast since somewhere around episode 40, and it's one of my favorite Drupal-oriented podcasts. I was thrilled to get an email from Brian Lewis last week asking if I'd talk about Honeypot (a popular Drupal module I maintain) on the podcast.

We discussed the module itself, ways to combat spam in general, some reasons why you would or would not want to use Honeypot for your particular site, and also the experience of porting the module to Drupal 8—a three year undertaking.

The full/raw interview is available on YouTube:

Configuring CloudFlare with Drupal 8 to protect the Pi Dramble

In a prior post on the constraints of in-home website hosting, I mentioned one of the major hurdles to serving content quickly and reliably over a home Internet connection is the bandwidth you get from your ISP. I also mentioned one way to mitigate the risk of DoSing your own home Internet is to use a CDN and host images externally.

At this point, I have both of those things set up for www.pidramble.com (a Drupal 8 site hosted on a cluster of Raspberry Pis in my basement!), and I wanted to outline how I set up Drupal 8 and CloudFlare so almost all requests to www.pidramble.com are served through CloudFlare directly to the end user!

CloudFlare Configuration

Before anything else, you need a CloudFlare account; the free plan offers the minimal necessary features (though you should consider upgrading to a better plan if you have anything beyond the simplest use cases in mind!). Visit the CloudFlare Plans page and sign up for a Free account.