DRUPAL-6

Drupal hiring, latest sites

Submitted by Frederic Marand on Sat, 2009-04-25 23:47

Misc news this week: the latest site I've been called to work on, for the Etats Généraux de l'Outre Mer, is now online in a heated political context. Good to see our government choose Drupal in such emergency situations.

Also, I've finally updated the blog to Drupal 6. Remaining on D5 was starting to feel weird while I was busy on D6 sites for customers, and the site-specific module is even shorter than it used to be on D5. Yay!

The big news for OSInet, though, is that we're hiring again.

If non-admin users can see some user accounts but not others...

Submitted by Frederic Marand on Wed, 2009-03-11 13:48

After a massive user import to a customer's site, said customer noticed that, while he could see any user profile when logged, he could only see some of them when he was not logged in, receiving an "access denied" on the other accounts.

Now, with the administer users permission, a user can see any profile, so this didn't come into consideration, but since anonymous users could see some profiles and not others, the permissions granting anonymous access to the profiles were obviously set up correctly. So what could be wrong ?

Switching to private downloads to speed up Drupal

Submitted by Frederic Marand on Sat, 2008-12-20 21:18

It is usually considered a given that "private" downloads, going through Drupal, are slower than "public" downloads, which can be served directly by Apache, or whatever web server the site is running on. This is indeed true in the general case; however, for low-cost hosting, this apparent axiom needs to be revisited.

Context

I recently had to install Drupal 6.x for a french government agency on a low-cost hosting plan. Although the site performed reasonably well considering the limitations of the chosen hosting plan, I soon noticed it was missing mod_deflate and mod_expires, which caused pages to be served uncompressed and every static file to be served without an expiration date.

And, of course, the site had quite a few images: photos on most pages, and several logos at the bottom of each page.

Now, when mod_deflate is missing, using the "Page compression" option on http://example.com/admin/settings/performance is a good workaround for the download page size, but what about the static files ?

Checking a few cheap hosting plans, it appeared these limitations are actually quite common. And without mod_expires, there is no way to tell Apache to serve static content with specific headers. Luckily for us, with Drupal we have a trick up our sleeves, the so-called "private" file downloads.

Speeding up Drupal on Vista with Wampserver

Submitted by Frederic Marand on Sat, 2008-11-22 18:28

The problem : Drupal awfully slow on Vista (and Seven) with Wampserver

For some time now, I'd been severiously annoyed by the (utter lack of) performance of Drupal 6 and 7 on my home PC, which happens to be running Microsoft Vista: considering I was used to getting page times around 200ms on a fractional Celeron with Apache 2.2 on a Linux server hosted comparatively far across the net from that same machine, I felt the 5 to 15 seconds response time per page on this local machine with a quad core and 3 GB RAM were really making me lose my time.

The solution

After some time spend googling around, I stumbled upon an incredibly simple tip, which made the 5 to 15 seconds per page drop down to around 1 second when logged in, and well below 500 ms when not logged in. It's incredible what ONE single character in a plain text file gets you under Vista :-)

UPDATE 2010-01-23: David Hogg tells us (see below) that this works for Windows Seven too

Reducing system load for graphical widgets

Submitted by Frederic Marand on Thu, 2008-08-21 22:02

Using a graphics library, be GD, ImageMagick or anything else, is convenient, but carries a price to pay: unlike most Drupal parts, which are generally database-bound, image generation is typically CPU-bound: generating many images on the fly can significantly increase the CPU load on a system, while Drupal setups are typically not optimized for this, and could result in problems if you are using Drupal on a shared hosting account. So what ?

A progress bar widget for FormsAPI

Submitted by Frederic Marand on Sun, 2008-08-17 15:18

Forms API progress barAs a Drupal user, you certainly noticed that update.php displays a nice progress bar to make you wait during its batch operations. And maybe you also noticed theme_progress_bar in the API reference.

The question

Wouldn't it be nice to have that progress bar available as an extended version of markup that would graphically display a value in your forms without stuffing it in a markup element ?

Checkboxes in forms step by step

Submitted by Frederic Marand on Tue, 2008-08-12 22:09

For some reason or another, I've noticed several new Drupal developers these last few days sweating on Forms API, and thought it would be nice to have a smallish example to complement the unavoidable FAPI reference and Guick start guide, for a typical non-basic form: one including set of checkboxes in a table, with a customized display, like the core user, content or modules administration forms. So follow me while we build this example.

Drupal internships

Submitted by Frederic Marand on Fri, 2008-04-11 09:17

With OSInet focusing more heavily now on Drupal services, the company is now offering internships for students interested in working on Drupal.

First things first, I've offered to mentor for the Google Summer of Code, and would be specifically interested if a student picked up the live Drupal backup project if it came to be approved.