Oh, The Huge Manatee

A blog about technology, open source, and the web... from someone who works with all three.

How Drupal Should Handle Client-side Framework Obsolescence

Today I read a great blog post from Dries: Should we decouple Drupal with a client side framework?. As usual, Dries puts a lot of thought into his writing, and braves a shitstorm of responses by laying his thinking bare while he’s still mulling it over. I couldn’t resist adding to the storm.

I completely agree that Drupal would benefit from figuring out a standardized approach to decoupled front ends. I think Dries is spot-on in supporting a “progressive decoupling” model as a great best-of-both-worlds response that can happen within 8.x. I would frame the problem a little differently, though.

The thing is, we already HAVE embraced a framework and shipped with it in core: backbo…

Drupal 8 RC 1 Is Out! What Now?

Last night (my time) I got the good news over twitter:

That’s right, Drupal 8 has it’s first release. But what does that mean? Is it done? Can I start using it yet? What kind of changes are coming? Will dawehner get to sleep, at last?

Are we there yet?

Despite all the rejoicing on social media, this isn’t the final release for Drupal 8 – it’s only the first Release Candidate. This means that we have (officially!) 0 “critical” bugs left to fix in Drupal 8. That means exactly what it sounds like: there are no critical, world-ending bugs left… that we know of. Just like any software product, we’ll continue to discover critical issues through its entire life cycle. We’re still finding occasional critical issues in Drupal 7 almost five years since its first release candidate; that’s just a part of supporting a piece of software over the long term. The RC phase means that while Drupal 8 is stable enough to use, we’re still discovering critical bugs a little too frequently to re…

El Capitain Broke My Developer Stuff! Here’s How to Fix It

Last night I installed OSX’s new “El Capitain” update, and it broke most of the tools I use in my daily life as a developer, including homebrew and git. Here are the steps I had to follow to get everything working again.

1) Disable System Integrity Protection

System Integrity Protection is a new feature of OSX, also called “rootless.” As the nickname suggests, it creates another level of access above your root account. The nerfed root account can’t modify anything in a (broad) list of system files, folders, or processes. This makes sense for most users, who blindly enter their sudo password for any installer that asks. It is not so good for developers, who regularly use these folders. Homebrew is one application that expects access to /usr/local, a protected folder. Other applications that are busted by SIP are OSXFuse, MacGPG, Git… the lis…

Bundled TV Pricing Will Come Back From the Dead

Everyone is excited these days about the death of ESPN, particularly as evidence of the death of “bundle priced” Cable TV. Consumers are supposed to be excited that soon they will only have to pay for the content they want. Don’t get too excited yet.

Let’s remember the basic purpose of bundled cable TV: for content producers, cable company bundles provide an easy, single outlet for their content. It’s “somebody else” who will get the content to their viewers, sell advertising, and collect payment. For consumers, bundles provide a packaged set of channels that’s easier to manage (and price) than a bunch of individual contracts.

Apart from whatever level of collusion exists in the TV world, the prices for bundles have reached some sort of equilibrium: basic cable TV with Internet costs a…

How the World Sees Drupal - the Dutch PHP Conference 2015

One of the most exciting parts about the switch to Drupal 8 is the rapprochement of the Drupal community with the rest of PHP. This weekend I spoke at the Dutch PHP Conference in Amsterdam, where I got to be part of the vanguard of Drupalists reconnecting with the larger PHP world. The experience had a big impact on my perspective of the future of Drupal as a platform and as a community.

For many years Drupal was quite separate from the rest of the PHP universe. I would hear comments like: “I don’t know PHP. I’m a Drupal developer.” On the other side, our platform’s focus on accessibility for new and learning developers meant that many mainstream PHP coders considered Drupal a repository for poor code…

Troubleshooting Android Error -505 From Google Play

I recently got a new Android phone, and very quickly had trouble installing some of my favorite apps. Google’s Play Store downloads the app successfully, then presents me with “Unknown Error -505”.

"Error 505"

This error message means precisely nothing. It means “something went wrong during installation, and we’re not telling you what.” This drives me crazy. This blog post is about how to get more information out of that error message, and how to fix the problem.

Your device is not going to give you more information on its own. Instead, you need to install ADB, the “Android Debug Bridge” which lets you type commands directly to your Android device over a USB connection. It’s not hard to install, so go and set that up now.

Next, you will have to make sure your Android device permits you to use ADB. On the phone, go to Settings > About Phone, and scroll down to where you see “Build Number” listed. Tap on “Build Number” until you see a popup telling you that you are now a “developer”. Then go back to Settings, and tap on the new “Developer Opt…

How to Build a New Source for Drupal Migrate 8

This week I wanted to accomplish a task in Drupal 8 that would be simple in Drupal 7: Import several CSV files, each one related to the others by taxonomy terms. Most importantly, I wanted to do it with Migrate module.

Migrate in Drupal 7 is a fantastic piece of code. It is not designed to be used from the GUI, rather, it provides a framework of “source”, “destination”, and “migration” classes so that even the most convolut…

How and Why to Update the Modem/baseband Firmware on a Samsung Android Phone

If you have a Samsung Android phone, and you use Samsung’s own version of Android, this article is not for you. When Samsung sends you updates to Android, they also will include any relevant updates to the modem/baseband firmware. So stop reading and go have a cup of tea or something, your job is done.

But for everyone who uses a custom ROM like Cyanogenmod, ParanoidAndroid, or AOKP, sit up and pay attention: you’re missing some key updates for your phone, and …

Drupalgeddon: Best Practices Aren’t Good Enough Anymore

Last week’s Public Service Announcement from the Drupal security team caused a lot of attention. And rightfully so – it told us that the vast majority of Drupal 7 sites around the world are considered compromised. A mere 7 hours after critical security patch SA-CORE-2014-005 was released, robots were spotted in the wild, bulk-hacking Drupal 7 sites with this vulnerability. This is something that’s never happened to the Drupal community before, and it is extremely serious. In some way it’s our own version of Heartbleed and other highly-publicized critical vulnerabilities in open source software.

This issue should not reflect badly on the Drupal community, or the Drupal product at all. Vulnerabilities happen to every software project – particularly the large and compl…

Mobile Apps Are a Temporary Phase, All Hail the Accessible Web

Dries made an interesting post about the new HTML5 standard the other day. OK, the post itself is more of an announcement, but the meat (as far as I’m concerned) is near the end, where he says that “The trend in development seems to be towards native mobile applications rather than mobile websites.” He links to the excellent Mobile is Eating the World presentation by Benedict Evans as evidence.

Really? Because while I agree with Evans that mobile in general is the future, I don’t see it as evidence that mobile apps, specifically, are the future. In fact I believe the contrary: mobile apps are just a phase. Mobile web is going to eat the world, and it’s because of the capacity for a single source to provide machine-readable, machine-reformattable content.

What do I mean by machine-readable and machine-reformattable? Technologists will understand what I mean when I say “responsive”, and they may even understand that responsive and accessible go hand in hand. I am avoiding those terms because they are more specific …