is niet meer.

De ploeg van is verhuisd naar waar we samen met anderen aan een nieuwswebsite werken. De komende weken en maanden bouwen we om tot een archief van 10 jaar werk van honderden vrijwilligers.

Drupalcon Boston: What's in it for

Drupalcon Boston: What's in it for

I'm currently geeking out in Boston at (yep, you guessed it) this spring's Drupalcon. Drupalcon is the twice yearly event for all things Drupal: developers, themers, site builders, users, fans get together to discuss and work on Drupal. And, of course, to have a lot of fun.

This Drupalcon lasts 4 days, receives 800+ attendees (the event was sold out), had a very cool all-conference party, loads of (very) interesting sessions, and three extraordinary keynotes (Dries' state of the Drupal union, a talk by Google's open source programs manager Chris diBona and one by MySQL's chief architecht Brian Aker. In other words, it's quite a ride.

Even though we still have two days to go (last conference day on Thursday, code & documentation sprint on Friday), I'm going to list some (mostly technical) things that look interesting for us at Here goes.

1) (Multi)media handling in Drupal

One of my goals for this Drupalcon was to find out what direction media handling in Drupal is moving into. Since we're building our new site, building content types that are as close to this direction as possible, seems like a huge plus.

After the first session of this Drupalcon (which was all about multimedia in Drupal), I was happy to see that the way we are currently handling images (photos) on, is the way that Drupal is likely to move forward. The following seems like a probable scenario: the image module will be transformed into what is now imagefield, and will (likely) move into core in Drupal 7. We're currently using imagefield.

Also very interesting: things like automatic resizing and cropping (currently provided by the imagecache module) will also become standard features. Since better image handling is a top user request within the Drupal community, this will get some serious attention for the Drupal 7 release.

For audio & video, things are a lot less clear. There is currently a very good audio module that still fulfills the needs of most users, and for video, well, there are a few options. Things like third party storage of media files are also being looked at (think Amazon S3 and the like).

2) The future of fields

The already wildly popular Content Construction Kit (CCK) module will become even more important for Drupal. With CCK, you're able to define your content types (eg. photo report, audio, video) by adding fields through the UI yourself (as opposed to using modules that define complete content types). Good thing: we switched from the outdated Flexinode module to CCK last summer.

During their presentation on Tuesday morning, some of the main CCK developers outlined their vision for the module. A few weeks before Drupalcon, they got together in Chicago to discuss the future data architecture of Drupal. Tuesday's session was meant to present the results of that meeting and to ask for feedback from the community (or: a good example of how open source works).

On top of CCK being extremely flexible, it also allows for other interesting things, such as mixing local and external data. As in easily integrating a photo from Flickr in your article. Although these are still future plans for CCK, they seem to align nicely with Dries' vision for Drupal, which he presented in his keynote on Monday morning. Interesting quote from Barry Jaspen, CCK developer (now employed at Acquia): "A site that only works with local data is like a computer that is disconnected from the internet. It is useless."

3) Performance

Some key people involved with Drupal performance and scalability presented some tips and techniques for running large Drupal sites, and running them fast. Optimisation of the server (a traditional LAMP stack in our case) was an obvious first requirment for running a Drupal installation decently. Also mentioned: memcache (this was talked about in a few presentations, so definitely worth checking out) and PHP opcode cache. Generally (MySQL's Brian Aker also mentioned this) the current way of running things seems to be to add caching layers between the application and the database (such as memcache) instead of making direct calls to the database. David Strauss pointed out some high level MySQL tuning that I'll have to read through again (honestly, it made my head spin yesterday).

4) Panels 2 / Nodequeue

Two modules that we'll definitely be using (pretty intensively) on our new site, are Panels and Nodequeue. They are both related to the lay-out and presentation of content, and will allow us to present the headline stories the way you can see in these mock ups, as well as the lay-out of those pages. Panels lets you define custom lay-outs from within Drupal, and manipulate these as you wish. Once you have everything set up, you can then export them to a module, and keep them in the file system on your site (instead of storing them in the database) for increased performance. Both modules (Panels & Nodequeue) have undergone serious work lately, so we're looking forward to using them.

5) Context

A problem in Drupal, and something we really really need for our new site, is context. Context is the notion that your site is aware of where you are in your site. Say, you're reading an article in the 'media' section, then it is the context that (should) decide(s) what to display around that piece of content. Currently, this doesn't work very well in Drupal and there are several ways in which people try to solve this problem. Young Hahn and Jeff Miccolis from Development Seed presented their take on the issue. We'll definitely be checking out their solution, as well as the way Panels handles this.


Will definitely have to attend the next. Sounds very worthwhile...


Gepost door brunodbo