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(This article was cross-posted from Medium.)

Every few weeks I hear from a colleague who’s dealing with the tangles of editorial tools on a web CMS project. Inevitably, someone on their team suggests that things will be easier if users can’t enter HTML at all. “We’ll use Markdown,” they say. “It’s simple.”

On most projects, it’s a terrible idea — and I’m going to rant about it. If you don’t care about the nerdy details, though, here’s the long and short of it:

Markdown turns common “plaintext” formatting conventions like asterisks, indentation, and so on into HTML markup. If you need anything more complicated (say, an image with a caption or a link that opens in a new window), you need to mix markdown and raw HTML. Markdown is easy to remember for simple stuff (blockquotes, italics, headings, etc) but more complicated structures require extensions to the standard that are just as tweaky as HTML.

It was designed to mirror the ad-hoc conventions of ASCII-only channels like Usenet, email, and IRC. As creator John Gruber said in his original introduction of the project:

The overriding design goal for Markdown’s formatting syntax is to make it as readable as possible. The idea is that a Markdown-formatted document should be publishable as-is, as plain text, without looking like it’s been marked up with tags or formatting instructions.

Markdown’s strength is that it speeds and simplifies the most common text formatting tasks, and does so in a way that looks correct even before the markup is transformed into visual formatting. Markdown accomplishes that by ruthlessly cutting most HTML structures — anything that can’t be turned into a fairly straightforward ASCII-ism is left behind. When it’s pushed beyond that role, things get just as ugly any error-prone as raw HTML: witness the horrors of Markdown Tables and CSS In Markdown.

In many ways, Markdown is less a markup language and more a way to hide basic formatting information in a plain text document. That’s great! I use Markdown for my Jekyll-powered blog. If your project’s body field needs are simple text formatting without complicated embedding, captioning, microformatting, etc? Markdown is probably going to work fine. But — and this is a big one — if that’s all you need, then using a WYSIWYG HTML editor will also work fine.

WYSIWYG editors aren’t a pain because they “hide the code” from content creators. They’re problematic because they’re often configured to give editors access to the full range of HTML’s features, rather than the specific structural elements they really need to do their jobs. I’ve written about this “vocabulary mismatch” problem before, but it’s worth coming back to.

When you decide to use Markdown, you aren’t just choosing markup that’s easier to read; you're choosing a specific restrictive vocabulary. If that vocabulary covers your editors’ real needs, and they’ll be using plaintext to write and revise stories during their editorial workflow, by all means: consider it!

But if what you really need is a way to reign in chaotic, crappy markup, invest the time in figuring out how it’s being used in your content, what design requirements are being foisted on your editors, and what transformations are necessary for real world usage. Modern WYSIWYG editors don’t have to be the “dreamweaver in a div” disasters they used to be — taking the time to configure them carefully can give your team a clean, streamlined semantic editor that doesn’t constrain them unnecessarily.

Photo by Lee Campbell

What You'll Be Creating

If you want an easy way to create engaging, content-driven websites for you and your customers, you should give Drupal 8 a try. And Drupal modules allow you to take things a step further and create highly customized functionality for your site. 

In our new course, Code a Custom Drupal Module, Envato Tuts+ instructor Derek Jensen will get you up and running with modules in no time. You'll build a simple calculator module, and along the way you'll learn about creating routes, controllers, parameters, and more.

You can take our new course straight away with a subscription to Envato Elements. For a single low monthly fee, you get access not only to this course, but also to our growing library of over 1,000 video courses and industry-leading eBooks on Envato Tuts+. 

Plus you now get unlimited downloads from the huge Envato Elements library of 200,000+ photos and 26,000+ design assets and templates. Create with unique fonts, photos, graphics and templates, and deliver better projects faster.

 

Looking for a shortcut? Try downloading some of the ready-made Drupal themes on Envato Market.

Drupal Modules: The One Percent — Style Guide (video tutorial) NonProfit Mon, 08/07/2017 - 07:31 Episode 30

Here is where we bring awareness to Drupal modules running on less than 1% of reporting sites. Today we'll investigate Style Guide, a module which gathers common elements in one place, allowing you to  more efficiently determine which need to be styled.

Modal dialogs are incredibly useful on websites as they allow the user to do something without having to leave the web page they are on. Drupal 8 now has a Dialog API in core, which greatly reduces the amount of code you need to write to create a modal dialog. Dialogs in Drupal 8 leverage jQuery UI.

For a long time I’ve been compiling my Sass into a single CSS file - styles.css, but recently, with our component based design/frontend process and Drupal 8’s lovely Library system I’ve been wondering if the single file was still a good idea. Looking at the amount of unused CSS loading into any given page was a little bit painful.

Drupal 7 – Performance Optimization and Checklist

Some Best Practices in Drupal 7's Optimization in Performance can be achieved..

heykarthikwithu Sunday, 06 August 2017 - 22:09:58 - IST, Asia/Kolkata

The corners of Drupal 8 that aren't there are quickly dwindling, but there are still some that need to get worked out. While upgrading our internal issue tracker, we hit a new one -- getting a group context set via a URL alias, and generally keeping posts within a group.

Drupal 8Drupal PlanetGroupPurlOpenAtriumModule Development

Client has a bunch of static landing pages that are mobile-friendly and need to remain that way.

But what is to be done about srcset? Read on, oh reader, for the solution.

First, I created a gulp build task which makes a bunch of different sizes.

Install dependencies like this:
npm install -D gulp-load-plugins gulp-responsive sharp

The task looks like this:

There're a lot of really complicated descriptions of srcset out there.

As a result, I thought srcset was more complicated than it actually is.

Here's the all-purpose srcset code I used in my static HTML. This covers 1x, 1.5x, 2x, and mobile optimization in a fine-grained way:

At DrupalCon Baltimore, Preston So and I came up with an idea for a new Drupal conference, specifically focused on decoupled architectures, aimed at helping establish best practices and seeding a discussion about where Drupal as a whole is heading. Just a few short months have passed since then, and I’m excited that our first edition of Decoupled Dev Days is right around the corner.

As a Developer, I would love to be called a “full-stack” Developer, whose job is not limited only to clean code & bug-free delivery, but also responsible to provide infrastructure, database, back-end code, front-end code and project management ;). I’m sure you won’t be interested in client call and daily stand up call, but this is a part of our work which helps in a successful product delivery as well as client satisfaction. 

Recently, I have moved on from Linux to Windows. You can understand a pain of a Developer when it comes to change your machine from hands-on machine to all new environment machine. It’s all new world with reinstallation of supported tools, drivers, applications that suit to your machine. 

As a Drupal Developer, I do deal with web servers. In…

Alright, it has been a few weeks. So, what have I been up to? Well, the first couple weeks were all about Drupal basics and learning about all the different tools we would be using. It started off as an information avalanche.   Real WOrk Once we started doing some hands-on work, it clicked a little better. The first task we had was updating websites on Pantheon that didn't have a profile associated with it. This situation gave us the opportunity to some practice in with the Pantheon dashboard and hosting sites locally...Read more

Hey, everyone! Summer moves on — together with its lovely sunsets, yummy fruit and berries and so much more. This just inspires us to grab a basket and gather some fresh, ripe, and tasty... Drupal news for you! ;) You’ll see that July 2017 has been really very fruitful for Drupal, because the community has been creating great stuff with a special, summer inspiration. So discover the new releases of Drupal modules, take a glimpse at Drupal 8.4 as Drupal 8.3’s successor, and find some other nice surprises.

Read more

Read our Roadmap to understand how this work falls into priorities set by the Drupal Association with direction and collaboration from the Board and community.

Drupal.org updates Better Distribution packaging

Distributions are a cornerstone of Drupal, giving site-builders a head start by packaging together proven modules and themes from contrib to build a Drupal site to purpose. In July we spent some time improving the functionality for packaging distributions on Drupal.org, by updating Drupal.org's packaging system to use Drush 8. This resolves several issues:

We hope that these changes will help distribution maintainers

reCAPTCHA

One of the key tools we use to prevent spam on Drupal.org is Mollom, which will reach end of life next year. To replace it, we've implemented reCAPTCHA on Drupal.org, and updated our privacy policy accordingly. We have not yet disabled Mollom, because Mollom is a content analysis tool in addition to a captcha tool. Because reCAPTCHA does not duplicate that content analysis functionality we'll be monitoring spam attack patterns on Drupal.org to see whether reCAPTCHA will be a sufficient as a standalone replacement.

Easier addition of new documentation guides and pages

It's hard to believe that the new documentation system has been in use for almost a year. We've made a number of improvements after the initial release to improve usability for both contributors and maintainers of documentation, and to encourage project maintainers to migrate their docs. One piece of feedback we've heard several times is that the 'add content' links the sidebar of a documentation guide were too difficult to find. To make it easier for documentation contributors to add new sub-guides and pages, we've added a new page link to the 'Edit' menu of documentation guides.

Webmasters and documentation moderators can administer all docs

Finding maintainers for the over 12,000 pages of documentation on Drupal.org continues to be a challenge, and so we've given all users with the Webmaster and Documentation Moderator role the ability to administer any documentation guide. This will expand the pool of users who can help to manage documentation and manage documentation maintainers. Good documentation for a project with Drupal's scale is a community-driven effort and we're incredibly thankful for all the volunteers who contribute.

Any confirmed user may claim unmaintained documentation guides

We also now allow any unmaintained guide to be claimed by any confirmed user—automatically adding them as the maintainer for that guide. This should make it much easier for new contributors to take up the mantle of maintaining sections of documentation on Drupal.org.

Learn more about maintaining documentation by reading our content guidelines.

For evaluators Updated industry page call to action

The Drupal.org industry pages are a new experiment for the Drupal Association this year, with a goal of reaching out to Drupal evaluators in specific markets. The success stories we showcase on these pages demonstrate the power of Drupal in these industries, but we also want these pages to be an opportunity to connect evaluators with experts who can help them achieve their goals with Drupal. To enhance our efforts to connect Drupal evaluators to experts in their industry - we've added an additional call to action at the top of the industry page to encourage evaluators to connect with experts.

Front page case study promotion for supporting partners and top contributors

In July we laid the groundwork for promoting a second row of case studies on the Drupal.org home page. The second row will feature case studies from supporting partners and top Drupal contributors. These will not replace the existing row of case studies that are featured through the community process, but will supplement these case studies with additional stories from organizations that support the Drupal project through monetary and issue contribution. Watch for these new stories in the coming months.

Digital tote for Vienna

For DrupalCon Vienna we're implementing a new digital tote bag to deliver benefits to DrupalCon attendees provided by our event sponsors. This digital totebag will feature content for attendees from our Diamond, Platinum, and Gold sponsors.

Speaking of DrupalCon Vienna - prices are about to go up by €50 + VAT - so make sure to register before early bird ends on Friday.

Infrastructure Audit of monitoring and backups

One of the first steps our new infrastructure partner is undertaking is an audit of our monitoring and backup regime, to ensure that we are well-prepared for disaster recovery and mitigation. While our internal team (with the help of dedicated volunteers) has maintained these existing systems, the current system is something of a patchwork of several tools, and we're hopefully that we can consolidate our tools and process and make them more robust and efficient.

———

As always, we’d like to say thanks to all the volunteers who work with us, and to the Drupal Association Supporters, who made it possible for us to work on these projects. In particular we want to thank:

  • Deeson - Renewing Premium Supporting Partner
  • Bits Creative Agency - *NEW* Classic Supporting Partner
  • Tag1 - *NEW* Signature Supporting Partner
  • Pantheon - Renewing Premium Hosting Supporting Partner

If you would like to support our work as an individual or an organization, consider becoming a member of the Drupal Association.

Follow us on Twitter for regular updates: @drupal_org, @drupal_infra

Sometimes you want to react differently, when the current script is running in a command-line environment. Here's how you can do this.
How I Stepped My Way Through a Failing Drush Drupal 8 Migration With PHPStorm’s Xdebug Integration...PART 1 of 2 I was recently going through the d8cards set of exercises to test my knowledge of Drupal 8 APIs, as one does in the dev world... Put simply, or as simply as possible, it consists of a set of 21 exercises, each going over a common Drupal task and how it changes from Drup...

Photo credit: Kris Rzeszut

DrupalCamp Bristol is a non-profit event organised by a team of volunteers from the Bristol Drupal community.

This year, the organising committee chairperson was Mark, a solutions architect at Deeson.

In this post, he considers the challenges and rewards of being involved in organising a community conference. Post-event reflection

After another intense year of planning we’ve just run DupralCamp Bristol for the third time.

It was a really enjoyable few days and we had some great feedback from attendees.

@DrupalCampBris Thanks to all who made #dcbristol17 such a great experience. Inspiring stuff. Looking forward to next year already! :)

— Alison Bancroft (@BancroftAlison) July 2, 2017

Though that’s not to say the experience was entirely stress-free for the organisers!

The challenges

We noticed a shift this year in the way our audience considers the conference. Rather than spending their own time (and money) to attend, people are increasingly opting to make use of company-provided training time and budgets.

It’s great that attendees and their employers see the business value in what DrupalCamp Bristol provides, but it did make organising this year’s camp (on a Saturday) more tricky.

Sponsorship was another area we had to put a lot more of our energy into, compared to previous years. We worked hard to demonstrate the value of spending marketing budget on sponsoring the event, and we were glad to secure the support of some great partners this year, including Deeson.

The positives

Speaker and attendee diversity was a priority for us this year, and we’re proud that our line-up was more representative than in previous years. We know we still have a long way to go and, like Deeson, it’s something we’ll keep actively working on.

A particular highlight for me this year was the lightning talks. It was exciting to witness new talent making, in some cases, their first public speaking appearances in front of the community.

This was also the first year we’ve been able to record all of the sessions, thanks to the hard work of Third Lens Films. Deeson is working on the video post-processing as we speak, and we’ll be publishing the videos in the next few weeks for everyone to enjoy.

How could we improve?

While we’ve received positive feedback year-on-year for the CxO day, I feel like it’s ultimately drawing our attention away from the main conference and would be better suited as an independent event if there is still a demand for it. This would allow us to really focus our energies on organising a fantastic developer conference.

Developers have lives outside of Drupal and companies are increasingly seeing the business value in training events, so I’m confident we would see a surge in attendees if we follow the lead of other technology conferences such as The Lead Developer and move away from running the conference over a weekend.

It’s a lot of work organising the conference, and it couldn’t happen without the hard work and dedication of the committee and volunteers – I’ve particularly appreciated Deeson’s flexible working policy over the last few months! – but something I’m always glad to be part of. Roll on the next one!

Work with Drupal? Deeson is currently hiring for several roles in the development team!

Our React learning journey

If you push yourself enough with the right amount of motivation, you can achieve more - this notion, along with a lot of curiosity, is what got us through the journey of learning React and helped us to continuously improve the code as we worked on getting the Cape Town Drupal Camp website up and running. 

Maita Kambarami Thu, 08/03/2017 - 09:39 How we started

Like most of our websites at Amazee we first sat down with the design team, to get a clear vision of what their design for this specific project entailed. The design was beautifully crafted and very intuitive to bring out the whole purpose of the Drupal Camp.  

We had an intense briefing meeting, where a lot of sharks and unicorns were mentioned, and at the back of my mind, I had this niggling thought “how is this all going to be done with React” but eventually I hashed my limiting thoughts to focus on the job ahead.

Scrum meeting

During round two of the process, the DBB Scrum Team met for their project planning. These discussions are an agile sort of thing where we go over the estimates and plan how to build the website. We were lucky that Stew had attended the React in Flip Flops training week earlier this year, so he was a good guide and help for most of the things we struggled with.

Before we could plunge into the development of things we had to plan which of the elements qualified to be components, and herein then we encountered our first great learning curve.

The real struggle

There are many bits of advice floating around out there on the best way to learn code, and then more specifically, React. This includes tutorials, in-house knowledge sharing with other team members, reading others’ code with great attention, and blog posts.

Even though tutorials don't always help you the way you expect them to, they do however open your eyes to have an idea of what you hoping to learn. I remember going through Kirupa’s  tutorials and afterwards realising that the way he explained React did indeed open my mind a little more.

Since we were not using React Native I had to rely more on our in-house knowledge share. These regular React knowledge share sessions within the team helped us get some good insight of React and styled components. As a team, we created a Todo App with Facebook’s Create-React-App and went through the code line by line to learn and understand better.

A lot of people say to learn and understand code you have to read other people‘s code not just follow tutorials. The aim is to try to understand things from their point of view and so that's what we did, we closely followed a decoupled Drupal site that our Zurich team is working on at the moment.

There is also a good blog post by Dries Buytaert where he explains the future of decoupled Drupal and gives alternatives to the technologies that can be used to achieve this. In his blog, he mentions our very own Sebastian Siemssen and regards his approach to use GraphQL, as one of the best and gives reasons why.

Tools that help out the workflow

We used a variety of tools in our workflow, two of which are lint-staged and Jenkins, working with these tools also helped us to learn a lot of lessons along the way. A linter is a tool that checks your code for potentially dangerous patterns. It also helps with the consistency of your codebase by checking, for example, the use of indentation and other spacing. It helps you catch silly typos or leftover variables as you go.

Jenkins, on the other hand, is an open-source continuous integration software tool, which we use to automate deployments to our dev, staging and prod servers.

We chose to use styled components as our styling method.  There are some other libraries that one can use a good comparison can be found here.

Some examples:

The way we build the Section Title.

Since all the sections had a title we created one Section Title component that could be reused inside the other sections.

This is the section title in yellow --

Then the code

We created a Section Title Component with {title}, {sectionID} and {titleClasses} as props  (property Types) that were passed  down to the SecTitle as className={titleClasses} , id = {sectionID}  and the {title} . The Section Title component displays the title of the section, along with the id and className whenever it is called.

Importing the Section Title

Below is how the Section Title will be imported and used in the other sections.

The Section Title component is called and the title and the ID are defined. So it will be <SectionTitle title= “Call for speakers” sectionID= “callforspeakers”>.

Notice the className is not used here, and only the title and the ID are used.  You can choose not to use all the property types depending on what you want to achieve.

SectionTitle used without the title property type:

Another example

How we used the mapping function to output a list of sponsors.

What we did here is to create a SponsorList component, which manages the type and the sponsors, by mapping each SponsorsListArray to the type of sponsor.

We created the SponsorsItem component to be used by the SponsorsListArray.

Then we created an array of SponsorItems. Below are three arrays: 1. sponsorsListArrayGold, 2. sponsorsListArraySilver and 3. sponsorsListArrayInKind.

So, each array will have a list of sponsors for that particular type.

For the mapping part

A SponsorsList component will receive a { type } as a parameter and use the else if statement to output the code according to the parameter given.  

So if {type}  = gold then...

It will return a list with SponsorListArrayGold. Another point to remember and make a note of is the use of spread operators, which we used to avoid mutating the props objects.  

So, instead of copying the props one by one we just used {...sponsors}. If more props are added to the SponsorItem there will then not be any need to add it inside the SponsorList Component.

The final index.js of the parent component looks like the code snippet below.

The two SponsorsLists have type gold and silver respectively passed to it, so the type property determines which SponsorListArray is going to be returned.

Conclusion

Our next step would be to learn how to connect React front end to Drupal backend. We will most probably take the Graphql route and maybe write another detailed blog about it.

Like I said, during this project we learnt through trial and error as we went through the various stages. After we fully harnessed the power of React components, we had a better picture of what needed to be done and how to do it.  It also meant that we were able to create elements a bit faster. This was all possible, working as a team and reusing and enhancing components that were already built to produce the best website we could.

See the site at https://capetown2017.drupalcamp.co.za/

My colleague, Elliot, recently wrote a controversial article called "Drupal sucks at non-profits," which led to some really great discussion in the comments. The general consensus is that Drupal 8 is great for big nonprofits (and big organizations in general) but has left the little guy behind.

Drupal used to be AWESOME for small nonprofits... How can we make it awesome again?

This is something we've been discussing internally for a long time, and we'd like to take a stab at a possible solution with the help of the community and some adventurous nonprofits.

In fact, we'd like to offer a FREE migration to Drupal 8 for 10 nonprofit organizations :-)

But, we'll get to that a little later! First, I'd like to dig into why the current situation kinda sucks...

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