Drupal

Zero Issues Left

If you've been paying attention to this site you may have noticed that posts have been showing up rarther far and few between. The main reason for this quiet period is I've been cramming away at my largest Drupal project to date. The MyTime time clock project for my full time employer; ARISE Child and Family Service. This project wille eventually be published on Drupal.org, but it needs a bunch of polishing before it's ready for that.

Lets Encrypt - Free Domain Verified certificates for everyone.

I've begun the process of moving all the sites I host to HTTPS. I was lucky enough to get a Beta Program invitation for the Let's Encrypt project. I used their ACME client to verify domain control and issue a certificate. I was impressed by how easy the process was. The project is scheduled to move into general availability in the middle of November 2015.

I've been participating in the community support section of the LetsEncrypt.org site for a few weeks now and have seen a few issues from people trying to issue certificates who were not "technical" people. While the ACME client can do many of the technical parts of the process, such as configuring Apache, verifying the domain, getting the certificates, and reconfigure Apache to use them, the process can be kind of intimidating. One of the first issue I saw was users trying to use the ACME client to get certificates for domains the own but host on shared hosting systems. Since the ACME client requires command line access, as of now, I don't see any reasonable way for these people to use an automated certificate issuance system.

After experimenting with the system I've come up with my best practices for issuing certificates, installing them, and serving them. I'll detail my process here.

1st Hour Drupal 8 RC1

Now that Drupal 8.0.0 RC1 is out I figured it was time to build something with it. I've owned the statuschecks.net and statuschecks.info domains for awhile now. I purchased them for an open source project I was planning (haven't really put much work into that yet, it will show up here someday when I make progress).

Install:

I downloaded the release candidate from Drupal.org and expanded it onto the server. Created the empty database, username and password. So far no different than previous versions of Drupal.

Exclude Node Author

I recently promoted a long time sandbox module of mine to a full project available through Drupal.org. The "Exclude Node Author" module prevents authored on/by information from being displayed on a per node basis. Instead of hiding author information for an entire content type, can be hidden on just a single node. Designed for sticky nodes (but can be used anywehre) providing information about a page rather than used as content. This module was originally designed for internal use for the ARISE Child and Family Services Inc staff intranet, they funded the original development of the module. The "Exclude Node Author" module was based on the excellent Exclude Node Title module, currently maintained by id.tarzanych, fizk and gabrielu.

 

When enabled, the module provides a checkbox (shown in the image here) on all node edit forms (all content types). If the user has appropriate permissions to edit and use Exclude Node Author, they will be allowed to check the box and prevent the authoring information from being displayed when the node is rendered. It is important to note that this module only acts on nodes rendered through the standard node rendering processes, and will not affect Author information being used in other contrib modules like metatags or views (fields).

 

Future enhancements to this module are planned. I intened to enhance the admin settings UI to allow for finer grain control of which content types the module is available for. Feature requests, bug reports, and patches are always welcome, see the issue queue at on the Exclude Node Author project page on Drupal.org

Server Infrastructure Updates - Part 2: File System Sync

I needed a way to get the code base of the sites (Mostly Drupal 7, a few wordpress, and custom coded sites), upload images and other asorted media in sync between the two servers. I looked at the couple common utilities, I've used RSync in the past to maintain backups on other servers, but it has limitations on two way sync on multiple live servers. Enter Unison, it does exactly what the name implies, unifies multiple copies of the same set of files into 2 (or more) identical copies.