28 Jahre später: Atari-ST-Klassiker Oyyd lebt im Browser weiter

heise online Newsticker - 24. August 2017 - 8:00
Oxyd war eines der wenigen Atari-ST-Spiele, die sogar Amiga-Fans neidisch machten: Die hochauflösende Monochrom-Grafik sieht auch heute noch schick aus. Oxyd-Erfinder Meinolf Amekudzi (geb. Schneider) will den Puzzle-Klassiker nun in den Browser holen.

EA Originals Fe: Zelda trifft auf Shadow of the Colossus

heise online Newsticker - 24. August 2017 - 8:00
In dem märchenhaften Open-World-Adventure erkundet der Spieler einen düsteren Wald und kommuniziert mit den Tieren über Gesang. Wir haben erste Eindrücke gesammelt.

Der c't-Windows-Werkzeugkasten: 23 Helfer für Windows-PCs

heise online Newsticker - 24. August 2017 - 7:00
Einige Hilfsprogramme für Analyse und Wartung von Windows-PCs bewähren sich seit Jahren in unserer Redaktion und bei unseren Lesern. Zusammen bilden sie den c't-Windows-Werkzeugkasten.

USA: Klage gegen "Google"-Markenzeichen vor dem Supreme Court

heise online Newsticker - 24. August 2017 - 6:30
Der Begriff "googeln" stehe mittlerweile allgemein für das Suchen im Internet, heißt es in einem Antrag vor dem obersten US-Gericht. Dem Suchmaschinenprimus müsse daher sein Markenzeichen "Google" aberkannt werden.

Britische Staatsanwaltschaft will schärfer gegen Online-Hass vorgehen

heise online Newsticker - 24. August 2017 - 6:30
Strafbare Hassäußerungen und Hetze im Internet werden bei der britischen Staatsanwaltschaft künftig genauso ernst genommen wie vergleichbare Offline-Vergehen. Dabei wolle man auch den eventuell noch größeren Effekt berücksichtigen.

Shenmue III: Erster Trailer ernüchtert Fans

heise online Newsticker - 24. August 2017 - 6:00
Ys Net veröffentlicht im Rahmen der Gamescom einen ersten Trailer zu Shenmue III. Fans der Reihe, die bereits seit 16 Jahren auf die Fortsetzung warten, zeigen sich von der altbackenen Grafik enttäuscht.

Mehr Kameras: Wird der Freistaat Bayern zum Überwachungsstaat?

heise online Newsticker - 24. August 2017 - 6:00
Tausende Überwachungskameras sollen in Bayern Straftaten verhindern und den Menschen das Gefühl von mehr Sicherheit geben. Doch viele sehen die Ausbaupläne stattdessen als Angriff auf die Bürgerrechte.

Microsoft-Report: Mehr Angriffe auf cloudbasierte Konten

heise online Newsticker - 24. August 2017 - 6:00
Microsofts Clouddienste werden laut Security Intelligence Report zu einem immer beliebteren Ziel für Hackerangriffe. Der Bericht nennt außerdem Zahlen zur globalen Verteilung von Ransomware: Hier ist Europa Spitzenreiter.

Enzolutions: The Drupal Console Journey

Planet Drupal - 24. August 2017 - 2:00

Before the existence of the Drupal Console as a project, it all began with an idea to make Drupal 8 better. Every great invention/innovation begins with an idea, and the Drupal transition from 7 to 8 came with massive changes to the fundamental operating procedures of yesterday. Symfony components were making a splash into Drupal Core. Jesus and David, the initiators of Drupal Console project, came up with the idea of including the symfony console into the Drupal core. The same way that other symfony components were being included into the Drupal core.

Powering Though Frustration

As helpful as the Drupal Console project is nowadays, it wasn’t very widely accepted into the drupal community initially. In fact, it turned out to be a huge challenge to get anyone to listen to the idea. For Jesus and David, the primary objective to include the Symfony Console in Drupal was to have the option to have code generators, in the same way, the Symfony community does. Who wouldn’t want that? A way to automate the annoying redundancies that plague developers everywhere. So they decided to propose the idea to the Drupal core maintainers via the issue queue. That idea was however quickly dismissed.

After few attempts to request the inclusion and trying to collaborate into different drupal projects, it dawned on Jesus and David that inclusion and collaboration was not going to happen. They needed to regroup and find a better approach.

While at lunch at Drupalcamp Costa Rica, Jesus and David were casually discussing the frustrations they had encountered trying to bring innovation to Drupal and related projects, and Larry Garfield chimed in “someone needs to create a separate project that includes Symfony Console and code generation”. That sentence gave birth to the Drupal Console project as you know it today.

Building A Community

Jesus stacked up his calendar with almost every Drupal event in the U.S. The goal was to talk about the project in sessions at all Drupal community gatherings he could physically attend, or at minimum, present the idea at BOFs where sessions were not possible. The code sprints helped him interact with developers and users forming a critical source of feedback.

Along the way, he convinced me to join the project as a maintainer. I also embarked on his outreach campaign to help spread the word. Only, my campaign was global because it was important to reach non-english speakers because they often feel left out of major open source projects. Currently, the Drupal Console project is available, with some variations, in the 18 languages listed below.

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Catalán
  • French
  • Korean
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Indonesian
  • Japanese
  • Marathi
  • Punjabi
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Tagalog
  • Vietnamese
  • Chinese Simplified
  • Chinese Traditional
One Million Downloads!

After four years of development in July 2017, we reached our first million downloads across different releases. This achievement is thanks to our more that 250 contributors across the globe.

This brought a great sense of validation for deciding to stick to our guns, do the right thing and most importantly... be globally inclusive.

Larry Garfield: Best practices are contextual

Planet Drupal - 24. August 2017 - 0:51
Best practices are contextual

Articles, blog posts, and Twitter debates around "best practices" abound. You can't swing a dead cat without bumping into some article espousing the benefits of designing and building software a certain way. (Side note: What kind of sick person are you that you're swinging a dead cat around? Stop that! You're desecrating the dead!)

Larry 23 August 2017 - 6:51pm

Glassdimly tech Blog: Drupal 8: How to Get Image Style Tokens for Metatags

Planet Drupal - 24. August 2017 - 0:15

It turns out that image style tokens are an easter egg of the regular Token module, ported in from the Imagecache Token module on this ticket.

Image style tokens don't show up in the media browser, and so you sort of have to guess at how to use them. I figured it out by studying the merged commit that added the functionality.

Mediacurrent: Mediacurrent launches PwC CareerAdvisor on Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 23. August 2017 - 21:56
PwC PArtners with Mediacurrent: A Mini Case Study 

In January 2015, PwC US announced the launch of its new CareerAdvisor tool. Aimed to help students discover their professional goals and set themselves up for career success, the CareerAdvisor site provides links to reference articles and videos and other resources with career advice. After visitors create an account, they can track their progress with an interactive checklist of action items for career success and add a list of personal ToDos.

Lullabot: The Hidden Costs of Decoupling

Planet Drupal - 23. August 2017 - 21:00

Decoupled Drupal has been well understood at a technical level for many years now. While the implementation details vary, most Drupal teams can handle working on decoupled projects. However, we’ve heard the following from many of our clients:

  1. We want a decoupled site. Why is this web project so expensive compared to sites I worked on in the past?
  2. Why do our decoupled projects seem so unpredictable?
  3. If we decide to invest in decoupled technologies, what can we expect in return?

Let’s dive into these questions.

Why Can Decoupled Sites Cost More?

Before getting too much into the details of decoupled versus full-stack, I like to ask stakeholders:

“What does your website need to do today that it didn’t 5 years ago?”

Often, the answer is quite a lot! Live video, authenticated traffic, multiple mobile apps, and additional advertising deals all add to more requirements, more code, and more complexity. In many cases, the costs that are unique to decoupling are quite small compared to the costs imposed by the real business requirements.

However, I have worked on some projects where the shift to a decoupled architecture is fundamentally a technology shift to enable future improvements, but the initial build is very similar to the existing site. In those cases, there are some very specific costs of decoupled architectures.

Decoupling means forgoing Drupal functionality

Many contributed modules provide pre-built functionality we rely on for Drupal site builds. For example, the Quickedit module enables in-place editing of content. In a decoupled architecture, prepare to rewrite this functionality. Website preview (or even authenticated viewing of content) has to be built into every front end, instead of using the features we get for free with Drupal. Need UI localization? Content translation? Get ready for some custom code. Drupal has solved a lot of problems over the course of its evolution, so you don’t have to—unless you decouple.

Decoupling is shorthand for Service Oriented Architectures

For many organizations, a decoupled website is their first foray into Service Oriented Architectures. Most full-stack Drupal sites are a single application, with constrained integration points. In contrast, a decoupled Drupal site is best conceived of as a “content service,” accessed by many disparate consumers.

I’ve found that the “black-boxing” of a decoupled Drupal site is a common stumbling block for organizations and a driver behind the increased costs of decoupling. To properly abstract a system requires up-front systems design and development that doesn’t always fit within the time and budget constraints of a web project. Instead, internal details end up being encoded into the APIs Drupal exposes, or visual design is reflected in data structures, making future upgrades and redesigns much more expensive. Writing good APIs is hard! To do it well, you need a team who is capable of handling the responsibility—and those developers are harder to find and cost more.

Scalable systems and network effects

Once your team dives into decoupling Drupal, they are going to want to build more than just a single Drupal site and a single JavaScript application. For example, lullabot.com actually consists of five systems in production:

  1. Drupal for content management
  2. A CouchDB application to serve content over an API
  3. A second CouchDB application to support internal content preview
  4. A React app for the site front end
  5. Disqus for commenting

Compared to the sites our clients need, lullabot.com is a simple site. In other words, as you build, expect to be building a web of systems, and not just a “decoupled” website. It’s possible to have a consumer request Drupal content directly, especially in Drupal 8, but expect your tech teams to push for smaller “micro” services as they get used to decoupling.

Building and testing a network of systems requires a lot of focus and discipline. For example, I’ve worked with APIs that expose internal traces of exceptions instead of returning something usable to API consumers. Writing that error handling code on the service is important, but takes time! Is your team going to have the bandwidth to focus on building a robust API, or are they going to be focusing on the front-end features your stakeholders prioritize?

I’ve also seen decoupled systems end up requiring a ton of human intervention in day-to-day use. For example, I’ve worked with systems where not only is an API account created manually, but manual configuration is required on the API end to work properly. The API consumer is supposed to be abstracted from these details, but in the end, simple API calls are tightly coupled to the behind-the-scenes configuration. A manual set up might be OK for small numbers of clients, but try setting up 30 new clients at once, and a bottleneck forms around a few overworked developers.

Another common mistake is not to allow API consumers to test their integrations in “production.” Think about Amazon’s web services—even if your application is working from a QA instance, as far as Amazon is concerned there are only production API calls available. Forcing other teams to use your QA or sandbox instance means that they won’t be testing with production constraints, and they will have production-only bugs. It’s more difficult to think about clients creating test content in production—but if the API doesn’t have a good way to support that (such as with multiple accounts), then you’re missing a key set of functionality.

It’s also important to think about error conditions in a self-serve context. Any error returned by an API must make clear if the error is due to an error in the API, or the request made of the API. Server-side errors should be wired up to reporting and monitoring by the API team. I worked with one team where client-side errors triggered alerts and SMS notifications. This stopped the client-side QA team from doing any testing where users entered bad data beyond very specific cases. If the API had been built to validate inbound requests (instead of passing untrusted data through its whole application), this wouldn’t have been a problem.

There's a lot to think of when it comes to decoupled Drupal sites, but it’s the only way to build decoupled architectures that are scalable, and that lead to faster development. Otherwise, decoupling is going to be more expensive and slower, leaving your stakeholders unsatisfied.

Why are decoupled projects unpredictable?

When clients are struggling with decoupled projects, we’ve often found it’s not due to the technology at all. Instead, poor team structure and discipline lead to communication breakdowns that are compounded by decoupled architectures.

The team must be strong developers and testers

Building decoupled sites means teams have to be self-driving in terms of automated testing, documentation, and REST best practices. QA team members need to be familiar with testing outside of the browser if they are going to test APIs. If any of these components are missing, then sprints will start to become unpredictable. The riskiest scenario is where these best practices are known, but ignored due to stakeholders prioritizing “features.” Unlike one-off, full-stack architectures, there is little room to ignore these foundational techniques. If they’re ignored, expect the team to be more and more consumed by technical debt and hacking code instead of solving the actual difficult business problems of your project.

The organizational culture must prioritize reliable systems over human interactions

The real value in decoupled architectures comes not in the technology, but in the effects on how teams interact with each other. Ask yourself: when a new team wants to consume an API, where do they get their information? Is it primarily from project managers and lead developers, or documentation and code examples? Is your team focused on providing “exactly perfect” APIs for individual consumers, or a single reusable API? Are you beholden to a single knowledge holder?

This is often a struggle for teams, as it significantly redefines the role of project managers. Instead of knowing the who of different systems the organization provides, it refocuses on the what - documentation, SDKs, and examples. Contacting a person and scheduling a meeting becomes a last resort, not a first step. Remember, there’s no value in decoupling Drupal if you’ve just coupled yourself to a lead developer on another team.

Hosting complexity

One of the most common technological reasons driving a decoupled project is a desire to use nodejs, React, or other JavaScript technologies. Of course, this brings in an entire parallel stack of infrastructure that a team needs to support, including:

  • HTTP servers
  • Databases
  • Deployment scripts
  • Testing and automation tools
  • Caching and other performance tools
  • Monitoring
  • Local development for all of the above

On the Drupal side, we’ve seen many clients want to host with an application-specific host like Acquia or Pantheon, but neither of those support running JavaScript server-side. JavaScript-oriented hosts likewise don’t support PHP or Drupal well or at all. It can lead to some messy and fragile infrastructure setups.

All of this means that it’s very difficult for a team to estimate how long it will take to build out such an infrastructure, and maintenance after a launch can be unpredictable as well. Having strong DevOps expertise on hand (and not outsourced) is critical here.

Decoupled often means “use a bunch of new nodejs / JavaScript frameworks”

While server-side JavaScript seems to be settling down towards maturity nicely, the JavaScript ecosystem for building websites is reinventing itself every six months. React of today is not the same React of 18 months ago, especially when you start considering some of the tertiary libraries that fill in the gaps you need to make a real application. That’s fine, especially if your project is expected to take less than 6 months! However, if your timeline is closer to 12-18 months, it can be frustrating to stakeholders to see rework of components they thought were “done,” simply because some library is no longer supported.

What’s important here is to remember that this instability isn’t due to decoupling—it’s due to front-end architecture decisions. There’s nothing that stops a team from building a decoupled front-end in PHP with Twig, as another Drupal site, or anything else.

If we invest in Decoupled Drupal, what’s the payoff?

It’s not all doom and decoupled gloom. I’ve recommended and enjoyed working on decoupled projects in the past, and I continue to recommend them in discoveries with clients. Before you start decoupling, you need to know what your goals are.

A JavaScript front end?

If your only goal is to decouple Drupal so you can build a completely JavaScript-driven website front end, then simply doing the work will give you what you want. Infrastructure and JavaScript framework churn are most common stumbling blocks and not much else. If your team makes mistakes in the content API, it’s not like you have dozens of apps relying on it. Decouple and be happy!

Faster development?

To have faster site development in a decoupled context, a team needs to have enough developers so they can be experts in an area. Sure, the best JavaScript developers can work with PHP and Drupal but are they the most efficient at it? If your team is small and a set of “full-stack” developers, decoupling is going to add abstraction that slows everything down. I’ve found teams need to have at least 3 full-time developers to get efficiency improvements from decoupling. If your team is this size or larger, you can significantly reduce the time to launch new features, assuming everyone understands and follows best development practices.

Multichannel publishing?

Many teams I’ve worked with have approached decoupled Drupal not so much to use fancy JavaScript tools, but to “push” the website front end to be equal to all other apps consuming the same content. This is especially important when your CMS is driving not just a website and a single app, but multiple apps such as set-top TV boxes, game consoles, and even apps developed completely externally.

With full-stack Drupal, it’s easy to create and show content that is impossible to view on mobile or set-tops apps. By decoupling the Drupal front end, and using the same APIs as every other app, it forces CMS teams to develop with an API-first mentality. It puts all consumers on an equal playing field, simplifying the development effort in adding a new app or platform. That, on it’s own, might be a win for your organization.

Scaling large teams?

Most large Drupal sites, even enterprise sites, have somewhere between 5-10 active developers at a time. What if your team has the budget to grow to 30 or 50 developers?

In that case, decoupled Drupal is almost the only solution to keep individuals working smoothly. However, decoupled Drupal isn’t enough. Your team will need to completely adopt an SOA approach to building software. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying developers to build a feature that takes them months instead of days.

Decoupling with your eyes open

The most successful decoupled projects are those where everyone is on board—developers, QA, editorial, and stakeholders. It’s the attitude towards decoupling that can really push teams to the next level of capability. Decoupling is a technical architecture that doesn’t work well when the business isn’t buying in as well. It’s worth thinking about your competitors too—because if they are tech companies, odds are they are already investing in their teams and systems to fully embrace decoupling.

PES 2018: FIFA-Gegner erstrahlt in neuer Pracht

heise online Newsticker - 23. August 2017 - 20:00
Die Fußballsimulation PES 2018 sieht besser aus und spielt sich flüssiger als der Vorgänger. Ab dem 30. August können Fußball-Fans sich in der Demo selbst einen Eindruck verschaffen.

"Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus" kurz angespielt

heise online Newsticker - 23. August 2017 - 18:00
Bethesda hat zwei spielbare Kapitel des nächsten Wolfenstein-Abenteuers nach Köln mitgebracht. Angesiedelt ist "The New Colossus" in einem von den Nazis besetzten Nordamerika – und B.J. ist in der Resistance.

AccuWeather: iPhone-App übermittelt Standortdaten an Werbeanbieter

heise online Newsticker - 23. August 2017 - 17:30
Um Sturmwarnungen zu übermitteln, will die Wetter-App im Hintergrund dauerhaft auf den Aufenthaltsort des iPhone zugreifen. Die GPS-Koordinaten werden zusammen mit WLAN-Informationen an einen Werbeanbieter geschickt, warnt ein Sicherheitsforscher.

Erpressungstrojaner WannaCry hat erneut zugeschlagen

heise online Newsticker - 23. August 2017 - 17:30
Offenbar hat LG bei einigen Service-Systemen wichtige Sicherheitspatches nicht installiert und WannaCry infizierte diverse Computer des Unternehmens in Südkorea. Dabei soll es aber zu keinen größeren Schäden gekommen sein.

Schnellster Zug der Welt darf bald wieder mit Höchstgeschwindigkeit durch China rasen

heise online Newsticker - 23. August 2017 - 17:30
Seit sechs Jahren wird der Fuxing genannte Hochgeschwindigkeitszug gedrosselt. Nun soll er wieder sein volles Tempo ausfahren dürfen.

Kostenlose wissenschaftliche Veröffentlichung: Wie Frauen die Technik von morgen gestalten

heise online Newsticker - 23. August 2017 - 17:30
Frauen und Technik - das geht nach Meinung vieler Männer nicht gut zusammen. Solche hartnäckigen Vorurteile will die Universität Bielefeld mit einem Sammelband begegnen, der Genderfragen und Technik wissenschaftlich beleuchtet.