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.

Note from the author: "I'm back in the hot seat! As many of you know, I took on the role of interim executive director in September 2018 while the Drupal Association underwent an executive search. This summer we found a fantastic new leader in Heather Rocker, and now that she's had a few months to settle in, I'm able to return to my regular duties, like bringing you these updates. Thanks for your patience!"

- Tim Lehnen(hestenet)

September was a flurry of activity here at the Drupal Association at large. Coming off a season of travel to a number of Drupal events, we headed straight into our semi-annual staff off-site here in Portland, and followed that up by attending Google's second-ever CMS Leadership summit.

Despite the whirlwind of events taking place in September, we've also landed some major milestones on our roadmap, and are hard at work getting some exciting things together to talk about with you all at DrupalCon Amsterdam at the end of October. As an added bonus, this month's report includes a short retrospective about the impact of the GitLab migration on our maintenance work. 

Project News

Composer Initiative work committed for release in Drupal 8.8.0

 Drupal Composer Facade

A major community initiative for Drupal 8.8.0 has been the push to make Drupal's internal scaffolding and filetree consistent, whether you start using Drupal by using the .zip download, or by using Composer from the get-go. Starting with Drupal 8.8.0 - no matter how you start your journey with Drupal, you'll be ready to use Composer's advanced dependency management when you need it.

Drupal Association engineering team member Ryan Aslett(mixologic) has been the initiative lead for this effort for more than a year. We're thrilled that his work and the work of many volunteers has been committed for release in Drupal 8.8.0!

We want to thank the following contributors for participating in this initiative in collaboration with us: 

The work is not over! There are still a number of clean ups and refinements being worked on in the Drupal core queue, and the Drupal Association team is working hard in October to ensure that Drupal.org itself will be ready to deliver these Composer-ready packages of Drupal 8.8.0 on release. 

Reminder: Drupal 8.8.0 is coming soon! Drupal 8

Speaking of Drupal 8.8.0 - it enters the alpha phase during the week of October the 14th, in preparation for release in December of this year.

Drupal 8.8.0 is the last minor release of Drupal before the simultaneous release of Drupal 8.9.0 and 9.0.0 next year. You can find more information about the Drupal release cycle here.

If you want to help ensure a smooth release, we invite you to join the Drupal Minor Release beta testing program.

Drupal.org Update

Preparing our infrastructure for Automatic Updates

In September we spent a good amount of time outlining the architectural requirements that will need to be met in order to support delivering the update packages that are part of the Automatic Updates initiative.

We are only in the first phase of this initiative, which focuses on: 1) Informing site owners of upcoming critical releases, 2) Providing readiness checks that site owners can use to validate they are ready to apply an update, and 3) offering in-place automatic updates for a small subset of use-cases (critical security releases).

As this initiative progresses, and begins to cover more and more use cases, it should greatly reduce TCO for site owners, and friction for new adopters. However, to make that forward progress we are seeking sponsors for the second phase of work.

Readying our secure signing infrastructure

Yubikey HSMWith the help of a number of community contributors (see below), a new architecture for a highly secure signing infrastructure has been laid out. As we roll into Q4 we'll get ready to stand this new infrastructure up and begin securing the first automatic updates packages.

Going into early October, a number of contributors came together at BadCamp to help advance this effort further. Without the collaboration between community members and Drupal Association staff, these initiatives would not be possible.

We'd like to thank the following contributors to the Automatic Updates/Secure Signing Infrastructure initiative: 

Supporting Drupal 9 readiness testing

In conjunction with the Drupal core team, the DA engineering team has been supporting the work to ensure that contributed projects are ready for the release of Drupal 9.

Early testing has shown that over 54% of projects compatible with Drupal 8 are *already* Drupal 9 ready, and we'll be continuing to work with the core team to get out the word about how to update the modules that are not yet compatible.

Infrastructure Update

A brief retrospective on the GitLab migration

Drupal + GitLabDrupal.org's partnership with GitLab to provide the tooling for Drupal and the ~40,000 contributed projects hosted on Drupal.org has been a significant step forward for our community. We're no longer relying on our own, home-brew git infrastructure for the project, and we're gradually rolling out more powerful collaboration tools to move the project forward. 

But what has that meant in terms of maintenance work for the Drupal Association engineering team?

There was some hope as we were evaluating tooling providers that making a switch would almost entirely eliminate the maintenance and support burden. While that was a hopeful outlook, the reality is that maintaining 'off-the-shelf' software can be at least as much work as maintaining mature existing tools.

GitLab in particular is still iterating at a tremendously rapid pace, releasing updates and new features every month. However, that speed of development has also meant frequent maintenance and security releases, meaning the DA team has had to update our GitLab installation almost once a week in some months.

Does that mean we're unhappy with the change? Absolutely not! We're still thrilled to be working with the GitLab team, and are excited about the new capabilities this partnership unlocks for the Drupal community (with more coming soon!).

However, it is a good lesson to anyone running a service for a large community that there's no free lunch - and a great reminder of why the support of Drupal Association members and supporting partners is so essential to our work.

———

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

  • Tag1 - Renewing Signature Supporting Partner
  • Gitlab - *NEW* Premium Technology Supporter
  • Four Kitchens - Renewing Premium Supporting Partner
  • Phase2 - Renewing Premium Supporting Partner
  • WebEnertia - Renewing Premium Supporting Partner
  • Thunder - Renewing Premium Supporting Partner
  • Palantir -Renewing Premium Supporting Partner
  • Specbee - Renewing Premium Supporting Partner 
  • Pantheon - Renewing Premium Hosting Supporter
  • Cyber-Duck - *NEW* Classic Supporting Partner
  • Websolutions Agency - *NEW* Classic Supporting Partner
  • Unic - *NEW* Classic Supporting Partner
  • Kalamuna - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • ThinkShout - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • Amazee - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • Access - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • Studio Present - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • undpaul- Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • Mediacurrent - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • Appnovation - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • Position2 - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • Kanopi Studios - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • Deeson - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • GeekHive - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • OpenSense Labs - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • Synetic - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • Axelerant - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • Centretek - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • PreviousNext - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • UniMity Solutions - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • Code Koalas - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • Vardot - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • Berger Schmidt - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner 
  • Authorize.Net - Renewing Classic Technology Supporter
  • JetBrains - Renewing Classic Technology Supporter
  • GlowHost - Renewing Classic Hosting Supporter
  • Sevaa - Renewing Classic Hosting Supporter
  • Green Geeks - Renewing Classic Hosting Supporter

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

We recently completed a special data integration project for the University of Minnesota, Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, Faculty and Academic Affairs. Faculty Affairs, as they are referred to, uses a product called Activity Insight from Digital Measures (referred to internally as “Works”) to capture and organize faculty information.

A proper Mojito starts with a bar spoon of sugar and 2-3 slices of lime in the bottom of a shaker. Top that with 14-16 fresh mint leaves, and muddle them gently into the padding to release the delicate oils. Be careful not to bruise the leaves or they will release chlorophyll, which will give us a bitter drink. Fill the glass with ice, 1.5 oz white rum, 1/2 cup club soda, and stir gently. Voila, a perfect blend of refreshment for you.

Ride into the Danger Zone: How to Update Drupal 8 Field Settings without Losing any Data Michael Wojcik Thu, 10/10/2019 - 17:15

As announced in December 2018, the Drupal Association assists the Drupal project by coordinating a beta testing program for minor releases of Drupal core.

Agencies and other organizations who are supporting ambitious Drupal 8 sites are invited to be part of the beta testing program. This means that, when a beta release is about to be made, we can help core maintainers work with organizations on the Beta Testing Program to install the beta core release on real-world examples of Drupal websites, in their staging environments. The beta testers can then feedback to the core maintainers any issues they see running the beta core release in a structured way.

Being part of the Beta Testing Program is a key contribution to the Drupal project and also helps organizations to be very aware of any changes relevant to their supported websites.

Would your organization, and the Drupal project, benefit from participating in the Beta Testing Program? You can apply to join:

Apply to participate in the program

Who should apply?

Agencies and site owners who maintain large and complex Drupal 8 production sites. In particular, sites that use a wide range of contributed and custom modules or have large volumes of content.

For several years, Google has leveraged Drupal as the primary tool for developer portals built for its popular Apigee Edge API platform. With the introduction of the production-ready Drupal 8 distribution in May 2019, an announcement was made that support for the D7 platform would expire in 12 months. Concurrent with that announcement we know that D7 end-of-life will occur in November of 2021. This means that many Apigee portals will need to make the move to Drupal 8 or Apigee’s integrated portals in the near future.

In this article, we will walk through the steps to migrate Apigee portals from Drupal 7 to 8. The first decision you will need to make is whether to upgrade your existing custom build or move to the new Drupal 8 kickstart distribution. To help guide this decision, let’s first take a look at what the Apigee distribution for Drupal 8 has to offer and why you would want to leverage this platform.


Apigee Developer Portal Kickstart (D8)

The Apigee documentation site has excellent instructions on how to set up a developer portal using their Drupal 8 distribution. We will take a quick look at the features that come with the newest install profile.

Apigee homepage

Apigee Kickstart Homepage screenshot

 

The Apigee distribution once again has a nice out-of-box experience. This time around the base theme leverages a Bootstrap base theme that makes it easy to brand and customize your site.

The content types you see will be familiar: Article, Basic page, FAQ, Forums, and a new Landing page content type. Video, images, and audio are now more appropriately Media types in Drupal 8. The SmartDocs content type is gone in favor of a new API Doc type that supports the OpenAPI format (see below).

API doc

API doc screenshot


Adding content is now more flexible in Drupal 8 with the implementation of Paragraph types. Paragraphs allow you to add different components onto the page in any order you like. See the homepage example below.
 

Apigee paragraphs

Apigee Paragraphs screenshot from Homepage

 

In Drupal 8, Apigee also added some new block types. Blocks are still useful for components that need to live on more than one page.

 

Apigee block type

Apigee block types screenshot
 

The great thing about Apigee’s distribution is that it also includes sample content which makes getting set up a breeze. 

For organizations setting up a portal for the first time, leveraging this distribution is the way to go. For portals being upgraded from Drupal 7, this is more of a judgment call. If your portal has been heavily customized it might be better to move forward with a traditional Drupal 8 upgrade which we will cover under Custom Migrations. If, however, your organization’s portal previously had taken advantage of out-of-box functionality, then it makes sense to migrate content to Apigee’s D8 project which we will walk through next.
 

Migrating to Apigee Kickstart D8

The maintainers of the Apigee kickstart distribution have supplied a module to make migrations as painless as possible. The apigee_kickstart_migrate sub-module provides the Migrate module configuration that maps Drupal 7 content to their newer Drupal 8 counterparts. Again, this is most helpful for portals that did not heavily customize content in Drupal 7. Included in this sub-module are instructions on how to run the migrations and how to extend migrations with custom fields.

The following table shows how content is mapped from the Drupal 7 portal to Drupal 8.

 

Drupal 7 (Devportal)

Drupal 8 (Kickstart)

Content Types

Article (article)

Article (article)

 

title

title

 

body

body

 

field_keywords

field_tags

 

field_content_tag

field_tags

 

 

 

 

Basic page (page)

Basic page (page)

 

title

title

 

body

body

 

 

 

 

FAQ (faq)

FAQ (faq)

 

title

title

 

body

field_answer

 

field_detailed_question

-

 

 

 

 

Forum topic (forum)

Forum topic (forum)

 

title

title

 

body

body

 

taxonomy_forums

taxonomy_forums

 

 

 

Comment Types 

Comment (comment)

Comment (comment)

 

author

author

 

subject

subject

 

comment_body

comment_body

 

 

 

Taxonomy

Forums (forums)

Forum (forums)

 

name

name

 

Tags (tags)

Tags (tags)

 

name

name


Custom migrations

When would you go with a custom Drupal 8 upgrade over leveraging the Kickstart project? 

Where you run into trouble with distributions in Drupal is when you lean on so many customizations that the distribution gets in the way more than it saves time. In those instances, it’s better to stick with your own custom implementation.

The Mediacurrent team recently released the Migrate Pack module to make things easier for developers. This module has been tested against several sites and distributions including the Apigee Drupal 7 install profile.

Migrate pack module

The approach here would be to install Migrate Pack and the two additional Apigee modules in lieu of leveraging the distribution. The two key Apigee features you will need are the Apigee API Catalog and Apigee Edge modules. All of these projects should be installed using Composer.

If your theme was built custom in Drupal 7, then it will need to be manually ported to Drupal 8’s Twig-based theme engine. The other option is to instead borrow the Bootstrap-based theme included with Apigee’s distribution. It should be said that if the latter approach is taken, it might be better to migrate everything to the new Kickstarter rather than cherry picking the theme.

Next Steps

Apigee has very good support and documentation to get you started on moving to Drupal 8. For issues and bugs specific to the Drupal distribution, the Github project issue queue is the best place to look. The Migrate Pack module also has its own issue queue on Drupal.org should you run into problems.

Mediacurrent has logged over 100,000 hours in Drupal 8 development, many of which are Drupal 7 to 8 upgrades. We would love to work with you on your next project. 

Please visit our contact page to get in touch or hit me up on Twitter to talk more. We also have comments below to gather your feedback and questions.

table, th, td { border: 1px solid black; }

A note from our fabulous DrupalCon Minneapolis program committee:

With a December 4, 2019 deadline we are one-third of the way through the DrupalCon Minneapolis 2020 session submission period. The program committee is thrilled with what we’ve seen so far, with many compelling sessions to review—from accessibility to Xdebug. If you aren’t one of the early submitters, however, we still need your voice! And we are here to support you.

Maria Espie Vidal, writer for Timedoctor.com, wrote a post for our blog in which she breaks down the role of an IT project manager. Check it out and gain a better understanding of the multifaceted job of IT project management.

READ MORE

It’s been nearly 10 years since Priyanka Bakaya MBA ’11 founded Renewlogy to develop a system that converts plastic waste into fuel. Today, that system is being used to profitably turn even nonrecyclable plastic into high-value fuels like diesel, as well as the precursors to new plastics.

Since its inception, Bakaya has guided Renewlogy through multiple business and product transformations to maximize its impact. During the company’s evolution from a garage-based startup to a global driver of sustainability, it has licensed its technology to waste management companies in the U.S. and Canada, created community-driven supply chains for processing nonrecycled plastic, and started a nonprofit, Renew Oceans, to reduce the flow of plastic into the world’s oceans.

The latter project has brought Bakaya and her team to one of the most polluted rivers in the world, the Ganges. With an effort based in Varanasi, a city of much religious, political, and cultural significance in India, Renew Oceans hopes to transform the river basin by incentivizing residents to dispose of omnipresent plastic waste in its “reverse vending machines,” which provide coupons in exchange for certain plastics.

Each of Renewlogy’s initiatives has brought challenges Bakaya never could have imagined during her early days tinkering with the system. But she’s approached those hurdles with a creative determination, driven by her belief in the transformative power of the company.

“It’s important to focus on big problems you’re really passionate about,” Bakaya says. “The only reason we’ve stuck with it over the years is because it’s extremely meaningful, and I couldn’t imagine working this hard and long on something if it wasn’t deeply meaningful.”

A system for sustainability

Bakaya began working on a plastic-conversion system with Renewlogy co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Benjamin Coates after coming to MIT’s Sloan School of Management in 2009. While pursuing his PhD at the University of Utah, Coates had been developing continuously operating systems to create fuels from things like wood waste and algae conversion.

One of Renewlogy’s key innovations is using a continuous system on plastics, which saves energy by eliminating the need to reheat the system to the high temperatures necessary for conversion.

Today, plastics entering Renewlogy’s system are first shredded, then put through a chemical reformer, where a catalyst degrades their long carbon chains.

Roughly 15 to 20 percent of those chains are converted into hydrocarbon gas that Renewlogy recycles to heat the system. Five percent turns into char, and the remaining 75 percent is converted into high-value fuels. Bakaya says the system can create about 60 barrels of fuel for every 10 tons of plastic it processes, and it has a 75 percent lower carbon footprint when compared to traditional methods for extracting and distilling diesel fuel.

In 2014, the company began running a large-scale plant in Salt Lake City, where it continues to iterate its processes and hold demonstrations.

Since then, Renewlogy has set up another commercial-scale facility in Nova Scotia, Canada, where the waste management company Sustane uses it to process about 10 tons of plastic a day, representing 5 percent of the total amount of solid waste the company collects. Renewlogy is also building a similar-sized facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will be breaking ground next year. That project focuses on processing specific types of plastics (identified by international resin codes 3 through 7) that are less easily recycled.

In addition to its licensing strategy, the company is spearheading grassroots efforts to gather and process plastic that’s not normally collected for recycling, as part of the Hefty Energy Bag Program.

Through the program, residents in cities including Boise, Idaho, Omaha, Nebraska, and Lincoln, Nebraska, can put plastics numbered 4 through 6 into their regular recycling bins using special orange bags. The bags are separated at the recycling facility and sent to Renewlogy’s Salt Lake City plant for processing.

The projects have positioned Renewlogy to continue scaling and have earned Bakaya entrepreneurial honors from the likes of Forbes, Fortune, and the World Economic Forum. But a growing crisis in the world’s oceans has drawn her halfway across the world, to the site of the company’s most ambitious project yet.

Renewing the planet’s oceans

Of the millions of tons of plastic waste flowing through rivers into the world’s oceans each year, roughly 90 percent comes from just 10 rivers. The worsening environmental conditions of these rivers represents a growing global crisis that state governments have put billions of dollars toward, often with discouraging results.

Bakaya believes she can help.

“Most of these plastics tend to be what are referred to as soft plastics, which are typically much more challenging to recycle, but are a good feedstock for Renewlogy’s process,” she says.

Bakaya started Renew Oceans as a separate, nonprofit arm of Renewlogy last year. Since then, Renew Oceans has designed fence-like structures to collect river waste that can then be brought to its scaled down machines for processing. These machines can process between 0.1 and 1 ton of plastic a day.

Renew Oceans has already built its first machine, and Bakaya says deciding where to put it was easy.

From its origins in the Himalayas, the Ganges River flows over 1,500 miles through India and Bangladesh, serving as a means of transportation, irrigation, energy, and as a sacred monument to millions of people who refer to it as Mother Ganges.

Renewlogy’s first machine is currently undergoing local commissioning in the Indian city of Varanasi. Bakaya says the project is designed to scale.

“The aim is to take this to other major polluted rivers where we can have maximum impact,” Bakaya says. “We’ve started with the Ganges, but we want to go to other regions, especially around Asia, and find circular economies that can support this in the long term so locals can derive value from these plastics.”

Scaling down their system was another unforeseen project for Bakaya and Coates, who remember scaling up prototypes during the early days of the company. Throughout the years, Renewlogy has also adjusted its chemical processes in response to changing markets, having begun by producing crude oil, then moving to diesel as oil prices plummeted, and now exploring ways to create high-value petrochemicals like naphtha, which can be used to make new plastics.

Indeed, the company’s approach has featured almost as many twists and turns as the Ganges itself. Bakaya says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’d really encourage entrepreneurs to not just go down that easy road but to really challenge themselves and try to solve big problems — especially students from MIT. The world is kind of depending on MIT students to push us forward and challenge the realm of possibility. We all should feel that sense of responsibility to solve bigger problems.”