Drupalcon: Free as in Beer!

Druplicon on Trolley

Yes, you heard it right! I'm not going to Drupalcon after all -- it's too close to the due date of our next baby. As much as I'd like to go (Drupalcons really are all that), I would be mortified to miss the birth of a daughter, if she decided to come in to the world a little early.

I'm going to give my ticket to a worthy participant in exchange for a couple of hours of review of the Media module. (Don't worry if you're not a developer or know how to patch or anything -- many of the issues are around usability, so we appreciate all levels of review.) Just contact me off-list if you're interested. You'll still be responsible for travel, though you might be able to find sponsorship for that as well if you act quickly.

That means that, obviously, I'm not going to be able to come present the awesome work from the team developing that module in SF. Don't worry -- there is a panel in the works with some of the biggest names in Drupal multimedia development. I'll make sure to let you know here when the details of that have been settled!

Drupal Media + YouTube + WYSIWYG

Thanks to some fine work by Jacob Singh, Dipen Chaudhary and myself over the past month, we've gotten Media working fairly well with WYSIWYG, with Media: YouTube and Media: Flickr to boot.

WYSIWYG Browser Thumbnails

Click through to see the action...

Drupal Media, Now with Fieldable Entities!

If you haven't looked recently, there's been some huge progress recently for Drupal's Media module. Jacob Singh from Acquia has jumped on board, paving the way for fieldable entities! This allows Media asset objects to be a first class Drupal citizen, alongside Nodes, Users, Taxonomy, and Comments. (Hopefully in core for Drupal 8!) Also, Dipen Chaudhary has been hard at work providing WYSIWYG support!

Media as an Fieldable Entity

Read more for a tutorial...

Media Styles

I'm adding display formatters to the Media module, and could use some feedback.

Basically, I'm taking the work from the Image Styles built into core (which is a port of Imagecache), and building a wrapper around it. A Media Style would be a collection of styles, based on the stream (public://, private://, youtube://, etc) and file mimetype (image/jpeg, image/png, etc.), that would be applied to a specific filefield display (either in the node teaser/page display, or a view field display, or possibly other places, such as inline).

As an example, you might have a 'small-box' Media style that contains a 'medium' image style, a 'preview' youtube style, and an 'inline' pdf style. Thus, if the filefield contained an image, it would display it with the image scaling, a youtube video with a small player, and a pdf would be displayed in an iframe. Undefined streams/mimetypes would fall back to the default file listing.

The module is intended to work stand-alone, with File, Image, and/or Media. Thus, one question I have is if it should be bundled with the Media module, or packaged outside the module. On the one hand, as it can be run w/o Media, it might be useful in other situations. On the other hand, I imagine 98% of Media users would also want this module, so I'm hesitant to create a new external dependency. I've mostly decided to bundle it with the Media module, but am open to new considerations I haven't had yet.

I've included two screen shots. The first screen shot at the top shows current functionality. Clicking on a radio will automatically load a new preview of the selected style (that part's not built yet, but that's the idea).

The second below was the original display for administration. It's now actually using vertical tabs, as with the first, but I'm including it since it gives a large overview (and is what it would look like w/o javascript anyway).

I'm mostly looking for feedback of how the administrative UI could be improved, as well as how to word instructions to the user that won't scare them off. Also, for any other conceptual, architectural, or other comments.

Thanks,
Aaron

(Cross-posted in the Drupal Media Group.)

Continuing the Good Fight against Spam...

So I installed both Spamicide and Hashcash, and Mollom reported a huge dip in spam attempts in August (from the 17th to the 28th, as seen in the screenshot). However, the amount of spam getting through steadily increased after that. The volume of visits according to Google Analytics has remained about the same over the past year. Now the volume of spam getting through is back to roughly where it was before I made the configuration changes...

Mollom Spam in August

I'm about to give up and look at Akismet or Typepad (using AntiSpam for Drupal users)...

I'll keep folks posted.

Jon Stacey Rocked Google Summer of Code!

Jon Stacey has been a stellar student, exactly the person whom everyone hopes to attract with the Google Summer of Code. He spent the first couple of weeks becoming familiar with the project, which was to help develop the Media module for Drupal, then made a strong case to switch the focus of the project to bring the desired features directly into Drupal core.

Video: 
See video

Site Hacked? Read Cracking Drupal!

Cracking Drupal: A Drop in the Bucket
was everything I'd hoped it would be, and more.

Cracking Drupal by Greg Knaddison

I know that's a cliche, but when I first learned about Greg Knaddison's book (greggles in Drupal-land), I'd assumed it would be aimed primarily at Drupal contributed module developers. By the time I finished the excellent book about Drupal security, I realized it was an essential read for anyone connected with developing, theming, or maintaining a Drupal site.

I had been anticipating the release of Knaddison's book for months, as I've been a fan of his for some time, due in part to his active and helpful role in Drupal's forums, and to his work with the Security Team. After reading the book, I feel more secure than ever using Drupal, as its well-documented API and best practices ensure that any module maintainer adhering to them will produce rock-solid code. At the same time, it quite visibly demonstrates the importance of an active community to ensure the modules and themes we use do just that.

Let's look in more detail at the book.

Fighting Spam in Drupal with Mollom and Hashcash

I hate spam. Of course, I imagine the overworked, underpaid dupes in Pakistan dishing it out at 5¢ per hundred comments don't particularly like it much either. It's just their job.

So anyway, about a year ago, the spam on this site was getting a bit out of control. Fortunately, Mollom had just whipped out their new, free spam-blocking service about the same time, so I gladly installed it. As you can see in the graph below (the orange being 'Spam attempts blocked'), this has been a fantastic boon for the site, with over 700,000 spam attempts blocked in the past year.

Mollom blocks spam (2008-2009)

Looking at that graph, you can see the spam attempts really dropped off sometime in April or May. I really don't know why; if anything, the traffic to this site has steadily increased over the year. I suspect that whatever methods spammers were using were not paying off as well, perhaps in part due to the diligence of the great folks over at Mollom?

However, read on to see how it's been fairing lately...

Drupal Media Presentation in Colorado

If you haven't gotten your ticket for DrupalCamp Colorado, there's still time! Along with other excellent and anticipated sessions, I'll be presenting the current state of Drupal Media on Sunday, July 28, at 2:30 PM. The next day, Denver Open Media is hosting a Media Code Shiai / Sprint -- interested developers of all levels are invited and welcome!

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The Society for Venturism has chosen me as the recipient of its charity for this year, to hopefully offer me cryonic preservation when the time comes. And this month, Longecity, an excellent forum for the discussion of issues related to extending the lifespan of humans, has offered up a matching grant of up to a thousand dollars to help out! So help out! Please.