Features and Context Overview


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Discussion and demo of current Drupal development trends focusing on the Features module solution to the Drupal migration and revision control problem.

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  • Different problems associated with each to include dual production and development. Don’t want to take the site offline.
  • Features and Context Overview

    1. 1. Brent Ratliff<br />Twitter: @brentratliff<br />Blog: laminarlogic.com<br />
    2. 2. Old Drupal Paradigm<br />Extend Drupal core with modules in order to add functionality<br />Modules added content types, blocks, and queries with Drupal API calls and hooks<br />Modules added site functionality including end to end workflow<br />
    3. 3. Common Site Functionality<br />Events<br />Blog<br />Forums<br />Articles<br />Videos<br />Product Views<br />Ticketing System / CRM<br />
    4. 4. “Functionality” Modules<br />Pros<br />One click install<br />Worked out of the box<br />Established workflow<br />Cons<br />Inflexible<br />Too many assumptions made<br />Required coding to change<br />Tough to customize<br />
    5. 5. CCK and Views Changed Everything<br />
    6. 6. CCK/Views Paradigm<br />Create some content types with the fields we need (text, images, videos, dates, currency, locations, etc)<br />Reference content types to content and users<br />Create nice lists of these things for display and search (Views, Node & User References)<br />Create some blocks to display when our users are interacting with these features<br />
    7. 7. Contrib<br />Module developers began contributing smaller modules made to target specific tasks<br />Sitebuilders use these lighter modules to build their desired functionality in a more custom way like assemblingLego™ blocks<br />Examples: Views plugins, specific CCK fields, Nodereference widgets, GMAP, Rules, Workflow - all geared towards a CCK/Views paradigm<br />
    8. 8. CCK/Views Functionality<br />Pros<br />Incredibly flexible<br />Only minor glue modules needed if any code at all<br />Can completely control workflow, forms, queries, lists, and display<br />Clients now get almost exactly what they want<br />Cons<br />Configuration is in the database<br />Lots of time spent on configuration clicking through the U/I<br />Portability, Version Control, Dev+Staging+Production<br />We lost the one click install<br />
    9. 9. This is great, this “feature” works exactly how I want it to.<br />
    10. 10. Oh crap, now everything’s in the database. How do I get it out?<br />
    11. 11. Options<br />Backup & Migrate Module<br />Deploy Module<br />Feeds (Feed API)<br />Custom SQL<br />Exportables – This sounds promising<br />
    12. 12. Exportables<br />Views (Export/Import UI)<br />CCK Export/Import<br />Panels 3<br />Context<br />Boxes<br />Strongarm (Drupal Variables Table)<br />Ctools – API to expose custom module vars<br />
    13. 13. Context and Features<br />Wouldn’t it be great if you could define the functionality you want your site to have, build the pieces separately, or maybe, some for now and some for later.<br />It sure would be nice if I could build a cool feature once and deploy it wherever I want by clicking a check box.<br />Or better yet, develop it offline and deploy it.<br />
    14. 14. The Features Module<br />A module that builds modules from exportables<br />Provides a UI to gather exportables related to site functionality (a feature)<br />Creates and manages .info, .module and other files<br />Custom hooks can be added<br />The best of both worlds<br />
    15. 15. Context<br />A module that allows sitebuilders to layout their site into logical sections by controlling conditions and reactions<br />Block visibility, body classes, active menus, custom plugins<br />Replaces block admin page<br />Exportable<br />
    16. 16. Context Theme Gotchas<br />Theme functions<br />hook_block<br />Menu Trees<br />Primary Links<br />preprocess_page<br />
    17. 17. Let’s take a look at an example<br />