Fight On! A Magazine

28 Mar 2009
Posted by jcfiala

I'm not sure if I initially realized how great a loss it was when Dragon magazine retreated from the world of print (and newstands) to become a purely digital offering. I know in the past I've been a great fan of digital releases of RPG materials such as games and supplements, but that's an attitude I've slowly been becoming less happy with. When I first was able to buy digital games, I went in whole hog and bought a lot of them... and then barely read any of them.


Stranded in Boulder

26 Mar 2009
Posted by jcfiala

So, here I am, stranded in Boulder.

My bosses here at pingVision are pretty cool, and once it became apparent that the snow was going to be just this bad, and reports kept coming in from various quarters of the problems folks were having with the traffic, they were kind enough to feed us all early and send us on our way back home. Unfortunately in my case this release was a little too late - RTD had already shut down all of it's traffic down to Denver, and it wasn't clear if they would be opening for the day... so I got a room here in Boulder for the night.

Posted by jcfiala

A couple of quite notes for those of you trying to use drupal_add_tabledrag() on your sites, that may prevent you suffering through the same pain as myself... but I'll hide it after the break for those of you who don't care and want to get on to the next bit.

Posted by jcfiala


This is my first post coming in from my new (ish) website at That's my official website now, and I'm planning to be posting from there (well, here) from now on, using a lovely drupal module to copy the posts over here to livejournal. For the moment I'm leaving comments open at both locations, but hopefully some of you will come over to my site and set up accounts - I've turned on openid authentication, so you can create an account with your livejournal account by entering in your journal url minus the http: - for instance, mine would be

I've been meaning to set up this switch for a little while now - I've already posted a couple of blog posts there, but from now on they'll be mirrored on livejournal. I want to make comments about life, Drupal, D&D, and other things that come to mind... so hopefully this will also get me to post more often too.

See you around!

Posted by jcfiala

Two links that got me there: - install Adobe AIR and get it running - Install additional code that TweetDeck needs in particular.

Posted by jcfiala

Fields 7 API

Barry Jaspan, Acquia, Inc.
D6: CCK with hook_nodeapi, Many field types,
But tied to nodeapi, not users or comments.

D7: Field Attach API - Field module
Node calls field everywhere it would call nodeapi, but first.

Effectively, field is a nodeapi that gets called first. nodeapi still there
Just like cck calls to field modules to cool stuff - the fields module calls the same, some in core and some like date, image go into contrib.

field.module is the field attach api
Then, the field type api is what provides the fields for nodes and such
Creating fields in D7 Field uses a CRUD API that's in the CCK UI. CCK UI creates fields, but doesn't automatically attach only to nodes.

Anyone can use field attach - Users, Nodes, Comments and maybe fields in time.

Posted by jcfiala

Business Analytics in Drupal with Views

phase ii technology - does a lot of contrib work.

Recurring problems are fun - every now and then try to create a generic solution that works 80% of the time - rest of the time charge money for custom development

Work with a lot ofdata, working with data is fun, but you need to visual data in different ways
Use views to visualize some data - unfortunately, it's limited to rendering data in tabular ways, and lots of clients want charts and graphs. Wondered if this was cool for other people, and

People were wondering if this was even possible - cool idea, but what?
busyness analytics is a series thing - done with sap, or microsoft - nobody really thinks about ba with drupal/php. Showed list of famous PHP website as well as list of famous/serious Drupal sites like Onion, FastCompany, NY Observer, So, Drupal is big business/serious

Posted by jcfiala

Databases: The Next Generation
larry garfield

Works for

drupal 6 database layer
ext/mysql, ext/mysqli, ext/pgsql
PHP 3 based database handling.

Swapping include files
- can't use more than one db driver at once

Requires manual blob encoding because of postgressql

can't do custom field handling - can't support oracle or db2

No db-specific optimizations - lowest common dominator.
which means most folks do general mysql, postgres in the cold.
Requires manual type escaping, etc, which uses preg_callback, regex-based (slow)
No database replication support - sites will handle by hacking core.
no transaction support - node_save fails haflway, you get half of a node
String-concatination used to construct dynamic queries

all of it adds up to major DB fail
In 1997, 'Go PHP 5' started, we need to drop PHP 4.
Now can use PDO now that php5 is requried for drupal 7 Totally object oriented api

Posted by jcfiala

Handling asynchronous Data with drupal

link to notes at

Technical - concepts then code - joy!

Josh_k giving the talk. - drupal-dojo cofounder
Old timer - user/3313

wants to help us prevent his mistakes.
Asynchronous data is the hotness - ajax/ahah, web 2.0
escape the page - become a platform/application

Mission: async_demo.module
Provide a block of links to non-promoted posts - links clicked will cause data to appear at top of /node

Booting up:
* Build Object-Level Data into the DOM class, title, id
* Use drupal.settings for global Info
* Keep your HTML Compliant
* Degrade as Gracefully as Possible.

(Example of embedding data as class/title/link/id)

* Hook to DOM elements w/jQuery
* Better than $(document).ready()
* Override friendly
* Re-attachable
* Contextual

Posted by jcfiala

Apache Solr module
Jacob Singh and Peter Wolanin

cloud based for free on aquia - is using solr.

relevant and fast results in apache solr. Filter down based on metadata - sortable. And content recommendation - that sounds good.

change how you navigate sites showing craigslist as bad example.

Information architecture is the science and art of guessing what your users want to see or do on your site and helping them get there.

architeypes - who
content - you got it
organzie and prosper - name groups as navigation
sports - menu item, international news - menu item
That's how we make sites - 1996 - what's wrong with that? Primary problem is that websites are more complicated than they used to be and content comes from other places.
also, websites do a lot more than they used to. And they grow, sometimes very fast, and in directions you didn't expect. So, in a month your content and menus are overflowing.