We are crazy about graphs and statistics. No wonder we also want to get a feel for the health of our Drupal sites in some way. On our video wall, one screen is dedicated to showing us errors per server to get a better understanding for how good we are doing. You cannot reach zero here, but you see if something fails miserably when things go over 9,000!
We can use our logging information for several things - visualizing error messages is just one use case. As an example, we store the generated data a bit longer to audit some processes, for example, content modification or deletion which is logged by the content module. However, let's jump in!
Our setup is currently pretty simple. The so called Elasticsearch ELK Stack (ELK stands for Elasticsearch Logstash Kibana) provides many more possibilities to setup for scalability. For our current size and needs we are happy with the way we set it up. It is straight forward and empowers us to make use of the data that is otherwise stored in the Drupal databases mostly unnoticed.
Drupal - Syslog Module
We make use of the Syslog functionality within Drupal to ship the Syslogs to our Local 7 endpoint of Syslog. From there, the messages are passed to Logstash.
Enabling Syslog is a straightforward thing:
drush en syslog drush vset syslog_identity yoursite_com drush vset syslog_facility 184 drush dis dblog
The remaining settings are left default, but you can change the information that is logged to your needs.
Logstash, written by Jordan Sissel, is the Swiss Army knife in our setup. You can think of it as Multiple Input - Multiple Output System. It features many In and Output Types (check the documentation section of the Logstash website for more information). We use the Syslog listener of Logstash and feed this data into our Elasticsearch instance. We create a new index every day to ease the process with retaining the logfiles. The current setup does not need further separation to this, Logstash allows us to split up the messages passed along from Drupal into separate searchable fields. For example, we split the site name, username, module, severity into separated fields.
All log entries are passed on from Logstash to Elasticsearch for indexing, search and storage. Elasticsearch is a quite young but powerful tool. It handles sharding and replication over many nodes with ease and has fantastic performance in searching.
Kibana is the frontend to Elasticsearch. It allows you to query the data stored within Elasticsearch and displays this information in graphs, diagrams tailored to your needs. We have several graphs we use daily. For example, we show all exceptions thrown on our video wall to see when something goes down. A sudden change in quantity of the errors gives us a hint to look into it. We also go trough the errors after deployments to ensure no fatal exceptions happen and are able to fix things that wouldn't be noticed otherwise.
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Today we are proud to announce that amazeelabs.com, our main website, has been re-launched ON DRUPAL 8.
After countless hours of emotional debate we came to the conclusion that we required a bold move to communicate our position as Switzerland’s #1 Drupal agency. To put this straight we actually are the proud owners of the first company web presence on Drupal 8 - on the entire web!
We strongly believe that a website isn't the final destination after all, it’s just the medium for the creation and promotion of a site’s content.
Gregory Gerhardt, Managing Director and Founder of Amazee Labs, commented: ”For too long our brilliant design has fought an uphill battle against the evil work of copycats. Our new website design shall rest uncopied - simple, authentic, close to its roots."
We hope you like our new face.
Update: So who fell for our April Fools' Day story? Normality has been restored and our regular site is back up. We loved your reactions.
Overwriting code in Drupal
On Thursday Vasi (vasi1186) highlighted methods how to overwrite the default behaviour of Drupal's core and some of the well known contributed modules.
Manage and Deploy your sites with Drush
In his session Bastian (dasrecht) explained how to setup Drush to work with remote sites and how we use it in our daily business.
Get ready for full translated sites with Entity Translation
Drupal 8 will require only only one module for translation: Entity Translation. Michael (Schnitzel) presented our biggest learning with Drupal 7's version of the module and how by using it the transition to Drupal 8 will be significantly easier.
Pro tip: For the full experience of his presentation's animated cat content gif goodness, which Slideshare doesn't support, you can download his Keynote slides here.
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We are coming to the end of the dedicated sprint days at Drupal Developer Days Szeged. Let’s take a look at the success we’ve had so far.
Sprinters started arriving early on Monday morning and by the end of the first day the two sprint rooms were almost full.
A third sprint room had to be added to the roster on Wednesday as we were out of space on Tuesday evening. To give you a good idea on numbers the total number of sprinters so far is over 150!
There’s a great vibe in the sprint rooms. Everyone has been saying how well organised the sprints are. Everyone’s enthusiasm to work on Drupal is sky high.
— Ruben Teijeiro (@rteijeiro) March 26, 2014
Ymbra team is sprinting in migrate and frontend on #drupaldevdays Very excited for all work done here these days!
— Ymbra (@ymbra_co) March 26, 2014
The sprints have covered many initiatives for Drupal 8 and Drupal.org with huge progress being made already. Since Monday many new contributors have worked on Drupal 8 and have already had their work committed to core.
oh, and the one i reviewed yesterday at #drupaldevdays was already commited. my work matters! yay! :)
— aboros (@hunaboros) March 26, 2014
The number of core commits this week so far has passed the 90, and it’s going up at a speedy rate. Many thanks to Webchick, AlexPott, and Catch who have been working around the clock to commit everyone's hard work.
Here are some highlights of the week so far:
- The Frontend sprint needed to mass relocate as so many people turned up. They are now in a bigger location taking up half a sprint room.
- The Beta Blocker Bunnies working hard to reach the Beta release of Drupal 8.
— xjm (@xjmdrupal) March 24, 2014
- A special mention for the coffee. Free latte macchiatos (hand delivered by Gábor Hojtsy if you ask him nicely).
- Everyone regrouping after dinner for late night coding in the sprint rooms until being made to leave.
— Mori Sugimoto (@dokumori) March 25, 2014
More photos of the Drupal Developer Days can be found in our Flickr set.
A significant delegation of our tech team will be attending the Drupal Dev Days in Szeged. Here are your chances to meet up with us:
Monday, 24 March - Wednesday, 26 March
Thursday, 27 March
- 10:00-11:00 Techniques to overwrite code in Drupal @ Ursa Minor (Hosted by Vasile Chindris)
- Drupal 8 Multilingual sprint
Friday, 28 March
- 13:00-14:00 Manage and Deploy your Sites with Drush @ The Earth (Hosted by Bastian Widmer)
- 15:30-16:30 Get ready for full translated Sites with Entity Translation @ The Galaxy (Hosted by Michael Schmid)
- Drupal 8 Multilingual sprint
Saturday, 29 March - Sunday, 30 March
For real-time updates of our whereabouts, especially for our evening outings, check our Twitter account.
The inaugural edition of the Web Expresso is in the books. It was a great pleasure to welcome our dear clients and partners exclusively to our quarterly breakfast briefing series. Accompanied by coffee, orange juice and fresh croissants we served an insight into the prospects of Drupal 8 in easy digestible portions.
Here are the slides of the event:
For further questions on Drupal 8 get in touch. We are happy to share our expertise with you.
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As we have just hired Emma, it was no big question that we should join the community at the Drupalcamp in London 2014. It is the second time that London has had a Drupalcamp, and it already has grown by 50%. Around 600 members of the Drupal community will be there over the weekend.
After the CXO day and training that took place on Friday, Mark O'Neill kicked of a weekend full of sessions and sprints. He talked about how they built an new electoral registration system for 50 million users.
Mark O'Neill during his presentation.
Over lunch some of us had the possibility to enjoy lunch in the small park right beside the City University London, where the camp takes place.
On the other hand there were some very dedicated people which preferred to work on Drupal core.
Dagmar had her presentation right after lunch. The room was quite full and she got a lot of good questions and feedback about the topic "There are no bad clients, only bad project managers".
So far the Drupalcamp in London has been a huge success. And once again we can see and feel how strong the community is, and we are proud to be a part of it.
There are more visual impressions available on our flickr account.
- On Saturday from 2 - 2:45 pm, in AG21, Dagmar (dagmita) will be holding a session on the topic "There are no bad clients, just bad project managers".
- During the camp you'll be able to meet us sprinting on Drupal 8 Multilingual Initiative (D8MI) issues in the coder's lounge.
Drum roll, please, for the launch of our latest client project: The Voice of Switzerland! It's been a year since SRF, the Swiss broadcasting company, aired the first series of the casting show. Now Switzerland is again on the hunt for the most beautiful voice and Amazee Labs was commissioned to develop the show's platform.
The motto of this year's solution is: same same but different and more sophisticated. After entrusting us with the building of the show's website and a second screen solution for the first series in 2013, SRF came knocking at our door again. This time they opted for a deeper social media integration, thus giving their audience even more opportunities to engage. The viewer can now enjoy a completely new social media and a second screen experience with real time updates looking gorgeous on any device.
Have a look at Switzerland's voices here.
DrupalCon Austin is going down this summer in arguably the hippest city in the continental United States. And guess what? — the call for session submissions is already open! Austin will be an important conference to attend — its primary focus will be on Drupal 8 and helping our wonderful community ramp up for the new platform.
But even better than simply attending, why not try for a session of your own? Perhaps you’ve been honing your Twig skills and could benefit others by sharing your templating wisdom. Or maybe you have provoking ideas on how to ease a themer’s transition from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. Team workflows will surely require adjustments. Have thoughts on the topic? Well then, propose a session already!
The Frontend track is seeking topics specifically relating to:
- Twig — Drupal 8’s new default templating engine
- Libraries new to D8 (Backbone & Underscore.js)
- Frontend performance
- Device-agnostic, responsive development tips & tricks
- Frontend changes in Drupal 8 core
- Frontend best-practices for multilingual sites in D8
- … and of course, Frontend topics still relevant to Drupal 7
Hope to see you in June!