Getting Started With Cache Functions In Drupal 7

30th March 2015

When generating markup in Drupal you'll often want to store the output in a cache instead of regenerating it every time. This is especially important for potentially expensive rendering tasks that don't change between page requests. Drupal 7 comes with a cache system that can be taken advantage of with the cache_get() and cache_set() functions. There is also a third function called drupal_static() that also fills in gaps between these two functions.

DrupalCamp London 2015

24th March 2015
Nearly a month has passed since my visit to London for this year's DrupalCamp and I thought I would put my thoughts down on the blog. I went down with a group of colleagues from my company Access on the Friday night before the event, having arranged a flat through Airbnb for all of us to stay in. After some beers and a burger we were ready for the main event on Saturday morning.

Allowing Cached HTTPS Traffic From Drupal With Varnish And Pound

29th January 2015

Varnish is a web application accelerator that helps to speed up websites. It works by sitting in front of the web server and caching web pages that are served by it.

When a request for a web page is made Varnish passes this request on to the web server, which then responds to the request as it normally would. Varnish then caches the result of this request before sending it to the user.

Pretty Print JSON With Python

23rd December 2014

JSON is a very common data format, but reading it can be a little difficult, especially if the JSON contains very little white space. If you have Python 2.6 or above you have use the json.tool to format the JSON so that you can read it correctly. This is also a good way to validate JSON strings that you have had to hand edit before they cause errors upstream.

If you have a file called file.json, which contains a bunch of JSON output, you can use Python to format this into a readable structure in the following way.

PHPNW14: A Review

7th November 2014

The annual PHPNW conference, now in it’s 7th year, was held on the 4th and 5th of October in Manchester, again in the Mancester Conference Centre. The conference was attended by over 400 people with over 30 speakers from all over the world who talked about everything from project management to the internals of PHP. I have been volunteering at PHPNW for a few years now, but this year I was able to attend as a delegate with a number of colleagues from Access. It’s been a few weeks since the event, but I haven’t had a chance to publish this review, so here it is.

Find Architecture And Version Of A Linux Box

12th August 2014

When doing an audit of an existing Linux server a good first step is to find out what distribution is running and if the server is running a 32 or 64 bit architecture.

To find out what architecture a server is running you can run the uname command, which will print out certain system information. This must be supplied with the -a flag in order to print out as much information as possible. uname -a

This will print out a line similar to the following on an Ubuntu system.

Speeding Up Apache And Drupal With Varnish

8th June 2014

Varnish is a web application accelerator that provides an easy speed increase to most web applications and Drupal is no exception. It works by creating a reverse proxy service that sits in front of your web server and caches traffic that comes through it. When the page is requested, Varnish forwards the request to the web server to complete the request, the response that comes back from the web server is then cached by Varnish. This means that the next request to the same page is served by Varnish and not the web server, which results in a large speed increase.

Print A Specific Block Of Lines From A File In Linux

20th May 2014

If you have a large file of data that you are trying to import, or a log file you are trying to dissect then you'll rarely want to print it directly out to the screen. Using commands like more or programs like vim can make things a little easier but you still have to run through potentially thousands of lines to find the correct block.

Connecting To A Vagrant Box Without The 'vagrant ssh' Command

18th May 2014

When Vagrant sets up a virtual machine it will set up a port on your local machine that you can use to connect to the box via SSH. By default this is usually port 2222, which Vagrant maps to port 22 on the virtual machine. All this is essentially transparent so that when you type vagrant ssh you connect to the box without any problems. Vagrant handles all of the port matching and key finding behind the scenes.

DrupalCamp London 2014: A Review

12th March 2014

The City University London campus was the venue for Drupalcamp London 2014 and I went along for the weekend as a delegate. This was the first conference for a while where I wasn’t helping out, speaking, or organising in some form so it was good to just turn up and relax. I travelled down on the Friday night from Manchester and successfully booked into my Airbnb room.