Ansible SSH Setup Playbook

14th January 2014

It is best practice to use Ansible with SSH keys in order to create the SSH connections to the servers. This does require a little bit of extra setup before hand in order to ensure that the server can be reached by Ansible via SSH keys alone. As I have been doing this quite a lot recently I decided to package the setup steps into an Ansible playbook.

Vagrant: Development Environments Made Easy

Vagrant is a tool that allows the easy creation of virtual machines. It was originally developed for use with VirtualBox, but it has been extended to allow integration with other virtualisation tools. Using Vagrant you can create a particular setup that you can then share with other people without having to give them large virtual disk images.

philipnorton42 Thu, 12/26/2013 - 15:24

Ansible: The Automation Engine

23rd December 2013

Ansible is a automation and provisioning tool that makes it easy to configure systems with the needed software, configuration options and even content. It is a command line tool, written in Python, that uses SSH connections to run these actions. This means that all you need to do is have a viable SSH connection to a machine and Ansible will run any actions you want to run. Ansible can either run single commands or use what is called a playbook to run several commands. Ansible playbooks are written in YAML, which makes understanding them quite easy.

Drupal 7 Audit SQL Queries

13th December 2013

When doing site audits on Drupal sites it’s always a good idea to get a feel of what sort of content types, users and taxonomy terms are available. Here are some SQL queries that I tend to use when starting out on a Drupal Audit.

Deleting Unapproved Comments In Drupal 7

13th December 2013

I recently came under a spam attack that gave me a bit of a problem to sort out. Over the course of 24 hours my blog received over 50,000 comments, all of which were utterly useless. What was good was the fact that my tiny little VPS server managed to stay available for most of the attack.

DrupalCampNW 2013: A Review

2nd December 2013

It’s been a whole year since the last DrupalCampNW2012 and this years DrupalCampNW (appropriately titled DrupalCampNW2013) seems to have been a great success. This years camp was held in Manchester at The Studio and I was part of the committee of people who helped organise and run the event.

Over the course of the weekend there was a range of talented speakers covering differing issues around Drupal, open source technologies and user experience. The weekend consisted of a Friday business event, followed by a developer and site builder event on the Saturday and Sunday.

My main task during the event was making sure the volunteers we had there on the day knew what they were doing and when to do it. The trouble with organising and running a conference is that you are lucky if you get to see many of the sessions. I did, however, manage to see several sessions over the course of the weekend.

Drupal 7 File Stream Wrapper Translation

18th October 2013

Steam wrappers were introduced in Drupal 7 and allow user file locations to be kept in a maintainable way, although I often forget which function to use to translate them. The three wrappers available are public://, private://, and temporary://, which map to the public, private, and temporary files directories respectively. All user files in Drupal are stored in either of these directories and they are referenced in the database as the file wrapper followed by the location of the file.

PHPNW13: A Review

14th October 2013

PHPNW13 is the 6th annual PHPNW conference, organised by members of the PHPNW community and Magma Digital. This year the conference saw around 420 people (with myself as a helper) at the conference, which was held in the Manchester Conference Centre.

My involvement in PHPNW13 started a few months before the actual conference. When the call for papers closed back in June I spent a weekend reading the submissions so that we could pick which sessions would be at the conference. Out of the 183 papers submitted (20 more than last year) we had to pick just 35 or so sessions that would be presented at the weekend. The final selection of talks was really good and judging by the comments and rating on joind.in they were well received by the other conference attended as well.

The Monty Hall Problem In PHP

24th September 2013

The Monty Hall problem is a counter intuitive problem in probability mathematics that deals with picking the right prize from a set of three doors. The problem is named after the television celebrity Monty Hall and is loosely based on the USA game show Let's Make a Deal.

Drupal WYSIWYG Module Custom CKEditor Configuration

22nd September 2013

The WYSIWYG module in Drupal is a great way of integrating a client side HTML editor (better known as a WYSIWYG editor) into a Drupal site. It supports a variety of different editors, all of which can be configured depending on the input format being used by the user. The ability to incorporate many different content editors into a site using a single module means that the configuration interface for them all is pretty much the same. It also means that it isn't a disaster if a different editor is needed for an existing site.