Anakreon Blog

DrupalCon Prague 2013

September 28, 2013

С 23 по 27 сентября в Праге (Чехия) проходила ежегодная конференция, посвящённая Drupal – DrupalCon 2013. В этом году в конференции приняло участие около двух тысяч участников со всего мира – программистов и владельце сайтов на Drupal со всего мира.

Представители нашей компании приняли участие в конференции.

Участники DrupalCon 2013

Конференция проходила очень активно и продуктивно. Много докладов было посвящено оптимизации Drupal сайтов и во многом упор был на долгожданный сообществом Drupal 8. Невозможно было посетить всё, но каждый из нас выбрал наиболее подходящий ему доклад о чем в последствии делился со всей группой участников от нашей компании. Мы получили возможность пообщаться с другими членами мирового Drupal-сообщества и привезли множество впечатлений, а главное,  убедились, что Drupal все больше и больше набирает популярность уже и среди корпоративных клиентов. 

Большинство докладов записывалось и доступно для прослушивания менее везучими друпаллерами на сайте конференции https://prague2013.drupal.org/speakers.

Как мы участвовали в .тостер {ruby} 2012

February 10, 2012

И снова на сайте нашей компании отчет с очередной конференции, очевидцами которой стали программисты фирмы "Анакреон". На этот раз такой конференцией стал Toster.Ruby, прошедший 10 февраля в Москве, в бизнес-центре Digital October. (http://toster.ru)

Анакреон на HighLoad 2011

October 10, 2011

Компания "Анакреон" продолжает заниматься развитием своих сотрудников, и следующим шагом, предпринятым ею в этой связи, стал выезд на знаменитый Highload, уже в 5й раз собравший 3-5 октября в Москве технических специалистов из всего русскоговорящего пространства и не только.

Coworking

April 29, 2011

Во время последней поездки в США меня пригласили на презентацию, которая проходила в офисе компании CoCo (http://cocomsp.com/). Хочу отметить, что сама компания и атмосфера в офисе меня поразили больше, чем непосредственно презентация. Дело в том, что CoCo реализует популярную в последнее время в мире концепцию Коворкинга (Coworking), заключающуюся в том, что офис предназначен не только для сотрудников определенной компании, а и для всех желающих. 

О различных подходах к тестированию юзабилити на примере тестирования форумов tut.by

January 21, 2011

[18:39:27] k: а ты разные форумы посещаешь?

[18:40:17] I: почти нет

[18:40:23] k: а чего

[18:40:56] I: почитай Пелевина - он объясняет в empire-v

[18:42:30] I: короче - не испытываю патологической потребности нести знания в массы

[18:43:11] I: а сам предпочитаю свободный поиск - в том числе и на форумах )))

/Из разговора со знакомым сисадмином/

Online survey and enterprise feedback system Soorveys.com

December 13, 2010

Soorveys.com was developed for online surveys processing and analysis.

Basic functions:

1) Create and edit wide variety of surveys 2) Managing lists of responders 3) Conducting surveys among different groups of respondents 4) Rapid analysis of the responses with the possibility of segmenting and benchmarking 5) Getting convenient and informative reports. 6) Ability to export results to external systems analysis (e.g., Excel, Word, PDF)

Soorveys.com is a multilingual environment, i.e. both interface, and polls can be implemented in several languages. Soorveys.com system is implemented as a web-based application accessible from any computer with Internet access.

Internet address: http://soorveys.com

Requirements for workstation

- Connecting to the Internet at speeds of at least 128 kbps. - Availability of Internet Explorer 7 and above or Mozilla Firefox 3.5 or later. Also supported Safari and Chrome browsers with some limitations.

One person or several at once can work with the system. It realizes the possibility of separation of rights and access control.

Types of questionnaires

Questionnaire can consist of a large variety of questions, answers and issues, for convenience divided into groups.

System supports several standard types of questions:

Reply options

1) One option of several 2) Several options from several 3) Number of Likert scales (agree, neutral, disagree) 4) Constant sum (the sum of all responses equal to a specified value) 5) Yes / No 6) Yes / No / Can’t say

Text

1) The text, one line 2) The text, several lines 3) E-mail

Number

1) Integer 2) Any number 3) Percent

Date/Time

1) Date 2) The date and time 3) Time

In the future we plan to support more complex types of questions.

Types of surveys

The questionnaire can be 1) anonymous. In this case, system either do not collect any information about the respondents, or only necessary for segmentation and analysis (age, sex, etc.) 2) personalised. In that case the respondent is a registered user of the system, and his personal data stored in the user profile. 3) tests. At the end of survey, total number of points earned for each question is calculated and system can make automated decision based on defined rules.

Conducting the survey

For the survey to define the audience, survey manager should enter a list of email addresses of respondents, as well as the time of the survey.

At the beginning of the survey, each respondent will receive an email, inviting him to the poll. Poll Manager may temporarily suspend the collection of results.

After the survey complete, all users will receive notification by e-mail that survey was closed.

Frequency and timing of the survey can be specified as the schedule set by the manager interviews, and manually.

User Management

In the system there are 3 types of users: - Administrators (system administration) - Survey Managers (surveys control) - Users (answer questions)

System administrators are employees of soorveys.com.  Registering in the system, the user gets the right to manage surveys in the scope of one company. Survey Managers can create users within their company, including managers and other surveys.

Survey Management

Survey Managers can copy questionnaires fully or partially into questins bank / library or templeates for further use in different questionnaires. 

Sharing information with other users

The user of the system can provide access (i.e. delegate his rights) to any other survey users. This allows to divide the work among several employees, especially in the case of vacation or illness.

Administration

In general, survey manager does not have to perform any administrative tasks, besides maintaiting lists and archives of questionnaires, respondents and their respective results. All system administration, including regular backups, performed by soorveys.com staff.

Result analysis

soorveys.com can be used as an interface program for the analysis of the responses, providing for user friendly print-out as well as download of reports in tables and graphs and export data for use in sandard Microsoft Office applications such as Excel, Word (or SPSS in the future).

Security

System Soorveys.com implements all of the available methods for security as of users' personal data as well as content of questionnaires and responses and any other data collected.

Users access the system through a secure SSL channel and required to enter login name and password. Every single questionnaire may also be protected by an additional password. When registering, users go through procedure of e-mail address verification covering anti-spam and anti-robots measures.

Data on the server regularly backed-up for security and business continuity purposes. In addition, any changes on the server are automatically signed of with Used ID (i.e. Who) and Time Stamp (i.e. When) forming an audit trail.

New features in Drupal 7 - improvements for developers

November 12, 2010

The new release of Drupal – Drupal 7 – gives a lot of new possibilities for developers. Many changes have been made to make the system more flexible and to improve performance of Drupal 7. Patches from more than 700 people in the community have been accepted. The main change in Drupal 7 that just about everybody has heard about is that many popular modules are moved into core, but many other improvements have been also made that make developer’s experience with Drupal even better.

In September 2007 the survey was conducted by Dries Buytaert to find usability problems in Drupal and to get to know users’ expectations about the future new release (more then 1000 responses collected). The mostly wanted features for core as selected by respondents (listed by importance – mostly wanted first):

  1. Better performance for authenticated users
  2. Get the Views module's query builder into core
  3. Improve node access system
  4. Better internal APIs (easier to use, consistency)
  5. Better external APIs (import/export, webservices)
  6. File API improvements
  7. A semantic core theme (like Zen)
  8. Smarter cache invalidation
  9. Mail subsystem (with queues and accounting)
  10. Support for MySQL master-slave configurations
  11. Further extend APIs to support internationalization
  12. Enhance code quality

Here are also the conclusions made after the survey about more important features to include in Drupal 7.

  • Better media handling
  • Custom content types in core
  • WYSIWYG editor
  • Better performance
  • Better tools to structure/organize content
  • Basic Views like module
  • Automatic upgrade functionality
  • Improved node access system
  • Better internal APIs
  • Better external APIs (import/export, web services)
  • Usability

“Fields on everything”

  • What was in Drupal 5 and Drupal 6 in CCK (CCK is custom content types and custom fields) has been moved into core in Drupal 7. While installing modules is easy for Drupal experts, this improvement will save you time.
  • More importantly: creating custom fields and types has become more flexible. Now everything in Drupal is called an entity: comments, users, taxonomy terms, categories are all entities and all these entities can accept fields. Once created, any field can be then re-used and added while creating new content.
  • Comments and Users have become nodes. Comparing to Drupal 6, it means for example you have no need to install the module content_profile to customize Users profiles. Before in Drupal 6 Users had only 3 fields: email, login, password. Now you can easily add other fields like location, personal info etc. without installing additional module.
  • New types of fields added: image field and field for uploading files (file fields have been previously provided by the contributed module FileField, fields to upload images - by the module ImageField)

Features for front-end developers and themers

  • There are many improvements for front-end engineers in Drupal 7; the most important maybe that jQuery UI is in core now. Before you had to install this library.
  • Color module in core
  • Old table-based themes are removed from core. New theme "Stark" was added to the pack, this theme can become a good starting point for you to create new themes and makes analyzing Drupal's default HTML and CSS easier. This theme will probably satisfy those Drupal developers who voted for “semantic core theme” as the top priority feature in the new release of Drupal in 2007 – the research we mentioned in the beginning of the article.
  • Administrative interface has got its own theme ("Seven").
  • IDs of many blocks are changed and has become more meaningful, for example the ID of navigation block is changed from block-user-1 (in Drupal 6) to block-system-navigation (in Drupal 7) – much more easier to understand what the block is for. Some variables are renamed: $picture changed to $user_picture, $left and $right variables are now $sidebar_first and $sidebar_second; some functions are renamed, etc. New names look reasonable and consistent still it will take some time for a developer to get used to the new requirements. Complete list of changes in Drupal themes can be found here http://drupal.org/update/theme/6/7
  • Some little inconvenience you may have while getting used to new names and requirements for Drupal 7 will be offset by advantages you get in Drupal 7 while creating a theme. One of the advantages is more flexible use of hooks. Some important hooks like hook_page_alter, hook_form_alter, hook_js_alter, hook_css_alter you can use now from theme – no need to create a module. Still, to use some other hooks like hook_menu_alter, for example, you'll need to use a module.
  • In Drupal 7, $content became a region and is now mandatory in all themes. In Drupal 6, it was only possible to put blocks after the main page content in this region and to put blocks before the main page content developers needed to create a new region. Drupal 7 now makes the main page content its own block. This makes it possible to put blocks before or after the main page content in the region without hacking in a new region.

File and image handling:

  • Files are now first class Drupal objects with file_load(), file_save(), and file_validate() functions and corresponding hooks.
  • Files use PHP stream wrappers to enable support for both public and private files and to support pluggable storage mechanisms and access to remote resources (e.g. S3 storage or Flickr photos).
  • Improved image handling, including better support for add-on image libraries.

Security improvements

  • Protected cron.php -- cron will only run if the proper key is provided
  • Implemented much stronger password hashes that are also compatible with the Portable PHP password hashing framework.
  • New permission to run site updates
  • Rate limited login attempts to prevent brute-force password guessing, and improved the flood control API to allow variable time windows and identifiers for limiting user access to resources.

Database

  • Added support for the SQLite database engine
  • Theoretical support of any PHP supported database.
  • Added query builders for INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, MERGE, and SELECT queries.
  • Support for master/slave replication, transactions, multi-insert queries, delayed inserts, and other features.
  • Default to InnoDB engine, rather than MyISAM, on MySQL when available for greater scalability and data integrity.

Internalization

  • New translation interface
  • Search module supports language-aware searches
  • Individual fields can be marked translatable/untranslatable
  • Support for message contexts (msgctxt) to make translation of short words like “View” much easier.

Other

  • Added support for default text formats to be assigned on a per-role basis.
  • Improved time zone support
  • News aggregator: Added OPML import functionality for RSS feeds; Added feed update options.
  • Installer can be run from the command line
  • Setting up automated task runs (cron) can now be achieved via Drupal's configuration alone, without having to install any scripts on the web server.
  • Better Support for Multisite Installations
  • Added RDF support
  • Better support for search engine optimization and web linking

New Minimum System Requirements:

  • Database: MySQL 5.0.15 or PostgreSQL 8.3
  • PHP Version 5.2 or higher
  • PHP Memory: 40M - 64M

Let’s get back to the most wanted features list from the survey made in 2007 we mentioned in the beginning of the article. Which of the features wanted by Drupal developers are implemented in Drupal 7? Are there things on the features list that hasn’t been taken into consideration or left for future releases?

We should say that many features indicated as priority have been implemented (Custom content types in core, Automatic upgrade functionality, better internal APIs). One of the things people wanted most is WYSIWYG editor and this is not included in Drupal 7. Node access system is not improved. Comments of Dries Buytaert on this matter: “Drupal core does not have a UI for node access so the contributed modules, not core, will take advantage of these improvements”.

We should say also the biggest change is improving usability: admin interface in Drupal 7 is much easier to understand for novice and non technical people who add content. And this is what content editors wanted most of all. If you are a developer interested more in feature rich and performance of Drupal, please pay attention to the fact your clients care mostly about clear interface and when your clients try admin interface in Drupal 7, they will be more satisfied with the job you do for them. So we propose you to review the article about usability improvements in Drupal 7.

 

Marina Mufel

Usability engineer

Project management and tasks control using Redmine

November 3, 2010

In our time we can not imagine the organization of work without the use of planning and control system. In most cases, IT companies use project oriented method of organizing work. This means that any activity carried out within the framework of the project for which resources are allocated and assigned deadlines. So much easier to implement the operational management of resources, to organize an effective control over the implementation and finally perform the required work on time and within your budget.