August Acquia India Drupal meetup in Delhi

Thanks to everyone for attending a great Drupal meetup on August 15th in the Acquia offices in Delhi in Stirring Minds.

Although a lot less than 50+ registered, we still managed to get around 30 people in the room for some snacks, chat, presentations and hacking, making this one of the largest Drupal meetups I've seen in the Delhi area.

The event kicked off with some socializing, table tennis, drinks and snacks. Following that, I (Jacob) did a short presentation on the tools I use to be both lazy and efficient as a developer.

Post that, we dug into some Khati rolls, beer and cold drinks and split into Birds of a Feather groups focused on the following:

  • D7 to D8 module migration (led by Abhishek and Abhishek)
  • Drupal for absolute beginners (some new people from Stirring Minds also attended. (Suchi)
  • Performance optimization (Amit Goyal)
  • Contributing to Drupal (Rajeev).

Many people came up and told me it was the best meetup they've been to, which was great to hear.

Future meetups

Unfortunately, Delhi has not has a history of regular meetups. We're hoping that with the central space at Stirring Minds and a little intention we can change that. I sent out a survey which



Fake it till you make it, one-liner to generate content for a Drupal site

Devel Generate is great module for putting some dummy content on your site.  You can generate taxonomy terms and vocabs, users, nodes and menus.  Other modules, such as the voting API also plugin to it to generate votes.  

Devel Generate also has great Drush support.  This little one liner will build a site with a few vocabularies, a couple dozen terms, some users, some content and a menu or two.

VOCAB=$(drush genv --kill 3 2>&1 | tail -3 | head -n1) && drush gent --kill $VOCAB 20 && drush --kill genu 50 && drush --kill genc 200 && drush --kill genm 5

I have an alias for it, ($alias make_me_stuff='the command above') so when I'm starting a new project I can just hop in to the docroot and run: make_me_stuff





Acquia U graduates

Do you remember what your first day on the job was like? Maybe it begins with an orientation by an HR administrator; where is the coffee, how do I get on the intranet, where is my nerf gun. For many software companies it goes more like "Here's a link to the wiki, version control creds are in your email, try not to screw anything up." As a self-made scrapper, I can totally respect a DIY orientation. Many consider it the first test, is the person ready to take initiative and figure things out for themselves? My first day at Acquia three and a half years ago was in this vein.

Planning for growth

As an organization gets larger though, the processes and roles become more complex and harder to adapt to. To react to this reality and to continuing hiring and developing stellar talent, we embarked on a new project 6 months ago called Acquia U.

Kay Van Valkenburgh and I took eight aspiring web developers and gave them six weeks of intensive training followed by two 6-week on-the-job training rotations through different departments at Acquia.

Basic training

The training portion of the program is rooted in the Agile development methodology where the participants choose, execute,


Managed Chaos: How I use Agile and Scrum in the classroom

Agile is great for developing software. It improves quality by committing to transparency and realistic estimates. It improves morale by putting creative people in control of their process and it gives stakeholders visibility into the process and the flexibility to change priorities (pivot for all you trendy wantrapraneurs out there).

And while Agile originated in the software industry, the principles and even the processes now exist outside of it. It works pretty well as a system in any place where there is inherent uncertainty. While traditional management methodologies seek to eliminate uncertainty by careful planning and enforcement, Agile embraces uncertainty as essential and builds teams and processes which can adapt to it.

Now think about traditional education. You have a lesson plan, you have a syllabus, the teacher assumes how will each student will absorb every lesson, how many hours of work they will need to put in to prep for a test, how best to learn each topic, etc.


Balle-Balle! Heading to India for April

I know, April is almost the worst time to visit India.  The weather is around 40 degrees C (that's TOO DAMN HOT for all the yanks) and the weather conditions are:

Anyway, I didn't want to miss DrupalCon where I had two sessions, so April it is.  You may recall, I visited with Dries in November.  It was a pretty amazing trip and were we all inspired by the opportunity and enthusiasm there.  Now it's time to make some of our plans happen.  If you're based in India, I've got a few agendas to push when I'm there, and I'd love your help to make them happen:

  1. Grow the Drupal community: I'm thinking the best ways to do this are to speak at events, and train local trainers, especially in broad intro-level courses. Anyone interested?
  2. Meet with potential and current Acquia partners: If you want to become an Acquia partner let me know and let's talk about what that entails. Already a partner, let's grab a drink and talk about your business
  3. Meet contributors: Are you a Drupal contributor looking for some recognition and/or assistance in your projects? Get in touch with me and I'll try to help you with your success.


Acquia U week one highlights

The group had a really busy week. Everyone from the Services department was on hands at Acquia - So they got a chance to meet with Dries, Peter Guagenti (VP Services) as well as Bryan house (VP Marketing) and many others.

In addition, as the group was cramming to get their work done, we got iced by the PS team.

With all that extra-curricular activity, they were crammed to get their assignment in. The assignment was simple:

  • Build a Drupal Gardens site as a portfolio of your work.
  • Interview 5 Acquians (selected at random).
  • Publish their interviews / photos on your site.
  • Build a view with list and tabular displays that can filter by department.
  • Make a block which showed a random Acquian.

The results where absolutely impressive. A few of these people (including Andrew - the first one below) were using Drupal for the first time! The group has since moved on, their portfolios have been moved to Acquia hosting.

Here's a few screenshots and links - check it out and get to know some Acquians and how the Ubies did on their first assignments.  

Please show the Ubies some love and comment on their blogs / follow them on twitter.



The making of a Ubie - Inside Acquia training

As you may know, Acquia has been growing quite fast. Since I joined the company in the fall of 2008, we have gone from about 25 employees to around 200 today. It has been a fantastic ride for everyone, and we see no signs of slowing. The tough part of growth for us has been keeping up with the demand for talented Drupalists. From what I understand, Acquia isn't unique in this requirement.

To fix this problem, the only option is to train. We do this in several ways:

These are all great for the labor shortage in the Drupal ecosystem as a whole, but doesn't explicitly solve our problem of needing to staff our client advisory, professional services or engineering teams (all hiring btw).

Acquia U

Enter Acquia U. Acquia U's goal is to take people who are recent grads or web developers who are new to Drupal and train them to become members of Acquia's technical teams.


Adding SOPA blackout to a Drupal Gardens

If you want to blackout your site in protest of SOPA/PIPA, here's what you gotta do:

(hat tip to http://www.zachstronaut.com for the blackout page).

Important: Keep the url mysite.drupalgardens.com/admin/content handy. 

Once you follow these instructions, your site will go dark (if it is January 18th 2012).  If you want to get it back, you will need to delete the block later.

  1. Navigate to Structure -> Blocks
  2. Click on "Add Block"
  3. In the "Body" use the dropdown to change from "Safe HTML" to "Full HTML" (the buttons will go away)
  4. Make the block show by setting a region.
  5. Copy the following and paste it into the body:




<script type="text/javascript">
    var a = new Date;
    if (18 == a.getDate() && 0 == a.getMonth() && 2012 == a.getFullYear()) {
        window.onload = function () {
            var cover = document.createElement('div');
            cover.style.position = 'fixed';
            cover.style.zIndex = 9999999;
            cover.style.width = window.innerWidth + 'px';
            cover.style.height = window.innerHeight + 'px';
            cover.style.top = 0;
            cover.style.backgroundColor = '#000';
            cover.innerHTML = '<iframe


State of Drupal in emerging markets survey 2012

This survey is intended to gather data about Drupal's opportunities and challenges in emerging markets.  "Emerging market" is a loaded and awful term, but for lack of a better one, I'm using it to mean anywhere that doesn't already have a large Drupal marketplace and community (i.e. North America and Western Europe).

I'm going to use this data in my presentation at DrupalCon Denver and the raw data will be released publicly under a Creative Commons license.
The goals of my presentation are:
  • Highlight the growth of Drupal worldwide
  • Provide insights on the adoption patterns of customers in emerging markets
  • Show the challenges and opportunities for SMEs and large companies
  • Celebrate and discuss the challenges of new Drupal communities around the world
The presentation will be somewhat heavily about India and probably China.  So it will be skewed towards the big IT players and how they are adopting Drupal, but I hope to also present a well rounded view of many markets people are not aware of.
Please answer honestly and completely, and feel free to suggest additional questions & add comments in the provided long-answer fields.
If you have any questions, get in touch with me at http://www.jacobsingh.name/contact.





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