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Articles tagged: Drupal Planet

Failure to Launch: The Myth of the Missing Map

from Sarah Prasuhn on November 24, 2014 04:00pm

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It's all about perspective when it comes to launching. We always think we need something more, that missing set of instructions or special ingredient that will propel us to finish. That special person, few moments of sanity, or foolproof plan.

But at the end of the day, while those things may encourage us to make the choice to take action or bring balance and clarity, they never change the fact that we won't make it anywhere until we start the journey. We could be waiting at the bus stop thinking it's the only way we'll get there, when the whole time we could have been on the train.

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How to Level Up from Nice Guy Dev to Awesome Guy Dev

from Sarah Prasuhn on November 19, 2014 02:05pm

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If Barbie I can be a Computer Engineer taught us anything it taught us that Stephen and Brian are nice guys. They just want to help, they know how to fix it, and they are there just when you need them to be. And worst of all they don't mean anything by it.

So what's a nice guy to do? You care, you retweet the awesomest feminist blogs, you were ON it during #gamergate. But on a human interaction level how does it go? Here are some ways that you can level up from just that nice guy that I don't call out on everything, but who secretly makes me sad, to awesome guy that makes my day well...awesome.

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Screencast: How to add syntax highlighting to Pages and Keynote

from Michael Prasuhn on October 23, 2013 08:05am

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It'd be great if the code we write and work with only needed to live in our editor, but in reality we need to share it unexpected ways all the time. Reports, presentations, and emails are all places where from time to time you need to share some code, and wouldn't it be nice if it was syntax highlighted?

Well if you're on a Mac here's a simple screencast that shows you how to do this.

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How to become 'bad' client free

from Sarah Prasuhn on October 16, 2013 02:05pm

We've all had clients we love to hate. You know, the client that eats into your bank account, your sleep, and drives you nuts via the modern torture device of email. They are NEVER happy, don't seem to know what they want, never give you the right content, and can't understand why you can't just make a $1.5mil project for $25,000.

It's easy to vent and blame it all on the client, but how do you know that the failed relationship is all on the client? In my experience there are two main reasons that client relationships don't work out, and both are preventable as a web consultant if you pay attention and prepare ahead of time.

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How domain-driven design can help your next Drupal project

from Michael Prasuhn on September 19, 2013 09:00am

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If you think back, you can probably remember that moment. The proverbial light bulb clicks on and a smile forms that won't go away, even though you're just staring at the computer screen. Everything finally clicks into place and the power of Drupal unmasks in front of you.

Most Drupal developers I know have had a moment like this after learning about Content Construction Kit (CCK) and Views. A new way of working with the web is unfurled and hard problems seem simple. In no time at all, every feature request and user story is filtered through the lens of the tools and hand.

Why you need to design your API

Everything seems simple enough at first, but after a few more iterations you've implemented custom validations via hook_node_validate and you're saving custom data via hook_node_update and hook_node_insert which ends up loading in hook_node_load. Since the code started out simple enough, you never bothered to design an API to the feature, just using node_load() and other functions to access your data. Before you know it you're trying to explain to a frustrated co-worker where the scattered code lives and what queries to copy so they can load the correct data set since there is no API function that provides the desired functionality.

What happened to the joy of that light bulb moment?

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Is just giving the tools enough?

from Sarah Prasuhn on September 5, 2013 04:25pm

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One of my favorite all time quotes comes from Dale Carnegie demonstrating a human response to a form letter in How to Win Friends and Influence People: "You desire! You desire. You unmitigated ass. I’m not interested in what you desire or what the President of the United States desires. Let me tell you once and for all that I am interested in what I desire— and you haven’t said a word about that yet in this absurd letter of yours."

If you're building sites that only satisfy your clients, but not their users it's time to rethink things. Clients need to know how to take the care they give their customers in the real world and translate that into their web existence. You as their developer can see their site, the analytics, and how their users interact with it. What a powerful opportunity to actually help your client's grow and build amazing things! It's so easy to leave those decisions to the marketing department with little or no web experience, but a site that is self-focused doesn't make the world a better place.

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Drupal distribution or custom build?

from Sarah Prasuhn on August 2, 2013 12:25pm

Drupal distributions are often like manufactured homes. They're easy to get up and working, they come pre-made with a variety of features. By all appearances they meet all your needs, and maybe even then some. But just like manufactured homes you often don't know how difficult it is to remodel them until you try to run pipe through the walls or refinish the cabinets.

Whether you are a client trying to save your company money, or just a consultant trying to give your clients a better bang for their buck a distribution can be a tempting solution. The ability to change colors and layout with just a click and a scroll is so much easier! Before you download and start clicking your way around, there are somethings you need to be aware of.

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Know your value as a web consultant

from Sarah Prasuhn on July 2, 2013 02:50pm

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When you go to the salon what are you buying? Shorter hair? A different color, look? Why? What is it that you are really getting when you get your haircut? Conformity? You won't stand out at the next meetup, or maybe it's the opposite, you want to stand out more?

What you are buying is not a haircut, you are buying a statement about who you are. How well your stylist understands you and knows how to make your hair 'behave' is essential to how you feel when you walk out the door. Websites are no different. From the design to the UI, websites are statements about our clients to their users.

You may not think about what your hair will say every time you go to see your stylist, but your stylist should be. They know what their work has done for other clients, and you should know what your work can do for your clients too.

There is no more important thing you can do for your life and your business than to know your own value. But how do you measure the subjective? Here are some simple ways to breakdown what you are worth to your clients.

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Understanding how custom code can help you build your Drupal site

from Michael Prasuhn on June 27, 2013 02:50pm

Many times, building out the features on a Drupal site seems easier with contributed modules. Why reinvent the wheel? Next thing you know, you're standing on your head trying to read module code backwards to understand it. Hours in you're making custom tweaks to keep your client happy and spending more time tweaking and overriding behavior than if you had just written the code for the feature from scratch.

Shortly after Drupalcon Portland wrapped up, I came across an excellent blog post by Mike Crittenden: Drupal and "Invented here". If you haven't read it yet, I'd highly recommend checking it out. Not only is it funny and entertaining, it is also quite informative and describes very well the dilemma presented to Drupal developers of using contributed modules versus writing custom code.

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Simple ways to make your Drupal clients and bank account happier

from Sarah Prasuhn on June 20, 2013 04:55pm

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Feel like your clients always want too much? Wish you could do more than break even? Tired of feeling like you jumped into the deep end of the pool every time there's a Drupal upgrade? Here are some simple ways to make Drupal consulting fun again.

1. Listen to what your clients are actually asking for

Say your client wants to have a block that they can put 'anything' into. Obviously Drupal data is in many forms, views, content types, nodes, beans, entities...it's not that simple especially for non-technical clients. (See Mike's upcoming book Model Your Data with Drupal for more info on how to keep Drupal's data structures nice and tidy.)

Stop and ask yourself what is it that the client really needs?

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