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R.O.O.S.T.S. && Women in Tech

There was a session at BADCamp this year asking how Men can be better allies for Women in tech. The panelists had experiences with males that ranged from helpful, to innocently bungled, to outright demeaning. There was a small amount of suggestions about what men can do to be better allies.

A new approach to Drupal training

There are many paid and free Drupal training sites on the internet. To the best of my knowledge, none of them is open source. And I'm quite certain none of them is "ridiculously open."

Ways to shoot yourself in the foot: element validation

I needed to do some custom validation of fields on a form. So, I decided to use #element_validate. One of the fields I was validating appeared a bit strange to me, though. When I displayed its $form_state['values']['field_face_palm'] information I saw that it looked like:

$field_face_palm['und'] = 'you_knucklehead'

instead of like:

$field_face_palm['und'][0]['value'] = 'you_knucklehead'

Ways to shoot yourself in the foot: Renaming directories

I was having trouble getting a feature to enable correctly. It wasn't creating all the fields for the content type it defined. It built some of the fields but not others. I was pretty certain that it was working fine on other sites. But, I couldn't imagine what was different about the environment in which I was having trouble. I finally found the culprit when I took a closer look at my directory structure.

Ways to shoot yourself in the foot: Submit "buttons"

I was writing custom forms that needed a validate handler and a submit handler. So, I followed the standard approach of

  function my_module_menu(){
    $items = array();
    $items['my/module/custom-form'] = array(
      'title' => 'I am a doofus',
      'page callback' => 'drupal_get_form',
      'page arguments' => array('my_module_custom_form'),
      'access callback' => TRUE,
      'type' => MENU_CALLBACK,
    );
    return $items;
  }

Note: My access callback is just to simplify this example.

WTF: How do I get Drupal to put placeholder text inside my textfield?

What's that feature: the #attributes key.

Perhaps you have written your own javascript code to determine that an empty textfield does not have focus, and in such a situation place some placeholder text in the field. If you are using the FAPI there is an easier way. You can do this:

WTF: How can I find out what information is available in the node table?

What's that File (layout)?

There are many different ways to figure out what information the node table contains.

  1. You could use dsm($node); in an appropriate place in your code, assuming you have the Devel module installed.
  2. You could also use a poor man's version of dsm, a la drupal_set_message('<pre>' . print_r($node, 1) . '</pre>');.

WTF: Why is variable_get not pulling the value from the variable table?

What's that Feature?

When your code executes a variable_get what actually happens is that Drupal inspects the $conf global array variable to see if it contains an index with the variable name. It does NOT actually query the variable table.

Ways to shoot yourself in the foot: Custom module and theme names

I was writing an extremely simple custom module (for a D6 site) to make use of hook_block. Every time I enabled the module the blocks no longer displayed on the pages. Since it had been a long time since I had done any work in D6, I figured there must be something I was overlooking in how I wrote the function. If I disabled the module (or even just commented out the hook_block) function then the blocks reappeared. So, I spent a fair amount of time looking over how I had written the hook. But, I couldn't see anything wrong with it.

Drupal on AWS with RDS - PDOException

I am running a Drupal 7 site on AWS with an EC2 micro instance and RDS on Ubuntu 12.04. When I navigated to the URL patterns for Pathauto admin/config/search/path/patterns I was getting a nasty white screen with an error along the lines of PDOException: SQLSTATE[HY000]: General error: 2006 MySQL server has gone away. As it turns out, this is not the fault of Pathauto. The solution to this problem was to increase the max_allowed_packet value in the mysql server configuration.

Credits: XWeb | Chris Herberte | Andreas Viklund