Aegir 0.4 Alpha 5 installed on my Linode VPS, and now I've got my little ecommerce platform kicked-off!Mon, 2010-02-08 10:54 — victorkane
I read on the Development Seed blog about a New Release: Aegir 0.4 Alpha 5, and since aWebFactory finds itself in the midst of retooling (Git! Aegir! ... more soon), I knew this was a great moment for biting the bullet and stop reading about Aegir and actually installing and enjoying all that hard work the devs had been doing.
The post includes a link to mig5's incredible video (see below for References and links), which also basically follows the step-by-step instructions found in the officially supported INSTALL.txt and the first part of this article basically consists of the steps I took following along. It took me about two hours to install Aegir and make my first use of it (deploying some new staging sites), as well as writing this post.
Improving ecommerce usability: first 30 minutes with Magento, first 30 minutes with Ubercart and DrupalSun, 2010-01-10 09:00 — victorkane
In order to comply with what website application end users really need, we often need all the benefits of the proven specialized tools (for example, Alfresco for document management, Magento for ecommerce, WordPress for blogs, Gallery for photo galleries, Moodle for education), but without having to sacrifice the power, community, flexibility and excellence of Drupal.
Several clients need to integrate ecommerce functionality into their website application right now. And to be honest, what I need is the great usability of a good specialized framework without giving up Drupal. As a developer and not an experienced store manager, how can I be sure to offer those using my services the most advanced usability for their ecommerce needs? I need Drupal for most of their requirements, but I need, say, Magento too. To be honest, the question I need to answer is: Ubercart is the best Drupal based ecommerce solution; but this time is that going to be good enough for the end users?
As a website application developer, I need to place reusability at the core of my kit of best practices. But reusability isn't always about code, or modules, themes, or even whole frameworks; it's often about tried and proven industry-wide well-trodden paths, a set of patterns upon which to build no matter what tools you use. Just as usability most often isn't really about flashy widgets, it's about an architecture that won't paint you into a corner.
So I hit upon what I think is a novel idea: I decided to prototype the development with a best-of-breed specialized ecommerce framework in parrallel with Ubercart/Drupal, in order to gain insight into the kind of usability and architecture required. Then I could decide between integrating Drupal with Magento on the one hand (a la Promiscuous Drupal), or using Ubercart directly with Drupal to attain the same level of functionality.
Replacing the ecommerce module with ubercart during a Drupal 5 to Drupal 6 upgrade: could it be so easy?Sun, 2010-01-03 06:38 — victorkane
During one of the many non-trivial Drupal 5 to Drupal 6 upgrade tasks we seem to have been working on recently (pretty good success rate there I am happy to say), a client wanted to change from the e-Commerce module they had been using in Drupal 5 to the Ubercart module in Drupal 6. The constraint called for maintaining product creation dates, that is, re-cycling the product content type created by e-Commerce (v3 by the way) into a fully fledged Ubercart-integrated product node. After a few dry runs we succeeded (see script below). Could it really be so easy (comments welcome)?
As in all non-trivial Drupal 5 to Drupal 6 upgrades, we based ourselves on an in-house Gap Analysis form which leads to a customized checklist of tasks. And the first task was to replicate the legacy site on our own test server. Then, the upgrade is run on a second test instance, and each successfully completed milestone is committed to a version control system (the snapshot includes the database dump) in order to always have a solid base to fall back upon should problems develop (when problems develop). A second very useful benefit of using a version control system for each step completed is that the log serves as an admirable guide for upgrading similar sites, or should it become necessary to re-do the process.
I still have my brown Acquia T-shirt that was distributed at the March, 2009 Washington DC DurpalCon. On the back it says "Free as in beer". Well, the free bit still applies to Acquia Drupal, and the various stacks which are useful for various operating systems and environments to a lot of people. But now Acquia is mumbling in their beer: no more freebie community style accounts, you gotta start paying for site monitoring via the Acquia Network once the initial 30 day trial period ends. OK, it does include goodies like Acquia search, and other stuff. But to get a solution that is truly free as in beer, and a richer solution at that, it's clearly Nagios time for us dogs.
This is a detailed howto article, but you can skip the parts that you don't need easily, and it will get you up and running with an enviable Nagios Drupal Monitoring station. Just jump in wherever:
- What is Nagios?
- Setting up the Nagios monitoring application.
- Setting up the Nagios monitoring module (Thanks kbahey -- Khalid Baheyeldin of 2bits.com)
- Enjoy your free Drupal sites monitoring dashboard!
- Enjoy receving Drupal site Nagios alerts in your mail for free!
- What's next? Roll your own...
- Enterprise level search: Apache Solr Search Integration explored in details along with other options (Sphinx integration , and Search Lucene API and related modules
- Spam blocking server alternatives
- Centralized administrative task management
- Centralized software deployment and update alternatives, especially with drush and the Aegir Hosting System.