Protecting your cloud networks with WireGuard VPN and Ansible

6 minute read Published: Author: Colan Schwartz

Why use a VPN? Within cloud computing, there are various types of sites and services not meant for public consumption (e.g. analytics software, databases, log servers, etc.). For security reasons, it’s best to keep these accesssible only via the private network, which is behind the firewall. To provide access to these resources, a virtual private network (VPN) should be used, with network access granted only to trusted individuals within the organization.

Does your Drupal hosting company lack native Composer support?

2 minute read Published: Author: Colan Schwartz

Best practices for building Web sites in the Drupal framework (for major versions 8 and above) dictate that codebases should be built with the Composer package manager for PHP. That is, the code repository for any sites relying on it should not contain any upstream code; it should only contain a makefile with instructions for assembing it. However, there are some prominent Drupal hosting companies that don’t support Composer natively. That is, after receiving updates to Composer-controlled Git repositories, they don’t automatically rebuild the codebase, which should result in changes to the deployed code.

Installing the OpenStack CLI on Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan), 20.04 (Focal) or later

2 minute read Published: Author: Colan Schwartz

When working with OpenStack as an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud-computing platform, it’s rather convenient to be able to interface with it via its command-line interface (CLI). While the service is typically installed on the Ubuntu Long-Term Support (LTS) operating system (OS), which has releases every two years, running the CLI from other OSes, such as interim Ubuntu releases, is often necessary. However, it is currently not possible to install the command-line client with supported Debian packages on Ubuntu 19.

How to add a Hugo-based Docs site to your GitLab Project

7 minute read Published: Author: Derek Laventure

At Consensus, we spend a fair bit of our time building complex Drupal systems and the infrastructure that supports them. In that context, the simplicity of a tool like Hugo caught my attention. Hugo is a static site generator written in Go that has proven elegant and flexible for many situations where a simple (or even slightly complex) website is called for, and the venerable Drupal is overkill. Perhaps one of the best uses we’ve found for this tool is to provide technical documentation for a development project.

Drupal North 2019: Drupal SaaS: Building software as a service on Drupal

1 minute read Published: Author: Colan Schwartz

On Friday, June 14th, I presented this session at Drupal North 2019. That’s the annual gathering of the Drupal community in Ontario and Quebec, in Canada. As I realized I hadn’t yet posted this information yet, I’m doing so now. Session information: Are you (considering) building a SaaS product on Drupal or running a Drupal hosting company? Have you done it already? Come share your experiences and learn from others.

Lando and Drumkit for Drupal 8 Localdev

6 minute read Published: Author: Derek Laventure

Over the last 2 or 3 years, the Drupal community has been converging around a solid set of Docker-based workflows to manage local development environments, and there are a number of worthy tools that make life easier. My personal favourite is Lando, not only because of the Star Wars geekery, but also because it makes easy things easy and hard things possible (a lot like Drupal). I appreciate that a “standard” Lando config file is only a few lines long, but that it’s relatively easy to configure and customize a much more complex setup by simply adding the appropriate lines to the config.

DrupalCamp Ottawa 2019: Automate All the Things

1 minute read Published: Author: Christopher Gervais

On Friday, October 18th, I presented at DrupalCamp Ottawa 2019. That’s the annual gathering of the Drupal community in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Session information: Ever heard of infrastructure-as-code? The idea is basically to use tools like Ansible or Terraform to manage the composition and operation of your cloud systems. This allows infrastructure to be treated just like any other software system. The code can be committed into Git which allows auditability, and reproducibility.

Exposing Drupal's Taxonomy Data on the Semantic Web

5 minute read Published: Author: Colan Schwartz

As a content management framework, Drupal provides strong support for its taxonomical subsystem for classifying data. It would be great if such data could be exposed via the Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS) standard for publishing vocabularies as linked data. As Drupal becomes used more and more as a back-end data store (due to features such as built-in support for JSON:API), presenting this data in standard ways becomes especially important.

Drupal 8 hook_update() Tricks

9 minute read Published: Author: Derek Laventure

In Drupal 7, hook_update()/hook_install() were well-established mechanisms for manipulating the database when installing a new site or updating an existing one. Most of these routines ended up directly running SQL against the database, where all kinds of state, configuration, and content data lived. This worked reasonably well if you were careful and had a good knowledge of how the database schema fit together, but things tended to get complicated. With the maturing of Features module, we were able to move some of this into configuration settings via the ctools-style export files, making the drush feature-revert command part of standard workflow for deploying new features and updates to an existing site.

Aegir DevOps: Deployment Workflows for Drupal Sites

4 minute read Published: Author: Colan Schwartz

Aegir is often seen as a stand-alone application lifecycle management (ALM) system for hosting and managing Drupal sites. In the enterprise context, however, it’s necessary to provide mutiple deployment environments for quality assurance (QA), development or other purposes. Aegir trivializes this process by allowing sites to easily be copied from one environment to another in a point-and-click fashion from the Web front-end, eliminating the need for command-line DevOps tasks, which it was designed to do.

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