Drupal development, project updates, occasional knee / head slappers

Jul 29, 2011

Here's a link to the full Drupal Camp and Conference Calendar, and below is a screenshot so you can get a feel for what's it's like to see every Drupal camp and conference on a single, consolidated list. It's really nice, especially if you've ever found yourself scouring the internet for hours trying to find an event that matches your schedule and general location on the globe. That's something I do every time I get the itch to immerse myself in the community, and each time I get frustrated, feeling like there's got to be some awesome event nearby that I just can't find. So, I put together this list partially to achieve a little more Zen in my life.

I also put it together to help members of Build a get plugged into the community and get a dose of live learning. Camps are such an awesome way to meet people to learn from, to collaborate with, to hire and to hire you. Some things are also infinitely easier to do in person, or with people that you've met in person.

This list contains past events as well, so you can get a feel for when they might occur again, either to plan your attendance schedule or to schedule a new event.

My hope is that this simple page can become a central hub to make it easy for Drupal camp planners to easily connect with potential attendees, and for attendees to quickly learn about their options.

I would love to keep this list totally comprehensive and up to date, so if you have an event that's not listed, please let me know.

If you're planning on hitting up an event, go ahead and take a look at the calendar.

Drupal Camps and Conferences Calendar

Jul 26, 2011

We've always had a fair number of mobile users on Build a, and this week we've rolled out a new mobile version of the site to make watching videos on the go a whole lot easier.

The mobile site has a limited set of features to make it simple to use and to really focus on the most common task of our on-the-go users, including:

  • Browse the full video library through simple, nested lists
  • Search for videos by video title or a transcript match
  • Completed videos will get marked as viewed (so that you can still keep track of your progress)
  • Switch to the full version of the site as needed.

We'll be rolling out updates to the mobile version as we learn more about what our mobile users need, so if you have any feedback, please sent it our way.

Check out the mobile site (works on desktops, too) at

12 New Videos on Working With Custom Blocks and Image Styles

A new chapter in the "Build Your First Drupal 7 Web Site" collection focuses on creating blocks with custom content and displaying them only in certain places. We also look at Image Styles, a Drupal feature that allows you to automatically crop, resize, or perform other modifications to images on the fly. If you've never seen Image Styles in action before, this will be a lot of fun.

Get a 1-month membership free!

If you're interested in getting a free month's membership, all you have to do is send us a short video review on what you think about Build a You can post it on YouTube or we can help you get the video to us. If you have any questions, just send us a note.

Sep 26, 2013

This last week we rolled out some new features I'm really excited to share with you.

If there's one thing that's less than ideal when it comes to learning from video, it's the linear nature of it. You start at the beginning and watch it straight through. Sure, you can scroll around, but it's guesswork trying to find the right spot. And using video for reference later is really tricky.

So, we've been working on some tools to really open up video, to unpack the valuable knowledge within and make it incredibly easy to use not only as an initial guide, but also as long-term reference. We've been having the video transcribed so that for every second of video, there is a searchable, readable reference for it. Here's a short description of the new features available, but to really get the full tour you should watch the video below.

Video search: With video search, you can search all video transcripts and jump the the specific point in a video where the text is being spoken. Easily find something to tackle a problem you're facing, or find a video you need to review.

Transcription view (Members only): This is probably the most exciting and interesting feature we're releasing. View the entire video transcript in a story-like view right next to the video as you watch it. The currently spoken text will be highlighted, and (get this) you can click on any point in the text to jump to that point in the video. So, you can easily skip over something you know, read ahead, or repeat a section with laser-level accuracy. No more fishing around.

Closed Captioning: The reason we began this process of transcribing the entire library was because we learned that we had deaf and hard of hearing viewers that could really benefit from captions. So in addition to the transcript view, you can turn on closed captioning for a more traditional text-on-image experience. When captions are turned on, each video with captions is highlighted in the video listing so you can easily choose videos with captions.

As you can imagine, it takes a long time to transcript a 40+ hour video library. We're currently about 20% of the way through, but we're making fast progress. So when you do a video search, keep in mind that you're only searching through a subset of the full video collection.



Configuring Text Formats and Setting Up a Wysiwyg - 13 new videos

This week we're releasing a new chapter on working with text formats and Wysiwygs. We talk about setting up filters to automatically convert user-entered content (for example, converting textual URLs to real links) and how to configure permissions for text formats. We review the issues around integrating Wysiwygs (they're not always as much fun as they look) and walk you through the process of integrating any number of Wysiwyg plugins with your project.

Jul 12, 2011

Only 3 More Days to Win 30 Days Free

July 14th (3 days away if you include today!) is the last day to submit a video review and get a free 30-day subscription, plus get entered to win your choice of DVD, download or a 6-month subscription. We really want to hear what you have to say. Here's one great submission you might be interested in watching for inspiration, but really, you can do whatever you'd like. Just turn on the webcam and go. :-) For more tips, check out this post.

11 New Videos

This week we're releasing 11 new videos in the Build Your First Drupal 7 Web Site series. In these videos, we work through each user permission and explain what each one does, we take a look at how to pose as another user for testing, and we begin looking at text formats. It's a good set, enjoy!

Jul 6, 2011

This is not actually live, but an example of what you would see on your affiliate page

Today I posted an announcement on Build a about the new affiliate program. Below is the text of the announcement. For those of you that have been promoting Build a all this time without any kickbacks, I just wanted to say thank you so much! This is one way we can say thank you for your effort.

Today we're officially launching our Build a affiliate program. If you like Build a and want to help spread the word, plus get a 10% commission on each sale you refer, just head over to the Spread the Word (and Get Paid!) page and we'll hook you up. You don't have to fill out any forms or submit an application, all you need is an account on Build a and you're set.

Here are a few bullet points about the program:

  • Get product graphics, affiliate URLs and advertisements in lots of different formats to quickly and easily integrate promotions with your blog, email campaigns, or web site. There's simple code snippets you can just copy and paste into your promotion.
  • Track your commissions LIVE on the Spread the Word page.
  • Payments go out every month, and all you need to get paid is a PayPal account.
  • Get 10% commission on every sale made by a user you refer. What this means is that if a user makes their first purchase after learning about Build a from your site, you'll get commissions on every purchase they make after that point, including membership renewals.
  • Get 5% commission on every sale made by a user you refer. This means that if you refer a user, and then they refer another user who makes a sale, they'll get 10% and you'll get 5%. This means that there's a good reason to get other people hooked up with the affiliate program as well.

To get started, head over to the Spread the Word page and use a URL in a blog post (like a review of the Build a videos), add a banner add to your site (you'll be earning a higher percentage than you would with AdSense) or use a product image to promote a particular collection to your mailing list.

This program is new, so if you have anything you'd like to see, or any resources that you need to get started, please just let us know.

Jul 5, 2011

Get 15% off new DVD (and download)

This last week we released Build Your First Drupal 7 Web Site as a DVD and download. To celebrate this 12-hour package of awesomeness, we're offering 15% off the any one of the three offline-viewing options. Just use the code BUILDIT when you check out.

Tell us what you think and win a free download

Every day we get e-mails from viewers who are happy with their experience on Build a But, we'd love to hear your thoughts in video format. We're offering a free 30-day subscription (or extend your current subscription by a month) if you send us a video review (or post one on YouTube), plus we'll enter you into a drawing to win your choice of download, DVD or a 6-month subscription.

Here's the catch: the offer ends July 14th, just 9 days away. So, if you're up for the challenge, send us something soon. You can use whatever format and cover whatever material you'd like, but here's some suggestions and tips to get you started.

11 new videos released

For the subscribers in the house, we've released a whole new chapter in the Build Your First Drupal 7 Web Site, which covers how to add users, work with roles, hiding blocks of content and more. Here's the full list:

Jun 30, 2011

We want to hear what you think about Build a, and if you send us a video review or post a review on YouTube, we'll give you 30 free days of unencumbered access to our entire video library (if you're already a member, we'll wave fees for a full month), plus enter you in a drawing to win a DVD or download of your choice, or a 6-month subscription.

The process is simple, just turn on your webcam and go. Don't worry about editing it (unless you want to), we'll take care of that on our end. The video doesn't have to be long, anywhere from 1-5 minutes is perfect.

We may post some these videos publicly, which means that other people may be watching these, so feel free to turn up the charisma!

While we'll be taking videos indefinitely (we always want to hear what you think), this offer of a free 30-day membership ends in 2 weeks on July 14th, when we'll announce the winners of the drawing.

Here's what you should cover in your video:

  1. Your name and your line of work (and your company name, if applicable)
  2. How you've used the videos
  3. What you like or appreciate about the videos
  4. Anything else that comes to mind

Probably the easiest way to to record a video is by using YouTube (click for instructions). If you'd rather not post the review to your account publicly, simply post the video as unlisted, When you're done, send us the URL to the video page and we'll take care of the rest.

If you want to use your own webcam capture program, just send the finished video to Again, don't worry about editing the video if you're strapped for time or don't know how, just send it to us raw. :-)

Also, let us know what your account username or e-mail is so we can hook you up with your free 30 days. If you don't have an account, sign up for one here.

Looking forward to hearing what you think!


Jun 28, 2011

This week we're releasing the first half of our first ever video collection for site builders (read: no code) at Build a The collection, once completely released, will have over 200 videos and span 11 hours, and there's not a wasted minute.

Some of you may be wondering why we're branching out into site building, since our focus has been so developer-oriented up until this point. The truth is that this was part of the plan from the start, but up until a few weeks ago, the site building track of videos was going to be on a whole separate site called Manage a So, what happened?

Well, you happened. We've been hearing from viewers like you that there's a need for clean, clear videos that cover Drupal from the ground up. Not all developers who come into Drupal are familiar with the interface, and not all viewers who enjoy the videos are developers. For those of you business owners out there, we've also heard that you need videos to train clients and employees on how to use Drupal from the front end.

Here, have 200 more videos. No charge.

From a usability perspective (most of you know already that usability is a huge focus at Build a, asking users to create a separate account on a different site with its own subscription didn't seem nearly as nice as saying "hey, here's 200 new videos for you and your kin. There's nothing you need to do except watch and learn." So, we did that instead.

If there are a few groans of anguish from folks who have been down the site building road before and know the terrain too well to get much from the videos, never fear, there will be more development-oriented videos on the way soon. We will continue on our mission to quench your seemingly inexhaustible thirst for knowledge. In the meantime, maybe you can be the person that points a Drupal noob to the Build a site building videos and earns their eternal loyalty. :-)

Show me the download-enjamins

Wondering where the DVD and downloads are for this awesome new collection? They're on their way. In the next couple weeks we'll be rolling out a sweet little upgrade to Build a and will release the offline viewing options then.

But, even if you're a stalwart downloader, you can get started by viewing the first couple chapters (and quite a few other samples) streaming on Build a while we're baking the first batch.

Click here to start watching Build Your First Drupal 7 Web Site.

Jun 21, 2011

This we're opening up the first 9 videos of our How to Work With JavaScript and jQuery chapter for free! Why? Because while we didn't add any new videos this week, we're going to be releasing over 5 hours (94 videos) of our upcoming series called Build Your First Drupal 7 Web Site next week, and we wanted to celebrate. It's kind of exciting stuff, and what better way to leverage the excitement than to grow your skills?

So, if you've been wanting to dig into jQuery but haven't had the time and you're not yet a subscriber, we're giving you a full week to dive in. Here's the list:

Two major use cases for jQuery and JavaScript and what this video covers

A lot of people like this video. It explains the role of JavaScript and jQuery in module building, and some common use cases.

How to include a JavaScript file on every page and intro to the jQuery object

The first part of using JavaScript in Drupal is learning how to include a .js file on a page. In this video, we walk you through that and explain how the jQuery object works.

How to load JavaScript after a page is done loading

This is a fun one. Have you ever wondered how you can optimize your online application by only loading JavaScript on an as-needed basis? Well, this video will show you how.

How to use the dollar sign as an alias for the jQuery object

In previous versions of Drupal, we were given the $ (dollar sign) to use as a jQuery alias, but in Drupal 7, things were designed to be a bit more extendable so if you wanted, you could use a whole other library (or a different version of jQuery) for that sweet little alias. This video explains how to use the behavior you might be used to from Drupal 6.

How to use jQuery selectors

At the core of jQuery is selectors, the way to point to various elements on a page and say 'hey, do something fun!' This video provides an overview of the most essential selectors.

How to manipulate content in the DOM (Document Object Model) with jQuery

Once you can point to stuff with selectors, you can start changing it. This video shows you how to dynamically change the content and structure of the page.

How to use jQuery events to add interactivity

Now that you can point to stuff and change it, you can trigger these changes with jQuery events. Click something and make something else appear! This is where the real fun starts.

How to use effects and work with CSS in jQuery

While events are where the fun starts, it continues with effects. Slide things, fade things, make your Drupal site look like an iPhone app. This video gives you an introduction on how to do just that.

How to use Drupal behaviors to add JavaScript functionality to new content

With the great power of jQuery comes great responsibility, and one of them is making sure you don't keep attaching events to the same elements. Don't know what that means? Watch the video and learn about the problem and how Drupal solves it.

Jan 27, 2012

This last weekend at DrupalCamp Colorado, 2011, I gave a talk about using some of the most interesting aspects of the Form API in Drupal 7. If you've watched the Drupal videos on Build a, some of this will look familiar.

As far as I can tell, the talk went over well and opened up possibilities for the audience to build dynamic forms with fairly simple workflows and no JavaScript / jQuery code. I talk about how to use the #state attribute to dynamically show or hide sections of a form, how to use the #ajax attribute to add new inputs to a form, and how to use hook_form_alter() to change the default Drupal 7 search box into a Google Suggest-style autocomplete input.

Below is the full 43-minute presentation (click here to go to the original page on Enjoy!

Syndicate content Syndicate content Syndicate content Syndicate content Syndicate content