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Developing any kind of enterprise site typically involves multiple environments, for example Development, Staging, and Production. A very common scenario developers run into is that a site is developed locally (on the developer's own machine) and then the code changes get pushed to a repository (version control using Git, Subversion, Mercurial, etc). But what about database changes? Those aren't code ... but they can be.

What is considered configuration?

Module configuration (set via Drupal's UI), content types, fields, Site Information settings, basically any kind of settings that you can control from Drupal's UI. Content (nodes, terms, users or any sort of entities) is not part of this and does not get exported.

How to copy configuration from one site to another:

Keep in mind this will only work for the same site, existing in two different environments. The typical way this would go is you create a site in one place (some cloud server e.g. Amazon Ec2, RackSpace CloudServer, Linode, Acquia Cloud, Pantheon, etc), do some initial commits after getting Drupal set up there, and then clone that locally in your computer. There you can go to town and add all the modules and code you want, configure everything, then export it and import it back into the remote dev site.

Before attempting to export your configuration, make sure to commit all your code changes, push them to the repo, and make sure the remote dev environment has pulled those changes. You don't want to try and change settings for modules that don't yet exist in code - that can lead to all kinds of nasty things!

In Drupal 7 this was accomplished using the Features module, which is a pretty complex beast to work with, but very powerful too. The Features module has been made part of Drupal 8 core and is now known as Configuration Synchronization. This can be accessed from the Configuration > Development > Configuration Synchronization menu (/admin/config/development/configuration):

​(Drupal core's admin menu does not have dropdowns by default. Install the Admin Toolbar module for that awesomeness.)

Next, click Export (/admin/config/development/configuration/full/export) you can export:

This gathers up all your settings and downloads a gzipped tarball for you. Now go to your remote dev environment, log into Drupal, and go to Import (/admin/config/development/configuration/full/import):

As you can see, it provides you an overview of the new/changed items it will import. In this case I had added a single text field called "Sample text field" to the Basic Page content type. Click "Import all":

This does not always complete without error. Sometimes it will fail with obscure-looking fatal errors (500 - Internal Server Error), but so far I've found if you re-run the import it will usually complete without further issue. Such errors can be useful for ironing out configuration issues though, so pay attention and see if you can fix whatever is triggering those.

And that's it! My field was created. Here's a screenshot of the Basic Page content type's fields on the remote dev site:

Multiple the above by a zillion for the number of other settings a complex Drupal site can have, and you can see how incredibly useful the Configuration Synchronization in Drupal 8 is. It has made great strides in becoming easy to use. The UI is admittedly very simple, and for a full-site export that's a good thing. If you want more fine-grained control in order to export only certain things, this too is possible. Have a look at /admin/config/development/configuration/single/export:

This allows you to export specific settings, for example for a content type, a field, text format, menu, etc. This does not yet allow you to select multiple such settings and export them together, so you have to either export EVERYTHING or export just one thing at a time. When you do export one item, you'll need to copy the resulting code, then go to the destination site and import a single item... there you can paste this. Make sure you select the same "Configuration type" option from the pulldown menu as when you exported it:

This aspect of Drupal 8 is a real time-saver, and takes a lot of human error out of the equation. We're excited to take advantage of this in our current and upcoming work!


We had added a new term reference field to one of our content types, but it already had an term reference field in place, and had data in it. We needed to populate the new term reference field with the data from the old field, so that we could then delete the old field. 

Had this been a text field, it would have been easy to achieve this using Views, Admin Views (optional), Views Bulk Operations, and Token. Using VBO with "Modify Entity Values" you could then paste a token in the desired text field, and run this on whichever nodes you want - in bulk. Admin Views is a handy way of improving the /admin/content overview, enhancing it with content type and keyword filters with Ajaxy goodness.

Term reference fields don't accept text or tokens that way. In that case we can use VBO's "Execute Arbitrary PHP Script" option, using the following code. 

[This is for Drupal 7]


$node = node_load($entity->nid); 
foreach($node->taxonomy_vocabulary_7[LANGUAGE_NONE] as $tid){ 
  $node->field_campus[LANGUAGE_NONE][0]['tid'] = $tid; 


Since VBO runs this on one node at a time, in bulk, node_load is still decently performant. If you were to do something like this in custom code - without VBO - it would be better to use entity_load() along with entity_save() for some performance gains. Using the above code I was able to get the new field populated with VBO in a matter of minutes, as opposed to manually editing 150 nodes, or doing this some other way (custom SQL query, custom module, etc).


Engaged learning microsite selected among nearly 13,000 entries

A Rider University microsite has been selected as an Official Honoree for the 20th Annual Webby Awards. The distinction puts Rider in the top 20 percent of nearly 13,000 entries from 66 countries around the world. 

The microsite focuses on engaged learning at Rider, showcasing the multiple ways in which the University creates opportunities for profound learning experiences. The site highlights the opportunities and results of students participating in internships, study abroad, service learning, student/faculty collaboration, the arts and leadership development.

“The engaged learning microsite takes users through a series of high-impact visuals, which include video and interactive storytelling, that portray how our students take part in a vibrant learning community and cultivate the foundation needed for future career and personal success,” says Rider’s director of enrollment digital strategy, Tara Laposa, who oversees every aspect of the website, including design, strategic planning and execution. 

Plethora built this microsite from the ground up and designed its UI with jQuery, CSS, and a responsive layout.


That's right, Drupal 6 is at 'end of life' (EOL). 

Drupal 8 and 7 have both had security patches. Drupal 6 got a final security patch as well.

If your Drupal installation has not been updated in a while, make sure to get it taken care of soon, or drop us a line. 


Our design for EIT Avionics was recently featured on Drupal.org's Featured Showcase. It is currently displayed on the drupal.org home page and as the first item on https://www.drupal.org/case-studies . In our case study we go into detail about the process of building a Drupal 8 site before the full release was out, which certainly posed some challenges. View case study »


Drupal just celebrated a major milestone - its fifteenth birthday!

The Drupal project has grown tremendously over the years and with Drupal 8 it is now 'off the island'. Since its early days, Drupal has held on to its own internal ways of coding and using PHP, but with Drupal 8 this change changed dramatically. Now Drupal uses Composer, OOP, Twig, YAML, and Services to name a few. This new policy of openness will help Drupal grow and improve. It will allow themers to do their thing and coders to do theirs - better than before.

Drupal founder Dries Buytaert's post about Drupal's 15th birthday


It's official: Drupal 6 will be going the way of the dinosaurs on February 24th, 2016.

Have a look at the official announcement

Sites still running Drupal 6 could continue to do so, but without Drupal community support. This means you'd be on your own when it comes to security issues, patches, and the like. If you're running a dedicated or virtual dedicated server, you can of course continue running PHP 5 but eventually that too will become untenable, because if you have PCI scans the scanner may force you to upgrade PHP, for example.

Updating Drupal 6 to 7 (or 8! is not easy but we have tools in our arsenal to get it done. 


Drupal 8 will be released November 19th. It is currently at rc2 (release candidate two) and there may be one or more additional release candidates before then. 

We have already built a number of sites with Drupal 8, and love it. The code is leaner and meaner, and the administrative interface is much more intuitive and streamlined, and (we think) gives WordPress's UI a run for its money. On top of that, you get the full power of Drupal's content types, fields, and views at your disposal, something WordPress cannot match, though there are some plugins that do similar things.

More details here.


Clients often ask us to set up CSV feeds / exports of views (lists of data). Now that Drupal 8 rc1 is out and we're starting to use Drupal 8 more and more, we're running into more and more requests for CSV export on Drupal 8. 

For example, let's say the site has a page that lists a company's staff directory, and HR wants to be able to download CSV containing all the staff member details for use elsewhere. This is a perfect use case for the Views Data Export module, together with Views. Views is built into Drupal 8 core. 

We can just add that CSV export onto an existing view

As of about one month ago there is now a Drupal 8 port of Views Data Export - have a look here and here. We have used it to put together a basic CSV export display in a Drupal 8 view, and it works as expected. This module is still very much under development, but it is looking quite solid and promising so far.


Coming right on the heels of DrupalCon Barcelona, Drupal 8 release candidate 1 is here!

Drupal 8 comes with many improvements and features, including:

  • Object-oriented backend leveraging Symfony components
  • Built-in configuration management (the Features module)
  • The Views module is now part of Drupal core
  • Theming is much improved now with Twig and MVC separation of logic from design.
  • Multilingual support was given much more attention in this release.

We are already running Drupal 8 on several small client sites and are excited to start adopting it more widely in the near future.

Full details here