Denver Drupal Meetup Recap, July 2012

Clayton Dewey

For this month's meetup we took our Drupal socializing to the top floor of Denver Open Media, which explains why you won't be able to find the typical video recording you may have come to expect to find on the DOM website. Expect us back at our regular location in the studio next month.

Using Selenium for Testing in Drupal

Ryan Kois of New Media, another local Drupal shop, shared with us the browser automation tool Selenium. There are numerous testing tools available when working in Drupal. Ryan showed how for Selenium is a great choice for testing UI specific functionality. For one, it runs through processes quickly, a clear advantage over another common testing tool- Simpletest. Simpletest works well for testing out larger modules, but to run through a smaller chunk of code Simpletest still goes through the process of installing a fresh installation of Drupal and then executing whatever one might be testing. This is oftentimes overkill. Selenium gives the developer the ability to target specific actions to run through.

Another option for testing is to use Devel Generate to quickly generate data on a site. This is great to generate a large amount of nodes, for example, but if one needs to run a test with specific data, Selenium is a great option because of the ability to choose the exact data to be entering into fields.

Selenium is also a great option because there is a low threshold for use, requiring no real coding background to still take advantage of. The audience was excited about the potential for quickly filling out shopping cart forms. If you dear reader, have other ways you use Selenium (or have other testing tools you prefer), feel free to post a comment.

A New Module on the Scene: View Mode Page

Fellow Aten employee, Rob Ballou, introduced a new module recently contributed to drupal.org, View Mode Page (VMP). VMP came out of a repeated need for the creation of subpages for a node. While one could do some of this by using Sub-path URL Aliases, but still needed the ability to simply have a field from a node display on a separate sub page.

Rob answered this need by creating a slick module which taps into the power of View Modes. If you haven't explored much with View Modes, check them out! They're great for customizing the display of entities for different uses. You can create custom view modes programmatically, or through a module such as Entity View Mode or Display Suite.

Once you have a view mode for the field you want displaying as a subpage, you can set a URL pattern for that field and voila, you have a subpage whose display you can control through the view mode you created for it.

If you're still curious about this module and want to know more about it, check the Aten blog in another week or so and rumor has it there will be a follow up post highlighting even more about VMP.

What's the Best Base Theme?

The formal portion of the Meetup wrapped up with some good questions and answers, most notably as to what the best base theme is for people beginning to learn theming. Many people referred to Zen for its extensive documentation and resetting of styles Drupal assumes one would want. Zen recently become responsive in design too, making it a strong choice for a base theme. Other notables included Mothership, which aims to "keelhaul the div!", AdaptiveTheme, and Omega.

It was also mentioned that the base theme topic would be a great one to present on. So, if you're in the Denver area and have an opinion on the subject, get in touch with one of the DBUG Meetup organizers to present at an upcoming Meetup! Or, if you have something else Drupal related that's worth sharing with your peers, hit up the moderators with those presentation ideas as well. You will be rewarded with fame and free pizza.


About the Author

Clayton joined Aten in 2012 after working as a Web Instructor and freelance site builder. With over six years experience as an educator specializing in Linguistically Diverse Education as well as actively working on numerous campaigns for social justice, he brings with him a passion for empowering web technology and putting its potential to use in fostering concrete change in the world....

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