Drupal's OpenAI / ChatGPT / AI Search Integration contrib module - initial impressions

Ever since it was announced, I've been itching to play with the new OpenAI / ChatGPT / AI Search Integration contrib module. From what I had read about it from Kevin Quillen, it was being written in a way that was going to make it flexible and with an eye toward customization. On a self-serving note, one of our clients is interested in an AI-based solution for a task we're working on for them, so I had an agenda; test-driving this module for content-related tasks. My initial impressions came from using version 1.0.0-alpha10 and within the first 20 minutes:The module

A method for utilizing multiple authors for a single Drupal node

A client recently asked me to figure out how to allow additional authors to not only be listed on a single node, but also to let them have the same edit and delete permissions as the main author of the node. I thought it might be helpful to put together an article that details one potential solution to this not completely uncommon task. This is not something I have implemented in any modern version of Drupal (8, 9, or 10), so I took a fresh look at the problem by reaching out to my Drupal network via Slack and social

Easy fix for phantom duplicate custom module files (due to Composer) in popular IDEs

When writing Drupal custom modules, best practice dictates that the module should be written in the project root's /modules/ directory - so that composer require can be used add the custom module as a dependency to the project (with a little help from the composer/installers plugin, of course). In most cases, the module's code is then symlinked from the /modules/ directory to the /web/modules/custom/ directory. One potential pitfall of this approach is that both PhpStorm and Visual Studio Code will see both the "copies" of the files in the custom modules, leading to duplicates in IDE search results, code quality

Securely store API credentials with the Drupal Key module

This article is a slightly-edited excerpt from DrupalEasy's 90-hour Professional Module Development course. When writing a custom Drupal module that requires authentication with a 3rd party service, many new developers struggle with finding an easy and secure method to store the API keys. Storing API keys in the database is usually not a good idea - nor is hard-coding them or saving them in the files directory 😱 A better solution would be to store the credentials outside of the docroot - which is a more secure location. When using this method, if possible, it is recommended to not commit

Keeping your Drupal development tools up-to-date

Most folks in the community who are responsible for maintainting Drupal sites know that it’s important to keep them up-to-date with bug fix and (especially) security updates for both Drupal core and contributed modules. But what about the tools we use every day to build and maintain all those Drupal sites? As a general rule, I don't recommend updating things when you are near a task deadline, so as a new year begins, this might be a good time to take a look at your development tools and get things updated. This process can lead to improved performance, add new

The role(s) of services.yml files in Drupal

Most Drupal back-end developers, regardless of their skill level, have at least a passing knowledge of the role of services.yml files in Drupal development. While writing the curriculum for our upcoming, long-form Intermediate Module Development course, we realized that it only makes sense that we provide not only the purpose of a services.yml file when writing custom service classes, but also the role of both the sites/development.services.yml file and the sites/default/default.services.yml files. If you are already familiar with the process for creating a custom service class, then you know that the module_name.services.yml file serves to not only define the service

Replacing Docker Desktop for Mac with Colima for use with DDEV - first impressions

Back in March, 2022, the DDEV team announced support for Colima, an open-source Docker Desktop replacement for Mac OS X. Based on the fact that Colima is open-source, Docker Desktop's new license terms, and the apparent performance gains of using Colima it seems like a no-brainer to give it a spin. First off, it's almost a drop-in replacement for Docker Desktop. I say almost for one reason, as any existing DDEV projects will need to have their databases reimported. In other words, if you have an existing project up-and-running in DDEV, then add Colima, then restart the project, your database

DDEV + Pantheon Integration

Reposted with permission from Pantheon.io. ## Automating the Process of Keeping Your Local Environment Up-to-date DDEV is a Docker-based local development environment solution that allows developers to run local copies of all their Drupal and WordPress projects in a personal development environment. Much like similar Docker-based solutions, DDEV hides most of the complexity of Docker — allowing Drupal and WordPress developers to focus on what they like best. ## What Problem Are We Solving? One of the typical challenges that a developer faces when working on their local development environment is keeping their local database and content files up-to-date with

Understanding common cache-related HTTP response headers

Having a basic understanding of caching is a requirement of being a professional Drupal developer. Unfortunately, there can be many layers of caching which can make it challenging to figure out exactly how best to configure cache settings and troubleshoot potential caching issues. Web page caching can be thought of as moats around the castle, where each moat is a caching layer and the castle can be thought of as the site's web, database, and other origin servers. HTTP headers provide a mechanism for the client (usually a web browser) and a server (usually a web server) to exchange information

10 fieldable entity types every Drupal developer should know about

If you're a Drupal developer who designs information architecture (IA) for your organization and/or clients, then hopefully by now you're thinking in terms of entities, bundles, and fields, not limiting your thinking to only content types. This article isn't going to dive into a lesson explaining what entities, bundles, and fields are as there is plenty of great documentation about that. Back in the Drupal 7 and earlier days, it was common to look at an organization's data and map it almost exclusively to only content types (maybe a few vocabularies as well). With Drupal 8's and 9's Entity API

Adding non-PHP dependencies to a Composer-based project

Over the past few years, the Drupal community has been (sometimes slowly) embracing the Composer dependency manager tool for PHP projects. We have become accustomed to adding Drupal modules and base themes to our projects using composer require but many of us have only scratched the surface of what more Composer can do for us. In this article, we'll go step-by-step in adding a non-PHP dependency to our project using Composer - as well as the helpful Composer installers extender plugin. We'll utilize Asset Packagist, a Composer repository for many popular NPM and Bower assets including things like Javascript libraries

Composer 2.0-alpha2 performance comparison (speed and memory)

One of the primary goals of the upcoming Composer 2.0 release is decreasing the memory footprint and increasing the performance of common commands. I decided to test out the performance of the second alpha release of Composer 2.0 to see how much real-world change users can expect to see. tl;dr: Composer 2.0 will be much faster and use much less memory. Users can expect to see up to a 2x gain in speed in composer create-project commands, up to a 10x gain in composer require commands, and a over a 2x gain in composer update commands. On the memory side

entityQuery examples for everybody

This blog post was updated October, 2022 with new information about accessCheck, an example for loading fully populate node objects from entityQuery results, and the loadByProperties() method. The Drupal::entityQuery method has been a staple for Drupal developers since the early days of Drupal 8. But without a dedicated drupal.org Documentation page, it can be difficult for new developers to get a really good handle on. I've been using the QueryInterface API documentation for a few years now as my go-to source for help with using entityQuery, but a couple of weeks ago I stumbled on a feature of entityQuery that

Import and map 800+ lighthouses in Drupal 9

Waaaaay back in 2013, I wrote a blog post about importing and mapping over 5,000 points of interest in 45 minutes using (mainly) the Feeds and Geofield modules. Before that, I had also done Drupal 6 demos of importing and displaying earthquake data. With the recent release of Drupal 9, I figured it was time for a modern take on the idea - this time using the Drupal migration system as well as (still!) Geofield. This time, for the source data, I found a .csv file of 814 lighthouses in the United States that I downloaded from POI Factory (which

Composer Plugins for Drupal Developers

As always-evolving Drupal developers, we have been in the process of moving towards having a Composer-based workflow for managing our Drupal project codebases. While it is (normally) an easy jump from "drush dl" to "composer require" for Drupal contrib modules and themes, there's another significant opportunity for us to take advantage of during this evolution that should be considered. We are all familiar with the concept that Drupal modules extend the functionality of Drupal site; we should also be embracing the fact that there is a whole class of Composer dependencies that extend Composer's functionality. These are appropriately called "Composer