Multi-value spatial search with Solr 4.x and Drupal 7

For some time, Solr 3.x and Drupal 7 have been able to do geospatial search (using the location module, geofield, or other modules that stored latitude and longitude coordinates in Drupal that could be indexed by Apache Solr). Life was good—as long as you only had one location per node!

Sometimes, you may have a node (say a product, or a personality) affiliated with multiple locations. Perhaps you have a hammer that's available in three of your company's stores, or a speaker who is available to speak in two locations. When solr 3.x and Drupal 7 encountered this situation, you would either use a single location value in the index (so the second, third, etc. fields weren't indexed or searched), or if you put multiple values into solr's search index using the LatLonType, solr could throw out unexpected results (sometimes combining the closest latitude and closest longitude to a given point, meaning you get strange search results).

With Solr 4.x, especially Solr 4.3 and 4.5, there were some great improvements to spatial search, mostly enabled by switching from the old and trusty single-value LatLonType to the new (but slightly slower) SpatialRecursivePrefixTreeFieldType, or RPT for short.

DevOps for Humans - Ansible presentation at DrupalCon Austin

I'm still recovering from an intense week of Drupal here in Austin, TX. I kicked things off by walking around the downtown area, then taking the intensive Acquia Drupal Developer Certification exam. Once the conference started, I attended a few sessions, met a few awesome Drupalists, and learned a lot. On the last day of the 'Con (the last session, in fact), I presented DevOps for Humans: Ansible for Drupal Deployment Victory!.

I think the presentation went well, and I heard some great questions at the end which really contributed to the discussion of Ansible and Drupal deployments in general. It was a great way to finish up the official DrupalCon sessions, though it meant I was revising slides for the hundredth time during the rest of the week, instead of relaxing and enjoying DrupalCon!

Before I post a video and slides from the session, I wanted to highlight some resources for anyone who attended (or didn't attend) DrupalCon Austin:

Below is the video and slides from the DevOps for Humans presentation. Please let me know what you think!

Thoughts on the Acquia Drupal Developer Certification Exam

tl;dr: I passed, the exam is better than I was expecting, but I still have mixed feelings about Acquia's Drupal Developer Certification program.

Acquia Certified Developer 2014

When I first heard about Acquia's Drupal Certification Program, I had mixed feelings. For most programming jobs, especially the majority of web-related jobs, a certification doesn't hold a lot of weight. Certifications are often like final exams for a university course—they show that you know a particular set of material, but they don't indicate whether you can actually use that knowledge effectively.* Further, tech-based certifications are less meaningful over time, as technology progresses and the tested knowledge required to gain a specific certification becomes less relevant.

According to a few people who have already taken the Acquia certification exam, it tested real-world Drupal knowlege rather than rote memorization. I was intrigued, but couldn't put together 1.5 hours of uninterrupted time to take the test online at home or elsewhere. Lucikly, Acquia offered the exam during DrupalCon, where I could sneak out for a while to take it.

DrupalCon Austin 2014 - Notes on my First Timer's Guide

I wrote A First Timer's Guide to DrupalCon two years ago, and 99% of the advice in that post is still relevant. I've been preparing my presentation DevOps for Humans: Ansible for Drupal Deployment Victory! for a few months now, and since DrupalCon is less than a week away, I thought I'd take a few minutes to supplement the earlier post:

Drupal and Node.js at STLJS Meetup - Thursday, May 15!

STL.JS Meetup LogoI'll be presenting Node.js and Drupal — Working Together at the STL.JS meetup this Thursday, May 15, at The Able Few in St. Louis.

In the presentation, I'll basically be covering how Server Check.in uses Drupal and Node.js to deliver a simple, fast, and stable server monitoring service. During the course of the presentation, I'll touch on why and how Server Check.in was built, how Ansible is used to maintain the infrastructure, and the effectiveness of lightweight marketing, blogging, and 'low end box' servers.

Join me and many JS developers in St. Louis on May 15, and after the presentation, we'll hack on some of the things mentioned in the presentation!

I'm also hard at work on my DevOps for Humans: Ansible for Drupal Deployment Victory! presentation, which I'll be giving at DrupalCon Austin 2014. I hope to see you there! (Slides from both presentations will be posted online after the respective events).

Drupal 8 - A Brief Introduction (DrupalCamp STL.14 Presentation)

I presented Drupal 8 - A Brief Introduction at DrupalCamp STL.14 on April 26, 2014.

Drupal 8 brings a lot of changes. Many standby contributed modules are now included with Drupal Core, and many small changes add up to the most exciting Drupal release yet! This presentation guides you through many of the biggest changes, highlighting how Drupal 8 will accelerate your web development and provide tools to make Drupal the best content management platform on any device.

View the slideshow below, or follow the links at the bottom of the post to view the full presentation and video.

Links for full slideshow/video:


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