Moved to Montréal

I am pleased to formally announce my relocation to Montréal! I have been planning a move here for about five years and slowly everything started coming together in late 2010.

For my Vancouver clients there is minimal change. I am available by phone and I have a "conference room" setup online that we can use to demo new software.

If you are in Montréal - good news! I'm in town most of the time so I am free to meet to discuss potential projects in person at a café near you.

This is the start of my "national" web development practice. In 2011 I will be visiting Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Québec and Victoria unless I have any amazingly interesting gigs in other Canadian towns and cities.

There is more to come. I will be relaunching the business as a bilingual practice and many services I offer are being reworked and improved for that launch. Exciting times ahead!

Now supporting Drupal on IRC

Yes you read that headline right. I was using IRC in the 90s and it is back in my life in 2011. Drupal maintains a number of channels on http://irc.freenode.net that are used for support and discussion.

I joined IRC as a way to assist others who are just beginning their Drupal adventure. These days I do not need to do as much research. If I encounter problems I just look at the code. Things have become much easier than it was in the early days.

Want to join Drupal's IRC community? Just read the rules.

If you're on freenode I am registered as user weal. Running a /whois you'll see I connect from montreal.weal.ca.

Scary bank machine moment

It is often funny to see these embedded systems running Windows because we all inevitably know that they will crash like this. Had they been running any other type of system it probably just would have shut down or quietly froze. In this case we get a scary popup covering the "please take your cash" message.

Drupal's Theme Registry Rebuild: turn it off!

Drupal's Zen theme starter kit includes this nifty feature to rebuild your theme each time you visit. It prevents caching so you always see your fresh new code. For a developer this is some handy candy.

Rife with warnings about performance if the settings actually appear, you should take note that if you are using Zen you need to explicitly disable this setting (yes, even if you can't see the option for it).

On one of my larger client sites I found that due to a misconfiguration in the theme-settings.php file the options for the theme were not showing up. You can normally find this caching option on your zen-based theme's configuration page.

Upon doing a find-and-replace in my theme-settings.php file and unchecking the "Rebuild theme registry on every page." option in your Zen theme things should be a lot faster on your website.

The graph above shows the impact this change had on my server. As you can see, the site in question is by far my biggest traffic driver on this host and it was wasting a LOT of database traffic (note the drop off at around 3pm, it should be pretty obvious).

Also be sure to check your "performance" settings under "site configuration" to enable css caching/compression for an added kick.