Drupal, Silex, Symfony2, Ubuntu, Website Development

How to set-up Compass on Ubuntu 14.04 for Omega 4 Development

I had some issues installing Compass on Ubuntu 14.04 this is what I did and the errors I came up against that gave me a large headache. I hope others can benefit from what I learnt. This assumes that you have already created a sub-theme in Omega4. I installed the following packages initially:

sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install git-core curl zlib1g-dev build-essential libssl-dev libreadline-dev libyaml-dev libsqlite3-dev sqlite3 libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev python-software-properties 
sudo apt-get install libgdbm-dev libncurses5-dev automake libtool bison libffi-dev 

Download the Ruby Version Manager (RVM) so you can add any version you want

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Learn to use vim and forget the plugins

The more and more I use vim the quicker my productivity becomes this has allowed me streamlined my development tool chain. One of the issues over the years I kept finding myself doing is extending vims functionality to make it work like an IDE and more mouse friendly. I happen to find these videos on how to use vim from Derek Wyatt.org.

To my amazement I found that I had missed the whole point of vim. Using buffers instead of tabs and learning how to navigate and edit without using the arrow keys and a mouse has really shown me the power off vim.

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regex patterns for php

Regex can be so difficult but because of its ability to be so flexible it becomes necessary to use when searching a string that could have multiple variants. PHP uses the PCRE format so this could be used in other formats. Below are patterns I constantly use,


Searching for a characters with tags in a string

// String to be searched
1111<thumbnail code='1150400' />2222 

// Regex pattern
/<thumbnail code='.+?' \/>/

// Response
<thumbnail code='1150400' /> 

Searching for the code in a string

// String to be searched
1111<thumbnail code='1150400' />2222 

// Regex pattern () is what you will search for
/<thumbnail code='(.+?)' \/>/ 

// Response
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linux grep commands we need to remember

Grep is a powerful tool but remembering the commands at times does affect your ability to be productive because you don't use it all the time and to recall them can be a headache. Below are important ones I uses at times


Searching a document for a word

~$ grep <searchterm> or <"search term">  <path/filename>
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Apache2 commands on ubuntu

Apache2 has changed the way you can deploy your websites under /etc/apache2/sites-available/ the hosted directive file names need to end in .conf eg, purencool.aust.dev.conf. Below are some commands need to run Apache2 web server from the command-line


To enable a website on Ubuntu.

~$ a2ensite <sitename.conf> //Creates a symlink to sites-enabled

To disable a website on Ubuntu.

~$ a2dissite <sitename.conf> //Removes the symlink to sites-enabled
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Vim commands we all need to remember

The more web development I do the more I use Vim and Vim buffers. Wow, once you get your head around not using the mouse and the editing keys which are more than "i" it really does speed you up. Below are some of the keys that I need to remember.


This closes the current buffer that you are in.


This moves to the next buffer.


This to goes back to last buffer.


Lists all the hidden buffers.


Deletes the character that the cursor is on.

x //in visual mode

Vim insert commands

i to insert CRTL p will search down the document for terms you want to use


i to insert CRTL n will search up the document for terms you want to use

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Installing Symfony 2 because of Drupal 8

Now that Drupal 8 is starting to use Drupal components I thought that it would be in my best interest to try installing Symfony 2 and read up on its components and how they work. From the start what you find is that it does nothing even after you have created a Bundle. Yaml is completely foreign. But after going through the Symfony 2 Cook Book things started to make sense. I love the command line tools and composer wow and to see it all in OOP, sorry Drupal but it just makes so much more sense and I don't feel like I need to belt my head up against a brick wall and then jump off a cliff. Below are some points that I found interesting when installing Symfony 2. 


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Apache redirect examples

Redirect rules in apache .htaccess are very useful. Below are some examples that allow you to achieve some simple tasks that I use on a regular basis.

Testing to see if htaccess is working?

The best thing to do in this circumstance is find or create a file called .htaccess in your root directory and add a whole lot of characters and then open your browser. Navigate to the url in the browser. Refresh the page and you will either see an error from the web server or you'll get a blank page.

I want to customise my 404 redirect page

Create a document and call it anything you like and add it into any directory you like from public_html.

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Scss and Less Bash automation script

The use of Less and Scss is almost becoming mandatory. What I have been finding is that different projects want to use Less or Scss when doing web development, this is a real pain to constantly setup especially if you want to do a small update on one development. Below I have created two Bash scripts to automate the process.

To get them to work the packages needed on your Unix system are Ruby, the Scss and Less ruby gems, and Inotifywait for the automation of Less. Once they are installed then add css-compilers script to a directory of your choosing. Here is where it starts to get very easy, when you have a new project you copy the compiler-tool rename the file to the project name and open it and fill out the details. 

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What is a Drupal Developer? Part Two

From our last post we worked out that a Drupal developer means different things to different people, but what does that mean for a new developer? I can give you some idea of the elements that make a Drupal developer that have helped me understand this large community. A Drupal developer knows a little about everything but their skill set is deep in certain areas. 

The issue really arises when a person, agency or recruiter is looking for a Drupal Developer. They want one that suits their particular circumstances they then by extension create a view of what a Drupal developer is and start looking for that type of person.

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