tpl.phps are not templates

Drupal's template files (*.tpl.php) are not really templates. This is what my DrupalCon core developer summit submission is about. The slides briefly explain why tpl.phps are not real templates, what real templates are, why this is a problem for the Drupal project and community, and mentions some possible solutions to the problem. It also provides some basic guidelines as a starting point for tpl.php standards, should that be pursued.

Download the slides here.

Drupal tpl.phps are not templates.pdf294.24 KB

New roles at NowPublic and the Drupal Association

The new year (this post is a little late!) has brought me new opportunities and some new roles;

NowPublic, Crowd Powered Media

New job at NowPublic

At NowPublic I work on front end theming and customizations for and Scan — a realtime twitter and social media tracker for,,, and The Vancouver Sun.

Currently I am the skeleton dev team that maintains, while the rest of the NowPublic dev team works on the migration to Drupal 7. Though I spend most of my dev time in the depths of the javascript and theme layer of Scan.

One of the most exciting things about this job is that I am able to work with an amazing team of developers including some other CivicActions alumni, whom I respect and seek to learn from. Such as chx, kkaefer, douggreen and Morbus Iff and many others.

Head On Vancouver


The new job at NowPublic saw me relocate to Vancouver for two and a half months, from just after DrupalSouth Wellington

at the end of January, until DrupalCon San Francisco, this week.

Vancouver has been astounding! Some highlights of my first trip ever to Canada and my stay in Vancouver include;

Returning to New Zealand

This Friday 16 April I depart Vancouver for San Francisco, where I will stay with the Clarity Digital Group developer team at Westin Hotel Market street for 8 days, for the Drupal core developer summit, DrupalCon SF, code sprints, meetings, social events, and a Drupal Association retreat.

Finally, on April 26 (after losing April 25 to the date line) I will arrive home to Christchurch NZ to stay indefinitely. It will be exactly 8 months since my wife and I departed Christchurch for DrupalCon Paris and a journey across 5 continents. I am looking forward to having a home (when we find and rent one!) and our bed back.

Drupal Association

Permanent Member of the Drupal Association General Assembly

Being elected onto the Drupal Association's General Assembly was largely unexpected and came as a surprise to me. I have been a core part of the DrupalCon Asia-Pacific Organisers (DCAPO) group on since it started in September 2009 and collaborated a little with Cary Gordon (Drupal Association Board, Director of Events) over that time. Cary asked me to join the Drupal Association to help centralise international DrupalCon coordination efforts (as per the events plan) and provide the association with a more internationalised perspective.

It is still early days at the association, but my goal (as per my application) at the Drupal Association is to empower a team to organise and run a DrupalCon somewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, hopefully around 2011. There are some ideas and projects at the association to do with scholarships and mini-conferences — but I will save that for another time, when it is ready.

jQuery for Designers & Themers at DrupalCon San Francisco

jQuery for Designers and Themers is a fun interactive session at DrupalCon San francisco on getting started with jQuery. It is targeted at designers and themers but is suitable for anyone with a decent understanding of HTML and CSS — no programming experience is necessary. It doesn't include any PHP, and only basic programming concepts are introduced.

The session is early on Tuesday 20 April in room 307 (Commerce guys) at DrupalCon SF at 8:30am.

The sample code is available at and slides are available at (Google Docs).

Some other related or similar sessions include;

URGENT: Fight for your rights!

NZ government is negotiating a trade act that will impact your civil liberties. And they are doing it behind our backs — in secret!

"ACTA is a controversial international treaty that impacts digital rights and is being negotiated in secret meetings. ACTA is proposed as a plurilateral trade agreement for establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement. It is being negotiated between the US, Canada, Japan, the European Union, South Korea, Mexico, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately, the negotiations have extended beyond trade and physical counterfeiting to potentially cover non-commercial infringement of copyright material by ordinary citizens and issues of digital rights management." —

As well as the violating our democratic principles, and the deceitful name of the treaty, ACTA aims to bring back the "draconian" (to quote prime minister John Keys) S92a laws we fought hard against last year with the NZ Internet Blackout.

PublicACTA Anti-Counterfeiting Trade AgreementThe PublicACTA event last Saturday produced "The Wellington Declaration". You can and should read the declaration and sign it by Tuesday morning NZ time.

Sign the Wellington Declaration Now!

DrupalSouth Wellington A Success

DrupalSouth attendees pointing at Angela 'webchick' Byron (Drupal 7 core committer) in the center

DrupalSouth Wellington 2010 was a booming success! And that would be an understatement. 100 Drupallers from NZ, Australia, North America and Europe came together for 2 Wellington-wet days in a brewery and couldn't stop talking about Drupal!

Here is DrupalSouth by the numbers;

  • 1: Code sprints
  • 2: Tracks (simultaneous sessions)
  • 2: Duration in days
  • 2: Lunches provided
  • 2: Organisers
  • 2: Attendees from parliament (Green party)
  • 3: Keynote speakers from North America (Liz Henry, Emma Jane Hogbin & Angela Byron)
  • 3: Platinum Sponsors
  • 3: DrupliBeanBags
  • 4: Attendees from the IRD
  • 5: Gold sponsors
  • 5: Percent of attendees from Hawkes bay
  • 5: Months to organise
  • 6: Companies involved in the wireless internet
  • 6: Wireless access points
  • 7: Value of each bar token in NZ dollars
  • 8: Silver Sponsors
  • 9: Varieties of beer brewed on-site
  • 10: Start time on Saturday
  • 11: Thousands of dollars turned over in event production
  • 15: Attendees from NZ government agencies (IRD, Greens, NZ Police, various ministries, etc.)
  • 16: Sponsors
  • 16: Percent of attendees from Australia
  • 16: Percent of attendees from Christchurch
  • 18: Age of youngest attendee
  • 20: MBs of synchronous bandwidth
  • 21: Percent of attendees from Auckland
  • 26: Speakers
  • 28: Attendees who also attended LCA the week before
  • 29: Sessions
  • 30: Percent of female attendees
  • 32: Percent of attendees from Wellington region
  • 36: A3 sheets of printed sponsor logos
  • 60: Registration cost
  • 64: Cost of food and snacks per attendee
  • 100: Registrations sold
  • 220: Bar tokens printed

Some of my personal highlights were;

Thank you to;

Read other's post-DrupalSouth write-ups at;

DrupalCon: jQuery for Designers & Themers

jQueryjQuery for Designers and Themers is a fun interactive session on getting started with jQuery. It is targeted at designers and themers but is suitable for anyone with a decent understanding of HTML and CSS — no programming experience is necessary. It doesn't include any PHP, and only basic programming concepts are introduced.

If you want to see this session at DrupalCon San Francisco you'll need to vote on it here it is at 8:30am on Tuesday 20 April in room 307 (Commerce guys) at DrupalCon SF.

I've presented sessions like this one twice before. The first time at DrupalCon Paris September 2009, and the second time at DrupalSouth Wellington January 2010, where it was successful and well received and both times.

Sample code is available at and slides are available at (Google Docs). (They will be updated.)

Some other related or similar sessions include;

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