Six Essential Drupal Interview Questions

Are you looking to hire a Drupal developer? Do you know how to separate the good Drupal developers from the not-so-snazzy ones?

One of my clients asked me to put together a list of questions to ask prospective Drupal developers to assess their skill set. I came up with six that cover a good swath of the Drupal experience. Spend three minutes on each question, and you'll have a solid 20 minute interview that will tell you a lot about your prospective candidate's Drupal cred.

Drush and Features: Common Errors

Command Not Found

The drush command 'features-update' could not be found.

  • This can be caused by an old version of Drush. Make sure you update to Drush 4.5 or later.
  • Make sure features is enabled on your site. Later versions of drush will give you a more helpful error message suggesting you enable features.
  • Make sure you are in the correct working directory when you run drush, or you are using the correct drush alias.

Speed Up Your Drupal LAMP Stack

These are my notes from a talk at Drupalcamp NYC in December 2011 by Sam Kottler, @samkottler on twitter and skottler on

Let's make the LAMP stack go "Vroom!" This is going to be a really high-level overview of performance.

Benchmarking vs Profiling

When we benchmark something, we're setting a baseline to compare against in the future. We want to say "it was this fast this long ago, and here's how we improved." Whereas profiling is telling what is fast and what is slow.


Has a lot of parameters you can set; I'll cover some basic ones.

Drupal Module Coding at Drupalcon Chicago

by Irakli Nadareishvili, Director of Product Development at Phase2, @inadarei on Twitter.
Erik Summerfield, Software Developer at Phase2

You will probably have a number of contrib modules, and the queries that these modules execute can have a huge impact on the performance of your site.

Performance on the web is usually described by speed and scalability.

Speed is measured in seconds, and tells you how long it takes a single user to load a single page and all the assets that make up that page.

Advanced Drush at Drupalcon Chicago

Team Based Drush

When you need to start from scratch, you can blow away what you have with drush site-install -y welcom

What did we really do here? You can also use drush si --yes welcom. Welcom is an installation profile that we created for this project. This command installs Drupal according to the install profile.

If one of my teammates needs a module, he can put it into the install profile file, commit it, and then when I get his commit I'll get the module too.

Apache Solr Coding from Drupalcon Chicago

Drupal interacts with Solr through HTTP. Drupal sends content into the search index via XML documents. It walks through a node and there's a library that converts the node's attributes to XML, and Solr indexes the XML. Solr accepts documents POSTed to /update, and a different POST can be made to delete. Searching is done via GETs.

If you set up Solr locally (you need Java installed) the server will run at the same default port that is specified in the module, so by installing the module and enabling it, Solr should work out of the box.

Making Maps Beautiful at Drupalcon Chicago

Why Make Maps Beautiful?

Google has done amazing stuff with making maps on the web work well. But, Google Maps has become a bit like stock photography; it's not that exciting or novel anymore.

Part of why you want a map to be customized is to match the branding of your site, but maps are also a really powerful way of presenting information to people. The first thing that you do when you look at a map is to say "where am I on this map?" and see where you fit. Maps are a powerful way of presenting information, see the Pakistan Flood Response Map.

Views for Coders at Drupalcon Chicago

by Karim Ratib, infojunkie on d.o. He's the author/maintainer of Views Bulk Operations, Views Hacks, Sheetnode, Feeds Oauth, and Feeds Topics. He's currently a freelancer living in Vancouver.


To give you a conceptual overview of how to code views, without going into the details, which can be a bit overwhelming. We'll be talking about high-level stuff. Hopefully by the end of the talk you'll be able to open some Views code and maybe even start coding your own views.

Unifying Drupal Configuration at Drupalcon Chicago

by David Strauss @DavidStrauss on Twitter

Issues we're facing

Drupal has too many overlapping configuration methods. It's confusing and not good enough for developers coming from other platforms. The code relies on configurations which could be in the database or could be in the database. You never take code from production to development and you never push your database to production.

I don't think contrib can solve this.



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