Howdy! Welcome to my humble web presence. I'm Mark Hamstra, the CEA at my latest venture modmore, where I spend most of my time developing and providing support for awesome tools and extras for MODX Revolution.

This website is where I share my thoughts, cool projects and other oddities related to MODX, xPDO and ExtJS. Sometimes I post three blogs in a day, sometimes there's no update in a year. Read a random article.

MODXpo 2013 Live: Distros for Success: the 6Ps

17:51 And that's all. This means (almost) the end of the conference. Thanks for tuning in!

17:51 Suggested to use Vapor instead.... yep, that's going to happen soon.

17:50 The download is not a transport package, just a dump of an actual MODX installer.

17:49 Bert is plugging his command line installer that lets you choose (by responding yes or no) what you want to install (editors etc). This is different from a Distro as you only install what you need. Somewhat sounds like the configurator mentioned before. Find his installers here.

17:49 [Q] Do you also update packages? [A] Packages are not bundled with the distribution, they are downloaded directly from the MODX package provider using the APIs.

17:47 [Q] How do you stay up to date with the official release? [A] Patch versions (2.2.9 -> 2.2.10) are manually upgraded locally. This is then tested. SiteCheck from Bob Ray helps with this.

17:46 A configurator (like Foundation) would be great, but the distro is not there.

17:44 Everything we saw today is in the download link for people to try.

17:44 [Q] Have you seen SiteCheck? [A] Yes. It's a great tool, find it here.

17:43 [Q] What about performance? [A] Haven't noticed much but if you would profile carefully it would likely be a bit slower than a clean install.

17:42 End of presentations, time for Q&A.

17:42 Get the package: If you have any feedback, email

17:42 In the next version there might be some work for purging unused elements. Bob Ray's Orphans can help.

17:41 You either love MIGX, or you hate it. Steve loves it, and Susan will have its children.

17:40 More commerce is on the work too.

17:39 A lot of elements are in the database, but putting stuff on the filesystem through static elements is what will likely happen next.

17:38 Beanstalk acts as a holding server. Deployments are made via a number of bash commands over SSH. This is manual, but explorations into automating are being made.

17:37 Everyone works on a local machine. Every change is made locally and comitted. They're using Beanstalk and Subversion (no Git yet, but it sounds like that wont take long).

17:37 Next subject: Workflow.

17:35 On to Elements. There are 10 templates, 32 template variables, 56 chunks, 30 snippets and 5 plugins. That's before any Extras are installed.

17:34 There are no less than 52 resources pages in the default install. This includes home, contact, sitemap, robots, pages for login management etc. Most of these are hidden from the client.

17:33 When clicking the MODX Support button, it goes to a form on the Blaze Concepts website. The Help Videos provide a MODX modal with general instructional videos for working with MODX.

17:31 This dashboard was for the admin. Now we're looking at the client dashboard, which is very stripped down. The Elements and Files tabs are gone. In the dashboard there still is the Manager Quickstart and a resource list, as well as some additional Help & Support sections.

17:30 There's pre-flight checks too showing reports of resources to see if all the required information is there, such as aliases and titles. The update buttons opens the quick update.

17:28 But there's more! There's an email check to make sure the system email is properly adjusted to go to the client.

17:27 Some developer tools include export database, a link checker and a link to Pingdom to check the speed. The Manager Quickstart checks if certain extras such as Articles are installed, and provides links to commonly used stuff.17:27 Here comes the custom dashboard. Using Christian Seel's custom dashboard buttons and a list of media sources.

17:25 A bit of ecommerce is installed as well, including custom manager pages. Loads of commonly used javascript bundles (like fancybox, sliders, carousels) are preloaded as well. A number of PHP libraries (such as Zend for SimpleSearch, dropbox and youtube) are also in the distribution.

17:24 Custom Dashboard screenshots are coming up in a bit. As the team uses Foundation, that is also pre-loaded, under version control and available immediately.

17:23 My ClientConfig is installed with 5 tabs of settings in this distro too. :D It also installs cart configurations for ecommerce.

17:22 Awesome slide to explain why lexicons are changed...

17:22 Additionally, media sources and form customisations are also pre-configured and set up, along with some lexicon changes. This is one big distribution!

17:21 ACLs and Resource Groups are also pre-configured to skip the complexity.

17:20 A package installer will download 25 extras with one click and install them all as well. Lot of extras, but they're all often used.

17:19 By using a custom installer with a checkbox to install a default database, the setup process is super simple. Unchecking the checkbox is enough to get a clean, normal MODX install. Some other small changes (file paths, thumbnails and ExtJS) have been made as well.

17:18 The general distro that will be available after the session is no less than 50mb and 7.1k files in size. The normal MODX setup is a mere 5.7K files and about 8mb, so definitely a lot bigger.

17:17 The main benefits for distros include Team Consistency, no repetitiveness (only creating snippets or chunks once), a higher development speed and a more efficient support for clients.

17:17 Steve emphasises it's just their way of doing things and that it can be done differently as well, of course.

17:15 Custom distrobutions are cost effective, and it helps being as prepared as possible. It's easy to make certain features available for clients, just by publishing what they developed before and charging big bucks for it.

17:14 Definition of a Distro: An industry specific, pre-loaded installation of MODX that can be rapidly deployed and developed upon. Not a complete solution, but more a bedrock for development.

17:13 Steve was doing a lot of similar work in the education sector, and as they were all asking for the same thing they wanted to build stuff smarter. Constantly using the base install of would be silly.

17:12 The 6Ps is a mantra for Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents (Piss) Poor Performance (and Pain).

17:11 Talking about what we'll hear about today. Distros for teams, manager customisations, workflows and case studies are coming shortly.

17:10 Greame is also live blogging.. would be interesting to see the differences in reporting! Check it out here. I didn't grab a pic of the monkey unfortunately :D

17:08 Technical problems sorted, we're starting!

17:05 We're still waiting to start, shouldn't take much longer. Thanks for tuning in!

17:50 In about 10 minutes we'll start live blogging the presentation by Steve King: Distros for Success, the 6Ps.

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MODXpo 2013 Live: Continuous Integration & Deployment

16:47 And we're done. Time for a 15 minute break. After the break, we'll be back for a live blog from Steve King's presentation about Distributions. Find the live blog for that talk here.

16:47 Another tool; Deploy HQ that could deal with the whole deployment process (git pull etc). It can be used to automatically upload all changes to git directly to the server, or you need to hit a big Deploy Now button to deploy manually.

16:45 Version control is mandatory when working in a team.

16:45 [Q] Is there a video somewhere to explain the process? [A] Great idea. Chris will talk to other people at the office (I'm guessing Mark Willis) to see if it's possible to get a screencast for the process.

16:42 Before committing, someone uses PHP codesniffer to check docblocks and other code. It even checks if there is an actual ticket for the commit, which is assigned to you, before it lets you commit.

16:41 Oops. Passwords are the same for environments. That's something that could use some work..

16:41 The automatic project set up uses a zip file of an earlier install MODX site.

16:39 For an iPhone application a community member (Ramon Getman) set up Jenkins to check out from repository, run some commands, create a build using Xcode on Mac, upload it back to Jenkins and then to an app testing service. The key point is that it saves you a lot of time. There is time needed up front, but the time is saved down the line.

16:38 [Q] Have you solved the problem of chunks etc? [A] Yes, Static Elements. [Q] Any impact on performance? [A] Not if the media source is set to none (from the community).

16:36 And that's a wrap, time for questions now.

16:35 Another great tool, Toolbelt, is used to set up projects. Enter the domain, it clones the MODX repo to the local machine, the repository is set up, the origin remote (in git) is updated, the hook (connector we talked about before) is added to bitbucked and stuff gets pushed to git.

16:34 When everything is successful to that point, the site is deployed with RunDeck. Jenkins could be used, but by abstracting the deploy to RunDeck, it offers you the features of that. RunDeck just uses git pull.

16:33 BitBucket is used to create pull requests. Each feature is reviewed, and the branch is merged with master and then closed. That merger will automatically trigger Jenkins which runs all the tests.

16:31 Database differences (in both schema and data) are not automated, as it's very subjective and needs the developer to decide what needs to be merged and how. MySQL workbench is used (among others). This is done on a case-by-case basis.

16:29 Databases are still an unsolved problem. One thing is that there are no hardcoded IPs; instead the database server is configured (and committed to the source) as db.server, and the DNS on each of the servers (local, jenkins and live on rackspace) resolves that to the right IP/domain. Clever!

16:28 Seeing the Jenkins jobs for specific projects now. Jenkins is not just for testing. Previously they would use rsync to publish demo sites for clients. They wanted multiple demo sites, and they use Jenkins to do so through wildcards. Every branch for every project is available via

16:25 Here's how changing the context would be implemented. More blog posts or information will be published about this later.

16:23 For testing, phplint, phpunit and behat was used. Behat is really cool, and this an example (of an odd test, apparently). The cool thing is you can define your own scripts (in this example below) to change to a certain context.

16:21 A bitbucket connector is used to tell Jenkins about when something new was pushed to bitbucket. This is the connector they use, that each project is pointed to: link

16:19 So this is the final process, that doesn't let people skip any steps:

16:18 Every feature is branched, tests will be written for each feature, that is then committed and pushed and then Jenkins is used as CI Server.

16:17 The CI Server handles the testing. It's run every time code is pushed, or periodically. It's possible to deploying automatically, but the adido team doesn't use that. Results of the tests are reported via email and hipchat.

16:15 Now we're starting to talk about continuous integration. The goal is to prevent integration problems (merging is scary) and to have automatic testing.

16:14 Apparently bitbucket might be more reliable than Github because Github went down a few days ago. Bitbucket also gives free private repositories, which is a big pro. I'm still a Github user. :D

16:13 Using Git (bitbucket) for deployments, it's possible to force people through certain processes for deployments. There are no more wild west coding opportunities any more.

16:12 We're now looking at another diagram that shows a way of using nginx configurations with wildcards, which lets developers look at projects on other developers' computers.

16:10 Great diagram that shows where the developer is (inside the green circle) and how that works together with the rest.

16:08 We're now looking at a Vagrantfile (see photo below). There's some information taken out if (RSA keys etc), but this shows how it's configured.

16:06 To get the virtual machine, simply type vagrant up in the command line to get everything set up according to the specification (which uses Puppet one way or another that I didn't quite understand, sorry).

16:05 Vagrant keeps files synced between the host and guest operating system. In the finder/explorer it will look like all files are on your system, but Vagrant makes sure the virtual machine has access to the exact same files.

16:03 With vagrant you configure a process that sets up a preconfigured operating system. Everyone uses the exact same environment. It's a wrapper around VirtualBox to set up virtual machines.

16:02 Vagrant: "create and configure lightweight, reproducible and portable development environments".

16:01 Big shoutout to Mark Willis for introducing the Adido team to MODX.

16:00 Working with these processes would mean everyone needed to know all about these small problems.

15:59 Chris describes Remote Desktop as the "devil on your shoulder" where developers could log in to the server and fix problems in place... which would get overwritten next time a rsync deploy would be ran. Lot of small problems can pile up over time.

15:57 To figure out who didn't commit their code, sync logs could be checked to see who introduced uncommitted code.

15:55 .bat files were used for the rssync deploy, merges etc. For this process it wasn't necessary to commit to SVN before deploying with this process, so it was possible to deploy things not yet in the source, which could get overwritten by someone else.

15:53 After checking out the source, it was ran on a Visual Studio Server or local IIS. They don't work exactly the same, which makes collaborating more difficult. Also used was rsync, which according to the audience is awesome! It was used as alternative for FTP to deploy to live or demo sites.

15:52 In the .NET days, SVN was used for version control (hosted internally).

15:51 Changing CMSs gave Adido a chance to review things. How to build and how to deploy websites. Especially important when you're collaborating with other people.

15:49 When looking for a CMS, there were a couple of priorities for evaluating a CMS. There needed to be a good community they could participate in. It needs to be customisable so they can easily adjust to clients changing their mind. The third is that it needed to be easier for clients. Apparently orange and blue is bad... WHAT?! Luckily, they did end up going with MODX because it was easy to use for clients.

15:46 A community like the MODX one is a lot better at managing a CMS product than an in-house team.

15:46 The Adido team used to be a .NET agency, with their own CMS. It's called dub3, and was built in-house and has been their primary platform for about 10 years. Over 300 websites built with it!

15:45 Adido doesn't do any work at all, they just play video games.

15:44 Chris explains why quick and easy access is important for the developers working at Adido (a 30 man show).

15:41 Chris Cherrett from Adido will talk about Continuous Integration and Deployment, starting right now. Chris is not a sysadmin, but a developer building and breaking features :)

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MODXpo 2013 Live: Extending modUser

14:50 And we're done. I'm up now, so can't continue blogging :) Leave a comment if you want to see more like this.

14:50 Susan Ottwell highlighting how awesome Revolution is because it lets you override basically anything, without meddling what's already there.

14:48 Breaking: Bert doesn't like MIGXdb.

14:48 Google is useful.

14:47 Most of the examples can be found in the Extending modUser document in the RTFM.

14:46 Why choose MODX? Interesting question at a MODXpo... ;)

14:46 Changing the table later is possible with modManager using addField/alterField methods. You don't lose data when the model changes but you do need to update the table.

14:44 Great question from Susan; why not extend modUserProfile? Could do that, but in this case just extending modUser seems to be fine.

14:43 Using the User extended fields doesn't work when you need to search through the data, as it's stored as JSON.

14:41 Bert claims he can't access the ExtJS files from here, but I think he just doesn't want to show it :P

14:40 To add the tabs to the user edit screen, a plugin is used that triggers on the OnUserFormPrerender event. It also triggers on the OnUserFormSave event which seems to do stuff for licenses. People want to see all code now!

14:39 Several people are mocking the usage of ExtJS. Can't blame 'm. :D

14:38 There's also another component that lists all the users and their licenses.

14:37 Now we're seeing the manager page for the extended modUser that Bert uses for SimpleCart. It has a new tab that Bert added using ExtJS, which shows the API Keys (licenses) for users.

14:35 With extending modUser we're not calling $modx->addPackage; instead we are only adding the extension package (using $modx->addExtensionPackage()) as that will make sure the package is loaded on every request.

14:34 Someone in the crowd recommends checking out MIGXdb to easily build from the schema.

14:33 The build script is run once to generate the models from the schema. The same as regular component development. The build script can be found in the RTFM. See here.

14:32 And that's a wrap! Time for questions.

14:32 We're indeed seeing that the fullname method works. We can still use the xPDO getOne method to get related objects, in this case the dateProfile object is huge!

14:31 Login not working! Okay, it did work the second time :)

14:30 Some clarification based on a question, the first and lastname are stored in the dateProfile object related to the dateUser. So this is stored separately (in the dateProfile table) from the core modUser (modx_users) table.

14:29 Unsurprisingly, the getFullname method gets the dateProfile object, and adds the first and last name together.

14:28 Back to the model to show the getFullname method. Bug spotted! The getFullname method uses the core xPDO methods such as xPDOObject->getOne to load related models.

14:27 We're now looking at an example snippet that checks if the user is logged in (using the hasSessionContext setting) and if so, it returns the fullname from the getFullname method, that was added to the custom user model.

14:26 Question from the audience, is it possible to set a default class key? Answer: not in the manager, but in the frontend using the Register snippet you can set a property to make sure new users are created with that class.

14:25 Of course all normal functionality and methods are available too.

14:24 MODX loaded. We're now seeing the class key is different, but everything else is the same as regular users. Awesome! When the user logs in it will use the custom model (dateUser), so you can access everything as normal (core) user methods.

14:24 Using the normal Login snippet you can login in the frontend of the site with an extended user. We're now waiting for MODX to load...

14:23 Bert explained how using custom methods on the extended modUser object can help keep things organised.

14:22 It's important to add the extended user as an Extension Package using the addExtensionPackage method on the modX object. This is also discussed in the Extending modUser documentation.

14:20 As with normal component development, you'll need to build the model out of the schema. A script for that is available from the RTFM, this one to be exact.

14:19 The manager pages for editing users does not change by using a custom modUser object. You can of course add custom manager pages for editing that.

14:19 Because the relation is composite, there is no need to manually remove the dateProfile objects after removing the dateUser. Aint xPDO awesome? :D

14:18 We're now looking at the schema file which shows a relation between the dateUser (an extended modUser) and a dateProfile which contains the extra data.

14:16 For component developers, the model and schema files are exactly the same as what they're used to.

14:14 Bert is talking about a dating site he built that had specific requirements to the user, such as encryption.

14:12 Bert is explaining the general modUser setup as it is in the core. This contains the modUserProfile (name, address etc), modUserGroup (permissions) and a number of useful methods such as isMember, hasSessionContext and isAUthenticated, generatePassword, sendEmail. Other useful data includes user settings, messages and profile data.

14:11 Bert Oost will be talking about extending modUser today.

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