Quansight Labs Blog: How Narwhals and scikit-lego came together to achieve dataframe-agnosticism

Planet Python - Sun, 2024-06-16 20:00
And how your Python library can become dataframe-agnostic too
Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Report From KDEPIM Spring Sprint 2024

Planet KDE - Sun, 2024-06-16 10:04

Like last year, the KDEPIM team convened in Toulouse to hold it’s traditional spring sprint. Unlike last year this time it was late spring, almost made it into summer. This time we’ve been hosted by Étincelle Coworking in one of their spaces. It was fairly nice. Lots of space, comfortable, well situated in the center. I definitely recommend.

The Warm-up

Some of the team (namely Carl and Volker) arrived early before the official start. I’m pretty sure Carl made it early to have lunch in the infamous Cake Place™ (at last). Of course a stupid amount of cake slices was involved. And after a short stroll we got to the meeting space we would use the rest of the time.

We started preparing the work board and finished collecting ideas as Dan arrived.

Day 1

Once again, we had two types of tasks: discussions and actual hacking. During that first day we mostly focused on the conversations but did some hacking on the side. Since the attendance was a bit low this year, we didn’t go for break out groups and did them all as a single group.

Said discussions covered mostly the following topics:

  • Retiring some old software or now unused resources
  • Trying to devise plans to remove some duplication of efforts (did you know we have several copies of the time tree parser?)
  • Some minor stability issues were discussed to have a plan to solve them
  • How to improve the usage of Akonadi on mobile which revolved mostly around some better partial syncing and some tight coupling with widgets at places
  • Devising a strategy to have some end to end testing of the supported resources
  • How to have better tag support and indexing in Akonadi (which opens the door to really cool features so stay tuned)
  • And finally, we spent quite some time discussing how to improve our little PR efforts and how to recruit new contributors

Of course, like last year we’re contrained by the size of the team and so need to use smartly everyone’s time. Again no grand plans, but some of the items we plan to deliver during the year could have very nice consequences. We’ll focus on a better quality of life both for users and contributors.

Day 2

We already started some of the technical tasks the previous day, but Sunday was mostly devoted to them. We had a break for a nice brunch of course but still people worked on their branches around it.

As far as technical tasks, we got the following things done already:

  • Some obscure and broken feature around notes in KMail has been removed
  • KJots notes can now be imported into MarkNotes giving an upgrade path
  • Akonadi tag discovery in caldav resources is a thing
  • The Akonadi brand should finally not appear anywhere in the applications anymore
  • A way to clean up the data coming from retired resources is now in place

But there’s more in the works, namely:

  • the completion of the infrastructure for QtQuick based config dialogs
  • the switch to KConfigDialogManager where is makes sense (instead of using an old PIM specific legacy system)
  • the rewrite of the indexing system (which should improve performance and have instant indexing of payloads)
  • the migration agent to apply tag discovery also to old and already existing items
  • the move of KMime to KDE Frameworks is getting prepared
  • the IMAP resource configuration system is in the works to be able to jump on the QtQuick infrastructure (it’s one of the more complex ones with lots of QtWidgets dependencies)
  • the KDAV test suite is being completed for better coverage

The mentioned tasks and all the ones created during the conversations have been added to our Technical Roadmap on Gitlab. The work is still on going for some of them.

What now?

The most noticeable is probably one thing we acted on immediately after our discussions. We added milestones in the PIM group. Indeed, it’s probably not always easy for people wanting to join to know which are the bigger on going goals in the KDEPIM team and what to work on to help.

This is now encoded through those milestones. It’s the early days for them so they need to be improved and more tasks added, but at least this gives an idea of what has higher priority for now.

We plan to have a BoF at Akademy 2024 to be announced later when the schedule for the BoFs actually opens. There we’ll plan to focus at discussing the experience of contributors and see how it can be improved. We’ll also present our milestones. We might sign you up on tasks there, don’t hesitate to show up, we want to hear from you.

Last but not least

If you want to know more or engage with us, please join the KDEPIM matrix channel! Let’s chat further.

Also, I’d like to thank again Étincelle Coworking and KDE e.V. to make this event possible. This wouldn’t be possible without a venue and without at least partial support in the travel expenses.

Finally, if you like such meetings to happen in the future so that we can push forward your favorite software, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

KDE PIM Sprint 2024 edition

Planet KDE - Sun, 2024-06-16 06:10

This year again I participated to the KDE PIM Sprint in Toulouse. As always it was really great to meet other KDE contributors and to work together for one weekend. And as you might have seen on my Mastodon account, a lot of food was also involved.

Day 1 (Friday Afternoon)

We started our sprint on Thursday with a lunch at the legendary cake place, which I missed last year due to my late arrival.

Picture of some delicious cakes: a piece of cheesecake raspberry and basil, a piece of lemon tart with meringue and a piece of carrot cake)

We then went to the coworking space where we would spend the remaining of this sprint and started working on defining tasks to work on and putting them on real kanban board.

A kanban board with tasks to discuss and to implement

To get a good summary of the specific topics we discussed, I invite you to consult the blog of Kevin.

That day, aside from the high level discussion, I proceeded to port away the IMAP authentification mechanism for Outlook accounts away from the KWallet API to use the more generic QtKeychain API. I also removed a large dependency from libkleo (the KDE library to interact with GPG).

Day 2 (Saturday)

On the second day, we were greated by a wonderful breakfast (thanks Kevin).

Picture of croissant, brioche and chocolatine

I worked on moving EventViews (the library that renders the calendar in KOrganizer) and IncidenceEditor (the library that provides the event/todo editor in KOrganizer) to KOrganizer. This will allow to reduce the number of libraries in PIM.

For lunch, we ended up eating at the excellent Mexican restaurant next to the location of the previous sprint.

Mexican food

I also worked on removing the “Add note” functionality in KMail. This feature allow to store notes to emails following RFC5257. Unfortunatelty this RFC never left the EXPERIMENTAL state and so these notes were only stored in Akonadi and not synchronized with any services.

This allow to remove the relevant widget from the pimcommon library and the Akonadi attribute.

I also started removing another type of notes: the KNotes app which provided sticky notes. This application was not maintained anymore, didn’t work so well with Wayland. If you were using KNotes, to make sure you don’t loose your notes, I added support in Marknote to import notes from KNotes.

Marknote with the context menu to import notes

Finally I worked on removing visible Akonadi branding from some KDE PIM applications. The branding was usually only visible when an issue occurred, which didn’t help with Akonadi reputation.

We ended up working quite late and ordering Pizzas. I personally got one with a lot of cheese (but no photo this time).

Day 3 (Sunday)

The final day, we didn’t had any breakfast :( but instead a wonderful brunch.

Picture of the brunch

Aside from eating, I started writing a plugin system for the MimeTreeParser which powers the email viewer in Merkuro and in Kleopatra. In the short term, I want to be able to add Itinerary integration in Merkuro but in the longer term the goal is to bring this email viewer to feature parity with the email viewer from KMail and then replace the KMail email viewer with the one from Merkuro. Aside from removing duplicate code, this will improve the security since the individual email parts are isolated from each other and this will makes it easier for the email view to follow KDE styling as this is just normal QML instead of fake HTML components.

I also merged and rebased some WIP merge requests in Marknote in preparation of a new release soon and reviewed merge requests from the others.

Last but not least

If you want to know more or engage with us, please join the KDE PIM and the Merkuro matrix channels! Let’s chat further.

Also, I’d like to thank again Étincelle Coworking and KDE e.V. to make this event possible. This wouldn’t be possible without a venue and without at least partial support in the travel expenses.

Finally, if you like such meetings to happen in the future so that we can push forward your favorite software, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Ned Batchelder: Math factoid of the day: 62

Planet Python - Sun, 2024-06-16 06:00

There are two Archimedean solids with 62 faces:

rhomb­icosi­dodeca­hedron truncated icosi­dodeca­hedron

They both have 62 faces because of their roots in the dodecahedron and icosahedron. They have a face for each of the faces, vertices, and edges of either of those polyhedra: 12 + 20 + 30 = 62.

The rhomb­icosi­dodeca­hedron shows up in more places than you might expect for a complex polyhedron. The Zometool building kit uses it for hubs, though the squares are adjusted to rectangles:

Recently one also showed up on Kickstarter: Glint, a rhomb­icosi­dodeca­hedron machined in solid brass. I have one. It’s satisfyingly heavy and precise. Here it is with its little Zome sister:

The rhomb­icosi­dodeca­hedron is very pleasing: nearly round, but with simple polygonal faces roughly equal in size. Who’d have thought a number as seemingly uninteresting as 62 could appear in such serendipitous places?

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Zato Blog: Using OAuth in API Integrations

Planet Python - Sun, 2024-06-16 04:00
Using OAuth in API Integrations 2024-06-16, by Dariusz Suchojad

OAuth is often employed in processes requiring permissions to be granted to frontend applications and end users. Yet, what we typically need in API systems integrations is a way to secure connections between the integration middleware and backend systems without a need for any ongoing human interactions.

OAuth can be a good choice for that scenario and this article shows how it can be achieved in Python, with backend systems using REST and HL7 FHIR.

What we would like to have

Let's say we have a typical integration scenario as in the diagram below:

  • External systems and applications invoke the interoperability layer (Zato) which is expected to further invoke a few backend systems, e.g. a REST and HL7 FHIR one so as to return a combined result of backend API invocations. It does not matter what technology the client systems use, i.e. whether they are REST ones or not.

  • The interoperability layer needs to identify itself with the backend systems before it is allowed to invoke them - they need to make sure that it really is Zato and that it accesses only the resources allowed.

  • An OAuth server issues time-based access tokens, which are simple strings, like web browser session cookies, confirming that such and such bearer of the said token is allowed to make such and such requests. Note that the tokens have an explicit expiration time, e.g. they will become invalid after one hour. Also observe that Zato stores the tokens as-is, they are genuinely opaque strings.

  • If a client system invokes the interoperability layer, the layer will obtain a token from the OAuth server and keep it in an internal cache. Next, Zato will invoke the backend systems, bearing the token among other HTTP headers. Each invoked backend system will extract the token from the incoming request and validate it.

How the validation looks like in practices is something that Zato will not be aware of because it treats the token as an opaque string but, in practice, if the token is self-contained (e.g. JWT data) the system may validate it on its own, and if it is not self-contained, the system may invoke an introspection endpoint on the OAuth server to validate the access token from Zato.

Once the validation succeeds, the backend system will reply with the business data and the interoperability layer will combine the results for the calling application's benefit.

In subsequent requests, the same access token will be reused by Zato with the same flow of messages as previously. However, if the cached token expires, Zato will request a new one from the OAuth server - this will be transparent to the calling application - and the flow will resume.

In OAuth terminology, what is described above has specific names, the overall flow of messages between Zato and the OAuth server is called a "Client Credential Flow" and Zato is then considered a "client" from the OAuth server's perspective.

Configuring OAuth

First, we need to create an OAuth security definition that contains the OAuth server's connection details. In this case, the server is Okta. Note the scopes field - it is a list of permissions ("scopes") that Zato will be able to make use of.

What exactly the list of scopes should look like is something to be coordinated with the people who are responsible for the configuration of the OAuth server. If it is you personally, simply ensure that what is in the the OAuth server and in Zato is in sync.

Calling REST

To invoke REST services, fill out a form as below, pointing the "Security" field to the newly created OAuth definition. This suffices for Zato to understand when and how to obtain new tokens from the underlying OAuth server.

Here is sample code to invoke a backend REST system - note that we merely refer to a connection by its name, without having to think about security at all. It is Zato that knows how to get and use OAuth tokens as required.

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*- # Zato from zato.server.service import Service class GetClientBillingPlan(Service): """ Returns a billing plan for the input client. """ def handle(self): # In a real service, this would be read from input payload = {'client_id': 123} # Get a connection to the server .. conn = self.out.rest['REST Server'].conn # .. invoke it .. response = conn.get(self.cid, payload) # .. and handle the response here. ... Calling HL7 FHIR

Similarly to REST endpoints, to invoke HL7 FHIR servers, fill out a form as below and let the "Security" field point to the OAuth definition just created. This will suffice for Zato to know when and how to use tokens received from the underlying OAuth server.

Here is sample code to invoke a FHIR server system - as with REST servers above, observe that we only refer to a connection by its name and Zato takes care of OAuth.

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*- # Zato from zato.server.service import Service class GetPractitioner(Service): """ Returns a practictioner matching input data. """ def handle(self) -> 'None': # Connection to use conn_name = 'My EHR' # In a real service, this would be read from input practitioner_id = 456 # Get a connection to the server .. with self.out.hl7.fhir[conn_name].conn.client() as client: # Get a reference to a FHIR resource .. practitioners = client.resources('Practitioner') # .. look up the practitioner .. result = practitioners.search(active=True, _id=practitioner_id).get() # .. and handle the response here. ... What about the API clients?

One aspect omitted above are the initial API clients - this is on purpose. How they invoke Zato, using what protocols, with what security mechanisms, and how to build responses based on their input data, this is completely independent of how Zato uses OAuth in its own communication with backend systems.

All of these aspects can and will be independent in practice, e.g. clients will use Basic Auth rather than OAuth. Or perhaps the clients will use AMQP, Odoo, SAP, or IBM MQ, without any HTTP, or maybe there will be no explicit API invocations and what we call "clients" will be actually CSV files in a shared directory that your services will be scheduled to periodically pick up. Yet, once more, regardless of what makes the input data available, the backend OAuth mechanism will work independently of it all. ```

Next steps

API programming screenshots
➤ Python API integration tutorial
➤ More API programming examples in Python

More blog posts
Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Mario Hernandez: Automating your Drupal Front-end with ViteJS

Planet Drupal - Sat, 2024-06-15 22:24

Modern web development relies heavily on automation to stay productive, validate code, and perform repetitive tasks that could slow developers down. Front-end development in particular has evolved, and it can be a daunting task to configure effective automation. In this post, I'll try to walk you through basic automation for your Drupal theme, which uses Storybook as its design system.

Recently I worked on a large Drupal project that needed to migrate its design system from Patternlab to Storybook. I knew switching design systems also meant switching front-end build tools. The obvious choice seemed to be Webpack, but as I looked deeper into build tools, I discovered ViteJS.

Vite is considered the Next Generation Frontend Tooling, and when tested, we were extremely impressed not only with how fast Vite is, but also with its plugin's ecosystem and its community support. Vite is relatively new, but it is solid and very well maintained. Learn more about Vite.

The topics covered in this post can be broken down in two categories:

  1. Preparing the Front-end environment

  2. Automating the environment

1. Build the front-end environment with Vite & Storybook

In a previous post, I wrote in detail how to build a front-end environment with Vite and Storybook, I am going to spare you those details here but you can reference them from the original post.

  1. In your command line, navigate to the directory where you wish to build your environment. If you're building a new Drupal theme, navigate to your site's web/themes/custom/
  2. Run the following commands (Storybook should launch at the end):
npm create vite@latest storybook cd storybook npx storybook@latest init --type react

Fig. 1: The first command builds the Vite project, and the last one integrates Storybook into it.

Reviewing Vite's and Storybook's out of the box build scripts

Vite and Storybook ship with a handful of useful scripts. We may find some of them already do what we want or may only need minor tweaks to make them our own.

  • In your code editor, open package.json from the root of your newly built project.
  • Look in the scripts section and you should see something like this:
"scripts": { "dev": "vite", "build": "vite build", "lint": "eslint . --ext js,jsx --report-unused-disable-directives --max-warnings 0", "preview": "vite preview", "storybook": "storybook dev -p 6006", "build-storybook": "storybook build" },

Fig. 2: Example of default Vite and Storybook scripts out of the box.

To run any of those scripts, prefix them with npm run. For example: npm run build, npm run lint, etc. Let's review the scripts.

  • dev: This is a Vite-specific command which runs the Vite app we just build for local development
  • build: This is the "do it all" command. Running npm run build on a project runs every task defined in the build configuration we will do later. CI/CD runners run this command to build your app for production.
  • lint: Will lint your JavaScript code inside .js or .jsx files.
  • preview: This is also another Vite-specific command which runs your app in preview mode.
  • storybook: This is the command you run to launch and keep Storybook running while you code.
  • build-storybook: To build a static version of Storybook to package it or share it, or to run it as a static version of your project.
Building your app for the first time Getting a consistent environment

In front-end development, it is important everyone in your team use the same version of NodeJS while working in the same project. This ensures consistency in your project's behavior for everyone in your team. Differences in the node version your team uses can lead to inconsistencies when the project is built. One way to ensure your team is using the same node version when working in the same project, is by adding a .nvmrc file in the root of your project. This file specifies the node version your project uses. The node version is unique to each project, which means different projects can use different node versions.

  • In the root of your theme, create a file called .nvmrc (mind the dot)
  • Inside .nvmrc add the following: v20.14.0
  • Stop Storybook by pressing Ctrl + C in your keyboard
  • Build the app:
nvm install npm install npm run build

Fig. 3: Installs the node version defined in .nvmrc, then installs node packages, and finally builds the app.

NOTE: You need to have NVM installed in your system to execute nvm commands.
You only need to run nvm install once per project unless the node version changes. If you switch to a project that uses a different node version, when you return to this project, run nvm use to set your environment back to the right node version.

The output in the command line should look like this:

Fig. 4: Screenshot of files compiled by the build command.

By default, Vite names the compiled files by appending a random 8-character string to the original file name. This works fine for Vite apps, but for Drupal, the libraries we'll create expect for CSS and JS file names to stay consistent and not change. Let's change this default behavior.

  • First, install the glob extension. We'll use this shortly to import multiple CSS files with a single import statement.
npm i -D glob
  • Then, open vite.config.js in your code editor. This is Vite's main configuration file.
  • Add these two imports around line 3 or directly after the last import in the file
import path from 'path'; import { glob } from 'glob';
  • Still in vite.config.js, replace the export default... with the following snippet which adds new settings for file names:
export default defineConfig({ plugins: [ ], build: { emptyOutDir: true, outDir: 'dist', rollupOptions: { input: glob.sync(path.resolve(__dirname,'./src/**/*.{css,js}')), output: { assetFileNames: 'css/[name].css', entryFileNames: 'js/[name].js', }, }, }, })

Fig. 5: Build object to modify where files are compiled as well as their name preferences.

  • First we imported path and { glob }. path is part of Vite and glob was added by the extension we installed earlier.
  • Then we added a build configuration object in which we defined several settings:
    • emptyOutDir: When the build job runs, the dist directory will be emptied before the new compiled code is added.
    • outDir: Defines the App's output directory.
    • rollupOptions: This is Vite's system for bundling code and within it we can include neat configurations:
      • input: The directory where we want Vite to look for CSS and JS files. Here's where the path and glob imports we added earlier are being used. By using src/**/**/*.{css,js}, we are instructing Vite to look three levels deep into the src directory and find any file that ends with .css or .js.
      • output: The destination for where CSS and JS will be compiled into (dist/css and dist/js), respectively. And by setting assetFileNames: 'css/[name].css', and entryFileNames: 'css/[name].js', CSS and JS files will retain their original names.

Now if we run npm run build again, the output should be like this:

Fig. 6: Screenshot of compiled code using the original file names.

The random 8-character string is gone and notice that this time the build command is pulling more CSS files. Since we configured the input to go three levels deep, the src/stories directory was included as part of the input path.

2. Restructure the project

The out of the box Vite project structure is a good start for us. However, we need to make some adjustments so we can adopt the Atomic Design methodology. This is today's standards and will work well with our Component-driven Development workflow. At a high level, this is the current project structure:

> .storybook/ > dist/ > public/ > src/ |- stories/ package.json vite.config.js

Fig. 7: Basic structure of a Vite project listing only the most important parts.

  • > .storybook is the main location for Storybook's configuration.
  • > dist is where all compiled code is copied into and where the production app looks for all code.
  • > public is where we can store images and other static assets we need to reference from our site. Equivalent to Drupal's /sites/default/files/.
  • > src is the directory we work out of. We will update the structure of this directory next.
  • package.json tracks all the different node packages we install for our app as well as the scripts we can run in our app.
  • vite.config.js is Vite's main configuration file. This is probably where we will spend most of our time.
Adopting the Atomic Design methodology

The Atomic Design methodology was first introduced by Brad Frost a little over ten years ago. Since then it has become the standard for building web projects. Our environment needs updating to reflect the structure expected by this methodology.

  • First stop Storybook from running by pressing Ctrl + C in your keyboard.
  • Next, inside src, create these directories: base, components, and utilities.
  • Inside components, create these directories: 01-atoms, 02-molecules, 03-organisms, 04-layouts, and 05-pages.
  • While we're at it, delete the stories directory inside src, since we won't be using it.
NOTE: You don't need to use the same nomenclature as what Atomic Design suggests. I am using it here for simplicity. Update Storybook's stories with new paths

Since the project structure has changed, we need to make Storybook aware of these changes:

  • Open .storybook/main.js in your code editor
  • Update the stories: [] array as follows:
stories: [ "../src/components/**/*.mdx", "../src/components/**/*.stories.@(js|jsx|mjs|ts|tsx)", ],

Fig. 8: Updating stories' path after project restructure.

The Stories array above is where we tell Storybook where to find our stories and stories docs, if any. In Storybook, stories are the components and their variations.

Add pre-built components

As our environment grows, we will add components inside the new directories, but for the purpose of testing our environment's automation, I have created demo components.

  • Download demo components (button, title, card), from src/components/, and save them all in their content part directories in your project.
  • Feel free to add any other components you may have built yourself. We'll come back to the components shortly.
3. Configure TwigJS

Before we can see the newly added components, we need to configure Storybook to understands the Twig and YML code we are about to introduce within the demo components. To do this we need to install several node packages.

  • In your command line run:
npm i -D vite-plugin-twig-drupal @modyfi/vite-plugin-yaml twig twig-drupal-filters html-react-parser
  • Next, update vite.config.js with the following configuration. Add the snippet below at around line 5:
import twig from 'vite-plugin-twig-drupal'; import yml from '@modyfi/vite-plugin-yaml'; import { join } from 'node:path';

Fig. 9: TwigJS related packages and Drupal filters function.

The configuration above is critical for Storybook to understand the code in our components:

  • vite-plugin-twig-drupal, is the main TwigJS extension for our project.
  • Added two new imports which are used by Storybook to understand Twig:
    • vite-plugin-twig-drupal handles transforming Twig files into JavaScript functions.
    • @modyfi/vite-plugin-yaml let's us pass data and variables through YML to our Twig components.
Creating Twig namespaces
  • Still in vite.config.js, add the twig and yml() plugins to add Twig namespaces for Storybook.
plugins: [ twig({ namespaces: { atoms: join(__dirname, './src/components/01-atoms'), molecules: join(__dirname, './src/components/02-molecules'), organisms: join(__dirname, './src/components/03-organisms'), layouts: join(__dirname, './src/components/04-layouts'), pages: join(__dirname, './src/components/05-pages'), }, }), yml(), ],

Fig. 10: Twig namespaces reflecting project restructure.

Since we removed the react() function by using the snippet above, we can remove import react from '@vitejs/plugin-react' from the imports list as is no longer needed.

With all the configuration updates we just made, we need to rebuild the project for all the changes to take effect. Run the following commands:

npm run build npm run storybook

The components are available but as you can see, they are not styled even though each component contains a CSS stylesheet in its directory. The reason is Storybook has not been configured to find the component's CSS. We'll address this shortly.

4. Configure postCSS

What is PostCSS? It is a JavaScript tool or transpiler that turns a special PostCSS plugin syntax into Vanilla CSS.

As we start interacting with CSS, we need to install several node packages to enable functionality we would not have otherwise. Native CSS has come a long way to the point that I no longer use Sass as a CSS preprocessor.

  • Stop Storybook by pressing Ctrl + C in your keyboard
  • In your command line run this command:
npm i -D postcss postcss-import postcss-import-ext-glob postcss-nested postcss-preset-env
  • At the root of your theme, create a new file called postcss.config.js, and in it, add the following:
import postcssImport from 'postcss-import'; import postcssImportExtGlob from 'postcss-import-ext-glob'; import postcssNested from 'postcss-nested'; import postcssPresetEnv from 'postcss-preset-env'; export default { plugins: [ postcssImportExtGlob(), postcssImport(), postcssNested(), postcssPresetEnv({ stage: 4, }), ], };

Fig. 11: Base configuration for postCSS.

One cool thing about Vite is that it comes with postCSS functionality built in. The only requirement is that you have a postcss.config.js file in the project's root. Notice how we are not doing much configuration for those plugins except for defining them. Let's review the code above:

  • postcss-import the base for importing CSS stylesheets.
  • postcss-import-ext-glob to do bulk @import of all CSS content in a directory.
  • postcss-nested to unwrap nested rules to make its syntax closer to Sass.
  • postcss-preset-env defines the CSS browser support level we need. Stage 4 means we want the "web standards" level of support.
5. CSS and JavaScript configuration

The goal here is to ensure that every time a new CSS stylesheet or JS file is added to the project, Storybook will automatically be aware and begin consuming their code.

NOTE: This workflow is only for Storybook. In Drupal we will use Drupal libraries in which we will include any CSS and JS required for each component.

There are two types of styles to be configured in most project, global styles which apply site-wide, and components styles which are unique to each component added to the project.

Global styles
  • Inside src/base, add two stylesheets: reset.css and base.css.
  • Copy and paste the styles for reset.css and base.css.
  • Inside src/utilities create utilities.css and in it paste these styles.
  • Inside src/, create a new stylesheet called styles.css.
  • Inside styles.css, add the following imports:
@import './base/reset.css'; @import './base/base.css'; @import './utilities/utilities.css';

Fig. 12: Imports to gather all global styles.

The order in which we have imported our stylesheets is important as the cascading order in which they load makes a difference. We start from reset to base, to utilities.

  • reset.css: A reset stylesheet (or CSS reset) is a collection of CSS rules used to clear the browser's default formatting of HTML elements, removing potential inconsistencies between different browsers before any of our styles are applied.
  • base.css: CSS Base applies a style foundation for HTML elements that is consistent for baseline styles such as typography, branding and colors, font-sizes, etc.
  • utilities.css: Are a collection of pre-defined CSS rules we can apply to any HTML element. Rules such as variables for colors, font size, font color, as well as margin, sizes, z-index, animations, etc.
Component styles

Before our components can be styled with their unique and individual styles, we need to make sure all our global styles are loaded so the components can inherit all the base/global styles.

  • Inside src/components create a new stylesheet, components.css. This is where we are going to gather all components styles.
  • Inside components.css add glob imports for each of the component's categories:
@import-glob './01-atoms/**/*.css'; @import-glob './02-molecules/**/*.css';

Fig. 13: Glob import for all components of all categories.

NOTE: Since we only have Atoms and Molecules to work with, we are omitting imports for 03-organisms, 04-layouts, 05-pages. Feel free to add them if you have that kind of components. Updating Storybook's Preview

There are several ways in which we can make Storybook aware of our styles and javascript. We could import each component's stylesheet and javascript into each *.stories.js file, but this could result in some components with multiple sub-components having several CSS and JS imports. In addition, this is not an automated system which means we need to manually do imports as they become available. The approach we are going to take is importing the stylesheets we created above into Storybook's preview system. This provides a couple of advantages:

  • The component's *.stories.js files are clean without any css imports as all CSS will already be available to Storybook.
  • As we add new components with individual stylesheets, these stylesheets will automatically be recognized by Storybook.

Remember, the order in which we import the styles makes a difference. We want all global and base styles to be imported first, before we import component styles.

  • In .storybook/preview.js add these imports at the top of the page around line 2.
import Twig from 'twig'; import drupalFilters from 'twig-drupal-filters'; import '../src/styles.css'; /* Contains reset, base, and utilities styles. */ import '../src/components/components.css'; /* Contains all components CSS. */ function setupFilters(twig) { twig.cache(); drupalFilters(twig); return twig; } setupFilters(Twig);

Fig. 14: Importing all styles, global and components.

In addition to importing two new extensions: twig and twig-drupal-filters, we setup a setupFilters function for Storybook to read Drupal filters we may use in our components. We are also importing two of the stylesheets we created earlier:

  • styles.css contains all the CSS code from reset.css, base.css, and utilities.css (in that order)
  • components.css contains all the CSS from all components. As new components are added and they have their own stylesheets, they will automatically be included in this import.
IMPORTANT: For Storybook to immediately display changes you make in your CSS, the imports above need to be from the src directory and not dist. I learned this the hard way. JavaScript compiling

On a typical project, you will find that the majority of your components don't use JavaScript, and for this reason, we don't need such an elaborate system for JS code. Importing the JS files in the component's *.stories.js should work just fine. Since the demo components dont use JS, I have commented near the top of card.stories.js how the component's JS file would be imported if JS was needed.

If the need for a more automated JavaScript processing workflow arose, we could easily repeat the same CSS workflow but for JS.

Build the project again

Now that our system for CSS and JS is in place, let's build the project to ensure everything is working as we expect it.

npm run build npm run storybook

You may notice that now the components in Storybook look styled. This tells us our new system is working as expected. However, the Card component, if you used the demo components, is missing an image. We will address this issue in the next section.

This concludes the preparation part of this post. The remaining part will focus on creating automation tasks for compiling, minifying and linting code, copying static assets such as images, and finally, watching for code changes as we code. 6. Copying images and other assets

Copying static assets like images, icons, JS, and other files from src into dist is a common practice in front-end projects. Vite comes with built-in functionality to do this. Your assets need to be placed in the public directory and Vite will automatically copy them on build. However, sometimes we may have those assets alongside our components or other directories within our project.

In Vite, there are many ways to accomplish any task, in this case, we will be using a nice plugin called vite-plugin-static-copy. Let's set it up.

  • If Storybook is running, kill it with Ctrl + C in your keyboard
  • Next, install the extension by running:
npm i -D vite-plugin-static-copy
  • Next, right after all the existing imports in vite.config.js, import one more extension:
import { viteStaticCopy } from 'vite-plugin-static-copy';
  • Lastly, still in vite.config.js, add the viteStaticCopy function configuration inside the plugins:[] array:
viteStaticCopy({ targets: [ { src: './src/components/**/*.{png,jpg,jpeg,svg,webp,mp4}', dest: 'images', }], }),

Fig. 15: Adds tasks for copying JavaScript and Images from src to dist.

The viteStaticCopy function we added allows us to copy any type of static assets anywhere within your project. We added a target array in which we included src and dest for the images we want copied. Every time we run npm run build, any images inside any of the components, will be copied into dist/images.
If you need to copy other static assets, simply create new targets for each.

  • Build the project again:
npm run build npm run storybook

The missing image for the Card component should now be visible. Pretty sweet! 🍰

7. The Watch task

A watch task makes it possible for developers to see the changes they are making as they code, and without being interrupted by running commands. Depending on your configuration, a watch task watches for any changes you make to CSS, JavaScript and other file types, and upon saving those changes, code is automatically compiled, and a Hard Module Reload (HMR) is evoked, making the changes visible in Storybook.

Although there are extensions to create watch tasks, we will stick with Storybook's out of the box watch functionality because it does everything we need. In fact, I have used this very approach on a project that supports over one hundred sites.

I actually learned this the hard way, I originally was importing the key stylesheets in .storybook/preview.js using the files from dist. This works to an extend because the code is compiled upon changes, but Storybook is not aware of the changes unless we restart Storybook. I spent hours debugging this issue and tried so many other options, but at the end, the simple solution was to import CSS and JS into Storybook's preview using the source files. For example, if you look in .storybook/preview.js, you will see we are importing two CSS files which contain all of the CSS code our project needs:

import '../src/styles.css'; import '../src/components/components.css';

Fig. 16: Importing source assets into Storybook's preview.

Importing source CSS or JS files into Storybook's preview allows Storybook to become aware immediately of any code changes.

The same, or kind of the same works for JavaScript. However, the difference is that for JS, we import the JS file in the component's *.stories.js, which in turn has the same effect as what we've done above for CSS. The reason for this is that typically not every component we build needs JS.

A real watch task

Currently we are running npm run storybook as a watch task. Nothing wrong with this. However, to keep up with standards and best practices, we could rename the storybook command, watch, so we can run npm run watch. Something to consider.

You could also make a copy of the storybook command and name it watch and add additional commands you wish to run with watch, while leaving the original storybook command intact. Choices, choices.

8. Linting CSS and JavaScript

Our workflow is coming along nicely. There are many other things we can do but for now, we will end with one last task: CSS and JS linting.

  • Install the required packages. There are several of them.
npm i -D eslint stylelint vite-plugin-checker stylelint-config-standard stylelint-order stylelint-selector-pseudo-class-lvhfa
  • Next, after the last import in vite.config.js, add one more:
import checker from 'vite-plugin-checker';
  • Then, let's add one more plugin in the plugins:[] array:
checker({ eslint: { lintCommand: 'eslint "./src/components/**/*.{js,jsx}"', }, stylelint: { lintCommand: 'stylelint "./src/components/**/*.css"', }, }),

Fig. 17: Checks for linting CSS and JavaScript.

So we can execute the above checks on demand, we can add them as commands to our app.

  • In package.json, within the scripts section, add the following commands:
"eslint": "eslint . --ext js,jsx --report-unused-disable-directives --max-warnings 0", "stylelint": "stylelint './src/components/**/*.css'",

Fig. 18: Two new npm commands to lint CSS and JavaScript.

  • We installed a series of packages related to ESLint and Stylelint.
  • vite-plugin-checker is a plugin that can run TypeScript, VLS, vue-tsc, ESLint, and Stylelint in worker thread.
  • We imported vite-plugin-checker and created a new plugin with two checks, one for ESLint and the other for Stylelint.
  • By default, the new checks will run when we execute npm run build, but we also added them as individual commands so we can run them on demand.
Configure rules for ESLint and Stylelint

Both ESLint and Stylelint use configuration files where we can configure the various rules we want to enforce when writing code. The files they use are eslint.config.js and .stylelintrc.yml respectively. For the purpose of this post, we are only going to add the .stylelintrc.yml in which we have defined basic CSS linting rules.

  • In the root of your theme, create a new file called .stylelintrc.yml (mind the dot)
  • Inside .stylelintrc.yml, add the following code:
extends: - stylelint-config-standard plugins: - stylelint-order - stylelint-selector-pseudo-class-lvhfa ignoreFiles: - './dist/**' rules: at-rule-no-unknown: null alpha-value-notation: number color-function-notation: null declaration-empty-line-before: never declaration-block-no-redundant-longhand-properties: null hue-degree-notation: number import-notation: string no-descending-specificity: null no-duplicate-selectors: true order/order: - - type: at-rule hasBlock: false - custom-properties - declarations - unspecified: ignore disableFix: true order/properties-alphabetical-order: error plugin/selector-pseudo-class-lvhfa: true property-no-vendor-prefix: null selector-class-pattern: null value-keyword-case: - lower - camelCaseSvgKeywords: true ignoreProperties: - /^--font/

Fig. 19: Basic CSS Stylelint rules.

The CSS rules above are only a starting point, but should be able to check for the most common CSS errors.

Test the rules we've defined by running either npm run build or npm run stylelint. Either command will alert you of a couple of errors our current code contains. This tells us the linting process is working as expected. You could test JS linting by creating a dummy JS file inside a component and writing bad JS in it.

9. One last thing

It goes without saying that we need to add storybook.info.yml and storybook.libraries.yml files for this to be a true Drupal theme. In addition, we need to create the templates directory somewhere within our theme.


The same way we did for Storybook, we need to create namespaces for Drupal. This requires the Components module and storybook.info.yml configuration is like this:

components: namespaces: atoms: - src/components/01-atoms molecules: - src/components/02-molecules organisms: - src/components/03-organisms layouts: - src/components/04-layouts pages: - src/components/05-pages templates: - src/templates

Fig. 20: Drupal namespaces for nesting components.


The recommended method for adding CSS and JS to components or a theme in Drupal is by using Drupal libraries. In our project we would create a library for each component in which we will include any CSS or JS the component needs. In addition, we need to create a global library which includes all the global and utilities styles. Here are examples of libraries we can add in storybook.libraries.yml.

global: version: VERSION css: base: dist/css/reset.css: {} dist/css/base.css: {} dist/css/utilities.css: {} button: css: component: dist/css/button.css: {} card: css: component: dist/css/card.css: {} title: css: component: dist/css/title.css: {}

Fig. 21: Drupal libraries for global styles and component's styles.


Drupal's templates' directory can be created anywhere within the theme. I typically like to create it inside the src directory. Go ahead and create it now.

  • Inside storybook.info.yml, add a new Twig namespace for the templates directory. See example above. Update your path accordingly based on where you created your templates directory.

P.S: When the Vite project was originally created at the begining of the post, Vite created files such as App.css, App.js, main.js, and index.html. All these files are in the root of the project and can be deleted. It won't affect any of the work we've done, but Vite will no longer run on its own, which we don't need it to anyway.

In closing

I realize this is a very long post, but there is really no way around it when covering these many topics in a single post. I hope you found the content useful and can apply it to your next Drupal project. There are different ways to do what I've covered in this post, and I challenge you to find better and more efficient ways. For now, thanks for visiting.

Download the theme

A full version of the Drupal theme built with this post can be downloaded.

Download the theme

Make sure you are using the theme branch from the repo.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Mario Hernandez: Integrating Drupal with Storybook components

Planet Drupal - Sat, 2024-06-15 22:24

Hey you're back! 🙂 In the previous post we talked about how to build a custom Drupal theme using Storybook as the design system. We also built a simple component to demonstrate how Storybook, using custom extensions, can understand Twig. In this post, the focus will be on making Drupal aware of those components by connecting Drupal to Storybook.
If you are following along, we will continue where we left off to take advantage of all the prep work we did in the previous post. Topics we will cover in this post include:

  1. What is Drupal integration
  2. Installing and preparing Drupal for integration
  3. Building components in Storybook
  4. Building a basic front-end workflow
  5. Integrating Drupal with Storybook components
What is Drupal integration?

In the context of Drupal development using the component-driven methodology, Drupal integration means connecting Drupal presenter templates such as node.html.twig, block.html.twig, paragraph.html.twig, etc. to Storybook by mapping Drupal fields to component fields in Storybook. This in turn allows for your Drupal content to be rendered wrapped in the Storybook components.

The advantage of using a design system like Storybook is that you are in full control of the markup when building components, as a result your website is more semantic, accessible, and easier to maintain.

Building more components in Storybook

The title component we built in the previous post may not be enough to demonstrate some of the advanced techniques when integrating components. We will build a larger component to put these techniques in practice. The component we will build is called Card and it looks like this:

When building components, I like to take inventory of the different parts that make up the components I'm building. The card image above shows three parts: An image, a title, and teaser text. Each of these parts translates into fields when I am defining the data structure for the component or building the entity in Drupal.

Building the Card component
  • Open the Drupal site in your code editor and within your code editor navigate to the storybook theme (web/themes/custom/storybook)
  • Create two new directories inside components called 01-atoms and 02-molecules
  • Inside 02-molecules create a new directory called card
  • Inside the card directory add the following four files:
    • card.css: component's styles
    • card.twig: component's markup and logic
    • card.stories.jsx: Storybook's story
    • card.yml: component's demo data
  • Add the following code snippet to card.yml:
--- modifier: '' image: <img src="https://source.unsplash.com/cHRDevKFDBw/640x360" alt="Palm trees near city buildings" /> title: level: 2 modifier: '' text: 'Tours & Experiences' url: 'https://mariohernandez.io' teaser: 'Step inside for a tour. We offer a variety of tours and experiences to explore the building’s architecture, take you backstage, and uncover the best food and drink. Tours are offered in different languages and for different levels of mobility.'
  • Add the following to card.twig to provide the markup and logic for the card:
{{ attach_library('storybook/card') }} <article class="card{{ modifier ? ' ' ~ modifier }}{{- attributes ? ' ' ~ attributes.class -}}" {{- attributes ? attributes|without(class) -}}> {% if image %} <div class="card__image"> <figure> {{ image }} </figure> </div> {% endif %} <div class="card__content"> {% if title %} {% include "@atoms/title/title.twig" with { 'level': title.level, 'modifier': title.modifier, 'text': title.text, 'url': title.url, } only %} {% endif %} {% if teaser %} <p class="card__teaser">{{ teaser }}</p> {% endif %} </div> </article>

Code snippet for building card

  • Copy and paste these styles into card.css.

  • Finally, let's create the Storybook card story by adding the following to card.stories.jsx:

import parse from 'html-react-parser'; import card from './card.twig'; import data from './card.yml'; import './card.css'; const component = { title: 'Molecules/Card', }; export const Card = { render: (args) => parse(card(args)), args: { ...data }, }; export default component;

Let's go over a few things regarding the code above:

  • The data structure in card.yml reflects the data structure and type we will use in Drupal.
    • The image field uses the entire <img> element rather than just using the image src and alt attributes. The reason for this is so when we get to Drupal, we can use Drupal's full image entity. This is a good practice for caching purposes.
  • card.twig reuses the title component we created in the previous post. Rather than build a title from scratch for the Card and repeat the code we already wrote, reusing the existing components keeps us DRY.
  • card.stories.jsx in the Storybook story for the Card, notice how the code in this file is very similar to the code in the title.stories.jsx. Even with complex components, when we port them into Storybook as stories, most times the code will be similar as what you see above because Storybook is simply parsing whatever is in .twig and .yml files. There are exceptions when the React code may have extra parameters or logic which typically happens when we're building stories variations. Maybe a topic for a different blog post. 😉
Before we preview the Card, some updates are needed

You may have noticed in card.twig we used the namespace @atoms when nesting the title component. This namespace does not exist, and we need to create it now. In addition, we need to move the title component into the 01-atoms directory:

  • In your code editor or command line (whichever is easier), move the title directory into the 01-atoms directory
  • In your editor, open title.stories.jsx and change the line
    title: 'Components/Title' to title: 'Atoms/Title'. This will display the title component within the Atoms category in Storybook's sidebar.
  • Rather than have you make individual changes to vite.config.js, let's replace/overwrite all its content with the following:
/* eslint-disable */ import { defineConfig } from 'vite' import yml from '@modyfi/vite-plugin-yaml'; import twig from 'vite-plugin-twig-drupal'; import { join } from 'node:path' export default defineConfig({ root: 'src', publicDir: 'public', build: { emptyOutDir: true, outDir: '../dist', rollupOptions: { input: { 'reset': './src/css/reset.css', 'styles': './src/css/styles.css', 'card': './src/components/02-molecules/card/card.css', }, output: { assetFileNames: 'css/[name].css', }, }, sourcemap: true, }, plugins: [ twig({ namespaces: { atoms: join(__dirname, './src/components/01-atoms'), molecules: join(__dirname, './src/components/02-molecules'), }, }), // Allows Storybook to read data from YAML files. yml(), ], })

Let's go over some of the most noticeable updates inside vite.config.js:

  • We have defined a few things to improve the functionality of our Vite project, starting with using src as our app root directory and public for publicDir. This helps the app understand the project structure in a relative manner.

  • Next, we defined a Build task which provides the app with defaults for things like where should it compiled code to (i.e. /dist), and rollupOptions for instructing the app which stylesheets to compile and what to call them.

  • As part of the rollupOptions we also defined two stylesheets for global styles (reset.css and styles.css). We'll create these next.

    Important This is as basic as it gets for a build workflow and in no way would I recommend this be your front-end build workflow. When working on bigger projects with more components, it is best to define a more robust and dynamic workflow that provides automation for all the repetitive tasks performed on a typical front-end project.
  • Under the Plugins section, we have defined two new namespaces, @atoms and @molecules, each of which points to specific path within our components directory. These are the namespaces Storybook understands when nesting components. You can have as many namespaces as needed.

Adding global styles
  • Inside storybook/src, create a new directory called css
  • Inside the css directory, add two new files, reset.css and styles.css
  • Here are the styles for reset.css and styles.css. Please copy them and paste them into each of the stylesheets.
  • Now for Storybook to use reset.css and styles.css, we need to update /.storybook/preview.js by adding these two imports directly after the current imports, around line 4.
import '../dist/css/reset.css'; import '../dist/css/styles.css'; Previewing the Card in Storybook Remember, you need NodeJS v20 or higher as well as NVM installed on your machine
  • In your command line, navigate to the storybook directory and run:
nvm install npm install npm run build npm run storybook

A quick note about the commands above:

  • nvm install and npm install are typically only done once in your app. These commands will first install and use the node version specified in .nvmrc, and will install all the required node packages found in package.json. If you happen to be workign on another project that may use a different version of node, when you comeback to the Storybook project you will need to run nvm use in order to resume using the right node version.
  • npm run build is usually only ran when you have made configuration changes to the project or are introducing new files.
  • npm run storybook is the command you will use all the time when you want to run Storybook.

After Storybook launches, you should see two story categories in Storybook's sidebar, Atoms and Molecules. The title component should be under Atoms and the Card under Molecules. See below:

Installing Drupal and setting up the Storybook theme

We have completed all the prep work in Storybook and our attention now will be all in Drupal. In the previous post all the work we did was in a standalone project which did not require Drupal to run. In this post, we need a Drupal site to be able to do the integration with Storybook. If you are following along and already have a Drupal 10 site ready, you can skip the first step below.

  1. Build a basic Drupal 10 website (I recommend using DDEV).
  2. Add the storybook theme to your website. If you completed the excercise in the previous post, you can copy the theme you built into your site's /themes/custom/ directory, Otherwise, you can clone the previous post repo into the same location so it becomes your theme. After this your theme's path should be themes/custom/storybook.
  3. No need to enable the theme just yet, we'll come back to the theme shortly.
  4. Finally, create a new Article post that includes a title, body content and an image. We'll use this article later in the process.
Creating Drupal namespaces and adding Libraries

Earlier we created namespaces for Storybook, now we will do the same but this time for Drupal. It is best if the namesapces' names between Storybook and Drupal match for consistency. In addition, we will create Drupal libraries to allow Drupal to use the CSS we've written.

  • Install and enable the Components module
  • Add the following namespaces at the end of storybook.info.yml (mind your indentation):
components: namespaces: atoms: src/components/01-atoms molecules: src/components/02-molecules
  • Replace all content in storybook.libraries.yml with the following:
global: version: VERSION css: base: dist/css/reset.css: {} dist/css/styles.css: {} card: css: component: dist/css/card.css: {}
  • Let's go over the changes to both, storybook.info.yml and storybook.libraries.yml files:

    • Using the Components module we created two namespaces: @atoms and @molecules. Each namespace is associated with a specific path to the corresponding components. This is important because Drupal by default only looks for Twig templates inside the /templates directory and without the Components module and the namespaces it would not know to look for our component's Twig templates inside the components directory.
    • Then we created two Drupal libraries: global and card. The Global library includes two CSS stylesheets (reset.css and styles.css), which handle base styles in our theme. the Card library includes the styles we wrote for the Card component. If you noticed, when we created the Card component, the first line inside card.twig is a Twig attach library statement. Basically card.twig is expecting a Drupal library called card.
Turn Twig debugging on

All the pieces are in place to Integrate the Card component so Drupal can use it to render article nodes when viewed in teaser view mode.

  • The first thing we need to do to begin the integration process is to determine which Twig template Drupal uses to render article nodes in teaser view mode. One easy way to do this is by turning Twig debugging on. This used to be a complex configuration but starting with Drupal 10.1 you can now do it directly in Drupal's UI:

    • While logged in with admin access, navigate to /admin/config/development/settings on your browser. This will bring up the Development settings page.
    • Check all the boxes on this page and click Save settings. This will enable Twig debugging and disable caching.
    • Now navigate to /admin/config/development/performance so we can turn CSS and JS aggregation off.
    • Under Bandwidth optimization cleared the two boxes for CSS and Javascript aggregation then click on Save configuration.
    • Lastly, click the Clear all caches button. This will ensure any CSS or JS we write will be available without having to clear caches.
  • With Twig debugging on, go to the homepage where the Article we created should be displayed in teaser mode. If you right-click on any part of the article and select inspect from the context menu, you will see in detail all the templates Drupal is using to render the content on the current page. See example below.

    Note I am using a new basic Drupal site with Olivero as the default theme. If your homepage does not display Article nodes in teaser view mode, you could create a simple Drupal view to list Article nodes in teaser view mode to follow along.

In the example above, we see a list of templates that start with node...*. These are called template suggestions and are the names Drupal is suggesting we can assign our custom templates. The higher the template appears on the list, the more specific it is to the piece of content being rendered. For example, changes made to node.html.twig would affect ALL nodes throughout the site, whereas changes made to node--1--teaser.html.twig will only affect the first node created on the site but only when it's viewed in teaser view mode.

Notice I marked the template name Drupal is using to render the Article node. We know this is the template because it has an X before the template name.

In addition, I also marked the template path. As you can see the current template is located in core/themes/olivero/templates/content/node--teaser.html.twig.

And finally, I marked examples of attributes Drupal is injecting in the markup. These attributes may not always be useful but it is a good practice to ensure they are available even when we are writing custom markup for our components.

Create a template suggestion

By looking at the path of the template in the code inspector, we can see that the original template being used is located inside the Olivero core theme. The debugging screenshot above shows a pretty extensive list of templates suggestions, and based on our requirements, copying the file node--teaser.html.twig makes sense since we are going to be working with a node in teaser view mode.

  • Copy /core/themes/olivero/templates/content/node--teaser.html.twig into your theme's /storybook/templates/content/. Create the directory if it does not exist.
  • Now rename the newly copied template to node--article--teaser.html.twig.
  • Clear Drupal's cache since we are introducing a new Twig template.

As you can see, by renaming the template node--article--teaser (one of the names listed as a suggestion), we are indicating that any changes we make to this template will only affect nodes of type Article which are displayed in Teaser view mode. So whenever an Article node is displayed, if it is in teaser view mode, it will use the Card component to render it.

The template has a lot of information that may or may not be needed when integrating it with Storybook. If you recall, the Card component we built was made up of three parts: an image, a title, and teaser text. Each of those are Drupal fields and these are the only fields we care about when integrating. Whenever when I copy a template from Drupal core or a module into my theme, I like to keep the comments on the template untouched. This is helpful in case I need to reference any variables or elements of the template.

The actual integration ...Finally
  1. Delete everything from the newly copied template except the comments and the classes array variable
  2. At the bottom of what is left in the template add the following code snippet:
{% set render_content = content|render %} {% set article_title = { 'level': 2, 'modifier': 'card__title', 'text': label, 'url': url, } %} {% include '@molecules/card/card.twig' with { 'attributes': attributes.addClass(classes), 'image': content.field_image, 'title': article_title, 'teaser': content.body, } only %}
  • We set a variable with content|render as its value. The only purpose for this variable is to make Drupal aware of the entire content array for caching purposes. More info here.
  • Next, we setup a variable called article_title which we structured the same way as data inside card.yml. Having similar data structures between Drupal and our components provides many advantages during the integration process.
    • Notice how for the text and url properties we are using Drupal specific variables (label and url), accordingly. If you look in the comments in node--article--teaser.html.twig you will see these two variables.
  • We are using a Twig include statement with the @molecules namespace to nest the Card component into the node template. The same way we nested the Title component into the Card.
  • We mapped Drupal's attributes into the component's attributes placeholder so Drupal can inject any attributes such as CSS classes, IDs, Data attributes, etc. into the component.
  • Finally, we mapped the image, title and teaser fields from Drupal to the component's equivalent fields.
  • Save the changes to the template and clear Drupal's cache.
Enable the Storybook theme

Before we forget, let's enable the Storybook theme an also make it your default theme, otherwise all the work we are doing will not be visible since we are currently using Olivero as the default theme. Clear caches after this is done.

Previewing the Article node as a Card

Integration is done and we switched our default theme to Storybook. After clearing caches if you reload the homepage you should be able to see the Article node you wrote but this time displayed as a card. See below:

  • If you right-click on the article and select Inspect, you will notice the following:
    • Drupal is now using node--article--teaser.html.twig. This is the template we created.
    • The template path is now themes/custom/storybook/src/templates/content/.
    • You will also notice that the article is using the custom markup we wrote for the Card component which is more semantic, accessible, but in addition to this, the <article> tag is also inheriting several other attributes that were provided by Drupal through its Attributes variable. See below:

If your card's image size or aspect ratio does not look as the one in Storybook, this is probably due to the image style being used in the Article Teaser view mode. You can address this by:

  • Going to the Manage display tab of the Article's Teaser view mode (/admin/structure/types/manage/article/display/teaser).
  • Changing the image style for the Image field for one that may work better for your image.
  • Preview the article again on the homepage to see if this looks better.
In closing

This is only a small example of how to build a simple component in Storybook using Twig and then integrate it with Drupal, so content is rendered in a more semantic and accessible manner. There are many more advantages of implementing a system like this. I hope this was helpful and see the potential of a component-driven environment using Storybook. Thanks for visiting.

Download the code For a full copy of the code base which includes the work in this and the previous post, clone or download the repo and switch to the card branch. The main branch only includes the previous post code.

Download the code

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Mario Hernandez: Migrating from Patternlab to Storybook

Planet Drupal - Sat, 2024-06-15 22:24

Building a custom Drupal theme nowadays is a more complex process than it used to be. Most themes require some kind of build tool such as Gulp, Grunt, Webpack or others to automate many of the repeatitive tasks we perform when working on the front-end. Tasks like compiling and minifying code, compressing images, linting code, and many more. As Atomic Web Design became a thing, things got more complicated because now if you are building components you need a styleguide or Design System to showcase and maintain those components. One of those design systems for me has been Patternlab. I started using Patternlab in all my Drupal projects almost ten years ago with great success. In addition, Patternlab has been the design system of choice at my place of work but one of my immediate tasks was to work on migrating to a different design system. We have a small team but were very excited about the challenge of finding and using a more modern and robust design system for our large multi-site Drupal environment.

Enter Storybook

After looking a various options for a design system, Storybook seemed to be the right choice for us for a couple of reasons: one, it has been around for about 10 years and during this time it has matured significantly, and two, it has become a very popular option in the Drupal ecosystem. In some ways, Storybook follows the same model as Drupal, it has a pretty active community and a very healthy ecosystem of plugins to extend its core functionality.

Storybook looks very promising as a design system for Drupal projects and with the recent release of Single Directory Components or SDC, and the new Storybook module, we think things can only get better for Drupal front-end development. Unfortunately for us, technical limitations in combination with our specific requirements, prevented us from using SDC or the Storybook module. Instead, we built our environment from scratch with a stand-alone integration of Storybook 8.

INFO: At the time of our implementation, TwigJS did not have the capability to resolve SDC's namespace. It appears this has been addressed and using SDC should now be possible with this custom setup. I haven't personally tried it and therefore I can't confirm. Our process and requirements

In choosing Storybook, we went through a rigorous research and testing process to ensure it will not only solve our immediate problems with our current environment, but it will be around as a long term solution. As part of this process, we also tested several available options like Emulsify and Gesso which would be great options for anyone looking for a ready-to-go system out of the box. Some of our requirements included:

1. No components refactoring

The first and non-negotiable requirement was to be able to migrate components from Patternlab to a new design system with the least amount of refactoring as possible. We have a decent amount of components which have been built within the last year and the last thing we wanted was to have to rebuild them again because we are switching design system.

2. A new Front-end build workflow

I personally have been faithful to Gulp as a front-end build tool for as long as I can remember because it did everything I needed done in a very efficient manner. The Drupal project we maintain also used Gulp, but as part of this migration, we wanted to see what other options were out there that could improve our workflow. The obvious choice seemed to be Webpack, but as we looked closer into this we learned about ViteJS, "The Next Genration Frontend Tooling". Vite delivers on its promise of being "blazing fast", and its ecosystem is great and growing, so we went with it.

3. No more Sass in favor of PostCSS

CSS has drastically improved in recent years. It is now possible with plain CSS, to do many of the things you used to be able to only do with Sass or similar CSS Preprocessor. Eliminating Sass from our workflow meant we would also be able to get rid of many other node dependencies related to Sass. The goal for this project was to use plain CSS in combination with PostCSS and one bonus of using Vite is that Vite offers PostCSS processing out of the box without additional plugins or dependencies. Ofcourse if you want to do more advance PostCSS processing you will probably need some external dependencies.

Building a new Drupal theme with Storybook

Let's go over the steps to building the base of your new Drupal theme with ViteJS and Storybook. This will be at a high-level to callout only the most important and Drupal-related parts. This process will create a brand new theme. If you already have a theme you would like to use, make the appropriate changes to the instructions.

1. Setup Storybook with ViteJS ViteJS
  • In your Drupal project, navigate to the theme's directory (i.e. /web/themes/custom/)
  • Run the following command:
npm create vite@latest storybook
  • When prompted, select the framework of your choice, for us the framework is React.
  • When prompted, select the variant for your project, for us this is JavaScript

After the setup finishes you will have a basic Vite project running.

  • Be sure your system is running NodeJS version 18 or higher
  • Inside the newly created theme, run this command:
npx storybook@latest init --type react
  • After installation completes, you will have a new Storybook instance running
  • If Storybook didn't start on its own, start it by running:
npm run storybook TwigJS

Twig templates are server-side templates which are normally rendered with TwigPHP to HTML by Drupal, but Storybook is a JS tool. TwigJS is the JS-equivalent of TwigPHP so that Storybook understands Twig. Let's install all dependencies needed for Storybook to work with Twig.

  • If Storybook is still running, press Ctrl + C to stop it
  • Then run the following command:
npm i -D vite-plugin-twig-drupal html-react-parser twig-drupal-filters @modyfi/vite-plugin-yaml
  • vite-plugin-twig-drupal: If you are using Vite like we are, this is a Vite plugin that handles transforming twig files into a Javascript function that can be used with Storybook. This plugin includes the following:
    • Twig or TwigJS: This is the JavaScript implementation of the Twig PHP templating language. This allows Storybook to understand Twig.
      Note: TwigJS may not always be in sync with the version of Twig PHP in Drupal and you may run into issues when using certain Twig functions or filters, however, we are adding other extensions that may help with the incompatability issues.
    • drupal attribute: Adds the ability to work with Drupal attributes.
  • twig-drupal-filters: TwigJS implementation of Twig functions and filters.
  • html-react-parser: This extension is key for Storybook to parse HTML code into react elements.
  • @modifi/vite-plugin-yaml: Transforms a YAML file into a JS object. This is useful for passing the component's data to React as args.
ViteJS configuration

Update your vite.config.js so it makes use of the new extensions we just installed as well as configuring the namesapces for our components.

import { defineConfig } from "vite" import yml from '@modyfi/vite-plugin-yaml'; import twig from 'vite-plugin-twig-drupal'; import { join } from "node:path" export default defineConfig({ plugins: [ twig({ namespaces: { components: join(__dirname, "./src/components"), // Other namespaces maybe be added. }, }), // Allows Storybook to read data from YAML files. yml(), ], }) Storybook configuration

Out of the box, Storybook comes with main.js and preview.js inside the .storybook directory. These two files is where a lot of Storybook's configuration is done. We are going to define the location of our components, same location as we did in vite.config.js above (we'll create this directory shortly). We are also going to do a quick config inside preview.js for handling drupal filters.

  • Inside .storybook/main.js file, update the stories array as follows:
stories: [ "../src/components/**/*.mdx", "../src/components/**/*.stories.@(js|jsx|mjs|ts|tsx)", ],
  • Inside .storybook/preview.js, update it as follows:
/** @type { import('@storybook/react').Preview } */ import Twig from 'twig'; import drupalFilters from 'twig-drupal-filters'; function setupFilters(twig) { twig.cache(); drupalFilters(twig); return twig; } setupFilters(Twig); const preview = { parameters: { controls: { matchers: { color: /(background|color)$/i, date: /Date$/i, }, }, }, }; export default preview; Creating the components directory
  • If Storybook is still running, press Ctrl + C to stop it
  • Inside the src directory, create the components directory. Alternatively, you could rename the existing stories directory to components.
Creating your first component

With the current system in place we can start building components. We'll start with a very simple component to try things out first.

  • Inside src/components, create a new directory called title
  • Inside the title directory, create the following files: title.yml and title.twig
Writing the code
  • Inside title.yml, add the following:
--- level: 2 modifier: 'title' text: 'Welcome to your new Drupal theme with Storybook!' url: 'https://mariohernandez.io'
  • Inside title.twig, add the following:
<h{{ level|default(2) }}{% if modifier %} class="{{ modifier }}"{% endif %}> {% if url %} <a href="{{ url }}">{{ text }}</a> {% else %} <span>{{ text }}</span> {% endif %} </h{{ level|default(2) }}>

We have a simple title component that will print a title of anything you want. The level key allows us to change the heading level of the title (i.e. h1, h2, h3, etc.), and the modifier key allows us to pass a modifier class to the component, and the url will be helpful when our title needs to be a link to another page or component.

Currently the title component is not available in storybook. Storybook uses a special file to display each component as a story, the file name is component-name.stories.jsx.

  • Inside title create a file called title.stories.jsx
  • Inside the stories file, add the following:
/** * First we import the `html-react-parser` extension to be able to * parse HTML into react. */ import parse from 'html-react-parser'; /** * Next we import the component's markup and logic (twig), data schema (yml), * as well as any styles or JS the component may use. */ import title from './title.twig'; import data from './title.yml'; /** * Next we define a default configuration for the component to use. * These settings will be inherited by all stories of the component, * shall the component have multiple variations. * `component` is an arbitrary name assigned to the default configuration. * `title` determines the location and name of the story in Storybook's sidebar. * `render` uses the parser extension to render the component's html to react. * `args` uses the variables defined in title.yml as react arguments. */ const component = { title: 'Components/Title', render: (args) => parse(title(args)), args: { ...data }, }; /** * Export the Title and render it in Storybook as a Story. * The `name` key allows you to assign a name to each story of the component. * For example: `Title`, `Title dark`, `Title light`, etc. */ export const TitleElement = { name: 'Title', }; /** * Finally export the default object, `component`. Storybook/React requires this step. */ export default component;
  • If Storybook is running you should see the title story. See example below:
  • Otherwise start Storybook by running:
npm run storybook

With Storybook running, the title component should look like the image below:

The controls highlighted at the bottom of the title allow you to change the values of each of the fields for the title.

I wanted to start with the simplest of components, the title, to show how Storybook, with help from the extensions we installed, understands Twig. The good news is that the same approach we took with the title component works on even more complex components. Even the React code we wrote does not change much on large components.

In the next blog post, we will build more components that nest smaller components, and we will also add Drupal related parts and configuration to our theme so we can begin using the theme in a Drupal site. Finally, we will integrate the components we built in Storybook with Drupal so our content can be rendered using the component we're building. Stay tuned. For now, if you want to grab a copy of all the code in this post, you can do so below.

Download the code

Resources In closing

Getting to this point was a team effort and I'd like to thank Chaz Chumley, a Senior Software Engineer, who did a lot of the configuration discussed in this post. In addition, I am thankful to the Emulsify and Gesso teams for letting us pick their brains during our research. Their help was critical in this process.

I hope this was helpful and if there is anything I can help you with in your journey of a Storybook-friendly Drupal theme, feel free to reach out.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Mario Hernandez: Managing image embeds with Drupal media

Planet Drupal - Sat, 2024-06-15 22:24

Allowing your content creators to embed images in text fields is a big risk if you don't have the right measures in place to get properly rendered images without jeopardizing your site's performance. We faced this issue first-hand with embedded images due to not using the right configuration and this lead to extremely large images being rendered. In this post I'll go over the techniques I took for addressing those issues and set up a system for image embeds that is solid and performant.

I started by writing a seven-part guide on how to setup responsive images. In this post I'll focus on image embeds. If you followed or read the responsive images guide, you should be able to take advantage of some of the work we did there in this post. The guidelines covered here include:

  • Defining requirements
  • Image styles
  • Media view modes
  • Text format configuration
Defining requirements

Before you write the first line of code or set the first drupal configuration for this issue, you need to have a clear understanding of your requirements. Here is a summary of my requirements:

  • Only certain user roles can embed images

    This means we need to figure out if the text formats used in our site will allow us to set the restrictions we need. Otherwise we may need to create or edit a text format for our target user roles.

  • Users need to be able to choose the image size and aspect ratio when embedding images

    We defined the image sizes and aspect ratios and assigned names that were user-friendly for non-technical users. We came up with name options we think our users will find easy to work with such as:

    • Small square, Small portrait, Small rectangular
    • Medium square, Medium portrait, Medium rectangular, Medium rectangular wide
    • Large square, Large rectangular, Large rectangular wide
    • Extra large square, Extra large rectangular, Extra large rectangular wide
  • If no option is selected by users, set a default image size

    For the default option when no selection is made by the user, we decided to use the Medium rectangular option. This has an aspect ratio of 3:2 and it measures about 720x480.

  • Existing Media items need to be available for embedding

    This was a tricky one because my original inclination was to create a new Media type so we can isolate all configuration for its view modes and not overpopulate our default Media type. However, this ended up not working for us because when you limit your image embeds to only use a new Media type, you don't get access to any of the media items (images), that have already been uploaded to the Media library using other media types. Ultimately we ended up using Drupal core's Media type, Image, and our dev team had to compromise on having a very busy list of view modes for this media type.

  • Images need the ability to be cropped wihin the Media page

    Since most of our images already provide the ability to be cropped at different aspect ratios, using the core Media type in the previous bullet point made this an easy solution.

Image styles

It all starts with image styles. I'm not going to go over how to create image styles, you can read my post Image styles in Drupal. The one thing I am going to repeat however is the importance of creating reusable image styles. Reusable image styles can help you reduce the number of image styles you create while providing the flexibility you need with each use case.

Image styles are key as each of the size options we defined above translate into image styles. So Small square for example, is an image style that is defined as 1:1 (250px). Medium rectangular would be something like 3:2 (720x480), etc. You may be wondering, how do you plan on using fiendly names for your content editors when your image styles names are not very friendly? Great question. Since we are using Drupal's Media, content editors do not interact directly with image styles, they do with Media view modes and this is where we will use more friendly names.

Media view modes

View modes are one of Drupal's powerful features. Being able to display content is different ways with little effort can turn a simple website into a dynamic content hub. The example I always give when someone asks me what view modes are or how do they work is the Amazon website. When you are viewing a product in amazon.com, or most retail websites for that matter, you will notice that the same product or similar ones appear all over the page but in slightly different ways, with different fields or styles. See the page below for an example.

The image above shows many ways in which a product can be displayed. I've numbered each display.

In Drupal, every entity such as content types, media types, blocks, etc., offer the ability to create view modes. For the purpose of image embeds, we will create a Media type view mode for each image style we plan on using. The view modes is what content editors will interact with when choosing an image size or aspect ratio during the image embed process. This is where we will use the user-friendly names we defined earlier. Let's go over how this relationship between view modes and image styles works for image embeds.

Configure view modes for the Image media type
  1. In your Drupal site, create an image style for each image size option you wish to provide to users when embedding images.

  2. Next, create a Media view mode for each image style (/admin/structure/display-modes/view). Very iimportant: Remember the view mode's label (name) is where we are going to use the friendly name (i.e. Medium rectangular (720x480)). I like to keep the machine name similar to the label so it's easier to debug or identify in code (i.e. medium_rectangular_720x480).

  3. Now, let's tie 1 & 2 together:

    • Go to the media type you plan on using for media embeds (/admin/structure/media/manage/image/display). I am using Drupal core's Image media type.
    • Scroll down and expand the Custom display settings fieldset.
    • Check each of the view modes you created in step 2 and click Save.
  4. Now click each of the view modes and update the image field to use the respective/matching image style.

Configure the text format

View modes and image styles are all configured. Now let's configure the Text format that authorized users will use to embed images.

  1. Go to the Text formats and editors page (/admin/config/content/formats)
  2. Click Configure next to the text format you plan on using (i.e. Full HTML)
  3. Ensure the right user roles are selected
  4. Within the Toolbar configuration section, drag the Drupal media button from the Available buttons options to the Active toolbar section. You could probably remove the original insert image button since you won't be using it.
  5. Scroll to the Enabled filters section and check the Embed media checkbox
  6. Scroll to the Filter settings section and set the following:
    • Default view mode: This is the default display that will be used if content editors don't pick an option when embedding images. Select any of the view modes that represents the image size you want to use as default.

    • Media types selectable in the Media Library: Select the Media type you plan on using. In my case is Image.

    • View modes selectable in the 'Edit media' dialog: Finally, select each of the view modes you created in the previous section. FYI: View modes will be sorted in alpha order by their machine name. In my case I had to prefix some of the machine names with either "a" or "b" so the list of options for the users to choose from would be nicely organized by their label name. See screnshot below.

    • Click Save configuration

Testing your configuration

Now that we've completed all the configuration we should be able to take it for test drive.

  • Go to any page where there is a text field with a WYSIWYG editor
  • Make sure you are using the right text format by selecting it at the bottom of the text field where you want to embed an image
  • Click the Insert media button from the editor's toolbar
  • Select or upload the image you'd like to embed
  • When the image has been inserted, click on it and you should see several options of actions you can do with the image. Things like align the image, add a caption, link it, and you should also see a selection box listing all the view modes you created.
  • After making your selection you should immediately see the image size/aspect ratio change to the one you selected. When you are happy with your selection, click the Save button to save your page.

Important: Depending on your site's configuration, the options for changing your image size may look different than mine. In my case, I am only using Drupal's core modules and this is how the options look for me:

In closing

Putting a system like this for your image embeds will give you the piece of mind that content editors have options to choose how big or small they would like images to be displayed, and from a performance point of view, if your image styles are done properly, you can rest assurred that bloated images will never be rendered because you have put the guard rails in place to avoid this from happening.

I hope you found this article useful and can put these techniques to use in your own Drupal project. Happy New Year! 🎉 🎊 🎆 👋

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Mario Hernandez: Responsive images, wrapping up

Planet Drupal - Sat, 2024-06-15 22:24

As far as image resolution switching, all the work we need to do is done. We will proceed to creating a quick Drupal view to display a list of news articles each of which will have a responsive image. When we finish with that, we will do the last pending thing, configuring responsive image styles using the <picture> element. You didn't forget about the picture element, did you?

Creating a new Drupal view for news articles

Out of the box Drupal already comes with a view that shows a list of content, but in the Olivero theme this view is not displayed the way we need it, so we will create our own view.

  1. From the admin toolbar, click, Structure | Views
  2. Click Add view
  3. Give the new view any name you wish (i.e. News, Latest News, etc.)
  4. In the View settings select to show Content of type Article
  5. In Page settings check Create a page
  6. Page title can be anything you wish
  7. Type news (lower case) as the path
  8. Under Page display settings chose Unformatted list of teasers
  9. Scroll and click Save and edit
  10. Scroll down and click Save

Two important things in the view above:

  • The path is the url where the content list will be available (i.e. https://my-site.com/news).
  • Using Teaser allows us to make sure of all the previous configuration we've done for responsive images.

With the view now in place, go to the new page we created, /news. This should show a list of news articles. Don't worry if the list does not look like the screenshot we showed earlier. The main thing is that you get a list of articles with images. The images in each article should reflect the configuration we setup for responsive images. You can check this by inspecting the images and you should see many of the attributes we configured. See example below.

  • First, the image is rendering using the img tag and not <picture>
  • The img tag uses the srcset and sizes attributes
  • We can see the diferent image styles we created

That's it! We have completed all the steps for managing responsive images using the resolution switching approach. Now we will complete this series by going back to creating a new responsive image style but this time using the <picture> element.

Responsive image style using art direction

I opted to leave this approach for last because it requires a couple of extra tools that are not part of Drupal core. As previously mentioned, art direction requires that each device gets an image cropped differently to ensure better user experience. Although Drupal provides a cropping "effect" within image styles, it is an automatic cropping process and cannot be customized for each image. This may not always work because we don't know what the focal point for each image we need cropped may need to be when trying to achieve art direction. For example, I may upload an image that I need to crop so the focal point is on the top-left corner, but next time I may upload an image where the focal point should be the bottom-right corner. Focal point refers to picking the area that is the most important to display specially on small devices.

What we need is to be able to manually crop each image we intend to do art direction with as we add them to the site. The good news is that within the Drupal echosystem we have many tools to choose from. In the interest of time, I'm going to simply discuss the tools you need to be able to manually crop your images on demand, but will not go into detail about their configuration or settings as those modules/tools have good documentation you can follow for proper configuration.

Here are the tools we will be working with:

  • Crop API: On its own it does nothing, but in combination with other tools like Image widget crop, it gives you the ability to crop images on demand.
  • Image widget crop: Provides the UI for content creators to be able to crop images on demand. It has a hard requirement of the Crop API module.
  • Cropper: A simple jQuery image cropping plugin for added cropping functionality.

Note: With the exception of the Crop API module, the other two tools above are optional or can be replaced by other similar tools/modules. Often times the modules you pick for a job depend on your unique requirements. So don't feel you need to use the tools above if you know of other equivalent ones that may do a better job.

Next key steps to complete

With your tools inplace, you will probably need to complete the following steps:

  • Creating crop types
  • Create image styles that match your images rendering requirements (aspect ratio, dimentions, crop settings, etc)
  • Adding a new effect to image styles that use "Manual crop"
  • Create new responsive image style using the <picture> element

Crop types: They are in principle similar to image styles. They allow us to setup parameters for how to crop images. In particular, they help us predefine aspect ratios for cropping images. We can create a Square crop type, 3:2 crop type, 16:9 crop type, etc. Important to note, crop types's main job is to define cropping parameters in images, they don't restrict you from manually picking the image focal point.

Image styles: Since we are going to be doing art direction, we will need image styles that allow for custom/manual cropping. We already know how to create image styles, the ones for art direction will follow the behavior of the hero image on this page. Notice how the main images are wide when viewed in a large screen, but if you resize your browser or view the site on a mobile device the images become narrow and their aspect ratio changes. See both examples below.

The examples above shows an image cropped differently for different device sizes. This is Art Direction and is achieved using the <picture> element.

Responsive image styles using <picture>

The biggest difference between creating responsive image styles for resolution switching and art direction is the "Breakpoint group" we select. Let's go through the process now:

  1. If you haven't already, enabled the Responsive image module
  2. Head over to /admin/config/media/responsive-image-style to begin creating a responsive image style
  3. Click Add responsive image style
  4. Type Banner as the label for the responsive image style. This name is solely based on the image examples above. Feel free to assign any name that makes sense to you.
  5. Select Olivero from the Breakpoint group dropdown. If you are using a different theme, choose that theme from the dropdown. We will discuss breakpoints in a bit.
  6. Scroll down and select a Fallback image style. Pick an image style that could be used on desktop and mobile if all failed with our responsive image style.

Breakpoints are defined in your theme's <theme-name>.breakpoints.yml which is located in the root of your theme. For each device you wish to target you create a breakpoint. Here's an example (I modified the breakpoints slightly for better read):

olivero.sm: label: Small mediaQuery: 'all and (min-width: 500px)' weight: 0 multipliers: - 1x - 2x olivero.md: label: Medium mediaQuery: 'all and (min-width: 960px)' weight: 1 multipliers: - 1x olivero.lg: label: Large mediaQuery: 'all and (min-width: 1440px)' weight: 2 multipliers: - 1x

Based on the breakpoints found in *.breakpoints.yml, you should see an image similar to the one below which should reflect the same breakpoints.

  • Expand any of the breakpoints fieldset and you should see a familiar set of settings. Think of each fieldset you expand here as the <source> element inside the <picture> element. This is where we choose a list of image styles. Then we repeat the process for each breakpoint. This is where we are telling the browser which images to use for each device size and therefore setting up art direction.
  • The sizes field works the same as what we did in resolution switching.
  • Once you have completed all yoru configuration, save your changes.
What's next

Once the responsive image style above is ready to go, You can repeat the process of creating a new view mode for your Media image and configuring it to use the new responsive image style you created above (Banner).

Navigate posts within this series

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Mario Hernandez: Responsive images and Media

Planet Drupal - Sat, 2024-06-15 22:24

Drupal's Media is a powerful tool and we will use it to improve the way we manage responsive images by using media types and view modes to our advantage when managing responsive images. The following quote comes straight from Drupal's Media module:

In Drupal, the core Media module manages the creation, editing, deletion, settings, and display of media entities. Media items are typically images, documents, slideshows, YouTube videos, tweets, Instagram photos, etc. Media entities are standard Drupal content entities. And are grouped by Media type bundles. Like content types they can have fields added, and their display can be managed via view modes.

Media in Drupal

Out of the box, Drupal ships with the following media types: Audio, Document, Image, Remote video, and Video. You can create new media types if needed. For example, you could create a new media type that is of type "Image". Why would you do this? Well, in some cases, you may have specific requirements to handle images of a particular entity and rather than modify the existing Image media type, you could create a new one so you can manage specific settings on the new type and don't run the risk of breaking something on your site by updating the default Image media type. Creating new media types is outside the scope of this post, but wanted to let you know what's available to you.

  1. Let's start by enableing the Media and Media Library modules as these are not enabled by default
  2. Navigate to /admin/structure/media
  3. Since we'll be working with images, click the Edit link to the right of the Image media type
  4. We won't get into all the wonders of Media types, instead let's jump into Manage display

Like any other Drupal entity bundle, Manage displays, also known as View modes, are a pretty powerful feature. So what are view modes? View modes is how we display content in different ways. Take a look at the image below. Each of the numbered marks is a view mode. Same content, different ways and different fields.

Media view modes

Now that we understand how view modes work, we will use them to manage/display our responsive images. Let's start by creating a new Media view mode.

  1. Within the Manage display tab for the Image media type, scroll down and expand the Custom display settings fieldset
  2. Click Manage view modes
  3. In the View modes screen scroll down to the Media section and click Add new Media view mode
  4. Type News listing as the view mode name.
  5. Click Save
  6. Go back to the Image media type Manage display screen (/admin/structure/media/manage/image/display)
  7. Scroll down and expand the Custom display settings fieldset
  8. Check News listing and click Save. This enables the newly created view mode. You should now see it under the Manage display tab for the Image media type.
Configure the new view mode

It's time to link the new view mode for the Image media type with the responsive image style we created.

  1. Withing the Manage display screen, click the News listing view mode we just created
  2. Change the Format of the image field to Responsive image. This allows us to pick a responsive image style of our choice.
  3. Click the gear icon to the right of the image field
  4. Under Responsive image style select Content grid. This is the responsive image style we created in the previous post.
  5. Link image to nothing
  6. Click Update
  7. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save
What did we just do?

We just put all the pieces together which will result in well-managed responsive images. The order we followed is:

  1. Image styles: These are several image templates that share similar attributes (i.e. aspect ratio).
  2. Responsive image style: This is a collection of image styles that fullfill a specific use case.
  3. Media type and view mode: We have specific requirements for news and event article images. View modes allow us to fullfill these requirements without affecting other image displays.
Where do we use the responsive images?

So image styles, responsive image styles and image view mode are all connected and working great (you'll have to take my word for it 😃). One thing though, what content in our site will take advantage of all the beutiful work we've done? How about news articles? Take another look at the screenshot below. That's what we will do with all the work we've done.

Configure the Article content type

Since we opted to use news article images as the content to work with, there is a little clean up we need to do first in the Article content type.

The image field that ships with the Article content type does not use Drupal's Media, it's a basic image field. This does not mean we can't use responsive images with this type of image field, we can, but we get more out of the Media type field (view modes for starters). In addition, with the media type image field, we can take advantage of media library, add more fields to the image media type, reuse images, and much more.

Remove the image field from Article content type

Warning: Removing the image field will result in loosing any images you may have uploaded using this field. Only do this if you are sure you don't need the images. I never tested deleting the image field on a site that already had images so I am not sure if Drupal will even let you delete it.

  1. From the admin toolbar, click Structure, Content types
  2. Click Manage fields to the right of the Article content type
  3. For the image field, click the dropdown under Operations and select Delete
  4. Click Delete again to confirm you want to delete the image field. The image field is now gone
Adding a new media reference field to the Article content type
  1. Still within the Manage fields for the Article content type
  2. Click Create a new field
  3. In the Add a new field dropdown, select Media which is located under the Reference section. Notice there is also an image field, but this is the same kind we just deleted. Media is what we want.
  4. Type Image as the label for the new field
  5. Click Save and configure
  6. Keep the Allowed number of values as Limited to 1 and click Save field settings
  7. Optional but always a good practice is to add Help text. (i.e. Upload or select an image for this article)
  8. Check the box if you want to make this a required field
  9. Reference method should be Default
  10. Check the Create referenced entities if they don't already exist checkbox
  11. For Media type check Image (extremely important)
  12. Click Save settings. A new Image field is now available but this time it's a Media reference field of type Image.
Arranging the field for content entry and content display

By default the new image field was added at the bottom of the list of fields. Let's move the field up. We will follow the same steps for the Manage form display (for when content is created), and Manage display (for when content is displayed on the page).

  1. Within the Manage form display tab scroll down until you find the new Image field
  2. Drag it up so it displays right under the Title field
  3. Click Save
  4. Repeat for Manage display
Configure responsive images for the new image field
  1. Still within the Article content type page, click Manage display
  2. Drupal by default provides 3 view modes for the Article content type: Default, RSS, Teaser, and Full content (not enabled by default). We can create as many new view modes as we want/need, but for this excersice we will use Teaser.
  3. Click Teaser from the list of view modes
  4. For the image field, make sure its Format is set to Rendered entity. Since the new Image field we added is of Media type, the image is an entity and we want to render it as such.
  5. Click the gear icon to the far right of the Image field
  6. Under View mode select News listing. This is the view mode we created for the Media image type field.
  7. Click Update then scroll down and click Save. That's it.
Displaying responsive images in news articles

Before we can see the responsive images, let's create a couple of news articles so we have content to work with. Go ahead and create a few news articles using the Article content type. Upload large images if you wish so we can see the work we've done in action.

In the next post, we will complete the configuration and display of responsive images.

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Mario Hernandez: Responsive image styles

Planet Drupal - Sat, 2024-06-15 22:24

In a nutshell, responsive image styles are a collection of image styles. It can be confusing because the similarities in their names, but responsive image styles are a bundle that holds one or more image styles.

What's the use of responsive image styles?

If you read the posts about the <picture> element as well as the one about srcset and sizes attributes, we discussed that whether you are doing art direction or resolution switching, we need to provide the browser with a collection of images to serve to different devices. In Drupal the way we provide the collection of images is by using responsive image styles.

Naming responsive image styles

In the previous post we went in detail about best practices for naming image styles. Properly naming responsive image styles is just as important but there are some differences in guidelines. While naming image styles is mostly based on the characteristics of the images (aspec ratio, orientation, dimensions), naming responsive image styles is typically based on their use case. Let's take a look at some examples.

Let's say we are building a photo gallery where we will use a series of images to display as a slider or photos grid. We may not be as concerned about the images aspect ratio or dimentions because we already have image styles in place to handle that. We're only interested on how the images will be used. In this example the use case is a Gallery. So a name for the responsive image style that makes sense to me would be Gallery or Photo gallery. Another example would be creating a responsive image style for your website's hero component. Regardless of what the images dimensions are, the responsive image style can be called Hero. Both of these examples are for very unique use cases, but there are also cases for more common type of responsive images styles such as a listing of news articles or events, a featured news article or a page for team member photos. In these cases, we can use names that we can reuse elsewhere. Something like Person listing, News full, Content grid, or 16:9 (Max 460px).

Back to hands-on exercises

We are going to create a new responsive image style in which we will make use of the image styles we created in the previous post. Let's pretend the images we are targeting will be used for displaying News and Events listings (Similar to this, and example below).

Most websites use patterns that they repeat across their sections or pages. The news listing example above is a pattern that can be used for not only displying news articles, but maybe also events, social media posts, and more. This is great because identifying these patterns can help us create better image styles and responsive image styles that are reusable. This is what I meant in the previous post when I said that if you are fortunate enough to have designs for your project, you will be able to identify these patterns right away. Let's keep this in mind as we get back into exercise mode.

Resolution switching

Here's where all of our knowledge about <picture> (art direction) and srcset and sizes (resolution switching) comes in handy. We'll start with resolution switching because art direction requires additional tooling and configuration.

In Drupal 8 we used the Picture and Breakpoints contrib modules to handle responsive images. Starting with Drupal 9, Drupal provides the "Responsive image" core module which means we don't need to install any contrib modules. Responsive image is not enabled by default.

  1. Enable the Responsive image core module (/admin/modules)
  2. Once enabled, head over to /admin/config/media/responsive-image-style to begin creating our first responsive image style
  3. Click Add responsive image style
  4. Type Content grid as the label for the responsive image style
  5. Select *Responsive image from the Breakpoint group dropdown
  6. Scroll down and select a Fallback image style (16:9 (Max 320px))
  7. Expand the 1x Viewport Sizing [] fieldset
  8. Under Type, chose Select multiple image styles and use the sizes attribute
  9. Under Sizes type the following: (max-width:640px) 100vw, 30vw (I'll explain shortly)
  10. Under Image styles select the image styles we created before
  11. Scroll down and click Save

Let's go over everything we just did

Since we are doing resolution switching and not art direction, we chose Responsive image from the Breakpoint group dropdown. Doing so presents to us the 1x Vieport Sizing [] screen with the following options:

  • Type: Again, since we are doing resolution switching, the obvious choice here is Select multiple image styles and use the sizes attribute. The other two options are irrelevant in this particular example.
  • Sizes: The Sizes option is where we tell the browser how big/small our images should be rendered in relation to the viewport being used. Depending on our goal, this field accepts a single value or a media query with some conditions. Let's say we wanted our images to always render at full width regardless of the device being used (like a Hero image for example), then the value for the Sizes field would be 100vw (100% the viewport width). In our case however, we want the image to display full width, but only if the viewport/device is not larger than 640px, otherwise, meaning if the viewport/device is larger than 640px, we want the image to display at 30% the viewport width. We could had also used a pixel-based value such as 400px for example.
  • Image styles: This is where we choose the image styles we want to make available for the browser to pick from. Think of this as the srcset attribute in the <img> tag.
  • Fallback image: We pick a fallback image in case all the above fails.

Very important: Remember in the Image resolution switching using srcset and sizes attributes post, our claim was that it's better to let the browser pick the best image possible as the browser is smarter than us? This is exactly what we are doing here. We are providing the browser with a collection of images to pick from. Each image provides its dimensions. Then we tell the browser how big/small we want the images to be rendered. One thing we are not doing is telling the browser which image to use, we let the browser make that decision. This is the complete opposite of what we do when we use <picture>. As a reminder, the method used above is what you would do in most of your images. This is like the default configuration for your responsive images. Only when you need to crop your images differently for each device size is when you would use the art direction approach.

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Mario Hernandez: Image styles in Drupal

Planet Drupal - Sat, 2024-06-15 22:24

Now that we've gone over some very important concepts of responsive images (art direction and resolution switching), it's time to transfer all that knowledge and put it all in practice in Drupal. One of the key pieces for achieving responsive images in Drupal is by using image styles. Image styles are how Drupal manages the way we crop and size images.

What are image styles?

Before we get to building image styles, let's go over what they are. Think of image styles as templates for cropping, scaling, converting, and sizing images. You can use these templates with any image on your site and as many times as you'd like. Thanks to image styles images will always render within the parameters we define.

A more real-world way of looking at image styles may be if you could imagine for a moment you have a couple of picture frames you'd like to use to hang some pictures in your house or office. One frame is 5x7, another is 4x6 and one last one is 8x10. The picture frames are Drupal's image styles.

So we have some picture frames and we have ordered several pictures from our favorite online photo printing service. There is one picture in particular I really love and I want to frame it using the 3 picture frames. So, although it is the same picture, I ordered different sizes of it (one for each frame size), and this will allow me to hang the 3 pictures in different sizes, aspect ratios and orientation. That in a nutshell are image styles.

Image styles best practices

Image styles are actually pretty easy to create but unfortunately because of this they can be misused or mismanaged. If not done properly, you may end up with a lot more image styles than you really need or image styles that are not well define and do no provide the outcome you are looking for. To avoid this, let's go over best practices for creating image styles which will result in less image styles to manage. Mind you, these are my best practices but I have to admit, they have worked very well for me.

Naming image styles

Have you heard the phrase "naming things is hard"? It's true. Unfortunately when it comes to image styles, if not named properly you can get yourself in a lot of trouble. Quick example, let's say I want to create an image style that I'd like to use on images of news articles that are displayed on the homepage. One might think a good name for the image style may be something like "Homepage news article images". It doesn't seem so bad but let me point out a few issues with this name:

  • The image style is limited to the homepage
  • It is limited to news article images
  • It lacks information about the image dimensions or aspect ratio

One objective with image styles is to create them in a way that they are reusable. The more reusable an image style is the less image styles you will need to create which in turn becomes easier to manage. The main issue with the image style above ("Homepage news article images"), besides the 3 bullet points we called out, is that is not reusable. The name of it limits us to only use it on the homepage and only for news article images. If we want to display similar images elsewhere, we would need to create another image style maybe with the same parameters as the first one. You may be asking yourself, wait, why can't we use the same image style elsewhere? Technically you can, but think about how confusing it will be to use an image style called "Homepage news article images", not on the homepage and not on news article images.

Creating reusable image styles

One very efficient way for creating reusable image styles is to name them based on the image aspect ratio or dimensions, or a combination of both. For example: "16:9 (Max 320px)", or "Box 1:1 (500px)". Here are some reasons why this is a great way to name image styles:

  • They are not specific to any page or type of image (articles, events, etc.)
  • They provide key information about the image aspect ratio and their dimensions
  • I can use these image styles hundreds of times on any image that fits the requirements as well as on any page
  • By creating/naming image styles this way, I may have just saved myself from creating many other image styles
Identifying the images patterns

I have found one of the most effective ways for identifyiing the image styles you need to create is by looking at your website mockups (if you are fortunate enough to have them). This may not always be possible, but if you do have designs for your website, this will tell you exactly which images you will need and how they need to be rendered. Having this information upfront will help you tremendously when creating image styles because you can plan ahead of time how to create reusable image styles that share commom attributes.

Image styles use cases

When naming image styles it helps me to think of the characteristics of the images I am creating image styles for. For example, I have an image that should be rendered in 16:9 aspect ratio and it should not exceed a width of 320px. This is how I arrived at the name 16:9 (Max 320px). This also makes it possible to know which image style to use if I have other images that need to be rendered similarly. By the way, it is perfectly okay to use an image style that is slightly off from what an image needs to be rendered at. For example, Let's say I have an image that should be rendered at 16:9 aspect ratio, but its size should not exceed 250px. for this image, I can still use the 16:9 (Max 320px) image style.

A 100px or even 200px difference between the image style dimensions and the image you need to use it on it's an acceptable thing to do for a couple of reasons:

  • 100 or 200px in most cases will not make a big of an impact in performance, however, if you are rendering 50 of these images in a single page, then this could certainly present performance issues. So my rule is as long as this is a oneoff type of situation, I'm okay with doing this.
  • Keep in mind that just because your image may be resized larger than it actually needs to be rendered, your image will still visually rendered at the right size as I would suppose it is inside a container that will be sized to the right rendering size, via CSS.
  • Being able to reuse an image style that may be slightly larger than needed saves me from creating more image styles.

I hope you see the impact good names for image styles have on your site. When you are working on an enterprise level website, using the best practices above can really help you with the maintenance of your image styles.

Image styles effects

Effects are the rules you set on each image style. Rules such as cropping, sizing, converting, saturating, rotating, and scaling of images is how we determine how to render the images in our site. In most cases, you want to let content creators of your site upload images that are relatively big. Doing so will allow you to use the images in your library in any use case. It is perfectly okay to scale your images down thorugh the use of image styles, but it is not recommended to scale images up. Doing so will result in blurry or pixelated images. This is why is better to upload large images. But you may be thinking, if I upload super large images, this will affect the performance of my site. It will if you are rendering the original images, but since we are using image styles, Drupal uses the original image to make copies at the size and aspect ratio you defined in your image styles. This is why by uploading a single image you are able to use it in many use cases at different sizes or aspect ratios.

Image styles effects can vary from image style to image style. For example, some image styles will require images to be scaled down, then cropped. Others will require images to be resized then cropped and others may just need for images to be resized to specific size. All these actions are called "Effects" in image styles. The effects you apply to your image styles will depend on the end goal for rendering the images. Let's do a quick demo of creating one image styles then applying effects to it.

Hands-on excercise

All the principles covered in this series apply to Drupal 8, 9, and 10. You can follow along or simply watch me do it. To get started, spin up a vanilla Drupal site of the version of your choice. At the begining of this series I mentioned we will stick with only core/out of the box functionality to keep things simple.

Creating a new image style
  1. Login to Drupal as administrator
  2. In your Drupal site navigate to /admin/config/media/image-styles
  3. Click Add image style
  4. For Image style name type: 16:9 (Max 320px)
  5. To keep things nifty, edit the image style machine name so it reads 16_9_max_320px. (Remove the trailing underscore generated by the ending parenthesis in the image style name. Clean machine names are important to me 😃. It actually makes a difference when you are debugging issues and you find your machine name has an extra underscore you didn't catch).
  6. Click Create new style

The image style above follows the best practices for name we covered earlier. This makes this image style reusable on any image that meets the aspect ratio and dimension requirements.

Adding effects to the image style

For the purpose of this exercise, we are going to use the Scale and crop effect. This is probably the effect I use the most because it does exactly what I want, scale the image down to the size I want and crop it in the aspect ratio I need.

  1. While in the page where the new image style was created (/admin/config/media/image-styles/manage/16_9_max_320px), scroll down and you should see the Effect dropdown
  2. Select Scale and crop from the dropdown
  3. Click Add. The Add Scale and Crop effect screen will come up
  4. Type 320 for width and 180 for height. Note: These two values are required when you select the scale and crop effect. In other effects, these values may not always be required. It is important to define fixed dimensions on your image styles. This ensures your images will be sized/cropped at exactly the size you expect them to. How did I figure out the height for a 16:9 image with a width of 320px is 180px? I used this online aspect ratio calculator.
  5. Notice how you can change the focal point of the cropping by clicking any of the circles under Anchor. For this example we'll keep it in the middle circle.
  6. Click Update effect. This will bring you back to the image style page.
  7. We're done!

Now we have one custom image style with specific effects. If you noticed, Drupal comes with a couple of predefined image styles. If they work for your images you should make use of them. In this series we will be creating custom image styles.

As I mentioned earlier, names of image styles should be descriptive but not limiting. In the case of some of the image styles that come out of the box with Drupal, the names Large, Medium, and Wide do not seem like good choices for names because those names are all relative. Large in relation to what? Medium in relation to what? ...just sayin'.

Image multipliers

One thing we have not discussed but it is very important in responsive images, is the use of "Image Multipliers". What are image multipliers? In responsive images, you often think of image sizes in natural dimensions. If I think of an image that needs to be rendered at 720px, I will most likely resize or crop that image at 720px which makes total sense. With the evolution of high density or high resolution (retina) screens on mobile and larger devices, because they contain thousands or millions more pixels than traditional resolution screens, images need to actually be bigger than the intended size so they are rendered at their highest resolution/quality. This is what image multipliers are.

If we go back to the example above of the 720px image. For this image to be rendered as sharp and high-quality as possible in retina screen devices, we should add a 2x or 3x multiplier to it. Meaning, we should create an image styles for this image at twice and three times the intended size (1440px, 2160px). When we do this, the image will still be rendered at 720px (visually), but because we are providing larger images, these images will have twice or three times the number of pixels within them and when viewed in high resolution screens, the image quality will be superior than if we are only providing a regular 720px image. Note: I typically only create a 2x multiplier image styles for most of my images, but there may be situation when there are specific requirements for creating a 3x multiplier image styles.

Create a 2x multiplier image style

The same way you created the original image style above for 16:9 (Max 320px), go ahead and repeat the process but this time create a 2x multiplier image style, 16:9 (Max 640px). Remember, the dimensions of this image style should be 640 x 360px.

So what's next?

With our custom image styles in place, we can now make use of them, but before we do, let's go over another very important concept within Drupal, Responsive image styles ...whaaaaatttt?
We'll comeback to Drupal in a bit but first, we'll talk about responsive image styles in the next post.

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Mario Hernandez: Image resolution switching using srcset and sizes attributes

Planet Drupal - Sat, 2024-06-15 22:24

In the previous article we defined what art direction is and how to address it using the <picture> element. In this post, the focus will be how to address responsive images when the requirement is image resolution switching. Resolution switching, in the context of responsive images, is rendering identical image content on all devices. Unlike art direction where each device gets a differently cropped image that may vary on aspect ratio, resolution switching uses images that are simply larger or smaller based on the device but retain the same aspect ratio and cropping settings. Resolution switching is how most images are rendered (the rule), the <picture> element approach is the exception to the rule. Take a look at an example of resolution switching below.

The image above demonstrate how multiple resolutions of the same image can be served to different devices. All the images in the example above are cropped exactly the same maintaining the same aspect ratio from large to small.

Using srcset and sizes attributes

Using the srcset and sizes image attributes is how most images are rendered in the web today. As indicated before, this is the recommended way for configuring responsive images if all you need is to switch resolution of images rather than art direction. So how does this approach work? Let's take a look at a typical configuration of the <img> tag using the image above as an example of the different image sizes we will want the browser to choose from:

<img srcset="original-image.jpg 2400w, extra-large.jpg 2000w, large.jpg 1600w, medium.jpg 1080w, small.jpg 800w, x-small.jpg 500w" sizes="100vw" src="large.jpg" alt="Image of sky shown at different resolutions" />

Let's break things down so we can understand this approach better.

  • <img>: Right off the bat we start by using a widely supported html tag.
  • srcset: The srcset attribute in the img tag serves two important roles, 1) It stores a list of images that can be used by the browser, 2) Each image provides its width value which plays a role on the browser choosing the right image.
  • sizes: The sizes attribute tells the browser the width, in relation to the viewport, the image should be rendered at. The value of 100vw shown above, means the image will be rendered at 100% the viewport width on all the devices. You could also use media queries like (max-width: 720px) 100vw, 50vw. This means that if the device does not exceed 720px in width, the image will be rendered at 100% the viewport width, otherwise (if the device is larger than 720px), the image will be rendered at 50% the viewport width.
  • src: The src attribute is used as a fallback if everything fails.
What does it all mean?

Let me explain things in more detail because it is important we understand how this approach is so much better than using the <picture> element.

The biggest difference/advantage of using srcset and sizes versus <picture>, is the fact that we let the browser decide which image is the best image to render on any device. This is possible thanks to all the information we have supplied to the browser. For example, in the srcset we are not only providing the browser with a list of images to choose from, but we are also telling the browser how big each image is. This is very important because the browser will use this information when choosing the image to render. In the <picture> element approach, the image size descriptors are not available.

The sizes value tells the browser the size the image needs to be rendered at in relation to the viewport. This too is extremely important information we are providing the browser because if the browser knows the dimensions of all the images to choose from and how big/small the image needs to be rendered, then the browser is able to pick the best image possible.

But that's not all, the browser is smarter and knows more about the web environment than we do when a page or image is rendered. For example, the browser knows the viewport width used when viewing a website, it knows how fast/slow your internet connection is, and it knows about any browser preference settings (if any), setup by the user. Using all this information the browser is able to determine which image from the srcset is the best to use. In contrast, with the <picture> element, we tell the browser which image to use solely based on the device size.

Closing the gap

Now let's see how using the srcset and sizes attributes closes the gap we identified when using the <picture> tag.

Environment conditions What the developer knows
during development What the browser knows
during image rendering Viewport dimensions No Yes Image size relative to the viewport Yes No Yes via sizes Screen density No Yes Images dimensions Yes No Yes via srcset

Pretty nice huh? Now thanks to the srcset and sizes attributes we've closed the gap and the browser has all the information it needs to ensure the best image is served to each device.

The next post of this series will focus on image styles. These are fun but can also get you in a lot of trouble if not properly done. See you there.

In closing

Time for a story: I recently did an experiment that 100% proves the use of resolution switching using srcset and sizes attributes. As most people nowadays, I use a very large second display when working on projects to fit more apps and see things better. My second display is nice but it's not a 4K display. It's double the physical size of my mac's screen, but the mac's screen resolution is higher by almost double (twice the number of pixels). When I look at an image of a project where I've implemented the practices in this guide, in the large display, and inspected the page, I see the browser has selected an image that is 720px which makes complete sense for the use case I am testing. I then unplugged the second display and viewed the page on my mac's screen (higher resolution), I reloaded the page and inspected it, I noticed the browser has now selected an image that is double the size of the first image. This is exactly the behavior I would expect because my mac screen is of higher resolution and my connection speed is very fast. So the browser was able to make the smart decision to use a different images based on my environment.

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Mario Hernandez: Art Direction using the picture HTML element

Planet Drupal - Sat, 2024-06-15 22:24

In the previous article of this guide we covered the concept of responsive images and some of the challenges that come with implementing an effective system for them. In this article we will go in detail about the concept of "Art Direction" and how this applies to responsive images.

What is art direction?

In the context of responsive images, art direction is the ability to display differently-cropped images based on the device size. For example, a large landscape shot of a person rowing in the middle of a lake is shown when viewed on a large desktop device. If we were to use the same image on a mobile device, that image would shrunk down, making the person in the image very small and hard to see. A better option would be to show a different version of the image that zooms in and focuses on the most important part of the image, the person rowing. See an example of this image below.

Enter the <picture> HTML element

In order to achieve art direction we need to be able to query for the size of the device being used to view the website. Once we've identified the device size we instruct the browser which image to use based on the device size. This will allow us to provide a better user experience as each device will display an image intended specifically for that device. Going back to the image above, we can see that the main image has been cropped differently to ensure the most important part of the image is displayed on each divice.

So how do we query for the device size and how do we instruct the browser which image to use? This is where the <picture> element/tag comes in. Let's take a look at the code that makes all this possible and break it down.

<picture> <source media="(min-width: 2400px)" srcset="images/rowing-2400.jpg 1x, images/rowing-4800.jpg 2x" type="image/webp"> <source media="(min-width: 1280px)" srcset="images/rowing-1400.jpg 1x, images/rowing-2800.jpg 2x" type="image/webp"> <source media="(min-width: 640px) and (max-width: 1279px)" srcset="images/rowing-1200.jpg 1x, images/rowing-2400.jpg 2x" type="images/webp"> <img src="images/rowing-1200.jpg" srcset="images/rowing-2400.jpg 2x" alt="Person rowing on a lake" width="1200" height="800"> </picture>

Note: The order in which the media queries are written within the <picture> tag matters. The browser will use the first match it finds even if it's not the intended one. Therefore, consider the media query order very carefully to ensure the right image is served.

  • <picture>: The <picture> tag is simply a wrapper. On its own it does not do anything.
  • <source>: The <picture> HTML element contains zero or more <source> elements. The browser will consider each child <source> element and choose the best match among them. If no matches are found—or the browser doesn't support the <picture> element—the URL of the <img> element's src attribute is selected. The selected image is then presented in the space occupied by the <img> element.
  • Within the <source> element, you will find some very handy attributes (media, srcset, and type):
    • media: Rembember earlier we said we need to query for the device size? Well, within the media attribute you can write media queries much like the media queries you write in CSS (media="(min-width: 600px)"). This is how we check the size of the device when a page is rendered.
    • srcset: This attribute allows us to provide a list of images the browser can use when the media query finds a match (srcset="img-768.jpg, img-1440.jpg").
    • type: The type attribute specifies a MIME type for the resource URL(s). This is optional if using common image types such as JPG, PNG, TIFF, etc. If you plan on providing images in different file formats, you can do so using the type attribute. This is handy in the event the browser does not support a specific file type (type="image/avif"), as you can then provide a supported file type.
  • <img>: The img element serves two purposes:
    • It describes the dimensions of the image and its presentation
    • It provides a fallback in case none of the offered <source> elements are able to provide a usable image.

And there you have it. The <picture> element is a great way to serve different images based on things like device size or screen density. When the <picture> element was first introduced it required a pollyfill as not all browsers supported it. Nowadays, unless you are supporting Internet Explorer 11 (sorry bro), all other major browsers provide native support for it. Take a look at the chart below for current browser support.

Great! Let's use <picture> on all our images ...NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Say what? If the <picture> element is so great, why can't we use it for rendering all of our images? Well, as great as the <picture> element is, it should not be the default solution for serving responsive images in your site. The only use case for the <picture> element is when you are trying to achieve "Art Direction" (cropping your images differently for each device size).

Remember at the begining of this post when I said "In order to achieve art direction we need to be able to query for the device size. Once we've identified the device size we instruct the browser which image to use..."? There lies the problem. Let me explain.

The issue with the statement above is that "we are telling the browser which image". Not only that, but we are doing so solely based on the size of the device. This may not always be the best way to determine which image a device should use. Imagine you are using a nice relatively new laptop with a super high density screen. Based on our rules established within the <picture> element code snippet above, we would end up with an image that is 4800px in size. This is a pretty large image but it's the one that meets our creteria defined in the media query above. If you're home with a decent wifi connection you will never see any issue loading an image this large, but imagine you are working out of a coffee shop, or at a conference with poor wifi connection, or worse yet, you're on the road using your phone as a hotspot and your signal is very bad, now you will really experience some performance issues because we are telling the browser to load the largest image possible because your computer screen is big (relatively speaking). With the <picture> element we can't check how fast your internet connection is, or whether there are browser preferences a user has configured to account for slow internet speeds. We are basing everything on the size of the device.

Then why use the picture element? Well, when developing a website, the developer does not have all the information they need to serve the best image. Likewise, when rendering a page and using the <picture> tag, the browser does not know everything about the environment. The table below shows this in more detail and exposes the gap between the developer and the browser.

Identifying the gap when using <picture> Environment conditions What the developer knows
during development What the browser knows
during image rendering Viewport dimensions No Yes Image size relative to the viewport Yes No Screen density No Yes Images dimensions Yes No

You may be wondering: "Why did you get us all excited about the <picture> element if we can't really use it?" well, if you are trying to achieve art direction, then you use the <picture> element. It's the recommended approach for that use case. If you are looking for resolution switching, a use case for most images in the web, you need to use the srcset and sizes attributes approach. In the next post we'll dive deep into this technique.

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Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Mario Hernandez: Responsive images in Drupal - a guide

Planet Drupal - Sat, 2024-06-15 22:24

Images are an essential part of a website. They enhance the appeal of the site and make the user experience a more pleasant one. The challenge is finding the balance between enhancing the look of your website through the use of images and not jeopardizing performance. In this guide, we'll dig deep into how to find that balance by going over knowledge, techniques and practices that will provide you with a solid understanding of the best way to serve images to your visitors using the latest technologies and taking advantage of the advances of web browsers in recent years.

Hi, I hope you are ready to dig into responsive images. This is a seven-part guide that will cover everything you need to know about responsive images and how to manage them in a Drupal site. Although the excercises in this guide are Drupal-specific, the core principles of responsive images apply to any platform you use to build your sites.

Where do we start?

Choosing Drupal as your CMS is a great place to start. Drupal has always been ahead of the game when it comes to managing images by providing features such as image compression, image styles, responsive images styles and media library to mention a few. All these features, and more, come out of the box in Drupal. In fact, most of what we will cover in this guide will be solely out of the box Drupal features. We may touch on third party or contrib techniques or tools but only to let you know what's available not as a hard requirement for managing images in Drupal.

It is important to become well-versed with the tools available in Drupal for managing images. Only then you will be able to make the most of those tools. Don't worry though, this guide will provide you with a lot of knowledge about all the pieces that take part in building a solid system for managing and serving responsive images.

Let's start by breaking down the topics this guide will cover:

  1. What are responsive images?
  2. Art Direction using the <picture> HTML element
  3. Image resolution switching using srcset and sizes attributes
  4. Image styles and Responsive image styles in Drupal
  5. Responsive images and Media
  6. Responsive images, wrapping up
What are responsive images?

A responsive image is one whose dimensions adjust to changes in screen resolutions. The concept of responsive images is one that developers and designers have been strugling with ever since Ethan Marcotte published his famous blog post, Responsive Web Design, back in 2010 followed by his book of the same title. The concept itself is pretty straight forward, serve the right image to any device type based on various factors such as screen resolution, internet speed, device orientation, viewport size, and others. The technique for achieving this concept is not as easy. I can honestly say that over 10 years after reponsive images were introduced, we are still trying to figure out the best way to render images that are responsive. Read more about responsive images.

So if the concept of responsive images is so simple, why don't we have one standard for effectively implementing it? Well, images are complicated. They bring with them all sorts of issues that can negatively impact a website if not properly handled. Some of these issues include: Resolution, file size or weight, file type, bandwidth demands, browser support, and more.

Some of these issues have been resolved by fast internet speeds available nowadays, better browser support for file tyes such as webp, as well as excellent image compression technologies. However, there are still some issues that will probably never go away and that's what makes this topic so complicated. One issue in particular is using poorly compressed images that are extremely big in file size. Unfortunately often times this is at the hands of people who lack the knowledge of creating images that are light in weight and properly compressed. So it's up to us, developers, to anticipate the problems and proactively address them.

Ways to improve image files for your website

If you are responsible for creating or working with images in an image editor such as Photoshop, Illustrator, GIMP, and others, you have great tools at your disposal to ensure your images are optimized and sized properly. You can play around with the image quality scale as you export your images and ensure they are not bigger than they need to be. There are many other tools that can help you with compression. One little tool I've been using for years is this little app called ImageOptim, which allows you to drop in your images in it and it compresses them saving you some file size and improving compression.

Depending on your requirements and environment, you could also look at using different file types for your images. One highly recommended image type is webp. With the ability to do lossless and lossy compression, webp provides significant improvements in file sizes while still maintaining your images high quality. The browser support for webp is excellent as it is supported by all major browsers, but do some research prior to start using it as there are some hosting platforms that do not support webp.

To give you an example of how good webp is, the image in the header of this blog post was originally exported from Photoshop as a .JPG, which resulted in a 317KB file size. This is not bad at all, but then I ran the image through the ImageOptim app and the file size was reduced to 120KB. That's a 62% file size reduction. Then I exported the same image from Photoshop but this time in .webp format and the file size became 93KB. That's 71% in file size reduction compared to the original JPG version.

A must have CSS rule in your project

By now it should be clear that the goal for serving images on any website is doing it by using the responsive images approach. The way you implement responsive images on your site may vary depending on your platform, available tools, and skillset. Regardless, the following CSS rule should always be available within your project base CSS styles and should apply to all images on your site:

img { display: block; max-width: 100%; }

Easy right? That's it, we're done 😃

The CSS rule above will in fact make your images responsive (images will automatically adapt to the width of their containers/viewport). This rule should be added to your website's base styles so every image in your website becomes responsive by default. However, this should not be the extend of your responsive images solution. Although your images will be responsive with the CSS rule above, this does not address image compression nor optimization and this will result in performance issues if you are dealing with extremly large file sizes. Take a look at this example where the rule above is being used. Resize your browser to any width including super small to simulate a mobile device. Notice how the image automatically adapts to the width of the browser. Here's the problem though, the image in this example measures 5760x3840 pixels and it weights 6.7 MB. This means, even if your browser width is super narrow, and the image is resized to a very small visual size, you are still loading an image that is 6.7 MB in weight. No good 👎

In the next post of this series, we will begin the process of implementing a solution for handling responsive images the right way.

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Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Mario Hernandez: Drupal base path

Planet Drupal - Sat, 2024-06-15 22:24

Recently I was building a component that required a static image which was not stored in the database but instead needed to be stored somewhere in the file system of the site. There are several ways for serving a static image for example we could have stored the image in the sites/default/files/images/ directory. A very common approach which in many cases would work just fine, however, in my case I was building a component and I wanted for the component image to be located within the same component's directory. This makes sense because if I wanted to reuse or share this component, all component assets would be included in a single directory.


My goal with this task was to dynamically point to the image regardless the site this component was running on. Oh yeah, we are running a multi-site architecture with hundreds of sites and a single code base. So this component needed to work in all of these hundreds of sites. Now the challenge seems a little more... "challenging".

¡Manos a la hobra'!'

I started by doing research to determine the best way possible to achieve this. I read about using a pre-process function that would generate a dynamic base path of the site but I was hoping I could keep things simple and do everything on the front-end with only Twig. This would make it a more appealing approach for front-end developers.

After some research, I came across two little gems that became game-chargers for my project. One of these gems is the {{ url('<front>') }} Twig function. This will provide the current site's homepage/base path. The other very handy Twig function is {{ active_theme_path() }} which prints the path of the current active theme (themes/custom/my_theme). While researching for this task, I also found you can use the {{ directory }} Twig variable in your theme's templates to print the active theme's path. A word of coution when using either the {{ active_theme_path() }} function of the {{ directory }} variable as these could have different results depending on your whether you are using them in a base or sub theme. Here's a drupal.org issue that discusses this in more detail.
Armed with these two little functions, and one Twig variable, we can now work in generating a dynamic path to our theme's directory where the static image for our component is located. So this may seem like a simple thing but remember, our component's image should work regardless of the site the component is used on within our multi-site architecture. Some sites even use a different sub-theme but the parent theme is always the same which is where our image is stored.

Building the dynamic path

Before we can use the first function we need to run it through the |render Twig filter. Since Twig will return an array from the {{ url() }} function, we need to convert it to a string because we need the value of the function. Let's take a look:

{{ url('<front>')|render }} # This will give us http://my-site.com/

Next let's work with the theme path function. Similarly to the function above, we will use the |render Twig filter to convert it from an array to a string.

{{ active_theme_path()|render }} # This will give us themes/custom/my-theme

Now that we have two strings we can joint them together to compose the full path to our image:

<img src="{{ url('<front>')|render }}{{ active_theme_path()|render }}/images/image.jpg" alt="alt text" />

If we want to get fancy we could actually set a variable to shorten things a bit:

{% set theme_url = url('<front>')|render ~ active_theme_path()|render %} <img src="{{ theme_url ~ '/images/image.jpg' }}" alt="alt text" />

And there you have it. A dynamic path that will work on any of our sites.

I realized some people reading this already knew all of this but I didn't. So I figured I would share it because I bet there are others out there that also do not know about the {{ url('<front>') }} or {{ active_theme_path() }} Twig functions as well as the {{ directory }} variable. As I said before, there are many ways to handle this challenge, but in my case this is exactly how I wanted to approachh it. I hope this was helpful. Cheers!

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Mario Hernandez: Five principles for building better components

Planet Drupal - Sat, 2024-06-15 22:24

When working on a component-based project, building components or patterns, can be a liberating experience because we are able to draft the best markup possible to build the most flexible, scalable and reusable components. If you work with third party platforms such as SharePoint, WordPress, Drupal, or others, this becomes even more rewarding as in most cases content management systems are not known for producing the best markup possible. However, this liberating experience can come a a price if you are not taking the appropriate measures and checks when building your library of patterns.
In this post I am going to discuss five critical principles I follow when building components. My goal is always to achieve first and foremost, semantic markup that works in all devices including assistive technologies, reusability, scalability, and finally, ease of use. In some cases it is hard to achieve all of these goals so it is important to understand where you draw the line and what is more important in the long term.

Disclaimer: Components and Paterns are used interchangeably.

Find patterns in your patterns

Ideally, before you begin building patterns, or components, you want to fully understand how and when these patterns will be used. Certainly there are times when we don’t have all this information when we first start working on a project, but if you do, take a detailed inventory of your patterns. Doing this will help you build better and more reusable patterns.
Failing to identify the patterns in your patterns can lead to bad decisions when building them. For example, let’s say we have a card component for displaying latest news articles, if we don’t know that there are cards for events that look similar to news articles, we may miss an opportunity to turn the card component into one we can use for multiple purposes in our website. But don’t let this get you down, building a website is an iteration process. If you later discover that the news card component can be leveraged for events, it’s perfectly okay to update the card component so it can be used with events as well. My point is that it is preferred if you can catch these patterns early on, but we all know that sometimes designs are not always available in full when a project is started and when they become available we may need to re-think our process of component-building.

Don't sacrifice simplicity over reusability

Reusability when working with components is important and should be at the forefront when building components, however, don’t paint yourself in a corner by over-engineering your components because you found a way to turn a component into a multi-level reusable machine. Trying to make your components do too much can lead to over complex development and in the long run, very hard to maintain. It is better to have components that are simple and easy to maintain even if it means you may have some components that are similar. It is hard to find the balance between simplicity and reusability and this discovery will only come as you work on your components. If you have to choose between simple and reusable, simple may be the way to go.

One set of markup for all devices

Earlier I mentioned that before you start building components you should have a full picture of how and when those components will be used by looking at the design comps. Of course this is not always possible, but in an ideally designs comps give us opportunities to identify areas of improvement or areas that could lead to potential problems. An example of a problem would be if you are provided the designs for mobile, tablet, and desktop. This is great, but let’s say the information displayed at each device type changes in such a way that you don’t know how to best write the markup so it works on all devices. In a perfect world, you should not have to alter the markup of your components per breakpoint. Doing so could lead to confusion on how content is rendered, not to mention problems with accessibility or even SEO. If you find that markup may be a challenge from breakpoint to breakpoint, it is perfectly okay to go back to the designer and propose updates to the design so a unified markup structure could serve all devices. In my experience, the designer would be okay with your recommendations as long as you are not completely changing the layout of the website but instead are simply proposing minor adjustments that don’t change the overall look and feel of the website.
In some cases a designer may not be fully aware that the designs they are proposing could lead to issue when the site is rendered in different device sizes, so it’s okay to bring these issues to their attention and you may find that they are onboard with your suggestions.

Find the right names for your patterns

Another way to paint yourself in a corner is by the name you choose for your components. Component names should be generic and yet descriptive so they can be used on different scenarios. Conversely, names that are too specific will limit when and how you can use those components. Let’s take a look at some bad component names and propose a better name:

  • News Card: If we think back of how we can reuse components, naming a component News Card will limit us on what kind of content we can use this component on. What if Events use a similar card with minor differences? A better name for this component may be Card or Content Card. This allows us to use on any type of content.

  • FAQ Accordion: We have seen this before, we want to build a collapsible list of Frequently Asked Questions so the name makes sense. However, what if we want the same functionality for other type of content such as Forums or Knowledge base content? A better name would simply be Accordion which describes the functionality of the component, not the content that it can hold.

  • Latest News List: Again, we are limiting ourselves to only showing content of type news. A list of content should be generic so we can use them for any kind of content (i.e. Blog posts, events, popular content etc.). A more appropriate name would be Content List.

  • Finally, Homepage Hero: It is not uncommon for Hero sections to be in multiple pages other than the homepage. By naming this component simply Hero, we can leverage it and use it in more than just the homepage. You may wonder, what if I have other types of heroes in non-homepage pages? Well, perhaps we can find alternative names for those, things like Hero Short, or Page Breaker, something that is descriptive and yet provides the ability to be used in multiple pages.

The above are only some examples of how a bad name can not only limit where or what type of content you can use your components with, but it can also lead to building unnecessary components.

Document your components

One of the great things about design systems like Pattern Lab, Storybook and others, is that they provide a way to document the details of your components. Documenting components can go a long way to ensure your entire team is fully aware of the why and how of your components.
I practice that I follow when building components is documenting the technical aspects of the component such as its name, where it is used, and details about any variants of the components. Just as important, I like to define the components fields, their data type and values they accept. This architectural information ensures gives your team and your stakeholders a detailed view of a components role in your project.

In closing, before you begin building components, take the time to study your design comps and take notes of how you feel you can make the most out of your components library. You will not get it right the first time, that’s okay. As long as you are giving yourself the room to iterate through the process, you can always go back and update a component if it will give you more flexibility and will turn your project into a solid component-based system.

In closing

You may not always get it righ the first time, but keeping these principles in mind will help you achieve better implementation of your website's patterns.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Mario Hernandez: Demystifying components integration with Drupal

Planet Drupal - Sat, 2024-06-15 22:24

Component-based development is something I have been doing for at least five years and it is incredible that I still find myself learning something new every time I work on a new project. In addition to development, I write training curriculums on the topic and this gives me more exposure to this topic than most people. You’d think by now I should have learned all there is to learn about components and integrating them with Drupal, but that’s not the case, and I love it because I alway look forward to learning something new.

The inspiration for this post

I came across an outstanding blog series about Building with Emulsify Part 3: Component Complexity by Evan Willhite of Four Kitchens.

It's not you, it's me

I’d say I’m about 90% onboard with how Evan approaches component integration, but the part I am not a fan of is writing preprocess functions to achieve full integration, mainly because I am not well-versed in preprocess functions or PHP in general. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but what if you are someone like me who is not comfortable with preprocess functions or custom modules? So I decided to use most of the work Evan put together, but will perform the integration slightly differently so we only work with Twig and not PHP.

Both instances for which PHP code was required in Evan’s post were the result of using a Paragraph type to reference nodes. My approach will be to eliminate the paragraph type and work directly with the node entity.

Let’s start. I will pick up from Architecture since everything prior to this is typically the approach I take as well.


We want administrators to create Nodes of any type and using a Display View Mode we can automatically display them using the card component. The one difference for me is that I don’t have a card variation.

Passing data between entities

Following Evan’s instructions, create a new Display view mode called Card. Here's another minor difference in that my Card uses an image field and date field in addition to title, body, and link fields. Here’s what the card looks like.

In the Card display view mode of an Article content type, ensure Body and Image are available. All other fields should be placed under Disabled. The Title and Date fields don’t display in the Manage Display screens, but they are always available in all Entity templates.

Integrating the Card component within a Node template

Just like in Evan’s post, we still need to associate a Node template with our Card. For this we will use the same template suggestion as Evan, node--card.html.twig.

{% include '@molecules/card/card.twig' with { 'image': content.field_image, 'date': date, 'title': label, 'body': content.body, 'link_url': url, 'link_text': "Read the article", } only %} Displaying a list of cards with Views

Now that the Card component has been integrated with Drupal, let’s create a simple view to display a collection of nodes displayed as Cards.

The views' settings can be seen below with description of the important configurations to note.

A few things about the view:

  • It’s called Latest Articles
  • The page built by the view can be viewed at /blog
  • Rather than using fields it uses the Card view mode we created earlier. This is the biggest advantage of integrating the Card component with the Entity, any time a node is displayed using the Card Display View Mode, the node will be displayed automatically as a Card.
  • It only pulls nodes of type Article

With some minor CSS the articles would look like this:

In closing

There will be times when writing a preprocess will be required based on the requirements, but whenever possible I’d like to avoid it.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Mario Hernandez: Styling Forms Elements

Planet Drupal - Sat, 2024-06-15 22:24

Whether you are a veteran or just getting started with web development, working with web forms is not the sexiest thing but there is no avoiding them. Forms on a website are critical to the website's mission and the visitors using them. In this post I am going to show you how to properly style webforms and form elements so you can ensure they are consistent with your brand and provide a pleasant user experience.


I have recording video tutorials on some of the concepts covered in this post. Scroll to the bottom if you are the kind of person who learns better watching tutorials.

Where to start

One thing about forms you can count on is that they are not consistent. In today's API era forms can be generated from any source and you don't always have control of their HTML. I personally work with Drupal a lot and even within it forms can originate from Views, Blocks, Nodes, Paragraphs, Modules, and more. I imagine this is the case with most Content Management Systems. So how do you address something where you can't always predict source or markup of forms?

If you can't beat them, join them

Whether is Drupal or other system, it is best to let that system dictate the markup of forms. Try to bend a system to your needs can prove challenging and not worth the trouble. This is the approach I take and so far this has worked very well for me.

Attributes are your friends

As a Front-End developer for many years, I love a good css class. They make my job a lot easier than not having a class. When it comes to form elements however, it is best to ignore classes and rely solely in attributes. What attributes you may be asking yourself? Let's take a look

From element types

The type attribute in form elements make it easy to style them in a global manner. Rather than styling form elements based on their css class or ID, the type attribute is the best approach. Each form field has a type attribute which makes it possible for browsers to render the element as expected. The type attribute can also play a factor in Javascript and form handling, but for now we are going to focus on styling.

  • Input fields: Input fields such as text fields, are probably the most common form elements in a form. But don't let its simplicity fool you because text fields come in many types; the most common being text. this is the type for a typical text box where you can type just about any kind of information. This sometimes leads to developers using it for anything including for data that should be in a different form type. Let's take a look at the various types a text field can be:

    • text: Used for most text fields and accept any string of text
    • email: Used to capture email address. Using this type is recommended for email addresses as it provides regular expressions to validate the data entered in the field meets the patterns of an email addresses. In addition, using this type of field makes it possible for your mobile devices to show a custom keyboard where the "@" sign is available without having to toggle your keyborad characters to find it.
    • password: As you can imagine, this makes it possible to hide passwords from view as you type them.
    • search: Elements of type search are text fields designed for the user to enter search queries into. These are functionally identical to text inputs, but may be styled differently by the user agent.
    • tel: Similarly to the email address, using this type allows for the keyboard on mobile devices to display numbers by default rather than alpha characters.
    • url: Similarly to email, this provides you with a custom keyboard on mobile devices that make it easier to type a common url.

As you can see from the examples above, text fields may seem simple but they come in all flavors. In most cases, the goal of form elements is to be styled the same across an entire site. So it is recommended you style these elements globally so no matter where they are used they automatically inherit the intended styles. So how do you style them globally? Let's take a look:

Here are a couple of examples of differnt input fields which we will style to ensure they all look similarly everywhere.

<input type="text" name="firstname"> <input type="password" name="password"> <input type="email" name="email"> Styling input[type='text'], input[type='password'], input[type='email'], input[type='tel'], input[type='search'], textarea { background-color: #ffffff; border: 1px solid #000000; height: 40px; padding: 10px; width: 100%; } textarea { height: initial; }

By using the element's type attribute we can collectively style them with a single set of rules. As you may have noticed I included textarea as on of the elements because I want textareas boxes (multi-row textbox), to inherit all of the styles from text boxes with the exception of the height property; thus we override the height property while keeping all other styles the same as text boxes.

Button elements

Buttons are elements you typically want to display with consistent styles across your entire website. This includes buttons you may create yourself and those provided by the content management system you may be working with. So similarly to input fields above, we can't always rely on IDs or classes to style them. However, similarly to the input fields above, we can rely on the type attribute to style the different type of buttons in our site. Different type of buttons? yes, there are different types. Let's tae a look.

Markup <a class='button'>I want to look like a button</a> <button>I'm an actual button</button> <input type='submit' value='Yo tambien'> <input type='reset' value='Me too'>
  • All elements above will have the same look and feel.
  • The first 3 elements should look identical, but the last one (type=['reset']) should look slightly different because it's not a primary button, it's more of a secondary button.
  • Sometimes this secondary button will be used to cancel or to reset someting on a page. While the top 3 will be used for important actions such as submit, save, etc.
  • Let's style them now
Styles .button, button, input[type='submit'], input[type='reset'] { background-color: rebeccapurple; border-radius: 2px; border: 2px solid rebeccapurple; color: #ffffff; cursor: pointer; display: inline-block; font-size: 18px; line-height: 1; padding: 20px 40px; text-align: center; text-decoration: none; white-space: nowrap; margin-bottom: 20px; } .button:hover, .button:focus, button:hover, button:focus, input[type='submit']:hover, input[type='submit']:focus { background-color: rgb(126, 63, 189); /* lighter purple */ color: #ffffff; text-decoration: none; }
  • We are including all the button elements in our initial set of styles. The reason for this is that we want all the buttons (regardless of their type of function), to share the same shape, font size, font-weight, border width, hover behavior, and other properties.
input[type='reset'] { background-color: #ffffff; border-color: rebeccapurple; color: rebeccapurple; } input[type='reset']:hover, input[type='reset']:focus { background-color: #ffffff; border-color: #444444; color: #444444; }
  • Then for the reset type only, we are styling this button with white background and purple text. This will ensure this button will not stand out as much as the other buttons.
Radio buttons and Check boxes

Probably the hardest elements to style due to their dynamic nature, they have a hard time fitting in with the rest of HTML elements. Rather than link you to another blog post where you can copy and paste the necessary CSS to style these elements, I am walk you through the process of styling them.

Checkout the Codepen for these elements.


The typical markup for a checkbox or radio button looks like this:

<div class="checkbox__item"> <input type="checkbox" id="checkbox1" name="checkboxname" value="Item 2"> <label for="checkbox1">Item 2</label> </div> <div class="checkbox__item"> <input type="checkbox" id="checkbox2" name="checkboxname" value="Item 2"> <label for="checkbox2">Item 2</label> </div> <div class="radio__item"> <input type="radio" id="radio1" name="radioname" value="Item 2"> <label for="radio1">Item 1</label> </div> <div class="radio__item"> <input type="radio" id="radio2" name="radioname" value="Item 2"> <label for="radio2">Item 2</label> </div> Styles

Out of the box, you can not style the native checkbox nor radio button elements. To be able to apply custom styles we need to do it in a hacky way. This is my favorite way to style these elements.

Drawing the checkbox /* visually hide the native checkbox and radio buttons. */ input[type='checkbox'], input[type='radio'] { position: absolute; opacity: 0; }
  • By setting absolute position and opacity to zero, we are hiding the native radio and checkbox elements from view. However, we need the elements to still function as expected so using visibility-hidden or display: none are not viable options.
  • Although we are visually hiding the elements, they are still available in the DOM so we can interact with them and also so they can be available to assistive technologies such as screen readers.
/* Add space to the left of the label for later use. */ label { position: relative; padding-left: 35px; }
  • We set relative position on the label as we prepare to add pseudo elements in the next steps.
  • The left padding here will allow us to draw a box or a circle for the checkbox/radio button. More on this later.
/* Draw a square box with border using a pseudo element (`::before`). */ input[type='checkbox'] + label::before { border: 2px solid #e15b00; content: ''; display: inline-block; height: 24px; left: 0; position: absolute; top: -2px; width: 24px; }
  • First we define a sibling element of the checkbox with the + sign. The sibling element being the label element. If you look at the markup we wrote above, you will notice that the checkbox and the label are siblings. This is also true for the radio button and its label.
  • Using a ::before pseudo element on the label, we are drawing a 24px square box.
  • For any pesudo element to be visible on the page, we need to assign the property of content:, even if it's value is empty as shown above.
  • We then add a 2px border on the box. This box is what will be presented as the actual checkbox for the user to interact with (check/uncheck).
  • By setting the box with absolute position, we are positioning just to the left of the label. The position of the box is in relation to the label's position (hence relative position on the label).
/* Draw checkmark using a ::after pseudo elment on the label */ input[type='checkbox'] + label::after { border-bottom: 3px solid #fff; border-left: 3px solid #fff; content: ''; display: inline-block; height: 10px; left: 4px; position: absolute; top: 2px; transform: rotate(-45deg); width: 18px; }
  • The same way we drew the box previously, now we draw a checkmark symbol using a ::after pseudo element on the label. This means we are drawing the checkmark symbol after the label element.
  • In reality, we are drawing a rectangular box with left and bottom borders of 3px. By rotating the box negative 45 degrees, this makes it look like a checkmark.
  • We then use absolute position on the checkmark so we can position it right in the middle of the box we drew before.
Drawing the radio button

Before proceeding with the styles, let's repeat the steps above but this time for the radio buttons. These styles are extremely similar with the exception of in stead of drawing a square box, we will be drawing a circle with an outline, and instead of a checkmark, we will be drawing a filled circle in the middle of the outlined circle.

/* Draw a circle and add borders to it */ input[type='radio'] + label::before { border-radius: 50%; border: 2px solid #e15b00; content: ''; display: inline-block; height: 24px; left: 2px; position: absolute; top: -4px; width: 24px; } /* Draw an inner circle */ input[type='radio'] + label::after { background-color: #e15b00; border-radius: 50%; content: ''; display: inline-block; height: 20px; left: 6px; position: absolute; top: 0; width: 20px; }
  • This time we are targeting the input type of radio and we are using border-radius to draw a perfect circle.
/* Hide checkmark and inner circle by default */ .radio input[type='radio'] + label::after, .checkbox input[type='checkbox'] + label::after { content: none; }
  • By default, we don't want either the checkboxes or radio buttons to be checked. So we set the value of content: to none. This will present the checkboxes and radio buttons unchecked.
/* Show checkmark and inner circle when input is checked */ input[type='radio']:checked + label::after, input[type='checkbox']:checked + label::after { content: ''; }
  • Using the :checked pseudo class (input[type='radio']:checked, input[type='checkbox']:checked), we then show the checkmark or inner circle by setting the content: property's value to empty ('' i.e. removing none). The :checked pseudo class becomes available when the checkbox or radio buttons are click-checked and when that happens, then we show the checkmark or inner circle.
/* When box is checked, add background color. */ input[type='checkbox']:checked + label::before { content: ''; background-color: #e15b00; }
  • Since the checkmark we drew is white, we are adding a background color inside the checkbox to display the checkmark. We are doing this only when the :checked pseudo class is present.
/* Add focus styles when elements are in focus */ input[type='radio']:focus + label::before, input[type='checkbox']:focus + label::before { outline: rgb(59, 153, 252) auto 5px; }
  • Finally, using the :focus pseudo class, we are adding basic outline styles to show the "on focus" state of the inputs. We need to do this since we are not using the native input elements. If we were, the browser would automatically add these styles to our inputs.

I have recorded tutorials on severalof these things. Check them out if you are the kind of person who learns better through video tutorials.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets