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Mobomo: Simple Steps for User Research

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 11:49

The post Simple Steps for User Research appeared first on .

Amazee Labs: Drupal Europe 2018 - see you there!

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 10:07
Drupal Europe 2018 - see you there!

Drupal Europe is coming up in Darmstadt September 10-14. Let me walk you through my favorite aspects of the conference.

Josef Dabernig Thu, 08/30/2018 - 16:07

This large-scale conference is entirely community-organized by a very dedicated team of volunteers. Drupal Europe will feature 187 sessions within a wide variety of topics. Diversity was also a goal that the program team worked for and 30% of the sessions have a speaker that identifies being part of an underrepresented group.

The organizers decided to give an interesting twist to the program. In contrast to traditional categories like “Development”, “Design” or “Project Management”, industry tracks are in focus. Drupal Europe, therefore, should be much more appealing to the decision makers who want to evaluate or share their experience using Drupal.

Publishing + Media focuses all on the media industry and what Drupal can bring to the table there. Expect case studies around Burda’s Thunder distribution or Content editing related sessions. I’m looking forward to seeing Building high-performance Thunder sites by former colleague Wolfgang Ziegler.

From Amazee our colleagues Stew West and Fran Garcia will talk about Handy modules when building and maintaining your site as well as Improving the Editor Experience: Paragraphs FTW.

Digital Transformation + Enterprise is all about large-scale clients & projects leveraging Drupal. Thursday’s keynote brings together Dries Buytaert, the original creator and project lead for Drupal, together with Barb Palers, Global Product Partnerships at Google and Leslie Hawthorn, Developer strategy at Red Hat talk about the Future of the open web and open source. Along with many other sessions in this track, I will share my approach on Upgrading vs. Upcycling - How Existing Web Sites Stay Ahead the Curve for those interested in Agile, Architecture and Web strategy.

Drupal + Technology is kind of the classic DrupalCon track focusing all on Drupal-technology related topics that don’t fit into one of the industry tracks. Amongst many others, I’m am looking forward to see Out of the Box is Out of the Box! to get an initiative update from Marc Conroy, Keith Jay and Elliot Ward. Join Amazee’s Philipp Melab for his session on Decoupling Drupal with GraphQL & Twig where he will dive into APIs, GraphQL, Theming and Atomic design.

Drupal Community discussed everything that keep our ecosystem running. I am particularly excited to join the 2 hours workshop by Shyamala Rajaram, Parth Gohil and Donna Benjamin on Building Local Communities - foster Drupal adoption. From Amazee make sure to see Ingrid Talbot in Learning to lead, after a life of going solo for some inspiring learnings on here transition in Being human & Leadership. As well as Bastian Widmer who will explain how to Opensource your daily work Docker Drupal Open Source.

Agency + Business touches on all the advice we need and want to share related to running a Drupal business. How to boost your team members performance by Marina Paych sounds like a very promising session exploring talent development and team culture. I’m humbled to host a panel discussion with Nick Veenhof, Ela Meier, Suzanne Dergacheva, Andre Baumeier, Steve Parks, Ashraf Abed. Together we’ll discuss Hiring Drupal Talent - A Recruiter's Dilemma Panel.

Make sure to check out all the other industry tracks on the program page. The Open Web Lounge also serves as a great opportunity to connect with like-minded open source communities thanks to partners such as CMS Garden, Open Source Initiative, Wordpress, Joomla, Contenido, and Typo3. Got something to share?

Remember to schedule an Informal gathering (BoF) or sign up for Contribution, mostly focused on Monday and Friday where you can experience the real power of open source - being part of it.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Darmstadt. Enjoy the conference!

OSTraining: How to Highlight the Menu Item of the Current Page in Drupal

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 06:57

One of our customers asked how to highlight an active menu item in Drupal and how to keep it highlighted once it has been clicked.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to achieve this goal using the "Menu Trial by Path" and "Pathauto" contrib modules.

In this example, we're going to use a site that has a main menu with different regions e.g. Alaska, California, Pacific. There is also a secondary menu, customized for each geographical regions. So we have the following URL structure:

  • example.com/regions/alaska (Main Navigation)
  • example.com/regions/alaska/al-link-1 (Secondary Navigation)

Agiledrop.com Blog: AGILEDROP: Our blog posts from July

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 05:27
You have already seen what Drupal blogs were trending in previous months, and now it is time to look at all the blog posts we wrote. Here are the blog topics we covered in July.      The first blog post was Drupal Security Tips. While going into the depth of how Drupalgeddon works is an entirely another topic on its own. The main takeaway from it is keeping your Drupal site and its modules updated which is vital to your site’s security efforts. We’ve gathered some tips about how to do that.    The second was a blog post Developers wanted. ASAP! We took a sample of agency owner John, who… READ MORE

OPTASY: How Do You Restrict Access to Content in Drupal 8? 6 Modules That Will Do the Job for You

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 04:09
How Do You Restrict Access to Content in Drupal 8? 6 Modules That Will Do the Job for You radu.simileanu Thu, 08/30/2018 - 08:09

We all love Drupal's granular permission and access control system! And yet: its life-saving hierarchy of user roles and permission levels is strictly for creation/editing content. Since Drupal wrongly assumes that all site visitors should be able to visualize all published content, right? But what if this default assumption doesn't suit your specific use case? What if you need to restrict access to content in Drupal 8?

… to limit users' access to certain content on your website? So that not all visitors should be able to see all published nodes.

In this case, Drupal's typical access control system for creating and editing content is not precisely the functionality that you need.

But there's hope!

Blue Drop Shop: The Holy Grail of Logo Sizing

Wed, 08/29/2018 - 18:39
The Holy Grail of Logo Sizing bds-admin Wed, 08/29/2018 - 17:39

Ashday's Digital Ecosystem and Development Tips: Five Quick and Easy Tips to Get the Most out of Drupal

Wed, 08/29/2018 - 15:00

Drupal, especially once you consider the many contributed modules available for it, is a vast system of open source software, and as with most such software, there are a lot of little things you can do to make sure you get the most out of what it has to offer. In this post, I'm going to go over a few such things and touch on how to make Drupal's admin interface more useful while also finding ways to improve site performance and stability.

InternetDevels: The most installed Drupal modules

Wed, 08/29/2018 - 09:08

Modules in Drupal are an integral part. They serve as a tool for extending site functionality and including more features. The main benefit of using modules in Drupal is that you are able to design your site on your own as you wish.

Read more

OpenSense Labs: Decoding Drupal’s Supremacy in Enhancing the User Experience

Wed, 08/29/2018 - 08:22
Decoding Drupal’s Supremacy in Enhancing the User Experience Shankar Wed, 08/29/2018 - 17:52

You might have to scratch your head to reminisce about the worst things transpired in your life as you try to keep them at bay. Few corking good moments spent with your best friend will be indelible for the rest of your life. A good experience stays with you for a long time. It is much the same way with the websites. A great user experience with the website not only makes it alluring to the online visitors but establishes the camaraderie between them. Drupal can be a wonderful platform for you to provide an amazing digital user experience.


Let’s dive into an example case straight away to see how a website can influence user experience. Skeleton screen is a blank version of a page where information is incrementally loaded. To keep your online visitors engrossed during slower load times, skeleton screen animation can be really useful.

Source: TandemsevenUnderstanding the user experience A good experience stays with you for a long time

How to explain user experience design to a layman? User experience stresses on establishing a deep understanding of users, their needs, what they value, and their limitations.

We often stumble upon the usage of words UI and UX almost happening interchangeably but other than the ‘I’ and the ‘X’ at the end, there is a major difference.

In short, UI is how things look whereas UX is how things work. Also, UX is a process and UI is a deliverable. Difference between the UX design and UI design can be summarised as depicted in the illustration below:


User Experience Honeycomb represents the qualities that should be at the heart of your UX design ensuring that users find value in what you are offering to them.

The qualities or facets of the user experience shown in the hexagonal depiction given here can be explained as follows:

Source: Semantic Studios
  • The website should be able to deliver value to the users. For instance, the UX should advance the mission for non-profits and contribute to the bottomline and alleviate user satisfaction.
  • We must ask ourselves whether our products and services are useful.
  • Usability is of paramount importance even though the interface-centered methods and perspectives of interaction between human and computer do not address every aspect of website design.
  • Our brand identity should get more desirable in our pursuit towards building a robust online presence
  • We should emphasise on building a navigable website with findable objects to help users find what they need.
  • Making our website more accessible to differently-abled people which is the ethical thing to do.
  • There must be credibility in what we offer to users and they should be able to trust and believe in our offerings.
Important tips to improve user experience

To create a good User Experience, a well-planned methodology is required. You would have to think of every possible way a user can interact with your website so that you can strive to improve that interaction.

To create a good User Experience, a well-planned methodology is required. 

With the rapidly changing digital marketing landscape, your website might seem to be in need of redesign and look outmoded. Some of the simplistic ways to improve your website in order to keep up with pace of changing UX needs are laid down below:

  • Using white space makes your content more legible and helps the online visitors to focus on the elements surrounding the text. White space around the text and the titles enhances user attention by 20 percent.
  • Page speed hugely influences UX. Sluggish page load can prove to be an interrupting experience for the users and frustrate them to the core. Most often than not, users just do not have time to wait. Even if the page loading time has a 2-second delay, the website abandonment rate can reach up to 87 percent.
  • Using attractive calls-to-action (CTA) that are marked with an action word enables the easy navigation on your site and the users can easily  get to where they want. More than 90% of the users, who read your headline, would also check out CTA.
  • Using hyperlinks on your page is extremely helpful to grab the attention of the reader. Visual cues like underlined text and different coloured text makes it easy to identify.
  • Using bullets helps the users to get all the information they want quickly and precisely. They will be able to quickly understand benefits, how you solve their problem, and the key features of a product or service.
  • Wise usage of images on your website to support the content can allow a visual break for the users from the text. You need to make sure that they are relevant. Like using an actual image conveying your brand and its services instead of a stock photography can create a connection between the user and the brand.
  • Including well-designed and written headings based on what your potential customers are seeking can be useful. For instance, including keywords in your title can help in targeting your message and getting the attention of right audience.
  • Maintaining website consistency is tantamount to a great UX. Heading sizes, colouring, button styles, design elements, font choices, illustration styles, photo choices etc. should be should themed in a way that your website design is coherent between pages and on the same page.
  • Optimising your site to handle error 404 (page not found) can prove fruitful. Error 404 can frustrate a user and make him rethink spending time browsing your site.
  • Making your site fully responsive should be of top priority. Mobile responsive and mobile-friendly site makes it easy to navigate and works well across platforms from desktops to handheld devices. 57% of users won’t recommend a business which does not have a mobile responsive website.

Take away 50+ User Experience Tips and make sure the user has the best experience on your website

How is Drupal 8 great for an amazing user experience?

Drupal 8 has been a leading CMS when it comes to a powerful and an astounding user experience. Let us look at what makes Drupal 8 so spectacular for designing a compelling user experience for your website.

Responsive web design

Responsive websites are a must-haves nowadays to work well on any screen size. Drupal 8 helps in building websites with responsive web design approach out-of-the-box with some help of contributed modules. Also, there are several Drupal themes that help in creating a responsive design.

Web personalisation

Personalising the content on your website helps in making users to view the content in which they are interested. Web personalisation can be done on the basis of demographics of the user, login time and date of the user, gender, device details of the user etc.

Acquia Lift Connector, Drupal module, offers integration with the Acquia Lift service with an improved user experience for personalisation, testing and targeting the frontend of website directly.

Performance optimisation

A fast-loading speedy website significantly contributes towards the betterment of user experience, usability and engagement. Drupal 8 is one of the most efficient CMS for enabling enhanced page speed.

Caching is an important feature that you can configure for enhancing your website speed. Drupal modules like Internal page cache, Dynamic page cache, BigPipe, Redis, Varnish, and Memcache API and Integration offers different sorts of caching methods to meet the requirements of your website.

Page speed can also be accentuated by disabling unwanted modules or those which are seldom used. Drupal 8 also helps in optimising images for better performance.

Multilingual capabilities

Drupal 8 core comes engrained with multilingual capabilities. It lets you translate content, site interfaces, language, and configuration out-of-the-box. For instance, you can translate the content of your website into a particular language on the basis of user’s geographical location.

Social media

Connecting with friends in one of the biggest pluses of social media elements. Social media can also be a powerful marketing tool. Incorporating social media elements into your website allows users to share the experience, that they had with your website, to the world.

Drupal offers a suite of modules to help you. Easy social, a Drupal module, lets you add share buttons to your nodes.

Another Drupal module, OneAll Social Login, allows you to register and login to the Drupal website using existing accounts on social networks.

A/B testing

A/B results help in determining how well is your website performing and how can you improve it further. Drupal 8 offers modules to carry out A/B testing.

For instance, A/B Test JS module lets you perform A/B and multivariate testing via JavaScript and exposes a UI for creating tests.

Webform A/B Testing module helps in setting up A/B tests consisting of various webforms for determining the most effective one. It tracks how many times a webform has been shown to users and also how many users have responded by completing the form.

How is Drupal Community striving hard to improve the admin UX?

With a highly active bunch of Drupal enthusiasts in the Drupal Community, the objective of making Drupal more and more better for everyone is an everlasting thing. While Drupal is great for improving user experience for online visitors, site administrators are not to be left out. The Admin UX User Study group in the Drupal Community has come up with great insights in a research done on further improving admin UX.

Being new to Drupal may prove to be an arduous task for the content editors to get along with the administrative interface that the platform has to offer. The Admin UX User Study strives to make betterments to the Drupal admin UI with the objective of making it an amazing platform for site administrators.

Findings of Admin UX study

Key focus of the research was on content editors who are responsible for putting great content on the site. Survey was conducted to understand what content editors love about Drupal and where do they find it challenging.

Most of the respondents in the survey said that Drupal is flexible, customisable and lets them have control over their content.
When asked about the challenges, the survey gave some interesting insights. Many content editors opined that a lot of intricacies are due to the UI provided by the paragraphs  and panels.

More hurdles were centred around searching for documentation, content editing UI, understanding jargon and technical terminologies, and media management. There was also a mention of complexities with content editing interface while adding content translation to the mix.

Efforts to improve Admin UX

With a highly active bunch of Drupal enthusiasts in the Drupal Community, the objective of making Drupal more and more better for everyone is an everlasting thing.

Interestingly, among the things that Drupal Community is trying to achieve, the responses made by the content editors were already being worked upon. For instance, Drupal Gutenberg project aims to revolutionise publishing experience through a modern UI which is based on Wordpress’s Gutenberg project.

Also, configuration changes like minimising the user permissions for editors, offering access to an admin menu with limited set of options, and customisation of some of the default widget settings are being worked upon. That is, configuring a role for content authors out-of-the-box and altering some of the Drupal’s default configurations can offer a wonderful content editing experience.

Success story

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which helps people to cope with natural and man-made disasters, chose Drupal for delivering a powerful user experience. The new digital platform was designed for dependability during critical times.


Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides up-to-the-minute details on several important facts during emergencies. The old version of FEMA.gov was not a dependable site with outmoded navigation features and slow page load speed that made it difficult to be accessed during critical events when traffic spikes.

Knowing the significance of delivering a reliable digital experience for users, FEMA wanted a user-friendly and highly resilient site with the provision of more meaningful communication. It also had to cope with traffic spikes and also be scalable at the same time.


Project challenges

Primary concern for the design team was creation of a friendly and functional design and user interface. By holding a series of user focus groups, they got the much needed feedback which indicated that the existing site was too convoluted, it was difficult to find information, and some of the content were outmoded. The site also did not support smartphones and tablets.

The existing system did not support swift and efficacious communication. Most often than not, the site experienced overloads and very slow page load times especially during emergencies when it is most needed. It was not resilient and was not able to consistently deliver a high performing experience. In addition to these issues , there was difficulties with content editing.

Project outcome

To address these challenges, FEMA chose Drupal as the their preferred content management system. To handle the large-scale rebuilding of the site where thousands of pages had to be reviewed, updated and migrated to the new site, development and testing was done in iterative process. This helped in easily scaling the project and making adjustments and reorientations.

The website of FEMA.gov turned mobile friendly and could be accessed from devices ranging from desktop to mobile devices. It also paid special attention to accessibility for those users requiring assistive technologies. The new site architecture minimised the number of clicks that was needed for accessing information thereby making navigation and retrieval faster and simpler. Technical design solutions were implemented that were in accordance with Section 508 compliance standards.

After the launch of the new site, not only it proved cost-effective but provided value to the users. It offered better access to critical disaster-assistance details, higher interactivity and accessibility, cross-platform compatibility and the ability to rapidly and dependably disseminate key content in multiple languages.

Being open source, Drupal-based architecture assisted with the improvement of performance and enabled FEMA to provide the public with swift access to data that could be modified in real-time, if needed. With the mobile-optimised version of FEMA.gov, that has enabled enormous amount of information on-the-go, user experience and the over user satisfaction has improved as well.

Conclusion

Offering the best digital user experience is the goal of every digitised firm. With right means of implementation and Drupal’s amazing features, building a site with a great UX should be cutting through a piece of cake. 

Talk to our Drupal experts for developing a Drupal-powered website with best website design implementation for your business. To improve your website’s user experience, contact us at hello@opensenselabs.com
 

blog banner blog image User Experience Digital user experience Website Experience Digital experience UX UI User Interface Admin UX Admin user experience Responsive web design web personalisation Multilingual Site social media Performance Optimisation A/B testing Drupal 8 Drupal module Drupal Blog Type Articles Is it a good read ? On

Drop Guard: A Roadmance: Drupal Drop Guard & Allrounder AppGuard

Wed, 08/29/2018 - 05:00
A Roadmance: Drupal Drop Guard & Allrounder AppGuard What a summer! We founded our company App Guard GmbH to give Drop Guard an independent home, and we want to share our planned road trip with you!

 

Drupal Drupal Planet announcements features

OpenSense Labs: Story of API-first Drupal and Digital Transformation

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 08:55
Story of API-first Drupal and Digital Transformation Shankar Tue, 08/28/2018 - 18:25

Content touchpoints are proliferating at a fast clip as consumers keep on marching towards vibrant and distinctive means of interacting with content. Internet of Things (IoT), conversational UI, digital signage and devices that are powered by machine learning algorithms among others are adapting to our characteristics to disseminate content accordingly. To cope up with such mushrooming milieu of consumer experience, API-First Drupal is well positioned for entire digital ecosystems.

Drupal can do almost anything to be the powerhouse of your digital business. But to leverage the benefits of technologies outside of the Drupal context, API-first approach could be a perfect choice.

Understanding API-first approach

So, what is meant by API-first? It refers to the interaction between a central web service and several other applications to enable the two systems to exchange information over a network. Not only is this exchange limited to websites but extends to mobile apps, Internet of Things devices, and wearables. Using API-first Drupal basically refers to the decoupling of the front end and utilising a different technology for the presentation and the theming layer.

API-first approach is the interaction between a central web service and several other applications to enable the two systems to exchange information over a network. In short, API-first Drupal allows:
  • Integrations that are not defined in Drupal/PHP code
  • Full decoupling
  • Progressive decoupling where Drupal serves overall page and certain parts of the page offer JS-driven interactions

The key advantages that Drupal has are that it is a free and open source from end to end unlike other API-first content-as-a-service options like Contentful. Thus, all layers constituting accessing and retrieving data, exposing and consuming that data through software development kits (SDKs) are free.

How does API-first approach work in Drupal?

So, how can someone go about getting data out of Drupal without using the theming layer? Such an arrangement is not new. Even though Drupal has worked as a services layer in several applications for years, evolving internet trends have put in a lot of emphasis on names such as headless, decoupled, and API-first. Developers have seen more use cases for Drupal as a web service for the mobile applications and JavaScript frameworks skyrocketed.


Drupal as a backend is very tightly coupled to its presentation layer which means that taking that out of equation would mean a heavy loss. Everything including forms, control over layout, feature of previewing a content, and other great features of Drupal would be lost. Other challenges include introducing an extra point of failure, sacrificing the improved performance optimisation capabilities of Drupal 8, and loss of in-place and in-context editing. So, most importantly, organisations must know the benefits that outclass the losses by adopting decoupled Drupal approach.

Web services, as a developing technology, offer so many flavours but the one that stands out as the winner is the RESTful API. Representational State Transfer (REST) allows communication between devices like computers, phones, banking systems, televisions and IoT devices connected to a network by using the standard HTTP protocol. It is the leading API approach of choice for Web services because of its widespread acceptance across the web. Furthermore, Drupal is also enabled for non-RESTful approaches like GraphQL.

Various contributed modules allow you to add web services to a Drupal installation without the need for writing code. For instance, Developers can use Services module and the RESTful Web Services module to configure a server for enabling the Drupal installation to push or allow data that is to be pulled as needed with the help of REST API. No matter whether the action is push or pull, Drupal is the services layer. Using the content management platform of Drupal, it is possible to add content, user, and permission systems but the information is sent outside the context of Drupal.

Drupal 8 core has out-of-the-box REST API that allows operators to interact with content entities like taxonomy terms, nodes, users, and comments.

How is Drupal moving towards becoming more API-first?

With API-first Initiative at the forefront, Drupal 8.0 was shipped with a built-in REST API which spelt the beginning of Drupal’s transformation as an API-first platform. Since then, subsequent releases in Drupal 8 has introduced remarkable web service API improvement.

Drupal is perpetually moving towards offering a more robust API-first ecosystem.

Significant market trends paved the way for endorsing this strategy which comprised of incorporation of other technology solutions, increase in the adoption of JS frameworks, snowballing of new devices and digital channels among others.

Although Drupal 8 was launched with a basic REST API, Drupal community has been contributing with new REST API features in further releases of Drupal. For instance, Drupal community is working on shipping Drupal modules with web service APIs instead of depending on a central API module in the further releases of Drupal.

With JSON API becoming increasingly common in the JavaScript community, there has been a tremendous work going on for making JSON API Drupal module as part of the core in the upcoming releases.

Also, GraphQL module has been gathering steam in its adoption and is an important component of API-first Drupal. It is also being envisioned to be added in the Drupal core(not formally decided).

OAuth 2.0 module, which is helping developers in building more secure decoupled Drupal architectures, is gaining grounds to be included in the Drupal core.

Not only these, several modules are being developed with API-first approach such as Open API, Lightning API, Consumers, etc. Drupal is perpetually moving towards offering a more robust API-first ecosystem.


Contenta, Drupal distribution, is a great example of incredible strides that Drupal has made in its pursuit of becoming more API-first. Contenta helps in offering modern API capabilities out-of-the-box with JSON API. It can feed content the JS-driven websites, mobile applications, TV and even mythical fridge application.

Whether it is single application development or multi-channel publishing, Contenta has it all to be a Create Once, Publish Everywhere CMS.

Reservoir, a minimalist distribution for decoupling Drupal, is doing great rounds. Being a flexible and simple tool for building content repositories for any application, it helps in modelling content, governing content, and interacting with that content through HTTP APIs.

Packed with API-first modules like JSON API module and OpenAPI, helps in accelerating decoupled Drupal implementations.

Drupal and its competitors The biggest advantages that Drupal has over its headless competitors are that it can be:
  • a terrific CMS for content editors to give them control over the presentation of their content.
  • a rich headless CMS to allow developers build large content ecosystems in a single package.

Headless CMSes lag behind in the areas of in-context administration and in-place content editing. They are short of full-fledged editorial experience integrated into their front ends where they serve content. In-context governance and in-place editing are not possible if they do not expose a content editing interface linked to each front end which is why coupling is required.
Another significant focus lies in the display and layout manipulation to for the success of digital marketers. Drupal plays a vital role in controlling the appearance of content in a layout structure. In contrast, headless CMSes are not adept with the display an layout settings. Editorial tools, like in-place editing and in-context governance, that enable this need to be incorporated into the front end.

Moreover, content editors and digital marketers consider the state of published content. Especially for unpublished content, accessing end-to-end preview system is a must-have for editorial workflows. But in headless CMSes, to allow endless preview like setting up a new API endpoint would require developers to skip significant hoops.

These drawbacks can be handled in some use cases where the application requires less editorial interaction and is more developer-focussed. Keeping everything aside, headless CMSes do not have the toolkits for content authors. This is where Drupal sets the standard high.


Don’t jump into any conclusions as these drawbacks does not mean to say that headless is unimportant. Both the headless and traditional way of content management is important which is what Drupal excels at. Drupal is awesome for both content editors and developers alike.

Drupal is awesome for both content editors and developers alike.

API-first Initiative has been an absolute wonder towards advancement of existing and new web services efforts. This has streamlined the use of Drupal as a content service and more optimal for developers. Drupal Community has been constantly working towards the improvement of great developer experience through web services like JSON API and GraphQL and also through tooling to accentuate headless application development similar to the Waterwheel ecosystem.

Drupal is awesome for both content editors and developers alike. In spite of this, there are some limitations. You must adopt a coupled Drupal front end for editing and manipulating the front end without having to involve a developer thereby focussing on editor or assembler experience. Also, if you do not need the involvement of editors, Drupal can still be relevant.

Adding decoupled applications and keeping Drupal as a coupled website is a huge advantage. Such an architecture where it is simultaneously coupled and decoupled make it a great platform for both content editors and application developers. That means, your content repository should be public-facing website with an astounding set of editorial capabilities and also a centralised point for collection of applications which makes it developer-friendly.

With Drupal perpetually powering more and more websites, it is also being extracted to its  full potential in order to serve content to other backend systems, native applications, single page applications, and even conversational interfaces simultaneously.

Digital transformation stories

API-first Drupal can work wonders for so many industries. Let’s go through some success stories.

Powers a swarm of devices

Let’s look at how API-first Drupal can power presentation devices on a major cruise line. Cruise ships look forward to make the experience of their passengers as best as possible. Passengers get to know the information about events, security and locations on the ship through daily newsletters.

For Princess Cruises, a major cruise line, the choice of digitising this newsletter was a perfect option for improving guest experience. It was using Drupal for its shipboard intranet due to its flexibility, dependability and an engaging open source community. Their IT team was already adept with Drupal. So, Drupal was an obvious choice for developing a newsletter app.


The daily newsletter was built as a full-fledged onboard passenger application that was customised for the interests of passengers. They could find event details, information on ports visited, current weather, menus, and stateroom account details. The application altered the ways passengers tried to find information on the ship thereby providing unique experience for the passengers.

Moreover, they realised that, with Drupal as services layer, they could do more with it as they did for the smartphone app. They used Drupal to power free video-on-demand service as well as digital signage sending content to hundreds of screens around the ship. The company implemented the system on other ships too and could deploy within a month’s time. With the response of passengers exceeding the expectations, they rolled it out half the fleet.

Progressively Decoupled Drupal

Weather.com needed a digital ecosystem to cope with unpredictability. Before the company moved to Drupal, its digital properties were relying on hundreds of origins servers powered by different data servers. They wanted a progressively decoupled Drupal and to architect a new Presentation Framework to produce interactive experiences on a page rendered by Drupal.


Considerations revolved around accommodating diverse performance and caching requirements. On an average page,  there are several caching and time load needs across each of the content sections. With a strategy involving a progressively decoupled Drupal, the weather channel built a new presentation framework breaking pages into different sections. Each of the sections, as referred to as a component, lived in its own subdirectory. The metadata about component was declared by a JSON file to the Drupal.

These directories were ingested into panel panes by Drupal. These panes were exportable and reusable and could be developed by the frontend developers without much engagement from the backend. The weather channel, with progressively decoupled Drupal, could specify regional content, pushed uniform content, and personalised content that were not cacheable and needed to be rendered on the client side.

Hence, progressively decoupled Drupal strategy allowed the large weather company to address the diverse technical requirements and needs of their sites. JavaScript developers were able to keep working on JS and editorial teams focussed on creating pages without the need of extensive development involvement.

Conclusion

With Drupal as a services layer is a practice that fast approaching towards maturity and enabling unthinkable digital ecosystems. While there are diverse set of applications of API-first architectures, moving towards an API-first solution may seem intimidating. At Opensense Labs, we can assist you to tie the knot tightly and connect you with the Drupal experts who have years of experience in Drupal development.

Drupal is a very complete system that can handle almost anything you need done. Have a conversation with our panel of experts at hello@opensenselabs.com to make your vision of digital experience come true.

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Agiledrop.com Blog: AGILEDROP: Josef Dabernig: Drupal not just a software, but an ecosystem

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 05:44
Agiledrop is highlighting active Drupal community members through a series of interviews. Learn who are the people behind Drupal projects.  This week we talked with Josef Dabernig. Read about his move to Switzerland, why he believes Drupal in a role model for other Open Sources, what his master thesis is about and his extreme Tour De DrupAlps.   1. Please tell us a little about yourself. How do you participate in the Drupal community and what do you do professionally? Hi, I'm Josef, I'm an active Drupal community member since 2007. I grew up in Vienna where I studied computer science and… READ MORE

Chocolate Lily: Managing Shared Configuration Part 1: Configuration Providers

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 16:15

At the Drutopia project, one of our big focuses has been improvements to configuration management in Drupal 8. In this series, I'll be covering our work to date along with related efforts and contributions.

Drutopia is a platform cooperative initiative, building out cooperatively owned and hosted Drupal distributions. In our 2016 white paper, we recognized that the Configuration Management Initiative (CMI) in Drupal 8 "produced a lot of improvements in configuration handling" while noting that these "mainly addressed the use case of 'staging' configuration from one version of a site to another, a site-building technique that lower budget sites often don’t have time or money for." We committed to focus on "the free software use case left out of Drupal core: reusable configuration that can be shared across multiple sites". For background, see Drupal 8 configuration management: what about small sites and distributions? and sections on Drupal 8, corporate influence, and the CMI in this interview.

There's a current initiative to improve configuration management in Drupal core. Dubbed "CMI 2.0", the effort comes out of a similar conclusion that limitations and missing use cases in configuration management are a major barrier to Drupal 8 adoption; see Angie Byron's post proposing the initiative.

In the past three years, we at Drutopia have contributed to a growing collection of Drupal plugins that together address some of the tricky problems involved in managing shared configuration. As well as in kind contributions by Chocolate Lily, some of our work was sponsored by Agaric and the National Institute for Children's Health Quality (NICHQ) to meet their needs for an in-house platform of community sites.

Just what do we mean by managing shared configuration?

Say I have a site built on a Drupal distribution that's for community organizing. I installed the site a month ago and got groups-related configuration such as a group type. Then I made some modifications of my own. I've just downloaded a new release of the distribution, including enhancements to the groups-related configuration. How can I update my site so that I have all the latest changes from the distribution--while still retaining any customizations I made? That's the key question we've tried to tackle.

A more abstract way of putting the problem is: how can we provide packages of shared configuration in a way that lets site administrators both customize their sites and merge in configuration updates?

This series will cover distinct aspects of the problem of managing shared configuration packages and, along the way, highlight specific solutions we at Drutopia have sketched in. Our efforts are very much works in progress. We're not sure we've even got all the problems right, let alone fully addressed them ;) But have we made progress? Yes, we have. By sharing it here, we hope to raise the profile of these problems and solutions and invite further perspectives and contributions.

OPTASY: 10 Drupal SEO Mistakes You Do Not Want to Make on Your Website: From Least to Most Harmful- Part 2

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 11:33
10 Drupal SEO Mistakes You Do Not Want to Make on Your Website: From Least to Most Harmful- Part 2 adriana.cacoveanu Mon, 08/27/2018 - 15:33

You've put so much effort into crafting and polishing the content on your Drupal website and it just won't... rank? Why is it that search engines' web crawlers won't index its “juicy” content? Why they won't give your site a big push right to first-position rankings? As it clearly deserves... Could it be because you're making these 10 Drupal SEO mistakes

Knowingly or just recklessly...

Specbee: How To Improve Your Development Workflow - An Approach For Better Efficiency

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 08:59

How can developers improve the quality of Development by saving time and effort? In this blog, we discuss about the advantages of efficiently using git and by setting the local environment with Lando or Docker instead of the traditional way.

OpenSense Labs: HowTo: Migrate Content from a CSV file to Drupal 8

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 08:51
HowTo: Migrate Content from a CSV file to Drupal 8 Gaurav Mon, 08/27/2018 - 18:21

Upgrading involves shifting lots of files and content from one site to another. Although there are a number of modules to help you migrate to and in Drupal, the process can turn out to be messy. 


Migration of content can have various meanings and the scope of file formats - JSON, CSV, spreadsheet or text files - is also important.

In this article, I am going to demonstrate the migration of taxonomy terms using CSV files to Drupal 8. Thanks to Drupal’s entity-based system, the process of migration is more or less similar for all kinds of entities. Once you master the migration process, you can easily migrate nodes, users, vocabularies and custom entity data.

You can use various modules for migration to Drupal 8

Drupal 8 core provides the Migrate and Migrate Drupal modules which are useful when migrating from Drupal 6/7 to Drupal 8. In other cases, we have to use contributed modules. Install Migrate Plus which provides a powerful API for data migration from CSV and spreadsheets and is one of the foremost dependencies.

We will take a sample use case of the States list where our taxonomy terms will be the States' list. Let's get started.

Read Upgrade to Drupal 8 | Complete Migration Guide

Installation
  • Download the Migrate Source CSV module and install it on your Drupal website. Use Composer to install all the required dependencies.
composer require ‘drupal/migrate_source_csv:^2.2’
  • Enable the module from Extend menu or Drush Command. 
$ drush en migrate_tools $ drush en migrate_source_csv
  • In this example, I am going to migrate the USA States data. I have already created a vocabulary as ‘States’ with fields Name (Default Field in Taxonomy) and State Code (the abbreviation).
     
  • Prepare a CSV file with Headers containing Fields Name and also add an ID field which will act as a unique identifier and can also be later used in migration in case States vocabulary is used by a reference field. Here is the CSV which I have prepared:
     

    ID

    State

    Abbreviation

    1

    Alabama

    AL

    2

    Alaska

    AK

    3

    Arizona

    AZ

    4

    California

    CA

    5

    Colorado

    CO

    and so on.
     
  • Next and the most important step is to write a migration plugin which is a .yml file describing the mapping between data in CSV and Drupal Fields. 

    Here is the migration plugin which I wrote: id: state_data class: null field_plugin_method: null cck_plugin_method: null migration_tags: - 'USA States' migration_group: default label: 'State migration from CSV' source: plugin: csv path: 'public://USAStates.csv' header_row_count: 1 keys: - id column_names: - id: id - title: state - abbreviation: abbreviation process: name: title field_abbreviation: abbreviation destination: plugin: 'entity:taxonomy_term' default_bundle: state migration_dependencies: null I have provided a Migration ‘id’, ‘class’, ‘field_plugin_method’, ‘cck_plugin_method’. ID acts as a unique identifier for the migration process. Rest of keys mentioned above aren’t needed in this migration.

    Other keys and their importance:
     
    • Migration Tags: These are displayed as a description in migration UI.
       
    • Migration Group: It is an important field in case you have various migration processes. I have used the default group for this migration.
       
    • Label: It is also a description field for the migration displayed in Migration UI.
       
    • Source: It is the important key and we provide type of plugin i.e CSV in our case, path of our CSV file, Header Row Count so that migration API is able to distinguish between Data and Labels, Key i.e the unique identifier in CSV file.

      Next, we have a mapping of columns in CSV with temporary identifiers which are used in process key. Process key defines mapping with Drupal field and a temporary identifier in format (Drupal Field: Temporary Identifier).
       
    • Destination: This key is used to provide the target entity and bundle if any. Since we are migrating terms data so I have used ‘taxonomy_term’ and bundle ‘state’.
       
  • Once you have created the plugin, it is time to inform the system about. Migration plugin can be imported via Single Config Import menu (/admin/config/development/configuration/single/import). Paste your plugin with config type ‘Migration’ and press import.
  • Once you have imported the migration plugin you can run the migration process via UI or drush command.

    UI: Go to /admin/structure/migrate and under the list migration menu, you can execute the migration process for the respective migration type.

    Drush: Enter the drush command ‘drush mi state_data’ where state_data is the unique ID of the state's migration.

  • Once the migration process is complete all the Terms are created and the abbreviation field is populated as well.

  • You can rollback, resume and stop migration from Migration UI as well in case something goes wrong or you have some extra data to migrate later on. 

  • In case you have to do any changes in Plugin after importing it, you will first have to export its config file from (admin/config/development/configuration/single/export) and then import it again. 
     

    And it is done!

That is how you can migrate content from a CSV file to Drupal 8. Drop a comment below in case of a query. 

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OSTraining: How to Set Up Dropdown Menus in Drupal 8

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 07:46

A few years ago, we published a very popular post called "How to Create Dropdown Menus in Drupal".

That post focused on Drupal 7, and some things have changed in Drupal 8.

Here's an updated explanation of how to set up dropdown menus for a Drupal 8 site.

Ramsalt Lab: Expo.se - Magazine started by the famous author Stieg Larsson - nominated for two publishing awards

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 07:22
  • Expo just got nominated for two prestigious publishing awards in Sweden, best magazine and best magazine website. The winners will be announced 7th of November 2018 in Stocholm where Ramsalt Lab will be present. We are very excited for this news and have decided to share with you the secrets behind building Expo.se on Drupal. So stay tuned for more the following days. 

    Short about the Expo 

    Expo is a Swedish anti-racist magazine started in 1995 by Stieg Larsson, also known as the author of the Millennium novel series, where the inspiration comes from Expo. Expo magazine is issued by the non-profit Expo Foundation. The magazine contains investigative journalism focused on nationalist, racist, anti-democratic, anti-semitic, and far-right movements and organisations. Expo became widely known in Sweden after 1996 following a string of threats and attacks directed against companies printing and selling the magazine, and organisations supporting it. The magazine is headquartered in Stockholm. More about Expo on Wikipedia

    Have a look at the website on Expo.se

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    OpenSense Labs: In the Pursuit of Headless with Contenta

    Mon, 08/27/2018 - 01:53
    In the Pursuit of Headless with Contenta Akshita Mon, 08/27/2018 - 11:23 When I first heard of Contenta (not aware of what it was), I was perplexed as to how could anyone use such a funny name for a tech product? Was it so good that it made people happy and content with it?  What Is Contenta?  

    With Drupal 8’s rise as the headless platform, one of the inferences of the DrupalCon Baltimore was to make the headless transition smoother. And this is how Contenta was born.

    Pages