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7 Awesome Reasons You Should Switch To Drupal 8
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How to Manage Micro-sites with Drupal 8?
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How Drupal 8 Can Boost Your Business?
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Drupal VM 4 Is Here! With PHP 7.1 And Easy PHP Switching
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Drupal Global Sprint Weekend: Jan 30th and 31st

7 Awesome Reasons You Should Switch To Drupal 8

Drupal is essentially open-source content-management software for websites. It’s written in PHP and is currently the backbone for more than 5% of websites throughout the world. It is capable of managing a variety of content, such as government sites, political sites, corporate, not-for-profit and personal blogs.
Drupal allows businesses the chance to look at the huge number of possibilities online. Ever since the time of its launch, Drupal has brought about a sea of change in the way CMS websites were designed and developed. When we look at all the versions, Drupal has presented its users with a number of opportunities. With the 8th version, Drupal brings before you a total of 200 improvements and new features. Below are six reasons why your website should be upgraded to this brand new version of Drupal, Drupal 8.0. Here goes:

  • Easy: Drupal 8.0 is extremely easy to use, just like its predecessors. In fact, ease of use is one of its biggest strengths. Apart from not being overly technical, it’s features and functions are easily explained to whoever uses it. The interface is user-friendly, as a result, the admins, editors, and moderators of any forum (created using Drupal) are able to edit very easily and perform the foundational tasks in a fluid manner.
  • User Guide: The new Drupal comes with a user guide that contains books, video tutorials, and forums that explain the entire platform at length. They also have troubleshooting portals to help users work through difficult challenges and questions.
  • Inbuilt Modules: In the new version, there are fifty-nine inbuilt core modules, for example, Entity API, CKEdition, and Jquery Update. It has Twig, which is a PHP-based theme-creation engine that is fast, secure and flexible. It has mobile-friendly themes that can fit into a mobile version of the website. Here you can edit the text on the page without having to redirect to the edit form. There are provisions for integrated views that allow the users to create pages, administrative sections for forums, restricted access pages, and blocks. There’s the automatic packaging feature which assists admins in performing site analysis and packages the configuration.
  • Configuration Management Interface: There is a built-in configuration management interface which exists at the level of the file system. Configuration elements as content category, fields, tables, rows, thread views, can easily be migrated from the local development to the server. There is also a version control system that can be used to manage and control the version of the website and track the configuration. Additionally, all data regarding configuration is stored in a separate database table than the website and its content.  The Drupal Module Upgrader brings about a simplification in the migration process from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. The entire code is scanned by the upgrader to aid in this process.
  • Scalability: With the new version, the scalability has been improved and is more dependable.  As all of us know, scalability is a huge factor when expanding a business.  If a website is small and has only a few widgets and pages, then it will not be easily upgraded to handle a huge number of additional elements and big (large in size) files. Your website can become slow because of this. In order to prevent this issue from happening, designers have provided Drupal with features that provide the quality of seamless scalability to your website. This protects your site from being weighed down by too many media elements. As a result, your website will be dynamic and will run smoothly.
  • Advanced WYSIWYG: With Drupal 8.0, you get an advanced WYSIWYG editor to help you out. With this tool, you can simplify the process of posting content through the panel of the admins. Additionally, there are several marketing tools and content authoring tools. There are also better translation tools provided in the WYSIWYG editor.
  • Responsive: And last, but not the least, Drupal 8 is completely responsive. With it, you will not have to worry about the responsiveness of the website across various user platforms and devices. It is great on desktops, laptops, Smartphones as well as tablets. This is possible since all the themes present in Drupal are responsive by default.

After reading this list, one can hope that no questions would be raised with regard to the effectiveness or awesomeness of Drupal 8.0.

How to Manage Micro-sites with Drupal 8?

Numerous situations might come about where you may be tempted to create a series of microsites for the organisation or business you own. It can be anything—launching a new product, starting a new service, advertising an event etc. And when you’re with Drupal, the list of benefits and advantages are endless. Below are the detailed advantages of launching and running microsites with the help of Drupal.

Ever since its original version came out Drupal has ingrained a feature for the sake of running multi-sites. This involved the running of many sites from one single code-base installation, which means that they share the same core system and contribute various themes and custom modules. Every single multi-site has a database, configuration, settings, content etc. This means that it is possible to carry out more than one update. Therefore, multi-sites could actually be an option.

There are reasons micro-sites should be used. For example, it is quite a compelling option to have a single database to maintain. It would be useless to use forked codebases since they would become unloved too soon. Also, using multi-sites would imply that only a single hosting platform needs to be maintained. This also construes a huge advantage.

Secondly, if you do micro-site installations,  they would be able to make much better use of resources in the server, physical, personnel, and the financial fields. Because micro-sites of a single entity would share a common core and other modules, that code would only need to go once into the Op-code cache. By this, server resources are saved to a greater extent.

It should be noted that several proposals have already come forward to decrease support for micro-sites in Drupal, maybe even eradicate it completely. The basic argument is that micro-sites are old-fashioned. However, this is rarely true, especially where the developments by Git and Composer are concerned. This is the modern approach to multi-sites: The same code with different sites. This is what makes them so popular with website creators.

However, using Drupal is not completely free of problems. It is difficult to handle traffic spikes in one channel when it spills over to the others. Micro-sites usually make use of a common database server which often tolerates a huge amount of load. If one database is heavily loaded, then it may cause a domino effect, slowing down other databases. Running updates is also an issue. However, there are a lot of mechanisms to mitigate those. They are as follows:

  • Do not employ or use a code which has not been tested out in a full-fledged manner.
  • Always include staging and quality assurance phases as part of the release process. By following these two phases, you allow yourself more opportunities to detect and correct errors.
  • Whether it is a shell script or continuous integration tool, it is always the best idea to automate every tool.
  • The database codes should be designed so that they would be able to take care of the intervals before the database is updated. With more volatile updates, it is important that the time and day of the week are chosen carefully.  
  • Every single micro-site would require a different database, so you really could not manage all the content from a single site. That would involve a lot of posting and pulling of content from one place to another.

As we near the end of this article, we might just want to take a look at the other kinds of approaches to micro-site building using Drupal. A few are as follows:

Domain Access: To define the ‘domain access’, it is a collection of modules that arm the user with the right tools to run a group of affiliated sites from a single Drupal installation and one shared database. By using this module, you would be able to share content, configurations and user activity across a collection of sites.

Organic Groups: “Organic group” is a tool that allows a person to build a group within the Drupal site. Each such group would have its own user, moderator/s, administrative group, thread list, menu, and content.

Git: This is the best option so far and will give you innumerable advantages, such as independence of sites, design, single codebase and much stronger control over the updates.

Overall, it remains to be seen whether the trend of micro-sites endures the test of time in the near and distant future.

How Drupal 8 Can Boost Your Business?

Drupal is an open-source software used for the purpose of creating and managing content across a variety of websites. It is used for the creation of forums and message boards, blogs, administrative panels, government information portals, etc. As far as Drupal development companies go, Drupal’s features can all be estimated. One of the greatest advantages of Drupal is that it can update itself with time and make itself suitable for the present day and period. Two years back the most recent version of Drupal, Drupal 8.0, was released. This update has ushered in a sea of new improvements as far as content management is concerned. These are:

  • What-you-see-is-what-you-get type of editing and previews.
  • Modeling content in a comprehensive fashion by making use of fields, views and entities.
  • Content page customization, form customization and customization of most administrative pages by making use of the interface.
  • Translatability and localization in a complete out-of-the-box manner.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Another question is: What are the advantages of building a site by employing the service of Drupal?

  1. The first answer is that you would be able to acquire huge mobile responsibility by it. The themes of Drupal are responsive by default; therefore it doesn’t matter whether the sites are being viewed by means of a PC, tablet or Smartphone. Thus, for any website that is thinking of launching mobile versions of their websites, Drupal 8 is a must-have.
  2. Secondly, you get to speed up. Using Drupal would give you good page load speed which would assist you in improving the rankings of the website in Google SERP.  Once the page has been viewed by the users, there is no need for the pages to be reloaded again and again. Because the system of caching is completely automatic, all the content that you view would be automatically shifted away from the cache and the load would decrease to a great extent.
  3. You also garner more security by becoming more hack-proof. The 8th version of Drupal includes the Twig template engine and the Symfony PHP, which can serve to eliminate any code that might be phishing for your password or may be serving to disfigure/disrupt the site. By using Drupal, hackers would be prevented from intruding into the layer of the theme and encroaching into the database of the company. Since Drupal is an open-source platform, it can detect and remove threats much faster in comparison to paid platforms.
  4. With greater complexity and interactivity, Drupal 8 is far more customizable in comparison to other open-source software. But since the eighth version of Drupal is equipped with good caching, which enables it to run on hardware specifications of lower caliber. Because of this, it is able to handle tremendous amounts of traffic, even when it comes to micro-sites. And this is a huge advantage that it can claim over other systems. The eighth version has the greatest ever automated testing system. It has tests pertaining to PHP units and integration, which are useful for solving the bugs that Drupal previously harbored. Once you run the automated test, these fixes are implemented.
  5. You can forever stay integrated with the help of Drupal 8. Where content management and digital management are concerned, Drupal 8 is right at the top. You can choose and implement whichever technology you desire; it is that flexible. It is also great as far as customer relationship management (CRM) is concerned.
  6. With Drupal, you have built-in user interfaces which could be read and used in any language you program the site to recognize. This is especially beneficial for those businesses that need to have a localized website and the pages need to be translated into numerous languages in accordance with the geographical region in which the business is being advertised.

In conclusion, using Drupal 8 would definitely make you stand out from among your competitors and provide you with plug-ins, additional features and tools. The cutting edge design of Drupal-powered websites is truly what sets it apart from its competitors, as well as the numerous other things mentioned here.

Drupal VM 4 Is Here! With PHP 7.1 And Easy PHP Switching

Drupal is the open-source software popular for use in sites which contain blogs, portals, forums, e-commerce sites, information about individual and corporate entities, intranets, resource directories, social networking sites, etc. Written in  PHP, it is available in a ready-to-use format upon being downloaded. This software supports content management, podcasts, collaborative authoring, image galleries, newsletters and much more. Now, the newest and latest version of it is available on the net, seven whole months after PHP 7.0 and Ubuntu 16.04 were introduced by the VM 3 version of this Drupal software.  

Some of you might not be familiar with the concept of the Drupal VM. It is an instrument, or tool, built with the help of Vagrant and Ansible, that helps in the development of  Drupal environments.With the 4th installment in the series the Drupal tool is enhanced in terms of flexibility. You get a plethora of choices to pick from.  A few of the binaries are MySQL or PostgreSQL, Nginx or Apache, Redis or Memcached, and CentOS or Ubuntu.  Also, Drupal VM 4 is empowered with a seamless mode-switching power which allows the web developer to change the PHP mode in a fluid, no-hassle manner. The modes available are 5.6, 7.0 7.1. The best thing is that you can do this without having to recreate the whole development environment.

Here is a comprehensive list of the benefits that Drupal VM 4 would empower you with:

  • A really great aspect is that Drush is completely optional. You can choose to either use the version attached to the project or not use it at all. This is undoubtedly good news for web developers around the world.
  • As already mentioned before, Drupal VM 4 supports all three versions of the programming language PHP: 5.6, 7.0 and 7.1. All you need to do in order to activate the ‘smooth switch’ system is to do an update of the PHP version and run the Vagrant Provision. This easy PHP mode switching is apparently the real reason people are extremely excited about the recent update.
  • Another benefit is that you would now require the use of Vagrant 1.8.6 or later, VirtualBox 5.1.10 or later, and Ansible 2.2.0 or later. Of these, the latter is important only if it is installed on the host.
  • Although PHP 7.0 remains as the default, you’d be able to install the PHP 7.1 or 5.6 in a smooth movement (details mentioned in another point and also in the introduction).
  • You can work these changes on any Operating System, whether on a laptop or mobile.
  • Among other improvements, you can avail of the PHP upload_progress support, the optional DRUPALVM_ANSIBLE_ARGS support for the Ansible CLI options, and use the shallow Drush cones for the sake of building up environments faster. Drupal VM 4 has also added the GitHub ISSUE_TEMPLATE, fixed the Solr versioning error and set the composer.json to “VM” over “Project”.  A few bugs have been fixed; such as the #981, #1014, #1020, #1004 and #1037.

Awesome, isn’t it? And we have the exemplary efforts of Oskar Scholstrom and Thom Toogood to thank for it all!

Drupal Global Sprint Weekend: Jan 30th and 31st

Every year, there is a kind of ritual with the Drupal community worldwide.  Arranged throughout the world, there are sprints which are aimed at aiding in the further growth and development of Drupal. This year, in 2016, the Global Sprint was arranged on the 30th and 31st of January. The venues included cities in various countries such as India, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, UK, Peru, Canada and the USA.

Drupal is a free and open-ended content management network which is often used for sites containing blogs or forums. It is distributed under the GNU public General Public License.  And as of 2015, the 8.0.0 version of Drupal was developed and released. Among the improvements seen in this updated version of Drupal, one is the done-within-context which offers a ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’ style of editing and previews. It also contains a new model of content with entities, fields, and views which are totally unconventional or out of the box. All the content pages, forms and administrative pages are customized  through the administrative interface. Last, but not the least, it has a very responsive HTML5-oriented output. It’s little wonder, then, that web developers the world over are going absolutely gaga over Drupal 8.0.0.

To celebrate the worldwide success of this newest version of Drupal, a Global Drupal Sprint was held at all the aforementioned venues. The sprints arranged on the 30th and the 31st of January were arranged with the objective of bringing web designers face to face in order to collaborate on subjects such as  Drupal core and make contributions to modules. Web developers could handpick any Drupal module and port it to Drupal 8. They were allowed to do this either on an individual basis or as a group. All in all, it was an event where collaboration ruled the roost. The all-pervasive spirit was “We Can Do it Together.” It was a carnival of high spirits and innovative minds that came together to herald a new age of innovation in web development technology. Needless to say, all voices were heard equally and inputs accepted wholeheartedly by all those who were enthusiastic about the future prospects of Drupal.

Everyone who had been a Drupal designer, theme, developer, documenter or project planner was invited to this event. These kinds of yearly or annual meets which bring Drupal enthusiasts together, mostly concentrate on improving the core of the Drupal software. The areas in focus are usually the contributed modules, core, handbook presentation and increasing its overall functionality. Some of the major features of the “Drupal Drop-in Sprints” are:

  • Workshops are conducted to introduce the Drupal Community contributions to every participant. This is usually followed by minuscule sessions of contributed modules and core development. 
  •  The participants are usually divided into two distinct groups. The first one consists of beginners, while the second comprises veteran and non-coder contributors. A mentor or guide is assigned to each group who then works with them so that the productive contribution task gets kick started.

It’s not just the experienced and veteran folks who are asked to attend and contribute. Youngsters and newbies are just as welcome to these sprints. At the end of the day, these sprint meets are all about learning from one another and teaming up to develop new ideas. And truly keeping with this spirit, hundreds of newbies and veterans alike participated in the Drupal Global Sprint of 2016, which is what made it such a grand success.

As we ease into a brand new year, 2017, the hopes of a bright future for web development software innovation are higher than ever. The next Global Sprint weekend is scheduled to be held on the 28th and 29th of February this year. Do meet up and make this one a roaring success like before. Currently, Drupal VM version 4.0 has the power to switch seamlessly between three versions of PHP modules, which is among a host of other new developments and bug fixes. Come, let’s make this new year’s Global Sprint worthwhile for all Drupalians around the world.

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