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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?

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.

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