1
What are The New Features You Will See in Drupal 8.3?
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Drupal, Joomla or WordPress? Which CMS Is the Most Secure?
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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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Why Drupal Is Ideal For E-Commerce?
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WordPress Vs. Drupal: Which Content Management System Is Right For You?
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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
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Drupal 8 – Is It Ready For The Enterprise Web?

What are The New Features You Will See in Drupal 8.3?

What are The New Features You Will See in Drupal 8.3?

Drupal 8.3.0 is set to release on April 5, 2017. This is a minor release of Drupal 8. As it was with previous minor releases, 8.3 also includes new features and improvements in API and usability. Without wasting too much time on introduction, let’s dive into the new features and improvements that you can expect in Drupal 8.3.

Improvement of Workflow

Drupal 8 was developed with the intention to provide improved workflow. Large companies that adopted Drupal 8 were looking forward to this improvement. Large companies that use Drupal to develop their website, generally, have a large number of content creators. There are also various procedures that require approval and editing. Workflow is a new experimental module. This builds on the Content Moderation module which was introduced in Drupal 8.2. Workflows are considered a key module for all the content approval processes. There is a change in the workflow user interface in Drupal 8.3. The whole workflow can be seen on a single screen. You can create custom publishing states with the help of workflows. You can also control the transition between the states. The configuration screen of the workflow page is simple and easy to understand.  You can go to “people” and then select “permission” from there you can control the access to each stage of the workflows.

Layout Modules That Are New

There are some new modules that have been introduced in Drupal 8.3. The module that is new in Drupal 8 is the Field Layout. The Layout Discover is also a new module. Both these modules are experimental introductions. The code used in these modules is an adaptation of the Layout Plugin. Field Layout and Layout Discover modules will provide two introductory layouts. The additional layouts will be allowed so that you can add new layouts by using other modules. Drupal indicates its future plans with the layout options. Modules like CTools, Panelizer, Panels and Display Suite have been made compatible with an introduction of two new layouts.

BigPipe

BigPipe is the experimental module that was first introduced with Drupal 8 that has graduated and made its place in Drupal 8.3. The function of BigPipe is to facilitate the delivery of personalized content at a faster rate. Generally,  when the content is personalized and dynamic,  loading speed is reduced. This slow loading was targeted with the introduction of BigPipe. BigPipe breaks the process of page loading. Thus, first, the page skeleton is sent to the client. This happens at a faster rate. The rest of the page elements are requested and delivered later into the correct places. The client will not have to wait for the entire page to be generated.

The changes that have been introduced in Drupal 8.3 will also focus on improving the usability on mobile devices.

API Improvements

Significant improvements have been made in the REST and API-first support and certain new features have been added. These new changes have been given below:

Users can now register for REST API.

The performance of anonymous REST API will get increased by 60%. This will happen by utilization on the internal page cache.

The response bodies will improve along with the request status code.

In the case of 404 responses, the reason behind the denial of access will also be returned.

Apart from these changes, there are other API improvements as well. The additional API improvement includes routing system improvements, Symfony Compatibility, replacing Symfony, ExecutionContextInterface and in addition to Entity Published Trait and Entity Published Interface for a generic publishing API. The Original Revision ID is the new property added to revisionable entities. This will help in storing the old revision ID after updates.

There are also some changes that have been made to improve scalability and performance. Some experimental features that were introduced in previous versions have been updated in Drupal 8.3. Migrate API has been given the beta stability. Migrate will have full critical functionality support.

These are some changes and updates that can be expected in Drupal 8.3. Drupal 8.3 is a clear indication of what users can expect in the future. Drupal improvements are targeted to make it more friendly for users.

Drupal, Joomla or WordPress? Which CMS Is the Most Secure?

When you are thinking of building your own website, the first step is to choose the right road for development. A PHP-based Content Management System (CMS) not only offers an easier development but also ensures better maintenance. A PHP CMS allows website owners to manage the content on their website without having to rely on a developer for everything. Once the website is set up it is easy to log in and makes any required changes using the functions of the system.

The three most popular PHP CMS that come to mind while you consider building a website is Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla. Although all three of them offer a wide variety of useful features, the security feature is one of prime concern and one that website owners really want. In this post, three most popular PHP CMS will be compared on the basis of the security level each system offers. If you are confused about choices like Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress – and you don’t know which one is the most secure system for building your website, you will be able to come to a conclusion by the end of this post.

Drupal

Drupal has always proved that it is very serious when it comes to security.  The secure framework of Drupal is designed to handle the gravest of internet vulnerabilities. Tough security has the stability to prevent the website from crumbling under vulnerable circumstances. The security of Drupal is so strong that many leading brands, corporations, and even governments rely on Drupal to build critical applications and websites.

Being one of the biggest developer communities across the globe, Drupal ensures a faster response to any issues supported by a dedicated security team and efficient service provider system. Robust coding standards and a diligent process of community code review also help in preventing many security issues. Here are some features that make Drupal the undeniable winner when it comes to cybersecurity.

  • User Access Control

Drupal offers Granular User Access Control which allows the administrator to have complete control over who can access their website. The power to allow someone to see or modify the website lies with the administrator.  They can create a role for the user and provide permission for the specific purpose.

  • Access

If you are worried about the safety of your login passwords, you should not. This is because passwords for Drupal accounts are encrypted well before they are stored in their database. Drupal supports a wide range of password policies like complex, minimum length, expiration, etc. Standard authentication practices in the Industry, which include 2-Factor Authentication and SSL, are also supported by Drupal. Single Sign-on systems including LDAP, SAML, OpenID, and Shibboleth are combined with Drupal in its production applications.

  • Database Encryption

You can configure Drupal for strong database encryption required for a high-security project. In case you don’t want to encrypt the entire database, Drupal allows you to do so at a very granular level. This is helpful if you want to protect specific information.

  • Brute Force Detection

Drupal security is strong enough to detect and provide protection against the brute-force attacks on passwords.  This is done by limiting the login attempts from a single IP address over a definite period of time. The administrative interface can view all the failed attempts. You can also use Drupal configuration to ban individual IP’s and range of addresses.

  • Malicious Data Entry

Drupal’s API ensures that every data entered into the database is validated and scrubbed well. CSRF (Cross Site Request Forgery) attacks are prevented as tokens are injected into forms when they are generated.

  • Reduction of DoS Attacks

Denial of Service attacks is reduced due to the extensible cache layer that is preconfigured with CSS caches, javascript, and basic page. Performance technologies like Redis, Memcache, etc can be deeply integrated with the system. The individual components are cached effectively. A common feature is a granular expiry. A multi-layered cache framework is suitable for a website that receives high traffic.

Apart from the above-mentioned security frameworks, Drupal security features address all of the OWASP top ten security risks. A dedicated security team ensures doesn’t just fix security problems, but also explains the vulnerabilities by publishing advisories.

WordPress

WordPress is one of the most popular PHP CMS. It has a security team that consists of security researchers and lead developers. Potential vulnerabilities can be signaled to the security team which is acknowledged upon receipt. Further, plans to solve the issues are outlined after the vulnerability is verified and severity is determined.

WordPress offers Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) top 10 lists addressing. The top ten lists are prioritized together with the estimates of exploitability and detectability. The APIs that WordPress offers helps in strengthening the core system. Protection against unauthorized injections and password, along with the safety of user-supplied, data is offered. A direct object reference is provided and also prevents unauthorized requests through its access control system. With security configurations limited to a single authorized administrator, configuration errors are minimized. Just like Drupal, account passwords are salted and hashed to ensure the safety of sensitive data. WordPress provides protection against CSRF threats.

Joomla

Joomla offers a wide range of security extensions that helps in providing protection against attacks. Joomla is a fast growing content management system. There are many steps that you must take to protect your Joomla site. Joomla advises its users to secure their websites by gaining experience and getting help from those who are experienced.

You can conclude from this comparison that Drupal does take solid care of the security of its users. Although Joomla and WordPress are serious about security as well, Drupal is suitable for the websites that require tough security. This is the reason that many government websites trust Drupal for website development. The system updates help to provide better protection, so make sure you keep your PHP CMS updated. Joomla and WordPress use commercial plugins that are known to be insecure. Drupal’s dedicated team of security ensures better security.

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.

Why Drupal Is Ideal For E-Commerce?

One of the most flexible CMS platforms out there is Drupal. As Drupal Commerce is integrated with Drupal, it has become difficult for other dedicated e-commerce platforms such as Prestashop or Magento to beat it. You can find thousands of websites that have been built using Drupal Commerce.  There are, of course, various Content Management Systems for e-commerce, but people are more interested in using Drupal.

The main purpose of Drupal Commerce is to develop a specification that will help in guiding the e-commerce development on Drupal. They offer a rich variety of modules that can build world class e-commerce websites. This open source can help you in creating blogs, forums, intranets, photo galleries, review websites, new aggregators, wikis, social networks and CRM. Drupal can convert your dreams into reality.

Here are some awesome reasons why you should use Drupal Commerce for your new e-commerce development:

Free For All

In the Drupal world, more than 14,000 free modules are available. There is nothing you have to pay for, which is unlike WordPress and Magento. Moreover, the community is excellent at supporting these modules with improvements and patches. The Drupal community is considered to be one of the most devoted and cohesive communities.

Easy and Uncomplicated Way of Coordinating

Since you only have to handle and work with one system, the CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation), SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), as well as web analytics, become much easier. You don’t even need to coordinate between two different platforms.

Easy To Customise

You can create pages and blocks within the pages with the Views module, which is a type of query builder. You can also customize modules easily.

Maintenance

Since there is only one set of tools that you need to learn, it becomes very easy for you to manage and maintain a Drupal Commerce site.

Order Management Tools

The order management tools of Drupal Commerce are a part of the same administration toolset that is found in the CMS. This enables you to not only view, manage and update on the websites but also lets you send update notifications through the website.

Integration

Via a RESTful API, Drupal can integrate with external systems. This means, with third-party systems, you can extend or complement the functionality that is found in Drupal and Drupal Commerce. Also, with Drupal’s Feeds module, you can import content from external systems.

Synchronization

Compared to a two-platform system, it takes far less time to develop. You aren’t required to formally integrate between two different systems.

Adaptation

Do you want a CMS that can adapt with your business? Drupal Commerce is just what you want. it will always be adaptable, as your business grows and explores new models. This is important, as most of your site is built by configuring interfaces and modules and the layout of your site and your business logic can change anytime.

Awesome Features

Drupal Commerce offers amazing features. Features such as a complete product administration, shopping cart and checkout form. Along with various other additional e-commerce features, it supports multilingual and multi-currency.

If you ask me, Drupal is a perfect platform to build an e-commerce website. I feel it can aid in the growth of your business. Your customers can find your e-commerce site with ease and it will enhance their shopping experience. With thousands of free plugins available, you get the power to leverage more features and functions into your website.

WordPress Vs. Drupal: Which Content Management System Is Right For You?

If you are building a website or a blog, the most crucial decision that you make is choosing a content management system. As we know, content is king in the digital world. Thus, content creation and modification are prime factors in making your website or blog a success. A content management system offers many advantages like control over content publishing, visibility and supporting multiple users. Content management systems, or CMS, are extremely beneficial,  especially because they need very little to no prior experience in programming. Consequently, performing administrative tasks is made easier.

Out of all the CMS platforms offering a wide array of features, WordPress and Drupal are powerful platforms. The ease with which they provide their users with customization and content updating processes makes both WordPress and Drupal popular and widely used platforms. If you are out there searching for the right CMS platform for yourself and are confused about which one of the top two you should choose, then keep reading!

WordPress

Although it started as a blogging platform, WordPress has come a long way and become a full-blown site framework.  It is powered by AJAX, PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript and plenty of plugins, widgets, and themes. You have access to help from skilled developers in WordPress for theme customization, complex builds and setups and installation. The developers will ensure that your site is always installed with the latest updates. There are many advanced custom plug-ins available if you choose WordPress. Walt Disney Co., the LinkedIn blog, TechCrunch and BBC America are some of the popular sites that are powered by WordPress.

Drupal

Drupal refers to itself as a “content management framework” and is a very powerful CMS platform. It allows the user to launch, scale and manage websites and applications.  Drupal is the perfect fit for ambitious and larger projects. Powered by PHP, it requires no programming experience to set-up functionalities at lower levels. There are some extended features that include blogging, contact forums, forums and other types of community-style features. These features are an elaboration of Drupal’s core package but need the assistance of Drupal developers.  The Economist, Weather.com, some of the US government’s websites and NFL team’s websites are some sites that are powered by Drupal.

WordPress Vs. Drupal

Although there are many similarities between WordPress and Drupal in terms of features, responsiveness, SEO, and APIs, they do have certain differences which you need to consider.

Complex build

WordPress is easier to learn and use, while Drupal, on the other hand, is complex and might take longer to get used to. This complex build of Drupal makes it perfect for larger level projects.

Updates

WordPress updates are released every few months and the code is easily upgradable. The upgrade takes place in the background and that can be a useful feature if you are not a developer. WordPress plugins do not need frequent updates.

Drupal makes comprehensive updates and might be labor intensive as they are not code based. You will have to redesign your website for a particular update. This can be difficult if you are not a developer.

Security of plugins

Drupal is famous for its security which can be a valuable feature for enterprises or government sites. On the other hand, security is offered by a third party in WordPress, and your site is vulnerable to hacking attacks if you do not update regularly.

Make a List and Ask Some Questions

Before you finalize a platform, you need to make a list of your needs. If you are clear about what you want, making a decision will be easier.  Ask yourself the following questions:

What Kind of Website or Application are You Building?

Think how you want your site to perform. Is your site going to be a complex site with many pages and will it be getting a high volume of traffic? This will help you to decide which one of the two websites will suit your needs.

Budget

This is one of the crucial factors as well. The budget may vary, and the development of the site on Drupal can be more expensive than with WordPress.

Users, Templates, and Security

You must think how many users will access the site. Users need user permission and WordPress allows adding users with standard roles and permissions. When you are choosing a CMS you must ask yourself how many different templates you might need to match the different types of content you might have on your site. If your site is more complex and you need different templates, Drupal’s robust features might be suitable for you. Security is an important aspect that you will have to consider, especially, if your website is an enterprise level website.

In conclusion, WordPress is technically easier and Drupal, though more complex, offers amazing features. You can choose which CMS platform to use based on the needs of your project.

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.

Drupal 8 – Is It Ready For The Enterprise Web?

Drupal is an open-source web content management framework and platform written in PHP. It combines content, community, and commerce very well and has an extensive library of over 24000 features. In terms of scalability, flexibility, and security, Drupal is an enterprise class CMS.

On 19th November 2015, Drupal 8 was officially released which is a completely re-written version of the Drupal platform. Its core platform has more than 200 new features built in and its backend is powered by Symfony 2 which is PHP framework and set of reusable PHP components/libraries for building high-performance web applications. Following are the top new features available in Drupal 8:

Awesome Authoring Experience

Drupal 8 introduces out-of-the-box experience for content authors.

  • Spark – It’s a Drupal distribution and an Acquia initiative created by Dries Buytaert to improve Drupal core’s default authoring experience.
  • WYSIWYG Editor – Drupal 8 comes with the CKEditor WYSIWYG editor. In addition to the default buttons for bold, italic, images, links etc., it also supports extras such as easily editable image captions and widget features. Drupal 8’s drag-and-drop admin interface helps in adding and removing buttons in the WYSIWYG toolbar, which automatically syncs the allowed HTML tags for a given text format and thus immensely improves usability. All buttons are contained in ‘button groups’ with labels that are invisible to the naked eye but can be read by screen readers, providing an awesome, accessible editing experience for website visitors. Drupal 8’s Editor module wraps the WYSIWYG integration, so other libraries can be tightly integrated as well in contrib.
  • In-place Editing – This feature allows editors to click into any field within a piece of content and edit it right on the front-end of the website without accessing the back-end form in the admin area. Full node content, user profiles, custom blocks are in-place editable.
  • Content Creation Page – The redesigned content creation page in Drupal 8 contains two columns:
    • The main fields or the actual content part
    • Extras or optional settings
  • Admin Theme – New style guide for the ‘Seven’ admin theme.
  • Draft Support in Core – API support added as an under-the-hood change in the core to support content draft revisions making the publishing workflow modules like Workbench much easier.

Mobile First

To keep up with the global expansion of mobile devices worldwide, Drupal 8 has been made more mobile-friendly out-of-the-box. From installation to authoring experience, everything in Drupal 8 is mobile friendly and supports responsive design.

  • All core themes are now responsive and automatically reflow elements such as menus and blocks to fit well on mobile devices.
  • Built-in support for responsive images, so large desktop images is properly resized to display on a tablet or smartphone.
  • Support for responsive tables is available. Table columns can be declared as high, medium or low importance. On wide screens, all the columns will be shown as expected, but as screen size shrinks the less important columns will begin dropping off so that the table shows nicely no matter the screen size.
  • The new admin toolbar is responsive, automatically expanding and orienting itself on wider screens while collapsing and orienting vertically on smaller screens.
  • Improved front-end performance by replacing jQuery with native JavaScript when possible, and not loading any Javascript files by default for anonymous visitors. Additionally, Drupal 8 uses lighter-weight alternatives to JavaScript-intensive features that are more mobile friendly.
  • Back to site link is visible in the admin toolbar while in an administrative context to go back to the front page.

Multilingual++

Drupal 8 core is much better out of the box for foreign language and multilingual websites.

  • Language Handling – Drupal 8 can be natively installed in 94 languages and a language can be assigned to everything like pages, menus, views etc. There are also language dependent blocks available. Browser language detection can be made configurable with external language codes. Transliteration is built-in for machine names.
  • Interface Translation – Automatic downloading and updating options are available. Built-in translation UI is revamped for easier editing. Custom translations can be protected and are exportable. The English text is customizable.
  • Content Translation – Flexible language defaults configuration option is available. The language selector can be freely positioned or hidden. The configuration of field-level translation can be done. Images can be shared optionally between translations on image fields. Translation can be applied to all types of content (taxonomy, user fields, products, rules, etc). Views are integrated with flexible filtering and display options. It’s fully integrated with core search as separate results and language information is exposed via the Search API. Per-language content access option is available.
  • Configuration Management – All configuration is translatable (roles, text formats, blocks, views, panels, etc.). Built-in responsive translation interface is available. There is an overview screen for translators, contextual translation tabs for site builders. All shipped config can be pre-translatable on localize.drupal.org.

What’s Missing?

  • As with new releases of software, 3rd party plugins, tools, and themes are sometimes slow to upgrade and have full support for Drupal 8
  • Support for old versions of PHP – check with your web host to make sure you’re running on PHP 5.5.9+ (see requirements here: https://www.drupal.org/docs/7/system-requirements/php
  • Developers with experience in Drupal 8

 

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