1
How To Run A Cost Effective Project
2
How To Drive Revenue In 2017 With Intelligent Marketing
3
WordPress Vs. Drupal: Which Content Management System Is Right For You?
4
Why Is Unity3D The Most Highly Preferred Game Engine?
5
Unity 5.6 Beta Is Now Available, Brings Vulkan Support And 60% Boost In Performance Out Of The Box
6
7 B2B Marketing Trends Agencies Must Watch In 2017
7
Drupal VM 4 Is Here! With PHP 7.1 And Easy PHP Switching
8
Drupal 8 – Is It Ready For The Enterprise Web?
9
The General Data Protection Regulation Reform: Europe Steps Up for Digital Age
10
Decoding The All New Laravel

How To Run A Cost Effective Project

Behind every good technology implementation, there is a good project manager and a strong project management team. Being a project manager, you need to handle a budget and work with it. But sometimes it becomes extremely difficult to organize all the work within the budget.

If you are among those, who want to know if it is possible to run a cost effective project, then the tips below will definitely help you. Read on-

  • Use Technology Over Travelling:

Isn’t it amazing to travel to different cities in order to attend meetings? It really is, but the problem is that it will burn a big hole in your budget if you continue to travel over sustained periods of time. In today’s world of digitization, you don’t need to waste money by traveling to a different place to meet with someone as video conferencing will connect you with the people you want and need to meet. By attending a meeting through video conferencing, you can save the costs of flights, hotels, and taxis. You can arrange a face to face meeting only for the most important projects. Video conferencing is enough for the initial stages of meetings. Modern technology brings all the amenities at your doorstep. If you don’t implement video conferencing, you may end up wasting a lot of money unnecessarily. In fact, by choosing to use technology over traveling, you can avoid a lot of wasted hours traveling, saving both time and money.

  • Make a Virtual Management Team:

If you are from a country where hiring an employee costs you more than you can afford, then it would be wise to hire a more cost-effective global team. If you get experienced employees at a cost-effective rate, why not hire them? You can use any global freelancer site, find qualified people, and offer them a trial run by giving a short piece of work. If s/he does it well, go for the next assignment. In this way, you can build a virtual management team in a budget-friendly way.

  • Time Is Money:

Another rule of thumb for running a cost-effective project is that you need to avoid delays. This is because when you run your project into delays, it will always cost you money from your budget. If the work is not done on time, you might have to pay your team for working overtime. On the contrary, a well-controlled project that runs on time will help you to minimize and hopefully avoid any budget problems.

  • Plan Well:

A well-formed strategy will help you to stick to your budget, therefore you need to plan well and execute your project according to your plan. Try to keep your project on track and remember that there are many chances for your project to get off the track at any time.

  • Project Management:

In terms of project management, you need to keep in mind some points. They are:

  • Make the budget correctly during planning.
  • Use your in-house expert effectively at their appropriate position.
  • Make sure that your human resource department is managed efficiently.
  • Audit your business and your business budget constantly in order to keep a record of your business’s ups and downs.
  • Know how to manage your vendors.

By keeping these points in mind, you can manage your project effectively.

These are the top 5 points that will help you in learning how you can manage your project and run it in a cost-effective way.  You need to implement all of them in order to save a large amount of money. Following these project management tips, you can make money saving ideas that may even open new doors for you in your career.

How To Drive Revenue In 2017 With Intelligent Marketing

Marketing is an arena that has changed over the past few years. Marketers, with time, have changed their tactics to reach the target audience.  After analysing and tracking the results of yester years, marketers have realized that customers must connect with the products on a deeper level.  This is the reason behind the growing needs for a more customized and a more personal approach.  In the past year, marketers included everything from ads to social networking sites to market their products.

However, with all the new ways adopted by the marketer, we often find that ads do not bring the results that are actually expected.  Therefore, experts suggest that you need to incorporate some intelligent strategies as a marketer to make your marketing plan more viable in 2017. This means you have to be as accurate as possible while expanding the horizons within your budget restrictions. Here are a few changes that will help you achieve better returns on your investments this year.

Beyond the Conversion Funnel

If you look at the data of the past few years, you will see that users are becoming intelligent enough to catch on to the gimmicks of marketing.  This is the reason that the conversion funnels, that were the holy grail of marketers before, are no longer able to represent a buyer’s journey online. The conversion funnel has now become an “influence loop.”  As a marketer, you will now have to adapt to the customer behavior and intentions. You will have to outpace the intelligence of the customer to fetch better marketing results. These days people are becoming more and more familiar with technology. They want to find products and brands more organically online, such as through social media. How these people behave in online and offline areas gives you a hint about the intent behind their purchases. You use this information to reach the specific users you would like to reach through things such as customized messaging. These messages are based on specific demographics and behaviors. You will have to maintain constant feedback in order to make these marketing strategies more effective.

Connect Through Creativity

As we discussed, users are becoming more aware of marketing tactics. The result is that they are doing everything possible to avoid online ads. This is the reason you have to be creative in such a way that you hit all the right chords while marketing your product or your efforts will be wasted. Your campaigns have to be much more than just creating awareness about the brand or product. Another thing that you have to keep in mind is that being repetitive is like making a hole in your own boat. Using the same creative idea over and over is an easy way to fail your campaign. Your creative ideas should be made with a purpose. This will help you to connect with the target customers. You can design an effective campaign if you use the user information properly.

Build What Works

As the technology has evolved, marketers have easier access to the user information and that works to their advantage. The user data helps in making strategic decisions and also helps in setting the budget for the marketing campaign.  You should analyze customer data to develop marketing tactics and then test their effectiveness.  You can build an attribution model by tracking every marketing channel to calculate exact return on investment.

Media Mix

The year 2017 is the year of intelligent marketing. This means you will have to focus on full media mix.  You will need to run your ads on different platforms. If you want the users to get the sense of ubiquity, your ad units must work together.

Marketing trends change every year and in the end, it depends on how marketers adapt to the new trends. In 2017, you can create an impact by adopting these intelligent marketing strategies.

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.

Why Is Unity3D The Most Highly Preferred Game Engine?

The name of Unity3D is familiar to almost every game enthusiast out there. Assassin’s Creed, Temple Run and Escape Plans are some of the names which would make any gamer worth his/her salt cheer loud and wild. All three belong to the house of Unity Technologies, the company credited with fashioning and developing some of the most famous and addictive games in video-gaming history. The game engine of Unity3D company was created back in the early 2000’s as a tool for development of their GooBall project. Later, GooBall received a grand launch at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference. As expected, it was a hit overnight and was essential in helping to pry the process of game development from a handful of oligarchs who were monopolizing the scene. Indie developers from all over the world were able to lend expression and realization to their talent. It is owing to this platform, provided by Unity3D, that GooBall has stood the test of time and passed with flying colors. Here are some of the most prominent factors that make Unity3D one of the most preferred game engines of all times:

  • First things first Unity3D has a tremendous amount of convenience operationally. The amount of control it exercises over the interface display of its website is enough to hook anyone who takes notice of it. The visuals are designed in such a manner that they focus completely and single-mindedly on the workflow and processes related to game development. It is also markedly simple to use; any object on the screen can be adjusted and its position altered with a simple drag-and-drop action. The feature of the ‘inspector window’ can be used to properly examine the features and action carried out by an object. You can adjust the settings for the raw images and background script to be displayed on a screen, in the game.  It also includes certain plug-ins which help to make the Unity3D interface seem compact and seamless while running the game. The result heightened capacity for productivity.
  • Another cardinal point is the flexibility of the script. Almost every game engine out there can boast of having a visual editor, but only Unity can truly claim to have a broadened approach regarding the behavior of game objects. Instead of being limited to only the inbuilt modules that come embedded in the engine in its original form, it expands its capacity to lend support to high-level languages such as Java and C# and scripting languages like Boo. What’s more is that one could use all the three languages at the same time while working on a particular project. This essentially was the founding stone for Unity3D’s popularity. With its features allowing for both Java and C group languages to be used in the same project at the same time, it allowed game developers from diverse technological backgrounds to work freely on any type of project while using the Unity3D platform.
  • The use of computer languages in script form ensures that program execution is fast, iterations are done pretty quickly and designs have a consummate flexibility to them.
  • Coming to the last, but definitely not the least point, in terms of capacity, to inspire awe, any game designed by enlisting the help of Unity3D would be compatible on any platform and on any Operating System (OS). Windows (All versions), Linux, Macintosh, Android, Flash, iOS—everything can work perfectly well with whatever project is designed using Unity3D as a platform. This has been a source of huge relief to game developers since this feature successfully eliminates any worry of having to work on making a game compatible with various devices and systems.

In conclusion, one can only say that it is little wonder that Unity3D has proved itself to be the leading player in the gaming and game engine development industries. Chances of any other firm prevailing over Unity3D in the near future seems extremely unlikely.

Unity 5.6 Beta Is Now Available, Brings Vulkan Support And 60% Boost In Performance Out Of The Box

Unity Technologies announced the official launch of Unity 5.6 beta recently. It will be available for all users including the users of the personal edition. Unity 5.6 beta consists of many new features and improvements that have been made to benefit the users and their projects. This beta release includes a refined editor and 2D features, a new video player, and better graphics performance. Unity 5.6 beta will also support Facebook Gameroom and Google DayDream. If you have not signed up for the Beta Program, you can do so by visiting the beta testing section on Unity3d.com. From there you can check the guide and download the installer. Let’s look into what 5.6 beta offers.

Graphical Improvements

The overall graphics has been greatly improved,  including the Particle System and GPU Instancing. The new drawing function allows you to draw many instances of the same mesh using an instanced shader with arguments that are supplied from a ComputeBuffer. This new way will have no CPU overhead at all.

The company has extended the system of attaching custom data to the particles in 5.6 beta which was introduced in Unity 5.5. Metal compute support is added for iOS and MacOS. The animation system will also support tracking the view position and will keep it in place when you are navigating between the State Machine of an AnimatorController. This will avoid unnecessary scrolling. EncodeToEXR is added to Texture2D which allows the user to save the content of any HDR texture to an EXR file.

New Video Player with 4k Playback

A new Video Player is included in the 5.6 beta. The video player has been built from scratch and bears hardware accelerated performance in mind. High-resolution 4k playback is now possible on even modest handheld hardware along with videos supporting alpha channel.  The user can use the video hardware capabilities of both the editor and target platforms.  The company will add supports for codecs in the future.

Support for Facebook Gameroom

Facebook Gameroom is an easy way for developers to bring games to the PC. This allows them to take full advantage of the CPU and GPU.  With Unity 5.6 beta you can install your projects to either the new Facebook Gameroom desktop app for Windows as a native window player or to Facebook.com using Unity WebGL support.

Support for Vulkan

Vulkan is a new generation graphics and computes API. It offers high-efficiency and cross-platform access to modern GPUs on both mobile platforms and desktop. The design of Vulkan allows it to run multiple threads in parallel by taking advantage of multiple CPU cores.  This feature of Vulkan is beneficial in reducing the workload on your CPU and leaving free space to do an additional computation. Vulkan support will improve the performance out-of-the-box up to 60%, in other words, the improvement is achieved without using any specifics of Vulkan API. If users make use of clever tweaks, they can actually improve the performance even more.  Use of Vulkan will take graphic performance to the next level in the Unity 5.6 beta. The company has announced that the final release will run on Android, Tizen, Windows, and Linux.

The Unity 5.6 beta also supports Google Daydream and has features that will improve the 2D game development workflow. There are a wide array of elements that are beneficial for the user and that improve the performance of Unity 5.6 beta.

7 B2B Marketing Trends Agencies Must Watch In 2017

The term ‘B2B’ is fairly familiar to people who belong to the market research or digital marketing industries. It is a field where there is an exchange of technology, information, services and products between businesses rather than between a business and its customer. As with every other field of technology and business, the trends and practices for B2B keep changing and upgrading from year to year. It’s in this context that we will discuss some of the biggest B2B trends that will dominate 2017.

Marketing Automation: First, we speak about marketing automation. This is the software which is used to automate a lot of the actions required for sales pitching of a product or service. It includes marketing on social media, putting up ads on Google, cold calling and mass emailing. Some of these can definitely be tuned into automation, especially the client mailing and cold calling. Marketing automation can not only be used to generate leads, but it can also help companies keep a tab on the progress of their campaign. This also allows them to be updated with key metrics concerning lead conversion. There are three cardinal steps to achieving this:

  1. Having a multiple-tier opening sequence which can be considered useful and relevant for dynamic and ever-changing content, based on the needs of the company.
  2. You can put to use the task of lead scoring and lead grading in order to ensure that automated sending of emails and outbound calls can be done in a more relevant manner. There should exist strict rules and guidelines so that mass-solicitation techniques are not blocked by popular spam-detection technologies.
  3. Content should be re-marketed on third-party sites in order to encourage and enthuse people who have shown an interest in being a customer.

Long and Short-term Balance: Next, we should think of balancing things out in the long and short terms. You should apply all SEO techniques in place to ensure that your brand gets ranked at the top of SERPs. Top-ranked websites usually inspire confidence and solidify people’s trust in a brand. The ideal path would be to develop both the leads and the brand simultaneously with a 40:60 priority ratio.

All Eyes on Thought Leadership: One should also understand the value of thought leadership. It is important to buy products and services that help to circumvent and eliminate risks, as well as improve customer experience. Rather than merely bringing about external improvements to the product, you should introduce ideas that are revolutionary or definitive in the industry. Something that would emerge as innovative or pioneering. This is something that’s surely going to be big in 2017.

Augmented Reality to the Rescue: Augmented reality is close to thought leadership. This is virtual communication which has taken on a different hue with the success of Pokémon Go. The technology, in which virtual objects can be “planted” across various real-life locations and would be spotted only by means of physical traveling, is tracked by GPS. Application of this technology would assist a lot in communicating complex ideas by the practical demonstration on an interactive gadget such as a PC/Laptop, projector or a Smartphone.  This will also lead to the growth and development of multi-dimensional gadgets and mechanisms which would improve Point-of-Sale terminals, record transactions and enhance staff training.  Taking giant leaps in the field of virtual reality, with the objective of bettering communication and customer engagement techniques, will definitely be on the cards this year for most B2B firms.

Bots in Charge: Use of ‘Bots’, or robots, is yet another huge area that is slated to become big this year. Coming out of the confines of more conventional uses, such as scheduling meetings or sending out ‘to-do’ notifications, robots can be put to use in functions such as creating SEO-friendly content, addressing very specific customer complaints, spotting complex technical errors and bugs and communicating them in a life-like manner and synthesizing user research. . They can also serve as guides to take visitors on a virtual ‘tour’ of the website and demonstrate how the site works. Overall, bots could be of great use for optimizing marketing in many ways.  

Why Are Businesses Hiring Remote Teams To Get The Job Done?: Another trend that is going to be big in 2017 is the use of ‘remote teams’ or ‘virtual companies’ to do part of a company’s work online. This helps the company to be well-distributed in terms of workload and in meeting deadlines. Remote working is something which has displayed a healthy growth of about 80% in the period 2005-2012 and is slated to grow even more in this year and the coming years. Remote workers log in for a greater number of hours and are more focused on their work, free as they are from the trappings of a normal work environment. They are chiefly driven by the passion for their work and the alluring aspect of getting to work from their own home. Hence, productivity takes a giant leap when companies hire remote or virtual teams.  

Bringing Back Spotlight on the 80/20 Rule: More Recognition for the 80/20 rule is set to become the norm. Quite often companies fall into the trap of hyper-marketing, zealously hard-selling their ware, which can serve to put customers off.  Also, by going all-out to cover every possible area of marketing, they miss out on identifying those crucial things which can actually bring in the bulk of the business. In technobabble, this is classified as the ‘80/20’ rule—striving to identify that vital 20% of your advertising content which is providing 80% of the returns. This twenty percent must be identified and a majority of the advertising resources must be spent in further improving them. More stress on the 80/20 rule is definitely going to be a major trend of 2017.

Apart from all these, some of the major toasts of this year would go to maintaining the ‘touch-point consistency’ in marketing, building up and careful cultivation of the talent brand, and digital dissolution. Overall, things are looking good for the B2B industry this year.

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 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

 

The General Data Protection Regulation Reform: Europe Steps Up for Digital Age

The European Commission had proposed new regulations on data protection in the wake of a high-profile security breach that occurred in 2011. The incident where a technological company leaked personal data of 77 million customers, including their names to credit card information, had shocked citizens of the European Union. The regulation proposed in 2012 was adopted by the council on April this year, after which it was adopted by the European Parliament. The regulation that will supersede the laws of all the EU members will come into effect from 25th of May, 2018.

What changes have been made?

The European Union has made the changes to guarantee the privacy right of citizens in the digital age, giving them more control over their personal data. This reform is focused on strengthening the internal market of the EU while setting global data protection standards along with making an international transfer of data more efficient.

Here are some points about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) you need to know:

Consent – When the new regulations will come into force, citizens of Europe will be empowered to withdraw their consent easily. This means, if they do not want their data to be processed anymore, the data must be deleted by the organization or company holding it. This helps in strengthening the rights of a citizen by allowing them to be erased from the data records. Sensitive data must be handled explicitly. The data that is provided must be given out of free consent, i.e. the data provided under any conditional contract, where it is not necessary, will not be considered as a free consent. Children under the age of 13 cannot provide free consent, and hence, the same should be provided by their parents or custodians. Thus, it might affect some e-commerce services. There will be a right to object, in case the data collected has to be processed for direct marketing. Also, the person providing the data should be informed about the same.
Data breach notification – The GDPR gives a citizen the right to know when the data was breached. This means, companies and organizations must inform both the user and the national authority in case of data breaches, especially if the individual is at risk.
Data protection by design and by default -These two will be the essential elements of the reform. The products and services will safeguard the data from the earliest stages of their development. The social networking sites, mobile apps, etc. will have to maintain the high standard of privacy settings by default. The privacy of users should be a top priority.
Data Protection Officers – It will be mandatory to appoint a Data Protection Officer or DPO by data controlling organizations and companies that process a large amount of data. The person to be appointed must be someone with expertise and knowledge of latest laws and practices. DPOshave to ensure compliance of regulation within an organization or a company.
Risk Assessment – According to new reforms, it will also be mandatory for the organization and companies to conduct an analysis of the impact that the breach of data will have, and steps that should be taken to minimize it.
Data Portability – The citizens of Europe will be given a new right. The right will allow the individuals to port their information from one service provider to another. It will also allow the start-ups and SMEs to gain access to data that is available only to bigger enterprises and use it to attract customers within the limit of the privacy policy. This will also benefit the European economy.

What is the one-stop shop in GDPR?

When the GDPR was designed, the council had a one-stop shop in mind. Before the GDPR, identical rules on paper were enough for data processing within a single market. New regulations state that the rules should be applied in the same way everywhere. One-stop shop will ensure that data protection authorities across the continent of Europe have co-operation. Thus, companies will deal only with one authority rather than all the authorities individually. The decision-making process will become faster and eliminate multiple contact points. This will reduce red-tapism.

Why do businesses need to pay attention to GDPR?

After the commencement of the regulation, the changes that are made in the existing ones will make an impact on many organizations around the world. As the penalties are high, it will become necessary for the business organizations that are operating in the EU, to have knowledge about the incoming regulations. If you get familiar with the changes, you can comply with your obligations in a better way. Any company that is processing the data from the citizens of the European Union, will have to comply with the GDPR, irrespective of their location.

Penalty for offenders

This is the section where the European Council made clear that they are very serious about the protection of citizen data. If you think that your organization can forgo the GDPR, think again, because the stakes are high. As per the new regulation, any organization found guilty of breaching the regulation will have to pay a heavy fine that will be levied by the council. The fine can be up to four percent of the annual global turnover of the organization or 20 million Euros, whichever is higher. The point that must be noted here is that the fine will be calculated on the turnover and not on the profit. There will be a different tier of fine for those who haven’t caused serious offense. In this case, the fine will be 2% of the global turnover or 10 million Euros. Periodic data protection audit will be conducted as per the new regulation. Companies or organizations that have committed their first non-compliance unintentionally will be warned in writing.

Digital single market and benefits for business

The data protection reform will help in attaining a single digital market in many ways. This will be very beneficial for businesses. With a single law throughout the Europe for data protection, companies will be able to save around Euro 2.3 billion per year (estimate). As discussed previously in this article, a one-stop shop will help businesses make faster decisions, as they will have to deal with only one authority. All the companies will adhere to the same set of rules, irrespective of their size and location.

In conclusion, it could be said that it is a major step taken by the European Council to protect the rights and personal information of its citizens in this age of digitalization. The strict new framework will help in building trust among citizens again, which faded after the 2011 breach. There will be a wide set of benefits for everyone.

Decoding The All New Laravel

Laravel is the most popular PHP framework in 2016. It’s free, open-source and built for MVC architecture. It mainly focuses on elegance, simplicity, readability and relies on modular packaging system and utilities that help in database and application maintenance and deployment. Its source code is hosted on GitHub and can be used across all operating systems.

The latest stable version Laravel 5.3 is now available and the Laravel team has added a lot of features for improving developer speed by adding additional out of the box improvements for common tasks.

  • Laravel Scout – New driver based solution for adding advanced search and full-text search to Eloquent models. It automatically keeps the search indexes in sync with Eloquent records by using model observers. It currently ships with an Algolia driver, however, can be easily extended with other search implementations.
  • Laravel Passport – Native OAuth2 server and API authentication package built on top of the League OAuth2 Server maintained by Alex Bilbie.
  • Laravel Mailable – PHP classes for sending emails.
  • Laravel Notifications – API for sending notifications across a variety of delivery channels, mail, SMS (via Nexmo) and Slack.
  • Laravel Echo – A Javascript package installable via NPM which provides an API for subscribing to channels and listening for server-side events in client-side JavaScript application. It includes support for Pusher and Socket.io.
  • Laravel Elixir – The new version (6.0) contains baked-in support for the Webpack and Rollup Javascript module bundlers.

Few of the upcoming features in next version (5.4) of Laravel are:

    • JSON Based Language Files – For better support and handling of multilingual project requirements and applications.
    • Laravel Blade Components & Slots – Ability to add Components & Slots to Blade templates.
  • Higher Order Messaging For Collections

Compared to Laravel 5.2, there are few changes also in Laravel 5.3 which are worth mentioning:

  • In Laravel 5.2, the routes file (routes.php) was in the Http directory (app\Http\routes.php) whereas in Laravel 5.3, routes is a new folder (top first level) which contains two files namely web.php and api.php. Thus there is no routes.php file in Laravel 5.3 and you can set up routes for web and API separately using these two files.
  • The middleware group registering file (app\Http\Kernel.php) contains separately defined middleware group for web and API in Laravel 5.3. Similarly in route service provider file (app\Providers\RouteServiceProvider.php) also, web and API specific routes are defined separately.
  • The app directory in Laravel 5.3 is more simple. In Laravel 5.2, there were folders like Events, Jobs, Listeners and Policies which were not always used by default. In Laravel 5.3, these folders are not available natively and you have to run associated commands to create that on-demand.
  • The Fluent Query Builder in Laravel 5.3 now returns Collection (Illuminate\Support\Collection) instances instead of plain arrays.
  • There is a new cache() global helper in Laravel 5.3 which can perform three primary functions – get, put or return an instance of the backing service.
  • While using the for each and for else Blade directives, $loop object is available for each iteration.
  • A new toggle() method is available on all belongsToMany relationships which solves the issue of deleting an existing pivot table record or adding a new one.
  • The uploaded File instance has a new store() method for storing files on the server including S3.

Laravel’s modular packaging system, user-friendliness, and elegance have generated huge interest among developers and customers worldwide and it is expected to continue staying at the top. The main benefits which this framework offer are:

  • Fast and secure development.
  • Well-organized, reusable and maintainable coding options.
  • Scalability of web apps.
  • High level security.
  • Follows the OOP (Object-Oriented Programming), MVC (Model-View-Controller) patterns and security which ensures the separation of presentation and logic.
  • Promotes advanced and modern web development practices.

Because of its simplicity, easy learning curve, and rapid application development support, we at  Capital Numbers are extensively using Laravel to develop large, robust and efficient web applications and customized solutions, REST API (using Lumen which is a stunningly fast PHP Micro-Framework by Laravel) and deliver bug-free codes by performing unit tests.

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