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How To Create An Effective B2B Site Experience For Your Brand
2
How To Run A Cost Effective Project
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Why Drupal Is Ideal For E-Commerce?
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7 Common Ways That Small Businesses Waste Money Marketing
5
Most Employers, Workers Believe Workplace Will Be Freelance-Based By 2025
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WordPress Vs. Drupal: Which Content Management System Is Right For You?
7
Why Is Unity3D The Most Highly Preferred Game Engine?
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Unity 5.6 Beta Is Now Available, Brings Vulkan Support And 60% Boost In Performance Out Of The Box
9
Drupal VM 4 Is Here! With PHP 7.1 And Easy PHP Switching
10
Drupal Global Sprint Weekend: Jan 30th and 31st

How To Create An Effective B2B Site Experience For Your Brand

In today’s world of digitization, having a website is a vital element of any business, irrespective of their size and services. If you have a business, you need to have a website. Since everything is online these days, being online should be considered as the ultimate opportunity to reach a large number of targeted audiences. But the conventional way of creating a website is now obsolete. What you should do is opt for a website that is user-friendly, informative and up-to-date.

According to a market survey, the most important things that customers look for on a website are pricing information, technical information, articles/case studies/blog posts and shipping information. However, below are some tips and tactics that will help you create a more effective B2B site in order to validate your brand and generate a site experience that is helpful for the users. Read on-

  • Evaluate Your Own Field:

Many companies often forget the importance of doing internal as well as external research before redesigning or recreating their website. Internal and external research and competitive analysis are a must-have step before redesigning your B2B website.

  • Site Analysis:

The next step to get a better and more user-friendly B2B website is site analysis since it enables you to understand the current position of your competitors. This will also enable you to get a better understanding of the online brand image of your competitor’s site. Check their brand pillars showcased, site structure and content. This research will give you an idea of what visitors actually want from your site. By doing research, you can improve your site dramatically.

  • Keyword Analysis:

One of the most important things that you need to do for a user-friendly B2B website is keyword analysis. In fact, ranking the targeted keywords can directly affect the potential users to visit your site. Research the keywords of your competitors and find out which keywords are ranking high. This will help you make a better marketing strategy.

  • Cater to Your Audience Group:

The B2B customers can be divided into two categories, some users are well informed and want a high-level validation of your brand, whereas, others are less informed, and they want to get a full understanding of products that are offered. Therefore, you need to make your website easily accessible, so that your meeting the needs of your targeted users.

  • Google Analytics:

Google Analytics is an amazing tracking tool that helps in tracking your site metrics. It also enables you to understand the inner-workings of your website. With the help of this tool, you can get a quick insight into your site activity. By gaining the helpful data (bounce rate, session volume and average time spent on a page), you will get an accurate assessment of users positive and negative behavior.

  • Highlight What Makes You Different:

In order to highlight your website, the most important thing you need to do are strategic messaging and content hierarchy. If you want to position your brand for the first time online, you’ll need further validation. Many companies, who have a minimal presence online, try to introduce and validate their brand. You may have seen cases where businesses have a high volume of product content and brand image. In doing this it is difficult to showcase and distinguish your business from others with only the strategic messaging and content. Here is where the importance of a value proposition page lies. It helps the users to discover and engage in key content quickly. This page can also be used as a marketing landing page for social media campaigns and SEM, in order to link users to valuable content.

These tactics will help businesses to optimize their presence online. You can simply try it to get the best online experience. Begin with these approaches today to create an even more effective B2B site for the future of your brand.

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.

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.

7 Common Ways That Small Businesses Waste Money Marketing

Growing a small business is not that easy. We start a business because we may be a good accountant, lawyer, website designer, business consultant, lawyer or other professional service providers, but that does not mean that we are experts at growing and marketing our own small business. As we are not business marketing experts, we tend to follow what others do. And most of the time, it does not work at all. Here are the most common mistakes that small business owners make when it comes to spending money and how they can turn those losses into gains.

Building a social media following

It may sound good, but building a following on sites such as Facebook can actually cause more harm than good for your small business, in that it can be a waste of time and therefore money. As the algorithm of Facebook is always changing, it has made it harder for marketers to reach their clients organically. Based on 500,000 likes per year, only around 2% of your followers actually, see your posts. The good news is that now you can buy Facebook ads so that you can boost the number of users who see your posts.

Solution: Try to get your client’s email addresses and send them weekly newsletters with updates about your services. Also, you can offer incentives to those who recommend your products or services to their friends or family.

Not Understanding What Your Customers Want

Marketing is all about knowing the needs and wants of your audience, but small businesses tend to lack this information. You will be wasting your time as well as money if you do not understand the demographics of your target market.  

Solution: The first thing that you need to do is to identify who your customer is and determine what their needs are, where they reside and what they can afford to purchase. In defining who your primary customer is, you learn how to meet their needs and have a happy clientele.

Being Impatient and Giving up Too Soon

Marketing needs a lot of time as well as effort when growing a business. If you expect to get hundreds and thousands of followers in just one week, then this will seriously upset you. And as a result, small businesses give up, in spite of starting strong.

Solution: The solution to this is quite simple. First of all, do not raise your expectations too high. Give your small business a year or two to ramp up. Once you start getting followers, you can engage them with as much interesting content as possible.

Trying to do Too Much

Creating an account on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and a lot of other social networking sites is highly ineffective for a small business. As a small business owner, you have fewer employees. So don’t try to be online everywhere at the same time, all at once.

Solution: You can’t do it all – accept it. Choose one or two social media sites that your customers use the most and devote a few hours per week in promoting your products and services.

You Are Not Tracking Your Marketing Results

You may have Google Analytics set up, but do you really use it at all?  Many small businesses aren’t aware how this tool works. They have a lot of questions and confusion regarding Google’s PPC and AdWords. As it is an effective marketing tool, business owners simply buy ad space without fully understanding how those ads work. This is one way that you could unwittingly be wasting a lot of money.

Solution: You can set up conversion tracking for your ad campaigns. This way you will get to know how effective your ads are at attracting your customers.

You Have Not Changed Your Marketing Strategy in Years

Times change, and so should your marketing strategy. If you have a marketing strategy that you have not changed in years and are still investing in it, this is simply a phenomenal waste of money.

Solution: It is suggested that you try new things every year. As marketing is always evolving, you need to evolve too.

Huge One-Time Ad Campaign

There are a number of cool marketing tactics that you can try. While some of them work great, others do not. This is especially true if you only have one shot to make them work. Diving into marketing campaigns that require a lot of money is a waste of money for small businesses.

Solution: You need to first test the ad campaign with a modest budget. If you see that this new tactic is not working even with a smaller budget, it is likely that it will not work with a large budget.

Are these the areas in which your business is wasting money? If so, then it’s time that you make some changes in your marketing plan and grow your business.

Most Employers, Workers Believe Workplace Will Be Freelance-Based By 2025

If you have been bored by traditional ways of working and you are not a perfect fit for the typical 9 to 5 job, don’t worry, things are going to change in the next decade. According to a study conducted by the Randstad US, workplaces will be agiler by the year 2025. Out of all the employers and workers who participated in the study, 68% of employers and 70% workers agreed that there is a change in the way of working. They also agreed that by the end of the next decade a majority of the workforce will be employed on a contractual, temporary or freelance basis.

Some Highlights of the Study:

  • The study, in which 1500 HR and C-suite company executives participated with 3,100 employees, also revealed that half of the workforce is looking forward to becoming a part of an agile capable workforce within the next three years.
  • The Randstad study also revealed that employers are already preparing themselves for the shift that might occur. They are already accommodating both regular and agile employees to fulfill their current staffing needs. Employers also believe that having a freelance model workforce will allow them to take advantage of global forces and innovation.
  • This study also affirms that employees are thinking independently, which has fuelled their desire to go solo into the job market.
  • One of the important highlights of the study is that the agile workforce may also include involuntary part-time workers who want full-time employment. Another aspect to consider is that the low-skilled workers might not find the agile employment system or gig economy to be a suitable condition.

The job market, like any other field, is subject to predictions made by experts. While there might have been many forecasts, like the possibility of robots taking away your job, a freelance-based workplace is nothing that has appeared out of blue.

Reasons Behind Such Change

If you analyze the data of the past few years, you will see that the change has already started. Many have termed it to be the fourth industrial revolution. Factors like the use of machines, mass manufacturing requirements, globalization, the digital revolution, and automation have led to this revolution.

Employers are becoming more committed to building an agile workforce. On the other hand, the study was done by Randstad US also indicated that staff and working professionals are also considering working in a more flexible manner rather than the fixed 9 to 5 routine. Advancements in technology have helped in fast-pacing the change and given support to the freelance workplace concept.

The employees feel that the freelance workforce fits better with their lifestyle. Thus, motivating them to change the way they work. Many employees also pointed out that being in an agile workplace will benefit them in their financial growth as well as giving them better control over the growth of their career.

Advantages to Employers

The agile workforce model will be very beneficial for employers. According to the study, these are some advantages that employers will enjoy.

  • This model will help employers to reach the highly skilled and talented professionals needed for their projects.  
  • Another aspect employers will benefit by is that they will have access to and the advantages of a global talent.
  • The agile workplace will bring innovation and creativity to the workplace.
  • The operation of a company or enterprise will improve. Being able to hire the best of talent from a pool of global talent will give businesses an edge over their competitors.
  • Being agile will help in reducing cost. The company may not even have to maintain a physical workplace or other expenses like refreshments, etc., will be reduced. In other words, employers will get better value for the salary they will pay.

Advantages to Employees

As an employee, there is a wide range of benefits that comes with the freelance working model. The most crucial advantage that employees get through this model is freedom from rigidity. Employees will not be encumbered by a regular and robotic nine-to-five job within one place. With the help of the latest technologies, they can work from anywhere. Working on a contractual basis or working as a freelancer will require an employee to connect and work with many companies and professionals. This will generate overall growth and skill development.  According to the study, employees feel that the experience they gain will be very valuable.

In conclusion, this survey reveals that the agile workplace will be useful in building a world-class talent base. It will help companies find the highly skilled workers and professionals needed for their projects. Employees, in turn, will flourish in this flexible environment.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drupal Global Sprint Weekend: Jan 30th and 31st

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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