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Drupal 10 New Features and How to Prepare Your Migration
  Drupal is a free and open-source content management system that allows you to create websites with a simple interface, but it has many powerful features for more advanced users. Drupal is being used by millions of people worldwide and many businesses and institutions like Harvard, Twitter, or Whole Foods.  The first version of Drupal was released on January 15, 2001, more than twenty years ago.  Drupal 10 is expected to be released in December 2022. It will be a refined version of Drupal 9 and it will include many new features, including: Symfony 6 compatibility. Site owners and module developers will benefit from as much Symfony 6 compatibility as possible and Symfony 4 deprecations in Drupal 9 for Symfony 5 will be resolved. Supported solutions for rebuilding jQuery UI functionality by using either vanilla JavaScript or frameworks like React. jQuery UI components used by Drupal core will be removed. Best practices for deprecating modules. Users will be able to use a proper mechanism for naming, versioning, deprecating wrappers, etc. A 'lifecycle' - property can be used in info.yml files for themes and modules. Better decoupled developer and site builder experiences, especially for menu and URL handling. Introduction of CKEditor 5 with better authoring experience and more modern editing (replacing CKEditor 4). PHP 8.1 compatibility for Drupal 9 and Drupal 10.  Theme Starterkit tools for bespoke theme creation.     How to prepare for Drupal 10 The following are steps that you should take before upgrading your existing sites to Drupal 10. Upgrade all modules on your current site to their latest versions. If you have not already done so, upgrade core to its latest release. You can do this by running drush up --all from within your Drupal root directory. Perform a full backup of your site. This includes database backups as well as files and folders outside of the Drupal installation directory. Update your site's configuration file. The easiest way to do this is to download the Configuration Upgrade Module module and run it against your site. To do this, go toUpdate your themes and modules to the most recent versions available. In particular, update any custom modules or themes you use to their latest releases. Will the upgrade to Drupal 10 be easy? New functionality for Drupal 10 is added to Drupal 9 releases, meaning module developers can start adopting new APIs right away. Old functionality is removed, but backward compatibility is kept. Once we are ready for Drupal 10, we remove deprecated code, breaking backward compatibility, but because developers had a chance to update their modules, the upgrade to Drupal 10 should be easy. More exactly, Drupal 10 is identical with Drupal 9, except for its deprecation list. There shouldn't be any big or unexpected changes. What are the Drupal 10 platform requirements so far? PHP requirements: At least PHP 8.0.2 and PHP 8.1 is recommended.  PHP 8.0 is being dropped after November 2023, but security patches for PHP 8 will continue to be provided by other organizations. Some of Drupal's Composer dependency packages might start dropping support for PHP 8 after November 2023. Database server requirements: Check out the Database server requirements documentation.  Web server requirements:  They are the same as for Drupal 9. If you need additional support for preparing your migration to Drupal 10, our experienced team of Drupal experts can provide step-by-step assistance. Learn more about our Drupal services today!    Photo credit: Unsplash. ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / May 25'2022
Acquia Maintenance Services for Drupal Enterprise
  Acquia Cloud Enterprise is a fully managed cloud service that provides the infrastructure, tools, and services to run your site on the Acquia Platform. Acquia for Drupal Enterprise is an enterprise-ready version of Acquia's award-winning platform for building and running websites with Drupal 8. It includes all of the features you need to build, manage, and scale a modern website. It also comes with preconfigured modules, themes, and other content so you can get started quickly. What makes Acquia the right Drupal hosting provider? Acquia Cloud Platform offers secure and compliant web hosting services built exclusively for Drupal. You can use them to host your site and develop your content using Drupal 8, Drupal 7, or any other version of Drupal. They offer fully managed Drupal hosting, as well as a range of development tools. Their enterprise-grade security features include SSL certificates and access control lists (ACLs). They also provide world-class customer service. The following are some of the key benefits of choosing Acquia: Fully managed hosting - No servers to install, configure, maintain, upgrade, patch, or monitor. All you have to do is deploy Drupal. Focus on innovation - Having a fully managed Drupal hosting solution allows you to create digital experiences that focus on what matters most: the customer. Highly scalable - Acquia’s cloud architecture scales from small sites to large global deployments. Built for performance - Acquia has built its hardware and software solutions to ensure that your site performs at peak levels. Streamline compliance - Compliance requirements such as GDPR, PCI DSS, HIPAA, and more are easily met through Acquia’s robust data protection practices.   Top features of Acquia web hosting for Drupal Drupal 8 support. Acquia supports Drupal 8 out of the box. This means you can start developing and deploying your next great project immediately. Built-in security. Acquia includes strong authentication and firewall controls. Robust developer tools that provide automated testing for development, staging, and production environments.  Real-time monitoring tools (Acquia Insight) that measure and report on application health. Add-ons. Acquia offers hundreds of add-on modules and themes to help you customize and deliver cutting-edge experiences. Best Practices for Acquia Setup & Maintenance  In order to optimize the performance and functionality of your site, we recommend the following best practices when setting up and maintaining your site on Acquia. Set up the environment before starting work. The first step in getting started with Acquia is creating an account and installing Drupal. Once your site is live, it’s important to keep it running smoothly by regularly updating core, contributed modules, and third-party extensions. Use the Acquia Dashboard. The Acquia dashboard provides a single place where you can view all of your settings, including installed modules, configuration options, and user roles. It's also where you can manage users, groups, and ACL permissions. Keep your database clean. As part of regular maintenance, make sure your database tables are properly maintained. For example, if you have many content types or custom fields, consider using the Field Permissions module to prevent orphaned records. Keep your database optimized. If you use the MySQL Query Cache feature, it will be automatically enabled. To ensure optimal performance, disable caching whenever possible. Optimize your codebase. Use the built-in Drush command line tool to perform updates and upgrades to Drupal core and other modules. Optimize your site architecture. Make sure your site has a clear separation between presentation logic and business logic. This helps separate concerns and makes it easier to maintain your site as its complexity grows. Make sure your site has a clean separation between presentation logic and data access logic. This helps separate responsibilities and makes it easier to update your site when new features are added. Test your site thoroughly. Test your site from multiple devices and browsers. You should test on mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop.    FAQs about Drupal hosting How does Acquia compare to other Drupal hosts? Acquia is one of the few companies offering truly integrated Drupal hosting. The brand has combined its expertise in both technology and business management to make it easy for users to launch and grow their online presence. What is the difference between Acquia Hosting and Acquia Cloud Platform? With Acquia Hosting, customers get all the benefits of a full-featured, managed Drupal platform without having to manage servers themselves. With Acquia Cloud Platform, customers get all the advantages of a private cloud infrastructure with the convenience of a shared environment. Both options allow you to build, test, and deploy websites quickly and efficiently. Is there a free trial available for Acquia Hosting? Yes. You can try our services completely risk-free by signing up for a 30-day free trial. After the trial period ends, you will be billed $9.99 per month. Can I host my website using Acquia Hosting if I am not interested in running an enterprise-level site? Absolutely. Acquia Hosting is designed to work well with any type of website. It comes with everything you need to launch your new or existing website, including: A powerful Content Management System (CMS). An intuitive user interface. Easily scalable resources. Advanced security. Access to thousands of premium WordPress themes and plugins. Support for multiple languages and currencies   To learn more about Acquia Drupal, check out this page.          Photo credit: Unsplash.... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Apr 29'2022
How to Find the Best Drupal Developer for Your Needs
  Building a robust Drupal development project that supports your business objectives can be challenging and time-consuming. But with the right Drupal partner that has the experience and expertise needed to help you build a website that will meet all of your needs, you will find this process a lot easier. This article talks about the competitive advantages of hiring Drupal developers and how you can find the best fit that meets your Drupal project needs.  The benefits of hiring Drupal developers Hiring a Drupal developer is an investment in your company's success as it provides plenty of competitive benefits that set you apart from the competition. These advantages include: Building highly-personalized Drupal projects that boost your brand awareness and increase sales. Designing and developing custom Drupal features and functionalities that suit your project requirements. Dedicated support for your Drupal project throughout its lifecycle from content migration and system integration to API design and web accessibility. Having access to ongoing updates and continuous maintenance and support. Reduced costs and increased ROI by having a dedicated team working on your project. What are some of the challenges of hiring Drupal developers? Hiring a Drupal developer or a Drupal development team may not always be easy because there are many factors involved when choosing a Drupal developer. Some of these factors include: Finding a good match between your skillset and their technical knowledge. Choosing a Drupal developer who understands your business goals and objectives. Finding a reliable Drupal partner at a price that fits your budget allowance.     How to spot the right Drupal partner for your business requirements There are several things you should consider before hiring a Drupal developer. Here are some tips to help you identify the right Drupal developer for your project: Do your research first and gain a good understanding of what a Drupal developer is and what are their responsibilities.  A Drupal developer has plenty of duties like conducting research and installing Drupal modules that best fit your needs, extending existing modules so their functionality increases, managing how your website looks and works for high-quality user experiences, migrating existing websites and content, architecting  Drupal projects and web infrastructures, etc.   Also, a Drupal developer can have three main roles that you should pay attention to: Drupal Front-End Developer. A front-end developer is responsible for designing and building the interface of your site using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Bootstrap, Foundation or any other framework. This includes elements such as buttons, forms, navigation menus, or tables and also includes how your page looks. Drupal Back-End Developer. A back-end developer is responsible for programming the logic behind your site's functions and processes. This includes writing code that handles database queries, creates pages, manages users, and more. Drupal Theme Developer. A theme developer is responsible for styling the look and feel of the entire website including the layout, colors, fonts, images, and anything else that makes up the overall appearance. They will work with the front-end developer to ensure that everything on the site matches and flows well together.        2. Identify and examine your project needs.  Now that you know in more detail what a Drupal developer does, it's time to understand your project needs and what you require from a developer's services. Key questions to ask at this stage are: Do you need a back-end expert or a full-stack developer? Do you only need Drupal maintenance? Do you need a whole new enterprise-grade Drupal solution? Would you like to hire a freelance developer or a contract-to-hire? Do you just have a rough idea of what you’d like him/them to develop? What type of experience do you want them to have? How much time would you be willing to spend working with them? How many hours per week would you be able to dedicate to the project?       3. Know where to look for talented Drupal developers. Top channels to consider for passive searches: job portals like LinkedIn, Monster, Glassdoor, Indeed online Drupal (or PHP) communities freelance platforms like Upwork, Toptal, Scalable Path Top channels for your active searches: social media Drupal groups local IT communities LinkedIn (when you start analyzing particular profiles on LinkedIn your passive search becomes active) Drupal.org (select the top Drupal profiles there and start evaluating them against your own requirements) developer communities like GitHub, Stack Overflow       4. Ask the right questions. Among the most important questions to ask potential Drupal partners are: How long have you been working with Drupal development solutions? What Drupal experience do you have? Are you familiar with my business model? Can you provide references? What Drupal skills do you possess? What Drupal technologies do you use?       5. Evaluate your potential Drupal partner carefully. Essential things to consider are: How experienced they are in working with different Drupal versions What their technical expertise is / How skilled they are at Drupal module development Their GitHub Profile (how much time they spent on different projects, samples of their written code, details on their contributions) Their involvement with the Drupal community What past clients say about working with them   Optasy's team of experienced Drupal developers is here to help you We are a development company and we are ready to leverage and to "fuel" your project with all that Drupal expertise that we've been gaining as a Drupal firm during these +10 years: whether it's custom module development, Drupal migration, AI implementation, or any type of new feature integration with Drupal that you need us to do. We're web developers, but with a mobile-first approach to our website development projects, in fact: we commit to helping you deliver the message to your users in an intuitive, effective, and nonetheless appealing way, on all devices.  We'll be in for the long run: our Drupal development services include 24/7/365 support & ongoing maintenance, which means much more than just rolling out patches and updates; we'll ensure that your OPTASY solution (be it Drupal, Laravel, WordPress, Magento, React or Angular-based) keeps meeting your goals, that it continues to remain relevant in the context of future technology changes. From structure planning, to Drupal website development, all the way to maintenance and long-term support, we've got your back; stay assured: full-cycle projects are our specialty as a Drupal 8 agency. As a development company in Toronto we have the experience and the expertise to handle your most specific requirements:   back-end development: we design and develop the custom features and functionalities that suit your project requirements front-end development: from custom themes to user-friendly Uis, to user experience design, to designing responsive layouts content migration system integration API design and development web accessibility  website maintenance: pass over the maintenance burden on our shoulders; we provide ongoing updates and continuous maintenance and support   For more information on how our talented Drupal experts can help you build a robust project for your web development needs, contact us.    Photo credit: Unsplash.... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Jan 21'2022
7 Key Stages Every Drupal Development Project Should Contain
  Drupal is a content management system that has been around for more than 10 years. The first version of the CMS was released in 2003, and since then it has grown to become one of the most popular open-source applications on the web today. Drupal is used by many different types of businesses, including small business owners who want to create their own website or blog, as well as large corporations looking to build a robust online presence. Our development team at Optasy has helped hundreds of clients with their Drupal projects over the past few years. In this article, we will go through each stage of our Drupal development process and provide you with some insight into what makes each phase unique.     What makes Drupal a popular choice? Drupal provides plenty of user and business benefits that can transform any web development project into a successful one. Some of those benefits are: Flexibility. Drupal is flexible enough to be used by small businesses or large corporations alike. It’s also easy to customize the CMS to fit your needs. Scalability. The platform supports thousands of users, making it perfect for eCommerce sites with lots of traffic. High customization. You can easily scale Drupal websites to match specific needs and traffic fluctuations.  Security. Drupal offers multiple security features that make it an ideal solution for government agencies and other organizations that need to protect sensitive information. Large community. There are over 1 million active members in the Drupal community, which means you have access to tons of support when you run into problems.     How do you know if your Drupal development project is successful? With the right insights or a team of Drupal experts by your side, your future website will: be feature-rich, which means it’s more likely to be used by your target audience. have an intuitive user and digital experience that allows visitors to easily find what they need without having to go through multiple pages. be mobile responsive, which will make your site look and function properly on any device. include rich media. This means that you can add video, audio, and other multimedia elements to your site with ease. be optimized for enterprise-level security. ship with a granular user management system tailored to your organization's specific needs when it comes to custom workflows. be "loaded" with custom Drupal modules to fit unique functionality needs. leverage an enhanced content management system; where content gets found, filtered — and, therefore, perfectly structured —  with utmost ease. be conveniently modular and extensible.   7 Key Stages of Successful Drupal Development Projects Drupal development projects are complex, but with the right insights or a team of experts to guide you through each stage of the project, you can be successful.  Let's have a look at seven essential steps that Optasy includes in every Drupal project created. 1. Identify the needs of your business. The first step is to identify what you want your website to achieve. You need to know why you’re building it in the first place so you can create a strong digital strategy. Our Drupal experts will ask questions like: What do you hope to get out of it? Who will use it? What problems does it solve for them? How much time will they spend on it? These questions help the development team understand how your site fits into your overall marketing strategy. 2. Create a vision for your website. Once we know who your audience is and what you want to accomplish, it’s time to create a clear picture of what that looks like. A good way to start is by creating a graphic design and representation of your brand identity and deciding which way to go with the infrastructure management. This helps us define the colors, fonts, and other elements that make up your brand. It also gives an opportunity to think about how your site might fit into your overall marketing strategy and messaging. 3. Design an architecture that works. Your website has many moving parts—from the navigation menu to the contact form. Each part must work together to provide users with a seamless experience. That means choosing which features to include and which ones to leave behind. For example, if you don’t want to offer live chat support, then don’t add it to your site. If you decide to include social media sharing buttons, then make sure those buttons are easy to find so visitors can share your content easily. 4. Deploy the development process. If your site is designed properly, there shouldn’t be any surprises when it goes live. But even the best-designed sites sometimes encounter unexpected challenges during deployment. To avoid these issues, we are using a staging environment before launching your site.  5. Migrate your content carefully. Migrating your content from one platform to another may come with some unexpected issues. In fact, migrating your data isn’t always straightforward. There are several different ways to move content between platforms. Some methods require manual intervention, while others automate the process. Regardless of which method it is chosen, we highly rely on testing the migration process thoroughly. 6. Optimize for search engines. Search engine optimization is an important aspect of any web presence. Without a proper SEO strategy, your site won’t rank high enough in search results. And without traffic, you won’t see any return on investment. So, we put a lot of emphasis on optimizing your website to have a high ranking on SERPs. 7. Test and plan your QA strategy. As your website is being built, testing it is imperative. Tools such as Google Analytics can monitor visitor activity and track conversion rates. Once you’ve reached your goals, it’s important to continue monitoring your analytics to ensure that everything continues working smoothly. Regarding the QA strategy, the following are important: Having a dedicated QA team member responsible for testing your site. Setting up automated tests to check functionality and usability. Creating a list of bugs and prioritizing them based on severity. That's it! We've walked you through Optasy's Drupal development stages so you can gain a clearer picture of how our team of Drupal experts can support your web development journey. Contact us now and let's start building your website.   Photo credit: Unsplash.... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Dec 21'2021
Drupal for enterprise. Is it suitable for your company?
  Drupal is a free and open-source content management system, and one of the most popular CMSs used by big companies in North America. It has been around since 2004 and it’s still growing fast. Drupal is an excellent digital solution if you want to build a website that can grow with your business. Drupal enterprise is built on top of Drupal core, which means that all features are available in both versions. The difference between them is that the enterprise version comes with additional modules and themes. If you need more functionality than what is included in the standard version, then you should consider using the enterprise version. If you want to use Drupal for big companies, then you should look into the enterprise version. This allows you to create a custom theme or module for your company logo, colors, etc.         Why CTOs of Big Companies Choose Drupal? Drupal has been adopted by some of the biggest names in technology. Here are just a few examples: Yahoo! - Yahoo uses Drupal to deliver its email service, Flickr photo-sharing service, and many other products. The New York Times - The New York Times uses Drupal to publish its news stories online. Facebook - Facebook uses Drupal to manage its social network. Twitter - Twitter uses Drupal to manage its microblogging service. LinkedIn - LinkedIn uses Drupal to manage its professional networking service.  Salesforce - Salesforce uses Drupal to run its CRM product. Why are these big companies choosing Drupal? Let's look at some of the top benefits of Drupal for enterprises.   Key Benefits of Drupal Enterprise   When used for big companies, Drupal can provide competitive advantages like: Delivering robust digital experiences on multiple channels and devices. You can use the same codebase to build responsive web pages, mobile apps, native Android and iOS apps, and even standalone desktop applications. Building experiences that combine the power of Drupal’s robust backend with front-end rendering using the tools developers feel will work best for customers. Providing robust development tools and environments for developing Drupal-based experiences. These make it easier for digital teams to rapidly begin building Drupal-based web applications. Offering a future-proofed digital express platform which ensures that your marketing technologies can be adapted to changes in the digital environment and emerging technologies, channels, and devices Acquia's Drupal Platform is built on top of the most popular content management system available today. With the help of Acquia Cloud, you can easily scale your site as your business grows. You'll also get access to a wide range of premium services, including managed hosting, performance monitoring, security updates, infrastructure management, etc. With a few clicks, you can create personalized versions of your site's home page that are highly optimized for top ranking on search engines. What is more, you can also make changes to pages as visitors navigate around your website.     Why the Drupal Enterprise Needs Acquia? If you're looking for an easy way to deploy a new project, Acquia offers a complete solution for managing all aspects of your Drupal deployment from planning through production. And if you need to add features or fix bugs, we have a team of experts ready to assist you. We are one of the most reliable Drupal service providers on the market and we want to ensure that you get the right support when you need it. That means providing you with everything you need to get started quickly and efficiently. Our expert consultants are always available to answer questions about how to get the most out of our solution.       How to Use Drupal Enterprise As an enterprise solution, you need to have a good understanding of how your business works, what problems you face, and how you want to solve them. You should also know how your organization uses IT resources, including people, time, money, and other resources. Before you start working with Acquia, you may want to talk with someone who has experience working with enterprises, such as a CIO, a Chief Marketing Officer, or another senior executive at your company. This person could serve as a mentor, helping you understand how to leverage Acquia to meet your needs. The following are some tips to consider when planning your deployment: Know your data. Before you deploy Drupal, you must first determine whether your data is stored locally or remotely. If your data is stored remotely, you might need to set up a secure connection between your local computer and the remote server where your data resides. Understand your budget. It's important to know how much money you're willing to spend before you buy Drupal. Depending on your current technology stack, you might be able to find free solutions. However, if you don't have a lot of money, you might need to evaluate alternative options. For example, you might choose to migrate your existing application to Drupal instead of buying new software. Know your timeline. When deciding how long it takes to implement a project, keep these factors in mind: Your team size (the larger your team, the longer it generally takes to complete a project), your skills (some projects take less time than others because they require fewer skills. For example, if you already have a custom database schema, you won't need to learn how to build one from scratch.), your expertise (some projects take less than others because you've done similar things before). Learn about Drupal. To ensure that you fully understand Drupal, you should read the documentation, attend training classes, and ask questions. You should also work closely with a Drupal expert during the implementation process. Is Drupal the Right Choice for Your Intranet? Drupal can help you create an engaging user experience by providing content that is relevant to users' interests. By using features like views, blocks, and dynamic menus, you can easily organize information into specific areas of your site. In addition, Drupal offers many modules that allow you to customize your site to fit your unique needs. If you’re looking for a platform to support your internal communications, then Drupal is a great option. With its robust feature set, Drupal provides a variety of tools to help you manage your content effectively. Whether you’re looking to provide employees with a way to share ideas internally, or you’re looking at ways to improve customer service, Drupal can help. Conclusion  The key to choosing the right CMS for your organization is understanding what you want out of your website and how your business will use it. This guide has provided some insight into each type of CMS so you can make an informed decision when selecting which solution best fits your needs and supports your open-source project. What are your experiences with different types of CMSs? Share them below!     Photo credit: Unsplash.... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Dec 14'2021
The Benefits Of Interactive Websites and How to Create Them
  Today, the digital world is getting increasingly competitive. To stay relevant, you need to build personalized user experiences and engage your audience in a meaningful way. What makes a website interactive? An interactive website is one that communicates efficiently and provides interactive web user experiences. It can be used to create an online presence for your business, or it could also be used as part of the marketing strategy for your company. The main goal of any website should always be to provide users with the information they need in order to make informed decisions about their purchases. This means providing them with all relevant information on products and services offered by you and/or your competitors. An effective way to do this would be through the use of graphics, videos, animations, etc., which are known collectively as "web 2.0" technologies. These types of websites allow users to interact directly with content without having to navigate away from the page first. They're often referred to as being more engaging than traditional static sites because they encourage interaction between visitors and the site's owner. In addition, these types of websites tend to have higher conversion rates compared to other forms of advertising. The Benefits of Creating Interactive Websites Interactivity is a key element in the success of any website. It can be as simple as adding an interactive map to your business directory, or it could involve creating a complex database-driven application that allows users to search for products and services by category, price range, location, etc. The main benefits of interactive websites are: Increased engagement. Users will spend longer periods of time browsing your site if there are multiple ways for them to engage with what they see. For example, if you offer a product comparison tool, then people who want to compare prices may find themselves spending hours looking at different options before making a purchase decision. Higher conversions. People like interacting with things that interest them. If you've ever been to a museum, you know how much fun it is to look around exhibits and learn new facts while doing so. You'll probably end up buying something after visiting such places. So why not take advantage of this fact when designing your own website? More targeted traffic. When someone visits your website, they have already made some sort of connection with you. By offering them additional opportunities to connect with you further, you increase the chances of converting that visitor into a customer. Better SEO rankings. Search engines prefer websites that contain lots of valuable data. An interactive website gives you many more opportunities to include keywords within its pages, thus improving your ranking in searches related to those terms. Better user experience (UX). A good UX makes life easier for both customers and employees. Customers might not mind navigating complicated interfaces; however, they hate slow ones. Employees dislike working with systems that require too much training. Both groups appreciate easy navigation and intuitive designs.   How to make your website interactive There is a wide variety of tools and website features available today that help you build interactive websites. The most popular elements and features for making websites interactive are: Simple software tools that relate to your business like tax calculators, quizzes, or surveys. These types of applications allow visitors to interact directly with your content without having to leave your page. They also provide valuable feedback about your audience's interests and preferences. An eCommerce solution that integrates payment processing, shipping, inventory management, order tracking, and other functions needed to run a successful online store. Social media widgets that let you embed social sharing buttons on your website. This lets your audience share information about your company via their favorite networks. Videos on web pages make great examples of how to create interactive websites. The best part about using videos is that it doesn't need to be fancy -- just get creative! Visual designs tend to attract and engage more users. User-generated content can add value to any type of site. It helps people feel connected to what you're saying by giving them an opportunity to contribute ideas and opinions. A blog allows users to comment on posts as well as read others' comments. Blogs often have polls where readers vote on topics. Interactivity isn't limited to these five categories. There are plenty of ways to incorporate interaction into your website. For instance, if you sell products, you could offer free samples so that potential buyers can try them before buying. If you want to promote your brand, you could ask followers to submit photos of themselves wearing your product. You could even use Twitter hashtags to encourage conversation around certain subjects. You can get creative when it comes to interactive content on your site and use the following interactive elements that, as simple as they might look, can engage more users: Google Maps is a very useful interactive element to introduce on your site because it helps users save time and energy. Live polling gives users the ability to respond in real-time to questions asked through live chat. Search functionalities that make the user navigation more straightforward and effective. Feedback forms give users the chance to express their opinion about something specific and offer a feeling of connection with the brand. Making your website interactive strongly supports your digital marketing efforts An interactive website design and functionality can significantly improve the customer experience, which will most likely increase engagement among your target audiences. Your digital marketing strategies can greatly benefit from an interactive design layout and functionality. According to a study, "the average person spends more than two hours per day consuming digital media." An interactive website design and functionality give businesses the chance to engage with consumers at all times. How interactive elements affect SEO The more interactive experiences you provide on your website, the better they'll perform when it comes to search engine optimization. In fact, Google has stated that sites with rich user interactions tend to rank higher in its results pages. Google uses many signals to determine whether a webpage should appear high up in its rankings. One of those factors includes how much attention users pay to each element on a given page. For example, if someone clicks on one particular link within a post, then this action indicates interest in that specific topic. Therefore, engaging your audience as much as possible through interactive features and elements will help boost your organic traffic and help you rank higher on SERPs. Interactive websites as part of a strong online presence Successful modern businesses provide valuable interactive website examples as they leverage the potential of interactive websites to create stronger connections between customers and companies. They understand the power that lies behind creating a positive impression on visitors by providing them with relevant information and making sure they feel valued. What tools or features do you use to make your website more interactive?   Photo credit: John Schnobrich on Unsplash. ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Oct 13'2021
Drupal Migration Services
  Drupal is a popular open-source platform for content management that provides rich functionality and high customization capabilities to enhance the user experience.  Many companies are already making the switch to Drupal 8 and reaping multiple benefits for their website development processes.  Are you too considering the idea of migrating your website to Drupal? To help you better understand why you should take this step and how can Drupal maximize your website's performance, have a look at these key reasons to start your Drupal migration.   Why should you migrate to Drupal 8? The right question should be: why not? There are plenty of reasons why a Drupal migration should be the next step in your web development endeavors, such as: Drupal 8 has a mobile-first approach out-of-the-box. Unlike previous versions of Drupal, you don’t need to handle any customization for building a responsive website or application. Drupal 8 is mobile-friendly at its core. Drupal 8 provides improved front-end perceived performance. With BigPipe technology being part of Drupal 8’s core, you don’t have to worry about website performance anymore—you’ll benefit from faster loading times out-of-the-box. Drupal 8 is easier to use than previous versions. For everyone complaining about the back-end experience of managing and editing Drupal websites and custom modules, Drupal 8 was designed with these complaints in mind. Managing the content on your website is now easier with Drupal 8 thanks to new features that make editing more accessible and comfortable.  Drupal 8 provides multilingual support. In other words, you can easily create multilingual websites due to Drupal 8’s multilingual core capabilities.  Drupal 8 has enhanced security features. Drupal has been long known as one of the most secure CMS on the market and Drupal 8’s security updates are here to confirm it.  Drupal 8 is highly SEO-friendly. With Drupal's advanced SEO capabilities, your website will have better visibility and rank higher on search engines. Drupal 8 has plenty of tools for upgrading SEO, including a SEO starter kit that you can easily access and manage.    Have you decided to move your website from WordPress or Joomla to Drupal? Or maybe you are looking to upgrade Drupal 6 or 7 to Drupal 8?  If you answered ‘yes’ to either one of those questions, then a Drupal migration is the next step for you. Excellent choice! We know it wasn't easy for you to finally make this decision. We also understand that you may now face a major challenge: migrations are costly and time-consuming. There are plenty of pre-planning requirements for migrating to Drupal 8, which are often long and tedious. Outsourcing your migration projects to a third-party company that provides a reliable migration service might be the safest bet.    Drupal is a scalable and flexible solution that can be moulded into anything you need it to be. It has enterprise-level security and an innovative modular-type system. It also has a steep learning curve because of everything you can do with it. Because of this, it requires Drupal-specific developers who have to know how to use it to its full potential.    Optasy is here to make this transition smooth and time-effective by offering high-quality Drupal migration services. The goal is to have the least amount of impact on your company's daily activities as possible. Downtime = lost revenue and we don't want that to happen.  Our Drupal team of experts will handle your migration carefully to minimize downtime and maximize the power of Drupal. Sooner than you think, you’ll have your migration projects completed and your Drupal website up and running to its full potential.  To better understand the process of migrating to Drupal, have a look at the main migration workflow used by our Drupal professionals.   Steps To Migrate Your Website To Drupal Step 1: Your website will undergo rigorous analysis. Our team of Drupal experts will take a close look at your current system's database. We perform functionality tests and deeply analyze the current framework. We then come up with a customized solution specific to your company's website needs.     Step 2: Decide which modules and design theme your current website can migrate to Drupal. Then we figure out which ones we'll develop from scratch and which ones simply need an upgrade.     Step 3: Once planning and analysis are complete, the migration of your website's components begins. This includes content, your database, usernames, emails, plugins, extensions, and user groups. It also includes metadata so that you don't lose any previous SEO work completed. We handle this with the greatest caution. We secure your valuable data and make a smooth transition from one platform to another.   Step 4: Test, test, and more testing. We test until we are 100% certain that your newly-built Drupal website runs perfectly. And with significantly improved performance.     A Smooth Migration Process We guarantee you that the whole migration process will go smoothly. Our Drupal migration services won't interfere or slow down your team's workflow. It also won't cause any downtime on your website, so you won't lose out on profits.    Our confidence relies on our access to using the best tools and resources. We also apply a proven efficient methodology based on many years of experience.   The migration process of your website happens on your server and behind the curtains. This guarantees zero impact on your daily workflow. It enables you to keep making sales or getting leads while your website migrates to Drupal's platform.     Benefits Of Optasy’s Drupal Migration Services Faster website Improve performance No downtime Experienced Drupal experts Seamless data and content migration Maintain SEO work previously completed     Upgrade To Drupal 8 Upgrading to the new Drupal 8 will make your website work (and look great) on any device to meet the needs of your diverse audience.    Some other key benefits of making the switch to Drupal 8 are:   Mobile-first ready. This version of Drupal has been designed to embrace the shift towards mobile. Fully responsive web design right out-of-the-box. Multilingual features. The platform is built to support any language. Mobile-friendly admin features. Now you can see everything right on your phone. Supports mobile app development. Easier to add content more than ever before. Flexible content delivery. This enables you to create and deliver content to any channel, device, or application.   Your migration to Drupal doesn’t have to be complicated. With the right Drupal migration services and support from a professional Drupal team, you can enhance your web development projects to deliver optimized, accessible, and intuitive user experiences.  “Although you could flex Drupal 7 to adapt to this changing environment, the real power and flexibility comes with having a Drupal 8 architecture where this flexibility is already in the core. That has implications for performance, adaptability, simpler architecture of services around Drupal, etc.” - Alex Moreno, Drupal software architect.      ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Aug 12'2021
Is Drupal Good for eCommerce? 11 Excellent Reasons Why You’d Choose It over Another Platform
    "... wanna run eCommerce on Drupal 8 but don't know if it's a good idea."   But is Drupal good for eCommerce?    And, most of all: Is it better suited for your own online business needs and feature requirements than other eCommerce platforms out there? Some legitimate questions you're struggling with there… To give you a hand, here's a list of 11 excellent reasons why you'd lean towards Drupal eCommerce solutions for building your e-commerce site.    Reason #1: You're in Full Control of the Source Code to Make Any Changes You Want In other words, you don't need to convince the vendor first that the changes you need to make are beneficial for him/her. You're free to extend Drupal eCommerce platform's core functionality, to adapt, and extend its code till it meets your needs entirely.    … till it integrates perfectly into that specific software that you use.   Which is not the case when you go for a commercial solution: you're not granted access to the core code for any custom software development work that you might need to make. Of course, this "reason" becomes a really strong selling point only if/when: you have non-standard business requirements it's a large, complex eCommerce website that you're building Reason #2: Your eStore Grows With Drupal  Drupal scales with your business... effectively.   And by that I mean that it's designed to keep the resources and the time required to handle your online store's growth at a minimum.   Being: flexible by nature (its open-source nature) powered by the API-first initiative … Drupal eCommerce solutions make the best choice if "scalability" is on top of your list of requirements.   Reason #3: You Get to Reach Out to Your Customers Across Multiple Channels  "Is Drupal good for eCommerce?"   It becomes the perfect option for your own eCommerce website if you're planning to reach out to your customers across an entire network of sales channels, thus boosting your digital marketing efforts.  Let's say you have your main/central eCommerce website and you need to pull content from there and to distribute it across a whole ecosystem of channels — eCommerce apps, digital kiosks, conversational interfaces — and devices. Then, the API-first initiative allows you to tap into a headless commerce Drupal architecture and: use Drupal as a back-end content repository configure your content to fit all types of formats and reuse it whenever (and wherever) needed increase your outreach incorporate business automation into your development team's workflow: help them work smart and achieve more Reason #4: You Get to Deliver Content-Driven eCommerce Experiences With Drupal, you get the best of both worlds:   an eCommerce platform (by integrating one of its specialized eCommerce modules into the content management system) a content platform   And this is what makes it ideal for: tapping into the experience-led eCommerce model getting the most out of your content marketing efforts (think blog posts, effectively interconnected product pages, user guides, etc.) Reason #5: You're Free to Integrate Any Third-Party Service into Your Online Store From: marketing platforms to analytics services to payment gateways of your choice (there are 80+ payment options available with Drupal Commerce) to third-party add-ons that would automate your team's tasks and boost their productivity (while boosting online sales, as well) … Drupal & its eCommerce component accommodates any type of integrations you need to make.   Reason #6: "Is Drupal Good for eCommerce?" It Is for Delivering High-Speed eCommerce Experiences Just think… real-time shopping cart updates.  Or pretty much any action that your customers would need to carry out on your eCommerce site, then turbocharge it with top speed. A decoupled Drupal Commerce setup (add the JavaScript framework of your choice here) enables you to deliver such type of dynamic user experiences.    Reason #7: You Have No Limits to How Much You Can Extend Your Drupal 8 eCommerce Website Drupal Commerce can grow as much as your business needs. Whether you need to integrate: a whole network of third-party systems a whole lot of contributed modules an eCommerce Drupal distribution (a bundle of multiple modules) a Drupal eCommerce theme  … and extend your eCommerce store's functionality, there's no limit to what you can incorporate into your Drupal eCommerce website.   Reason #9:  You Benefit from an Extremely Configurable eCommerce Solution "Whereas eCommerce solutions are often developed with an application mindset, highlighting what you can do with it out of the box, Drupal eCommerce solutions were developed with a framework mindset, focusing on what you can build with them." (Source: Drupal.org)   Basically, you're free to customize every little piece of your Drupal 8 eCommerce site, till it: delivers that unique shopping experience you want it to meets all your ultra-personalized requirements: to trigger certain actions based on user input, to display multiple tax rates, to have an out-of-the-ordinary checkout flow, etc. Here, it's up to you and it depends on what you need to build: Are you looking for a cookie-cutter eCommerce solution, that would help you get a generic webshop up and running in no time? Or do you want unlimited customization freedom, that comes at the cost of…  investing more time in writing custom code?   Reason #10: You're Free to Sell Both Physical and Digital Goods And that thanks to Drupal Commerce's flexibility:   It provides you with the functionality you need to start building your product catalog and selling your digital products — subscriptions, tickets, online courses, etc. — on your online store. A key aspect to consider when comparing the features of your best options in terms of eCommerce platforms in 2020.   Reason #11: You Can Make the Most of the Granular and Differential Access to Content Drupal allows you to define different roles for your team members and to assign several levels of permission to each role. Not everyone would then be authorized to edit content, add products, manage orders, publish content, etc. This way you get to: set up a convenient hierarchy harden your online store's security  So, Is Drupal Good for eCommerce? Maybe a more appropriate question would be: "Is Drupal the right solution for my eCommerce business?"  It might be... And these 11 reasons mentioned here do become the best arguments for you to choose it over another platform (Ubercart, Prestashop, Shopify…) if: it's a growing or an already established eCommerce business that you run (otherwise, all that configuration and custom work might be an overkill for a small business) you have complex feature needs for your online store: you need to integrate it with coupon rules, several backend systems, and so on Do you fit the eCommerce business owner "profile"? For we do fit the profile of that Drupal eCommerce agency and development company you're looking for, capable to tweak it till it fits your complex requirements to the slightest detail. Just challenge us and see how Drupal eCommerce solutions can accelerate business outcomes.    ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Aug 10'2021
The Ultimate Guide to Canadian Web Accessibility Laws
  According to a 2017 study, 1 in 5 Canadians aged 15+ has at least one disability. Failing to prioritize web accessibility means ignoring a significant part of the population.  The increasing number of published legal cases around web accessibility shows that making websites accessible for people with disabilities is no longer optional.  The international web standard WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) includes three levels of accessibility compliance: A, AA, and AAA. However, as digital environments continually evolve, these requirements are frequently updated to match increasingly modern needs. The WCAG help companies remove unintentional barriers and reach the widest possible audience.  Accessibility regulations in Canada vary based on: The type of business (public sector company or private organization) The place where your business has been founded The size of your organization Whether your company is country-wide or provincial    So, how can you ensure you meet all Canadian accessibility requirements and provide accessible digital information for all your users? This article dives in the wavy sea of accessibility laws and policies in Canada, so you can determine which ones apply to your business. But first, let's have a look at what makes a website accessible. What is web accessibility? For a website to be accessible, it has to offer people with disabilities and those using assistive technologies easy ways to interact with the entire content found on the site. By supporting your visitors to overcome accessibility barriers in their interaction with your site, you position your brand as a trustful one. Therefore, the benefits of web accessibility extend to your business as well, not only your website's users.  Web content accessibility doesn't just include people with disabilities. It also refers to content that can be easily understood and interacted with by smartphone users, elderly people, persons with low literacy, or those who have low English skills.  An accessible website includes the following: ALT text for all types of images Captions and transcripts for audio and video content to help persons with disabilities, hearing loss, or low English skills understand the information provided.  Link names that contain meaningful and descriptive text which can be easily interpreted by screen readers. Relevant, appropriately formatted headlines that help people with disabilities that use assistive software easily find the information they are interested in. This accessibility step also improves your SEO and SERP rankings.  Use meaningful link texts that clearly describe what the URL i about. Try to include specific keyword and avoid raw URLs.  Clear website instructions that make your users' interactions with your site more straightforward and streamlined.    What is accessible content? Maybe your website is an Ecommerce platform, or it might be a publishing site on various topics. Regardless of its scope, your website has to provide clear, meaningful, and concise content in order to be considered accessible.  As a content editor, you need to pay attention to how you write your copy so that it is always: Perceivable. Website users should easily perceive any piece of content that is presented on the site. Operable. When structured, a site's content should focus on operability. Understandable. Accessible content is comprehensive, concise, and includes meaningful structural elements. Robust. A piece of content is considered robust when it can be easily scanned and interpreted by assistive technologies.  By doing so, your web content will be accessible to all your users (persons with disabilities, smartphone users, elderly people, non-native English speakers, etc.)    What are the most important web accessibility laws in Canada? According to the Canadian Standard on Web Accessibility, all Governments of Canada websites and web applications must conform to WCAG 2.0 Level AA.  Note: This does not apply to any business outside the government.    Provincial regulations The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) established in 2005 was the first provincial accessibility law and is currently the only provincial law with an explicit digital accessibility element.  Public sector organizations, private, and non-profit organizations with more than 50 employees need to comply to AODA regulations. Despite the fact that the AODA does not apply to self-employed individuals that don't have employees, all businesses in Ontario, regardless of size, are urged to consider web accessibility a priority.  The current minimum standard for all public-facing websites is to comply with Level A and all public sector organizations and private businesses with 50+ employees need to be WCAG 2.0 AA accessible.  To maintain their accessibility compliance status, companies are also required to publish a Statement of Accessibility Commitment and Accessibility Policy on their websites. The deadline for this report was set for December 31, 2020, and extended to June 30, 2021.  In regard to companies that own a website with content built by international vendors, the content must comply with local laws and policies. Ontario.ca specifies, “The organization that controls the website must meet the accessibility requirements.”    Accessible Canada Act (ACA) The Accessible Canada Act (ACA) founded in 2019 by the Federal Government intends to create a barrier-free Canada for people with disabilities by 2040. Its futuristic vision and well-established strategies were built with the Canadian Human Rights Act and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in mind.  These new legislations benefit everyone in Canada, especially people with disabilities, through the proactive identification, elimination, and avoidance of barriers to accessibility in the digital environment. The ACA encourages the Government of Canada to collaborate with stakeholders and persons with disabilities to create new accessibility regulations for private or non-profit organizations, banking, telecommunications, or transportation industries.  To discover the right direction of the ACA development, the Government of Canada asked its citizens what an accessible Canada meant to them. The findings of the report, Creating new national accessibility legislation: What we learned from Canadians, outlines the following key areas where accessibility needed reinforcement: Programs and service delivery Employment Information and communication technology Procurement and transportation The ACA set a new accessibility standard for publishing and promoting digital content, and it received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019.  What lays at the foundation of ACA is eliminating the barriers to accessibility for Canadians with disabilities and help them interact more easily with digital content and technology. One touchpoint of the ACA is the digital experience, which can be made accessible by: Leveraging conformance-facing tools in workspaces (intranets, employee services, internal learning resources) Including conformance of digital tools and content from vendors Installing kiosks, parking machines, or payments machines   How to comply with accessibility laws In today's busy and complex digital landscape, all websites are highly encouraged to take accessibility seriously. Regardless of the regulation, you can ensure that you pass the accessibility test by: Keeping up to date with the latest versions of WCAG, which constantly change to match current technologies and user research. These regulations are established to meet a wide range of needs, including those of people with low vision or neurologic disorders, and to keep pace with the ever-changing mobile landscape.  Leveraging analytics data to help you understand your target audience and their unique needs. Additionally, you can talk and ask for feedback from your active users to better grasp your website's strengths and weaknesses. By gaining awareness of ideas of improvement directly from your audience, you'll deliver more personalized and accessible web experiences. Testing assistive technology tools to gain a more accurate perspective on how you can support, for example, people relying on screen readers. Get in the shoes of your users and become more empathetic to be able to come up with appropriate inclusive solutions to make your site more accessible.    Fines and penalties So, what happens if you fail to comply with the accessibility regulations that apply to your organization?  The fines under the AODA include: Companies can be penalized up to $100,000/day. Individuals and unincorporated businesses can receive fines of up to $50,000/day. Managers and officers in a corporation can be fined up to $50,000/day.   The current enforcement instructions state that businesses are fined larger penalties for their first violation, and, if the lack of compliance continues, these penalties can apply every day.  However, the way these fines are given depends on the impact of the non-compliance and the history of the company or individual that has committed the violation. For minor violations, organizations may be fined as little as $500/day.  The AODA applies to all levels of government, non-profit and private sector companies, but the penalties are currently targeting only organizations with 50+ employees.    How can your business benefit from complying with accessibility laws? Improving your website's accessibility is wise regardless of legal compliance regulations. It is also good for the business. Some key benefits of optimizing your site for accessibility are: Higher traffic rates on your website. By making your site accessible, you are opening the door for a wider range of visitors, which may lead to increased traffic, engagement, and conversion rates. More customers. Web accessibility is all about meeting a wide variety of customer needs, and it can grow your customer base in the long run.  Improved SEO rankings. Some practices to make your site more accessible include writing relevant, concise content, adding ALT-text to images, or selecting simplistic layout designs. Also, these practices are good for SEO, as they increase your SERP ratings and your website's visibility.  Faster page loading speed. By working on your website's accessibility, you also improve your page loading time and the overall user experience.    Conclusion Keeping up with the evolving web accessibility laws in Canada is a must. The next step is to become proactive on your accessibility journey by designing and optimizing your web apps and sites to comply with the rules and regulations of WCAG. This will not only keep you away from lawsuits and penalties, but it will also boost your brand reputation and your business outcomes.  If you need a hand in building websites and web apps that are compliant with the latest Canadian accessibility laws, we are happy to help with proactive Drupal support for your development projects. Check out our Drupal Website Accessibility services and let's discuss how you can embrace an inclusive mindset that supports all your customers.    Photo credit: Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash. ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Jul 22'2021