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Is It a Good Idea to Go with Drupal 8 Commerce? Why Yes, Why Not?
  How viable is it to have your online store running on Drupal 8 Commerce? Why not go with... Magento 2 or Shopify? Or just stick to Drupal Commerce 7, instead of jumping to Commerce 2.x? What are its most “tempting” features? Those that make it a better option for you than:   the Drupal 7 Ubercart module Commerce 1.x other eCommerce platforms And also: which of its limitations could discourage you from using Drupal 8 and Commerce? Let's dig in for some answers and steer you in the right direction: 1. Why Use Drupal 8 Commerce? Because it's “extremely” customizable. And this is both its “superpower” and the main reason why you'd hesitate using it... Source: Drupal.org Commerce 2 is definitely not a “plug and play” eCommerce solution. Instead, it grants you total freedom of customization. And that can be overwhelming for some... Since it assumes nothing about your business model, you're free to tweak it to your needs. To create precisely the eCommerce customer experience that you'd like your website to provide. But that means there's more coding to do, compared to conventional webshop systems. Now, deriving from the power of customization, here are the main reasons why you'd want to use Drupal 8 Commerce for your online store: 1.1. Cart Works Pretty Much Out of the Box Since it's opinionated, you don't need to get tangled up in configuration... too deep. 1.2. It Provides You with Multi-Store Support Commerce 2 makes it easier for you to manage an entire infrastructure of online stores. Each one with its own Drupal 8 custom checkout process, its currencies, its product types, etc. 1.3. It Enables You to Have as Many Product Variations as Needed From size to color, to language. Drupal 8 Commerce comes with great product attribute handling. You're free to put together any custom combination of product attributes. To include as many product variations in your store as needed. 1.4. It Ships with Multiple Currencies Built-In Support A too powerful feature to ignore. Especially if it's a multi-store architecture that you're planning to run on Commerce 2. 1.5. You Can Easily Develop Analytical Hooks to Further Improve the UX You can fire events at any stage of the user journey on your eCommerce website to identify the weak links. Those with low user engagement. 1.6. It's Ideally Suited to a Headless Architecture Are you planning a headless eCommerce setup? Drupal 8 Commerce's the ideal “candidate” for that. It works smoothly with GraphQL, so you can use the front-end framework of your choice — say... React — and deliver the best eCommerce experience to your customers. In a nutshell: Commerce for Drupal 8 empowers you to customize every little aspect of your online store. But maybe some demo stores, that are already leveraging these Commerce 2 features, would weigh heavier in your decision-making process: Demo store 1 Demo store 2   2. What Could Keep You From Using Commerce 2.x? As I've already stated here: “The power of customization that it provides is both its “superpower” and the main reason why you'd hesitate using it.” You can, indeed, customize your online store down to the last detail, but that does come at a cost. The cost of coding. The cost of a skilled team of developers. But let us detail the reasons why you'd.... hesitate to use Drupal 8 Commerce: 2.1. It Has a Pretty High Learning Curve If you're used to Shopify's “get up and running” approach and you're not familiar with Drupal development, you'll see that Commerce 2.x isn't that non-developer friendly. It's not the type of tool that site builders without high programming skills find it quick and easy to learn.  2.2. It Requires Quite a Lot of Custom Code Writing Do keep that in mind: Drupal 8 Commerce is unexpectedly configurable and ideally extensible. Yet, you need to write plenty of custom code to unleash all that customization power. So, do expect to be challenged to write custom modules, custom templates and, overall, do a lot of custom work. 2.3. Setting It Up Is Not that Intuitive … as you might expect, being familiar with “ready-to-use” eCommerce platforms like Shopify, for instance. And all that because it assumes nothing. So, there's no preconfigured structure that you get out of the box. One that you should stick to.   2.4. It's a Completely Different System from Drupal 7's  And this is another strong “blocker” that might stop you from using Drupal 8 and Commerce 2.x for your next online store. You expect it to be fairly similar to Commerce 1.x. And yet, it's a whole new system.  One that ships with brand new concepts that you need to get yourself familiar with (i.e. checkout is no longer a form) 3. Why Move from Drupal Commerce 7 to 8? Why not just stick to Drupal 7's Ubercart module, for instance? Or to Commerce 1.x? Photo by Bruno Kelzer on Unsplash   Here are the top 4 reasons why you'd want to choose Drupal 8 Commerce instead of Drupal 7: 3.1. Drupal Commerce 2.x Provides More Out of the Box It ships with a fully functional promotions system, for instance. From coupons to discounts, you can incorporate the type of promotion that you have in mind for your customers in... no time. 3.2. It's an Upgraded Version of Commerce 1.x And that translates into improved:   product administration third-party integration 3.3. The Drupal 8 Custom Checkout  In Drupal 8 Commerce checkout is not a form. A bit intrigued? With Drupal Commerce 2 you're free to create your own custom checkout flows. Meaning that you get to customize the process according to specific:   customer profiles product types orders … and so on. For instance, you can set up 2 different checkout flows. One for your digital items and the other one for the physical ones that you sell on your eCommerce website. 3.4. You Benefit from a More Modular Design Just think about it: Compared to Drupal 7 Commerce, the Drupal 8 version is a lot more extensible and configurable. This allows you to custom-tune other elements of your website besides the checkout. For instance, you're free to configure your catalog from the ground up. From products to orders, to shops (if you're running a marketplace with several different stores), to prices... you get to tailor your catalog to your most specific business needs. Besides configuration of the default behavior for a standard eCommerce store, Commerce 2x. doesn't impose any predefined, rigid logic on you. 4. Go with Drupal 8 Commerce If... you already advocate for Drupal's flexibility and robustness you don't mind investing some time in learning Commerce 2.x and writing custom code you need more than a standard online store, that's easy to set up, but offers you no customization freedom (see Woocommerce) you're not ready to pay for every little add-on that you might need (see Shopify), that you could create it yourself The END! Would you trade flexibility for convenience? The convenience of having a generic webshop up and running in no time? Let's start a conversation on this topic in the comments here below! To learn more about how our Drupal eCommerce agency can help you meet your business goals, contact us. Image by justynafaliszek from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Feb 11'2020
What Hybrid App Development Framework Should You Use for Your Projects in 2020? Top 3
"Seduced" by the cross-platform approach? By the chance to build a single app project and run it on mobile, web and desktop? No wonder... But which hybrid app development framework should you choose? What's the best one? The "best" one for your feature needs (and time resources) and for your development team's level of experience... Now, let me guess: it should...   be feature-rich be fast and to enable you to develop your hybrid app... fast, as well be developer-friendly provide native-like experience to your app's users provide you with plenty of UI components to just... mix and match   We've narrowed your options in terms of hybrid mobile app development tools down to... 3.  But before you rush to evaluate each one's pros and cons:   put together a personal hierarchy: must-have vs nice-to-have features get ready to set each of the following frameworks against that pyramid of needs   1. But What Is Hybrid App Development More Precisely? In plain English: The hybrid app development approach is building and running one app project across multiple platforms: Android, iOS, Windows... Now, you do the math and figure it out yourself:   how much time you'd save  how many moments of frustration you'd avoid without all the native IDEs, SDK and Apple-specific requirements to get tangled up in how much lighter the load of third party libraries would be how convenient it is to have a unique list of bugs to keep an eye on how convenient it is to adopt one dedicated technology approach instead of having to "juggle" with Java or Kotlin and with Swift or Objective-C...   One software development process (i.e a unique codebase) for all the platforms that you target...   2. Native vs Hybrid App Development Still a bit confused about the clear differences between native and hybrid apps? Let me shed some more light here: While native apps are platform-specialized — Android or iOS — hybrid apps can be deployed on multiple platforms. In this respect, a hybrid app development framework ships with both native and web-specific elements to help you quickly design and run your "one size fits all" type of app. Also, when it comes to the key differences between native and hybrid apps, keep in mind that: While native apps are faster, hybrid apps get built faster. So, it's your convenience in terms of time and budget vs... the user experience. 3. What's the Best Hybrid App Development Framework for Your Project?   3.1. Ionic- A Feature-Rich, Easy to Use Technology for Building Your Hybrid Apps "Which framework is best for hybrid app development?" 9 in 10 developers will say "Ionic".  Source: Ionicframework.com It's the most familiar one, after all, since it's been on the "hybrid app development stage" for... quite a few years now. Back then, when it was first released, it opened the door to a whole new world of possibilities:   to build and to deploy Angular-based apps that would challenge the jQuery mobile apps' "supremacy" to put together a visually-striking, progressive web app in no time   With its low learning curve, "bulk" of available plugins and all the UI components that it provides out of the box, Ionic's predicted to keep its "rockstar" aura in 2020, as well.    You'd Want to Choose Ionic Because:   it provides you with a rich collection of powerful features it's Angular-based: no need to learn a whole new language  it ships with plenty of UI components and predefined elements it has a livereload system and app enabling you to preview your hybrid app right on your target device it ships with an in-built development server it provides you with debugging tools it ships with a command-line interface (Ionic CLI) that streamlines the development cycle of your TypeScript and Node.js apps it's backed by a large dev community   You'd Hesitate to Choose Ionic Because:   it doesn't provide hot reloading it's not the best option if you're planning to build a heavy-duty app some of its features are Cordova-based and hence not all the plugins are supported you might find it too dependent on plugins   3.2. Flutter- Google's Toolkit for Creating Visually Stunning, Cross-Platform Apps Is there any surprise why this is an increasingly popular hybrid app development framework? It's Google's "prodigy" and everybody likes Google. Although a newcomer in the "arena", Flutter stands a good chance to outshine the traditional hybrid mobile app development tools in 2020. Source: flutter.dev How? It already sets itself apart as a go-to choice when you need to craft a visually attractive and interactive MVP... fast. With its flexible design components, you get to craft a stunning UI in no time. And its interactivity elements help you create the engaging experience that users expect. In a nutshell: you get a power-packed toolkit to craft and to run a cross-platform app in no time. Where do you add that it's designed to support multiple languages and to run smoothly across several platforms. And all that without the need to look for an alternative for Swift, Java or Objective C.   You'd Want to Choose Flutter Because:   it's blazing fast it ships with its own widgets: you can easily implement buttons, sliders, switches, dialog boxes, tab bars, loading spinners it's compatible with Fuchsia, Google's mobile OS it provides you with CLI and VI editors it ships with the hot reload feature it enables you to assemble (and nest) multiple widgets for crafting your app's UI    You'd Hesitate to Choose Flutter Because:   it's Dart-based, so you need to learn a whole new language it provides minimal support for some features it lacks profile data completion your Flutter app will be approx. 40% larger than a native app   3.3. React Native- Developers' Favorite One And why do they love it?   because they enjoy working in Java and Swift (and they're already fluent in React) because it provides them with native modules and components and thus enables them to "inject" top performance into their hybrid apps because it enables them to provide users a native-like experience   It's Facebook's own version of a framework for building native-like apps. Source: facebook.github.io/react-native/ If you're familiar with the React approach to software development, you'll love it.   You'd Want to Choose React Native Because:   it's high-powered: rendered with native code you cut down costs by reusing code it's backed by a huge community of developers that you can rely on it grants you a shorter app development cycle it features live reload with 2 different screens: to update your code and to preview those updates in real-time it is Node.js supported you can choose from a whole variety of social plugins: display grid picture, feed, etc.   You'd Hesitate to Choose React Native Because:   it's not the best technology for hybrid app development if it's an app with multiple UI transitions, plenty of interactions and various screens that you have in mind its  supply of custom modules is quite limited it provides you with few UI and native features, thus "forcing" you to... get your hands dirty with code (and that may take some time) it challenges you with a steep learning code it takes a team of experienced developers to build a high-powered React Native app it presents some shortcomings of navigation components   It's definitely not a framework for junior developers and startups.   4. Final Word Do you value a native-live experience for your end-users over a fast development process?  Is a big set of UI components, that you can just... assemble, more important to you than high speed? Is a rich collection of plugins more valuable to you than a low learning curve for your developers? See? Picking the right hybrid app development framework for your project means finding the (almost) perfect match between a tool's selling points and your own priorities. So, which one's your winner? Photo by Jacob Townsend on Unsplash  ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Feb 07'2020
OPTASY Is Proud to be Named a Top Canadian E-commerce Development Partner by Clutch
Here at OPTASY, we know it can seem impossible for a new business to tackle their challenges while also implementing high-quality web development solutions. That’s why we’re here to help! We’re a Canadian Drupal firm and web development company that’s provided web solutions with outstanding results. Our team is dedicated, knowledgeable, and can help your company thrive!  Source: Clutch.com In recognition of our efforts, we’ve been named a top Canadian e-commerce development firm by Clutch, a development research resource.  We’d like to thank our superstar clients for helping us get this far! They engaged with Clutch analysts to assess our impact on their day to day operations. Our evaluation took into account the quality of our services and deliverables, attention to their project timelines, and the value of our work in relation to our pricing. We’re happy to announce that we’ve maintained a lovely 4.8 out of five stars in reflection of that data!  Take a look at one of our recent reviews below:  "We are thrilled to have been chosen as one of the leading web developers by Clutch!"  - Adrian Aabei, CEO of OPTASY, Inc. For those who might not know, Clutch is a verified market research firm that leverages a unique rating methodology to compare leaders across sectors. They showcase our development work on Visual Objects, Clutch’s sister site that centers on portfolio items. They feature us in their directory of top e-commerce developers.  We’re proud to receive this feedback and look forward to helping even more clients meet their potential! Contact OPTASY today if you’d like to learn more about how we can help you thrive!  Image by Megan Rexazin from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Feb 06'2020
OPTASY: Ranked as Top Drupal Developers of February 2020
  OPTASY strikes again! We've got listed among the top Drupal developers of 2020... FindBestDevelopment, the leading ranking platform for the web development industry, featured us in their “Best Drupal Development” category. Take it as a “hall of fame” showcasing 10 of the best Drupal development companies in the... world.   And we've just earned our spot there. What a great way to start the year!   But Who Is FindBestDevelopment? It's a market research and reputation platform that “detects” and rates the top software development companies in the world.    And they do that... monthly. Source: FindBestDevelopment.com Take it as a free, trusted and conveniently exhaustive resource at hand for when you look for top professionals in fields like AI, eCommerce, Drupal, web, mobile app, or IoT. “And how do they evaluate and rank the IT service providers included in their tops? What criteria do they use?” A legitimate question to ask yourself.  FindBestDevelopment conducts an in-depth investigation of the targeted companies and:   analyses their business practices compares them to the industry standards   For instance, in the case of a team of Drupal developers, their editorial staff would evaluate:   the team's overall experience as a Drupal services provider its specific processes the reporting its portfolio and the impact of the projects included there   Source: FindBestDevelopment.com There are 8 different categories that FindBestDevelopment updates on a monthly basis:   Best Web Development Best Mobile Application Development Best Custom Software Development Best eCommerce Development Best WordPress Development Best Drupal Development Best IoT Development Best Artificial Intelligence Development From a Small Drupal Agency to... the Top 10 Drupal Developers Looking back, way back (2005), when OPTASY was just a small team of Drupal enthusiasts, and analyzing our trajectory, we do get a bit... dizzy. Little did we know (or hope to dare) that we would come 3rd place in the “Best Drupal Development Awards” on the world's most reputed ranking platform. Source: FindBestWebDevelopment.com It's overwhelming, it's rewarding and it's... a huge confidence-booster. Seeing the other 9 finalists — companies that we've been looking up to — and knowing that our past projects played a key role in this evaluation, we get both a confirmation and an incentive to live up to these higher standards.   Thank You! We have Drupal support in our DNA: we've been living and breathing Drupal since... 2005. And yet... if it hadn't been for our clients':   innovative ideas that they wanted to be implemented in their projects:  unique functionalities turned into custom Drupal modules, high standards in terms of visual aesthetics turned into custom Drupal themes daring goals that they set for their projects courage to adopt new approaches and emerging technologies to deliver the best user experience to their customers   … we wouldn't have been here, among the world's top 10 Drupal developers. ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Feb 03'2020
IoT in Mobile App Development: 4 Key Benefits You Can Reap (and 3 Challenges to Consider)
How are you planning to get your share of the pie? Where the "pie" is made of all those opportunities that IoT in mobile app development brings. But what are those opportunities translated into benefits more precisely? Why would you want to build an application that completes a network of IoT devices? And how will IoT change the way mobile applications get developed in 2020?   Source: Gartner.com Are there any challenges and risks to implementing this technology into your mobile apps that you should... prepare for? Now, let's see:   what are the most... irresistible benefits to developing your mobile solution for the IoT what are the best IoT mobile app development tools to put on your shortlist what's a common example of an IoT-enabled mobile app what kind of risks you face when you integrate a mobile application with IoT   1. Why Would You Want to Integrate IoT into Your Mobile Apps?  Why would you be interested in making your mobile apps IoT-friendly this year? How will it benefit you?   1.1. Users Get Hooked on Your IoT App: It's "Too" Convenient And the "less human effort" factor is the main reason why you'd want to integrate mobile apps with IoT. For it all bubbles up to the user experience that you'll provide: Your mobile app will be the "brain" of the whole network of interconnected devices, fridges, air conditioners, TVs, etc. Installed on the user's smartphone or smartwatch, it'll help him/her to cut down on the effort needed to... check the security cameras, switch off the light, turn on the AC and so on.   1.2. You Boost Your Team's Productivity By bringing IoT in mobile app development, you bring more... productivity in your workplace. An IoT-enabled mobile app will:   automate your business processes and specific in-house operations streamline your software products' development lifecycles empower your team to manage multiple tasks simultaneously provide you with real-time measurement and data analysis In short: with their repetitive tasks automated, your team gets to work on more complex, innovation-focused tasks.    1.3. You Get Actionable Insights into Your Users' Engagement Behavior Just imagine: an entire network of appliances, devices, gadgets, and servers exchanging data. And your IoT mobile app collecting ALL that data. Image by Tumisu from Pixabay You'll get some valuable insights into your users' needs, don't you think? Real-time information that you can leverage to:   simplify your business process make prompt and relevant adjustments to the user experience you provide   1.4. You Engage Users with A Highly Interactive Mobile App And interactivity is the shortest path to... higher engagement. Integrating IoT into your mobile app will make it not only interactive but highly customizable, as well.    It opens up a huge "playground" for your team, where they can test and implement various features and IoT-based functionalities. Where they get as creative and daring as they want with their customization work. 2. A Common Example of an IoT Mobile App Would Be... The one installed on a guest's IoT-enabled smartphone, that enables him to open his hotel room. No key or access card needed to... enter the room he booked. And this is but one of the top IoT app development trends to look forward in 2020.  Here are some more types of IoT apps that'll steal the spotlight this year:   smart warehousing apps workforce management apps healthcare apps blockchain apps AI & Big Data apps 3. What's The Best IoT Platform for Mobile App? Let's say that you've decided to incorporate this technology into your next mobile app: What IoT mobile app development tools should you check out first? What are your best options?   Here's a top 3 for you:   Xively: it ships with a conveniently rich collection of IoT features to help you get you started Android Ubidots: connect your Android account to Ubidots and just push your mobile app to multiple devices Thingworx: it provides you with a heavy load of complex tools to market your app with 4. IoT in Mobile App Development: Challenges and Concerns "But are there any?" There are. So, make sure you ponder on them before you rush to... reap the benefits and seize the opportunities of integrating IoT in your mobile apps.   4.1. A Huge Shift in the Concept of "Data Ownership" The risks concerning data security are head of the list: How much of your/ your customers' data privacy would you trade to access the benefits of IoT?   Because: automating your team's redundant tasks granting your users the highest level of convenience .. does come with a "price tag" on. The cost is... data. Data stored in cloud and unrestricted control over consumer data...   4.2. Distributed Computing Performances ...compared to today's technology. You might want to take this aspect into consideration, as well, before you just jump on the IoT in mobile app development trend.   4.3. The Need to Restructure Your Operating Procedures from the Ground Up Also, the way information is being transferred and your existing protocols.   The END!     Now, comparing the opportunities to the challenges, would you consider integrating IoT into your mobile apps this year?  Image by Niran Kasri from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jan 30'2020
OPTASY Scores Another Perfect 5-Star Review on Clutch and Remains One the Top Web Developers in Canada
Unfortunately for many tech enthusiasts, the vast majority of web developers in Canada currently trying to implement AI, Blockchain, or IoT want them for their novelty rather than for the genuine purposes they can serve. So what happens when you do have a creative use for one of these technologies?  For many development houses, the choice between investing in emerging technology capability or staying on top of the vast set of platforms users choose from is an easy one — more platforms means more clients, and you can usually find a way to fill most functions using traditional technologies. At OPTASY, however, we knew we wanted to push the boundaries of what was possible. By focusing on Drupal development, we have been able to become leaders in our field, enabling our clients to take control of far more powerful technologies than have ever before been available.   That attitude, combined with our attention to detail and customer service, has landed us a series of excellent reviews on Clutch.co, placing us in the top 10 web developers in all of Canada. Clutch promotes leading agencies by collecting verified, unbiased feedback on vendors and displaying it in the form of written ratings and reviews. In one of our most recent projects, we built the Drupal 8 website of an equal opportunity community nonprofit. Our team worked hard to provide iterative design and development that incorporated all of the client’s feedback throughout the process. Their team was particularly impressed with our professionalism and openness to input. “We would definitely choose them in the future and recommend them to any individual looking for a website that leads to conversions and conveys a message in a smart format. They welcomed our feedback but also balanced our ideas with conversion principles. The site’s beautiful and performing exactly how we’d hoped it would.”  - Sean Kelly, Executive Director   Feedback like this from our valued clients demonstrates one of the biggest reasons we love what we do so much. Development may be our selling point, but building meaningful business relationships is what makes the world of tech go ‘round. We really appreciate the chance that Clutch provides to learn from our past engagements and reach potential future customers.  We are also featured highly on The Manifest, a platform that hosts industry-organized company rankings alongside business insights and articles explaining a variety of topics. On Visual Objects, customers have the chance to look through portfolio items to help inform their decisions, helping them to get a sense of what their project might look like with any particular team of web developers in Canada.  If you’re looking for a development partner to help make your business dreams come to life, check out our profile on Clutch or reach out to us! We’re always looking for exciting new partnerships to take on, and would love for the next one to be you.   Image by Tomislav Kaučić from Pixabay  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jan 27'2020
How to Integrate AI into Your Drupal Website The... Easy Way: 7 Drupal 8 AI Modules at Hand
How do you take advantage of AI and get the most of Drupal's content management system? Are there any Drupal 8 AI modules and tools that you could incorporate into your website and... get the most of both worlds? The best of Drupal as a reliable content repository and of a:   chatbot virtual assistant or another type of conversational interface   Or maybe you want to implement AI to boost the various content workflows happening on your website:   content that needs to be served to various markets (and thus translated into... various languages) user-generated content that needs to follow a certain editorial guideline (e.g. "adding alternative text to images") content experiences that need to be tailored to each user's activity on your site   Nothing easier. There are at least 7 different modules in Drupal to help you inject AI capabilities into your website:   1. What Are the Biggest Advantages of Artificial Intelligence in Drupal? How does building AI integrations on top of your Drupal website translate into benefits? Strong, clear benefits... Well, it all bubbles up to the user experience and to your team's efficiency:   you create and deliver more personalized experiences for your website visitors you streamline and automate your team's content and marketing workflows  you get to boost your targeted marketing efforts you provide more engaging user experience, as well, incorporating smarter features into your Drupal site   2. Build a Drupal Chatbot Fast with 2 Drupal 8 AI Modules Thinking about delivering a more user-centric experience on your website? Then you must be wondering how you can implement an AI-powered conversational interface in Drupal, right? You'd then be using Drupal for front UI, content management, user admin... Source: Drupal Camp Pune It's simple:    There are 2 dedicated AI modules in Drupal that help you create a chatbot in no time:   2.1. Chatbot API    Let take this scenario:   You want your "Drupal headless" setup to share content across an entire ecosystem of services: Facebook bot, Dialogueflow, Amazon Echo... Yet, you dread the idea of writing custom code for every single chatbot/personal assistant in this ecosystem.   How do you streamline your content serving efforts? How can you write your code once and... have your content shared with all your target chatbots and? You install Chatbot API. It will intermediate the integration of all those services into your Drupal website. And it will ensure that data gets served across the whole network of chatbots.   2.2. Drupal Chatbot    Another useful module to use if you consider creating a chatbot on Drupal data. Here's how it works:   It enables you to set up a voice and text-based bot to interact with your website visitors. One that acts as a layer between Drupal and the NLP agent.   You get to choose the block where you want it enabled and to add various functionalities, as well: Latest Article Search, Latest Pages, Top Rated Pages...   3. Implement a Virtual Assistant with Decoupled Drupal Commerce What if you want to take the eCommerce experience on your online store to a new level? To turn it into a... conversational eCommerce experience? How? By integrating a Drupal virtual assistant into your website. Nothing easier:   You connect a bot to decoupled Drupal Commerce.   Bot Frameworks + Decoupled Drupal Commerce APIs + NLU = A Conversational Interface for your eCommerce website. Since Drupal:   puts a whole collection of APIs at your free disposal (being API-first)  provides you with the Commerce Cart API module to leverage   ... storing content (and product details) and interacting with shopping carts in Drupal Commerce becomes particularly easy. And here's how your Drupal Commerce-powered bot would work:   it will trigger "review cart" and "add to cart functionality" via message-based interactions it will unblock search and "explore the products" functionality by connecting itself to the Drupal Commerce APIs   4. Create Personalized Experiences with Drupal Machine Learning Personalization is the norm these days.  To serve content tailored to your customers' past activity (what they shared, what content they searched for...) and their profiles. And for doing it right, you need to incorporate machine learning techniques into your Drupal website. "Is it possible to do that?" Of course. And here are just 2 Drupal 8 AI modules that you can tap into for personalizing the web content experience that you provide your site visitors with:   4.1. Acquia Lift Connector  Take it as a convenient 2-in-1 tool at hand: customer data & content. This way, you get to streamline your content personalization efforts. To scale and share user-tailored experiences across an entire infrastructure of channels and devices. It'll "equip" your marketing campaign with all the powerful features you need: behavioral targeting, real-time audience segmentation, A/B testing... In a nutshell, what this module does is connect your Drupal site with the Acquia Lift personalization tool...   4.2. Azure Cognitive Services API   The go-to module if you consider "injecting" intelligent features — speech, facial and vision recognition, speech and language understanding — into your Drupal website or app. Your development team can just tap into the machine learning APIs exposed and... turn them into machine learning functionalities to be incorporated into your Drupal application. Source: Drupal.org It's a package of 4 different AI modules, in fact:   Face API Module Emotion Recognition API Module Computer Vision API Module Azure Text Analytics API Module   The last one, for instance, triggers advanced natural language processing on raw text. This translates into 3 key features: key phrase extraction, sentiment analysis, and language detection.   5. Streamline Your Workflows with 2 Drupal Intelligent Content Tools  One of the biggest advantages of artificial intelligence is that of streamlining (and automating) your in-house workflows. Your content and marketing ones... So, how do you inject "efficiency" into your Drupal content and marketing teams' various workflows? You integrate these 2 Drupal 8 AI modules into their work.   5.1. Automatic Alternative Text   What if you could implement AI capabilities into the process where users upload their own content? Just ponder on this scenario for a while:   You can include "Add alternative text images" into your set of editorial guidelines, but you can't expect users to follow them, as well, when they upload content, right?   And that's what you have the Automatic Alternative Text module for. Source: Drupal.org It describes the image that the user uploads. In one sentence. It generates more than one description for the same image, actually... Furthermore, it ships with features like:   detecting mature content identifying faces in a given image determining the prevailing colors   5.2. Cloudwords for Multilingual Drupal    Another one of those Drupal intelligent content tools that you should turbocharge your team's workflow with. Just put yourself into one of your marketers' shoes:   He/she has to deliver content (lots of it) to an entire ecosystem of markets, in various languages.   And delivering localized, consistent content experiences at a global scale does take plenty of resources... What this module does is automate the entire content delivery and management process:   Just select the piece(s) of content that you'll need to localize and let Cloudwords serve it at high speed, to all your target markets.   The END! And these are but 7 of the Drupal 8 AI modules at your disposal for injecting artificial intelligence capabilities into your website/app. Have you implemented any AI integrations in Drupal 8 so far? Any chatbots or maybe AI-powered tools for personalizing the content experience on your website? What other types of AI modules would you like to find in Drupal? Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jan 24'2020
The 5 Best Automation Testing Tools for Web Applications that You Could Use in 2020 (Powerful and Easy to Use)
You save time, you keep errors to a minimum, you free up mental real estate that you could then invest in other crucial tasks included in your app's development lifecycle, you... There's no point insisting on the benefits: automating your testing process is a life-changer. But how do you know what automation testing tools for web applications to evaluate first? Where to start? Which are the most effective ones?    Those that are conveniently feature-rich and easy to use, as well? That ship as bundles of powerful features and are so straightforward, helping you create test cases in no time?   Well, we've done our research and identified 5 automated software testing tools that meet most of your criteria:   to be open source to run in a variety of operating systems and browsers to be feature-rich to be easy to use    But First: Determine What Test Cases You Should Automate To put together an effective test automation strategy for web applications you need to be really strategic. Strategic about what parts of the process you should put on auto-pilot and where it would be best to test them, as well:   don't rush in to test everything in the GUI (like record and reply, for instance); GUI testing tools do come with some significant test maintenance costs, you know whenever possible, opt for unit testing instead of GUI testing load testing, repetitive tasks, tasks that run on multiple platforms and configurations, tests that need to be “fueled' with multiple data sets... these are just some of the cases that you should automate   1. Selenium, One of the Top Automation Testing Tools for Web Applications Selenium is the... “Swiss knife” type of automated web testing tool. It comes as a heavy package of libraries and tools. Moreover, you get to run it in pretty much any:   operating system browser automation testing framework programming language   In short: it's one of the most versatile automated software testing tools that you can get your hands on. The “de facto” standard in terms of open-source test automation tools, with a large community that you can rely on. Source: G2.com And with versatility comes power, since Selenium empowers you to come up with particularly complex browser-centered test scripts. You get to use them for:   regression testing exploratory testing quick reproduction of bugs   Cons of Using Selenium For there are also some drawbacks to using this automation testing tool on your web apps to keep in mind:   a certain maintenance overhead (maintaining your tests in Selenium is more expensive compared to unit testing, for instance) building libraries and frameworks to meet specific testing needs does call for above-the-average programming skills (time and effort, as well)    2. Watir A powerful tool for automating tests. A Ruby library in fact, that mimics the behavior of a user interacting with your web app. Why would you choose Watir over other free automation testing tools for web applications? Because:   it enables you to create tests that are easy to read and to maintain you can run it on your web app, irrespective of the languages that it is written on it supports data-driven testing from buttons to links, to forms and their responses, it's built to test all the elements of your web application you can leverage its powerful API handling to extend its capabilities you get to connect it to databases, turn your code into reusable libraries, read data files, export XML you get to combine manual browsing with Ruby commands  it supports cross-browser testing  it integrates with business-driven development tools: Cucumber, RSpec, Test/Unit   To sum up: Watir taps into the advantages of Ruby — reputed for its clear syntax — which makes it such a flexible testing tool to add to your... toolkit. Source: G2.com Cons of Using Watir   a relatively small community supporting it (when you compare it to Selenium) you need to pair it with other tools to use it to its full potential   3. TestComplete If a powerful, feature-rich automated web testing system is what you need, then TestComplete checks off all the “must-haves” on your list: From cross-browser to regression, to parallel testing, it provides you with all the capabilities that you expect from a robust automation system. 1500 +real test environments... That's the type of scalability that you get if you opt for this automated software testing. It's one of those automation testing tools for web applications that you get to use on your mobile and desktop apps, as well. For pretty much any type of automation task that you can think of... Source: G2.com Cons of Using TestComplete Some users have reported errors with object recognition during playback. So, you might want to keep that in mind. 4. Katalon Studio Easy to use and robust.  Source: G2.com What more could you ask from an automated UI testing tool than:   to be conveniently accessible to any type of tester, those with no programming background here included to ship with a whole set of powerful features   And speaking of those, here are just some of the capabilities that you can turbocharge your testing process with:   customizable execution workflow support for image-based testing smooth integration with a variety of tools (e.g. TeamCity and Jenkins) built-in support for generating test scripts, creating test cases, reporting results, recording actions built-in object repository, object re-identification, Xpath built-in support for Groovy/Java scripting languages visual representation of each step in the test (it's one of the most beginner tester-friendly tools out there)   Moreover, Katalon Studio is one of those automation testing tools for web applications that you can use for API and mobile testing as well. 5. Cucumber Here's another open-source automated software testing tool to consider putting on your shortlist. A collaborative tool based on behavior-driven development that you can use to:   write acceptance tests for your web apps perform those tests by running the most representative examples for your app   Now, one of the biggest strengths of this tool is the up-to-date document that it'll provide you with. One incorporating both the test documentation and the specification. Source: G2.com Anyone in your team (non-testers) can go through it since it's written in a highly accessible format (plain English). Now, if we were to sum up its “power” features:   it enables you to reuse code in your tests it supports lots of different languages Groovy, Python, Perl, PHP, .NET, Scala it grants you great support, since it's a highly popular automated app testing tool, with a large community  it enables you to use code along with Watir, Selenium, Capybara it's a cross-platform tool quick set up it enables you to generate detailed reports it integrates with GIT and Jenkins   Cons of Using Cucumber    you might find the default organization a bit... overwhelming you depend on external plugins for generating reports, so do expect some integration challenges The END! These are the top 5 automation testing tools for web applications that you should check first when getting your 2020 toolbox ready. Have you used any of them? If so, what's been your experience with it/them? And what other automated web testing tools would you have added to this selection? Let us know in the comments down below: Image by testbytes from Pixabay     ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Jan 21'2020
Apigee Edge Microgateway: Why Would You Want to Use It and When Should You? 10 Typical Use Cases
So you're evaluating and comparing all the available solutions for centralizing and standardizing your APIs. And you can't help wondering: "When is it recommended that I use Apigee Edge Microgateway?" Why would you use it in the first place, over other platforms for managing internal APIs? Over... the Apigee Edge gateway, for instance? What "irresistible" capabilities does it provide? And when precisely should you use it? What are its typical use cases? Let's get you some answers:   1. What Is Apigee Edge Microgateway? How Does It Work? If I was to compress its definition in a short line, it would go something like this: Apigee Edge Microgateway is a hybrid cloud solution for managing your APIs. Whereas if I was to opt for a detailed one: It's an HTTP-based message processor for APIs, built on Nodejs, that enables you to centralize and manage all your APIs in a hybrid cloud deployment setup. From traffic management to enterprise-grade security, to analytics, spike arrest, and quota (and the list goes on), it provides you with most of the standard Apigee Edge capabilities. Moreover, you get to install it either on the same machine or in the same data center. Source: docs.apigee.com "And how exactly does it work?" you'll then ask yourself. It processes the messages — requests, and responses — going to and from your backend services. Meaning that it'll asynchronously push API execution data to Apigee Edge once consumed by the Edge Analytics. "What about the Edge Microgateway deployment scenarios? What are my options?" Well, there are quite a few, since you get to deploy it:   in PaaS platforms (e.g. Cloud Foundry) Azure App Services as a service instead of sidecar integrated with Kubernetes as a Docker container in cloud-native PaaS platforms (e.g Google App Engine) in virtual machines as standalone processes 2. Why Precisely This API Management Solution? 5 Big Benefits Why would you go with Apigee Edge Microgateway over another setup for centralizing and administering your APIs? Here are some of the strongest API management capabilities that it provides you with:   enterprise-grade security: it authenticates requests based on an API key or signed access token that each client app gets via Apigee Edge analytics: it publishes all the data analytics to Apigee Edge so that everyone gets traffic stats in real-time configuration: no special coding is needed to set up Apigee Edge Microgtateway  rapid deployment: you get to deploy an instance in no time  reduced latency: it collects and sends API data to Apigee Edge asynchronously, therefore with minimal delay   3. When Would You Use It? What Are Its Typical Use Cases? When is it best to go with a hybrid deployment model for managing your APIs? Source: LinkedIn Here are some of the most common use cases of Apigee Edge Microgateway:   for an application running on a microservices architecture to keep API traffic within specific limits set for compliance and security reasons to provide Apigee API management for services running in Kubernetes for behavioral testing (of the scaling, of the infrastructure...) for disaster recovery to speed up API traffic for services running in close proximity  when legal and geographical boundaries are involved; for instance, when some of your global products need to run in regional data centers due to issues regarding personal data to keep processing messages even when there's no internet connection for cost management and market segregation   4. And What's the Difference Between Apigee Edge and Microgateway? Apigee Edge vs Microgateway... why should you consider the later? How are they different more exactly?  Especially since it gets even more confusing when considering that you even get Apigee Edge Microgateway plugins, which are so similar to Apigee Edge's policies... What capabilities, that you can benefit from using Apigee Edge, does Microgateway lack, for instance? Now, in terms of differences, here's a general "rule of thumb": Apigee Edge Microgateway does not come to replace the Edge gateway.  It has its own specific "lighter" use cases, like various mediations, key verification, quota that you can do with your backend services in close proximity, all while tapping into its robust above-mentioned capabilities. The END! Are you using Apigee Edge Microgateway? If so, what's your specific use case? And why have you decided to go with Microgateway instead of Edge Gateway? Image by Lynn Neo from Pixabay  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jan 17'2020