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Take your daily dose of (only) relevant news, useful tips and tricks and valuable how to's on using the latest web technologies shaping the digital landscape. We're here to do all the necessary information sifting for you, so you don't have to, to provide you with content that will help you anticipate the emerging trends about to influence the web.

CES 2018 Is Here! What Next-Generation Gadgets and Tech Steal the Spotlight?
The world's tiniest laptop, the rollable TV, the world's largest wall TV... all the disruptive “superlatives” in the tech industry are being currently showcased at CES 2018 — Consumer Electronics Show —  in Las Vegas (Jan 9-12). And if you haven't managed to attend the huge tech show and you're in the consumer technologies sector or just an innovative gadgets & technologies passionate, stay assured: we'll be keeping you in the loop!  Here are the: event's highlights “steamy fresh” info on precisely those gadgets stealing the spotlight as we speak news on the most-talked-about innovative consumer technologies at the show   CES 2018: There's Something for Everyone's Taste That's right, take this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) as a “theme park” overwhelming its visitors with its load of attractions. Its “visitors” being all those with a keen eye for sleek, next-generation gadgets and a guilty addiction for breakthrough innovations in the tech industry: There is a high tech “ride” for everyone's taste From wireless headphones to 8k OLED TVs, from electric cars to monster-sized TVs, robots for commercial use, wearables, high-tech hi-fi, to fingerprint scanning-incorporated mobile phones... And the list can definitely go on: there sure is something to turn anyone's high tech fantasies into reality at CES 2018! Everyone had been expecting (since it's a 50 years old tech show after all) both the Las Vegas Convention Center's show floor and the Halls of the Venetian to be “piled up” with... jaw-dropping tech innovations! With tech manufacturing giants — Samsung, LG, Sony, Acer, Panasonic and Big G itself — as "stars" of the show, this gathering can't turn out to be but... overwhelming, for any show attendee.   Gadgets and Tech Stealing the Show, The Largest Consumer Tech Show I bet you'd die to take a sneak peek inside. And even if it's going to be just an imaginary tour of the exhibits, your time is limited, isn't it? So you want to know which are those gadgets and consumer technologies “basking in a rockstar fame”. Well, get ready for they're about to step into the spotlight, here below. It's a selection of the consumer electronics products gathering the largest crowds these days in Vegas, at CES 2018: The headphones equipped with translation capabilities   Samsung's monster-sized Wall TV: its 165 inches are getting loads of attention at the tech show, not to mention that the giant consumer tech brand has also unveiled its battle plan of conquering OLED this year   Acer's Swift 7, the world's tiniest laptop (so far): it comes with out-of-the-box 4G LTE connectivity to boot   LG's latest robots designed to assist customers at hotels and shopping centres LG's 65-inch OLED rollable Ultra HD TV prototype: the future of technology has the shape of a highly convenient TV that you can easily... roll up, just like a newspaper Blyton's electric car: which has easily managed to stand out from the crowd of SCI-fi-like TVs, mobile phones, and other next-generation gadgets; CES 2018 is sure to make a fantastic “stage” for the Chinese startup to show off its innovative potential to the world Intel's CPU's with AMD Vega graphics Asus's MC mini-like Chromebox 3: since “small” is definitely the new big, Asus, too, unveiled its own small-sized product, equipped with built-in support for Gigabit LAN and dual-band 802.11 ac WI-FI (meaning, of course, that it will stream 4k videos... superbly) End of... tour! Of course, the lights on the global stage of innovation — CES 2018 — are still on. And they'll be on till Friday, the 12th of January. New “superstars” in terms of gadgets will be rising, so take my selection here as a rough guide only! ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jan 10'2018
Vue Vs React: Which One Should I Use for My Front-End Project?
Ready to set up your web app? One which, needless to add, should deliver your users a feature-rich front-end experience? Great! Now comes the truly challenging part: deciding which JavaScript UI component library — Vue vs React — is right for your web project! For its specific needs and requirements:   is it a small or a large scale one? is it one overloaded with dynamic elements? do you plan to go mobile, too? do you want it built fast or do you want it capable to scale up in order to accommodate all future functionalities and features?   And the debate is nothing but: convenient simplicity and lightness vs superpower backed up by a thriving community  But let's not move away from your initial “dilemma”: “In a Vue vs React competition, where I get to choose the most appropriate front-end framework that should power my future app, which one's the winner?” Let's bring in the 2 contestants on the “stage” now, shall we?   But First: 2 Crucial Questions That You Should Be Asking Yourself Beforehand   1. Will it be a web or a native app? And this is a critical question to be asking yourself way before you start your “investigations” on the 2 competing JavaScript UI component libraries. Here's why:   React has got you covered whether it's a web application (ReactJS), a native mobile app (React Native) or... even a virtual reality front-end app that you're planning to develop. And this is, no doubt, one of the most heavy-weighing answers to the question: “Why React over Vue?”   Vue2.0 has made a big step forward, towards a native approach (and here I'm referring to Weex, of course); and even if it still can't get anywhere close to React Native's built-in support for building native mobile apps, it's still a “promise” for the future to come.   2. How Much Time Do You Have Till You Need to Actually Start Building It? In other words: is it an “ASAP” type of app developing situation or you do have the “luxury” to invest as much time as needed in learning a new JS framework? And this question is more than relevant (and helpful for narrowing your 2 choices down to 1 from the start) since:   ReactJS can be discouraging for some, due to its quite steep learning curve; from its terminology to its heavy documentation, everything looks less familiar, less intuitive, more frustratingly complex   Vue.js, on the other hand, has “seduced” lots of its current advocates precisely with its low learning curve: it “spoils" them with familiar CSS, HTML, ES6 and where do you add that it doesn't call for a Webpack either.   Basically, you get to explore and capitalize upon Vue.js's potential right away, in pretty much any code sharing environment.   Go With Vue.JS If...   1. It's simplicity in syntax that you value most in a web framework  In a “Why moving from React to Vue?” debate, the argument of “extreme simplicity” would have to be the strongest one. That's right, this JavaScript UI framework's simplicity is built deep into its design. Moreover, the familiarity of the concepts that it uses (or better said “copies” from its main 2 “rivals: React's virtual DOM and Angular's two-way data binding) could be enough to help you find the answer to your “Vue js vs React” personal debate. You just run your Vue.js project right from your web browser! And its simple syntax bubbles up to the easiness of altering the state data (not to mention that this also makes it significantly easier to pick it up).    2. It's a small scale, ideally fast web app that you're planning to build Since page size is a game-changer (isn't it?) when it comes to building an app, Vue.js comes to tempt you with its surprisingly low weight (approx. 25.6KB once minified). Now you do the math how this will impact the rendering system and, overall, how it will tilt the balance in any “Vue js vs React speed” comparison.   3. You're more into a “templatey” way of building apps And how could you “resist” a default template structure after all (and even so more if you're not new to AngularJS)? One that uses old-style HTML templates. Basically, you get to drop your markup into an HTML file and thus:   use already familiar (aren't they) HTML attributes for injecting the needed functionality into your default template  use pre-processors clearly separate layout from functionality    … as compared to building your app using ReactJS, which uses a whole different approach: it requires you to put together your own DOM using a JSX syntax. Note: yet, some might argue though that templating comes at a cost, that of learning the extended HTML syntax, as compared to the rendering functions. And, moreover, that React's JSX syntax puts superpowers in the hands of the developer, once he/she gets familiar with it. Since it enables him/her to use JavaScript in his template. And yet: stay assured, Vue.js 2 now provides you with both render functions and a templating option for setting up your web app!   Go With ReactJS If...   1. You Want to Easily Build an App That Should Work on Both Web and Mobile Convenience at its best! This is how we might call Facebook's “protegee's” two-faceted nature:   ReactJS for building your high-power, interactive web app's interface with React Native for building your next best thing in terms of native apps   No need for you to knee deep in learning the nitty-gritty of a whole new JavaScript UI component-based library. Instead, you'll be using the already familiar React for carrying out both your plans (to build a web and a native app), “juggling” with web components and respectively with native components.   2. It's a Complex, Large Scale App Project That You Have in Mind If that's the case, then the following argument might just be a decisive one in your Vue vs React “dilemma”. For React is built with the specific needs of large-scale apps in mind! Which means that it's perfectly equipped for injecting them with high performance! And it's precisely when you're dealing with an overly complex app project that you realize that:   transparency and testability are crucial for you a template system is way too restrictive, far less configurable (although it would help you to create a React app and get it up and running in no time)   In this respect, React's JavaScript-made templates grant you the freedom you need for:   reusing easily testing restructuring   … your conveniently decomposed code. And this is the “superpower” that React lays in your hands: it allows you to “split” its JavaScript structure into multiple components, that you can easily test and reuse! It “spoils” you with an ideally configurable rendering system.   3. It's a Huge Ecosystem and a Thriving Comunity that you value most  React's indisputable “fame” — not to mention Facebook's backing — does come with its benefits. Advantages that you can capitalize upon:   more resources out there for you to delve yourself in and to leverage in your app (tutorials, articles, Stack Overflow answers, etc.) a wide range of add-ons and tools for you to select from and boost your project with the guarantee that you'll benefit from continued maintenance (given by Facebook's patronage and, therefore, by the whole “army” of React developers that commit themselves to keep it closely  monitored)   And The Winner of This "Vue vs React" Dabate Is... Have I made you even more confused? Is it even harder to state which front-end JavaScript framework would win the Vue vs React debate? One's “seducing” you with a simple syntax and set up, the other one with its scaling capabilities. One “boasts” with faster rendering if it's a small app that it's powering, while the other one empowers you to build both web and native mobile apps. And where do you add that the two UI frameworks share a considerably large set of features, as well:   they're both conveniently lightweight they're both open source they both use virtual DOM and reactive components they both rely on server-side rendering … and are both component-based libraries providing you with a “backbone” in terms of functionality.   So you'll need to rely on third-party frameworks for handling any extra functionality (state management, routing, etc.) that you're planning to equip your future app with. Decisions, decisions... Now here are a few conclusions deriving from my little presentation here that might help you decide a bit easier:   opt for Vue.js if it's a new JavaScript framework that you'd like to drop into an already existing codebase choose the React library if you're planning to leverage web technologies to develop a native mobile app go with React if it's a SPA or a really complex, large-sized app that you're planning to build   So, is it any easier for you now to solve your Vue vs React dilemma? ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Jan 08'2018
Serverless Computing Takes Off in 2018: How It Will Impact The Way Software Is Built
To go or not to go serverless... This is one of 2018's most asked questions in the IT industry. And it's true that serverless computing has grown from a niche solution, with a somewhat misleading name, into a tech trend guaranteed by all the industry experts. Yet, you're still a bit hesitant when it comes to replacing your heavy, yet familiar infrastructure with a serverless framework, right? You feel like “dipping a toe into the water” first. And who could blame you? It's a more than legitimately prudent approach considering the implications of such a switch.  You shouldn't make a move, not until you have some unbeatable arguments at hand. Until you gain a deep understanding of all the benefits that derive from adopting a cloud-native approach. Well, this is precisely what this blog post is all about: pointing out all the strongest benefits that you will reap from taking the infrastructure management weight off your shoulders and going... serverless.   But First: What Is Serverless Architecture More Exactly? First of all, let's get one thing straight: “serverless computing” doesn't mean, by all means, that there isn't a server, out there somewhere, doing its data workload processing work! It's just that the user (yes, you!):   is no longer burdened with all the server (or fleet of servers) management and monitoring ongoing tasks doesn't know (or care) where in the world his server is located   You'd be practically running your code right in the cloud, taking out of the picture the need of provisioning servers on your enterprise's end.  "But how does the data processing work on cloud?" A valid question indeed. Basically, you're enabled to set up your individual API endpoints which will fire code and perform certain actions once triggered. As simple as that. And if I am to exemplify, probably the best-known example would be the serverless computing AWS: Amazon's AWS Lambda. It has already managed to “seduce” plenty of IT managers in the industry and its popularity is sure to... explode in 2018. Why? Because it's a serverless computing architecture which:   scales automatically, granting enterprises the flexibility they need and helping them cut down costs it executes code only when/if certain events occur, when specific endpoints get triggered   And it's not a serverless framework without “rivals”. Competition is about to get fierce when other frameworks such as Webtask, Microsoft Azure Functions, Google Cloud Functions, IBM OpenWhisk and Iron.io will start to... take off.   It's Horizontally Scalable: Relax and Let It Handle Massive Waves of Traffic for You In other words: you get to worry less about balancing the heavy load, about the waves of traffic that your site/app might face once certain of your endpoints get exposed. And about rushing in to put together the properly robust infrastructure. The underlying system will handle it for you!   You're Free to Set Up Each Endpoint in the Language of Your Choice Or simply put: your API endpoints will be language-agnostic! You (or your lucky team of developers) get to write each endpoint in a different language runtime. So, you're free to use the one that you're most familiar with or the one that best fits our work scenario.  And this is already a major pro for adopting a serverless computing approach in 2018!   You Only Pay for What You Use: A Strong Benefit of Serverless Computing Here's another “irresistible” benefit that you can reap from going serverless: you only pay for what you use! So, there's no need (not anymore) to pile up on T2 small instances and auto-scaling groups... just in case. The “case” here being: “if I ever hit a surge of traffic”. When you're using a serverless architecture all this comes without a price tag on!   Worry Less About Managing The Underlying Infrastructure: It's Being Taken Cared Of! Your serverless cloud provider will be managing the entire fleet of servers for you. And this “management” includes applying security patches as soon as they get released, as well! So, take all these monitoring and security-related concerns off your back and... focus more on turning great ideas into great digital products! And this is — all these resources of time and effort that you'll get to invest elsewhere — the main advantage that you'll leverage from switching to serverless computing!   Turn That Great Idea of Yours Into The Next Big Thing Quicker Than Ever!  Just think about it: going from having a great idea to actually turning it into the next big... app (let's say) will take you a whole less time (and effort). Serverless computing will smooth the path for you and shorten the process, meaning that:   you'll be having your idea production ready a lot quicker you'll gain more confidence to try on newer technologies, as well   Summing Up... Plus a Forecast for 2018 “Serverless IT will move from the niche corners of the cloud estate into the spotlight as it addresses the three key areas that keep IT admins up at night: speed, cost and risk.” (Jason McDonald, President U.S., Contino) Yet (for there is a “yet”), serverless computing isn't a “one size fits all” type of solution. It won't scale to all app architectures and needs (like the need to closely monitor and to control how things get configured). Nevertheless, if we:   go beyond its somehow misleading name see its strong benefits consider it only for those use cases that it's best fitted for   ... serverless architecture is here to stay and change the way we build software from the ground up! ... Read more
RADU SIMILEANU / Jan 04'2018
Best Augmented Reality Tools in 2018: Which Is The Right One for Your AR App?
“Build the next big thing in terms of AR apps!” Is this goal on top of your New Year's resolutions list? Well, then right now you must be wondering: “With so many tempting augmented reality tools out there to choose from, which one's best for my own AR solution?" A frustratingly ambiguous answer could be: "The one that best serves your AR app development needs." Meaning that whatever AR platform you'll be choosing, it should: meet your project's requirements serve the goals that you will have set up for it And yet, this “matching” of the AR libraries at your disposal with your project's specific development needs is your “mission” and yours only. Nevertheless, we can still help you streamline your selection process. How? By shortlisting 6 of the most popular augmented reality development tools in 2017 with a great potential to grow even more influential in 2018.  Here they come: 1. Kudan AR An augmented reality SDK that “pioneered” the network intelligent vision (bringing together AI and IoT). And which sets itself apart from the other augmented reality tools in our shortlist here due to its robust single-camera SLAM. In other words: Kudan AR supports mapping tracking and simultaneous localization. Built for both iOS and Android-based apps, Kudan AR supports markerless tracking (meaning that it uses features such as edges, corners, and textures) and, moreover, it's designed to recognize an unlimited number of images. Where do you add that it doesn't get “greedy” using too much of your app's memory to store its files and (big advantage!) it's significantly faster than other AR SDKs. Summing up its key features and functionalities now: 2D/3D Recognition in the same application supports markerless tracking supports Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) tracking technology 2. Vuforia, By Far One of the Most Popular Augmented Reality Tools Call it a "complete tool" for developing AR apps! It practically “empowers” you to create any kind of AR solution for any type of device, any platform! A visually arresting augmented reality app or game “packed” with cutting-edge functionality.  Yet, it does have its own shortcomings, too, the most “discouraging” one being that its free version comes with Vuforia watermarks and limited functionality.  Even so, the balance between great features and innovative capabilities and shortcomings is titled so that it favours the first ones. Let us detail: it's supercharged with smart terrain functionality for reconstructing a terrain and therefore a whole 3D map of the environment in real-time    the same, above-mentioned functionality, will empower you (or your app development team) to create some fully interactive user experiences where the app's elements interact with the physical world   it's extended tracking feature enables your future AR app to deliver a 100% realistic visual experience even when the target elements are out of view (in other words users will be able to simultaneously engage themselves in the gameplay and still visualize the vehicles for instance)   And now summing up Vuforia's most notable features:   it comes with virtual buttons, which allow you to switch between various surfaces, which play the roles of your true-to-life, natural-looking touch screens   mixed reality and eyewear support (that's right, Microsoft HoloLens here included)   cloud recognition (and on-device, as well), meaning that it's capable to use either a local or a cloud database during the image recognition process    Vuforia Object Scanner   it comes with Vumarks (Vuforia barcodes), which act both as data encoders and as markers   it's built to recognize both 2D and 3D objects   text recognition: Vuforia's designed to recognize over 100.000 words (and, moreover, you're enabled to use your own custom vocabulary, as well)   3. Wikitude The third augmented reality development kit on our list is actually an “all-in-one” platform in fact. One which brings together: Instant tracking + 3D markerless technology + Geo-location + Object/Image recognition and tracking And all these top-notch AR features bundled up in one single AR app development kit can only mean 2 things:   you get to build both marker AR mobile apps ... and location-based ones   Available for iOS, Android, and Glassware, Wikitude is one of those commercial augmented reality tools. It does come in a trial version, as well, but do expect it to “surprise” you with a series of limitations, such as its logo showing up in the cam view. And now, let's go through its attention-worthy features and functionalities:   it provides you with Wikitude Studio, which makes AR app development a breeze, literally, since it requires no programming skills whatsoever: just drag the elements onto the studio screen and... put together your app    Wikitude SDK is currently available for Android, iOS and the Glassware platform   on-device and cloud recognition    instant (3D) tracking (it will display virtual objects and map out environments without using markers)   extended tracking    geolocation support: your AR mobile app can get enhanced with location-based services, as well    4. ARToolKit ARToolKit is, in fact, a group of augmented reality tools that you can use for building your app. And its heavy-weighing pro, that helped it make it to our list here, is that it's... an open-source code! That's right, you gain free access to its library, so you'll be able to tailor its source code to your AR app's specific development needs. Nevertheless, this comes with a drawback: limited documentation! So, do keep this in mind when you're on a lookout for the most appropriate AR platform for your app project. And now, let's list its other “seductive” features besides its open-source nature:   simultaneous tracking: basically you get to “empower” your AR apps to track multiple objects at the same time both single and dual camera support  integration with GPS (a vital feature if it's a location-based AR app that you're developing) it supports various platforms, ranging from iOS and Android to Windows, macOS, Linux...   5. Apple ARkit, One of The Revolutionary AR Frameworks And it was pretty much around the time when iOS 11 introduced ARKit in the digital arena that app developers' “mad race” to build their own next big thing started. Did you start planning your own AR solution around the same time? Running on Apple 9, Apple 10, and A11 processors, Apple ARkit empowers you to create and deliver augmented reality experiences to your users both on iPhone and iPad (obviously!). Now let us highlight the top-notch functionalities that will empower your app development team to put together not “just” AR experiences, but some truly realistic, immersive ones:   VIO (Visual Inertial Odometry) combines core motion data with camera sensor data, enabling your future AR app to accurately track the environment    it's capable to detect horizontal surfaces (e.g. floors and tables) and objects on smaller feature points    it's equipped for plane, scale, and ambient lighting estimation   fast motion tracking   it can be used with third-party tools such as Unreal Engine and Unity, with SceneKit and Metal   6. EasyAR  Here's another SDK “overloaded” with cutting-edge functionalities on our augmented reality tools list here! And even if you go with the free version of the EasyAR kit (which won't provide you with certain of its functionalities, such as SLAM, 3D tracking, and screen recording), you still get an impressive load of features:   cloud recognition 1000 on-device targets storage unlimited recognition queries   And where do you add that getting it up and running is just a matter of registering your account and generating your Bundle ID's plugin key. Its list of top features would have to include:   cloud recognition app cloud packaging 3D object recognition environment tracking   The END! These are the 6 augmented reality tools that you should consider selecting from if you're decided to go ahead and build your first AR solution this year. Good luck checking them off your New Year's resolutions list! ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jan 03'2018
Why Would You Go With a Drupal eCommerce Website? 10 Strongest Reasons
Robust, conveniently scalable, fully (and easily) customizable... What else? Oh, yes, it should definitely be a 2-in-1: CMS & e-commerce platform. This is pretty much how your “wishlist” looks now when you're choosing the best eCommerce solution for your website, right? Would you be able to check off all the “wishes” listed there if you want to build a Drupal eCommerce website? That is the question! What makes Drupal not just a good choice, nor just the best one, but the most SUITABLE one for your own e-commerce site? One that would meet all its needs (quick and easy integration with third-party systems, a flexible content editing process, easy to control SEO etc.)? Well, here's OPTASY team's top 10 good reasons why you should “bet on” Drupal:   1. It Shortens Your E-Commerce Site's Development Time And it's pretty much... self-evident: Compared to a standalone eCommerce platform (e.g. Prestashop or Magento), with Drupal you get Drupal Commerce built right on top of it! Built, from the ground up, to seamlessly integrate with your CMS.  In short: with Drupal (&Drupal Commerce) you get one tightly integrated platform system simultaneously serving as a content management system and as an e-commerce platform. Save the time you'd otherwise invest in:   custom-integrating a CMS with your standalone eCommerce platform making them “play well” with one other  “joggling” with 2 platforms (or a 2-platform system, if you prefer) instead of one and investing twice as much time and effort in their ongoing management and maintenance   2. It "Plays Nicely" With Third-Party Systems And this is not even an advantage, but a vital functionality drawing a line between effective and ineffective e-commerce solutions. As a (current or future) e-commerce website owner, your “jam-packed” list of specific needs does include integrating systems and apps such as:   Paypal Verisign Authorize.net   … and so on and extending your site's functionality all while enriching user experience, right? Luckily, Drupal, and implicitly Drupal Commerce, integrates seamlessly with third-party getaways via RESTful API!   3. It's Both Free and Open Source One of the many valid answers to your “Why Drupal for ecommerce use?” could be:   “Because it's free to use!”   Moreover, by being open source, the no-fee feature doesn't translate into poorly supported modules! With Drupal, you don't have the “premium plugins” concept otherwise specific to WordPress or Magento, yet you still get to explore a plethora of free modules. Modules which, moreover, are backed up by a worldwide Drupal community. In a few words: you get default “premium” modules without the price tag on!   4. A Drupal Commerce-Powered Site Is Conveniently Easy to Handle And this “convenience” derives from 2 major “requirements” that your future Drupal ecommerce website easily meets:   that it should empower you and your team to operate with one set of tools only that this “toolkit” put at your disposal — which you'll be using for carrying out specific admin tasks —  should include flexible and fully configurable tools only   Checked, checked!   5. You Get a 2-in-1: CMS & Ecommerce Platform And this might just be one of the strongest arguments to build a Drupal eCommerce website! Not only that Drupal Commerce   is built on Drupal, from the ground up, deeply “rooted“ in it which enables it to explore and exploit the CMS's power to the fullest ... but it's actually the ONLY commerce platform built on a CMS! And this translates into:   a unified, rich and seamless user experience  less development and maintenance time resources for you to invest   6. You Get to Leverage Its Granular User (and Role) Management System And this is, indeed, a superpower that Drupal puts in your hands! Basically, you're given full control over who's accessing what, over which functionalities and features (from your CMS and your online shop) your:   team members (who are granted different user roles and levels of permission) and your site visitors   … gain access to.   7. It Streamlines Your SEO Efforts It's quite obvious that a tightly integrated platform grants you easier control over your entire SEO strategy. As compared to a 2-platform system. It streamlines your efforts to constantly improve the customer journey on your online store.   8. Why build a Drupal eCommerce Website? 'Cause It's Flexible Needless to stress out this feature even more: Drupal's already way “too” famous for its modular nature empowering users to configure and to “custom-tune” their websites to meet their needs to the slightest detail! Add on new modules, mix and match them to your liking and use Drupal's modular power to the fullest!   9. It's Conveniently Extensible: It Seamlessly Accommodates Sites of All Sizes Another strong reason for building a Drupal eCommerce website: it seamlessly adapts to all sizes and levels of complexity. Hence, whether it's:   a small ecommerce site handling basic transactions or a content-heavy, high trafficked ecommerce website   ... that you're building, Drupal's got you covered! It's built to effortlessly power all sites, large or small!   10. It's a Content-Driven Ecommerce Solution  Since Drupal is, primarily, a content management system!  And content is the driving force of any successful e-commerce site or, better put: all e-commerce efforts are centred on content! With Drupal and the ecommerce software deeply integrated within — Drupal Commerce  — you're empowered to:   deliver a rich and unified user experience on your site … by easily linking your products/services to corresponding content (descriptions, banners, icons...) that tells the story behind and creates added value    And it's content that engages your customers, that ultimately drives sales and builds brand loyalty! That builds communities.     END of the list! These are, in our opinion, the 10 reasons strong enough to tip the balance in favour of choosing Drupal for your ecommerce website! ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Dec 21'2017
An 8-Step Business Networking Guide for Startups Attending The Web Summit 2018 
I know that one of the tips from my previous post was to start preparing for the event a month before or so. And yet: there's no such thing as “too early” preps for the Web Summit 2018 The future belongs to those who plan ahead, especially if you're a startup founder! Nevertheless, irrespective of a company's size or for how long it's been on the market there's plenty of networking potential to be seized and to be leveraged at the conference. For everyone. So, why not start your pre-conference preparation by going through my handful of valuable advice and top tips based on my experience there representing OPTASY? Tips on how to create your own networking opportunities and how to fully “exploit” them. Hence, today I'll be sharing with you some of my experience at the Web Summit from a company's perspective, along with insights and advice from the standpoint of OPTASY's assignee there (me).   1. Do Your Pre-Conference Homework Like a Pro' Plenty of research here included! My advice, from the previous post on this topic, to take your time to properly prepare for the event applies, all the more, if you're attending the Web Summit 20918 as a company. With so many big names and start-ups striving to maximize their opportunities to build connections and meet potential partners — before and while at the conference—  reaching out to people and scheduling meetings long time in advance becomes... common sense. Read bios, make yourself a list of the people you'd love to “chat” with and... drop them a line. Make contact, schedule valuable meetings...   2. … and Do Show Up At Meetings With All Your Homework Properly Done By “homework” I do mean 2 things:   improvisation is definitely overrated; instead of relying solely on your personal charm and persuasion skills to win them over, try to collect (and to memorize) as much key information about the people (and their companies) you'll meet as possible: projects, shared values, success story, objectives, approach to disruptive technologies etc.   don't deliver them just plain, rigid numbers and statistics, but tell a story, your company's unique story; in this respect, again, don't rely exclusively on your spontaneity, but craft and repeatedly polish your story long time in advance   3. Write Down Notes After Every Single Meeting: They Are True Lifesavers “Specific” notes I should add. You can even write them down (the notes) right on the business cards that you'll receive. OK, so you may not be interested, at first, in someone's plans to travel around the world or in his golden retriever's name, but, believe me:   These seemingly insignificant details will turn out to be powerful information once the summit ends and you go back to the office!   This is the kind of personal information that will “fuel” your follow-up emails to those people, helping you add that personal touch that's not to be underestimated. Take these on-the-spot notes as the surest way to remember all those people that you'll chat with. To quickly put a face on each name written on a business card.    4. Follow Up on The Very Same Day  The best way to “carve” a meeting in your interlocutor's memory is to send him/her a follow-up email the very same day. One where you express, once again, your intention to help him/his company.  Patience might be a virtue, but when it comes to fully exploiting your networking opportunities at the Web Summit 2018, quick reactions, real-time follow-ups, are a must.   5. Be Alert, Meet and Mingle Once at the web summit: sharpen all your senses! Keep your eyes “wide shut”, ready to:   “detect” any “big” company/startup celebrity name on a badge listen to people chatting around you  mingle with the crowd   Networking opportunities are “floating” there, everywhere, the cafeteria here included!   6. Set Up a Goal and Never Lose Sight of It Why do you plan to/will be attending the Web Summit 2018? What are you hoping to get out of your attendance to this major tech conference? Is it for getting your company's name out there? Is it it for promoting your brilliant, innovative business idea? Is it for meeting potential clients/finding investors? Or are you looking for an inspiring mentor maybe? Just don't show up there without a goal! With nothing but pure... enthusiasm. Define your main objective long time in advance and build your powerful strategy around it!   7. Try Out Different Networking Methods While at the Web Summit 2018 Remember: your time in the spotlight, when you get the chance to exhibit, lasts for just one day. Therefore, it's crucial that you plan out the other 2 days left in detail. A highly effective approach to planning is to try a mix of different networking strategies:   hand out fliers   take a tour of all the booths there   go to your scheduled meetings   attend conferences and try reaching out to speakers after   And, most of all, as you “juggle” with all these networking methods, stay creative and you'll stand you! You'll get noticed!   8. Don't Formalize: Meet People Over a Drink And speaking of “meeting and mingling”, don't hesitate to invite your interlocutors to chit-chat over a drink at one of those night events at the Web Summit 2018. Turn the Pub Crawls, get togethers and, most of all, private dinner parties into some great (if not the very best) opportunities to make connections.  Mingle with the crowd, a glass in your hand, and interact while trying to have some fun, too. To enjoy your experience there, as a (startup) company attendee!   And this is it! OPTASY's 8-step guide on how to network like a champ', how to seize and value all the opportunities of making new, valuable connections, as a company, at the Web Summit 2018. Good luck with that! ... Read more
Serge Karpyuk / Dec 08'2017
My Experience as a Web Summit 2017 Attendee and Top Tips for 2018
My first time at the Web Summit! And it's been almost... “surreal”, I'm still having trouble believing that I did, indeed, attend it (has it been a month already?).       You go over all the numbers (60000 names, 1200 speakers etc.), you scan through the overwhelmingly long list of participants (packed with awe-inspiring names) and you start to feel just like a... kid going to Disneyland for the first time:   Am I really going to attend these talks?   Be in the same room (even if in the very last row... these are just details) with all these... tech and business giants?   Get close to all these inspiring innovators (I know, I know: I start to sound like a fanatic)?   And last but definitely not least: get to immense myself in this astonishing city?   Of course, once you go through the list over and over again, you use the app day and night and you burst with over-excitement, you gradually... cool down and start doing your homework. To properly prep for meeting all these influencers. For you do want to make the most of your staying there and not waste anyone's time. But before I go on with my list of tips and advice on how to prepare for a Web Summit — whether you're a startup founder or a tech enthusiast — allow me to share with you some glimpses of my actual experience:   1. Got There Pumped Up for the Event and Left Head Over Heels in Love With... Lisbon! For it's simply... breathtaking! Lisbon lures you in to explore it, then it crawls into your heart and... gets stuck to it!  The cosmopolitan city basking in the sun has been the host of “the best technology conference on the planet” for the second year in a row. And this after the conference had spent its “childhood” in Dublin and... well... got a bit... too much for the Irish capital city. And organizers couldn't have picked a better “host”:   the city of Lisbon had the capacity to easily accommodate the heavy influx of participants it took me about 40 minutes to get from the venue to the city centre, by subway I got (thank God!) stable internet connection throughout my staying there there were no discouragingly large crowds gathered around the exhibit stands   2. Attended Talks and Conferences: My Top Favorites For even though some more experienced Web Summit participants might advise you to watch the speeches on YouTube —  and instead, while there, to network like there's no tomorrow (or a next web summit to attend) —  I stuck to my own schedule. It would have been inconceivable for me not to attend the conferences and talks that I was so looking forward to. And here's a short list of the ones that I loved best:   Stephen's Hawking's Talk on Disruptive Technology, on how “Artificial intelligence comes, and this can become both a major success and the main failure of mankind “, that if it's not geared exclusively at SERVING humanity (and not the other way around)   Bryan Johnson's (the CEO of Kernel) Talk on Prioritizing Humanity, above all, and the stringent need for people to learn to adapt to the newly emerging tasks that disruptive technologies assign to them   Margrethe Vestager's, The European Union's Commissioner for Competition, Talk on Fair Play and Tech (filled with self-evident examples of invasive usages of technology and of tech giants engaging in tax invasion)   Dana Settle's (Greycroft) and Jim Breyer's (Breyer Capital) Speech answering the legitimate “Where to Invest in 2018?” question: in core technologies, practical and simple apps, (e.g. virtual, personal health assistants) in AI, machine learning; a talk with a focus on China as the world's second largest AI development center   3. And Now: My Top Pre-Event Preparation Tips and Tricks  Let me switch from what might look like me bragging about my experience at the Lisbon Web Summit 2017, to me sharing some practical tips with you. Some advice on how to properly plan out your attendance and prepare like a pro' for the event:   First of all: start your pre-conference preparations long time in advance (a month before or so)   Next, download the Web Summit app; and this is a true power placed in your hands if you know just to harness its full potential   Then, it's time you do your homework: delve deep into the wide list of participants (luckily you'll find them all right there, listed in the app), scan them through, read bios, do your research work and reach out to them (be perseverant), make connections, schedule meetings   The event's app will be your most reliable ally thanks to its conveniently easy-to-use and time-saving filters: don't be afraid to use them   Rely on keyword search, as well, and put together a list including ONLY those people whom you'd just die to meet and chat with, who inspire you, whose story you're fascinated with, who are most likely to provide you with information that's 100% relevant for your industry    Put together a schedule of meetings, for once you get there... you risk to be swept by the “whirlpool”. It will help you stay focused, stay organized and maximize all your networking opportunities once you're at the summit   In short: there's no easy way to properly prep for the Web Summit 2018; no quick trick or secret recipe to making connections and scheduling meetings so that you land in Lisbon with a solid strategy at hand, that you'll just need to... execute to perfection. It's all about kneeing deep in the discouragingly rich database of participants, running a rigorous selection and reaching out to people.    4. Web Summit 2018: My Advice on How to Make the Most of It So, with your list of contacts plus your schedule of meetings in one pocket and your Web Summit app in the other one you... arrive in Lisbon. Now what? Here are a few tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your next/first web summit attendance:   Schedule all the talks and conferences that you want to attend; in this respect, the recommendation feature and the event calendar —  2 of the app's key features —  make some really powerful tools   Next, remember that people connect more easily outside conference halls and that networking at Web Summit doesn't end at sunset; be ready to attend some of the night events (parties here included!) scheduled for the Night Summit; pub-crawl, interact, make connections while you're having some well-deserved fun, as well, after a full, hectic day   But probably the only really “strict” advice to follow while at the Web Summit is: Be creative! Don't be shy to reach out to people, you'll be surprised to discover that some of them are really willing to share their experiences/expertise (for that's why they go there after all, to network with people passionate about innovation, with disruptive technologies enthusiasts, like you, after all), to create your own networking opportunities And this is my (first) Web Summit experience in a few words and my tips for you if you're planning to hit the 2018's tech conference! Stay tuned! In our next post we'll be sharing with you a tried-and-tested step-by-step guide on how to network like rockstar — as a startup company — at Web Summit 2018! ... Read more
Serge Karpyuk / Dec 06'2017
6 Enterprise Use Cases for Augmented Reality That You, Too, Can Implement 
Long gone are the days when AR and VR used to be associated (strictly) to roller coaster simulations, the gaming industry or true-to-life aerial experiences. Today we can be talking about an ever-wider range of innovative use cases for augmented reality in enterprises.  About a niche technology turning... mainstream and, moreover, going beyond purely entertainment purposes. Moreover, AR's potential for improving performance, boosting efficiency and enriching customer experience has long ceased to be a “privilege” of the top most valuable brands. And since it's ceased to be an “exclusive” technology, why not harness its potential? Why not capitalizing on AR's potential in your own organization, too?   “What specific use case best suits my particular business needs?”   ... you might be wondering.   Here are some of the most interesting current uses of augmented reality in enterprises:   1. Remote Workforce Supercharged With AR Power  Just take this scenario:   You have two teams working on the same project — an in-house one and a remote one — and you get to leverage AR's power to actually immerse your remote team in the project.   … to bring together all your employees, scattered around the globe, in a collaboration enhanced by that strong feeling of “being there” that AR instils. Or you can go for the second scenario: use AR to easily monitor out of location employees. And this feature gains a critical importance if we're considering 3 specific types of employees working “off-site”:   engineers on an oil-rig medical first respondents linesmen on power lines  2. Step-By-Step Guidance Overlaid on Work Areas via AR Displays Another one of those efficiency-boosting (translated into manufacturing error rate cut down by almost 90%) use cases for augmented reality in an enterprise is overlaying instructions. Practically via an AR display the manufacturer — take one manufacturing an aeroplane wing or one assembling an automobile, for instance — gets hyper-explicit guidance overlaid precisely on his work area. With instructions being conveniently visualized, overlaid right on the work area, the employee practically gets step-by-step guidance for carrying out his tasks of high precision with utmost accuracy. Where human error possibility should be whipped out of the process, AR comes to bring out-of-this-world precision into the real world!   3. Using AR Geared at Improving Warehousing and Logistics Efficiency A potential that DHL knew just how to exploit to their benefit: streamlining warehouse pick-and-place operations through the use of smart glasses which are pointing out the shorter routes for the employees to take; and implicitly cutting down the error rate, too. An unbelievable efficiency booster that you, too, can leverage in your organization for cutting down costs on logistics and warehousing resources and reducing human error.   4. Enriching Your Design/Engineering Team's Experience  By their powers combined, AR and VR will help you:   enrich your customers' experiences by bringing design concepts to life; take a scenario where a family planning to renovate one of their bathrooms can walk right in its virtual replica and visualize precisely how it's going to look   enrich your designers'/architects/engineers' experiences: 3D objects/environments represented on two-dimensional screens vs 3D representations in real size; practically engineers/architects/construction workers/designers get to visualize their work in progress and spot the areas that need adjustments with far more accuracy and in a timely manner   It's one of those use cases for augmented reality that will empower you to increase your team's performance and create richer, immersive customer experiences.    5. Real-Time Data Vizualization … at an enterprise level. And this is one of those scenarios where you get to turn AR into a... superpower. Just think about it: Visualizing data in real-time and, moreover, projecting these data visualizations onto different surfaces will not only:   enhance a more in-depth understanding of that specific data   ... but even enable larger groups of managers to collaborate far more effectively and make data-driven decisions based on a shared understanding of that data   And this is one of those augmented reality business use cases that can go as far as projecting board-room-seized 3 D views of your business! There you can get an even more accurate view of your entire data infrastructure, with all its strong and “sore points” to focus your efforts on!   6. Augmented Reality Training: One of The Most Valuable Use Cases for Augmented Reality  Will you join the AR revolution in staff training and professional development? And since nothing beats practical examples, here are some current uses of AR as a powerful training tool:   using AR to quickly empower staff to get a grip on using highly complex equipment, machinery   using AR to enhance the learning of complex concepts   using AR to enhance collaboration during staff training via virtual, true-to-life presentations, field tests etc.   using AR to a supercharge a “learning by doing” type of training, where real-life situations would be too dangerous to (re)create: such as performing surgery or flying a plane   using AR to recreate specific environments/scenarios/reality augmented workplaces in order to improve your employee's “soft skills” (public speaking, dispute resolution, decision making under stress); you even get to tailor your AR training to each team member's profile    To sum up: using AR in training processes helps you “unleash” all that potential of creativity and efficiency otherwise limited by the “conventional” type of trainings. Take AR as far as your imagination takes it and create your own use cases for augmented reality suitable for:   your team(s)' specific needs your organization's specific goals for maximizing your team's potential   Final Thoughts Now guess what: all the above-mentioned use cases for augmented reality are not “lab experiments” or “projects about the far future to come”. They're being implemented, as we speak, in real-life workplaces. AR technology is now commercially available and has become and is continuing to get even more accessible. And its potential for enhancing both the customer and the employee experience is huge. … you just need to “power” it with content — your unique content — and to harness its potential in use cases of augmented reality perfectly suitable for your own organization! ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Dec 05'2017
Drupal 8 Webform Module: How to Add a Webform to a Content Type
You sure didn't expect it to take more than... 2 minutes (3 at most) to add a Drupal 8 Webform to a content type on your website and yet...  What's the “catch”? Is there a "magic" tab that elopes you? Haven't you installed your Webform Drupal module properly? Or maybe it's the UI itself the real culprit for turning what should have been a "ridiculously intuitive operation into a time-consuming (and hair-pulling) one? Let us lend you a hand! Let us help you put an end to your "turmoil". But First: A Few Words About the Webform Drupal Module Surpassed in popularity only by the Views Drupal module, Webform shouldn't miss from your Drupal toolkit. For it makes the most "usable" tool to rely on for building your custom contact forms/user registration forms/surveys. A far more efficient solution than building content types leveraging the Field module or using CCK. Drupal 8 Webform Module ... ships with a whole different code base than that of its “predecessor” and makes an even more powerful, feature-richer form builder enabling you to put together: flexible rich maintainable … webforms on your Drupal 8 website Moreover, its capabilities don't limit to the forms' building and publishing, but extend to: sending confirmation forms and client notifications collecting, storing and downloading form submission data as CSV Your Current Scenario Here's how we see your current “situation” in... 4 steps: First, you installed your Drupal 8 Webform module Then you rushed to add a webform to a content type … so you went to admin/config/content/webform and checked your content type, next you saved your webform settings And then ... you “hit a blank wall”! No clue whatsoever where to go next to attach your webform to your content type... The Solution to How to Add a Webform to a Content Type Now the above screenshot's “transcription”: You navigate to your Content type's edit page: /admin/structure/types/manage/[ContentTypeName] See the “Webform” tab, on the bottom left side of the screen, right under the “Menu Settings” tab? Just go ahead and enable it and your webform will get automatically attached to that specific content type Tada! This is how you add a webform to a content type in Drupal! You just knew it couldn't be anything more complex than a two-minute job, right? How to Embed a Webform Inside a Node Content: 2 Solutions In other words: no matter which way you take it, you'll reach the same “destination”. Here are the 2 methods available to you: you go ahead and put together a custom Panel page for your node; one with the content area incorporating both the “node being viewed” and the custom block displaying your web form you leverage the Webform module's power: simply create your web form via the module's user-friendly UI and then just add your form to your “target” content type Tada... again! The END of our more or less “enlightening” little tutorial on how to add a Drupal 8 Webform to a content type on a Drupal site. Good luck with your... form building! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Nov 30'2017