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The Beginner’s Guide To Drupal 8 Development
Drupal 8 came out just a few months ago and made quite a commotion with lots of updates and more than a few really, really cool features. That’s why it’s amazing news for users, businesses, and Drupal 8 development professionals. Drupal is an amazing CMS and development environment. It’s more powerful and versatile, with better integration and SEO capabilities than Wordpress and Joomla, the older kids on the block. After only four years on the market, it now has thousands of developers and millions of websites worldwide. And that’s just the beginning. So what exactly is new in Drupal 8? Here’s a list of main new features that the update proudly boasts: Mobile First! The new Drupal 8 module skeleton is a 100% responsive. Whereas before (and in other CSM platforms), each template had to be adjusted for mobile and came in desktop first, Drupal 8 works perfectly on any device. You can even edit and develop comfortably from a small handheld device on a development interface which is responsive as well. Ultimate Language Compatibility Drupal has websites all over the world, and to make things easier for users and developers, this new version allows to translate your website to any language with ease. The translation is done in a built-in interface, making international Drupal 8 development easy and seamless. The interface gives access to over 100 languages and comes with language detection, suggestions and many more useful features. Meet the Twig What’s Twig, apart from it being a funny name for anything? Well, it’s a theming engine that will revolutionize CMS development for years to come. With several components adapted from Symfony2 and a whole array of new features, Twig is now the fastest, most reliable theming engine. If you take a look at the top Drupal 8 themes, you’ll see they were all created in Twig. Not bad for a new engine, not bad at all. Improved Content Management The new CKEditor makes editing, publishing and managing content even easier than it was before. You can save drafts, edit-in-place right from the front end, drag-and-drop buttons, insert images by dragging them in, and more amazing workflow improvements. HTML5 Magic Drupal is fully integrated with HTML5 in all its glory; multimedia support, customizable data attributes, powerful UI enhancements, effortless HTML content editing, front-end libraries and much, much more. Drupal 8 development makes full use of all those elements and features. Finally, the best news is that migrating to Drupal 8 is easy, with the built-in, user-friendly migration modules. If you’d like to move to this amazing new world, let us know and we’ll help you out! In the meantime, feel free to take a look at this Drupal custom module example. Enjoy!... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 21'2017
See You at DrupalCon 2017 Baltimore!
Still wondering how the weather will be next week in Maryland! It's “crucial” information for us, you know, since these days we're packing our bags for next week's DrupalCon 2017 Baltimore!   About DrupalCon 2017 Baltimore Needless to add that the Drupalcon North America is THE “peak” of all the other Drupal-themed meetings, events and camps taking place all over the globe, year-round. This year it's Baltimore's turn to host the event (and to welcome the no less than 3000 Drupalists and Drupal enthusiasts who'll be attending it), from April 24-28. And for living up to the scale of this event, it's the Convention Center, on One West Pratt Street, that it puts at the Drupal community's disposal!   OPTASY at DrupalCon 2017 Baltimore We have exciting news! This year OPTASY'S both one of the attendees and one of the sponsors who'll “power” this mega gathering! And we have to admit that we're, still, so proud of this opportunity (with the risk of slightly “breaking” the laws of modesty)! Therefore, do feel free to stop by our booth #140 and get to know the OPTASY team! We're ready to answer to all your questions, whether they'll be closely related to our work or to the “must-see” attractions in Toronto.   A Multifaceted Event With A Jam-Packed Program No matter how hard we've tried, we just couldn't put together a hierarchy! A calendar, yes, but not a hierarchy. We'd love to attend all the sessions at DrupalCon Baltimore, ALL the sprints, all the summits all the social events, all the special events (not exactly realistic, we know that)! In other words, we're looking forward:   to Dries Buytaert's keynote, on the 25th of April to attending community discussions to participating to the sprints (oh yes!) and be part of all those knowledge sharing, creative thinking challenging and innovative ideas spreading types of Drupal-y gatherings to attending trainings (so that we can get the bags that we're packing these days loaded with great tips, strategies, trends to watch in 2017, Drupal best practices, know-how, demos, etc. from the Drupal legends themselves) to attending some cool social events (definitely!) to attending community sessions (getting ourselves informed about Acquia's latest products, about its planned roadmap for 2017 and exchanging ideas with members of the community is, after all, one of the reasons why we attend DrupalCons) to attending session tracks on UX, PHP, project management, DevOps and the list of tempting topics can go on and on. A quick recap See you next week in Baltimore, at booth #140 and at all the other “can't miss” events listed in the event's jam-packed program! Now, let us continue with our bags packing and weather forecasting... ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 21'2017
Develop Your Website With a Leading Drupal Agency In Toronto
Despite it being a relatively new CSM system, Drupal has gained on and overtook major players in the field, such as Wordpress and Joomla. It has a number of advantages the veteran platforms just can't match. Until and unless they gain on, your business website is certainly better off developed by a Toronto Drupal agency. Especially now that Drupal 8 has come out and gave us all the amazing functionality it has to offer. But let’s be more specific and give our readers the four main reasons Drupal is your best choice and why you should consider assigning your web project to a Drupal 8 agency. Not from a Drupal developer’s perspective, but from the point of view of a business person aiming at a powerful yet easy to use system that will get your business firmly planted on the digital map. We give you the four reasons you should choose a Toronto Drupal agency. Functional Benefits Drupal is more complex than Wordpress but it’s exactly this complexity which packs all the additional functionality and power it has to offer. It has more features, more content types, more views and metrics. Developing your SEO and content strategy on Drupal gives you more options for fine control and greater reach. Greater Flexibility Unlike other CMS platforms, Drupal themes are considerably more varied. What’s more important, they are also considerably more customizable. There are many more free modules too. Yes, you will still need a Drupal company to handle and install them for you, but their variety and power definitely make it worthwhile. It’s also more robust and has better capabilities when it comes to eCommerce and handling huge amounts of content. Improved Usability While it has a learning curve somewhat steeper than other CMS platforms and requires more technical skills to learn, Drupal is amazingly easy to use once you know how to do it. It can produce sites that are more advanced, powerful and varied, in a streamlined workflow that Wordpress developers can only envy. And moreover, Drupal 8 is made easier for non-developers to work with, so once your Toronto Drupal agency completes the job, you can take over from there. Superior Security Security is a big factor for most businesses and Drupal is definitely displaying top performance in this area. There are government sites, including the official White House website that prefer Drupal for its enhanced security and monitoring features. While other CMS platforms are notoriously vulnerable to hacking, Drupal gives your business a safe space for confidential information and client transactions. Want to know more about Toronto Drupal web design? Let’s talk! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 20'2017
Avoid These Common Pitfalls In Drupal Module Development
Just like anything and everything else, Drupal also has a learning curve. Until you had mastered the techniques, tools and options it offers, got familiar with the best Drupal themes and have a good sense of knowing what you’re doing - mistakes are going to happen. Which is the reason we’re publishing this article - to minimize those mistakes and help you get ahead of the game. So, without further ado, let’s get to work and cover the main pitfalls that await when creating Drupal modules. Too Code Heavy The main goal of a module is to simplify things. When a module is created, it will compete with tens of thousands of other modules that are already there and those that are coming out right now. Look for shortcuts to streamline and make your process more efficient. If it’s too long to read, it may be too long to write. Cumbersome Modules Keep it simple. One module that does one thing well is easy to understand and a pleasure to use. A module that tries to do too many things at once may be cumbersome, inefficient and frustrating to users. Moreover, producing 10 modules with one function each will take less time than coding one that does all 10 things all by itself. Workflow problem solved! Ignoring Drupal Core API Drupal module development best practices hinge on using the core API. It makes things easy, fast, comfortable. And yet, there are developers who somehow manage to avoid it. You should generate links using l(), static strings should be passed via t() and so on. It makes your code easy to maintain and consistent with Drupal’s internal logic. Make sure to always use it. Not Using Caches Caching policies should be your standard practice from the very first stages of the project. There are so many cache-related bugs which can be avoided this way, you’d be surprised how much easier it becomes once you start doing it. Neglecting Inter-Module Integration When you install Drupal modules, you want them not just to work independently, but together as well. You need to make your modules work with other entities, permissions, views and domains. This integration will result in a more cohesive website that doesn’t snag on itself when trying to do work that involves modules interaction. Want to know more about how to create modules in Drupal 8? Let’s talk! We’re here for you. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 18'2017
How To Optimize User Experience With Mobile App Development In Toronto
The web development world is going mobile-first, and many businesses take another step forward. In addition to a mobile-friendly website, you can develop a unique mobile app for users to enjoy. The average user has as many as 36 applications installed on their mobile phone. Just nine of them are used on a regular basis however. This is no small number but not that big either.. This means that if you’re developing a mobile application, it better be good if you want it to see any use. All the best app developers in Toronto will tell you there is a list of “do”s and “don’t”s in any development project. It’s extra important in Toronto mobile app development because mobile screens are very unforgiving to error. If your app is below expectation, it will be glaringly obvious and users will simply set it aside. So how do you optimize your mobile app for the new user? Here are a few tips. 1.     Perfect the Usability Your app should be a bit more complex than a tetris game interface, but that’s about it. A cab app should help you get a ride in a short series of simple-and-obvious steps. The same goes for ordering food, placing a shopping order, comparing products and so on. Long, tedious searches and endless steps will send any app into the wastebasket. 2.     Call to Action Buttons The user should know where to press and what to do. This is achieved by designing and positioning clear, easy to see and easy to read call to action buttons. Don’t overdo it by making them blink or jump around, but they should be impossible to miss even on the smallest mobile displays and in any lighting conditions.  3.     Physical Ergonomics You want everybody to feel comfortable using the app, correct? Some users have thicker fingers. For them, pressing a tiny link or button is excruciatingly hard. There will be only so many times they can’t hit the button before they give up and delete the application. 4.     Easy on Battery and Bandwidth Complex calculations, heavy media content, large downloads and other similar things drain batteries and consume bandwidth resources. This makes the app too heavy for users to enjoy. Keep a simple UX, design a short navigation, employ reusable graphic content and limit background services. For more mobile app development Toronto trends, feel free to contact us directly. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 17'2017
Drupal 8 Ubercart Vs Drupal Commerce: Important Factors to Emphasize
With online sales being a huge and growing phenomenon, more and more entrepreneurs take their business online. The amount of e-commerce stores, platforms and services is growing as well. In this particular blog, we’d like to compare two options that are out there: Drupal 8 Ubercart vs Drupal Commerce.   Drupal 8 Ubercart vs Drupal Commerce There will be those who’d say that Drupal is a reboot of Ubercart, especially since the lead developer from Ubercart is the one who’d now gave us Drupal Commerce, a set of Drupal modules. While this has some truth to it, there’s more to consider here than a superficial comparison can provide. There are similarities, naturally, but like any reboot, there is a vast difference as well, with massive improvements and upgrades. Let's examine the two eCommerce platforms from several different perspectives.   1. Popularity Points While Ubercart is more popular at the moment, more and more businesses are migrating and getting a Drupal shop instead. Either way, at tens of thousands of users on each, we can say they are roughly equal in this respect.   2. Future-Proofing Both platforms look like they’re in for the long haul. Drupal 8 Ubercart has its base of loyal users and Drupal’s strong forward-momentum makes this a close competition. This is promising for both players of course, and reassuring for their users.   3. Customizable Features Both are very configurable platforms, but Drupal Commerce themes are often much more impressive. This is mainly, but not only, due to the fact that Drupal 8 comes with themes that are mobile-first, making shopping a breeze from any device. A great bonus.   4. Edge Cases Or, in other words, what’s missing and how bad is it when you hit that wall? There are things you can only do in Drupal shop configuration and not in Drupal 8 Ubercart. Especially when it comes to the Drupal 8 shopping cart - both in terms of design and functionality. Then again, there are things that Ubercart does well and Drupal is still working on. It will surely catch on soon enough, however, so we’re not worried.   5. Ease of Use In terms of basic use, Ubercart seems easier than Drupal Commerce. The ease is a fair price to pay however, for the power, integrations, and security that Drupal 8 offers and Ubercart can no longer match. Want to know more about Drupal eCommerce development and the best Drupal modules to power your online store with? We’re here, just give us a shout! Your Drupal shop and internet marketing success are one short click or call away. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 16'2017
Drupal Agency: Should I Hire One For Website Development?
Drupal is a new but extremely promising web development platform. This article explains why you need a Drupal agency to help with your Drupal project, especially with the release of Drupal 8 and all the added power and functionality it offers. Websites like the Economist, Arizona University and even the New York Government are all based on this great CMS platform. Drupal 8 is capable of creating and managing large websites that you can’t possibly generate with the same ease using more common but relatively modest CMS platforms like Wordpress. If you’re aiming for a stronger online presence, getting a Drupal agency is the best choice you can make. There are many reasons to go for Drupal development services. Here are just a few of them: Open Source Software The core Drupal engine, most of its modules, and a lot of its themes are a 100% free. This means choosing Drupal development services will always cost less. Customizability Features, layout, design, and operations in Drupal are highly customizable. This allows your Drupal agency to take any template and turn it into a custom design. Wordpress and Joomla sites, for comparison, are much more rigid and hard to customize to the same extent. Rapid Deployment With Drupal, you can deploy core functionality and features quickly, and then work out the details, which can also be easily deployed on the fly. This is probably one of the strongest reasons why you'd want to have your website built by a Drupal 8 agency. No more downtime for maintenance during which the website is N/A. Everything is live, all the time. Changes are done in the background and then published with a click of a button. Full Enterprise Software It’s flexible, scalable, adjustable and easily managed. Integrations with other applications are simple and its security is of the highest quality. Basic users get all of this with no need to pay for a “pro” version like in so many other CMS platforms. SEO Friendly Most businesses aim to boost their SEO. Drupal makes it easy. It is, in fact, one of the main features of the Drupal CMS. It displays the content in a way that search engines favour, and tells you when and what requires improvement. Mobile First Development In this new world of mobile marketing, Drupal is leading by a great margin. Its themes are not just mobile friendly, but mobile-first, a crucial factor for lead generation, especially for small businesses. Get a Drupal Agency If you wish to get your business to thrive online, getting a Drupal agency for it is the best choice you can make. Get in touch with us, one of Toronto’s most prominent Drupal CMS development companies, and see the results for yourself. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 15'2017
How To Generate More Leads With Internet Marketing Agency In Toronto
One of the main challenges all businesses face is getting clients. Unlike most anything else, this one question is a constant struggle and requires innovation, perseverance and quite a bit of your time. There are many approaches to generating leads to increase your client base, and quite frankly, there is no way a business owner can possibly cover all of them and have enough time left to actually run their own business. That’s why hiring a Toronto marketing agency is the best, most cost-effective approach for generating leads and expanding their operation. Here are just a few of the things a Toronto digital marketing agency can do for you. Simplify Processes When your clients have a simple process to place an order, select an item or simply get their questions answered, everybody benefits. A Toronto digital agency can create an easy online solution for visitors to use. It can be a price calculator, color matching template, customizing tool and anything else you can think of for the line of business you’re in. Simplifying things for clients is always good, because it brings them closer to the selling point. Tools like these help convert traffic into real leads. Set up on YouTube A picture is worth a thousand words. If so, a video is worth a million. It’s a fact that businesses with YouTube channels get more traffic and higher quality leads. Answering your clients’ questions, giving extra information about your product or service - those are things people like and appreciate. A Toronto internet marketing agency has the expertise to research the market and help you set up a channel to address your audience, converting them to actual clients. Social Media Boost We all know how important social media is for business, but running a social media account takes time and effort. Moreover, it’s not enough to just generate a post a few times a day. You have to actually know what to do. There’s analytics to follow, lots of monitoring to do and audience responses to predict. The top advertising agencies in Toronto know that, and put a lot of effort into studying this segment of the market in order to increase productivity and bring you the best results.  Optimize and Repurpose Content Old blog posts may be reused and revamped to fit new SEO guidelines, increasing their outreach. Crossposting high ranking posts on social media accounts is also a viable strategy. Adding new titles and keywords to existing posts is something that can and often should be done. You get the picture. This is not mentioning the things that can be achieved by restructuring your website, getting more active keywords into your old content and much much more. Call us now and get your game to a new level with one of the top advertising agencies in Toronto. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 14'2017
This is How You Build a Slideshow in Drupal 8
               Need to create a visually stunning slideshow for your Drupal 8 site? One that you should be able to effortlessly customize to your liking? Luckily, this rhetorical question suggests to you its own answer: the Views Slideshow module in Drupal 8! An empowering tool which enables you, after just a few intuitive steps to take for setting up the right context and for pulling off the due configuration, to create your own slideshow (of any type of context, not exclusively images).The one to appear in a View. Moreover, it grants you almost unlimited power of customization, as well! Practically you get to put together a personalized “combo of settings” for each one of the Views that you'll create. Now let us proceed with our step-by-step guide on how to build a slideshow in Drupal 8 using the Views Slideshow module (had to specify this, since there's also the Slick method for building slideshows in Drupal):   1. First and Foremost: Install All The Needed Modules and Libraries First things first: before you rush in and “play” with all the settings put at your disposal, you need to properly download and enable everything you'll need for building your slideshow. Well, these are the main steps to take: 1. Start by making up your mind on how you'll download your Views Slideshow module, (its Drupal 8 version obviously): will you download it directly from its module page on Drupal.org or by using Drush? If you prefer the Drush alternative, these are the lines what you'll need to enter: drush dl views_slideshow then drush en views_slideshow -y (for enabling your module) 2.  Now if you've chosen the first method instead, simply unzip the file you will have downloaded from the module page and paste it to your Drupal 8 site's directory: yoursitesname/module                3. Keep in mind that you'll need to enable Views Slideshow Cycle, as well 4. Can you spot the “Download ZIP” button on the top right corner of your screen? If so, just click on it! 5. Unzip the library that you've just downloaded 6. Once you've unzipped it, create its future folder, naming it "jquery.cycle" 7. Now pay particular attention to this step (since it's in this aspect that the two apparently identical installations processes, Drupal 8's and Drupal 7's, differ): you'll need to upload your resulting files to the libraries/ folder in the root of your website 8. And this is what you should be looking at right now if everything went well with all the downloading and enabling steps you've completed so far   9. Now you'll need to create a brand new content type that should contain your slides: Structure > Content Type > Add content type 10. Next, you'll inevitably get to the Manage Fields section. Go to “Add a Field” and make sure you'll have a content type with an image field attached.   2. Build A Views Block  1. Head to Structure > Views > Add new view 2. Think of a suitable name for it 3. Click on “Create a Block” 4. In the block's settings- “Display format”, select “Slideshow” 5. “Save and edit”   6. Can you spot the “Field” section, on the left side of the screen? It shows only “Content:Title” by default right now; feel free to delete that default title if you don't find it necessary to have it displayed on your Drupal site 7. Click on the “Add” button 8. Next, look for your image field, then scan through all the available fields there and select the one(s) you'd like to include in your slideshow 9. Then click on “Add and configure fields”. Also, in order to set up your slideshow's style (all its future effects here included, as well), go click on "Slideshow",  under “Format”. 10. Click on “Apply” 11. There! Now you should be able to vizualize your recently added image in the Preview section that you have in the bottom of your page! 12. As soon as you're done adding all the fields that you consider a “must” to your slideshow, just click on “Save”.  And voila! You've just built your Views block! Let's move on to the next key step to take as you build a slideshow in Drupal 8:   3. Configure and Then Publish Your Slideshow Block Finally! You're closer than ever to getting your View displayed on your Drupal 8 site: 1. Go to Structure > Block layout  2. Once there, click on the "Demonstrate block regions"  3. Next, carefully select the area on your website that you'd like your slideshow to show up. Do you want it displayed in “Sidebar first” or maybe in “Content” or rather in the bottom of the page? 4. Once you've decided upon the region that you'd like it published on, just click on the “Place block” button (you'll find it next to “Content”) 5. Another more key selection to make are we're almost done! Choose the page that you'd like your slideshow to get published: scan through the list of web pages displayed under “Pages” and... make up your mind. 6. If you're dealing with a block region including several regions, ensure that your block is properly placed, as well! 7. Once you've made your decision, click the “Save block” At this point you must be looking at your slideshow published on your Drupal site!   4. Set Up Image Styles for Your Slideshow By now you must have already noticed that the images that you will have included in your slideshow are of different sizes. The solution, so that they should all fit into the block region? Creating an image style! 1. Go to Configuration > Image styles > Add Image style 2. Name your image style 3. Next enter a "Machine readable name"  4. Click on the “Create new style” button 5. Next go to “Effect” and select an image effect from those listed in the drop-down menu (Crop, Resize or... another one) 6. Then set up your image's width and height (keep in mind that they will depend greatly on your chosen block region's sizes) 7. Finally click on “Update effect”   8. Now it's time to edit your View 9. Click on your image field (under the “Fields” area) for getting it edited 10. Next in the “Image Style” field simply select the style you've just created Click “Save” and feel free to check your slideshow on your website. Useful Tip: in case you're facing the challenge of building a responsive slideshow in Drupal 8, remember to enable the “Responsive images” module in Drupal core.    5. Add Some Controls, too, As You Build a Slideshow in Drupal 8 Since it must be more than just a visually impressive slideshow that you might want to put on your Drupal 8 site, but a user-friendly one, too, aimed at enhancing users' navigation on your website, some controls are definitely a must. Therefore, here's how you add them: 1. Go back to the screen where you get to edit your view 2. Click on “Settings” (neighboring “Slideshow”, under Format) 3. There, select your controls: go for a pager, a counter or for previous-next buttons...   TADA! This is how you build a slideshow in Drupal 8! Give it a try! If we've skipped adding any crucial information to our our step-by-step guide, feel free to “warn” us. Also, if you encounter any type of problems through the process, don't hesitate to let us know. We're ready to use our Drupal expertise to “save the day”, your day!   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 13'2017