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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.

How to Boost Your Drupal Performance: 10 Simple, But Effective Techniques
Here you are, super excited and quite proud of your content-driven Drupal website that: you can customize to your liking “spoils” you and your team with a highly flexible editorial workflow, with a great administrator experience comes with unmatched scalability which allows you to project your business far into the future, in other words: to dare and to dream big.   No matter what “floods” of traffic and “truckloads” of data/content the future has in store for you, Drupal's got you covered! How about speed?  It would be a pity to compromise its powerful heavy content-handling capabilities “in the name of” top speed now wouldn't it? You don't have you! Your content “load” and your Drupal website's complex architecture can remain “unharmed” while you continue to dream big in terms of page loading super speed if you implement these 10 techniques to speed up your Drupal performance:   1. Is Your Site Running on The Latest Version of Drupal?   As obvious and quick and easy (compared to other “tweaks for speed”) this performance-booster might be, there still are Drupal website owners or Drupal developers that overlook or underestimate it! Don't be one of those who rush in to implement the more advanced performance-improving tactics and skip the “elementary” ones! So, you've got our point: always make sure to update to the latest version of Drupal. Needless to add that it's that version, the last released one by the Drupal community, that has all the bugs and errors that you might be facing right now already solved. Not to mention that all the other “surprise” upgrades and improvements that it's been supercharged with while your site was still running on an older version. 2. Boost Your Drupal Performance Using a CDN   Get used to picturing your Drupal website's visitors as “highly demanding”! They might be impressed with your site's (high quality) content richness, but their first impression will worsen, drastically, if that "highly valuable" content takes ages to load! Therefore, consider relying on a content delivery network (CDN) for delivering the content (obviously!) that your users will request at a higher speed.   3. Configuration Changes: a Simple, Yet Effective Performance Tuning   Before you rush to tackle the bigger issues affecting your Drupal performance, make sure you do all the basic configuration settings! Such as this configuration "trick" here, aimed at helping you to boost your Drupal performance: got to Administer- Site configuration- Performance. It's there that you can make your own "inventory" of all the options at hand for JavaScript optimization, CSS optimization and page cache. They're handy speed-boosting options, so why not use them? It's just a matter of box-checking after all! Make sure to check all the key boxes there such as "Compress cached pages", "Aggregate JavaScript files" (and the CSS ones, of course - CSS JS aggregation), "Cache pages for anonymous users" etc. 4. Spare The Resources Invested in Displaying 404 Error Pages    No matter how brilliantly-customized and appealingly-designed your 404 error page might be, it will still use valuable server resources! So, you might want to first get your website scanned using software such as Screaming Fog or Online Broken Link Checker. To identify its “weak points”, its non-existing pages, broken URLs and noneffective content sections than to rely on a Drupal-dedicated module for displaying a 404 error page each and every time there's a requested content-related issue. For all the other cases when you have no choice and you just have to get the “resource-consuming” 404 error page displayed, you might want to enable Drupal Fast 404. It's one of Drupal's modules designed with to speed in mind, you know! It will use just 1 MB of your server's memory.  5. How Heavy Is Your Website's “Load” of Unused Modules?   It's in a CMS's nature (and Drupal's definitely no exception) to “ship with” a heavy load of modules and plugins. Now, can you remember our advice from a previous post on this blog? “If there's a module for it, it doesn't mean you have to rush in and install it on your site” (or something like that; if you want to test my memory you can always look over that blog post again). Therefore, consider it as a “spring cleaning“ for your Drupal website! Go through all of them, make a list including 3 major categories: the “crucial” ones, the ones you've actually never used and those which, once uninstalled, wouldn't impact your website functionality at all (be “cruel”, be “honest” with yourself!). You'll be surprised by how much load you'll ease your Drupal website off just by carrying out this task: disabling and even removing all the unused/unnecessary Drupal modules from your site! Combined with a well-tuned cache (that we'll be tackling in this post, as well), getting rid of your modules overload is probably one of the most efficient ways to boost your Drupal website's performance! 6. Speed It Up: Aggregate Your CSS and JavaScript Files   And here's another factor that dramatically influences your website's overall performance: Drupal's “burden” of CSS and JavaScript files! It's Drupal itself that provides the solution: it enables these files' aggregation so that they load together and significantly improve your website's front end performance. Fewer HTTP requests will automatically lead to faster page loading time, as simple as that! 7. Is Your Website a Drupal Cache System-Powered One?   Learning how to trigger Drupal's cache system's “superpower” is one of the best tactics to boost your Drupal website's performance with! If we are, to sum up, in a very rudimentary manner, how Drupal's caching system works, it would be something like this:   a user lands on your website tries to access a certain page on your site that specific request gets stored (a copy of it, course) in an easily accessible location so that it will load quicker for the next user who'll land on your site and try to access the very same page   Got it? Now since it's a whole caching “system” that we've referred to, you should know that there are dedicated Drupal modules that you can put in charge of all the caching going on on your website: The Internal Page Cache module: it caches and stores anonymous visitors' page requests, delivering them much quicker to future users trying to access them   The Internal Dynamic Cache module: a great “tool” for improving your page load time both for anonymous and for logged-in visitors You simply can't afford (it would be quite “reckless” to overlook this performance-booster) not to use Drupal's cache system to its true potential. Especially since it “overwhelms” you with so many types of caches that you only need to enable: page caching panel caching PHP caching Views caching   8. Is Your Current Web Hosting Satisfying Your Need for Speed?   A fast web hosting is key when it comes to optimizing your Drupal website for high speed! It's one aspect that you can't afford getting “tight-fisted” about! So, you may want to keep the distance from those web hosting providers offering you “irresistible” prices at the cost of shared resources that will just bog down your website. Piece of advice: make sure to choose a Drupal specific host! It's another great “trick” when you want to boost your Drupal performance! 9. Set Up a Reverse Proxy and Your Drupal Server    Call this technique an “HTTP accelerator”! It will streamline the whole cached copies delivery process thanks to the “go-between” server that it relies on.   10. Optimize The Main “Culprits” for Low Speed: Images   That's right, it's the load of images on your website that's consuming most of its resources and, implicitly, which have the greatest impact on your site's loading speed. The solution?  Optimize, optimize, then optimize some more!  And since when it comes to images optimization is just another word for compression, you do that: compress the images slowing down your Drupal website! Tip: among many other built-in “treats” that the innovative Drupal 8 spoils us, developers in Toronto, with, there are its awesome image optimization features. We're referring here to Image Styles, for instance (then you get “by default”) which enables you to optimize your images' sizes so that they're the perfect fit for any type of device, irrespective of its screen size! And this is our “decalogue”! Our list of 10 speed-up techniques, ranging from basic to a bit more advanced, that you should consider when you decide to boost your Drupal website's performance!  How does your own list of top speed-boosters look like? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 08'2017
Tips To Hire Best Web Design Agency In Toronto
When you’re making a decision about which Toronto web design agency to hire, you’re making a decision about the future of your business. A well designed, quickly loading, a good looking website will bring you, clients, increase sales and lead to success. A bad website… well, let’s just say it will cost you more. If you’re a small business, looking for an affordable web design Toronto studio is understandable. It’s perfectly achievable too. There are good web design agencies in any price range. There are bad ones in all price ranges as well. So how do you make sure to hire the Toronto web design agency that’s right for you? Here are a few considerations that can help you make the right decision. Look for relevant experience. Markets and industries are different. If an agency worked with fashion shop websites in Europe, it doesn’t mean they will know how to build a website for a Toronto hi-tech company or a local car repair shop. They may, or they may not. Picking a company that worked with clients in your industry locally is the safer choice. Affordable is not the same as cheap. Remember there’s the trio of things: Fast, Cheap, Good. You can only ever choose two of them. Choose fast and good, and it won’t be cheap. Choose cheap and fast, and you won’t get quality results. But it can be affordable. As we just said above, there are good companies in all price ranges. Just don’t make it your top priority. See how communication works. Are emails answered quickly? Do they provide detailed answers? The company you’re hiring should sound interested and reliable. They should be able and happy to explain what exactly you’re getting for your money. Make sure you’re also available, to establish good communication and trust, of course. Portfolios are important, but checking them won’t hurt. Unfortunately, it’s not impossible for businesses - in any field, for that matter - to exhibit projects that are not their own. Luckily, it’s easy to check. All you need to do is contact their client and ask how the service was. This way you gain a confirmation that the portfolio project is real, and also find out about how good it was working with the firm. An honest Toronto web design agency will only encourage that. We hope this helps. Good luck in your search and a subsequent new project!... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 02'2017
 Which Is the Best Mobile and Web App Development Technology for Your Own Project?
Many businesses now decide to create an app. There are many reasons for it. Some businesses simplify transactions with existing clients this way. Some find it helpful when attracting or retaining clientele. In other cases, the app is a bonus with cool, interesting features that make clients happy. Whatever your reason for considering mobile web app development, there is something that you should decide first. Apps are different. There are native mobile apps, hybrid apps and web applications. They all have similarities, but they have differences as well. Let’s give you a quick overview about what them. Native Apps Most of what we know about mobile apps comes from native applications. Each is developed to work on mobile devices only, with versions for different platforms, even if it’s the same application. An iOS app won’t work on Android, Blackberry or Windows phones, and vice versa. They have been the default for a long time, the reason being that their functioning on each device is optimized for that device. That makes a better user experience. The problem with them, however, is that they have to each be built from the ground up. If you want your app to work on iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows phones, you need to essentially produce 4 different applications. That can be costly, and you need to make sure the company you hire has all the necessary mobile web development tools to get the job done on all four. Web Apps Let’s continue with the mobile web app vs native app comparison, and return to the hybrid application a bit later. The web app can run on all devices regardless of the system, but it may have difficulty displaying well on some browsers and screen sizes. There are adaptive and responsive web apps that attempt to fit in different viewports, which they do with increasing if not perfect success. At the same time, the web app won’t be able to operate your camera, so anything that takes pictures is not an option here. This is not all bad, since - again - it will save you lots of development time and more than a bit of money. Just make sure it’s right for your purposes. Hybrid Apps This is a combination, or rather a compromise between the two. The hybrid app will appear in app stores, increasing its discoverability, but will run in the browser. What’s sure though, is that the decision is not clear-cut. You choice of app should be the optimal solution to your specific needs. Just ask your native or mobile web app development experts and see what they say. Good luck with your project! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 02'2017
OPTASY Is Featured on CLUTCH: Top Web Development Companies
We just couldn't keep it to ourselves! Especially since we're fully aware that you, our long-time or new partners, are “responsible” for this recognition. Being ranked there, among all the top web development companies in Canada's so competitive digital landscape, is an overwhelming honour for our team. But also an incentive for constant self-improvement and a huge responsibility! No doubt about that!        Allow us to express our gratitude for your acknowledgment of our work!   Of the expertise and the creativity that we've invested in delivering relevant, adaptive and overall business success-driving digital experiences. Not the “one size fits all“ type, but the one reflecting our customers' visions and geared toward helping them meet their business goals!   We simply love what we're doing!   And we love getting better and better at what we're doing! That's it! No secret “ingredient” in this “formula for success”.   It's our passion for our work that has allowed us to broaden our offer of services from (exclusively) building Drupal websites to developing custom modules, theming, offering maintenance and support and delivering adapted Drupal e-commerce solutions, as well.    And yet, we did add a not so secret ingredient to this formula for success: “always putting clients first”!   And this prioritization includes both the input that our clients give us during their web projects development, as well as their own visions and goals. For we're never putting together “just” visually-appealing, functional Drupal websites: we develop Drupal websites that respond to our customers' particular needs and which help them achieve their own business goals.   What we're actually trying to say to you is: "Thank you, we take a bow before such a recognition of our work! It's been and will continue to be an honor working with you"!   Another “culprit” of our pure enthusiasm (we won't be getting over this news soon... if ever) is the research company who's put this top itself: CLUTCH!   Worldwide famous for the innovative methodology it uses for conducting its researches, an efficient “blending” of:   interviewing both past and present clients of the “target” company evaluating the quality of work evaluating its industry experience   ... it's become one of THE top go-to resources providing decision-making information to all companies interested in contracting software services providers.   At the end of this news-type of post, allow us to make a “pledge”:    “Not to rest on our oars, to turn this honor into a responsibility (and thus not to get “intoxicated” by “fame”) and to approach our work with even more professionalism and determination in helping our customers meet their goals!”   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Feb 22'2017
What Are Some of the Top Drupal Modules for SEO? 5 Essential Ones
Speed is a crucial ranking factor! So what do you do when you're a Drupal website owner or a Drupal web developer facing the challenge of having to supercharge your site with “only” the bare essentials in terms on Drupal modules for SEO?   There are two possible scenarios here:   you invest a huge amount of time reading all that has been written on each one of Drupal's SEO-oriented modules, you install each one of them and “take them for a spin” and eventually (after hundreds of cups of coffee and lots of more or less “zen” meetings with your developers and SEO “gurus” you manage to eliminate the “redundant” SEO modules from the “must-haves” list   you scan through our list of 5 “bare essentials”, including the indispensable Drupal SEO modules, leveraging all the research work we've done and our own experience as web development company in Toronto.    If scenario no. 2 aligns with your goals of reducing time and boosting your SEO strategy's efficiency, then let's not wait any more time!   Here is out list of 5 essential Drupal Modules for SEO:   1. Metatag   “Getting your website Google-friendly by describing its content for the search engines”. This is how we could sum up what this Drupal module does.   The search engine results related to your website get more relevant!   To detail a bit: Metatag allows you to add various meta tags to your web pages. The list includes tags ranging from title tag (a significant on-page ranking factor) to meta description, canonical URL etc.   The great thing about it (if you're short on team members who could add the proper metatags to each and every web page on your site) is that you get to set it up so that it automatically adds meta keywords and tittle tags for you.   Still, consider this automation as the very last solution on your list, since nothing can beat a copywriter/content writer/SEO specialist  in person adding the best context-based keywords to your content.   And there's more! Metatag is a highly customizable module and where do you add that it's “equipped” with multilingual support, too!   2. Google Analytics    You do have a Google Analytics account, right?    Just teasing! Anyone operating in the digital landscape has at least one GA account!   Well, Drupal's ready to help you leverage the most-used website statics service through a dedicated module.   Install it, select precisely those downloads/links/content types on your website that you want to closely “monitor” and turn the insights you'll get into (more) traffic for your website.   Besides its quick and easy installation process and its feature allowing you to track precisely those sections on your website that you're most interested in, the Google Analytics module comes to simplify your whole data tracking workflow, too!   It means that won't be “forced” to add the GA tracking code to each and everyone of your “target” pages. It's enough for you to put the tracking ID in the configuration page (the module's configuration page) and Google Analytics will take it from there!   Find out where your visitors come from, at what time of day, what pages they go to more often, what are their preferences, what keywords they type in the search box etc. etc.   Say “hello!” to “powerful” data!   3. Pathauto   Be honest with yourself: you can't expect your website to be “search engine friendly” if it's (still) a bundle of “/node/4” type of URL aliases!   This is where Pathauto comes in handy! Install it and get your website a link aliases “makeover”!    What this modules does is that it aromatically generates search engine and (implicitly) user-friendly URL aliases for various types of content on your website.   Say “goodbye” to “/node/4” type of URL aliases and say “hello” to “far easier to digest” /category/title-of-article instead types of links.   And when we say “various types of content”, we do refer to terms, taxonomy, users, modes.    This is definitely one of those Drupal modules for SEO that you don't want to skip supercharging your website with. It will translate into a major boost in rankings!   4. Redirect, One of the Essential Drupal Modules for SEO    Website optimization means (among many other things) “dealing with duplicate content issues”.   Here is another one of Drupal's modules for SEO, Redirect, that lifts a heavy burden off your shoulders (or at least off your team's shoulders).   It cleans up and prevents duplicate content issues.    The checks that it runs include:   tracking down trailing slashes tracking down the current URLs' alias and redirecting them if those aliases are not being used scanning access to private URLs, ensuring that your website's visitors can access them   5. XML Sitemap   XML sitemaps are probably the most efficient way of making your Drupal website more “inviting” for search engines. More “welcoming” for bots to crawl in and “inspect” your site's deep structure.   And you do want do make your website “search engine-welcoming” now don't you?   Drupal's XML Sitemap module, one of the must-have Drupal modules for SEO indeed, automatically puts together your website's sitemap, according to your own settings, and it “delivers” it to search engines.   Due to their dynamic nature, search engines always get the newly updated version of your website's system of URLs.   Now allow us to encourage you to adopt a good  XML sitemap-related practice, as well: if you're dealing with a large website, it's always best to organize your multiple XML sitemaps into categories!   Other good practices linked to XML sitemaps and their “automatic” nature (the module gets automatically updated every time you delete or add a new web page to your site) would be:   removing noindex pages “freeing” your sitemap from PPC pages  removing all the blocked pages   avoiding to weight down your sitemap(s) with non-200 pages   … and the list of common sense (after all) “rules” could go on and on!     And these are the “bare essentials”, the key Drupal modules for SEO that you need (not “should”) to install on your website!   They do make the basic, yet powerful SEO “kit” that will supercharge your site with all the must-have SEO-oriented functionality. It's the perfect “kit” that will help you avoid the risk of using too many of your website's resources with unnecessary SEO modules and tools.    As you can see, we've left out the off-site SEO tools, the content optimization ones (that you'll find useful in case you have no dedicated SEO specialist or team in your company and you want to implement your SEO strategy in-house) and plenty of other Drupal modules for SEO which fall into the “optional” category.   Now your turn! What does your own “kit” of essential Drupal SEO modules include?   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Feb 21'2017
5 Ways to Boost Your Content Marketing Strategy with Drupal 8
“Out-of-the-box mobile-responsiveness”, “highly flexible, personalized content delivery”, “high page-load speed”, “multilingual capabilities” and the list of Drupal 8's cool features can go on...   These are but some of the possible answers to your legitimate questions: “What's it in for me, a digital marketer?” or “What's in it for my online marketing team/s?” or “How can I turbocharge my marketing strategy with Drupal 8?” or “How will it supercharge my SEO efforts?” Face it:   no framework comes optimized out-of-the-box   you need to enable your digital marketing team to grow independent from the IT department (time is money, after all or)   “just” an impeccably coded website, with a stunning, visually-appealing design, won't help you reach the conversion rate that you're dreaming of   you need to effectively reach out to your own target audience, which leads us to one of the present day's biggest digital marketing challenges: delivering hyper-personalized, segmented content (by audience), across all the available social media channels and devices out there.   Now that we've pointed out the main challenges that you're facing these days, as a marketer, let's find out how Drupal 8's marketing tools can help you overcome them:   1. Take Content Personalization To a Whole New Level   “Personalization”, “hyper-personalized, relevant content” are the key “trendy” terms on every digital marketer's lips these days!   And on every Drupal web developer striving to do “the seemingly impossible”: personalizing the websites he/she builds, no matter how challenging this might sound.   Well, good news: Drupal 8's ready to provide you with the right tools for achieving this “mission impossible” type of goal!   Here's how:   it allows you to divide your audience into several customer segments   next, once you've gathered all the valuable data about each one of those sub-units, you get to craft the particular, personalized content relevant for each one of them   last, but definitely not least: you get to deliver your personalized content across all channels, all devices, in real-time   In conclusion: after it empowers you with segment-targeted data (and we'll talk about that, as well, in a future post on the Google Analytics module in Drupal 8), it also delivers you the right tools for actually leveraging that data.    For turning it into the content featuring a high level of personalization that your website visitors actually expect to find on your site.   2. From a Mobile-Ready Mentality to a Mobile-First One   In other words: with Drupal 8 mobile responsiveness has leveled up from an add-on to a core functionality!   All of its core themes are responsive! This is probably one of the biggest leaps into the post-browser future that any framework out there has take so far!    Considering this, it wouldn't be too bold to predict voice-based interactions to be implemented in Drupal 8 sooner than you expect!    And there's more!   It's not just your Drupal 8 website's visitors that get to enjoy a mobile-authentic experience on your website, but you, too, get to benefit from its built-in mobile responsiveness feature.    Your administrative interface, too, is mobile-optimized in Drupal 8!   In other words: you get to clear caches, produce and manage your content right from your own mobile device!   3. Simplified Content Creation, Management and Delivery    Since content is still almighty king and, therefore, content marketing plays a key role in your digital marketing strategy handling your content easily and quickly is crucial for you, right?   Not to worry: Drupal 8's got your back!    Its content-as-a-service functionality comes to streamline your whole content marketing plan:    its WYSIWYG editor turns creating and editing content, directly on the web page, into a matter of point-and-click its unified web-interface allows you to handle all your content-related tasks in one place and to easily deliver it across all channels and platforms (social media channelrs, web, mobile etc.) it enables you to handle your content (whether it's creating/editing or delivering it)  on-the-go, right from your mobile device   you get to check, beforehand, how your content will look on various devices    you get to scan through a whole collection of image size (alignment, shape) options    lots of Drupla 7's add-on modules are now part of Drpal 8's core; and here we cannot help not mentioning Views, one of the most popular module enabling you to pick the format that you want for your content to be displayed in   “Simplified” is the right word to describe the authoring experience in Drupal 8, don't you agree?   4. Build Your Global Presence With Drupal 8   Now you do realize that one couldn't possibly create hyper-personalized content without an efficient multilingual system to could rely on, right?   Good news: Drupal 8's ready to support your global presence!   It's ready to deliver you the tools that will help you speak all your users' languages.  It makes territory-specific content creation a lot simpler.   But let's talk facts, shall we?      1. the once just a partial and, moreover, a difficult to use translation-oriented support (think Drupal 7) has turned into a built-in multilingual system in Drupal 8      2. it's not just the administration interface that you get to translate, but you can rely on Drupal 8's translator for links, titles and entire web pages on your website       3. your visitors get to choose from a list of different languages that you'll provide on your Drupal 8 site       4.  we're talking about “built-in” multilingual functionality: every component is translatable by default (and we're talking about 94 different languages available in Drupal 8 core)   In other words: with Drupal 8 it's easier than ever to... go global!         5. Get Ready to Deliver Content at Top Speed    If time is money and more conversions lead to more money, then we can as well say that: optimized page load time guarantees you... more earnings, right?   And it will also boost your website in rankings and it will implicitly help you improve the overall user experience on your site.   Luckily, Drupal 8 is built with high page load speed in mind!   Let us point out to you some of the major enhancements that have dramatically improved its performance from a page load time standpoint:   it has tremendously improved caching: its relies on cache tags and on Cache Content API, which allows it to perform context-based caching   it uses the “bigpipe technique”: the Bigpipe module, part of Drupal 8's core, will display the cachable/static content first and then the dynamic/uncachable content. Therefore, your web pages will load faster, while your visitors still get the latest version of your website   In conclusion: with its critical improvements, aimed at optimizing Drupal 8 at a page load time level, you'll get to deliver your hyper-personalized content at high speed!   Is this 5 arguments-pleading strong enough for supporting our statement that Drupal 8 is, indeed, any digital marketer's dream come true? It empowers him/her (no need of much technical expertise for turning any Drupal 8 website into a true “marketing-machine” of the future), it simplifies his overall authoring experience, streamlines the whole marketing team's workflow and it easily boost their SEO efforts, too.   Have we left anything out?  ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Feb 15'2017
How Do You Prepare Your Website for an Upgrade to Drupal 8? 6 Key Steps to Take
Have you had enough of hearing and reading about cutting-edge Drupal's innovative features? About all the improvements that its developers have implemented to this version of Drupal? About its: unmatched functionality   about how it can upload files a top speed   about how it comes equipped with cool multilingual add-ons   about the truly innovative mobile-first mentality that it embeds   and about its goal to cut out the middlemen and empowering the end user even more?   About extended control, put in the hands of developers, builders, content editors and site admins?   And now you want some of all that, too, right?   You want to gain such control over your own site, as well, to supercharge it with such power and to get it aligned not just with the present-day digital trends, but to those of the future, as well. Those that Drupal 8's developers have already anticipated?   Then go ahead! But, before you upgrade to Drupal 8, take some time to go through our set of 6 tips on how to get your site properly prepared for this significant upgrade   Preparation is key for a smooth and effective upgrade to Drupal 8, you know!   1. Before You Upgrade to Drupal 8: Audit Your Current Site   No business/website owner “worth his salt” could possibly have high hopes from upgrading his website if he skips this major step!   How could you project its evolution if you're clueless (or have just a vague idea) of where it's standing right now, from a technical standpoint?   So, before you rush in to install all those “uber cool”, feature-rich Druipal 8 modules on your website, you'd better start building the rock solid foundation of your future Drupal 8 website. Open a forever reliable Google doc. and start filling it up!   Start examining your current website and write down the answers to a couple of key questions:   What sections of your current site do you use most frequently? What sections of your site are barely ever used? Is your current administrative interface user friendly enough? Are there any broken links or inefficient workflows on your site?   Write down everything that you find relevant in your Google doc., ranging from those aspects/workflows on your website that you won't give up to, to all the challenges that you're facing as you're closely auditing it, thoroughly.   Don't forget to write down all your migration-related expectations, as well!   As you and your team will have your moments of inspiration and will “burst” with new innovative ideas that you could implement on your site, make sure to write them down in this soon to become your priceless resource: your Google doc.   You may not realize it now, but this document “locking in” all the key aspects of your current website will be “pure gold” once you delve deeper and deeper into all the other stages of this site preparation for migration process!   2. Keep It Under Version Control    Sometimes it's Drupal's innovative nature itself that could turn into its own weak point!   The “empowering the user” goal, aimed at turning the whole configuration changes into a matter of point and click could also turn breaking up a site into a matter of just a few seconds.   Good news: through its Configuration Management Interface (CMI) Drupal 8 promises to put this possible scenario away for good!   What you can do, for avoiding such an unwanted scenario to happen, is to capture updates via code and to roll them into your production site. Rely on version control and on Drupal 7's Features and Configuration Management modules.   Implementing such a good practice will automatically guarantee you a more streamlined Drupal 8 workflow and a “safety-net” if something wrong happens: you can always roll back those trouble-making changes.   Ever-so-useful practices, like this one, will always watch your back!   3. Re-organize Your Team: Set Up a Modular Workflow    Preparing your team, as well, and not just your current website, is another crucial step of this whole “preparing to upgrade to Drupal 8” process!   Drupal 8's own distinct nature (compared to other versions of Drupal) calls for a far more scalable, modular approach to its CMS design and content authoring.   Therefore your team, as well, should be structured differently.   This calls for a different type of workflow! One where each team's leader gets assigned to coordinate it, to make sure the overall vision gets properly implemented, while each member of the team gets manageable tasks (one class file per developer, for instance).   Separate implementations, several distinct tasks assigned to each team member will put together the Drupal 8's specific workflow: a much more scalable, easy to handle and therefore efficient one.   With each member of your team focusing on a specific part of the project and a leader coordinating the whole team, they'll get to respond to any occurring challenges in a far more promptly manner!   4. Audit Your Current Modules, One by One   With your team now ready to enjoy all the advantages and to handle all the challenges of Drupal 8-specific modular and scalable workflow, it's time to run an audit on your modules, as well!   It's crucial that you have everything, at the modules' level, up to date, before you upgrade to Drupal 8!   Take a close look:   Are there modules on your site that you haven't been using in a long, long time and so, are just taking up space there? Are there deprecated modules on your current website? Are there modules which have been updated on Drupal.org, but not on your website, too?   Take each one of your Drupal 7 modules and closely examine them, discovering which ones are still active, which ones aren't up to date etc.   There might not be an equivalent in Drupal 8 for each one of your Drupal 7 modules, but even so, it is crucial that you have your Drupal 7 ones active and updated.   Are there any custom modules on your current Drupal site?   Then rely on  Drupal Module Upgrader. The command-line will streamline the entire module converting/updating process from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8.   To sum it up, these are the 3 key steps you should take during the module audit stage:   analyze the current status of each one of your modules on Drupal.org discover which ones of your Drupal 7 modules already have a Drupal 8 equivalent available find out what Drupal 7 modules have been transferred to Drupal 8 core   5. Run Security Updates Before You Upgrade to Drupal 8   Is installing the latest Drupal security updates part of your “routine”?    It should be!   It saves you huge amounts of time, especially when you're preparing your site for critical changes, like this one here, when you're about to ugrade to Drupal 8.   Not to mention that it safeguards your whole online presence, your entire business, after all.   Therefore, make sure your site runs on the latest version of Drupal, that both your core and your contributed modules are properly secured. That all the recently patches have been installed before you upgrade to Drupal 8.    You wouldn't want precisely this upgrade to turn into a source of major vulnerability for your website from a security standpoint, now do you?   6. Keep Up With The Latest Module Changes   Get informed before you upgrade to Drupal 8!   This means that you shouldn't rush in to perform the migration until you haven't updated your own knowledge regarding Drupal's modules:   what modules will be part of Drupal 8' core? what modules are already deprecated? what modules are no longer part of the “contrib” section in Drupal 8?   Find out what's new in Drupal 8, in terms of modules: which ones have “leveled up” in the “hierarchy”, which ones are no longer aligning with Drupal 8's mentality and innovative nature and so on.   Find out all about what's changing, what's trending and what's not, anymore, in terms on Drupal modules, before you migrate your website.     This is our set of 6 tips and tricks for preparing your website for a smooth upgrade to Drupal 8. Do you have any other “preliminary procedures” that you usually undertake before migrating your website from one version of Drupal to another? Feel free to share!   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Feb 13'2017
Drupal 8 Modules You Should Use
Have you decided to finally turbocharge your existing website with some of all that functionality and innovative features that Drupal 8's been so appraised for? Or maybe it's no migration/leveling up involved, but you're actually facing the challenge of building a brand new company website and you want to “charge” it with some of all that Drupal 8 power and flexibility that the whole community of Drupal developers is so excited about? Then you must be wondering which are the best Drupal 8 modules that you could select for your new or your “to be migrated” website! Your question is more than legitimate, considering all those feature-rich Drupal 8 modules (and there are over 2000 of them!) that this latest version of Drupal is “seducing” you with. And it will continue to get increasingly challenging to choose the very best, considering the fact that Drupal 8 is still a work-in progress. Its community is constantly:   porting modules from previous versions of Drupal building brand new ones  putting together their efforts for making it even more stable and user friendly   Before we go on sharing with you our own list of five best Drupal 8 modules, allow us to give you a good piece of news! It's, in fact, part of the whole boosted functionality and extra cool features “battle plan” that Drupal 8's developers have put together for this version of Drupal: many of the highly popular Drupal 7 modules not only that have been ported to Drupal 8, but they're now in its core!    And now, let's enlist and detail a bit the modules on Drupal 8's “walk of fame”:   Best Drupal 8 Modules to Turbocharge Your Website With 1. Admin Toolbar   Why was there a need for a “new” admin menu? What “flaws” of the original menu needed to be fixed in Drupal 8?   Well, in Drupal 7, even though the admin menu enabled adding drop-down menus, it lacked responsiveness. A mobile-friendly look was greatly needed! One aimed at fixing the “barely visible, hardly clickable on mobile devices” issue of the former drop-down menus.    And so: Drupal 8's Admin Toolbar was born!   It's a fully responsive version, with enhanced drop-down menus functionality, streamlining the admin's workflow: admins can now break the habit of constantly clicking-through in order to get to various sub-menus.    Thus, an easy to use back-end interface for all those user roles in charge with content editing, producing or moderating is now available in Drupal 8!   There's more! Admin Toolbar comes with a sub-module, as well: Admin Toolbar Extra Tools! This one empowers admins to extend their menus' functionality even further: they get to add extra links for running cron, for flushing cache etc.   Talking about Drupal “empowering the user”, right?   2. Google Analytics   Google Analytics is any website owner's “best buddy”. It “obediently” delivers you pretty much any type of reports and comprehensive charts you need for monitoring your visitors' behavior and your site's overall performance.   Still, this is no news for anyone running an online business, especially not for someone operating in the digital “arena” of 2017, right?   Now, what Drupal 8 does, though its Google Analytics module, is that it streamlines your whole data monitoring and interpreting process, since it enables you to analyze your statistics right from your Drupal interface!    This is the “real” news!      3. Token   We couldn't have possibly left out precisely one of Drupal's most popular modules, right?   There isn't one web developer in Toronto, site administrator or website owner who could imagine carrying out their daily tasks without relying on tokens. They're Drupal's ultimate efficiency-boosters!   Acting as placehoders designed for automatically completing the tasks you assign to them, they streamline anyone's work.    Here's probably the most “rudimentary' example for you: a basic token such as [site:name] will automatically insert your website's name!   Basically what the Token module does, is that it supplies those tokens that are not available in core, especially fields, and also an user interface for you to use for scanning through the available collection of tokens.   On a greater scale, this module, one of the very best Drupal 8 modules, can work together with other modules, such as Pathauto, for carrying out more complex tasks, too. Tasks such as providing URL patterns for your whole Drupal website!     4. Devel    Devel is not just another one of the modules on our top five best Drupal 8 modules list: it's a whole “bunch” of sub-modules, in fact. One more “tempting” than the other, both for developers and for Drupal themers.    Let's highlight some of the most popular ones:   Devel Node Access: provides detailed information regarding the node access mechanism of your Drupal installation Kint: a debugging tool designed to display variables and backtraces in a nicely formatted, organize way, thus easing your overall understanding Web Profiler: adds a bottom toolbar presenting you all kinds of relevant stats, such as database queries, which services are being used, cache effectiveness etc. Devel Generate: creates dummy entities, thus populating your test site with images, taxonomy, dummy users etc.     5. Pathauto   What makes Pathauto one of the best Drupal 8 modules?    It's  marks the end of and “era”, the “node/4803” types of links era, and the beginning of a new one! One of the automatically generated user-friendly, easy to remember types of links.   The ones that your users will be more familiar with and that search engine will find easier to discover, read and index, as well.   As for you, say “hello” to a higher ranking in SERP!    “How does it work?” you say?    What Pathauto does, in Drupal 8, is that it generates URL aliases automatically: no more manually created Drupal links from now on.    Moreover (and this is huge!), it enables you (or, better said, it “empowers” you) to change the custom token system generating the URL aliases as you wish!     And this is our list of top five best Module 8 modules! The modules that we rely on for setting up and managing various features of the web projects that we carry out here, in our web design company in Toronto!    Which are your own favorite ones?    ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Feb 07'2017
 What Are the Best WordPress Plugins? Those Must-Have Ones, Regardless of Your Website’s Specifics?
Looking outstanding and being 100% functional is nothing but the bottom of the “pyramid” that your site needs to “climb” for standing out in the fiercely competitive digital landscape! You still need to "supercharge" it with all the functionality provided by the best WordPress plugins in 2017! You do agree, don't you? It might look like you've figured it all out: beautiful imagery, gorgeous graphics, “in trends” design, great functionality. It looks like you've checked everything off your list.   And yet: your website won't be able to stand out once launched “into the wild”!    Your competitors' checklists might just be a little more complex than yours: they might have taken security issues a lot more seriously than you and SEO optimization, as well.    They consider, also, making their websites far more visible and “inviting” for the search engines to “crawl” in. They consider turning the content managing/editing “ordeal” into a matter of just a few clicks and they might also anticipate when their visitors intend to leave their sites and have figured out an effective means to “lure” them back in, to eventually turn them into customers.   Could your “ just” awesome looking Drupal site ever compete with that?   We're ready to help you get it ready for the fiercely competitive digital arena! In this respect, we've put together a list of “website boosters”: 10 best WordPress plugins that will take your website to the next level in 2017!  1. Yoast SEO, One of The Very Best WordPress Plugins   It's by far WordPress's most popular plugin and no wonder why: it's “overloaded” with SEO-boosting features aimed at helping you optimize your website at various levels. The perfect reason for adding it to our list of 10 best WordPress plugins in 2017!   It's WordPress's “Swiss knife” when it comes to supercharging your SEO strategy!   Now let's detail a bit what this plugin can do (or help you do):   it helps you add meta tags   it streamlines your tags across all your data analytics platforms   it encourages adopting the best practices for properly aligning and positioning your keywords across the content on your WordPress site   it comes with built-in page analysis: you can change the length of your titles, edit your descriptions and do all the needed optimization “hocus pocus” within the web pages. It practically analyzes each page for you and signals to you the existing errors so that you can rush in and take the right measures.   it incorporates an XML sitemap generator, making your website “inviting” for search engines to easily “crawl” in and parse your content.    it allows you to import/export plugin settings   Yoast SEO's functionality boils down to two aspects:   it guides you in optimizing the content on your site it makes sure it's visible and that it complies with search engines' guidelines, thus ensuring its high rank in search engines!    2. Google Analytics WD   A website lacking Google Analytics-provided data, as its main “fuel”, is a “stillborn”!   It's like running your digital business blindfolded: you just “guess” who your audience is, where they come from, what pages on your website they visit most frequently, how much time they spend there and so on.     Now, you don't want to take such a risky “guess”, right? Big data-driven business decision making will, no doubt, be one of the most influential trends in 2017!   And still: why should you install and activate this WordPress plugin when you probably already have a GA account?   Because it will streamline your whole data analyzing workflow: you'll get to monitor your GA data right from your WordPress dashboard. No need to switch between windows over and over again anymore! And this is one of the strongest reasons why we do predict it to become one of the best WordPress plugins in 2017!   You'll get to view all the relevant reports and not just the audience-relates ones, but those regarding all the authors and other logged-in users, too. You get to monitor how well each one of the categories on your WordPress site/each blog post each performs, you get to monitor your visitors' behavior in real-time.   Besides, the “more than tempting” feature of displaying all the data right in your WP dashboard, this plugin's ready to “seduce” you with another irresistible functionality: a goal management one! You can track targeted tasks and get notified when they're completed.    Ready for more?    You can easily integrate this WordPress plugin, one of the very best WordPress plugins this year, actually, with your Google Analytics account and it also “spoils” you with a panel where you get to compare stats over a certain period of time.   All the business-generating data right there, nicely displayed and easily accessible on your WordPress dashboard!   3. WP Super Cache    Try visualizing this domino: slowly loading web pages leading to poor user experience, leading to a low conversion rate, leading to low ranking in search engines!   So, you got the point: speed is a crucial SEO factor!    And here is where WordPress comes in, bringing you ones of the best WordPress plugins this year!   It comes with an easy to install, to activate, to configure and to use plugin: WP Super Cache. Its “easy to use” feature is no doubt what makes it so popular among all the other plugins promising to supercharge your website with top speed!   Practically, it's a content management system “crafted” to guarantee you that big “floods” of traffic won't slow down your website!    Confidently “welcome” high traffic!   4. BackupBuddy   This is probably the very first WordPress plugins that you should install and activate on your site!   No matter how sophisticated a security solution might be, it could never “beat” a good backup system!   Take no risks when it comes to putting all your vital business data and your priceless customer data “under a secure vault”. WordPress's Backup Buddy is one of those solid “vaults”.   Here's how it will guarantee you your good night sleep:   you'll get to schedule your backups (you can back up on a daily, weekly or monthly basis)   you'll get to store your backups in Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud, FTP, Stash, Dropbox or even your own personal email inbox   you'll get to restore your thus saved WordPress website with just a few clicks   moreover, it will streamline all your future migration and site duplication projects   Ready for more good news? WordPress's Backup Buddy's not monthly subscription-based!    5. OptinMonster   And it's no doubt a “supercharged monster plugin”! One that goes far beyond “just” empowering you to easily create and to customize opt-in forms aimed at enticing your website visitors to subscribe or to convert.   But first, let's get into details regarding its opt-in form crafting feature:    you get to select from a multitude of opt-in web forms (attention-grabbing pop-ups here included)   you have a whole collection of visually-appealing design layouts at your disposal, so personalizing your form is nothing but a matter of drag-and-drop   What type of opt-in form would best serve your “website visitors converting” strategy? A full-page pop-up or rather a sidebar pop-up, somewhere at the bottom or maybe one showing up from the left side? Your options are almost limitless!   Get ready to turn your visitors into subscribers with this cool features-supercharged opt-in form!   And since we've mentioned that it's not just the whole opt-in forms building and customizing features that makes it a “must add” to your future “arsenal” of WordPress plugins, here are some of its other “luring” features:   A/B testing   page-level targeting   relevant analytics   pre-included exit intent technology: one of its “highlights”, enabling you to trigger a pop-up form the moment a user plans to leave your website      6. Form Maker, Among the Best WordPress Plugins in 2017   “Forms” are part of a website's “DNA”: it can't function without them! Or at least it can, but without supporting any interaction whatsoever, without generating any business, after all!   From surveys to registration forms, to contact forms or questionnaires, WordPress's Form Maker turns the building of a web form into a matter of a few simple clicks.   Not only that it streamlines your workflow, but it also invests you with freedom of customization! Forms become are entirely customizable!   You have no more than 41 editable themes to choose from! You have form fields for numbers, text input, custom select, checkbox for multiple-choice questions and... more!   Collect the information you need from your website's users, through the effective forms that you'll put together nice and easy and then feel free to use Form Maker for monitoring the statistical data (based on the answers you'll collect) that it will provide you with    That's right, this plugin “lures” you with such a feature, too!   7. Soliloquy   Get ready to dazzle away your website's visitors with visually-arresting, highly engaging sliders!   Crafting them has never been any easier than with Soliloquy's drag-and-drop builder!   The plugin enables you to drag and drop not just your stunning images, but video content, written content, testimonials and so on.   Presenting your products/services in the form of some interactive, visually-appealing sliders will become just a matter of a few clicks!   With a whole array of templates to choose from, with its feature enabling you to pull images directly from your social media sites, this WordPress plugin will boost all your efforts of putting together irresistible, highly effective WordPress landing pages!   8. Sucuri   2017 will witness an increased number of cyber-attacks! You don't need to be a visionary to predict that!   So, what do you do as a business owner or as a web developer in this context? You seek the best protection opting for one the best WordPress plugins this year!    You look to keep your WordPress website protected “under” the most powerful firewall: you put together your first line defense! And Sucuri is the security toolset you need!   It will be your web app firewall that will constantly monitor and keep your site/your business protected from all types of cyber-attacks: malware threats, DdoS, XSS attacks.    Here's how Sucuri Scanner, “battle plan” is structured:   It performs file integrity monitoring It performs blacklist monitoring, as well   It  runs file audits on your website   It performs malware scanning   In one word: it PROACTIVELY protects your WordPress website, seeking to track down malware and detect imminent attacks before they even occur.   9. All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets   It's no news for any web developer in Toronto or business owner operating in the digital landscape: rich snippets are SEO boosters!   And WordPress, through its All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets, comes in to boost your own SEO efforts!   How? It practically generates and adds the Schema.org markup to your content, thus “better describing it” for search engines!   With a user-friendly interface and all the most popular types of rich snippets to choose from, you'll be adding rich snippets to your content in no time!    10. Google XML Sitemaps   No SEO strategy, no matter how solid and complex, cold be sustainable if your WordPress website doesn't get indexed first!    All your SEO-oriented initiatives will then be nothing but “sandcastles”!   Now, what this WordPress plugin does is that it generates precisely the type of maps, XML maps, that search engines could use for “crawling” into your site to discover and index all your web pages, all your URLs!   It will make your website far more “inviting” for them!   Moreover, this plugin, one of the very best WordPress plugins this year, will keep search engines “notified” whenever you've added a new web page to your website!    In a nutshell: it's the easiest and surest way of “steering Google's spotlights” onto you website and thus granting it a higher ranking!     What WordPress plugins do you consider “crucial” for your own business this year? Which ones will be, in your opinion, the very best WordPress plugins this year? Maybe you'll go for some “niche” ones, that would better respond to your company's specific needs? We're looking forward to discovering what other WP plugins you'd “vote” for this year!   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Feb 06'2017