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4 Key Things to Know When Optimizing Your Drupal Website for Mobile
  Approaching a mobile-first strategy for your Drupal website is imperative. Since 52% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices, businesses that want to strive must ensure that they optimize their site for mobile.  Why is mobile optimization important? A website designed for desktop use can be non-functional on a phone or tablet. Building a mobile-friendly site that looks good regardless of how users access it is no longer optional for companies that want to deliver high-quality digital experiences.  "If I were to start Drupal from scratch today, I'd build it for mobile experiences first and desktop experience second." - Dries Buytaert, founder and lead developer of the Drupal CMS There are plenty of benefits and competitive advantages of implementing a mobile-first approach to your Drupal website. We'll name a few: Positively impacts search ranking Improves loading times Increases visibility across all devices Enhancing mobile performance for Drupal websites is not rocket science, but if you're a rookie in web development, hiring a Drupal developer to help you implement some of the steps highlighted in this article may be the safest strategy.  Without further ado, let's start to learn how you can optimize your Drupal website for mobile use.   1. First things first: you need a mobile menu.  Start your mobile optimization journey by installing a mobile menu that enables navigation links to be displayed accurately on narrow screens.  A popular style for mobile menus is the 'hamburger' icon. This type of menu is substituted by a symbol with three horizontal lines when the screen narrows to a particular width. When clicked on, the icon displays the mobile-friendly main menu of the Drupal website. Want to use this type of menu? Start by installing the Responsive Menus module and download the tar.gz.file.  In your dashboard, open the Extend tab and select the Install New Module button.  Lastly, use the file browser to upload the tar.gz file. You should now be ready to use the module to customize and style your website's menu.  Remember that you can also hire Drupal developers at any stage of your optimization process to help you streamline your operations.    2. Don't ignore code minification.  One of the top priorities for mobile site functionality is quick loading times. As CSS or HTML files can get bulky, removing unnecessary elements from your website's code can help it render more fastly.  There are a few steps for successfully minifying your code: Install the Minify module  Download the tar.gz file and unarchive it Move the resulting folder into your website's Drupal modules section.  Enable the module from your dashboard You also have the option to enable the minify module to start working automatically. This will assist your Drupal website in loading quicker on mobile devices and thus improving the user experience.    3. Browser cache implementation for mobile-friendly Drupal websites. The next step in optimizing your Drupal site for mobile is to implement browser caching, which allows a user's browser to store data, so it doesn't have to repeatedly download the same files.  This reduces latency if, for example, your site has an extensive background image. The browser caching allows the picture to be stored on each visitor's device, so it doesn't have to be downloaded every time the user visits your site.  Browser caching is a built-in tool in Drupal, and although you can configure it in your control panel, we recommend that you consult the official guide before doing it or hire a Drupal developer to help you.    4. Consider image optimization.  Websites that contain many large image files can have longer loading times on mobiles. You don't want that if your goal is to provide high-quality experiences for your mobile users. Therefore, you can start optimizing your images to accelerate your site's performance. How can you reduce the size of your photos without jeopardizing their quality? It's actually easy. Drupal's ImageAPI Optimize module helps you manage your images before uploading them onto the website.  You only have to download the module's tar.gz file, install, and enable it in your dashboard. To automatically optimize your images for mobile devices, make sure to select ImageAPI Optimize as the default toolkit.  When creating responsive images, the amount of space an image fills on the screen is significant. Drupal lets you use @media rules to modify images depending on each user's screen size. This high level of personalization is allowed by the Breakpoint and Responsive Images modules.    Why Drupal 9 might be the best option for a mobile-first approach The latest version of Drupal provides optimized modules and features for mobile devices that enhance the user experience and address modern customers' needs.  Among the key benefits of Drupal 9 for mobile optimization are: Improved speed of content delivery Responsive design for various screen's widths  Editing content on mobile is easier  In conclusion, if you want to deliver high-quality, personalized user web experiences in the modern era, optimizing your website for mobile devices is a must. Optasy can help you build a mobile-first approach that satisfies the need for speed and high functionality that today's mobile users expect.  Image credit: deeptuts on Pixabay... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Feb 22'2021
How AI Will Forever Change Drupal Web Development
  The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) opens a multitude of opportunities in different industries. According to a recent study, nine in ten leading businesses have already started to invest in artificial intelligence.  For instance, Robotics at Google is paving the way for future-thinking strategies and business models. AI is already performing repetitive tasks in the healthcare ecosystem, diagnosing and treating various medical conditions.  Nevertheless, in the web landscape, AI also provides an abundance of use cases. It's no secret that modern mainstream website development has lately focused on creating a customer-facing front-end presence and integrating front-end with enterprise back-office operations.  One of the leading content management frameworks for creating such enterprise websites, Drupal, is a pioneer in embracing digital innovation. Drupal web development includes multiple modules for implementing AI, helping digital businesses build and sustain a more AI-centric mindset.  This article highlights how integrating AI into Drupal web development can provide new digital growth opportunities and lay the foundation for future-oriented businesses.  Benefits and use cases for AI in Drupal web development Drupal architectures have been long used to build next-gen digital and personalized experiences. One way developers can use artificial intelligence integrations in Drupal frameworks is in the form of chatbots. By supporting cognitive computing abilities that simulate human thought processes, Drupal's Chatbot API module provides: An additional flexible layer that connects your Natural Language Processing (NPL) with your several personal assistants, thus increasing the intuitiveness of your website A streamlined conversational experience whenever your users need it The possibility to avoid writing new code when translating conversations from one interface to another The aim of leveraging AI in chatbots is to increase sales revenue with better predictions. AI techniques like data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and behavior analysis empower chatbots to accurately predict reactions and responses to users’ queries.  When it comes to the personalization of web content, artificial intelligence is a winning tool. By analyzing a user's digital persona, profile, activity, and intent, AI and machine learning algorithms can enhance content recommendations and deliver highly targeted insights that match a user's preferences.  “In keeping with our deep integrations to Web Content Management, Content Management Systems, and Marketing Automation platforms, our Drupal 8 connector is the latest example of Cloudwords building integrations that speed and scale a company's global marketing engagements with personalized experiences in any language”, revealed Richard Harpham, former CEO at Cloudwords Inc. Cloudwords for Multilingual Drupal module enhanced by artificial intelligence Cloudwords integrations for multilingual websites are a real game-changer. Drupal's multilingual module is efficiently supported and quickly streamlined through Cloudwords’ powerful workflow automation and project management features. The whole process of serving content in multiple languages to the market is facilitated by Cloudwords' CAT tool that utilizes AI and machine learning to increase productivity.  Azure Cognitive Services API The Azure Cognitive Services API Drupal module helps developers augment Drupal websites by adding speech, facial recognition, visual, and emotion detection features. More precisely, there are four submodules worth taking a look at: Azure Emotion API - This tool connects Microsoft Face API to your website and recognizes one or more people’s emotions in a picture. This allows for more intelligent, engaging, and discoverable applications. Azure Face API - Just like the Emotion API, this module integrates with the Microsoft Face API solution that can detect and recognize human faces. Face API identifies gender, age, or hair color, and it can compare similar faces and group their pictures.  Azure Computer Vision API - This module can aid in moderating content. It uses tags and descriptions to analyze the content on images, allowing you to apply restrictions on adult or inappropriate content.  Azure Text Analytics API - Used for NPL, this module provides sentiment analysis, key phrase extraction, and language detection.  Better personalization and direct targeting with Acquia Lift Connector This module integrates tightly with Drupal, allowing developers to make the most out of their Drupal skills and knowledge. It combines content and customer data into a single tool, enabling marketers to scale their web personalization efforts and increase their conversions. Among the most popular features, we can find: A drag-and-drop user interface for content targeting  Unified content and customer profiles Real-time, adaptive segmentation A/B testing and behavioral targeting How's the future looking for Drupal web development powered by AI? The future of Drupal websites that integrate AI-based modules looks promising. It is predicted that every digital user will have a unique ID that will store behavior insights like clicks, time spent on each page, or searches. By leveraging AI and machine learning,  companies will be able to automatically tailor and personalize web content to each user's individual needs.  Modern tools like AI and ML have a lot to offer when integrated with Drupal CMS, opening new opportunities to implement rich modules with futuristic features. Personalization and performance are unprecedented and efficiently support complex digital ecosystems through features like voice controlling and user behavior analysis.  A few decades ago, artificial intelligence was thought of as a technological power that will end up destroying the world as we know it. Today, AI is not seen as being so hostile. On the contrary, businesses have started to embrace and leverage the possibilities offered by Ai, and Drupal web development is a powerful example of how technology can revolutionize the world of business.  The full potential of AI-integrated Drupal modules is far from being explored, although digital-centric companies are already harvesting the benefits of investing in modern technologies. The journey towards uncovering more digital assets that can sustain revolutionary web development strategies continues. Stay tuned! Have you started implementing AI modules into your Drupal website? Optasy can help you accelerate the path to revolutionizing your Drupal web development capabilities with AI-powered tools that support digital growth. Image credit: geralt on Pixabay                                        ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Feb 18'2021
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The design and development industry continues to grow more competitively over the years. Agencies that have specific niches and all-around firms are popping left and right. Aside from those, there are also different types of development and design works. As a player in this game, we are driven by our clients’ reception. We value their success and their feedback more than anything else because that’s how we will continue to thrive and grow. We are OPTASY, a digital commerce, marketing, and web development agency based in Toronto. With 16 years of experience under our belt, we’ve experienced so many ups and downs that equipped us with the knowledge we need. We’re an internationally renowned and award-winning team that continues to work hard for our clients. With that said, it has just recently come to our attention that we’ve been selected by Clutch, an established B2B review agency, as one of our nation’s industry leaders. Our team has ranked among the top Drupal and Magento designers and developers because of our spot on projects. "We are thrilled to have been chosen as one of the leading web developers by Clutch!" - Adrian Ababei, CEO of OPTASY, Inc. Clutch also created a list of the top fifteen companies. They measured agencies’ ability to deliver and service focus to determine the industry leaders — and OPTASY ranked sixth on their Leaders Matrix. In addition to that, our team is also found on The Manifest’s, Clutch’s sister site, top 100 mobile app developers in Canada list. This helps us prove that we can handle different projects and deliver phenomenal results. These two recognitions are igniting our drive to further our success this 2021. We are grateful for those who support us, especially our clients. This means so much to the whole OPTASY team.  What can we help you with? Contact us and let’s start collaborating! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Feb 15'2021
10 Best Headless CMS in 2020, That Cover Most of Your Requirements (Part 2)
Ready to compare the features of 5 other best headless CMS in 2020? We've got them ready for you to just dive in and: survey the key reasons why you'd choose one over the other discover each one's main use cases narrow down your options … and pick the one that matches your requirements. What Is the Best Headless CMS in 2020? 5.6. Directus An open source tool for managing and delivering content across an entire network of platforms and devices. And here are some of the top reasons for choosing Directus: it provides your editorial team with an easy to use admin app for managing content it can be in the cloud or self-hosted it provides API for your development team to fetch content 5.7. Netlify CMS  One of your top 10 headless CMS options, an open source one, that you get to add to any static site generator of your choice. A React single-page application that provides you with an easy to use UI, playing the role of a… wrapper for your Git Workflow. Basically, when using Netlify CMS your content gets stored in your web app's git repository (as markdown files), close to your codebase.   "How does a Netlify CMS Gatsby setup work?"   It's pretty straightforward: You enter your content via that user-friendly interface, then Gatsby uses it to come up with the right pages for your web app. Why would you use it? it fits both large and small-sized projects, with fewer pages to create, to add content to, to edit, and to manage you get to review/preview your content and make changes in real-time, and even control entries status in editorial workflow mode it provides you with an easy-to-use UI, with just 3 tabs: workflow, media, and content you're free to use it with any static site generator you get to extend its functionality: add your own UI widgets, editor plugins, customized previews, etc. 5.8. GraphCMS     An API-first content management system, a GraphQL-native one, that allows you to distribute content across multiple digital platforms. And not just anyhow, but… within minutes. Your developer team gets to create content APIs in no time, whereas your content team gets all the tools they need for a smooth editor experience.   Source: capterra.com GraphCMS vs Contentful: Main Differences GraphCMS works best for enterprise and mid-market companies, enabling them to build highly scalable applications GraphQL is its underlying technology: an open source query language for APIs, that's been growing more and more popular among developers Contentful targets top global brands, helping them distribute digital content experiences across complex networks of markets and channels REST is its underlying technology: a programming paradigm for distributed systems And here are 2 good reasons for choosing GraphCMS as your go-to headless content management system:  you get a CMS that's client-side and JAMstack compatible you get to tap into the benefits of a JAMstack approach to development (JavaScript & Markup & API) 5.9. Cosmic A cloud-hosted headless content management system that provides you with both GraphQL and REST APIs. But what makes Cosmic one of the best headless CMS in 2020? Why choose the Cosmic Headless CMS?  it ships with features like content modeling, media management, localization, and webhooks it grants you a smooth editor experience with its WYSIWYG  editor, that you can use to incorporate (by embedding code) third-party services like Typeform and GitHub. it integrates smoothly with AWS, Slack, Algolia, Stripe, HubSpot 5.10. Kentico Kontent A cloud-based content delivery API that turns your structured content into content that's easy to be "consumed" by any device or digital platform that you might use as a front-end delivery layer.  Why would you choose it over other great options of headless CMS? you get an AI chatbot when using Kentico Kontent it provides webhooks and custom elements that make third-party integrations a lot smoother you get content management API enabling content consumption And we've come to… the END of the list of 10 best headless CMS in 2020. Which one checks the most features off your list? Now, if you're facing a "Headless Drupal 8 vs Contentful" dilemma, we're here to: help you identify the one that works best for your business and your requirements make your headless CMS-based project work Just drop us a line!   Image by tdfugere from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Sep 26'2020
10 Best Headless CMS in 2020, That Cover Most of Your Requirements (Part 1)
Overwhelmed with options? Are you building your first (e-commerce) headless CMS and you don't know what headless CMS platform to choose?  What are the best headless CMS in 2020, so you can at least narrow down your choices and start... somewhere? Which system matches most of your feature requirements? Here's a top 10: 1. But First: What Is a Headless CMS, More Precisely? Relax, I won't bore you with too many details — we already have an in-depth post on the differences between headless and traditional CMS. So, if we were to sum up the concept in just a few words, we could say that: A headless content management system is an architecture where content is separated from the presentation layer (the client-side front-end). Meaning that you get to create, store, and edit "raw" content (with no design or layout) in the backend and deliver it wherever needed —wearable, mobile app, website — via API. In short, what you get in a headless architecture is: a database to store your content in a dashboard for editing your content Source: Zesty.io As for the "head" that serves your content to the end-user : you're free to build your own front-end, from the ground up … and even multiple front-ends, if needed, that will all use calls from the API to retrieve and display content 2. … Then What's a Decoupled CMS? Headless CMS vs decoupled CMS: what's the difference? And why headless over decoupled? The role that the API plays… That's what makes the difference (and why you'd want to go for a headless approach): If, in a decoupled architecture, the API plays the role of an intermediary between back-end and front end, in a headless architecture the API can be used by any of the front-end portions for pulling data. In other words, a decoupled CMS does come with a built-in front-end delivery layer, that you can rely on, but a headless approach is an API-driven content repository. Which gives you more flexibility for delivering content to any type of display layer. … to multiple "heads". You're free to distribute it wherever it needs to get displayed. 3. Why Choose a Headless CMS? Top 9 Benefits Before I "divulge" the best headless CMS in 2020 to you, here's a shortlist of the key advantages of using a headless CMS software: you get to engage your customers with personalized content across an entire network of digital channels, at different stages in their journey you can deliver richer digital experience, tailored to each channel you gain platform independence you're free to choose your technology of choice you benefit from cross-platform support you get to manage your content from a central location and distribute it to multiple platforms/IoT-connected devices, in a universal format you're free to manage all your platforms from one interface your development team gets to choose the development framework of their choice, integrate new technologies and, overall… innovate you're free to redesign as often as you need to, without the dread of re-implementing your entire CMS from the ground up     4. … And When Should You Use It? 5 Best Use Cases  How do you know for sure that you need to adopt this approach? You know it because your scenario describes one of the following use cases for headless CMS: you're building a site using a technology you're familiar with you're building a website with a static site generator you're building a JS-based website or web app you're building a native mobile app you're building an e-commerce site and you know that the commerce platform you're using won't… cut the mustard as a CMS; or you need to enrich product info in your online store 5. What Are the Best Headless CMS in 2020? Top 10 "Which CMS should I use?" you wonder. "The one that meets most of your requirements…" So, you should start by pinning them down. What features are you looking for in a CMS? Maybe you need a system that should: be straightforward and easy to use for the marketers/non-technical people in your team be built on… Node be highly customizable and editable for your content team to be able to change overlay text, logo, background video/image be simple to set up integrate easily with Gatsby support multi-site setups not be tied up to (just) one specific database provide ease of content entry and rich-text support provide a granular permission system provide native support for content types What are the features that your project couldn't live without? Now, with that list of "mandatory" features at hand, just drill down through your top headless CMS options in 2020. Here they are: 5.1. Storyblok A purely headless CMS that ships with a visual editor, as well. Why would you go for Storyblok? What makes it one of the best headless CMS in 2020? it provides the experience of a page builder for all those non-technical users in your team: editors get to manage content via a more user-friendly interface it grants your developers easy access to the APIs they need 5.2. Prismic Its major selling point? It allows you to choose your own language, framework, technology… And these are the 3 good reasons to go with Prismic as your headless CMS: it allows you to model your content schema and to add your content you're free to choose whatever framework that meets your feature needs: React, Vue, Next, Nuxt, Node, Gatsby… you're free to choose either GraphQL or RESTful API to query content 5.3. Drupal 8 Headless CMS   Another great option is to exploit Drupal's headless capabilities and pair them with the JavaScript framework of your choice. Here are some of the best reasons why you'd use a Drupal 8 API-first architecture: Drupal's a mature and enterprise-level headless solution backed by a wide community, used by more than 1 million sites globally; you get to tap into its massive module collection and even create new custom ones to extend your website's functionality its JSON:API follows the JSON:API specification; developers in your team can start using the API even if they're not experts in working with Drupal you get to load your GraphQl schemas straight from your Drupal content repository; there's a specialized module for this: the GraphQL module you get to use all of  Drupal's famed features (granular access to content, processes, workflows, modules, etc.) right away; you get them out-of-the-box since the REST API is… rooted deep into Drupal 5.4. Strapi, One of the Best headless CMS for Gatsby. It's an open-source Node.js headless CMS, a "host it yourself" one, that allows you to build Node.js apps in… minutes. Why would you use it? because it generates available RESTful API or uses GraphQL shortly after installation, making data available via customizable API because it allows your developers to invest all their resources in writing reusable app logic (instead of having to use some of that time to build an infrastructure) because it's fully JavaScript because it supports plugins that extend the platform's functionality because it's open-source: you'll find the entire codebase on GitHub  5.5. Contentful  Looking for a platform-agnostic solution? A… content delivery network that would enable your development team to manage and distribute (and reuse) content to multiple channels? Then this is the API-driven headless CMS you're looking for. Here are 6 other reasons why you'd want to put Contentful on your shortlist: consistent APIs easy to set up you're free to create your own models easy to use: ships with a robust, non-technical, user-friendly UI you get to add custom plugins quick and easy you get to set your own schemas to get displayed the way you want them to, across different apps Good to know! There's even a Shopify extension available. What it does is connect your online store to your content, stored in Contentful. And if you'll need help with building, fine-tuning, and integrating your content hub, we're ready to tweak Contentful to your needs.  END of Part 1! Stay tuned, for there are 5 more candidates for the title of "the best headless CMS in 2020" waiting in line.  Image by Couleur from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Sep 25'2020
Magento vs Shopify 2020: Which Platform Should You Use for Your eCommerce Store? And Why?
A bit stuck? Are you looking to roll out your online store, but… you’re struggling with a Magento vs Shopify 2020 dilemma? Which solution works best for the size and the type of your eCommerce business? Which one covers most of your feature needs? In today’s post you’ll get your answers to the following questions: How are they different? Why would you choose Shopify over Magento? What are its strongest selling points? What are the cons of Shopify? What are the pros and cons of Magento vs Shopify? Which eCommerce platform works best for your type of business? 1. What Are the Major Differences Between Magento and Shopify? The main reason why you’re torn between Magento and Shopify is that: You don’t have a clear picture of the essential differences between them. So, let me expose them to you: 1.1. Magento is an eCommerce solution for enterprise-level online stores. It’s robust and flexible enough to power fully customized eCommerce websites, built from scratch — that you can further expand to fit your growth plan — by teams of Magento developers. 1.2. Shopify, on the other hand, is self-managed.  You don’t need any specialized skills — or server-side techs — to set up a Shopify store.  A front-end developer and a designer, at most, will do. “How easy is it to use Shopify?” Shopify is best-known for being beginner-friendly.  In short, the “Magento vs Shopify” dilemma comes down to: Flexibility and customization vs Ease of use. Which one's more important to you? 2. Magento vs Shopify 2020: Why Would You Choose Shopify? What makes Shopify a candidate for the title of “the best solution for creating an eCommerce website in 2020"? Here’s why Shopify could be the better choice for your online store: you have no (or limited) coding skills the idea of having a huge app marketplace at your disposal to browse through sounds tempting to you you need to get your e-Store up and running… now: the drag-and-drop website builder allows you to set up a new store in… minutes it’s an end-to-end eCommerce solution that you’re looking for, one that enables you to roll out and manage your online store with no technical experience it’s easier to use: its interface is famous for being particularly user-friendly you run a small or medium-sized eCommerce business page loading time is critical for you: Shopify’s just… fast Overall, it’s much less of a headache than Magento and usually the go-to option for small eCommerce business owners, with no web development experience, who need to get their websites rolled out fast. 3. What Are the Cons of Shopify? What could make you hesitate to choose Shopify for your eCommerce website? For there are, indeed, some limitations to consider before going for this particular platform:   You’d be trading some of the control over your online store for… ease of use and the convenience of setting up your eStore quick and easy, with no technical expertise   You do get a huge collection of plugins to choose from but… they all come with a price tag on; one that you’ll need to consider when planning out your budget   You won’t be able to customize every single aspect of your website. By comparison, Magento puts no limitation on the configurations that you can make to your site   Shopify provides you with weaker SEO features   It charges a transaction fee per… sale   4. Why Would You Choose Magento over Shopify? When dealing with a Magento vs Shopify 2020 dilemma, what could make you opt for Magento? Lots of reasons... Here are the strongest ones:   It enables you (or your team of Magento developers in Toronto) to customize everything about your eCommerce website, from theme to checkout process, to main menu, to email template, to...   You get to build custom functionality for your website, that’s not available on the market   You have lots of extensions available to choose from — Magento being open-sourced — and to customize your online store   You benefit from its strong SEO capabilities   You get to tap into its multi-store functionality: Magento enables you to manage all your online stores from one central dashboard   “In fact, according to eCommerce Platforms research Magento SEO scores 95 out of 100, and that is great result!” (source: Cart2Cart ) In short, you’d want to go with Magento because it enables you to build pretty much anything that you might need for your eCommerce website. 5. What About the Cons of Using Magento? For you need to be aware of the disadvantages of using this eCommerce solution, as well, before you make any decision. Now, here are the most… discouraging ones:   Building a fully customized website in Magento takes time and requires web development experience and Magento expertise; you can’t get away without a team of back-end Magento developers to handle the whole process and all the customization wok   You do have a large and thriving community to rely on, but no 24/7 dedicated support (like you have with Shopify)   You’ll need to optimize your Magento website on a regular basis to make sure it keeps performing at its best   You’ll need to take into account the cost of all the extensions that you might want to add, of the web hosting service, and the Magento expertise needed   6. Magento 2 vs Shopify vs... Shopify Plus: Which One’s the Best Fit? Considering that, starting June 2020, Magento 1.0 is no longer supported, your Magento vs Shopify 2020 dilemma turns into: “Magento 2 vs Shopify”. What new features does Magento 2 bring to the debate? simplified navigation (even) better customization capabilities better performance a more admin-friendly panel drag-and-drop layout editing improved checkout  “And what about Shopify Plus?” you might then ask yourself. Here are some of the enhancements that Shopify Plus ships with, so you can see for yourself whether it’s the best fit for what you’re looking for:   It gives you greater control over your online store: you gain more customization freedom   It’s robust enough to handle more than 10,000 transactions per minute, which makes it a viable alternative to Magento 2 for enterprise-level eCommerce businesses   You’re free to edit your checkout page (a feature that’s not available in Shopify)   You get your own launch manager: basically, a dedicated Shopify Plus team will handle everything for you, from implementing the custom Shopify theme that you need to code writing   7. Which Commerce Platform Works Better for Your Type of eCommerce Business? Now that you have a clear(er) picture of the pros and cons of Magento vs Shopify, how do you know which one’s the best fit for you? For your business goals and size? It’s simple: just pick the answer(s) that best fits your scenario from the following ones: You’ll want to use Magento if: you have a large product catalog your customization  needs are… above the average (i.e. complex product configurations): you want a fully customized online store built from the ground up you need a commerce platform robust enough to support your entire network of vendor/supplier fulfillment channels you have qualified Magento developers in your team (or the budget to hire some professionals, who know what they’re doing) You’ll want to use Shopify over Magento in 2020 if: it’s a small to medium product catalog that you need to set up being able to integrate/cross-sell on multiple platforms is a crucial feature for you you need to get your storefront online as quickly as possible Does this head-to-head help you with your Magento vs Shopify 2020 dilemma?  No matter which one’s the “winner”, the next question stays the same: “How do I get my Shopify/ Magento website built and suited to my needs?" Just drop us a line and we’ll have either our Shopify or our Magento expert team assigned to your eCommerce project! Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Sep 18'2020
Why Use Node.js with React? 11 Reasons Why You Should Hook Up Your React App with a Node Back-end
So, you’d like to build an app with React. And, while weighing your back-end options, you ask yourself: “Why use Node.js with React?” Why would you go with Node for hosting and running your web server? Why not… Ruby on Rails? Or maybe Python/Django? This is precisely what you’ll find in this post: the 11 main reasons why you’d want to choose Node.js as a backend for your React web app: 1. But First: What Is the Difference Between ReactJS and Node.js? We already have a blog post focused precisely on the React vs Node dilemma, so in today’s post I’ll only pinpoint, briefly, the main differences between the 2 technologies:   While ReactJS is a front-end library, Node.js is a highly popular choice for back-end development (thanks to its event-driven nature and to being asynchronous and highly scalable)   While React provides you with a language to describe the user interface of your web application, Node.js helps you with all sorts of (back-end) things like setting up your server, building CLI tools, scripting; a key difference to help you solve your “React vs Node.js” dilemma   While ReacJS helps you build your UI components, Node.js stores your app’s data in the backend   While React is web app developers’ top choice to address challenges like low performance and slow user interface, Node.js is the go-to technology for creating enterprise-level solutions based on WebSockets, event quests, and microservice architecture. 2. Does ReactJS (Really) Require Node?  In other words, do you need to have a Node.js backend to run React? No, you don’t. Node.js is not required for running Reactjs. So, why use Node.js with React? There are certain use cases and reasons why you’d want to pair the 2 technologies for building your app: you cut down on your web app development time (which always has a major business impact) the Node.js and React duo is your ticket to scalable and efficient code … But more on the strongest reasons why you’d use Reactjs with Node down below... 3. Why Use Node.js with React? 11 Top Reasons Now, going back to your initial question — “Why do you need Node.js for React?” — here are the key reasons why you’d go with this “duo”: 3.1. Because they’re both JavaScript: you can execute them server-side and client-side The benefits you get from having a JS-based technology in the back-end, as well, are obvious: you only need to be familiar with JavaScript (no Ruby or Python expertise needed) same language means… same packages same language means that you get to speed up your app’s development process 3.2. Because you get to inject V8 engine performance into your React app In other words, your React app will be perfectly equipped to handle bulk requests with no compromise on quality. The V8 engine that Node.js uses grants your app the best page load times. 3.3. Because you get a collection of NPM packages to choose from With the NPM CLI at your disposal, you get to install any of the packages available in the registry quick and easy. 3.4. Why use Node.js with React? Because the “duo” helps you address high server load issues  They work perfectly together to help your app handle multiple client requests while striking a server load balance. 3.5. Because Node.js bundles your app into a single, easy-to-compile file Using various modules along with Webpack, Node Js bundles your app into one file. One that can get compiled much easier... 3.6. Because it’s a real-time, data-intensive React app that you’re building. Does your React application depend on Data Streaming or Data-Intensive, Real-Time management? Is interactivity a major requirement for your web app? Is it a real time application that you have in mind? Then Nodejs makes the best choice for continued server connection in a context of intensive computation. 3.7. Because you get to run React.js code straight in the Nodejs environment 3.8. Because you get to scale your React & Node.js app to much higher loads A Node.js back-end will help your app accommodate many more users and many more future calls.  It's your best option for building scalable applications. The 2 giants are using Node.js precisely for its great scalability potential. 3.9. Because you get to build JSON APIs for your app much easier when using Node and React together How come? You get to share and reuse code in React.js quick and easy when you pair it with Node.js in the back-end. 3.10. Because rendering server-side becomes a more streamlined process Since React DOM comes with components built to work with Nodejs out of the box, you get to cut down on the lines of code.  Which translates into streamlined server-side rendering.   3.11. Because it’s a single-page React app that you’re building The “React with Node.js” duo makes the best choice for building a SPA. The lightweight Node backend will be in charge of handling asynchronous data loading via callback functions. 4. In Short, You’d Want to Use React and Node.js Together Because... “Why use Node.js with React?” As a conclusion, we could narrow down the entire list to just 2 key reasons:   Convenience: same language in the back-end and the front-end; Node.js makes the go-to option for running and hosting a web server for your React app   ReactJS depends on Node and npm (Node Package Manager) to notify the native side (iOS/Android) of the packages that you need to use in your app; then, it can add all the needed dependencies. The END! Now that you know why and when you’d want to use React with Node.js: how do you build that high-performance, conveniently scalable React & Node.js app? We’re here to help you get the most of these 2 technologies. Just drop us a line to have a team of React and Node Js developers handle your project. Image by Anemone123 from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Sep 16'2020
Drupal 9 Modules Readiness: How Hard Is It to Find Compatible Modules and Build a Website in Drupal 9?
Is it (still) too early to give Drupal 9 a try? To start fresh and build a website from scratch in the latest version of Drupal? Should you stick to Drupal 8 for... a little longer and upgrade later? How difficult will it be for you to find compatible Drupal 9 modules (and themes)? Let's find out: 1. But First: Why Drupal 9? What are the biggest benefits of Drupal 9 over Drupal 8? Why would you choose precisely this version of Drupal to build your new website with? because of the automated updates that it makes possible because of the headless support that it ships with because of the robust multilingual capabilities because of the improved performance: your web pages will load faster thanks to the BigPipe technology because it removes a lot of the legacy code because of its layout features because of its extensibility: you get to incorporated third-party systems quick and easy because of its media library and robust media functionality because of the new, Twig-based theme engine because it's easier to use: you can make the most of its in-place editing (CKEditor) And particularly because there will be no more major re-builds (aka "major pains to upgrade"). Instead, a set of new features gets released every 6 months, including new improvements and additions to be incorporated seamlessly into your Drupal 9 build. 2. Most Drupal 9 Modules Don't Change at All So, stay assured: you won't be having a hard time finding compatible modules for your new Drupal 9 website. Many of the modules on Drupal.org have been, are being made, and will be made compatible with Drupal 9. There's a collective effort coming from the Drupal community in this direction. And where do you add that the process is pretty straightforward:  Same code, but without the deprecated APIs. 3. But What About Those that Do Need Changes? For there have been changes under Drupal 9's hood. Changes in coding with a direct impact on some modules and APIs. Which means that some modules have turned from Drupal core modules to... outside dependencies: this is good news, considering the performance gains you get but also a challenge if you were relying precisely on those modules for your Drupal 9 website Luckily, you have at least 2 helpful tools at hand that you can use to: identify the Drupal modules that still need to get updated apply the fixes needed to make those modules compatible with Drupal 9 3.1. The Upgrade Status Module Why use it? Because it offers you a view of all that has been changed in Drupal.  Source: Drupal.org You have links to the modules' pages there, that you can access to review those changes. 3.2. The Upgrade Rector Module The great thing about this tool is that it provides you with automated code fix suggestions to help you make your target modules Drupal 9 compatible. Source: Drupal.org 4. Some Module Get Removed from Drupal 9 Now, there are a few Drupal modules that didn't get the chance to grow into Drupal 9 modules. And I'm talking here about: Simple Test, that's now replaced by PHPUnit Place Blocks, now replaced by the Layout Builder  As you can see, in both cases you get to use better alternatives. So, it's just a matter of favoring more powerful solutions. Good to know! Expect other modules and themes (i.e. the Classy theme, the Stable theme) to get deprecated and removed by the time we reach Drupal 10. 5. What About the Contributed Modules? What if you need more than the out-of-the-box Drupal 9 modules to build your new website? What if you depend on particular contributed modules? Or on... many contributed modules? Well, then things get a little more challenging... Because many of the contributed Drupal modules still need to be made compatible with Drupal 9. They need some time to catch up with the new version of Drupal. Take for instance: updating tests to PHPUnit or updating deprecated API usages. Now, what you can do is give a helping hand to accelerate the updating of these modules. And the steps/best practices to follow are pretty simple, as suggested in this guide on Drupal.org : use the patch referred to here, create an issue in the module project (first, make sure it doesn't exist already), and choose a title suggestive enough to let the maintainer know that it needs to be tested for Drupal 9 deprecations add an explanation for the signaled issue ... and follow all the other steps suggested in that Drupal.org guide. Tip! Ask that contributed module's maintainer how he/she would like to address the issues you're signaling. Because the guidelines available for Drupal core aren't always relevant for addressing contributed module issues, as well. The END! Now, assuming that: you only need a limited no. of contributed modules for your new Drupal 9 build it's not a heavily customized website that you're building ... how do you get it up and running in? We're here to help. Just drop us a line! We've been building Drupal websites since... Drupal 5. Image by Siggy Nowak from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Aug 28'2020
5 tips to pass your Acquia Site Studio (Cohesion) Certification Exam
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to take the Acquia Site Studio (formerly Cohesion) Certification exam. In this post we are going to discuss why I took this exam and more importantly, how I passed it and became an Acquia Certified Site Studio Site Builder. Optasy and its commitment to quality through knowledge You already know that quality is part of the corporate culture of Optasy. For us quality is a key factor to protect our clients' investments and guarantee them a high ROI. But having a good QA department is not enough. Actually, it's often too late when the QA team detects an issue. At Optasy we prefer to ensure quality at the early stages of our projects, analyzing deeply the needs of our clients and transform them into effective digital experiences but we also know that the quality of the code we produce comes from the experience and the skills of our developers. That's why Optasy has an internal 'skill knowledge acquisition program' to help its employees (optasians) to acquire new skills or improve them. This program gives to each optasian one day off per month (paid by the company) to study a particular field. As a way to ensure knowledge acquisition and validation, optasians also receive paid leave to study and give their Acquia certification exams. This includes the exam cost too, that’s why many of the optasian developers are actually Acquia Certified developers or Acquia Certified site builders All things considered, it was a pretty easy choice for me to take the exam, not only do I get to improve my skills, but I get paid for it too! What are the Acquia certification programs? Acquia is a preferred Optasy partner that delivers a cloud-based digital experience platform built on Drupal that enables organizations to build experiences that scale. Acquia is committed to facilitating certification programs allowing developers to validate their Drupal skills year after year. Acquia certification exams are administered at Kryterion Testing Centers in more than 750 locations across the globe. Exams are also available as online-proctored tests and are often offered at DrupalCons across the world. What is Acquia Site Studio? Acquia Site Studio (formerly Cohesion) is a low-code solution for building and editing Drupal sites. As an Acquia partner, our team got the chance to become an early adopter of the technology.  Acquia Site Studio is a sort of layout builder on steroids without writing any line of code. Not only can you build layouts or templates, but also you can build whole websites from the headers to the footers, and everything in between, like components and widgets, just by using the interface. No code required! It's a kind of atomic design system (like Pattern Lab) where you can create and preview CSS style guides, components, template layouts, page layouts or view layout from a visual user interface with simple “drag and drop”. And all of this within your Drupal site! To be fair, Acquia Site Studio is an amazing tool allowing designers and marketers to create and modify any layout component without calling the development team. If you’re a designer with no coding knowledge you’ll be able to create totally unique layouts based on your designs using intuitive drag and drop layout builder. If you're an editor, you may choose the layout you want to use and add all the pre-designed components you wish. Want to add a slider or a 'Related Articles' block? You drag and drop it in your layout! 5 tips to successfully pass your Acquia Certified Site Studio exam As other Acquia Certification exams, the Certified Site Studio exam requires both experience and knowledge. Though the test is not difficult, it’s not something you want to run into unprepared. From my experience, the questions ranged from a very low to medium range of difficulty, there were barely any difficult questions. This exam validates your ability to: Understand the features and functionality provided by Site Studio Install and configure Site studio environment on new or existing websites. Build a website using Site Studio style builder, components and website structure design elements. The official description of this exam can be found on Acquia's certification overview page. But in short: The tests are all multiple choice. They don't require that you actually configure a Drupal site or write any code. They are available in person at a testing center, or at home by installing the exam software on your computer. The price was $155 (In my case, Optasy paid for the test) Get a good understanding of Drupal Layout Builder As I mentioned earlier, Acquia Site Studio is a Layout Builder on steroids and many concepts are the same, so having some experience with this Drupal module will help you a lot, like the inline editing tools or the concept of drawing element into the layout. This is not mandatory, but I felt really comfortable with Site Studio having this previous experience. Read carefully the contents of the exam On Acquia's certification overview page you'll find the blueprint of the exam like the following: But below it, you'll find the content itself. Read it carefully and repeatedly. This should be your guideline during your study. This will help you focus on what really matters but also to recap and structure your notes. Read and study the documentation While there are really good videos on the Acquia Academy site about Site Studio, watching all of them won't be enough. If you don't have prior experience with Site Studio, it's a good starting point. But it definitively won't give all the knowledge you need to pass the exam. Reading the documentation should sound obvious, but you'll really need to read and study all the documentation in depth. Don't leave anything behind cause the exam covers all the aspects of Site Studio, from the basics to more advanced topics. This will also give you the right vocabulary to understand the questions of the exam, since sometimes they can try to trick you changing just one word. So the technical vocabulary has an important role, and that's where the documentation comes into play. Write down some notes after reading each section. This will help you a lot during the recap! Train on the Acquia Site Studio demo environment You can request an online demo environment for free at the bottom of this page The main benefit is that you won't need an API key or an Agency key, so you can test Site Studio for free, the environment acts just like a normal Drupal website. and the site will be all yours to experiment on. This site will be your friend during your study, you should test everything you learned in the documentation here. Do it several times and try different cases. The night before the exam, after reading back your notes, try to build a site from scratch in this environment to recap all the main concepts. This is key! Don't forget the 'Miscellaneous concepts and features' part These three concepts are not placed in one section, they are dispersed in the documentation. Study and practice all of them because you'll have a question about each one. They are only three, it doesn’t sound like a lot but they are worth 15% of the exam! That is a quick and easy win! A bonus tip What really worked for me was to read a section, practice the concepts of this section in the demo environment, read again the same section and take some notes. The day after, read all the notes of the previous day, do the same 7 days later, reading back your notes and practicing again on the demo site. That way, 80% of what you studied will stay forever in your memory. Conclusions Acquia Certification Site Studio Site Builder can be a good way to validate your skills and knowledge There are barely any difficult questions Study all the documentation because the exam is based on it, but also because the exam will cover all of it. Practice a lot, recap a lot. ... Read more
Karim Boudjema / Aug 27'2020