How's 2018 treating you so far? As for us, we can't hide it: it has spoiled us big time this first month! A lot of great posts have been released on Drupal planet for us to “feast” on. Skillfully written blog posts, packed with valuable information, conveniently easy to read... So, selecting the best Drupal blogs in January has turned into quite a challenge for our entire team of Toronto web developers.

Since our list of top favorites started to grow like a beanstalk from the very first week of the year, sifting through and selecting “la crème de la creme” has been no easy job.

First, we selected the top 15, then we trimmed it down to 10. Then, as we continued, we realized it was impossible to stick to only 5 posts.

Therefore, it's our top 6 favorite Drupal blog posts this month that we're sharing with you in today's post!

Expect a highly varied list! It includes:
 

  • helpful “how to” tutorials
  • posts targeting both beginners and experienced developers
  • tried and tested tips and tricks
  • behind-the-scenes views on Drupal
  • spotlighted tools built to help you jumpstart your Drupal 8 projects this year   
     

Now let's dive right in:
 

1. Duo Consulting: Behind-the-Scenes Look at Drupal 8 Initiatives

Rich Lawson from Duo Consulting outlines 7 Drupal 8 initiatives with a huge impact on Drupal's progress. And also on the whole community of Drupal developers and site owners: Migrate, Media, Layout...

Yet, not before explaining to his audience precisely how these initiatives resulted in the first place:

and I'm sure you already know that it was Dries Buytaert's “famous” survey that streamlined the whole “movement” of turning Drupal users' complains/suggestions into new features to be integrated into Drupal core.

We couldn't agree more with his and his team's selection of Drupal 8 initiatives.

And we resonate with Duo Consulting's determination to be “vigilant” lest they should miss the very moment when these Drupal8 initiatives turn into core functionalities.

So that they/we can incorporate the newly implemented best practices into their/our workflow right away.

Also, we took the concise, yet complete presentations of these 7 initiatives as some handy reminders of what complaints they're built to solve.

Of what goals they're geared at achieving and what's been achieved already in terms of new features aimed at easing our lives as Drupal users. 

Definitely a Drupal blog post worth reading and adding to your own resource list if you want to stay up to date with what's behind-the-scenes in Drupal world!
 

2. Valuebound: A Beginner's Guide to Caching in Drupal 8

And this blog post delivers on its promise: it walks you through a surefire and popular method for improving a site's performance, caching.

And specifically caching in Drupal 8.

The blog post is broken down into 2 major parts: 
 

  1. the one where its author clearly explains to you what those key/value pairs in the HTTP header of any request/response actually mean (“Expires”, “Etag”, “Last modified” etc.); crystal-clear, right to the point explanations
  2. the one that's an introduction to cacheability metadata in Drupal 8 and its three main properties: cache tags, cache contexts, cache max-age
     

And that's it! Concise, packed exclusively with useful and usable info (along with a piece of HTTP header code “exposed”, set as an example to be analyzed). 

“Enlightening” for any beginner looking for the right bite-sized, valuable pieces of information on the basics of cacheability in Drupal 8.

Enjoy!
 

3. Evolving Web: Drupal 8 Modules We ♥ for 2018

The Evolving Web team  — via its front-end lead, Suzanne Dergacheva —  share their list of Drupal 8 modules that they're looking forward to using in their projects this year.

It includes both:
 

  1. the “rockstar” D8 modules that our own Drupal developers here, at OPTASY, “can't live without”
  2. and some newer, yet highly promising ones: UI Patterns, Config Split...
     

With short descriptions, or I better say “motivations” of:
 

  • why they've kept those particular modules on their “top favorites” list
  • why they're excited about taking specifically those new ones for "a test drive”
     

… their selection is:
 

  1. a great overview of the most valuable Drupal 8 modules in 2018 (for our team it's a “sneak peek” into another Drupal agency's “toolbox”)
  2. an easy read
     

Don't miss it!
 

4. Zivtech: How to Avoid Traffic Drops After a Site Redesign

The previously mentioned posts here might be, in our opinion, the best Drupal blogs in January. And yet, the Zivtech team's post wins the title of “the most helpful” blog post of the month.

Useful and usable!

Why? Because it:
 

  1. identifies (and responds to) a concern that we've all had: how to redesign a website without compromising its traffic
  2. is “packed” with helpful and practical advice on how to minimize traffic “surges” 
     

Both Drupal-specific and non-Drupal advice!

I felt like it's important to outline this aspect:

for every Drupal module that he points out to his audience the author gives a non-Drupal alternative, too, that his readers could leverage to avoid traffic drops.

A great read, a more than useful piece of content, a post “loaded” with valuable tips. The perfect example of a Drupal blog post worth to be added to your/our resource list!
 

5. Webwash: Getting Started with Bootstrap in Drupal 8, One of The Best Drupal Blogs

Or is this post by Ivan Zugec, from WebWash, THE most useful one from our list instead (“instead” of the previously mentioned one)?

Hard to decide and to give a definite answer...

As the name states, it's a step-by-step tutorial on how to use the Bootstrap theme for building Drupal sites. 

One that doesn't delve its audience right into the helpful explanations covering its 3 main “chapters”:
 

  1. Bootstrap theme configuration
  2. Create a Bootstrap sub-theme
  3. Compile Bootstrap locally using Sass 
     

… but that starts “smoothly”, with a short story-like introduction highlighting:
 

  • why Bootstrap is such a popular site-building front-end framework among developers
  • its small inconvenience (you can spot a Bootstrap website from a far distance unless you invest some time in styling it up a bit)
  • and finally, how the Bootstrap theme comes to streamline implementing Bootstrap into a Drupal site building workflow
     

And the tutorial itself only comes to “cement” WebWash's reputation of putting together the most valuable Drupal tutorials on the web:

concise and to the point explanations backed by print screens taken from Bootstrap theme + “enlightening” lines of code

Make sure you add this post, too, to your “must-read” list!
 

6. Mediacurrent: Power Your Drupal 8 Project with Docksal

We couldn't have left Mediacurrent's guide on using Docksal out of our list of best Drupal blogs this month!

It came as a too valuable set of explanations not to share it with other developers, too. Explanations on why using Docksal and how it can jumpstart a Drupal 8 project.

Basically, Steven, the senior Drupal developer authoring this post, explains to us more than clearly:
 

  • how Docksal works, with a few words about its behind-the-scenes “duo” (Docker and VirtualBox), that helps you get a new project up and running with just a few simple commands
  • why Docksal and not just Docker (&VirtualBox) and Drupal, highlighting the huge advantage of getting your new project set up a lot faster
  • how to install it
  • and finally how to customize the configurations “stack” that it puts at your disposal
     

We definitely recommend it in case you're constantly on a lookout for the perfect tool for jumpstarting your Drupal 8 projects with.
 

The END! These are the 6 Drupal blog posts that have caught our attention and “enriched” our reading list in January. How does your own January selection look like?

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