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DrupalCon Vienna... Drupal 8.4.0's release... React “nominated” to be integrated into Drupal core… decoupled Drupal turning into THE hot topic of the moment... This is October on Drupal planet!

And since here, at OPTASY, we've “struggled” to be one step ahead of all the news, the emerging trends shaping the future of Drupal and the best new practices in Drupal development, we've come across some great Drupal blog posts.

They managed to inform us, inspire and delight us (since they're also ideally user-friendly written).

And since our team is anything but selfish or ungrateful like, we've decided to:

  • spotlight these valuable pieces of content that we liked most
  • share them with you

Note: It's in a strictly chronological order that we'll present them to you!

1. Drupal Looking to Adopt React, by Dries Buytaert on his personal blog

A blog post which came as a reinforcement and putting into words of Dries Buytaert's (Creator of Drupal) previous proposition expressed during his keynote at DrupalCon Vienna. All his posts are perfectly structured, containing his well-argued points and this one is no exception.

From the:

  • very context which led to a similar proposition being rejected by the Drupal community 2 years ago
  • to the sustained efforts made for getting Drupal ready for such a major JavaScript integration
  • to the current context of JavaScript in Drupal
  • to his suggestions for a smooth adoption of this approach
  • to outlining the reasons why it is React that he favored, over other JavaScript frameworks

… this blog post has undoubtedly been the one that stirred the most “controversies” within our team this month.

React in Drupal... core?”, “Why React and not another equally popular JavaScript framework?”, “How quickly will we get a grip of these React-powered administrative UIs?” “How exactly will a decoupled administrative UI benefit us compared to a PHP one?”  

2. Re-Learning Accessibility for A Decoupled Front-End, from Mediacurrent

The blog post comes as a more than welcome refresher of all the accessibility principles, requirements and WCAG 2.0-centered tools. And this considering the current context where:

  • on one hand Drupal 8 is becoming the “standard” and along with it its extensive built-in accessibility support
  • but on the other hand decoupled Drupal's turning into a reality itself, too, and front-end developers will need to re-learn the accessibility standards and guidelines; they can no longer rely on Drupal 8's accessibility team to... handle it for them by default

The author, Tobias Williams, a front-end engineer at Mediacurrent, shares with us his experiences from a workshop on accessibility that he had attended “Accessibility: The Basics and Beyond”. In this respect, he highlights for us some of this talk's main takeaways in his opinion:


  • a needed recap of why we do need to “bother about” accessibility and how precisely do our efforts eventually come to translate into better user experience for all our users 
  • how the WCAG 2.0 guidelines are grouped (an aspect which he, himself, had overlooked) and which accessibility enhancements each one of the 4 sections focuses on
  • the very first major step is knowing your audience; avoid “blindly” adapting your site's content to these standards (maybe you don't even need to make your content work on all devices; if all your visually impaired visitors already use a built-in voice-over, for instance)
  • an inventory of all the tools that you should use for testing whether your site does adhere to all these accessibility standards; whether it presents any “weak links” making it difficult for some users to consume certain parts of its content 


3. New Opportunities for Websites: Congrats on Drupal 8.4.0 Released, from Internetdevels

And so Drupal 8.4.0 has been released and, along with it, Drupal blog posts highlighting its new features have been produced on the line.

Yet, we “fell for” this specific post due to Internetdevel team's way of presenting and structuring its content.

It's a succinct, to the point compilation of all the worth-mentioning enhancements brought to this minor version of Drupal 8 sorted into 3 main sections:

  • easy updates & backwards compatibility
  • newly integrated modules
  • enhancements aimed at supporting “novelties” in terms of frameworks, JS libraries... (hint: Simfony 3.2)

4. Form and View Modes vs. Field Access in Drupal 8, from Atendesigngroup

Gabe Sullice's piece of content falls into the “enlightening Drupal blog posts” category!

At least that's how we rated it and we can't but express our gratitude for the fact that he's taken the effort to share his discovery with the world.

Basically here's the challenge: although Drupal 8 “lures” us with form modes, which should enable us to easily manage the content entry side of your Drupal site, in fact...  this promised “empowering” comes with its own limitations.

Simply put: Drupal 8 doesn't know when exactly it should use one form mode or another so... you can't get away without writing custom code (or using contributed modules).

The Atensgroup's solution: hook_entity_field_access()!

What this hook does is allowing you to manage user control, therefore to hide certain fields which particular users shouldn't gain access to. This way you actually “block” those users' access to change the respective field (so you won't have to modify the input content, subsequently). And voila: problem solved!

During the second half of his blog post, Gabe kindly explains to us how to use hook_entity_field_access() during an easy to follow step-by-step tutorial.

A big “Thank you”!

5. One of The Best Drupal Blog Posts: Incredible Decoupled Performance with Subrequests

Mateu Aguilo Bosch, from Lullabot “strikes again”! That's right, this is his second post on how to improve decoupled performance.

There was a need for a second post (so, no chance to apply his previously presented JSON API-based solution), for he's tackling now a context where you need to write data instead of fetching entities.

It's the Subrequests module that he spotlights now! A solution for aggregating multiple requests (of multiple kinds and even if one of them is closely dependent on a previous response) into one single HTTP request.

And this is a major performance boost since:

  • the module handles any type of request, therefore it's not limited to REST
  • it provides multiple responses in one single request
  • ... one HTTP round-trip with no server configuration 

The Lullabot author goes on:

  • explaining why precisely we need this module to enhance our decoupled Drupal's performance
  • detailing on “blueprints”, the JSON documents with instructions for Drupal to make requests in our name
  • explaining how to use subrequests

… and I'll leave the rest of the well-detailed, explanatory images-packed, tutorial-like blog post for you to discover.

And it's these 5 pieces of content which have made it to our list of top favorite Drupal blog posts this month! 5 informative, well-documented, unique value sharing and engagingly written blog posts. 


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