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4 Reasons Why You Need Drupal Maintenance Services
  Entering the world of Drupal web development can feel like diving into the unknown for many business owners. Once they've figured it out with the help of a developer or a Drupal development agency, the business runs smoothly for a little while.  However, building and optimizing a website is like buying a new house—it's functional at first, but things break down and need repairing and regular care in time.  Since spring is just over the corner, what better moment to start cleaning, improving, optimizing, and refreshing your website? Whether you do it in-house or hire an agency that offers Drupal maintenance services, it will work wonders and could actually double your potential market value. But first, it's essential to understand why a regular maintenance plan is critical, how to tell when you need Drupal maintenance, and what does Drupal maintenance include. This article will answer these questions.   Why you should stick to a regular Drupal maintenance plan  If you've already entered the world of digital marketing, you know that the journey towards attracting and retaining customers doesn't end with web development and deployment. Change is a permanent constant in life, and businesses have to adapt to this ever-changing dynamic.  Security  A few years ago, website maintenance was optional. Building a static website that you could leave unattended for the entire year was perfectly normal.  Today, as the digital landscape has expanded and become more prone to security vulnerabilities, Drupal support is imperative for maintaining a healthy security posture.  Although Drupal is known for being the most secure CMS, this only applies if your Drupal website is regularly optimized with security updates and patches. The Drupal community and Drupal security team continuously build security patches, fixes, and upgrades, and Drupal users need to be in the loop about these updates. In other words, keeping up with the news and module updates in Drupal security is vital in order to avoid breaches.  Constant Drupal core module updates can boost website protection and secure it against cyberattacks and threats.  Fixing errors To ensure that your website performs well and meets the needs for speed and agility that the modern digital user demands, fixing bugs and errors is a top priority. These malfunctions may happen for multiple reasons—rushed coding and deployment, inadequate testing, or miscommunication. They may affect your site's performance and loading speed or even alter your Drupal website’s functionality.  And since users don't want to spend more than four seconds waiting for websites to load, not paying attention to repairing bugs could cost you customers.  This price is too big to pay, and it's worth considering Drupal maintenance services as part of your website strategies.  Keep your content fresh with new features Another reason why Drupal maintenance matters is related to scalability. Drupal websites can grow together with your business goals. Constant feature and module updates allow Drupal users a high level of customizing capabilities that helps businesses keep up with the changing needs of the customer.  With Drupal 8, integration is much more affordable, so if you haven't migrated yet, you might want to contact a Drupal agency to help you decide whether an upgrade is the right choice for your business.  The user behavior has dramatically shifted in the last year, which is why content optimization, new features, and enhancements allow brands to stay fresh and align to this changing environment.  SEO optimization Ranking high on Google and other search engines is crucial for your website to stay relevant. An excellent Drupal maintenance team has SEO experts that provide Drupal SEO audits and optimization.  “Good SEO work only gets better over time. It’s only search engine tricks that need to keep changing when the ranking algorithms change.” – Jill Whalen   How to tell when you need Drupal maintenance If you're not yet convinced that you need Drupal support and maintenance services for your website, here are some indicators that you can't postpone it any longer without hurting your business: Your website is slow, and you have received complaints about its loading speed. Your web traffic has dropped considerably. You experience more security breaches. Your content and design are outdated. Links, buttons, or forms are not working.   These are some of the red flags of poorly maintained websites. If you recognize these warning signs as part of your website, it's definitely time to start planning your maintenance strategy. What do Drupal maintenance services and support include? A useful maintenance model covers: Security and module updates Third-party integration support Regression testing  Bug diagnosing, fixing, and testing Hosting infrastructure maintenance Hack, malware, down recovery   Partner with the right Drupal maintenance and support agency When thinking about hiring a Drupal maintenance team, you need to consider your needs. At Optasy, we cover a wide range of website maintenance requirements and can create a customized maintenance and support plan to support your website's specific needs.  How does this sound to you? Have you made up your mind whether it is worth investing in Drupal maintenance services or not? If yes, then contact a reliable, dedicated support partner like Optasy and see how our Drupal maintenance services can keep your website up and running.  Photo credit: geralt on Pixabay.     ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Mar 02'2021
4 Reasons Why Drupal Is a Winning Choice for Web Development
  The Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and shifted the world to an online-based environment. In this context, driven by the need to go digital, many companies have started to focus more on their web development capabilities and take steps to improve their online presence.  The challenges encountered on the path to building and optimizing a website that attracts and engages users are not few.    What are the most frequent web development challenges?   One common difficulty when planning a web development project is defining one’s goals clearly. "What are my intended prospects?, "What kind of experience I want to provide my users with?", "How do I want my brand to be perceived in the long-term?".  These are all valid questions that, if not addressed properly, can end up damaging your web presence. Another aspect of web development that keeps many decision-makers up at night is choosing the right tech stack. From programming languages, servers, frameworks to software development tools, deciding which tech stack is the best fit for your needs can be tricky and, if not planned correctly, considerably expensive.  Web development challenges during implementation are not to be ignored either. Site builders, front-end developers, and module developers often struggle to provide personalized user experiences, create catchy visuals, and optimize everything for mobile devices or tablets.  And, of course, everyone who takes part in the web development process knows about scalability and how companies struggle to build scalable, lasting web applications in a competitive digital environment.   How can you address these web development challenges?   This has been the dark side of the article. Now comes the positive, which outlines what it takes to successfully address the challenges mentioned above.  There are many ways in which you can start to build more robust web strategies, but we're going to approach just one today: the Drupal solution.  As one of the most popular content management systems (CMS)s, Drupal is known for its top-notch web development features and future-ready modules that make developers’ lives much more comfortable.    Why should you choose Drupal for your web development projects?   1. Security Drupal has a proven history of being the most secure CMS and application framework. The Drupal Security Team is actively working towards improving Drupal's capability to remain resilient to critical internet vulnerabilities.  With Drupal, administrators have granular user access control over who manages website content and how. Drupal's platform supports strong password policies, industry-standard authentication practices, and single sign-on systems.  Another feature that helps businesses secure their content and websites, and overcome security issues, is Drupal's Form API which secures data validation and blocks malicious data entry. With Drupal limiting the number of login attempts made from the same IP address, preventing brute-force password attacks is much more manageable.    “You want to enable your developers to easily deliver content to different devices, channels, and platforms. This means that the content needs to be available through APIs. This is aligned with Drupal 8's roadmap, where we are focused on web services capabilities. Through Drupal's web service APIs, developers can build freely in different front-end technologies, such as Angular, React, Ember, and Swift, as well as Java and .NET. For developers, accomplishing this without the maintenance burden of a full Drupal site or the complexity of configuring standard Drupal to be decoupled is key.” - Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal.   2. Mobile optimization With 74% of users more likely to return to mobile-friendly websites, you want to ensure that you follow a mobile-first approach. Drupal 8 was built with mobile optimization in mind, and it enables the development of responsive sites that meet the need for mobile. Drupal follows best practices of responsive web design approach thus providing streamlined and reliable content experiences for mobile users. 3. Scalability When we discussed the challenges of today's web development landscape, scalability was amongst the most complex. Fortunately, Drupal can scale with your needs and efficiently support content-rich websites. Drupal's ability to manage a large number of content and visitors and handle continuous web traffic means flexibility and high-quality user experiences.    4. Content translation workflows When Drupal 8 announced four new core translation modules, it meant better opportunities to improve the digital experience. Drupal's multilingual support offers: 90+ available language packages Streamlined configuration and content translation workflows An intuitive interface language of administrators and content producers   “Thanks to the Drupal 8 Multilingual Initiative, translation is not an afterthought in Core anymore. And thanks to the clean APIs that were designed with this in mind, we are able to improve every day the functionalities for our clients in our integration with Drupal 8. While with other CMS we devote time constantly to integrate with contributed modules or alike, we can focus on new functionalities as this APIs make us compatible with most contrib modules out of the box without any extra effort on our side.” - Penyaskito, Drupal contributor and developer at Lingotek   How to harness the power of Drupal for web development?   Depending on the size of your business and industry, there are several ways in which you can leverage Drupal at its full potential. You can learn to do it yourself, employ a freelance developer, or hire an agency that offers Drupal web development services. While the first two options may be more cost-effective at first, in the long run, hiring an agency that supports a holistic web development strategy is the smartest move. As an open-source software solution, Drupal provides flexibility and has been optimized for a better user experience. Still, when handling more customized projects and modules, the development process can get tricky. With an agency, you don't have to worry about these aspects and can focus on other vital parts of your business. Here, at Optasy, we provide holistic Drupal web development services, adding digital value to your business. Whether it is custom module development, AI implementation, Drupal migration, or any other Drupal feature integration, Optasy helps you build your future-ready website. Photo credit: mohamed_hassan and coffeebeanworks on Pixabay.                        ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Feb 26'2021
Top Drupal Agencies That Will Revolutionize Your Web Strategy
Drupal is one of the most popular content management systems (CMSs), with 2.4% of all websites using Drupal for web and mobile app development. Why is Drupal a favorite option for many developers and development agencies, you may ask? Many clients and companies choose Drupal due to the multiple competitive advantages and digital assets that it provides, such as: Top-notch, highly-personalized customer experiences Future-ready API architecture that supports scalability Robust functionality and intuitive modules High digital security standards To maximize the potential of Drupal for web development, design projects, or software development, it is advisable to get in touch with a Drupal agency that can help you accelerate your digital growth.  Why Should You Hire a Drupal Agency? A more valid question would be, "Why not?". There are plenty of reasons why hiring a Drupal agency to support your web development efforts is a smart strategy.  Drupal agencies provide professional services that cover the whole web development process (developers, designers, SEO experts, QA engineers). Your web development project will be handled by a dedicated, highly focused team, which raises the quality of work. Drupal agencies provide website maintenance and support, including continuous security updates, fixing bugs or downtime, website audit, or SEO optimization. Given the high level of market competition, Drupal services providers use the latest technological tools for streamlined and optimized web development.    There are many options available, and finding the right partner might get time-consuming and stressful. The purpose of this article is to provide a list of top Drupal agencies that offer high-quality services for developing and maintaining websites. Take a look - maybe you'll find the best fit for your company's needs.    MindInventory  This Drupal development agency provides services that cover web, software, mobile development, and web design. The company has a market experience of 10+ years and is currently addressing industries like business services, fitness, or health. MindInventory has a 4.5-star rating and is known for its high commitment to quality, efficiency, and attention to detail.  As a Drupal development agency, MindInventory can help you maximize your digital efforts with the help of experienced, tech-savvy Drupal developers that aim to deliver best-in-class web experiences. Optasy  Optasy is an on-site built-in Drupal web development agency working with this CMS for more than ten years. As a full-service software provider, Optasy offers a wide range of Drupal services that involve the latest web technologies to satisfy the need for digital innovation.  Let's delve into the primary services they provide: Create a reliable, goal-oriented digital strategy.  Build eye-catching visual designs. Create highly-personalized and optimized websites. Deliver user-friendly mobile and app development. Optasy is that kind of Drupal agency that can transform your business, support your digital efforts, and future-proof your development.    Trasaterra  This Drupal agency is recommended for being cost-effective and highly proficient in developing media, marketing, and advertising websites. Trasaterra is specialized in branding and interaction with a focus on user experience and building long-term customer relationships.  Among well-known companies and clients that have collaborated with Trasaterra for web development and design services are CNBC, The New York Times, or The Winter Show.    Konstant Infosolutions The services offered by this Drupal agency are software, mobile app, and web development. Konstant Infosolutions has been lauded not only for their project management skills and functional designs but also for how they approach performance-oriented strategies.  The US-based Drupal agency focuses on investing and developing mobile apps, eCommerce, IoT, AR/VR, cloud integration, and more.    Unified Infotech From 2010, this Drupal development agency creates optimized digital experiences by transforming how companies relate to website design, development, and mobile optimization. The company's focus is on providing customer-centric services that fuel digital growth and build successful business relationships.  Unified Infotech is a smart choice for companies interested in developing and optimizing their Drupal websites with a functional design and impactful content.    To conclude, Drupal development companies and agencies offer plenty of benefits for web and mobile app development. From improved workflows, designs, and digital marketing services, to mobile-optimized websites and better web experiences for customers, Drupal agencies can genuinely take your digital business to the next level.  See how Optasy, a leading Drupal development agency, provides support in developing, optimizing, and maintaining a future-ready Drupal website.  Photo credit: kreatikar on Pixabay.                  ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Feb 24'2021
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
Is Drupal Good for eCommerce? 11 Excellent Reasons Why You’d Choose It over Another Platform
"... wanna run eCommerce on Drupal 8 but don't know if it's a good idea." But is Drupal good for eCommerce?  And, most of all: Is it better suited for your own online business needs and feature requirements than other eCommerce platforms out there? Some legitimate questions you're struggling with there… To give you a hand, here's a list of 11 excellent reasons why you'd lean towards Drupal for your next eCommerce project. Reason #1: You're in Full Control of the Source Code to Make Any Changes You Want In other words, you don't need to convince vendor first that the changes you need to make are beneficial for him/her. You're free to extend Drupal eCommerce platform's core functionality, to adapt, and extend its code till it meets your needs entirely.  … till it integrates perfectly into that specific software that you use. Which is not the case when you go for a commercial solution: you're not granted access to the core code for any custom software development work that you might need to make. Of course, this "reason" becomes a really strong selling point only if/when: you have non-standard business requirements it's a large, complex eCommerce website that you're building Reason #2: Your eStore Grows With Drupal  Drupal scales with your business... effectively. And by that I mean that it's designed to keep the resources and the time required to handle your online store's growth at a minimum. Being: flexible by nature (its open source nature) powered by the API-first initiative … the Drupal 8 eCommerce platform makes the best choice if "scalability" is on top of your list of requirements. Reason #3: You Get to Reach Out to Your Customers Across Multiple Channels  "Is Drupal good for eCommerce?" It becomes the perfect option for your own eCommerce website if you're planning to reach out to your customers across an entire network of sales channels. Let's say you have your main/central eCommerce website and you need to pull content from there and to distribute it across a whole ecosystem of channels — eCommerce apps, digital kiosks, conversational interfaces — and devices. Then, the API-first initiative allows you to tap into a headless commerce Drupal architecture and: use Drupal as a back-end content repository configure your content to fit all types of formats and reuse it whenever (and wherever) needed increase your outreach incorporate business automation into your development team's workflow: help them work smart and achieve more Reason #4: You Get to Deliver Content-Driven eCommerce Experiences With Drupal, you get the best of both worlds: an eCommerce platform (by integrating one of its specialized eCommerce modules into the content management system) a content platform And this is what makes it ideal for: tapping into the experience-led eCommerce model getting the most out of your content marketing efforts (think blog posts, effectively interconnected product pages, user guides, etc.) Reason #5: You're Free to Integrate Any Third-Party Service into Your Online Store From: marketing platforms to analytics services to payment gateways of your choice (there are 80+ payment options available with Drupal Commerce) to third-party add-ons that would automate your team's tasks and boost their productivity (while boosting online sales, as well) … Drupal & its eCommerce component accommodates any type of integrations you need to make. Reason #6: "Is Drupal Good for eCommerce?" It Is for Delivering High-Speed eCommerce Experiences Just think… real-time shopping cart updates.  Or pretty much any action that your customers would need to carry out on your eCommerce site, then turbocharge it with top speed. A decoupled Drupal Commerce setup (add the JavaScript framework of your choice here) enables you to deliver such type of dynamic user experiences.  Reason #7: You Have No Limits to How Much You Can Extend Your Drupal 8 eCommerce Website Drupal Commerce can grow as much as your business needs. Whether you need to integrate: a whole network of third-party systems a whole lot of contributed modules an eCommerce Drupal distribution (a bundle of multiple modules) a Drupal eCommerce theme  … and extend your eCommerce store's functionality, there's no limit to what you can incorporate into your Drupal eCommerce website. Reason #9:  You Benefit from an Extremely Configurable eCommerce Solution "Whereas eCommerce solutions are often developed with an application mindset, highlighting what you can do with it out of the box, Drupal Commerce was developed with a framework mindset, focusing on what you can build with it." (Source: Drupal.org) Basically, you're free to customize every little piece of your Drupal 8 eCommerce site, till it: delivers that unique shopping experience you want it to meets all your ultra-personalized requirements: to trigger certain actions based on user input, to display multiple tax rates, to have an out-of-the-ordinary checkout flow, etc. Here, it's up to you and it depends on what you need to build: Are you looking for a cookie-cutter eCommerce solution, that would help you get a generic webshop up and running in no time? Or do you want unlimited customization freedom, that comes at the cost of…  investing more time in writing custom code? Reason #10: You're Free to Sell Both Physical and Digital Goods And that thanks to Drupal Commerce's flexibility: It provides you with the functionality you need to start selling your digital products — subscriptions, tickets, online courses, etc. — on your online store. A key aspect to consider when comparing the features of your best options in terms of eCommerce platforms in 2020. Reason #11: You Can Make the Most of the Granular and Differential Access to Content Drupal allows you to define different roles for your team members and to assign several levels of permission to each role. Not everyone would then be authorized to edit content, add products, manage orders, publish content, etc. This way you get to: set up a convenient hierarchy harden your online store's security  So, Is Drupal Good for eCommerce? Maybe a more appropriate question would be: "Is Drupal the right solution for my eCommerce business?"  It might be... And these 11 reasons mentioned here do become the best arguments for you to choose it over another platform (Ubercart, Prestashop, Shopify…) if: it's a growing or an already established eCommerce business that you run (otherwise, all that configuration and custom work might be an overkill for a small business) you have complex feature needs for your online store: you need to integrate it with coupon rules, several backend systems, and so on Do you fit the eCommerce business owner "profile"? For we do fit the profile of that Drupal eCommerce agency you're looking for, capable to tweak it till it fits your complex requirements to the slightest detail. Just challenge us!   Image by StockSnap from Pixabay  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Sep 30'2020
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
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