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7 Ways that You Can Reduce Image Size on a Large-Scale Drupal Site, With a Lot of Images
Images can make or... break the user experience. Especially if we're talking about large amounts of images. So, what are your best options to reduce image size on a large-scale Drupal 8 site? And, most importantly: How do you strike a balance between the smallest file size and the best possible image quality? Well, just keep on reading... Here are 7 ways that you can manage image compression on your image-heavy Drupal site without affecting their quality: 1. Use a PNG Optimizer to Reduce Image File Size Let's say that you have a lot of PNG images on your Drupal website. How do you reduce the image file size? Simple: you use TinyPNG to... squeeze them. Expect to reduce them somewhere around 60% (while keeping the lossless image quality). 2. Use a JPEG Compressor to... Compress Your Images Server-Side  "How to make images load faster on my website?" Just use a compressor to reduce image size for your JPG and JPEG files: TinyJPG CompressJPEG Compress Now JPEGOptim It will take... a while, especially since we're talking about an image-heavy Drupal site. Different JPG files mean different settings for you to... play with till you've balanced out size and quality. 3. How to Improve Image Load Times: Use Drupal 8 Image Styles It's a tool that you get... out of the box. And what you gain is more control over the size of the images on your website: Set several image styles, of different sizes, that will go on various areas of a page. Good to know! Configure your image styles just once: from then on, they'll resize all your new images by default. Here's how you do it: Go to "Manage display", in the content type setup section Click the gear wheel icon next to the image field to open the settings tab and choose an image style There, you can either choose one of the previously configured image styles or... create a new one, by selecting the "Configure Image Style" option from the dropdown menu Source: Drupal.org          Good to know! Once you've set your image style, the module updates all the created images... automatically. 4. Use Drupal 8 Image Toolkit to Adjust Their Quality (And Their Size) It's the best way to resize images in Drupal 8. And the easiest way, as well: Go to Admin > Configuration > Media > Image Toolkit Choose the setting that allows you to compress your images (the JPEG quality field) Play with it till your strike the perfect size-quality balance Save the new settings Note! The new setting will apply to all your images; there's no way for you to adjust the quality for each image, one by one. Tip! Stick to somewhere between 60% and 80% when setting the image quality. 5. Use the Responsive Images Module to Resize Your Images  "Which module is used for image optimization?" Which is the best Drupal 8 module to reduce image size on pages that contain lots of images... Responsive Images is (but) one of them. Here's how it works: Its image formatter maps the breakpoint of the original image and renders a responsive image instead. All that by using an HTML5 picture tag (that has sizes and srcset attributes). It basically enables browsers to select the image to display according to the image style selections. And here's how you set up responsive images on your Drupal 8 website: Enable the module (for, even if it's a core module, it's not enabled by default) in Admin > Configuration Select "Responsive Image" Hit "Install" What about breakpoints? How do you set them up? Go to your editor (if it's a custom theme that you're using) Create a file named "yourthemename.breakpoints.yml" in your theme directory ("/themes/custom/yourthemename") Now, its time to configure the image styles for your responsive images: Different breakpoints call for... different image sizes.  Go ahead and pair each breakpoint that you set up at your_theme_name.breakpoints.yml with an image style and create your responsive image styles. 6. Use the ImageMagick Module to Reduce Image Size   "How do I manage compression on my image-heavy Drupal site?" You use ImageMagick. It's another one of your best options for Drupal 8 image resize. Here's why: Drupal might provide the GD2 image manipulation toolkit out of the box and enable you to set multiple alternatives, of different sizes, for the same image. Yet, it lacks some key features, such as... TIFF format support or GIF support with an image style. And this is where the ImageMagick module comes in handy. To install it, just run this command: Composer require 'drupal/imagemagick' And here's how you use it to reduce image size: enable it via ‘yoursite/ path set the quality for your image to 100% in the ImageMagick image toolkit The results? you've just enabled the GIT format support with image style you've reduced your image size by 20-40% Mission accomplished... 7. If It's Still Not Enough, Lazy Load Your Images  "How to load images faster?" Use the Lazy Loader, the ultimate Drupal 8 image optimization solution. Have you tried them all — all the dedicated modules and Drupal core features available — and you're still not satisfied with how fast your image-heavy pages load? Then go even further and incorporate a lazy loading functionality into your website. The END! But maybe you have better things to do — a business strategy to improve, urgent projects to work on — than finding and implementing the best solution to reduce image size on your Drupal website. Yet, you still want to make your pages load faster... So, just pass on the "burden" to us! We'll identify the best solution for speeding things up on your image-heavy web pages and... implement it for you sitewide. Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay   ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Jul 23'2020
Drupal Performance Optimization: 17 Drupal Caching Best Practices To Speed Up Your Page Load Time- Part 2
"How can I make my Drupal 8 website faster?" Are you still struggling with this? Still striving to figure out which are the best (and most straightforward) Drupal performance optimization techniques for your website? Well, here I am today with a handful of 9 more ways that you can speed up your Drupal site. In addition to the 8 ones that I covered in the first part of this post. And yes: it's another round of Drupal caching best practices that'll help you boost your page load time. So, let's dive right into it: Tip #9: Use the Dynamic Page Cache Module  ... to cache for both authenticated and anonymous users. Unlike the Internal Page Cache module, that I mentioned in Part 1, which only caches pages for anonymous users. Tip #10: Use Distributed Cache, A Highly Effective Drupal Performance Optimization Technique But how does it work, more precisely? Once you've installed a distributed cache, it'll store your database's cache tables (Drupal's "cache_" tables) either in: file or memory Tip #11: Enable Drupal Cache for Anonymous Users Another one of those quick, yet powerful Drupal performance tuning steps that you can take. Tip #12: Use Squid to Cache Images and Static Content on Your Website "How to optimize Drupal for better performance?" You could go for Squid, an open-source caching proxy server. Now, since Drupal's already famed for its particularly dynamic content, the only cases where Squid does make a great performance booster are those where you need to cache static content. Tip #13: Add a Front-End Cache (i.e.Varnish Cache) Here's another handy Drupal performance optimization method for you: Use Varnish Cache to reduce the load on your server. How does it do it? It stores the HTML response, so that next time that the same page is requested, it serves it from memory. The result? Bypassed PHP and web server and... improved page load time. Tip #14: Use the Advanced CSS/JS Aggregation Module to Improve the Front-End Performance of Your Website  Combining your assets together is one of the most straightforward and effective ways to address those Drupal performance issues on your website. From: file grouping to caching to compressing ... the AdvAgg module handles all the steps that you need to take to aggregate your CSS and JS files. Tip #15: Install Memcache to Reduce Your Database Load You know how you're often struggling with keeping your database load to a minimum by caching database objects in RAM? In this respect, Memcache makes a great Drupal 8 performance optimization technique. It helps you reduce that load on the database and boost your page loading time. How? By taking standard caches out of the database. And by caching the results of resource-intensive database operations... Tip #16: Use the Entity Cache Module to Cache... Entities   Another caching best practice to boost Drupal 8 with is installing the Entity Cache module.  And its name says it all: it helps you cache entities. Tip #17: Cache Views  Here's the situation: Page requests made by registered users on your website lead to loads of queries to your database. Which impact the page load time. Now, to query the database, views are being used. And this is where this views caching module comes in handy to... boost things in there.   The END! These are our 17 recommendations for you on the best Drupal performance optimization methods for boosting your page load time. Not thrilled about the idea of having to go through the... Memcache installation process or to configure Varnish for Drupal? Or to put your current projects on hold so that your team can set up a... distributed cache? Maybe you don't have a professional Drupal maintenance team that could handle all these caching settings? We're here to help! Just drop us a line and let's figure out which of these 17 techniques are best suited for your website and the specific performance issues that it's struggling with. Let's speed things up in there! Image by Izwar Muis from Pixabay   ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Jun 23'2020
Drupal Performance Optimization: 17 Drupal Caching Best Practices To Speed Up Your Page Load Time- Part 1
"Why is my Drupal site so slow?" "How do I speed up my Drupal website performance?" In other words, what Drupal performance optimization techniques should you use? Which is the: most budget-friendly quickest most straightforward most effective ... solution to those Drupal performance issues that are slowing down your website? Caching... And luckily, Drupal 8 (it is a Drupal 8 website that you have, isn't it?) "spoils" you with one of the most advanced caching systems out there. The trick is that you follow the Drupal caching best practices and use it to its full potential. Speaking of which, here's a list of 17 such best practices: * I'll be covering 8 of them in this post, leaving the 9 remaining ones for the next blog post. But First: What Is Caching? "What is the purpose of caching?" "How does caching improve performance?"  2 legitimate questions that you might be yourself right now. Let me start by defining the Drupal caching process: Once a user accesses a page on your website, content elements and web data from that specific page (images, HTML, CSS, etc.) get stored in an accessible space. When that user visits the same web page again, your website will serve him/her the cached version of the content.  That if you haven't updated it since his/her last visit, of course... And this translates into: reduced bandwidth faster page loads Tip #1: Use the Internal Page Cache Module to Cache Pages for Anonymous Users   Say you have an "Add to cart" functionality for anonymous users on your eCommerce website. You can use this module to cache precisely this functionality. A Drupal performance optimization tweak that'll take you less than a minute to set up. Tip #2: Go for the Best Suited Tools for Heavy Traffic Drupal Sites Say you have a fairly busy Drupal 8 website. You've turned on caching in your performance settings, but... you haven't noticed any significant impact on your site's loading speed. So, you need to bring in the heavy artillery. To use powerful caching tools designed for high traffic websites. Here are some of the best tools and optimization techniques to try: switch to a Drupal-specialized hosting provider like Pantheon or Acquia move your database to its own VM/container (that if you still have it running locally, on your Drupal web server) upgrade to PHP 7.1.0 Enable OPcache via php.ini.  Put a proxy (i.e. Nginx) in front of your server Tip #3: Enable Block Cache - A Quick and Easy Drupal Performance Optimization Solution How to increase Drupal 8 performance? You cache those blocks that don't get updated frequently (like from one user to another). Tip #4: Use Views Content Cache to Update Upon Content Changes Only How does this Drupal module help you optimize your website for better performance? It allows you to expire views caches every time you update or remove content. The great thing about this caching method is that you get to cache blocks that appear on thousands of pages. Tip #5: Use a Content Delivery Network By far the most powerful Drupal performance optimization solution for your website. Why? Here are the 2 strongest reasons why you'd want to use a CDN to cache the static content (files, CSS, images, JS, fonts...) on your website: you keep the network delay to a minimum since your CDN has endpoints across the globe you get a better page loading time: your CDN has a domain different from your website's, so web browsers load content requests to your domain in parallel with the content coming from the CDN Tip #6: Set a Far Future Expiration Date for Your Static Assets Set up a "Newer expire" policy for your static components (e.g. use a far future Expires header) Tip #7: Use Redis as a Drupal Performance Optimization Technique to Store Large Amounts of Data Data that wouldn't fit into your server. "But what is Redis?" you ask? An in-memory store optimized for high-performance. Tip #8: Set the Maximum Time that Your Pages Can Remain Cached Another one of the Drupal caching best practices is setting the maximum amount of time that browsers should keep your cached data. The END of Part 1! And these are but 8 Drupal performance optimization solutions focused on caching. I have a whole list of 17 tips ready to share with you... So, stay tuned for another round of simple and effective caching techniques that'll help you speed up your website... But what if you don't have the time or the people in your team that you could assign tasks like: enable a block cache set up Redis  install the... views_content_cache module ...?  What if you could have a dedicated Drupal maintenance team implement all these performance optimization techniques on your website for you? We're ready to help you speed things up on your website. Drop us a line and let's set up the best caching strategy for your Drupal website. Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay   ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Jun 19'2020
What Are Some Good Examples of Drupal Sites for Nonprofit Organizations? Top 10 Nonprofit Websites Built with Drupal
Feeling a bit... uninspired? Or maybe you just don't see why you should consider Drupal for your NGO website? What if you could have a look at the top 10 nonprofit websites built with Drupal? And we're talking here about some of the world's most influential charity and non-profit organizations. Here are the 2 main criteria that we've used for putting together this top:   to be straightforward and easy to navigate to be visually pleasing and engaging: a clean and simple design helps the NGO's message shine through   Are these your own requirements, as well, for your non-profit website? Then, get ready to find plenty of inspiration by scanning through these great examples of what other non-profits have managed to do with Drupal: 1. Equal Opportunity Community Initiative  Who is EOCI?  The organization defines its own mission so clearly on its website: “... to build a world where children have equal opportunities to reach their dreams.” And all their projects and initiatives converge to meet this goal: providing equal access to educational resources for all children. Equal opportunity to compete and to succeed. The website that we've built for this international profit (revamping an age-old site, with little traffic and low conversion rate) is still one of the projects in our portfolio that we're most proud of. What makes it a great nonprofit website?   it's visually engaging: it tells a compelling story through visuals it's well-organized and easy to navigate: Drupal 8 has made it easier for us to structure content and to put together an information architecture that's easy to step through it's fast: the better the user experience, the higher the chances that they should turn themselves into the future volunteers or donors supporting the EOCI's initiatives   “The site’s beautiful and performing exactly how we’d hoped it would. The company that manages our Google Ads has found that our conversions have increased...  A couple of our donors are thrilled with the website and have committed their support again. They’re happy to be on the partners' page with a fresh look and approach to the public.” (Sean Kelly, Executive Director, Equal Opportunity Community Initiative, Source: Clutch.co)  2. Rotary International, One of the Top 10 Nonprofit Websites Built with Drupal  Who hasn't heard of Rotary International? A global network of community volunteers (1.2 million leaders and problem-solvers) actively involved in a wide variety of campaigns:   kicking Polo out of Africa providing clean water growing local economies supporting education   Why did they go for Drupal? For 2 strong reasons:   it's flexible: there's a module for almost any feature, any functionality they needed to implement to their nonprofit website it's extensible: no matter how "ambitious" the organization's future causes and campaigns and expectations from their website might get, Drupal's built to scale up to their growing needs 3. Doctors Without Borders Probably one of the best examples of nonprofit websites built with Drupal is Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières). A Nobel Prize-awarded organization of volunteering doctors, nurses, other staff, and journalists. Their mission? Providing medical aid to people affected by pandemics, epidemics, natural disasters, or armed conflicts, no matter their sex, nationality, religion, or political affiliation. Why Drupal?   because it's a multisite network that this global NGO needed and Drupal's famed for its built-in multi-site support. because Drupal's robust enough to withstand massive amounts of traffic (it's the biggest NGO in the world), all while being a conveniently flexible content management solution. 4. Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI)   Another one of the top 10 nonprofit websites built with Drupal. HFHI is an international, Christian NGO with a clear mission: building and renovating houses for low-income people.  To carry out its mission, it brings together donors, volunteers, and members of the families in need, who're co-opted in the process of building/repairing their own houses. How come their website is built on Drupal 8?   Drupal 8 is mobile-ready right out of the box it's open-source, which translates into lower costs it's flexible enough to empower their team to create, update, publish, and manage content on the go it scales to meet all the organization's future needs it ships with outstanding multi-language support it's fast 5. World Vision International "What are the most popular nonprofit websites that run in Drupal?" World Vision International's website is listed in any "top 5". No wonder:   the organization is the world's largest international children charity their website taps into Drupal 8's best features: easy third-party integration, freedom of customization, flexibility, and scalability guaranteed by its rich module collection   A nonprofit multisite that tells a series of highly compelling stories and grants a simplified donation process. 6. Human Rights Watch   A worldwide known independent organization, headquartered in New York, dedicated to protecting human rights.  And they define their own cause better than anyone else: "... we give voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes.”  Why did one of the most powerful NGOs in the world opt for Drupal?   because it's the best option for multilingual websites because it makes it easy to keep consistency while "joggling with" multiple content types  because it empowers content authors and editors to publish content quick and easy 7. Save the Children Spain   A member of the Save the Children International — the world's leading NGO dedicated to protecting and improving children's lives — Save the Children Spain has its website running on Drupal 8. And it is, by far, one of the 10 best nonprofit websites out there. Not just due to the global reputation of this humanitarian organization, but thanks to the complex needs that the Drupal website manages to meet:   it handles an entire network of operations that are critical for the NGO's activities: donations, news publishing, crowd fundings, training, collecting signatures, communicating with the press, etc. it withstands large influxes of traffic it supports a multi-site infrastructure it makes it easy for multiple teams (see Drupal's granular permission and access control system) to operate on the website, to integrate the tools they need for doing their work it integrates easily with all kinds of e-commerce third-party platforms (needed for their donation process, signature, membership, etc.) 8. Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity   One of the UK's largest charities, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity (GOSH ) is dedicated to supporting the Bloomsbury-based children hospital and its patients. How? By focusing their efforts in 4 major areas:   supporting the little patients and their families investing in rebuilding and renovation projects pioneering research into children's health investing in life-saving medical equipment   When did Drupal come into the picture?  When the charity looked for a platform that would provide them with:   scalable architecture for their website, robust enough to scale up and down, to their fluctuating levels of traffic multi-site support, out of the box: GOSH.org is made out of 2 large websites and an ecosystem of 10 different sub-sites easy third-party integration: they needed to keep the same staff, so they looked to streamline their team's work, by integrating time-saving tools  9. The Wildlife Trusts We couldn't have left the Wildlife Trusts website out of our list Drupal nonprofit organization websites that stand out. The UK-wide group, comprising 45 local Wildlife Trusts, shares a common interest in preserving the wildlife and the biodiversity in their local area. And we're here talking about 2,300 nature reserves, on 98,000 hectares. 46 different independent charities, each with its specific activities, constitution, and membership criteria, under one “umbrella”? This multi-site project had “Drupal” written all over it... Now, let me outline, briefly, the key reasons why Wildlife Trusts has chosen Drupal for its website:   it provides great multi-site capabilities: the organization wanted to empower each trust to control its own content creation and publishing process, but they still needed some sort of a “central hub” it provides outstanding content management capabilities, much needed in this case, where huge volumes of content had to be managed effectively it meets their need of delivering the best mobile user experience it empowers the Wildlife Trusts editors to tailor page layouts as needed: and we're talking here about a multi-site that's rich in stunning visuals and video content 10. Top 10 Nonprofit Websites Built with Drupal: Allard Prize for International Integrity Another project from our portfolio that we're particularly proud of. The Allard Prize for International Integritiy is a photography competition that recognizes and awards people and organisations standing out through their efforts in fighting corruption and defending human rights. Why did they go with Drupal?   because they wanted to give their website a performance boost because Drupal provides them with a reliable translation system, a crucial feature when dealing with a global audience In Short, Why Would You Choose Drupal for Your Nonprofit Website? Here's a short inventory of the main reasons why you'd choose Drupal for setting up your nonprofit website:   you save money (Drupal's open-source) you get your multi-site, multi-language website ready to go in no time (especially if you opt for a Drupal distribution) you're free to further extend your website's capabilities by adding new modules and integrating new third-party apps  you get robust SEO features right out of the box you get a website that scales to fluctuating levels of traffic  you get to categorize, neatly structure, create, edit, publish, and manage your content quick and easy you're free to customize your page layouts to your liking   Need help setting everything up? Just send us a message with your feature requirements and specific expectations from your future nonprofit website and let's get your message out there. ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jun 05'2020
What’s the Best Drupal Managed Hosting Provider? Here Are Your Top 4 Options
You want it to be easy to use, to provide you with as much automated maintenance as possible and... up to 100% uptime. So, what's the best Drupal managed hosting solution for your needs? And, let me guess: your “feature wishlist” is a bit longer actually:   autoscaling capability multi-site support: you want to be able to manage all your Drupal websites from a single dashboard CDN backups and easy restores on a daily basis support for migration Given your list of requirements, what are your best choices here? I've done my research and narrowed down your options to 4. 4 fully managed hosting solutions for Drupal that you should consider first. Here they are:   But First: Why Managed Hosting? What Does It Really Get You? Why would you want to go for a fully managed hosting solution for your Drupal website(s) instead of a... self-managed one? Because:   you gain so much time; time that you'd otherwise invest in setting the Drupal infrastructure yourself, from the ground up you avoid the risk of getting tangled up in software installation, configuration, infrastructure management (which can turn into a time and energy-consuming ordeal even if you have the know-how to set up a scalable VPS on AWS yourself) you avoid the headache of maintaining a whole infrastructure of Drupal sites you get remote administration that covers mundane, regular operations such as module updating   In short: you delegate your managed hosting provider with everything outside the codebase. Why spend time on the ongoing maintenance of your website when you can invest it in... improving it? In growing it?   1. Pantheon Drupal Hosting   Disclaimer: it's the Drupal hosting that we are using here, at OPTASY. But is Pantheon the best solution for your own use case? For your expectations of a hosting platform? It is if it's a simplified, easy to use hosting solution that you need for your Drupal website(s). One that provides you with:   great support solid tooling  almost instant patching great developer experience ease of use with Drupal high availability and scaling intuitive interface, which makes migrating and cloning your Drupal websites so much easier lots of integrations   But let's see precisely what services it provides you with.   Pantheon Drupal's Key Features   php7 Git 24/7 Drupal support  Once-click core updates  Built-in stagging environments: dev, test, live Global CDN Solr Developer dashboard   2. Acquia, One of the Best Drupal Managed Hosting Solutions   Acquia Drupal hosting is another great option to consider when you're trying to figure out which is the best service for you. Why? Because it provides you with:   some of the best tools: both powerful and easy to use enterprise-level security cloud hosting specifically tailored to suit Drupal websites unmatched scalability: Acquia Drupal 8 hosting powers some of the largest Drupal websites in the world    Acquia Drupal Hosting Key Features   Enterprise-grade security and recovery: a whole set of firewall controls and access and authentication controls; Acquia-hosted websites are known to be better equipped to recover from cyber attacks A hosting platform optimized for Drupal exclusively A turnkey solution: the built-in Node.js support enables you to develop your Drupal back-end apps, as well as your server-side rendered front-end apps, on the same hosting platform Robust development tools: APIs, integrations, and command-line tools that help you build and optimize your apps in no time Real-time monitoring, analyzing, and troubleshooting Close to 100% uptime: Drupal hosting Acquia makes the best choice for you if your uptime and performance requirements are way beyond basic Centralized dashboard for all your websites and a unique Drupal codebase Source: acquia.com   3. SiteGround Drupal Hosting Another popular hosting option for Drupal websites is Siteground, a platform robust enough to withstand the challenges of user-heavy, high traffic sites. It's also the most versatile managed hosting solution on this list, for it meets the needs of both small website owners and enterprise and large organizations. But why would you choose if over other Drupal 8 hosting services? SiteGround Drupal 8 Hosting Key Features   Daily backups 1-Click Drupal installation Responsive support from actual Drupal developers by mail, chat, helpdesk ticket Dynamic NGINX caching (available only on some of the hosting plans) Website transfer assistance with zero downtime   4. Cloudways Managed Drupal Cloud Hosting     Cloudways is not just one of your best Drupal managed to host options. It's also one of the most... different. It allows you to choose the cloud hosting provider for your Drupal infrastructure. You're free to go for Amazon AWS or Digital Ocean, Google Cloud or maybe Vultr, you name it. Why cloud hosting? Because it's easier to scale, more cost-effective, and faster.  In short: it's top performance hosting that scales that you get with Cloudways. But there are also other strong reasons why you'd want to choose to host your Drupal website(s) on Cloudways. Cloudways Managed Drupal Hosting Key Features   Composer support  ease of use: just sift through all the different options that it provides you with through an intuitive UI, select the ones that you prefer via quick one-click access, and set up your Drupal website in no time  HTTP/2 support PHP migration support Free migration SSD-Based Drupal Cloud Hosting CloudwaysCDN you get to host multiple Drupal websites on one server you can add more team members and share server access across your entire team  built-in caching options auto-scalable kyup servers: they downscale and upscale, depending on the amount of traffic on your website(s), with zero downtime managed platform: you can spin up servers and deploy your apps in the blink of an eye   Final Word  The key takeaway is that choosing the best hosting services for your Drupal site(s) is crucial. Imagine that you'd buy yourself a Porsche, but you don't afford a... garage for it. Or its maintenance costs. See my point? When you run your website on a performance powerhouse like Drupal, you need to look for a hosting platform that can match such a robust setup. And speaking of keeping your Drupal infrastructure secure and well-maintained, we have an entire team of Drupal experts that you can delegate your time-consuming maintenance tasks to:   updating Drupal modules running security patches as they get released monitoring your website's performance monitoring it for suspicious activities ...   Just drop us a line and let's tailor a Drupal security and maintenance plan to suit your website(s) needs.   Image by kropekk_pl from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / May 28'2020
Drupal 9 Features: From “No New Features” to... 9 New Shiny Things You Can Expect to See in Drupal 9
What new Drupal 9 features can you expect to see on June 3rd, 2020? For, it's a bit confusing, isn't it?   on one hand, you have the “no new features“ statement on the other hand, you get answers like: “the easiest upgrade in a decade”, “newer PHP libraries”, “a brand new admin theme”, and so on   So, are there any new shiny things in Drupal 9 that you can look forward to? Or maybe get worried about... There is one shiny new feature and 8... improvements, from what I've seen. And I've grouped all together in a list. Here it is: 1. The New Shiny Thing: Easy Upgrade from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 A smooth upgrade experience, this is the only new shiny thing that Drupal 9 ships with. In short, moving to Drupal 9 will be as easy as updating from one minor Drupal 8 version to another. Source: Drupal.org Word of caution: the upgrade path to Drupal 9 is “buttery smooth” if and only if you stick to a “healthy” routine of weeding out old and deprecated code from your current codebase. 2. Drupal 7 and 8 Will Continue to Get Supported Alongside Drupal 9 One of the biggest Drupal 9 vs Drupal 8 (and even Drupal 9 vs Drupal 7) difference is the overlap of security coverage: Till Drupal 9, whenever a new stable version got released, the previous one lost its support. Starting with the 9th version of the CMS, Drupal 7, and Drupal 8 will continue to get community support till November 2021. In other words, Drupal 8, cleaned-up of all deprecated API will continue to work on Drupal 9.  And Drupal 7 will get community support for... 1-1.5 years after Drupal 9 gets released.  One of the unexpected Drupal 9 features. For it disrupts the way that the Drupal community used to approach major versions once they were no longer “the latest” ones. 3. Claro Becomes the Default Administration Theme … once it gets stable. 4. New Drupal 9 Features: CKEditor 5 Gets Implemented ... in a future version of Drupal 9. Security support will drop for CKEditor 4 sometime around Drupal 9's end of life. Therefore, Drupal 9's roadmap includes adding CKEditor 5 to a future version (and eventually removing CKEditor 4 completely in Drupal 10).   5. The Workspace Module Goes from Experimental to Stable Source: Drupal.org How is this good news for you? Let's say that you need to prepare multiple versions of your Drupal site and, depending on certain factors, to push live only one of them. The Workspace module allows you do to precisely that: to replicate content between workspaces on the same Drupal site. And, luckily, the module will be generally available starting with Drupal 9... 6. What's New in Drupal 9? Twig 2 That's right, Drupal 9 comes with support for newer PHP libraries. Support for Twig 2 here included. 7. Drupal 9 Will Be Backward-Compatible with Drupal 8 from Day One What are the new Drupal 9 features? Minor upgrade versions of Drupal 8 will be backward-compatible with Drupal 9. This means that all your Drupal 8 components will work with Drupal 9. This ninth version of Drupal is built on top of Drupal 8, basically.  In other words: no need to panic that your (Drupal 8) website's key features will no longer be valid in Drupal 9. This is going to be the first time that 2 major versions of Drupal are fully compatible.   8. From Symfony 3 to Symfony 4.4 “What's new in Drupal 9?” Symfony 4.4. Since its third version will no longer be supported in November 2021, Symfony 4.4 gets integrated with Drupal 9. All while making sure that Drupal 9 is forward-compatible with Symfony 5, as well...   9. Olivero Becomes Drupal's New Default Theme New Drupal version, new front-end theme. Olivero will come to replace Bartik, the current default theme in Drupal.   Wrap-Up: 5 Drupal 9 Requirements Your Drupal Site Should Meet Now you know which are the predictable, the new and the... shiny new features in Drupal 9. What next? How do you ensure that your Drupal website's Drupal 9-ready? Here are 5 key steps to take for a buttery-smooth upgrade:   Make sure your environment is Drupal 9-compatible: PHP 7.3, MySQL 5.7.8, Drush 10   Update to the latest minor versions of Drupal 8 as soon as they get released: you'll be able to upgrade your website to Drupal 9 only from Drupal 8.8. and Drupal 8.9    Keep your modules up to date: do all your contributed modules run on their latest versions?   Weed out any deprecated API from the custom projects that your website's using   Update core to Drupal 9   Word of caution: if your website (still) runs on Drupal 7, upgrade to Drupal 8.  To sum up, the shortest path to a smooth upgrade to Drupal 9 is sticking to the best practices:   remove all deprecated code (go for an automated tool like drupal-check or Rector to identify deprecations on your website) update your Drupal core and contributed projects to their latest versions   Or, you can leave all the preparations to us. Just drop us a line and we'll evaluate your website's level of... readiness:   Is there any deprecated code still “lingering in there? Does it run on Drupal 7? Are there any outdated versions of PHP or MySQL that it is still using?   Then, we can come up with a plan to get it Drupal 9-ready. Image by Marsel Elia from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / May 20'2020
Top 10 Drupal Websites in Asia: From The Jakarta Post to... the Mitsui Chemicals
What are the top 10 Drupal websites in Asia?  What famous Asian brands, newspapers, NGOs, key players in various industries, have their websites powered by Drupal? To answer your question, we've done some digging and put together a selection of the best Drupal-based websites in Asia, ranging from the most popular to the most niche ones:   1. Mitsui Chemicals Inc., Japan   Japan's leading chemicals manufacturer runs its multi-site infrastructure on Drupal. Why Drupal?   because of the powerful multi-site and multi-language features that it provides, out of the box because Drupal enables them to store content centrally and then share it, personalized for each country, across their ecosystem of sub-sites: Japan, Germany, China, Singapore   In short: Mitsui Chemicals Inc. needed a robust CMS. One that could withstand its heavy structure of domains and groups of sites and enable them to manage all their content on a single platform. 2. ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs, Philippines The news division of this reputed media corporation in the Philippines —  ABS-CBN — has its website powered by Drupal. And the reasons why they chose this CMS are... pretty obvious:   we're talking about a complex network of various types of content: video, multimedia, story... the website delivers critical news in real-time, so Drupal's feature of processing and publishing data in real-time is critical for them the newspaper has a whole community of online readers built around it, so it depends on Drupal's access control system   A content-heavy, high trafficked website, that updates its content in real-time… Drupal's built precisely for this type of scenarios. And that's why ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs is listed among the top 10 Drupal websites in Asia. 3. The Haribon Foundation, Philippines Now, we couldn't have left out non-profit organizations from our list of popular Drupal websites in Asia, now could we? The Haribon Foundation is a biodiversity conservation organization in the Philippines, that trusted Drupal for turning its website into a user engaging one. One that tells their story right to all the future volunteers, donors, members, and partners. Why Drupal?   because it ships with plenty of built-in functionality, enabling them to get their website up and running in no time because it provides them with a robust taxonomy system, which enables them to categorize and organize their content  because it's scalable: it's built to accommodate all future initiatives, no matter how bold, and all future loads of traffic because it's open-source  because it's easy to use by non-technical users (anyone can create, add, publish, and further edit content)   4. The Beijinger, China A community website with an audience made of English-speaking expats living in Beijing, China. Why did they go with Drupal?   because of the different types of content that they display on their website, ranging from forums to events, to reviews, podcast, blog, directory, photo gallery because a significant part of the content is user-generated, which means that they can get the most of Drupal's user role and permission-based access control system  because they needed a CMS that could grant them the best editorial experience: adding and editing so many types of content, on different sections of the website, had to go... smoothly   5. The Jakarta Post, Indonesia, One of the Top 10 Drupal Websites in Asia The largest English language newspaper in Indonesia, The Jakarta Post is on the list of the key media sites using Drupal. A heavy load of content, that needs to be updated in real-time... these are just 2 of the key factors that turned Drupal into the only CMS suitable for this high trafficked newspaper site.   6. Amman Stock Exchange, Jordan Another one of the top 10 Drupal websites in Asia, due to:   the crucial role that this economic platform plays in the region  the outstanding user experience that it provides, despite the complex technical challenges that it needs to deal with “in the backstage”   Why did they choose Drupal over any other CMS option?   Drupal enabled them to provide their users a mobile-first experience: a seamless user experience was crucial for the Amman Stock exchange website, with users being enabled to view charts, graphs, and tables on the go, from any devices Drupal provides the right tools to “empower the end-user”: users can set up and easily manage their own portfolios on the website, set filters for the content that they receive, personalize their notifications, etc. Drupal's robust enough to withstand high spikes of traffic Drupal integrates seamlessly with their ecosystem of third-party systems, that provide the Amman Stock Exchange users with market and financial information Drupal is multi-lingual right out of the box: Amman Stock Exchange could provide a personalized experience to business owners and investors from all over the world   7. Pacific Aikido, Japan The Aikido dojo, which been teaching its classes in and around Tokyo since 1991, has its website powered by Drupal. And it's no surprise to anyone why they chose it:   Drupal makes it plain easy for the end-users to manage their own content: students and parents can log in and engage in conversations with the site owner, while the latter can upload and update content quick and easy Drupal's conveniently extensible: it enabled the team working on this project to implement the Image API and thus enable the site owner to upload his/her own images nice and easy   Images that get resized automatically, by default, once published on the website... The website's both a public-facing site and an easy to use private back-end, where students and parents can communicate with the site owner. 8. Playtika, Israel We can't put together a list of the most popular Drupal websites in Asia and not include Playtika, the leading gaming company based in Tel Aviv, Israel. Since Drupal ships with a whole collection of responsive tools and responsive themes, it made it a lot smoother for their UI and UX design to look great on both their web and mobile websites. 9. Al Bawaba, Jordan This independent digital news, blogging, and media platform — the largest one in the Middle East — is on all the “Top 10 Drupal websites” selections. Why did they decide to build their digital presence with Drupal?   because they have a large, diverse, and expanding content team — different types of editors, researchers, journalists, publishers — so they decided to leverage Drupal's system of user roles and its flexible content workflow because they depended on Drupal's powerful SEO features because they were facing increasingly high volumes of content (multimedia content here included) and Drupal's built with content-packed websites in mind   An efficient digital media assets solution and a conveniently scalable CMS were critical for this content producer and distributor in the Middle East. So, Drupal was the only CMS framework that checked all the requirements off their list.   10. Taiwan Environmental Information Center     Another NGO — the “product” of a larger non-profit and non-governmental organization: Taiwan Environmental Information Association —that's earned its place among the best Drupal websites in Asia. Their website stands out as an extensive network of environment-related information: editorials, green events, feature articles, news... Now, the reasons why they trusted Drupal with their digital presence are clear to anyone:   it's open-source it empowers the content team to add, edit, and publish content (multiple types of content) on the fly it's extensible and conveniently scalable it's non-technical user-friendly   The END! This is how our list of “top 10 Drupal websites in Asia looks like”. What other websites would you have added? Image by Lizbet Palmer from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Apr 21'2020
Which Drupal Page Builder Should You Use: The Gutenberg Editor or Cohesion DX8?
You want to enable your content editors to build new pages on their own. So, which drag and drop Drupal page builder do you choose? Let me try and guess what's on your "wishlist":   to be super easy to use, with an intuitive front-end editing interface to be light to be compatible with your Drupal theme to load fast to provide a decent collection of ready-to-use designs to be conveniently flexible   Have I guessed it right? Now, which of these 2 popular editors for Drupal 8 — Gutenberg Editor and Cohesion DX8 —  checks the most must-have features off your list? Let's compare them: 1. Introducing: Acquia Cohesion DX8 “The only low-code platform for the design, build and management of Drupal 8 websites.” (Drupal.org) A Drupal website builder that empowers you (your designers and content editors) to create all the visual aspects that make a website:   layout theme element styles templates components   And all that in the browser, via a highly visual drag-and-drop user interface... With no need to write CSS, PHP or HTML. Here's how it works:   Acquia Cohesion DX8 provides your editors with a library of branded (reusable) content components — sliders, tabbed elements, hero sections, banners, video players, feature panels they select, mix and match, and assemble together the blocks of their choice … and fill them in with content.   Tip: your non-technical editors can also edit, inline, those display components (block “templates”). And voila: A simplified way of building Drupal websites. A component-based approach to building a Drupal site. And during all this time, your development team can focus on building all those unique functionalities that you have in mind. 2. 5 Reasons Why You'd Want to Use Cohesion DX8 Now, let's talk... benefits. What are the main advantages of choosing Acquia Cohesion as your Drupal page builder?   2.1. Your content editors can assemble new page layouts quick and easy. And “quick” is the keyword here.  The non-developers in your marketing and other teams can assemble new web pages in no time: They just drag and drop and arange different components available in the library, making them fit into the design pattern that you've already defined for them.   2.2. Your marketers are free to edit content & layouts right on the page. Another strong benefit that you can reap from using this particular Drupal layout system is that your editors can easily modify content/layout right on the live website. In other words, Acquia Cohesion DX8 provides them with an easy to use in-context editor. This means that your content editors can open the page that they need to update and make any change in... seconds. Tip: you get to set different levels of permissions and keep track of who's updated what on the website.   2.3. Your content editors can build and manage your website with no coding skills needed. In other words, you'll turn your editors into... web designers. Source: Dri.es They need no coding skills, except for a low-level understanding of some general website concepts, to put together a new enterprise-grade Drupal website if needed.   2.4. You can replicate the newly created design on all your Drupal websites Why would you opt for this low-code site builder?  Because it enables you to export and reuse the same style configuration and web design across your entire ecosystem of websites. To sync your brand styles across your whole network. An easy way to control your brand across a multi-site structure.  And a guarantee that your non-developers, who are granted such “power”, will keep brand-compliant in their work.   2.5. Your non-technical teams can build uniquely designed and fully responsive websites The non-developers in your team (content editors, designers with little coding knowledge) can easily put together custom layouts using this drag and drop page builder for Drupal. Source: Acquia.com Moreover, Acquia Cohesion DX8 makes it easy for them to preview their newly created layouts in multiple device aspect ratios.   3. What You Can Expect from Using this Drupal Page Builder Let's say you've already found the answer to your “Gutenberg Editor vs Cohesion” dilemma: you've opted for Cohesion DX8. Here's what you'll notice:   your team sets up and launches brand new Drupal websites faster now the costs for developing new websites have lowered all the Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 website migrations have been streamlined keeping brand consistency across your multiple Drupal websites is no longer a challenge your digital marketing and content authors are more confident to experiment with new content (since updating and reverting changes is so straightforward) your senior developers gain more time to innovate; to focus on their own development tasks   4. What You Can Build with Cohesion DX  Let's see precisely what you can create using this page editor for Drupal:   full page content templates  master templates that your content editors can use to put together headers, navigation systems, footers... menu templates, from basic list menus to interactive, multi-level ones content components, which can then be assembled together into unique layouts CSS styles view templates for your blocks or page page content layouts   5. Introducing: Drupal Gutenberg       The Gutenberg Drupal 8 module comes as an alternative to the body field editor in Drupal: Editors can build a new page by assembling content blocks instead of writing text in a text body. Source: Drupalgutenberg.com A Drupal page builder that enables them to:   move blocks around the page, as needed reuse uniquely designed contrib blocks across multiple pages on your Drupal site and even across multiple projects select from the pre-built blocks — lists, paragraphs, tables — that Drupal Gutenberg provides them with insert raw HTML in the form field   When it comes to the “user-friendliness” factor, Drupal Gutenberg “bids on” a highly visual editing experience, just like Cohesion DX8 does: Any member of your team, regardless of his/her technical skills, can easily build a new page by putting together media, text, and content blocks.   6. 4 Reasons Why You'd Want to Use Drupal Gutenberg  “Why would I choose precisely Gutenberg as my page editor?” Here are some compelling answers:   6.1. You empower your editors to build new landing pages on their own. It's all about “democratizing publishing": Drupal Gutenberg enables them to add, move around, and edit blocks quick and easy.   6.2. Your editors get a whole collection of custom blocks to choose from That's right: Gutenberg Cloud library comes as a rich content repository for contributed blocks. From:   call to action sections to uniquely designed forms to web components   ... your content editors get a whole collection of blocks created by other developers to dig into when building new pages.   6.3. You grant your editors a flexible, visual editing experience.  One of Drupal Gutenberg's biggest selling points is its React-powered UI API. The JavaScript type of “fuel” that makes the editing experience both flexible and powerful:   a scalable, high performant editor that content creators can use with great ease; no technical background needed   Where do you add that they get “spoiled” with lots of pre-designed elements to choose from, as well.   6.4. You enable your editors to use and... reuse Drupal media assets. Gutenberg's conveniently integrated with Drupal's media library. This means that your marketing team can easily scan through and choose the media assets that they need to incorporate into their landing pages. And even re-use them as many times as needed.   7. What You Can Expect from Using this Particular Drupal Page Builder A more independent, empowered marketing department. Which automatically translates into a more productive development team, as well.   8. What You Can Build with Drupal Gutenberg “What are the most typical use cases for the Gutenberg editor?” you might ask yourself.   landing pages text-heavy content types (e.g. blog posts) designs that don't call for a lot of dynamic configurations  simple layouts content structures and designs that blend in perfectly with your theme's looks   9. Final Word  “So, which Drupal page builder should I choose: Drupal Gutenberg or Cohesion DX8?” It depends greatly on your feature needs and on your content team's skill level, as well. For instance: do you value the convenience of replicating the same designs on all your websites (Cohesion) more than... having an entire library of contrib content blocks to select from (Gutenberg)? Keep “confronting” the features of these 2 website builders and put them against your team's needs and experience, as well.   The END! How flexible is the authoring experience for your own team? Have you tried implemeting any of these page editors into your page building workflow? Feel free to share your experience, good or bad, in the comments below. Image by 200 Degrees from Pixabay   ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Apr 14'2020
Top 10 Drupal Websites in Australia: From the Most Impressive to the Most Visited Ones
They're visually-appealing, highly popular, built on top of robust structures, so that they should "cope with" with huge amounts of traffic and content... These are but some of the things that the top 10 Drupal websites in Australia have in common. But which are they, more precisely? Australia's finest examples of websites using Drupal? We've done our research and put together a 10 best list for you. Let's dive right into it:   1. Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation(ANSTO)   "Australia's research and development organization, and the center of Australian nuclear expertise..." (source: directory.gov.au) And the presentation could go on with other superlatives to "wow" you with:   Australia's most important science infrastructure (one of) Australia's largest public research organizations it sums up more than 1000 experts that use nuclear techniques to find the answer to various medical, environmental, and industrial challenges   A significant content load? A large team of content editors in need of the most robust tools to streamline their content management workflow with? The web project had Drupal 8 written all over it... And it quickly became one of the top 10 Drupal websites in Australia. Why Drupal? Because Drupal provides the best editing experience. Content managers are free to build new custom pages on their own, by just selecting and assembling pre-designed blocks. Not to mention that the "component-based" approach to design ensures consistency throughout the website and, implicitly... the best user experience, as well.    2. University of Technology, Sidney The University of Technology Sidney (UTS), Australia's #1 university and the 10th best one in the world, also has its website running on Drupal. Drupal is the platform that powers a lot of higher education websites worldwide, so... no surprise here, right? The reasons why UTS chose Drupal are obvious:   their multi-site structure incorporates no less than 150 UTS sub-sites the "cluster" of mini-sites needed a central content hub and a unified platform the internal content team needed enough freedom and flexibility to create, edit, and publish content across the entire network of sub-sites they needed to integrate lots of third-party systems (e.g. systems sourcing course information)    In short:   Drupal makes the perfect choice for multi-site setups it integrates seamlessly with third-party apps it provides the best editorial experience   3. The Australian Government       Undoubtedly one of the top 10 Drupal websites in Australia.  "The Government of Australia is standardizing on Drupal for hundreds of government departments and agencies across Australia, starting with the country’s homepage. Drupal enhances digital services to millions of citizens." (source: Drupal.org)   Why Drupal? For multiple reasons:   Drupal's ideal for multi-site architectures Drupal provides a granular permission system it integrates with lots of third-party services and solutions (payment systems, citizen service centers, various "latest news" sources)  it's one of the most secure CMS platforms: Drupal has its own dedicated Security Team and a foolproof process for monitoring, identifying, and publishing any security issues it's flexible, giving unmatched freedom to content editors and website admins: anyone from the internal team can update content on the website quick and easy Source: Drupal.org   4. Bunjil Place     The "home of arts and entertainment in the City of Casey" is Drupal-powered.  And it's probably one of the most visually impressive examples of Drupal websites from Australia. A high-trafficked website, that "bids on" Drupal 8 to provide an interactive user experience. Now, if we were to list just some of the strongest reasons why Drupal was the best option for this Australian website:   the diversified content hosted on the website (text, video, eye-catching images), that falls into multiple sections and subsections the need for a new responsive design the need to incorporate some powerful user-oriented functionalities (e.g. visitors can easily book spaces in the palace for their future events)   Drupal was the only choice here... 5. The Australian Drupal's already famous for being the best CMS solution for news websites. And the CMS platform is behind the online presence of "The Australian" — Australia's national news brand — as well. A high-trafficked, content-packed website, with content that needs to be updated on the fly, on a regular basis.  They couldn't have opted for another platform than Drupal... 6. Australian Conservation Foundation, One of the Top 10 Drupal Websites in Australia   Australia's national environment organization — over 600,000 people — has its website running on Drupal. It's a campaign-driven site, one of the most popular Drupal-based websites in Australia, that leverages the CMS platform's top features to:   manage all their content workflows with great ease engage their member database and anyone willing to address urgent environmental problems via social networking, donation processing, event management, analytics, fundraising   A website that needed to withstand high amounts of traffic and to support complex content workflows: Drupal was the most suitable CMS solution.   7. Australian War Memorial "The Memorial's purpose is to commemorate the sacrifice of those Australians who have died in war or on operational service and those who have served our nation in times of conflict." (source: awm.gov.au) One of the top 10 Drupal websites in Australia that turned this CMS platform into a reliable publishing tool for all the historians, researchers, and designers accessing it. We're talking here about a content-heavy website, hosting content that ranges from:   war-related material to extensive archive to a database of unique collections of film footage, artworks, sound recordings to articles on Australia's military history   And where there's rich and varied content, that needs to be handled with ease by various internal teams, there's Drupal, as well. Drupal with its:   robust inline content creation and editing tools sophisticated access control system   8. Charles Darwin University  One of Australia's public universities and one of the world's most reputed universities (among the top 2% universities on the globe) has its website running on Drupal. And for all the self-evident reasons:   they needed to provide internal users with the best experience: Drupal enables content editors to create their custom course pages by simply putting together pre-built components they also needed to provide an intuitive search experience to all the external users: Drupal makes it easy for students to find, review courses, and sign up   9. International Business Times Australia   The Australian version of this digital news publication is built on Drupal. But is it of any surprise that the go-to source of financial news in Australia has chosen this CMS platform to build its online presence on? After all:   news publications are Drupal's "specialty" Drupal's already famed for powering some of the most content-intensive websites in the world  Drupal's gained a reputation for being the CMS that provides the best content editing experience: the internal team at International Business Times Australia can create, update, and publish new content on the go   10. Car News Australia       One of the top 10 Drupal websites in Australia, that stands out from the crowd as a high-trafficked one. Its complex content ecosystem has turned Drupal into the Carsguide team's only option. The site's an intricate network of 7 different sections — "buy + sell", "reviews", "news", "advice"... — that unfold, each, into "clusters" of multiple sub-sections. A content network that called for a CMS with particularly powerful content creation and editing features. A content-rich architecture that's now powered by Drupal.   The END! We're curious now: what other famous brands are on your own top 10 Drupal websites in Australia? Photo by Iván Lojko on Unsplash  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Apr 03'2020