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Create a Drupal Image Gallery with Colorbox module
Web design trends may come and go, yet a visually-appealing image gallery never gets outdated! So, learning how to create a Colorbox Drupal image gallery in Drupal 8 is crucial if you aim to “dazzle away” your visitors! And before we delve deep into our step-by-step guide on putting together your gallery, we feel like stressing this out: Colorbox for Drupal 8 is an image field formatter in entities and views! Nothing less, nothing more! But one that: pairs with the Insert module easily incorporates image styles and image field it's ideally customizable   Now let's get straight to the core of our tutorial, which will take you from installing to key setups, to customization and all the way to theming your Drupal image gallery with CSS: Step 1: Install The Colorbox Module and Its Libraries Installing Colorbox will be a two-step stage, in fact: First, you download and install the module itself Next, you install the resources-loaded library that your module won't actually work without And it seems that “2” is your “lucky number” in this process, for there are 2 possible ways of installing the Colorbox module on your Drupal 8 site:   you either download it to your PC, then navigate to the “Extend” page and hit the “Install new module” button or you right-click the module's download link, copy its location, paste it on your Drupal 8 site's “Extend” page (logging into your admin panel, obviously) and then... hit the “Install new module” button The choice is yours, the result is the same! And you're almost done! “Almost”, for you still need to install your library in the “sites/all/libraries” folder on your Drupal site. Just access the same link on Drupal.org, go to “Dependencies” and click on the first link that you have there: “The Colorbox plugin 1.x“ Luckily, Drush saves the day, once again (and your time, as well) providing you with a simple command to install your library: drush colorbox-plugin. Easy peasy! Note: since we're at the installing phase, we seize the chance to suggest you go ahead and install a Bootstrap-based theme, as well!   Step 2: Create Content for Your Future Drupal Image Gallery Now that everything's successfully installed on your computer and ready to be leveraged, let's create some content for our virtual gallery, shall we? Here are the easy steps to take: Structure > Content types Create a new content type for your Colorbox image gallery Set up a new Image field for your newly created content type  Now it's time to run a quick test on our gallery and you'll need content for this; “dummy” content accepted, too!  But first things first: name your new gallery! Then manually upload some of the images that you've already prepared for your gallery or use the Devel module for generating dummy content. News alert: you get to leverage the MultiUpload option added to Drupal 8 and enter all your images at once (instead of one at a time, like we used to do it)! Now let's go to the next key step of this tutorial on how to create a Colorbox Drupal image gallery in Drupal 8: creating the image style!   Step 3: Configure The Image Style Now have some fun configuring those images to your liking: Navigate to Configuration > Image styles (it's right under “Media”) Name your image style Hit the “Create new style” button   Great! Next, it's time you added a new effect to your newly created image style so that your images get sized the way you need them to. For this: Go to Effect Select the Scale and Crop effect setting the width and height of your choice Hit “Update Style”   Step 4: Put Together a View When You Create a Colorbox Drupal Image Gallery You must be looking at the images in your gallery getting all piled up one under the other right now, with... no Colorbox effect whatsoever! No need to despair! It's perfectly predictable and easy to “fix”: you just need to create a view: Structure > Views > Add new view! Note: once you choose your new content type to keep in mind to select the “Gallery” type and to have your block displayed as a “View”, not as a “Page”!   Next “Add the Field” for your image. Then: Enter your class type: Block > Style Options > “Row class” Name your class: Block > CSS class > CSS class name(s) And finally “Save” your view   Step 5: Place Your New View/Block And it's time you placed your newly formatted block (or “block displayed as a view”, if you prefer), a step you can't overlook when you create a Colorbox Drupal image gallery:  Go to Structure > Block layout Hit the “Place block” button and select your new block   Note: your view might not look exactly visually-enchanting right now. Yet, no need to worry, for we'll be applying CSS to it later in this tutorial. Also, at this stage of the process, you can't preview it in Views; you can only visualize it once it's live, on your website.   Step 6: Make The Due Adjustments to Your View  Since your view is not yet “ready to be shown off to the world”, you need to go back and edit it:   Choose the “Content: title” field > “Rewrite results”: here type in your title tag as {{ title }} (you'll then be able to style the title text and to move it, as well)   Choose the “Content: image” field> “Formatter” field > set it to “Colorbox” > “Image style for content”> set it for the image style that you've already created at Step 2   Step 7: Add Some CSS Styling  And it's about time that you “beautified” your new Colorbox gallery! Define the way your images and text will get displayed by theming it with CSS! For instance: you might fancy its title to be displayed over the images in your gallery, as a caption.  The location of your CSS file will depend greatly on the theme you'll choose to use! The END! How about putting into practice all these info, tips and tricks here to create a Colorbox image gallery in Drupal 8? One to upgrade your current content and to impress your site's visitors with!       ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Aug 25'2017
Which Drupal 8 Ecommerce Modules Are Truly Indispensable to Your Site? 
Would you settle for out-of-the-box functionality and still dare to “dream big”? To aim at above-the-average conversion rates on your Drupal ecommerce site?  Or are you determined to go beyond the “by default” set of features and to supercharge your online store with some extra power, too? With a couple of additional Drupal 8 ecommerce modules, as well? And it's only then that you'll feel entitled to hope for “truckloads” of online shoppers! Now if the second scenario best fits your strategy, then you must probably be slightly overwhelmed right now as you dig through the wide array of modules for Drupal ecommerce sites.  How do you avoid “stacking” non-essential Drupal 8 modules on your website? How do you filter them and “extract” only the “bare essentials”, the ones that shouldn't miss from your ecommerce site if you have big plans for it? You use our list here below for sorting them out, that's how!    1. Drupal Commerce  Take it as your site's transition from a basic online store that pretty much just... takes orders, to a fully-fledged, feature-rich and perfectly equipped ecommerce “machine”! And this “transition” is actually made possible thanks to a heavy “arsenal” of features and functionalities that the Drupal Commerce module supercharges your site with. Let's list just the most notable ones of them:   it enables you to have multiple payment gateways   it integrates social media   it comes with mobile responsiveness capabilities   it enables you to display international currencies   it empowers you to create product types having tailor-made attributes    it grants your web designers more freedom   it's PCI compliant (your servers won't ever store your customers' credit card details)   it makes “joggling with” dynamic product displays possible   And the list is actually a never-ending one. It's a multi-purpose, “Swiss army knife” type of module (or “cluster” of sub-modules?) that covers all aspect related to:   products  orders customers payment processing   If you dare to go big, to build out a large-scaled website, to go international, as well, then this module shouldn't miss from your own “arsenal” of essential Drupal 8 ecommerce modules!    2. Ubercart Now if you want to start small (right away) and grow big, then Ubercart makes the perfect Drupal e-commerce solution for your strategy! It will help you get your basic shopping cart system up up and running in no time! Take it as a basic online shop “kit” that you can assemble hassle free! And when we say “online shop” we do refer to a wide variety of ecommerce industries that a Ubercart-powered website can serve:   digital downloads selling physical, shippable goods  subscription billing services   … and it's ideally easy to administer it, as well! Once you've set up your online store, you get to instantly “harness its power”, to use the entire plethora of Ubercart features at its full potential:   manage products and orders   keep track of your stock levels with a simple mouse click   create configurable product catalogs   incorporate your favorite payment system (and even add a whole “bunch” of them, that your customers can choose from)   generate product and customer reports   add multiple images to each one of your products   set up an automatic organizer for your items   display shipping quotes   Note: by far the most notable Ubercart feature is the one-page checkout functionality. And we all know to what extent a simplified, just-a-few-steps check-out process can positively impact UX and, therefore, the sales, too, right?   3. SEO Checklist: One of the Must-Have Drupal 8 Ecommerce Modules  So let us recap! You want:   a module that should instantly supercharge your site with all the needed functionality that would turn it into a powerful sales-generating “machine”   another Drupal module that could help you set up your store hassle free, providing you with all the needed features in the form of a kit to put together   Yet you'd end up with nothing but a “deserted” site, that no one would visit (for no one would know about it) if you didn't have your on-page SEO in place, right? And since “SEO” sure means a never-ending “to do” list, what more convenient way to take care of your ecommerce site's SEO than by actually... checking off a list? A functional list presenting you with all the tasks you need to carry out! Guess-working is out of question, maybe hiring a team of SEO “gurus”, as well, and venturing all by yourself into the “deep see of SEO possibilities” doesn't sound like a strategy. Therefore, installing and leveling this module's “convenience” and superpower is a must! Haven't you “sprinkled” enough (proper) keywords across your piece of content? Have you entered the right title tags? Have you chosen a riskily lengthy title?  When in doubt, let the SEO Checklist module show you the right way to optimize your site! When you've missed to complete a certain SEO task, the same module will instantly signal it to you! Moreover, it's regularly updated! So, you don't need to worry about being left behind Google's algorithm changes. Your list of tasks to check off will get automatically adjusted to those changes! Note: not only that your SEO checklist “warns” you about the wrongly completed or missed tasks, but it enables you to keep a close track of your work, as well. To closely monitor your progress! Take it as more than just one of the indispensable Drupal 8 ecommerce modules: take the Drupal SEO Checklist as a “handbook” including all the best SEO practices that ensure you a place right into the spotlight on the search engines' stage!   4. Adsense Thinking of running Adsense adverts on your Drupal 8 ecommerce site? There's a module for that! Practically what Drupal Adsensde module does is providing you with the needed “kit” of add blocks that you can then easily move around and display on your site to your liking. It even enables you to point out the roles that it should disable those ads for! Note: do keep in mind that you'll need to sign up with Google Adsense first things first, before you go ahead and trigger this module's functionality on your site!   5. Currency Now let's go back to your “go international” plan! You're now facing a whole plethora of challenges, ranging from “going multilingual” to... displaying your product's prices in each one of your visitors' currency, right? Well, you know there's always a module in Drupal for pretty much every functionality you need. And currency is no exception! The Currency module is one of those Drupal 8 ecommerce modules that “encourages” you to keep dreaming big! What it does is what its name says:   it displays your prices in multiple currencies, along with relevant currency information, too   it boosts your site with a currency conversion functionality   And it looks like we've reached “the bottom” of our list including all the “can't live without” Drupal 8 ecommerce modules! How does you own  list of “bare essentials” modules look like? Does it include other modules indispensable to your online store, as well?  ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jul 21'2017
5 Contributed Modules for Building Your Drupal 8 Multilingual Site 
Do you want to stick to the basics or go beyond it? In other words: would you offer your visitors the same multi-language experience that they would get on any other Drupal 8 multilingual site or are you ready to take multilingualism to the next level and enhance it with an extra contributed module or two, as well? Especially when you have an "overwhelming" collection of multilingual contributed modules to choose from for picking precisely the one(s) that cover your site's specific needs! Since going multilingual doesn't have to mean using the same "recipe of modules", irrespective of the Drupal 8 site's particularities, right? This being said, let us reveal to you the list of 5 Drupal 8 contributed modules, each one loaded with multilingual functionality, that you might want to supercharge your  website with:   First: A Few Words About the Out-of-the-Box Multilingual Functionality in Drupal 8 You can easily consider yourself a spoiled one: Drupal 8's been built with multilingualism in mind! Therefore, if you would have had to mix and match an entire "array" of contributed modules for building a basic multilingual website in Drupal 7, it only takes 4 CORE modules to build a perfectly functional one in Drupal 8! You practically get multilingual functionality "by default"! A huge jump-start! And now speaking of this multilingual pre-built “kit”, made of 4 key modules, let us enlist them for you:   Language Interface Translation Content Translation  Configuration Translation    Note: Upon building your multilingual Drupal 8 site we advise you to go for another one of the languages available on your website instead of English; this will automatically trigger the installation of some key multilingual-friendly modules. And now, let us proceed with our list of contributed modules that will help you tailor Drupal 8's multilingualism to your own site's specific needs:   1. Language Cookie  A more than useful tool whenever you need to identify your visitors' mother languages.  And how does it “detect” it for you? Easily: basically it adds a new “cookie” field to the Language Negotiation settings. And therefore, the language on your site will instantly be set in accordance with this extra cookie.  As simple and yet as effective as that! You can just “relax” knowing that the languages on your Drupal 8 multilingual site will automatically get “paired” precisely with their native speakers.   2. Localization Client  Need to fix or create and add translations to certain pages on your website? Don't worry, you definitely don't need to sift through all your pages and take them one by one for finding precisely those with missing or “flawed” translated content. You simply install and enable this module here and harness the power of its on-page translator editor. Just navigate around your pages precisely to your target one(s)... edit/add your translation... save it and... that's it!   3. IP Language Negotiation, A Key Module for Your Drupal 8 Multilingual Site “Kindred” with the Language Cookie module, we could say, since this one, too, helps you detect your visitors' mother languages. It's just the means used for this "language detection" process that differs: the IP Language Negotiation module “teams up” with the “country language detection” module, ip2country,  for that. By detecting the countries that your visitors access your multilingual Drupal 8 site from it instantly displays the content on your website in their own languages.   4. Language Fallback  Call it a “safety net” or a “plan B” module if you like! Take this use case scenario, for instance: “You're using multiple regional variants of a language of your website: Welsh English and Scottish English, let's say. Well, first of all, you define your site's default language, English, then define its 2 “variations”: Scottish and Welsh. Whenever a string needs to get translated, the module will first look for the Scottish translation, then for the Welsh variant.” Take it as an “insurance policy” that if something unexpected happens, meaning that a certain translated string can't get delivered to your visitors in your custom language, they will always get the requested content in another familiar language/dialect (the “fallback language").   5. Language Selection Page  Instead of striving to “detect” your site visitors' mother languages, how about empowering them to choose the languages they'd like to see your site's content translated to? And how does this module empower them to do that? By presenting them with a landing page where they get to choose their preferred languages from those available on your Drupal 8 multilingual site. Now how does “placing the power of choice into your users' hands” benefit your website?  It's a helpful strategy to adopt whenever you don't have enough relevant data on your site users, for instance (you don't know what each visitor's mother language is, what countries they access your website from, etc.) Or it could simply be the fact that you don't want to influence their choices. “Empowering the end-user” is Drupal's philosophy after all. And even so more Drupal 8's, right?   This is our selection of contributed Drupal 8 modules “loaded” with multilingual functionality that our team has carefully put together for you! How does your own “arsenal” of multilingual-friendly modules look like? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jul 12'2017
The Group Module: Setting Up User Groups Is Now Easier Than Ever
Back in the old days, when we didn't have the Group module to “save the say”, whenever we needed to set up a certain user group hierarchy and a more or less intricate structure of group roles, with different levels of permission and different types of content to be accessed by each one of these groups, we used to call the Organic Group module for “help”. It used to be the one and only solution to our “challenge” actually. Yet, no matter how familiarized we already are with it, we still cannot ignore its “flaws” and “aspects that could be improved” (that we'll be tackling in this post in a bit). And so, with an enhanced Drupal site builder's and developers' experience in mind and due to the context of a slightly flawed Organic Groups module, the Group module was built! A so much more than just an “alternative”: a soon to be the norm whenever developers deal with user groups on Drupal social sites. Now let's give you some key arguments for why you should consider using it for creating and managing user communities on your website and some guidance on how to harness its full power:   First of all: Which Are The Contexts of Use for the Group Module? Which are those “scenarios” that call for the creation of user groups with shared content and shared permissions precisely to that specific content? Let us point out some of the most common ones:   1. a (high) education Drupal website, where a professor having an admin role, too, can group his own students into communities and share certain resources, certain information with them exclusively while keeping them hidden from the other visitors on the site   2. a library with multiple branches, where the staff from a physical location is given access to specific dedicated sections and, therefore, to specific content only on the library's website   3. a speaker's website where he/she also organized online conferences and needs to group the participant and grant them (paid or not) access to informative content and resources     What Makes It a Better Alternative to The Organic Groups Module? You can't ignore the Organic Groups module's “sore points”, even if it might have turned into a “familiar” tool to use each time time you're in a “setting up granular permission” type of situation:   it hasn't always leveraged Drupal's new functionalities in core   it doesn't “spoil” us with API   And now, let's “dig up” all those improvements brought to the Group module which easily turn it from “just” an alternative into a replacement module for Organic Groups:   1. Better Structured Data “Tempting flexibility”, that's how we could call this improvement.  Remember how in the Organic Groups module everything was intertwined, interconnected? User groups had to be attached to a node or a taxonomy term or to a... Well, not anymore! In the Group module, each user community is an “independent” entity and this is where the “tempting flexibility” derives from.   2. A More Intuitive UI And this is, no doubt, one of the Group module's most heavy weighting improvements. We're talking about Drupal after all, with a “culture of empowerment”, so a clear and super intuitive UX was a must! Practically you'll be provided with everything you'll need to use, served to you right on a “silver plate”: once you've installed the module, simply look for the “Group” section “neighboring” the “People” section! Your admin toolbar will provide you with all the tabs/options that you need to navigate through and select from. Therefore, don't expect a whole “marathon” of tabs and pages and sub-tabs that you would need to swim through for configuring your Drupal 8 site's user groups! A simple UI grants you a “fewer clicks” experience!   3. It Provides Group Roles to Choose From and Assign To It's a “new” concept that this Drupal 8 module introduces. Well, almost new, for these roles are very similar to Drupal's user roles and their functionality is the same. Except that they're applied to group types instead (not to individual users)! They fall into 3 types:   member: a member of the user group with a user account on the website, too   outsider: not a member of that specific “community”, yet he/she has an account on the website   anonymous: has no user account on the given website   4. Site builders Can Define Permission Sets for Each Type of User Group Basically, this functionality that the Group module provides site builders with eliminates the risk of group members “not playing fair”. The set of permissions can be configured and then assigned to each group instance.   5. An Improved Developer Experience  The Group module in Drupal 8 “spoils” Drupal developers with a well-documented code.This way they get quickly familiarized with it and do the right tweaks for extending the module's functionality. And now speaking of its extensibility feature, we have some really good news /spoiler alerts for you:   you get the Group Node module, too, out-of-the-box, once you install Group in Drupal 8; this enables you to quickly add your nodes and grant access to that specific private content exclusively to the members of the group that you will have created   it “plays well” with other Drupal 8 modules, too   thanks to its plugin system, it turns the writing of a module into a matter of just a few lines of code; developers get to easily enhance its functionality     How to Use the Group Module in Drupal 8? The whole step-by-step process, from the very first step, where you enable the module itself (a 3-in-1 module, actually), to the very last one, where you add your groups, is very well detailed HERE. What tabs to click on, what drop-down menus to unfold and selections to make, it's all there. So, we won't go on rephrasing the whole tutorial in this post, since you'll find all the steps (screenshots there included) that you'll need to complete explained there:   you install and enable your module   you set up your group types (for instance: content editors, publishers, content creators, interns)   you link group types to content types, too   you pick groups from the group types that you will have created as step 1 and populate them with members   There are a couple of key aspects of this Group module installation, enabling and properly configuring process that we'd like to draw your attention to:   once you get started with the installation, you'll be “warned” that you need to rebuild your permissions   you get to create custom fields for each one of your group types (it's you who'll decide what personalized content goes there: that specific user community's logo, its location, etc.)   And that's it! You can now step into and enjoy a new era of user groups creating and granular permission granting made easy!  Have you tried the Group module on your Drupal 8 site yet? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jun 08'2017
How and Why to Backup Your Drupal 8 Site 
Getting ready for a Drupal site upgrade “event”? Or maybe you're facing a Drupal update challenge or an even more complex process: a migration from your current version of Drupal to the latest “bundle of Drupal functionalities”? And even if there's no “major” changes-implementing event in your schedule, you still have to regularly backup your Drupal 8 site! Is your web host providing you with a backup plan? Great! Even so, you don't need to be some sort of “visionary” to see that it's crucially important to run your own backups, as well. You still need to back it up yourself! You can't depend entirely on your web hosting provider's safety net for your own invaluable data. You need to weave your own net! And we're not going to keep “bugging you” you with the three back-ups rule (“if it doesn't exist in three different...) anymore.   Here are just 3 dark scenarios that you'd be avoiding:   the upgrade/update/moving files process fails, you'll be left with no database and no files to restore... with no Drupal 8 site, after all the ever-more sophisticated hackers manage (God forbid!) to find and to exploit a security vulnerability on your website and... you know that this is no happy ending story your web server crashes and, as you can guess, your company website can't escape the inevitable domino effect   You see what we're trying to point out here right? Now, let us proceed to detailing the two backup methods available to you. Yet, in many cases the web server narrows down to one option. 1.The GUI-Based Backup Method It's the most straightforward method of the two, granting you full control and easy access to your own database.  Basically you'll get to use:   your phpMyAdmin a browser-based MySql interface any FTP client  … to manage your database and to easily transfer your files from your server or your desktop to your Drupal 8 site Now the GUI backup method is a two-step one: A. You'll create a backup of your Drupal 8 site: just connect to your server (via the FTP client that you prefer) and copy your website folder to a cloud drive or to your local machine B. You'll Backup Your Database (via PHPMyAdmin) Now you've reached the step where you cautiously “shelter” your database, your website's most valuable “asset”! Is your server hosting service provider offering you with a native database manager? Putting you, this way, in control of your own database? There are just a few simple tasks to carry out for successfully backing up your database:   Log into your PHPMyAdmin (obviously!) Select your database (it's right there, on the left, in the, in the dropdown box) Click “Export” Click “Select All” Check “Data” and “Structure” Click “Save as File” desktop Click “Go” and save your .sql file to your desktop   Turn this good practice into a habit whenever you backup your Drupal 8 site: always save your database in the same folder as your Drupal files (the ones you've just backed up) 2. The CLI-Based Method to Backup Your Drupal 8 Site Do you feel comfortable working with a command line?  Then backing up your Dupal 8 site will be nothing but a of short sequence of simple commands to enter into your command shell. In case you haven't yet used Drush before, you should know that it's simple to install on your computer or to add to your server. It “empowers” you to easily control various aspects of your Drupal installation.  The steps to take, when you back up your Drupal 8 site via Drush, are surprisingly (or not) similar to those specific to first backup method: A. You'll Create a Local Copy of Your Site's Folder  First things first: you'll need to copy your live site files to a new (a test) directory (make sure you give it a suggestive name). For this, it's this command that you'll need to enter:   cp -rp /path/to/drupal_site /path/to/backup_dir   Remember to check whether the .htaccess file will have got copied, too! B. You'll Backup Your Database And here's the command that you'll need to enter for backuping up your priceless database: mysqldump -u USERNAME -p'PASSWORD' DATABASENAME > /path/to/backup_dir/database-backup.sql   And you even have an alternative one that you could use:   drush sql-dump > /path/to/backup_dir/database-backup.sql   There! No more “sleepless nights” for you! Your Drupal 8 site, with all its files and its valuable database, is now safely backed up and “shielded” from the “unexpected events” factor! Tip: always date your backups (you can just imagine the chaos you'd need to deal with if you had to restore your “latest” backup and dig through a whole “pile” of undated backup folder). To Sum Up How often you'll backup your Drupal 8 site is up to you. Try to estimate the value of all the digital data stored on your website, of your company's digital identity, after all, and come up with a frequency that best suits your website. As already mentioned, no need to turn it into a process to be carried out exclusively around “big” events planned for your Drupal site (upgrades, updates, migrations). A cyber attack or a web server problem are just two dark scenarios that have nothing to do with Drupal upgrades and all the preparation taking place around these key “events”.   Let your host service provider run its own backup and make sure you run yours, too, in parallel.  As you've already seen, both methods are more than straightforward, so you have no “excuse” for neglecting your site backup routine. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / May 08'2017
The Beginner’s Guide To Drupal 8 Development
Drupal 8 came out just a few months ago and made quite a commotion with lots of updates and more than a few really, really cool features. That’s why it’s amazing news for users, businesses, and Drupal 8 development professionals. Drupal is an amazing CMS and development environment. It’s more powerful and versatile, with better integration and SEO capabilities than Wordpress and Joomla, the older kids on the block. After only four years on the market, it now has thousands of developers and millions of websites worldwide. And that’s just the beginning. So what exactly is new in Drupal 8? Here’s a list of main new features that the update proudly boasts: Mobile First! The new Drupal 8 module skeleton is a 100% responsive. Whereas before (and in other CSM platforms), each template had to be adjusted for mobile and came in desktop first, Drupal 8 works perfectly on any device. You can even edit and develop comfortably from a small handheld device on a development interface which is responsive as well. Ultimate Language Compatibility Drupal has websites all over the world, and to make things easier for users and developers, this new version allows to translate your website to any language with ease. The translation is done in a built-in interface, making international Drupal 8 development easy and seamless. The interface gives access to over 100 languages and comes with language detection, suggestions and many more useful features. Meet the Twig What’s Twig, apart from it being a funny name for anything? Well, it’s a theming engine that will revolutionize CMS development for years to come. With several components adapted from Symfony2 and a whole array of new features, Twig is now the fastest, most reliable theming engine. If you take a look at the top Drupal 8 themes, you’ll see they were all created in Twig. Not bad for a new engine, not bad at all. Improved Content Management The new CKEditor makes editing, publishing and managing content even easier than it was before. You can save drafts, edit-in-place right from the front end, drag-and-drop buttons, insert images by dragging them in, and more amazing workflow improvements. HTML5 Magic Drupal is fully integrated with HTML5 in all its glory; multimedia support, customizable data attributes, powerful UI enhancements, effortless HTML content editing, front-end libraries and much, much more. Drupal 8 development makes full use of all those elements and features. Finally, the best news is that migrating to Drupal 8 is easy, with the built-in, user-friendly migration modules. If you’d like to move to this amazing new world, let us know and we’ll help you out! In the meantime, feel free to take a look at this Drupal custom module example. Enjoy!... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 21'2017
This is How You Build a Slideshow in Drupal 8
               Need to create a visually stunning slideshow for your Drupal 8 site? One that you should be able to effortlessly customize to your liking? Luckily, this rhetorical question suggests to you its own answer: the Views Slideshow module in Drupal 8! An empowering tool which enables you, after just a few intuitive steps to take for setting up the right context and for pulling off the due configuration, to create your own slideshow (of any type of context, not exclusively images).The one to appear in a View. Moreover, it grants you almost unlimited power of customization, as well! Practically you get to put together a personalized “combo of settings” for each one of the Views that you'll create. Now let us proceed with our step-by-step guide on how to build a slideshow in Drupal 8 using the Views Slideshow module (had to specify this, since there's also the Slick method for building slideshows in Drupal):   1. First and Foremost: Install All The Needed Modules and Libraries First things first: before you rush in and “play” with all the settings put at your disposal, you need to properly download and enable everything you'll need for building your slideshow. Well, these are the main steps to take: 1. Start by making up your mind on how you'll download your Views Slideshow module, (its Drupal 8 version obviously): will you download it directly from its module page on Drupal.org or by using Drush? If you prefer the Drush alternative, these are the lines what you'll need to enter: drush dl views_slideshow then drush en views_slideshow -y (for enabling your module) 2.  Now if you've chosen the first method instead, simply unzip the file you will have downloaded from the module page and paste it to your Drupal 8 site's directory: yoursitesname/module                3. Keep in mind that you'll need to enable Views Slideshow Cycle, as well 4. Can you spot the “Download ZIP” button on the top right corner of your screen? If so, just click on it! 5. Unzip the library that you've just downloaded 6. Once you've unzipped it, create its future folder, naming it "jquery.cycle" 7. Now pay particular attention to this step (since it's in this aspect that the two apparently identical installations processes, Drupal 8's and Drupal 7's, differ): you'll need to upload your resulting files to the libraries/ folder in the root of your website 8. And this is what you should be looking at right now if everything went well with all the downloading and enabling steps you've completed so far   9. Now you'll need to create a brand new content type that should contain your slides: Structure > Content Type > Add content type 10. Next, you'll inevitably get to the Manage Fields section. Go to “Add a Field” and make sure you'll have a content type with an image field attached.   2. Build A Views Block  1. Head to Structure > Views > Add new view 2. Think of a suitable name for it 3. Click on “Create a Block” 4. In the block's settings- “Display format”, select “Slideshow” 5. “Save and edit”   6. Can you spot the “Field” section, on the left side of the screen? It shows only “Content:Title” by default right now; feel free to delete that default title if you don't find it necessary to have it displayed on your Drupal site 7. Click on the “Add” button 8. Next, look for your image field, then scan through all the available fields there and select the one(s) you'd like to include in your slideshow 9. Then click on “Add and configure fields”. Also, in order to set up your slideshow's style (all its future effects here included, as well), go click on "Slideshow",  under “Format”. 10. Click on “Apply” 11. There! Now you should be able to vizualize your recently added image in the Preview section that you have in the bottom of your page! 12. As soon as you're done adding all the fields that you consider a “must” to your slideshow, just click on “Save”.  And voila! You've just built your Views block! Let's move on to the next key step to take as you build a slideshow in Drupal 8:   3. Configure and Then Publish Your Slideshow Block Finally! You're closer than ever to getting your View displayed on your Drupal 8 site: 1. Go to Structure > Block layout  2. Once there, click on the "Demonstrate block regions"  3. Next, carefully select the area on your website that you'd like your slideshow to show up. Do you want it displayed in “Sidebar first” or maybe in “Content” or rather in the bottom of the page? 4. Once you've decided upon the region that you'd like it published on, just click on the “Place block” button (you'll find it next to “Content”) 5. Another more key selection to make are we're almost done! Choose the page that you'd like your slideshow to get published: scan through the list of web pages displayed under “Pages” and... make up your mind. 6. If you're dealing with a block region including several regions, ensure that your block is properly placed, as well! 7. Once you've made your decision, click the “Save block” At this point you must be looking at your slideshow published on your Drupal site!   4. Set Up Image Styles for Your Slideshow By now you must have already noticed that the images that you will have included in your slideshow are of different sizes. The solution, so that they should all fit into the block region? Creating an image style! 1. Go to Configuration > Image styles > Add Image style 2. Name your image style 3. Next enter a "Machine readable name"  4. Click on the “Create new style” button 5. Next go to “Effect” and select an image effect from those listed in the drop-down menu (Crop, Resize or... another one) 6. Then set up your image's width and height (keep in mind that they will depend greatly on your chosen block region's sizes) 7. Finally click on “Update effect”   8. Now it's time to edit your View 9. Click on your image field (under the “Fields” area) for getting it edited 10. Next in the “Image Style” field simply select the style you've just created Click “Save” and feel free to check your slideshow on your website. Useful Tip: in case you're facing the challenge of building a responsive slideshow in Drupal 8, remember to enable the “Responsive images” module in Drupal core.    5. Add Some Controls, too, As You Build a Slideshow in Drupal 8 Since it must be more than just a visually impressive slideshow that you might want to put on your Drupal 8 site, but a user-friendly one, too, aimed at enhancing users' navigation on your website, some controls are definitely a must. Therefore, here's how you add them: 1. Go back to the screen where you get to edit your view 2. Click on “Settings” (neighboring “Slideshow”, under Format) 3. There, select your controls: go for a pager, a counter or for previous-next buttons...   TADA! This is how you build a slideshow in Drupal 8! Give it a try! If we've skipped adding any crucial information to our our step-by-step guide, feel free to “warn” us. Also, if you encounter any type of problems through the process, don't hesitate to let us know. We're ready to use our Drupal expertise to “save the day”, your day!   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 13'2017
3 Ways to Update Your Drupal 8 Core 
       Why should you depend on your managed IT service provider for every minor update that you need to make to your Drupal 8 core? Especially if we're talking about updates that would require no more than a couple of minutes of your time, a few “precautions” to take beforehand and a couple of simple commands for you to enter? Therefore, take this “tutorial” here as a “DIY” type of guide: one empowering you with knowledge on how to update your current Drupal 8 to its latest version. Or, better said: “take this tutorial here as 3 DIY separate guides”, or rather as a 3-in-1 guide, since we'll do our best to explain to you the three different methods available to you for updating your Drupal 8 core yourself. And, before we proceed, just a quick specification only to make sure that we're on the same page: on “Drupal planet” upgrade refers to leveling up to a major version of the CMS (e.g. from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8), whereas update refers to leveling up to a minor or patch version of Drupal 8 (e.g. from Drupal 8. 2.6. to Drupal 8.2.7). OK, so now that we've got this tiny detail straight, let's start with the list of “precautions” that we've just mentioned here before we jump straight to detailing the 3 methods for you to update your Drupal 8 core with:   Precautions to Take & Extra Info to Consider Before You Update   take it as a best practice, as an important piece of advice or as a “warning”, but mind you never skip this critical preliminary step: make a full backup of your database and of all your files before you proceed with the update; also, remember to activate the maintenance mode from your admin panel, before you go ahead and apply changes to your Drupal 8 website. These 2 apparently negligible precautions can actually make the difference between an event-less updating procedure and one leading to critical data loss and leaving you with no backup solution to retrieve them!   consider updating a test copy of your site first, prior to running the update on its live version. You never know what impact those seemingly minor updates that you'll be running can have on your site's behavior. Better safe than sorry!   this as a useful tip: each new release of Drupal comes with its own release notes listing not just all the improvements/changes applied to that specific version of Drupal, but also guidelines on how to update or to upgrade it to future releases, as well. So, you may want to have a quick look at those notes, as well, before you jump straight to the updating process.   Update Your Drupal 8 Core Via Drush Just a few words about Drush: it's Drupal's shell interface that enables you to perform your administrative tasks, quick and easy, right from your command line (how familiar are you with working in a command-line tool?) And these are all the steps you need to take if you choose the Drush-way for updating your Drupal 8 core:   First and foremost: you install Drush (obviously!).   With the risk of being overly “annoying”, we need to stress, once again, that it's vital for you to backup your site before you make any changes (and especially since it's core changes that you'll be making in this case here). Use Drush for that: run the drush archive-drump command.   Also, as already mentioned, you need to activate the maintenance mode prior to the update process itself. Why should you run any risk, especially when there's just one simple Drush command for you to enter: drush sset system.maintenance_mode 1?    It's now that you actually run the update procedure itself, through another Drush command: drush pm-update.     Finally, you just need to put your “freshly” updated Drupal 8 website back online and this is the command to type in Drush for triggering this action: drush sset system.maintenance_mode 0.    Et voila! Some simple commands to enter and a couple of quick essential steps to take and you're running the latest release of Drupal 8 on your website!   Update Your Drupal 8 Core Via Composer  This is, no doubt, the “speediest” method of them all! Note: remember to backup (there! we've said it again!) and to use maintenance mode on production. Also, we, the OPTASY team, advise you to go for composer install rather than running your update on production! And, of course, a few words about Composer: it's a package management tool, a truly powerful one, that you can use for managing your PHP based applications. OK, now let's get back to our step-by-step guide on how to update your Drupal 8 core via Composer. Well, in fact, it's a “one step” procedure: simply enter the “composer update” command into your command-line interface and let it run the update for you: Loading composer repositories with package information Updating dependencies (including require-dev)   Update Your Drupal 8 Core Manually This is, indeed, the most tedious of all the 3 methods for you to update your Drupal 8 core with, but it's also the most thorough of them all.  And this is the sequence of steps involved:   First, you go ahead and download the newest version of Drupal 8   Next log in to your site's admin panel, either as a user having the “administer software update” permission or as an admin   You make a backup of your database (for example through PHPMyAdmin)   Once you have your database backup, you need to activate the maintenance mode (Administration > Configuration > Development > Maintenance mode), exactly like you would if you'd be using Drush instead   Remove and then replace the vendor and the core directory from your website with the ones that you will have already downloaded upon downloading the latest version of Drupal 8: composer.lock, licence.txt, robots.txt, index.php, web.config, autoload.php. Note: do not override your “older” directories with the new ones, as this will just cause a WSOD error!   Remember to remove, also, all the files from your website's top-level directory. Keep the ones that you've manually added to your website, the ones that you've made changes to (like error log file, Google, Bing verification file). Do keep your modules, profiles, your themes, and site directories, as well!   Upload the core directory from the new Drupal 8 version that you will have downloaded (see step 1!)   Extract and copy the composer.lock, the composer.json and the .htaccess files from the newly downloaded version of Drupal 8   Upload the “new” vendor directory to your website   Head to yourwebsite'sdomainname.com/update    Just follow all the on-screen instructions given to you there   And that's it!   Wrapping Up As you can see for yourself, no matter which one of the three methods you might go for, updating your Drupal 8 core is no rocket science. It's no super complicated procedure that you, as a Drupal 8 website admin/owner can't perform it yourself.  Have you already tried any one of these methods? Have you encountered any unexpected errors? If so, do share your experience in the comments below so that we can identify the “culprit” and come up with a solution for your specific updating case! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 05'2017
5 Ways to Boost Your Content Marketing Strategy with Drupal 8
“Out-of-the-box mobile-responsiveness”, “highly flexible, personalized content delivery”, “high page-load speed”, “multilingual capabilities” and the list of Drupal 8's cool features can go on...   These are but some of the possible answers to your legitimate questions: “What's it in for me, a digital marketer?” or “What's in it for my online marketing team/s?” or “How can I turbocharge my marketing strategy with Drupal 8?” or “How will it supercharge my SEO efforts?” Face it:   no framework comes optimized out-of-the-box   you need to enable your digital marketing team to grow independent from the IT department (time is money, after all or)   “just” an impeccably coded website, with a stunning, visually-appealing design, won't help you reach the conversion rate that you're dreaming of   you need to effectively reach out to your own target audience, which leads us to one of the present day's biggest digital marketing challenges: delivering hyper-personalized, segmented content (by audience), across all the available social media channels and devices out there.   Now that we've pointed out the main challenges that you're facing these days, as a marketer, let's find out how Drupal 8's marketing tools can help you overcome them:   1. Take Content Personalization To a Whole New Level   “Personalization”, “hyper-personalized, relevant content” are the key “trendy” terms on every digital marketer's lips these days!   And on every Drupal web developer striving to do “the seemingly impossible”: personalizing the websites he/she builds, no matter how challenging this might sound.   Well, good news: Drupal 8's ready to provide you with the right tools for achieving this “mission impossible” type of goal!   Here's how:   it allows you to divide your audience into several customer segments   next, once you've gathered all the valuable data about each one of those sub-units, you get to craft the particular, personalized content relevant for each one of them   last, but definitely not least: you get to deliver your personalized content across all channels, all devices, in real-time   In conclusion: after it empowers you with segment-targeted data (and we'll talk about that, as well, in a future post on the Google Analytics module in Drupal 8), it also delivers you the right tools for actually leveraging that data.    For turning it into the content featuring a high level of personalization that your website visitors actually expect to find on your site.   2. From a Mobile-Ready Mentality to a Mobile-First One   In other words: with Drupal 8 mobile responsiveness has leveled up from an add-on to a core functionality!   All of its core themes are responsive! This is probably one of the biggest leaps into the post-browser future that any framework out there has take so far!    Considering this, it wouldn't be too bold to predict voice-based interactions to be implemented in Drupal 8 sooner than you expect!    And there's more!   It's not just your Drupal 8 website's visitors that get to enjoy a mobile-authentic experience on your website, but you, too, get to benefit from its built-in mobile responsiveness feature.    Your administrative interface, too, is mobile-optimized in Drupal 8!   In other words: you get to clear caches, produce and manage your content right from your own mobile device!   3. Simplified Content Creation, Management and Delivery    Since content is still almighty king and, therefore, content marketing plays a key role in your digital marketing strategy handling your content easily and quickly is crucial for you, right?   Not to worry: Drupal 8's got your back!    Its content-as-a-service functionality comes to streamline your whole content marketing plan:    its WYSIWYG editor turns creating and editing content, directly on the web page, into a matter of point-and-click its unified web-interface allows you to handle all your content-related tasks in one place and to easily deliver it across all channels and platforms (social media channelrs, web, mobile etc.) it enables you to handle your content (whether it's creating/editing or delivering it)  on-the-go, right from your mobile device   you get to check, beforehand, how your content will look on various devices    you get to scan through a whole collection of image size (alignment, shape) options    lots of Drupla 7's add-on modules are now part of Drpal 8's core; and here we cannot help not mentioning Views, one of the most popular module enabling you to pick the format that you want for your content to be displayed in   “Simplified” is the right word to describe the authoring experience in Drupal 8, don't you agree?   4. Build Your Global Presence With Drupal 8   Now you do realize that one couldn't possibly create hyper-personalized content without an efficient multilingual system to could rely on, right?   Good news: Drupal 8's ready to support your global presence!   It's ready to deliver you the tools that will help you speak all your users' languages.  It makes territory-specific content creation a lot simpler.   But let's talk facts, shall we?      1. the once just a partial and, moreover, a difficult to use translation-oriented support (think Drupal 7) has turned into a built-in multilingual system in Drupal 8      2. it's not just the administration interface that you get to translate, but you can rely on Drupal 8's translator for links, titles and entire web pages on your website       3. your visitors get to choose from a list of different languages that you'll provide on your Drupal 8 site       4.  we're talking about “built-in” multilingual functionality: every component is translatable by default (and we're talking about 94 different languages available in Drupal 8 core)   In other words: with Drupal 8 it's easier than ever to... go global!         5. Get Ready to Deliver Content at Top Speed    If time is money and more conversions lead to more money, then we can as well say that: optimized page load time guarantees you... more earnings, right?   And it will also boost your website in rankings and it will implicitly help you improve the overall user experience on your site.   Luckily, Drupal 8 is built with high page load speed in mind!   Let us point out to you some of the major enhancements that have dramatically improved its performance from a page load time standpoint:   it has tremendously improved caching: its relies on cache tags and on Cache Content API, which allows it to perform context-based caching   it uses the “bigpipe technique”: the Bigpipe module, part of Drupal 8's core, will display the cachable/static content first and then the dynamic/uncachable content. Therefore, your web pages will load faster, while your visitors still get the latest version of your website   In conclusion: with its critical improvements, aimed at optimizing Drupal 8 at a page load time level, you'll get to deliver your hyper-personalized content at high speed!   Is this 5 arguments-pleading strong enough for supporting our statement that Drupal 8 is, indeed, any digital marketer's dream come true? It empowers him/her (no need of much technical expertise for turning any Drupal 8 website into a true “marketing-machine” of the future), it simplifies his overall authoring experience, streamlines the whole marketing team's workflow and it easily boost their SEO efforts, too.   Have we left anything out?  ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Feb 15'2017