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?
Adrian Ababei / Jul 12'2017
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?
Adrian Ababei / Jun 08'2017
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.
Adrian Ababei / May 08'2017
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!
Adrian Ababei / Apr 21'2017
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!
Adrian Ababei / Apr 13'2017
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!
Adrian Ababei / Apr 05'2017
“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?
Adrian Ababei / Feb 15'2017
Have you had enough of hearing and reading about cutting-edge Drupal's innovative features? About all the improvements that its developers have implemented to this version of Drupal? About its: unmatched functionality about how it can upload files a top speed about how it comes equipped with cool multilingual add-ons about the truly innovative mobile-first mentality that it embeds and about its goal to cut out the middlemen and empowering the end user even more? About extended control, put in the hands of developers, builders, content editors and site admins? And now you want some of all that, too, right? You want to gain such control over your own site, as well, to supercharge it with such power and to get it aligned not just with the present-day digital trends, but to those of the future, as well. Those that Drupal 8's developers have already anticipated? Then go ahead! But, before you upgrade to Drupal 8, take some time to go through our set of 6 tips on how to get your site properly prepared for this significant upgrade Preparation is key for a smooth and effective upgrade to Drupal 8, you know! 1. Before You Upgrade to Drupal 8: Audit Your Current Site No business/website owner “worth his salt” could possibly have high hopes from upgrading his website if he skips this major step! How could you project its evolution if you're clueless (or have just a vague idea) of where it's standing right now, from a technical standpoint? So, before you rush in to install all those “uber cool”, feature-rich Druipal 8 modules on your website, you'd better start building the rock solid foundation of your future Drupal 8 website. Open a forever reliable Google doc. and start filling it up! Start examining your current website and write down the answers to a couple of key questions: What sections of your current site do you use most frequently? What sections of your site are barely ever used? Is your current administrative interface user friendly enough? Are there any broken links or inefficient workflows on your site? Write down everything that you find relevant in your Google doc., ranging from those aspects/workflows on your website that you won't give up to, to all the challenges that you're facing as you're closely auditing it, thoroughly. Don't forget to write down all your migration-related expectations, as well! As you and your team will have your moments of inspiration and will “burst” with new innovative ideas that you could implement on your site, make sure to write them down in this soon to become your priceless resource: your Google doc. You may not realize it now, but this document “locking in” all the key aspects of your current website will be “pure gold” once you delve deeper and deeper into all the other stages of this site preparation for migration process! 2. Keep It Under Version Control Sometimes it's Drupal's innovative nature itself that could turn into its own weak point! The “empowering the user” goal, aimed at turning the whole configuration changes into a matter of point and click could also turn breaking up a site into a matter of just a few seconds. Good news: through its Configuration Management Interface (CMI) Drupal 8 promises to put this possible scenario away for good! What you can do, for avoiding such an unwanted scenario to happen, is to capture updates via code and to roll them into your production site. Rely on version control and on Drupal 7's Features and Configuration Management modules. Implementing such a good practice will automatically guarantee you a more streamlined Drupal 8 workflow and a “safety-net” if something wrong happens: you can always roll back those trouble-making changes. Ever-so-useful practices, like this one, will always watch your back! 3. Re-organize Your Team: Set Up a Modular Workflow Preparing your team, as well, and not just your current website, is another crucial step of this whole “preparing to upgrade to Drupal 8” process! Drupal 8's own distinct nature (compared to other versions of Drupal) calls for a far more scalable, modular approach to its CMS design and content authoring. Therefore your team, as well, should be structured differently. This calls for a different type of workflow! One where each team's leader gets assigned to coordinate it, to make sure the overall vision gets properly implemented, while each member of the team gets manageable tasks (one class file per developer, for instance). Separate implementations, several distinct tasks assigned to each team member will put together the Drupal 8's specific workflow: a much more scalable, easy to handle and therefore efficient one. With each member of your team focusing on a specific part of the project and a leader coordinating the whole team, they'll get to respond to any occurring challenges in a far more promptly manner! 4. Audit Your Current Modules, One by One With your team now ready to enjoy all the advantages and to handle all the challenges of Drupal 8-specific modular and scalable workflow, it's time to run an audit on your modules, as well! It's crucial that you have everything, at the modules' level, up to date, before you upgrade to Drupal 8! Take a close look: Are there modules on your site that you haven't been using in a long, long time and so, are just taking up space there? Are there deprecated modules on your current website? Are there modules which have been updated on Drupal.org, but not on your website, too? Take each one of your Drupal 7 modules and closely examine them, discovering which ones are still active, which ones aren't up to date etc. There might not be an equivalent in Drupal 8 for each one of your Drupal 7 modules, but even so, it is crucial that you have your Drupal 7 ones active and updated. Are there any custom modules on your current Drupal site? Then rely on Drupal Module Upgrader. The command-line will streamline the entire module converting/updating process from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. To sum it up, these are the 3 key steps you should take during the module audit stage: analyze the current status of each one of your modules on Drupal.org discover which ones of your Drupal 7 modules already have a Drupal 8 equivalent available find out what Drupal 7 modules have been transferred to Drupal 8 core 5. Run Security Updates Before You Upgrade to Drupal 8 Is installing the latest Drupal security updates part of your “routine”? It should be! It saves you huge amounts of time, especially when you're preparing your site for critical changes, like this one here, when you're about to ugrade to Drupal 8. Not to mention that it safeguards your whole online presence, your entire business, after all. Therefore, make sure your site runs on the latest version of Drupal, that both your core and your contributed modules are properly secured. That all the recently patches have been installed before you upgrade to Drupal 8. You wouldn't want precisely this upgrade to turn into a source of major vulnerability for your website from a security standpoint, now do you? 6. Keep Up With The Latest Module Changes Get informed before you upgrade to Drupal 8! This means that you shouldn't rush in to perform the migration until you haven't updated your own knowledge regarding Drupal's modules: what modules will be part of Drupal 8' core? what modules are already deprecated? what modules are no longer part of the “contrib” section in Drupal 8? Find out what's new in Drupal 8, in terms of modules: which ones have “leveled up” in the “hierarchy”, which ones are no longer aligning with Drupal 8's mentality and innovative nature and so on. Find out all about what's changing, what's trending and what's not, anymore, in terms on Drupal modules, before you migrate your website. This is our set of 6 tips and tricks for preparing your website for a smooth upgrade to Drupal 8. Do you have any other “preliminary procedures” that you usually undertake before migrating your website from one version of Drupal to another? Feel free to share!
Adrian Ababei / Feb 13'2017
Have you decided to finally turbocharge your existing website with some of all that functionality and innovative features that Drupal 8's been so appraised for? Or maybe it's no migration/leveling up involved, but you're actually facing the challenge of building a brand new company website and you want to “charge” it with some of all that Drupal 8 power and flexibility that the whole community of Drupal developers is so excited about? Then you must be wondering which are the best Drupal 8 modules that you could select for your new or your “to be migrated” website! Your question is more than legitimate, considering all those feature-rich Drupal 8 modules (and there are over 2000 of them!) that this latest version of Drupal is “seducing” you with. And it will continue to get increasingly challenging to choose the very best, considering the fact that Drupal 8 is still a work-in progress. Its community is constantly: porting modules from previous versions of Drupal building brand new ones putting together their efforts for making it even more stable and user friendly Before we go on sharing with you our own list of five best Drupal 8 modules, allow us to give you a good piece of news! It's, in fact, part of the whole boosted functionality and extra cool features “battle plan” that Drupal 8's developers have put together for this version of Drupal: many of the highly popular Drupal 7 modules not only that have been ported to Drupal 8, but they're now in its core! And now, let's enlist and detail a bit the modules on Drupal 8's “walk of fame”: Best Drupal 8 Modules to Turbocharge Your Website With 1. Admin Toolbar Why was there a need for a “new” admin menu? What “flaws” of the original menu needed to be fixed in Drupal 8? Well, in Drupal 7, even though the admin menu enabled adding drop-down menus, it lacked responsiveness. A mobile-friendly look was greatly needed! One aimed at fixing the “barely visible, hardly clickable on mobile devices” issue of the former drop-down menus. And so: Drupal 8's Admin Toolbar was born! It's a fully responsive version, with enhanced drop-down menus functionality, streamlining the admin's workflow: admins can now break the habit of constantly clicking-through in order to get to various sub-menus. Thus, an easy to use back-end interface for all those user roles in charge with content editing, producing or moderating is now available in Drupal 8! There's more! Admin Toolbar comes with a sub-module, as well: Admin Toolbar Extra Tools! This one empowers admins to extend their menus' functionality even further: they get to add extra links for running cron, for flushing cache etc. Talking about Drupal “empowering the user”, right? 2. Google Analytics Google Analytics is any website owner's “best buddy”. It “obediently” delivers you pretty much any type of reports and comprehensive charts you need for monitoring your visitors' behavior and your site's overall performance. Still, this is no news for anyone running an online business, especially not for someone operating in the digital “arena” of 2017, right? Now, what Drupal 8 does, though its Google Analytics module, is that it streamlines your whole data monitoring and interpreting process, since it enables you to analyze your statistics right from your Drupal interface! This is the “real” news! 3. Token We couldn't have possibly left out precisely one of Drupal's most popular modules, right? There isn't one web developer in Toronto, site administrator or website owner who could imagine carrying out their daily tasks without relying on tokens. They're Drupal's ultimate efficiency-boosters! Acting as placehoders designed for automatically completing the tasks you assign to them, they streamline anyone's work. Here's probably the most “rudimentary' example for you: a basic token such as [site:name] will automatically insert your website's name! Basically what the Token module does, is that it supplies those tokens that are not available in core, especially fields, and also an user interface for you to use for scanning through the available collection of tokens. On a greater scale, this module, one of the very best Drupal 8 modules, can work together with other modules, such as Pathauto, for carrying out more complex tasks, too. Tasks such as providing URL patterns for your whole Drupal website! 4. Devel Devel is not just another one of the modules on our top five best Drupal 8 modules list: it's a whole “bunch” of sub-modules, in fact. One more “tempting” than the other, both for developers and for Drupal themers. Let's highlight some of the most popular ones: Devel Node Access: provides detailed information regarding the node access mechanism of your Drupal installation Kint: a debugging tool designed to display variables and backtraces in a nicely formatted, organize way, thus easing your overall understanding Web Profiler: adds a bottom toolbar presenting you all kinds of relevant stats, such as database queries, which services are being used, cache effectiveness etc. Devel Generate: creates dummy entities, thus populating your test site with images, taxonomy, dummy users etc. 5. Pathauto What makes Pathauto one of the best Drupal 8 modules? It's marks the end of and “era”, the “node/4803” types of links era, and the beginning of a new one! One of the automatically generated user-friendly, easy to remember types of links. The ones that your users will be more familiar with and that search engine will find easier to discover, read and index, as well. As for you, say “hello” to a higher ranking in SERP! “How does it work?” you say? What Pathauto does, in Drupal 8, is that it generates URL aliases automatically: no more manually created Drupal links from now on. Moreover (and this is huge!), it enables you (or, better said, it “empowers” you) to change the custom token system generating the URL aliases as you wish! And this is our list of top five best Module 8 modules! The modules that we rely on for setting up and managing various features of the web projects that we carry out here, in our web design company in Toronto! Which are your own favorite ones?
Adrian Ababei / Feb 07'2017