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Avoid These Common Pitfalls In Drupal Module Development
Just like anything and everything else, Drupal also has a learning curve. Until you had mastered the techniques, tools and options it offers, got familiar with the best Drupal themes and have a good sense of knowing what you’re doing - mistakes are going to happen. Which is the reason we’re publishing this article - to minimize those mistakes and help you get ahead of the game. So, without further ado, let’s get to work and cover the main pitfalls that await when creating Drupal modules. Too Code Heavy The main goal of a module is to simplify things. When a module is created, it will compete with tens of thousands of other modules that are already there and those that are coming out right now. Look for shortcuts to streamline and make your process more efficient. If it’s too long to read, it may be too long to write. Cumbersome Modules Keep it simple. One module that does one thing well is easy to understand and a pleasure to use. A module that tries to do too many things at once may be cumbersome, inefficient and frustrating to users. Moreover, producing 10 modules with one function each will take less time than coding one that does all 10 things all by itself. Workflow problem solved! Ignoring Drupal Core API Drupal module development best practices hinge on using the core API. It makes things easy, fast, comfortable. And yet, there are developers who somehow manage to avoid it. You should generate links using l(), static strings should be passed via t() and so on. It makes your code easy to maintain and consistent with Drupal’s internal logic. Make sure to always use it. Not Using Caches Caching policies should be your standard practice from the very first stages of the project. There are so many cache-related bugs which can be avoided this way, you’d be surprised how much easier it becomes once you start doing it. Neglecting Inter-Module Integration When you install Drupal modules, you want them not just to work independently, but together as well. You need to make your modules work with other entities, permissions, views and domains. This integration will result in a more cohesive website that doesn’t snag on itself when trying to do work that involves modules interaction. Want to know more about how to create modules in Drupal 8? Let’s talk! We’re here for you. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 18'2017
Drupal 8 Ubercart Vs Drupal Commerce: Important Factors to Emphasize
With online sales being a huge and growing phenomenon, more and more entrepreneurs take their business online. The amount of e-commerce stores, platforms and services is growing as well. In this particular blog, we’d like to compare two options that are out there: Drupal 8 Ubercart vs Drupal Commerce.   Drupal 8 Ubercart vs Drupal Commerce There will be those who’d say that Drupal is a reboot of Ubercart, especially since the lead developer from Ubercart is the one who’d now gave us Drupal Commerce, a set of Drupal modules. While this has some truth to it, there’s more to consider here than a superficial comparison can provide. There are similarities, naturally, but like any reboot, there is a vast difference as well, with massive improvements and upgrades. Let's examine the two eCommerce platforms from several different perspectives.   1. Popularity Points While Ubercart is more popular at the moment, more and more businesses are migrating and getting a Drupal shop instead. Either way, at tens of thousands of users on each, we can say they are roughly equal in this respect.   2. Future-Proofing Both platforms look like they’re in for the long haul. Drupal 8 Ubercart has its base of loyal users and Drupal’s strong forward-momentum makes this a close competition. This is promising for both players of course, and reassuring for their users.   3. Customizable Features Both are very configurable platforms, but Drupal Commerce themes are often much more impressive. This is mainly, but not only, due to the fact that Drupal 8 comes with themes that are mobile-first, making shopping a breeze from any device. A great bonus.   4. Edge Cases Or, in other words, what’s missing and how bad is it when you hit that wall? There are things you can only do in Drupal shop configuration and not in Drupal 8 Ubercart. Especially when it comes to the Drupal 8 shopping cart - both in terms of design and functionality. Then again, there are things that Ubercart does well and Drupal is still working on. It will surely catch on soon enough, however, so we’re not worried.   5. Ease of Use In terms of basic use, Ubercart seems easier than Drupal Commerce. The ease is a fair price to pay however, for the power, integrations, and security that Drupal 8 offers and Ubercart can no longer match. Want to know more about Drupal eCommerce development and the best Drupal modules to power your online store with? We’re here, just give us a shout! Your Drupal shop and internet marketing success are one short click or call away. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 16'2017
Future Looks Good: Upgrades in Drupal Made Easy
15 years! 15 years since Drupal's been turbocharging websites with cutting-edge features! 15 years during which the open source platform has been shaping mentalities and has been daring innovation-driven developers and organizations to embrace “change”! And, ironically, it's precisely its lead developers' openness to innovation that made it increasingly challenging for its end users to keep up with its major upgrades. It looks like Drupal's own innovative nature is the one “sabotaging“ it: turning the upgrading from one major Drupal version to the next into such a cumbersome, often discouraging process. Therefore: a new way of applying website upgrades in Drupal was greatly needed! And so, this need easily turned into a commitment for its founder and his team, who've been making progresses in setting up a way of synchronizing their “thirst” for innovation with Drupal users' efforts to assimilate the platform's upgrades. To implement them into their own web projects/websites. This is when the “continuous innovation” idea sparked and soon turned into a “movement” about to turn, now, into a whole working method to revolutionize the way we're upgrading our websites from one Drupal version to another. Let's dig into details: 1.  The "Continuous Innovation" Model The model is nothing new to you, we're sure about that, just that maybe you haven't yet put a name on it. It's been around since Drupal 8, in fact, and it's strongly related to the Drupal community's “commitment” to release a new minor upgrade, for the same version of Drupal, every 6 moths.  Just think of the improvements in terms of functionality between Drual 8.2 and Drupal 8.1, for instance. BigPipe, layouts, workflows have been all improvements in the platform's functionality which have been added gradually from one new upgrade to the other. This way you, as a Drupal developer/Drupal user can continuously upgrade your website with new sizable improvements. It gets a lot easier to incorporate all these minor upgrades in Drupal than if you had to wait a couple of years for all these minor upgrades to be released all at once, upon the launch of a new major Drupal version. “Continuous upgrade” is THAT solution to the challenge that Drupal developers used to face every few years, when they had to embark on a tedious, overly complex upgrading “adventure”.  2. Applying the New "Minor Upgrade" Model to Major Upgrades, too! It's the overall success of the continuous innovation model applied to minor upgrades that convinced Drupal's core developers to extend its benefits to the major upgrading process, as well. Such as upgrading from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9, for instance. What would this project imply?   a continuous release of new features (minor upgrades) for the open source platform, that developers will have to adopt and adapt to; yet: old systems and new systems will continue to cohabit   making regular backwards-compatible changes to Drupal 8 Implicitly, as new functionalities get added to Drupal 8, with each and every new minor upgrade's release, its load of deprecated code will get heavier and heavier. Up to one the point when this version will be replaced with Drupal 9. All this while the upgrading process will be an “organic”, less “traumatizing” one for Drupal developers and Drupal users. By the time Drupal 9 gets released, all Drupal 8 websites will have already incorporated its new features. In other words” Drupal 9 will be nothing but Drupal 8 minus its overload of code which will have already become deprecated. There will be no need for an overly complex migration process as we know it today!   3. “I'm a Drupal Developer: What Does The Continuous Innovation Model Mean For Me?” Glad you asked!  In order to gain full benefits from integrating this innovative upgrading model into your workflow, you need to start (if you haven't already) adopting the best practices:   regularly remove deprecated code and replace it with updated one   run updates to the latest APIs on a regular basis   By including these 2 key best practices into your web development routine you'll be actually ensuring that Drupal 9.0 will be compatible with your website from its very first day of release! 4. “I'm a Site Owner: What Does This Way of Applying Upgrades in Drupal Mean for Me?”  Well, as a site owner, the very best practice you could adopt (as you “prepare” your site for Drupal 9's release) is to migrate it to Drupal 8 if it still runs on Drupal 7. Thus, your team of Drupal developers will be able to apply all the Drupal 8 minor upgrades every few months, getting it ready for Drupal 9's release. 5. Any News About Drupal 9's Release? The news is that there is no big release news! According to Drupal's founder, Dries Buytaert, Drupal 9.0 won't be released any time soon!  Meanwhile, regular minor upgrades will be released for Druipal 8, according to their release schedule, so be sure to catch up with those. In conclusion, as already stated in this post's title: “future looks good” for us, the ones living on “planet Drupal”! Running major upgrades in Drupal will never be the same again once the “continuous innovation” method will have been fully implemented for streamlining the whole process of moving websites from one major Drupal version to another, as well.  What do you think? Do you see it as a truly viable solution to the ever-challenging way of migrating websites from one Drupal version to the next one or have you already identified some of its possible limitations?  ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 11'2017
Drupal's Walk of Fame: 10 Most Famous Drupal Websites 
TWITTER, TESLA MOTORS, WHITE HOUSE, LE FIGARO, EMMYS, these are all former Drupal web projects now turned into worldwide known success stories. Into some of the most famous Drupal websites! And Drupal's own "Hall of fame" includes many other leading global brands, high standard setting government websites and high education sites. Each one of them “speaks” of some of Drupal's “luring” features that turned it into their CMS: some speak of Drupal's unmatched capability of handling “truckloads” of traffic and huge amount data some speak of Drupal as a robust content management system enabling content creation (content ranging from videos, text, blogs, polls, real time stats) with such an ease and flexibility that no other CMS can rival it others speak of governments' high standards on security that only the Drupal CMS supports other speak of its “legendary” flexibility and modularity, of the unlimited freedom of customization that its users can leverage others have become the most reliable advocates of Drupal's scalability while others have been “seduced” by Drupal's limitless integration with other solutions and third-party services (part of its unmatched flexibility) and by the freedom that one can enjoy for creating user-based, highly customized UI's Needless to add that this list doesn't end here! Now, if we are to pick 4 of Drupal's features that each one of the websites that will be “stealing the spotlight” on the “red carpet” unrolled below, have been powered with, these would be: SCALABILITY + FLEXIBILITY + SECURITY + INNOVATIVE POTENTIAL 1. HARVARD SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT This specific Harvard department has been one of the most valuable websites from Drupal community's portfolio since 2007. What does this “Drupal success story” look like today? Well, it turned into an easy-to-read site displaying large images linking to current stories, with articles listed underneath, accompanied, each, by a photo and a snippet, along with sidebars listing all the department resources. Tasteful, easily readable: overall an efficiently structured content-driven website that even today earns shiniest “star” on Drupal's walk of fame! 2. THE ECONOMIST Launched in 1843, this magazine looking-like newspaper (in fact), has chosen Drupal to power its online version due to some key reasons: Drupal's active global community and its whole “constellation” of modules have been another reasons that weighted heavily in their decision-making from all the CMSs out there, Drupal turned out to be the only providing a solid-enough “foundation” for quick and easily writing, publishing and delivering news to millions of visitors on a daily basis it was Drupal that was capable to upgrade the ECONOMIST's site with a custom subscription system since the team behind was facing the challenge of adding many social tools to their website in the future to come, Drupal provided them with the flexibility and the freedom of customization they were looking for 3. LE FIGARO Here's another name that honours the Drupal community! LE FIGARO's the second largest newspaper in France, a prestigious one “boasting” with a tradition of almost 2 centuries now. Why Drupal for powering this reputed newspaper's online version? Well, you should know that Drupal's powering this site's social features (it still uses the old content management system for its main content), such as the article comment feature. Therefore, it's Drupal's extensive social features that influenced the Le Figaro decisional team, no to mention the reduced costs involved, compared to other CMSs that they've analyzed. Go Drupal! 4. EMMYS, One of the Most Famous Drupal Websites Powering the website of one of the most renowned television awards in the world is no “child's game”, that's for sure! It calls for incredible scalability in order to ope with the huge influxes of visitors around the Emmy Awards time of the year! Luckily, “scalability” is just another word for “Drupal”! Drupal's now turned the Emmys website into one “powerful beast” capable to handle truckloads of users at the same time and heavy loads of content (multiple multimedia here included), all this without compromising performance. Handling high traffic at high speed, now that's one achievement that none of Drupal's traditional rivals (Joomla, WordPress) can't “boast” of yet. 5. WHITE HOUSE, By Far One of the Most Famous Drupal Websites This sure has been a major boost in Drupal's whole evolution as a web technology: year 2008 when, during president Obama's presidency, aligning with this one's costs reducing strategy, Drupal played a decisive role in revamping and rethinking the White House's website. It's not without reason that Drupal won the CMS's “election for the White House”:   it's been built with government-sized security standards in the very first place (login security: password length, characters to be used, time-limited passwords etc.) it can power large websites, heavy content-driven ones made of multiple dynamic components it comes with all the needed social features enabling participation and ensuring open communication (features crucial for any government website “praising” transparency and the community's active participation) it easily incorporates proprietary systems and third-party services, making it a highly flexible platform to work with being an open source technology and thanks to to its modularity, it involved lower costs than other CMSs “candidating” for the White House and it implied less time   How does the White House website look now?   its navigation is much more visible the front page's now “dominated” by a large photo aimed at impacting and capturing visitors' attention   6. TESLA MOTORS Is it still necessary to add an introductory short presentation for this company?  It would go something like this: “Silicon Valley-based company designing, manufacturing and selling electric vehicles and power-train components.”  But we're sure this is no news for you... What you may not have known, till now, is that the TESLA MOTORS' website runs on Drupal!  Visiting it you'll land on a:   site featuring a minimalist, beautiful design (not that simple to develop as it is for the user to navigate on)   a site made of efficiently structured web pages, each one with its own infrastructure, with its own set of infographs, multiple icons and maps   a site “equipped” with social features encouraging customer community   a news delivery tool, showcasing new product details and news that administrators can add and deliver to the site's audience on the fly   A clean design with an emphasis on visually-engaging videos showcasing jaw-dropping Tesla cars in motion, completed by efficiently structured content on each web page. Impactful simplicity! This is what you get when two highly innovative brands, Drupal and Tesla Motors, meet! 7. WARNER BRO.S RECORDS Stepping on Drupal's “walk of fame” now and stealing all the spotlights is the WARNER BROS. RECORDS' website. Undoubtedly one of the most famous Drupal websites The reputed US label (with celebs such as Madonna, the White Stripes, Neil Young, R.E.M and many more as its advocates), with a dedicated Technology Department of its own, has chosen Drupal for redesigning its new site. And his is what you'll find on their Drupal-powered website (a multi-site setup in fact):   a visually stunning artist slider   draggable node panel   attention-grabbing pictures   multiple clicking details   visible icons   What you won't “see”, as a visitor, is that each artist's mini-site shares the same Drupal codebase. “Stylish” is the right name to describe this Drupal website! 8. FRENCH GOVERNMENT The French Government's website along with the Official Website for the Mayor of London and, of course, the White House's site, is but one more proof that: Drupal's turned into a gold web development standard when it comes to government websites. Is there any need that we list here, once again, all the key factors that convinced national governments to run their websites on this CMS? To stress, once more, Drupal's high security standards, unmatched scalability and the rest of its array of features that makes it not just the perfect choice, but the only choice for this type of websites?   9. TWITTER's DEVELOPER COMMUNITY TWITTER's developer-exclusive website's another former Drupal web project turned into a success story that still honors the community. Back then, when Drupal was selected for this “mission”, TWITTER was facing the challenge of handling an enormous community of registered users: developers working on more than 1 million apps. The need for a solid infrastructure and a highly robust web content management (there were walk-throughs, various documentation, forum discussions, blog content etc.) was critical! And it's in this context that Drupal developers stepped in!  What did they manage to do, you say? Well, put in just a few words: a Drupal-powered website where content can be added, edited, updated, published and easily accesses by thousands of developers hassle-free, on a regular basis!     10. OPTASY   Surprised? Don't be! Our team's striving to deserve its own star on Drupal's “walk of fame”, as well, you know! How?  by getting constantly inspired and stimulated by Drupal's amazing innovative potential   by fostering a customer-oriented mindset within our company   and, overall: by striving to leverage Drupal's incredible potential and our own expertise, creativity and passion for our work for delivering precisely those digital results capable to fuel our client's websites/apps for success! I'm sure your own list of “10 most famous Drupal websites” can't be identical to ours. We're quite curious which are the first 3 names listed there! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 23'2017
What If You Need to Add More Blocks to Drupal? 3 Simple Methods to Consider
You're well aware that they might affect your site's performance. That it will take its pages more time to “assemble” their whole overloads of content blocks and yet....You just need more blocks, a whole lot more! You just need to add more blocks to your Drupal site! And who could blame you for that? They practically make such a handy means of nicely structuring your custom content and put together a nice, engaging layout! Put together they just turn that complex, yet user-friendly content architecture into reality! Here a block here, there a block, each one enabling you to put together the perfect puzzle for your website. What do you do when you've apparently reached some sort of a limit of maximum blocks that you can add to your Drupal site? Well, you increase that maximum number! And you turn this apparent dead end into an incentive to keep improving your Drupal website's layout! Here's how:   1. But First: A Few Words About Blocks To boil it down to just a few words: blocks are content containers!  They can “hold” text lines, images, lists, full body texts etc. And, the great thing(s) about them is that once you automatically enable them, as you install core or contributed modules on your site,  you can easily adjust them to your liking. Decide upon their size, shape and where you'd like to place them on your site! Where can you view your blocks? Right here:                         Administer >> Structure >> Blocks   Which are the regions (sidebar, footer etc.) on your site that you can place them? Well, it depends on your Drupal site's theme(s), in fact! More themes “spoil” you with the chance to place your blocks differently for each theme. It's in your Block Admin page that you can decide on their vertical sort-order per region. It's there that you'll find your checkboxes, as well, and the link leading you to your blocks configuration page. “Empowered” with these checkboxes to check as you wish and the configuration page, you get to “indulge” in customizing your blocks' visibility to your liking!   2. How Do You Add More Blocks to Your Drupal Site? You're still here, in the block management screen, trying to figure out how to create a new block. It's easy! You go to:                        Administer >> Structure >> Blocks >> Add   See? As simple as that! The management screen comes with a “surprise” “Add block” link for you! Take it from there: fill in your description box, then your block body, pick the region that you'd like this new block to be “sent” to by “wandering about” your “Region Settings” and... end with a click on your “Save block” link! There you have it: Drupal site building made easy with blocks! Feel free to move them around, to drag and drop them in specific regions of your site's theme.   3. But What If You Need More Blocks, A Lot More? Things get a bit “trickier” when your blocks adding “ambitions” go beyond from the “average” ones. When your business website's full functionality depends on being able to carry many, many more “content holders” ( 50-100 or even more). You risk the chance of getting some frustrating error messages, that's for sure! “Trickier”, yet not impossible! There still are a few methods for increasing the limit, the number of maximum blocks that you can add to your Drupal site. Let's point them out: 1. Increase your maxium input size in your .htaccess file It's the ideal solution to take when it's a Drupal multi-site installation that you're dealing with! Here's how you do it: Access the directory where you Drupal site resides >> insert these lines to your .htaccess file:                <ifmodule mod_php5.c="">php_value max_input_vars 2000</ifmodule>    Tip: make sure you're on command line or that the editor you're using has been set up to show “hidden files”! Another tip: if you don't have access to your .htaccess file, since your website is on a shared host, contact your web hosting provider for editing this file for you! 2. Increase your maximum input limit in your php.ini file Since the default value in max_input_vars is set for 1000, feel free to increase it. Double or nothing or... even more? Here's how you do it: Access the php.ini file >> insert the following line:                           max_input_vars = 2000    Tip: in most cases this file resides at /etc/php5/php.ini on web servers! 3. Increase your site's maximum input limit in your settings.php file This is the most “versatile” solution of all three. Most Drupal web developers can fix the “I need to add a lot more blocks to my Drupal site” issue with this easy “trick”: Access your settings.php file >> there, under the “PHP settings”, insert this line:                                     ini_set('max_input_vars', 2000);    Tip: you'll find your settings.php file at /sites/default or /sites/all in your Drupal website's root directory Why is it that this fix is the most recommended one? It's because you won't be “impacting” your PHP stack, but rather handling this specific issue only: lots of blocks (loaded with data, too, obviously), that you need to insert on your Drupal site. How about you? What other fixes do you rely on when you're dealing with an “overload” of content blocks that you need to add to your Drupal site? How do you “break the limits”? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 16'2017
How to Clear Your Drupal Cache: 3 Handy and Reliable Methods
Before we get into details on why you should rush to clear your Drupal cache whenever you're dealing with a “White Screen of Death”, how about exercising your imagination a bit? Scenario no. 1: “You're a visitor, accessing one specific page of a Drupal website, then switching to another one, then... all of a sudden... the web page you will have just landed on instantly turns all white! All content disappears!” Scenario no. 2: “You're a Drupal web developer and you've just given your theme a “routine” update. Or maybe you've just finished developing a custom module. Everything seems to be working perfectly fine on your Drupal site when... tragedy... meaning WSOD... strikes and leaves you “defenseless”: staring at the big white nothing!”   Does any of these 2 scenarios bring back unpleasant memories?  Well, in today's post we're ready to help you put together your own “emergency   kit”! The one including all possible solutions to apply whenever WSOD strikes again, focusing, of course, on the “clear your Drupal cache” one. Keep reading: 1. But How Does Drupal's Cache System Work After All? Drupal's caching is a key performance-booster! What it does is saving and storing copies of the requested content on a Drupal site's page, so that when the next visitor accesses the same web page link, it will automatically display the stored content. A great way of saving your server's resources. Now, with all the “hard work” that its caching tables need to do (storing and then delivering the stored content, the menu links, the scrips), now and then “accidents” happen and they stop delivering content. Therefore: WSOD happens! 2. "White Screen of Death": What's Causing it? Maybe the term “causes” is not the most appropriate one. Let's replace it with “instances”: instances when WSOD occurs. Here are a few:   after you've updated the theme on your Drupal site   after you've updated a Drupal module   after you've run your updates on Drupal core itself   while you're developing a custom module for your (or your client's) site   after you've moved your Drupal site to another server What does this mean?  Well, it means that since we have a “bundle” of instances when this terribly frustrating error occurs, we also have a “bundle” of possible solutions to rely on for getting it fixed. And, speaking of them, our team of Drupal web developers', here at OPTASY, favorite one if the “clear your Drupal cache” emergency solution! 3. Which Are The Other Ways to Fix a WSOD Error? As already stated: clearing your Drupal cache is not THE one and only way to resolve the “big nothing” problem on your Drupal site. Here are just some of the other methods you could include in your “emergency kit”, whenever you're dealing with a “White Screen of Death”:   check your Watchdog tables   check your error log files   recreate your permissions   restart your web server    uninstall the problematic modules   enable error reporting (although, these are cases when a WSOD can lock down your site completely, caching the very “culprit” code itself, the one that might be causing the “white chaos”) And there are many other possible solutions to the “white nothingness” error. We've just listed some of them. Take them all into account and make sure you have this “emergency list” at hand when... the inevitable occurs! Needless to add that, based on our own experience as Drupal developers, we recommend you, as a way to fix your future WSOD errors, to clear your Drupal cache.  4. Which Are the Main “Clear Your Drupal Cache” Methods? 4.1 Use Drush  Rely on Drush command-line interface for a quick fix of your “White Screen of Death” error! Here are the Drush commands to use to clear your Drupal cache (depending on the Drupal version that you're using): In Drupal 7:   drush cc or drush cache-clear: for selecting which cache to clear     drush cc all or drush cache-clear all: for clearing all the caches at once   In Drupal 8: drush cr or drush cache-rebuild: for rebuilding your website and clearing all its caches                      4.2  Use the Database You could also clear your Drupal cache manually, by emptying all the cache tables stored in your database. Of course, it goes without saying that you should go for this method only if you're confident enough (leaving no room for human error in the equation) to handle those database tables: if you know what you're doing! This is a two-step solution, in fact:   use phpMyAdmin (or maybe you prefer another database administrative tool instead) to access your site's database.    manually empty the “cache” labeled (you'll see the “cache_” prefix there) tables from your database, without deleting them (do keep this “tiny detail” in mind!)    Note: Remember to make an update of your website before you go ahead manipulating its database! 4.3 Use the Performance Page  And the third “clear your Drupal cache” method on our list is the one implying the Performance Page.  Just go to admin/config/development/performance and click on the “Clear all caches” button. Cache clearing made simple! It looks like we've reached the end of today's post on how to clear your Drupal cache and why you should start seeing it as a handy solution to your WSOD errors!  And yet, allow us to give you one last piece of advice: make a habit of testing your updates first instead of running them directly on your live website! It's probably one of the simplest ways of keeping the “White Nothingness” at bay! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 15'2017
Tips To Hire Best Web Design Agency In Toronto
When you’re making a decision about which Toronto web design agency to hire, you’re making a decision about the future of your business. A well designed, quickly loading, a good looking website will bring you, clients, increase sales and lead to success. A bad website… well, let’s just say it will cost you more. If you’re a small business, looking for an affordable web design Toronto studio is understandable. It’s perfectly achievable too. There are good web design agencies in any price range. There are bad ones in all price ranges as well. So how do you make sure to hire the Toronto web design agency that’s right for you? Here are a few considerations that can help you make the right decision. Look for relevant experience. Markets and industries are different. If an agency worked with fashion shop websites in Europe, it doesn’t mean they will know how to build a website for a Toronto hi-tech company or a local car repair shop. They may, or they may not. Picking a company that worked with clients in your industry locally is the safer choice. Affordable is not the same as cheap. Remember there’s the trio of things: Fast, Cheap, Good. You can only ever choose two of them. Choose fast and good, and it won’t be cheap. Choose cheap and fast, and you won’t get quality results. But it can be affordable. As we just said above, there are good companies in all price ranges. Just don’t make it your top priority. See how communication works. Are emails answered quickly? Do they provide detailed answers? The company you’re hiring should sound interested and reliable. They should be able and happy to explain what exactly you’re getting for your money. Make sure you’re also available, to establish good communication and trust, of course. Portfolios are important, but checking them won’t hurt. Unfortunately, it’s not impossible for businesses - in any field, for that matter - to exhibit projects that are not their own. Luckily, it’s easy to check. All you need to do is contact their client and ask how the service was. This way you gain a confirmation that the portfolio project is real, and also find out about how good it was working with the firm. An honest Toronto web design agency will only encourage that. We hope this helps. Good luck in your search and a subsequent new project!... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 02'2017
What Are Some of the Top Drupal Modules for SEO? 5 Essential Ones
Speed is a crucial ranking factor! So what do you do when you're a Drupal website owner or a Drupal web developer facing the challenge of having to supercharge your site with “only” the bare essentials in terms on Drupal modules for SEO?   There are two possible scenarios here:   you invest a huge amount of time reading all that has been written on each one of Drupal's SEO-oriented modules, you install each one of them and “take them for a spin” and eventually (after hundreds of cups of coffee and lots of more or less “zen” meetings with your developers and SEO “gurus” you manage to eliminate the “redundant” SEO modules from the “must-haves” list   you scan through our list of 5 “bare essentials”, including the indispensable Drupal SEO modules, leveraging all the research work we've done and our own experience as web development company in Toronto.    If scenario no. 2 aligns with your goals of reducing time and boosting your SEO strategy's efficiency, then let's not wait any more time!   Here is out list of 5 essential Drupal Modules for SEO:   1. Metatag   “Getting your website Google-friendly by describing its content for the search engines”. This is how we could sum up what this Drupal module does.   The search engine results related to your website get more relevant!   To detail a bit: Metatag allows you to add various meta tags to your web pages. The list includes tags ranging from title tag (a significant on-page ranking factor) to meta description, canonical URL etc.   The great thing about it (if you're short on team members who could add the proper metatags to each and every web page on your site) is that you get to set it up so that it automatically adds meta keywords and tittle tags for you.   Still, consider this automation as the very last solution on your list, since nothing can beat a copywriter/content writer/SEO specialist  in person adding the best context-based keywords to your content.   And there's more! Metatag is a highly customizable module and where do you add that it's “equipped” with multilingual support, too!   2. Google Analytics    You do have a Google Analytics account, right?    Just teasing! Anyone operating in the digital landscape has at least one GA account!   Well, Drupal's ready to help you leverage the most-used website statics service through a dedicated module.   Install it, select precisely those downloads/links/content types on your website that you want to closely “monitor” and turn the insights you'll get into (more) traffic for your website.   Besides its quick and easy installation process and its feature allowing you to track precisely those sections on your website that you're most interested in, the Google Analytics module comes to simplify your whole data tracking workflow, too!   It means that won't be “forced” to add the GA tracking code to each and everyone of your “target” pages. It's enough for you to put the tracking ID in the configuration page (the module's configuration page) and Google Analytics will take it from there!   Find out where your visitors come from, at what time of day, what pages they go to more often, what are their preferences, what keywords they type in the search box etc. etc.   Say “hello!” to “powerful” data!   3. Pathauto   Be honest with yourself: you can't expect your website to be “search engine friendly” if it's (still) a bundle of “/node/4” type of URL aliases!   This is where Pathauto comes in handy! Install it and get your website a link aliases “makeover”!    What this modules does is that it aromatically generates search engine and (implicitly) user-friendly URL aliases for various types of content on your website.   Say “goodbye” to “/node/4” type of URL aliases and say “hello” to “far easier to digest” /category/title-of-article instead types of links.   And when we say “various types of content”, we do refer to terms, taxonomy, users, modes.    This is definitely one of those Drupal modules for SEO that you don't want to skip supercharging your website with. It will translate into a major boost in rankings!   4. Redirect, One of the Essential Drupal Modules for SEO    Website optimization means (among many other things) “dealing with duplicate content issues”.   Here is another one of Drupal's modules for SEO, Redirect, that lifts a heavy burden off your shoulders (or at least off your team's shoulders).   It cleans up and prevents duplicate content issues.    The checks that it runs include:   tracking down trailing slashes tracking down the current URLs' alias and redirecting them if those aliases are not being used scanning access to private URLs, ensuring that your website's visitors can access them   5. XML Sitemap   XML sitemaps are probably the most efficient way of making your Drupal website more “inviting” for search engines. More “welcoming” for bots to crawl in and “inspect” your site's deep structure.   And you do want do make your website “search engine-welcoming” now don't you?   Drupal's XML Sitemap module, one of the must-have Drupal modules for SEO indeed, automatically puts together your website's sitemap, according to your own settings, and it “delivers” it to search engines.   Due to their dynamic nature, search engines always get the newly updated version of your website's system of URLs.   Now allow us to encourage you to adopt a good  XML sitemap-related practice, as well: if you're dealing with a large website, it's always best to organize your multiple XML sitemaps into categories!   Other good practices linked to XML sitemaps and their “automatic” nature (the module gets automatically updated every time you delete or add a new web page to your site) would be:   removing noindex pages “freeing” your sitemap from PPC pages  removing all the blocked pages   avoiding to weight down your sitemap(s) with non-200 pages   … and the list of common sense (after all) “rules” could go on and on!     And these are the “bare essentials”, the key Drupal modules for SEO that you need (not “should”) to install on your website!   They do make the basic, yet powerful SEO “kit” that will supercharge your site with all the must-have SEO-oriented functionality. It's the perfect “kit” that will help you avoid the risk of using too many of your website's resources with unnecessary SEO modules and tools.    As you can see, we've left out the off-site SEO tools, the content optimization ones (that you'll find useful in case you have no dedicated SEO specialist or team in your company and you want to implement your SEO strategy in-house) and plenty of other Drupal modules for SEO which fall into the “optional” category.   Now your turn! What does your own “kit” of essential Drupal SEO modules include?   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Feb 21'2017
OPTASY Gains Notoriety as a Top Web Developers in Canada
The power of a business’ website is not to be underestimated; it is the storefront to ecommerce companies, the credibility for professional services, a first impression regarding branding and marketing for website visitors and it’s the epicenter of the decision making process for consumers. A great website can drive the visitor to research more about your product or services and find confidence that your company is head and shoulders above the competition. At OPTASY, we put our expertise, creativity and talent into the outstanding websites that we design for our customers and are excited to learn that we have been chosen as one of Canada’s top web development companies by technology research company Clutch.   Based in Washington, D.C., Clutch creates a reputable business directory that exceeds most technology review lists that you may have come across. With intricate questionnaires and verified client reviews, Clutch ensures that only the best of the best make it to their prestigious reviews index. In this competitive industry of technology and web development, it is a high honour to be acknowledged on this list of exceptional companies.   There were many factors which brought OPTASY to the top of the list; great communication, increased customer traffic and revenue being some of the most common qualities listed. According to a client in the medical field in which OPTASY upgraded their website, "I’ve had to have discussions with OPTASY during the last part of our project, making sure that the website was SEO-ready. Our traffic increased after the upgrade, as well as our revenues… OPTASY was very responsive, fast, and offered great communication."   What is equally impressive is that many clients of OPTASY have been with us for years and plan on using us for updates to their Drupal web services. One development agency commented, "OPTASY has provided development services for our company, mainly Drupal, JavaScript, and PHP-related. We rely on OPTASY’s principal for both development and architecture in certain cases … We have an ongoing relationship with OPTASY and started working together in 2012."   We are extremely proud of our team and the amazing work that they do which has earned us recognition among our peers and others in the technological industry. Our mission involves having the best experts who strive towards designing premiere Drupal web services while creating incomparable customer experience. We are fortunate to have clients that acknowledge and appreciate our dedication and we look forward to the future as we continue to provide the tools for great online business. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jan 19'2017