LATEST FROM OUR BLOG

Take your daily dose of (only) relevant news, useful tips and tricks and valuable how to's on using the latest web technologies shaping the digital landscape. We're here to do all the necessary information sifting for you, so you don't have to, to provide you with content that will help you anticipate the emerging trends about to influence the web.

OPTASY: A Canada Clutch Leader for 2019
We wanted to share this good news with you: OPTASY, the Canadian Drupal firm, has been ranked as a 2019 "Canada leader" in 3 categories of the Clutch annual list. Top Development Firms in Canada Canada Top Web Developers Best PHP Developers in Canada Thank you! For taking the time to answer the Clutch team's questions and give your honest feedback on working with us. For challenging us to be our best and turn our expertise into your results. We're looking forward to working with you on new projects. Sincerely, The OPTASY team... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Mar 07'2019
What Are the Best Node.js Frameworks in 2019 and Why? Top 5
The future is now... That predicted future where Node.js dominates the landscape of the application and web development technologies. And so, the “tormenting” question that you're dealing with right now must be: “But what are the best Node.js frameworks in 2019?” Followed closely by: “And which one of them should I use? Which one of these web server frameworks best fits my own project requirements?” And, as a Quora user pointed out: “This is just like asking what clothes to wear out. It depends on where you're going right?” To give you a hand, we've weighed the pros and cons, both the developers' and the end-users' reviews. We've compared their “stocks” of GitHub stars, and shortlisted the Node.js frameworks to... 5 frameworks holding a higher scope than the rest:   But First, What Is a Node.js Framework More Precisely? First of all, yet without getting knee deep into technical jargon, let's briefly pass in review the main reasons why Node.js — a tool for developing server-side web apps quick and easy — has got so influential: It enables developers to build fast and scalable server-side apps. And it all comes down to these 2 key benefits. All that talk about:   its innovative event-based I/O model about it being conveniently lightweight about single-threaded asynchronous programming   … can be reduced to these 2 “irresistible” advantages. And by “fast” I don't refer to page loading times only, but to the fact that it speeds up the development process itself, as well: With Node.js implementing the server side, developers don't need to “joggle with” 2 languages anymore. One for the back-end/server-side and one for the front-end/client-side. Now, back to the initial question: “What is a Node.js framework?” Take it as some sort of Node.js-based abstract design or “skeleton” that you can build your own custom code on. An... empowering “skeleton” that comes packed with:   a set of tools guidelines and best practices   … that help you/your development team quickly prototype and develop your project. And, since its out-of-the-box features help you keep code consistency throughout the team, a Node.js framework will implicitly:   boost your productivity enhance your app project's scalability   Does that answer your question?   1. Express.js It stands out as “the minimalist” framework in our list here: A Node.js-based technology that takes on the role of a middleware between our servers and routes. And its robust APIs is one of the main “culprits” for its increasing popularity — one of the best Node.js frameworks in 2019. It practically enables app developers to set up routes to send/receive requests between the database (MongoDB) and the front-end (Angular). Another one of its “selling points” is given by the heavy load of packages that you can just “inject” into the Express.js framework to extend its functionality.   Benefits:   low learning curve short app development cycle time ideally customizable mostly browser-focused, meaning that templating and rendering comes as a default feature  great 3rd party integration (Pug, EJS, Mustache and other template engines and modules available on NPM)   Drawbacks:   its code organization  event-driven callbacks (a type of architecture that “tempts” you with unmatched flexibility at the price of... unwanted complexity as your app scales up)   2. Meteor JS The key advantage that propelled Meteor in the 5 best Node.js frameworks in 2019? Real-time updating. And there's more! It's built to power really large projects (e.g. Reaction Commerce) and, if documentation is a particularly heavy-weighing criterion for you, this framework's backed by a large community. One that has already put together rich and clear documentation to help you get your web app up and running in no time.   Benefits:   real-time testing tool and debugging a wide range of libraries and packages to boost its core functionality with seamless client-server communication   Drawbacks:   there's no native widget library no MongoDB support … PWA support … or rendering on the server side, either   3. Sails.js, One of the Best Node.js Frameworks in 2019 The most... compatible Node.js framework in our list, we could say. For Sails.js “gets along well” with:   almost all databases most of the front-end technologies, as well (Angular, Android/Java, Backbone, React, iOS/Objective C) the great majority of adapters: Mongo, MYSQL, Local Disk, Redis, PostgreSQL   And it's not at all “picky” when it comes to the types of controllers, models, views, adapters, and configuration files that the applications that it powers might include. In short: it's a highly compatible framework with data-based APIs and service-oriented, scalable architecture. One that gives you a more... robust “skeleton” to start with, we might say.   Benefits:   it separates business logic from presentation logic it can store data anywhere it speeds up the Rest API building process no additional routing generates free JSON API good Socket.io support   Drawbacks:   it's one of the... slow Node.js frameworks time-consuming project development process poor asset management   4. Koa.js Developed by the same team that designed Express.js, Koa sets itself apart from the rest of the Node.js frameworks in our top here with some unique features:   it uses next-generation methods of ES6 that enables you to work without callbacks … and grants you more control when it comes to error handling there's no middleware, which means that the lines of code are more granular, the middlewares are more... component-based, more cascaded … thus granting you with increased control over your configuration   Why has the Express.js team decided to build a new Node.js framework? What have been their major goals:   to build a smaller sized framework compared to Express.js …. a more expressive one to provide developers with a more robust “scaffolding” for building their web apps and APIs on   Benefits:   easier to control error handling it's significantly lighter than other frameworks modular structure it gave up on callbacks and thus removed all the well-known asynchronous issues support for Sync/await keywords cascading middlewares   Drawbacks:   it's not compatible with express-style middleware, with Node.js middleware there isn't a large community to rely on for support   5. LoopBack.js One of the best Node.js frameworks in 2019 that “spoils” you with:   a dynamic API web browser  easy-to-use CLI    What makes it unique in our list here? The fact that it empowers developers to build their own models based on their own dynamic models or schemas. To come up with their own server API, that would be further assigned to a new server. Pretty much like building an API that's proxy for... another API. In addition to that, it supports a whole range of databases: PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle, MongoDB and REST services.   Benefits:   fast development cycle modular and structured code available add-on components for Oauth2, 3rd-party login, file management  support for browser and native mobile SDKs: iOS, Android/Java, JavaScript browser you can rapidly create dynamic end-to-end REST APIs    Drawbacks:   monolithic, opinionated architecture steep learning curve   Final Word  As already mentioned, at the beginning of this post: a mere inventory of the best Node.js frameworks in 2019 is not the answer.   It's the best web server framework for your own project's requirements that you need.   What are your priorities when it comes to the benefits that you “reap” from using one Node.js framework over the other? Is it:   top speed? fast development  high maintainability rich documentation and a thriving community backing it up?   Friendly advice: don't invest all your resources in learning one such Node.js framework since new, more tempting and feature-rich ones will emerge. Instead, learn the business in the front-end/back-end or the language itself (JavaScript) to future-proof your... investment. ... Read more
RADU SIMILEANU / Jan 31'2019
And The Award for the 2019 Canada Leader Goes to... OPTASY! In 3 Different Categories
We still can't get over this news: there are 4500 top performing companies in Canada featured on Clutch and OPTASY's a leader in 3 categories!   Top Drupal Development Companies in Canada Canada: Top Web Developers Best PHP Developers in Canada    Our clients have spoken and the Clutch team has listened to them. Then, based on the collected client reviews, they've propelled us on the 4th, respectively the 5th position of 3 most competitive categories on their annual list. To be “neighboring”, in the Leaders Matrix, all those top web development companies in Canada and to owe this honor to our clients is highly rewarding for us:   “From day 1, the communication has been the hallmark and has been phenomenal.”  “They stepped up in terms of commitment.”  “I appreciate how detail-oriented they are. That's not a strength everyone has“ (Some of our clients' reviews on Clutch)   From Just Another Drupal Development Company to... a 2019 Canada Leader  Our ascension from a small Drupal agency in early 2000 to one of the leading companies on Clutch in 2019 has been paved with hard work. And plenty of challenges, too. Looking back now, we count +10 years of determined effort to constantly diversify our services:   from Drupal site building to developing custom Drupal modules to fit each project's specific feature needs to multiple APIs (and mostly e-commerce) integrations to providing ongoing Drupal maintenance and support to redesigning and architectural restructuring  to providing back-end development support for web projects using other technologies than Drupal (Magento, WordPress, Laravel...), as well       to mobile app development with a particular focus on next-generation technologies (AI, VR, AR)   Our Strive for Excellence Is Equaled Only By Our Effort to Build Strong Client Relationships We're only as good as our clients say we are. It might sound like such a cliche and yet it's true: our recognition as a Canada Clutch leader for 2019 is the best proof.  For it's what our clients had to say about our ability:   to deliver value (expertise turned into measurable results) on time and within budget to communicate with them throughout the projects to adapt our in-depth knowledge of Drupal and experience in web development to their specific needs and requirements to “go above and beyond” (as the Clutch team itself defined our work) for meeting their projects' functionality needs    … that propelled us in top 5 PHP, web and Drupal development teams in Canada.  We cannot but make our bow to YOU, our client. And to the Clutch team, as well, for all the work invested in:   analyzing our portfolio assessing our market presence   … and for all the resources invested in interviewing our clients and promoting excellence. For challenging B2B companies to deliver stellar services.     Now, what better proof that we've already taken their challenge to excellence seriously than to be listed in one of Clutch's Leaders Matrix as a leader. In 3 categories... Thank you! ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jan 29'2019
The Drupal Quality Initiative: How Do You Know When Your Contributed Project Is Ready to Be Released? How Do You Assess Its Quality?
Let's say you've been working on this contributed project for a few months now. It has gone from Beta 1 to Beta 2 to Beta... Now, how long till its final release? How do you know when it's ready for the Drupal community to see and use? And this is precisely why the Drupal quality initiative was launched in the first place. So that can we finally have some sort of a checklist at hand to use whenever we need to assess our code's level of quality:   the standards that we should evaluate our contributed projects by  the specific elements that go into the quality of our projects, such as contributed Drupal modules a certain hierarchy of quality that we could rate our own projects by   And so on... For, let's admit it now: Except for our own personal methodologies for self-assessment, there's no standardized benchmark that could help us evaluate our contributed Drupal projects. There's no way of knowing for sure when our projects are 100% ready to go from beta to... full release. Now, here are the legitimate questions that this initiative brings forward, along with some of the suggested paths to take:   1. What Drupal-Specific Quality Metrics Should We Use to Evaluate Our Code? How do you know when your contributed project is efficient enough to... be used by other members of the Drupal community? You need some sort of criteria for measuring its level of quality, right?    2. The Drupal Quality Initiative: A Checklist for Project Quality Assessment And this is how the “Big Checklist” for Drupal modules has been put together. One outlining all those areas of a contributed Drupal project that you should carefully evaluate when assessing its quality. Areas such as:   team management documentation testing code design requirements DevOps   All those factors and Drupal-specific elements that go into the quality of a contributed project. 3. Introducing the Idea of a Multi-Leveled Quality Hierarchy What if we had multiple levels of quality to rate our Drupal projects? Imagine some sort of hierarchy of quality that would challenge us to keep improving the way we write code for Drupal. To keep growing as teams working with Drupal. Your project might be rated “level 1”, from a quality standpoint, on its first release. But it would still stand stand the chance to get a higher score for if you strove to meet all the other criteria on the checklist. 4. You'll Be Particularly Interested in The Drupal Quality Initiative If You're A...   Site builder, scanning through the pile of contributed Drupal modules in search of the ones that perfectly suit your project's specific needs Drupal contributor in need of some sort of checklist that would include all those standards of quality and best practices to help you assess your own code's value   5. What About Non-Drupal Software Projects? How Is Their Quality Assessed? In other words: how do other communities assess their projects' levels of quality? What metrics do they use? And here, the Drupal quality initiative's... initiator gives the “The Capability Maturity Level”, set up by the Software Engineering Institute, as an example. The process model highlights 5 levels of “maturity” that a project can reach throughout its different development phases.They range from:   the“initial chaos” to planning and collecting project requirements … all the way to continuous process improvement   Now, just imagine a similar multi-level evolutionary benchmark that we could use to assess our own Drupal projects' levels of... maturity.   6. A Few Quality Indicators and Suggested Tools And the whole Drupal Quality Initiative comes down to identifying the key endpoints for assessing a project's quality, right? Here are just some of the suggested questions to use during this evaluation process:   Is it easy to use? Does it perform the intended functions? Is it efficient enough? How many detected bugs are there per 1000 lines of code How secure is it?   Now, for giving the most accurate answers to these quality assessing questions, you'll need the right toolbox, right? All those powerful tools to help you:   check whether your code is spell checked monitor the status of specific operations check whether all strings use translation see whether your code has been properly formatted   The END! And this is just a brief overview of the Drupal Quality Initiative. What do you think now, does the suggested checklist stand the chance to turn into a standardized Drupal benchmark for assessing quality? How do you currently determine your contributed projects' value? ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jan 25'2019
CES 2019 Future-Shaping Tech Trends and Hot Gadgets: From Predictable to Surprising
8k TVs, companion and laundry folding robots, 5G smartphones, voice assistant for cars, foldable phones... This is CES 2019 — the world's largest electronics show taking place these days in Las Vegas — in just a few words... Or, simply put: A sneak peek into the future. And there are more than 4000 CES 2019 exhibitors there, each one competing for its own sphere of influence over the future. For its right to set the new tech trends. So, you can just imagine that:   sorting through all the announcements that companies leading the change will make about their future product releases staying on top of all those critical “teasers” regarding the innovative technologies and exciting features that their devices will feature “playing with” all the gadgets sprawled over the +2 million square feet exhibition hall   … can get overwhelming.  And finding a straight answer to your legitimate question: What is the hottest consumer technology device for 2019? …  turns into a “mission impossible” sort of challenge. Not to worry, though. We've done our homework, scored the heavy-weighing offer and put together a selection of the most influential tech trends and the gadgets at CES 2019. Of those gadgets with the highest potential to grow from far-out concepts to production-ready devices.   1. AR-VR-MR: The “Sideshow” Performers AR/VR-enabled devices are present at the show, but they're far from taking center stage... Especially as VR technology is concerned, CES 2019 doesn't seem to be that long-time awaited chance for it to “incarnate” into a truly remarkable consumer product. Or at least into an extravagant, daring concept. But let's not get too frustrated (again) and, instead, let's analyze 2 contestants for the title of “the best VR/AR-fueled device” at the 2019 international CES:   1.1. HTC Vive Pro More of an upgraded version of the Vive VR headset, HTC's Vivre Pro comes with some significant features geared to provide a more realistic VR experience:   improved 3D audio a separate wireless transmitter 78% increase in screen resolution noise-canceling microphones improved design to make them sit more comfortably   1.2. Deepframe AR Window  Augmented reality at scale.  Just imagine this technology brought to a 65-inch 4k OLED! That's Deepframe. The not-yet-for-consumers kind of display uses unique opticals reflecting life-sized digital elements over a physical space. With no VR eyewear on, the user emerges into a mixed reality world.   2. 5G-Enabled Phones: From Hype to Reality  Have you been starting to lose your patience on the 5G networks “issue”? For, let's face it: It's been a while since all this 5G hype turned into... hope... next into even higher hopes, then... nothing. We had already started fantasizing about:   the extreme speed at which we would download the latest episodes of our top favorite TV series on our phones this networking technology turbocharging all our future VR experiences being free to go see a particular doctor... anywhere on the globe basically 5G enabling our cars to interact with our PCs, with our smart homes, with...   Luckily, at CES 2019 there's been clear evidence that companies are (finally) ready to take the charge and implement 5G into their devices.   2.1. Samsung's 5G Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy 10 The big absent from CES 2019 Las Vegas has been Samsung Galaxy 10. Yet, from the company's CEO's press release we now know that:   it will be released this year “equipped with” 5G technology … and 7nm chipsets, among other features Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T will be its US carriers running 5G programs FCC approved Samsung's intention to roll out 5G network this year   Note: another great news is that Motorola and OnePlus, too, are some 2 other giants planning to release 5G-enabled phones this year. We'll see which South Korean company will first reach the “finish line” with its own 5G-powered device.   3. Voice-Controlled Technology... for Cars 3.1. Speak's Music Muse: Alexa-Powered Voice Assistant for Cars How about that! Bringing voice-controlled technology to your car... And here's what this Oreo-sized device would enable you to do once you plug it into your car's USD port and connect it to your smartphone:   you get to use voice commands and ask for a weather report, play music ... control your Alexa-powered devices at home (e.g. you could close your garage doors or turn off your front door light) ... add items to your to-do list   And, most of all: It comes with hands-free calling functionality.   4. AI Technology Is... Everywhere at CES 2019  Artificial intelligence steals the spotlight at the annual consumer electronics show in Las Vegas. Here are just 2 of the AI marvels that stole our attention:   4.1. IBM 50-Qubit Quantum Computer No other machine at the show 2019 International CES could rival this “beast” when it comes to calculations. The uses that IBM had in mind for it? All those AI and machine learning-powered scenarios where huge volumes of data need to be crunched at super speed.   4.2. “Nervana Neural Network Processor for Inference” (NNP-I) Intel and Facebook joined their forces to create a more affordable AI chip addressing companies with high workload demands. When will it go from concept to product? Sometime this year those “target” companies will be able to use NNP-I to accelerate inference and thus better cope with their workload challenge. The END! Back to you now: What do you think about the tech trends and devices highlighted here? Do you predict that they'll turn into actual products this year? What have been your expectations from CES 2019? And, most importantly: how does your wishlist of next-generation gadgets look like? Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jan 09'2019
What Will Be the Main Enterprise Cloud Computing Trends for 2019? 
What's the future of cloud computing? What are the enterprise cloud computing trends for 2019 to expect, prepare for and leverage to your advantage? For, whether you:   are just planning to move your workloads from a data center to a cloud-native architecture  or you're already “reaping” the benefits of a multi-cloud architecture   … the question remains the same: “From Kubernetes to serverless computing, to multi-cloud strategies, to containers, to... which will be the top influential cloud trends and patterns in 2019?” To be honest with you, we, too, as a Drupal firm, have asked ourselves the same question... Once you've got the answer, you can:   (properly) prepare for the challenges to come turn them into... excellent new opportunities   Now, without any further ado, here are the 5 trends that will dominate the cloud computing industry in 2019:   1. Serverless Computing: More and More Companies “Flock” to Serverless  Serverless technology goes hand in hand with cloud-native architectures... And the fact that its enterprise adoption will just... explode in 2019 is no news at all, right? Just think of the key features and benefits that serverless “lures” even companies like NetFlix, New York Times or Mapbox with:   high speed reduced costs the convenience to port their serverless apps between multiple cloud providers the opportunity to run serverless apps both on public clouds and on private data centers   Not only that companies leveraging serverless get to “reap” all the benefits of enterprise cloud computing. But, since they get to run their apps on existing infrastructures, as well, they can modernize their legacy apps, too.  All that in addition to the benefit of streamlining the development cycles of their cloud-native apps. What makes serverless computing “outshine” standard provisioning servers?   it's a technology that uses “functions” as a measuring unit (instead of “instances” or VM) these pieces of code (“functions”) run automatically … and they take over any data format and turn it into a target legacy system “in charge” with processing the response; they can also interpret those messages sent back to consuming apps through the API gateway the burden of scaling and managing resources gets passed on to serverless providers (Google Cloud Functions, AWS Lambda, Microsoft Azure, Apache Whisk, OpenFaas)   To sum up: serverless is going to be one of the leading enterprise cloud computing trends for 2019.   accelerating the development process of cloud-native apps “revamping” legacy apps cutting down costs the convenience of going serverless all while leveraging one's existing infrastructure   … are this technology's top “luring” features.   2. The Enterprise Adoption of Kubernetes Grows at Neck-Breaking Pace The solid arguments behind this prediction?    Kubernetes is highly portable it's highly available it provides unmatched, granular scalability: the go-to choice for scaling containerized applications it automates deployment   Whether they're planning to streamline their app development cycles or to rearchitect their existing IT infrastructures, large organizations are “flocking” to this open-source container orchestration system. The interoperable, composable architecture that it provides, along with its “extreme” availability — it runs on laptops, public//hybrid private cloud, VM — and the increased use of containers turns Kubernets into one of the highly influential enterprise cloud computing trends for 2019. One powering hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud deployments... And speaking of containers, Kubernete's simply: convenience at its best (convenience at scale): You're free to put together clusters of hosts running containers and then just use Kubernetes to easily manage them all. To easily “orchestrate” all your containers.   3. Cloud Data Management: One of the Influential Enterprise Cloud Computing Trends for 2019  With the trend of enterprise cloud computing architecture going up in 2019, it's only but predictable for cloud data management to become one of the hottest topics. An efficient cloud environment (whether a multi-cloud or a hybrid cloud infrastructure) calls for:   serious planning  constant optimization  data aggregation  analyzing the stored data    In other words: with data being the key “nucleus” of any enterprise cloud computing architecture, properly managing and improving the quality of all those massive amounts of data becomes critical.   4. The Multi-Cloud Strategy: An Increasingly Compelling Pattern for Companies Companies will “dread” getting themselves locked-in to a unique cloud service provider. And so, the multi-cloud strategy is sure to rival the conventional “partnering with a single public cloud” approach. Why? Hmmm, let's see... getting cloud locked-in means:   being constrained to integrate that specific public cloud environment's tools, services, APIs getting its dependencies “injected” into your application code being unable to future-proof your app, to update it to any new technologies that might emerge; you'd automatically “inherit” a technical debt when locked-in to a specific cloud service provider    Whereas having a robust multi-cloud architecture allows large enterprises to:   “juggle with” multiple dedicated clouds, each one with its specific functionalities and services be cloud provider agnostic; and that can only mean more flexibility: companies are free to port their cloud architectures between different environments  leverage on interoperability; companies will be able to do application>APIs (or on-premise infrastructure ) decoupling   And “flexibility” is the key term here:   the one that's definitory for modern application development the reason why multi-cloud is going to be one of the powerful enterprise cloud computing trends for 2019   The END! Now, if we are to do a quick recap:   more and more companies will migrate their workloads to cloud environments; they will be refactoring their legacy apps  also, we'll be witnessing a massive migration to multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments technical skills required for cloud computing will be in even higher demand in 2019   ... Read more
RADU SIMILEANU / Dec 19'2018
What Will Be the Most Influential Mobile UI Design Trends in 2019? Top 4
A few more weeks and... “Chin-Chin: Happy New Year!”. Meanwhile, while you were making your final edits to your wish list for Santa and adding a few more lines to your New Year's resolutions list, we've been doing our homework, too. We've run our investigations and come up with our own list: one including the most influential mobile UI design trends in 2019. Both those trends:   that have timidly stepped on the mobile app design scene this year and will just grow more powerful next year and those that will emerge in 2019 and quickly take over the “scene”   So, here they are: the 4 major trends to look into and rush to capitalize on next year.   1. Buttonless Screens: From Niche to Norm Mobile UI designs without buttons have been around for some time, but we somehow didn't consider this would become... mainstream, right? Just think:   Instagram and its buttonless design that kind of forces you to rely on gestures for swiping through different stories on the page, for moving backward and/or forward Apple, Samsung, and Google, that are advocating for edgeless, clean screens; they implicitly “force us”, mobile app designers, to drastically trim down our in-app button collections. To remove buttons completely... all those e-commerce apps that have simplified their checkout processes by... removing the cart button; customers can just drag and drop items into their shopping carts.   Conveniently intuitive, right? The “buttonless UI” will be one of most prominent mobile UX trends in 2019: After the “power button & volume button & homepage single button" trio, we'll be witnessing the growth of the “buttonless screen” trend in 2019. In other words: it's time to rethink your mobile UI/UX designs; to make them more gestures-focused. Which might be as simple as... adding animations to show the gestures that end users need to perform for carrying out specific tasks.   2. Visual and Voice Interfaces Will Work Together “Will graphical user interfaces ever be taken over by voice user interfaces?” “ is a question on Quora. On the contrary: Not only that voice-assisted interfaces (VUI) won't “annihilate” the visual ones, but the 2 of them will... happily coexist starting next year.  Get ready to witness a seamless integration of the two types of UI in 2019's mobile apps! Or, even better:  Instead of being one of the passive witnesses, how about leveraging this trend, one of the most influential mobile UI design trends in 2019? How would these apps, supporting a cohabitation of voice and visual interfaces, look like from a user's perspective?   the mic button will become... optional; mobile app users can just utter their questions/commands and the apps will interpret them. he/she (the user) will be able to speak commands like “Show me the cheapest option and book me...” or “Pick it up!” or “Narrate these 3 chapters to me!” and have the app read a book, book a flight or answer a call    3. Bottom Navigation: One of the Dominant Mobile UI Design Trends in 2019 Which side are you on? Are you a top navigation or a bottom navigation “fan”? Well, you can call yourself a “visionary” if the bottom navigation has been your top choice for some time now. It looks like it's going to be one of the prominent mobile app UX design trends in 2019. Why? Because:   devices will have even larger screens the single homepage button “rocks supreme” and app users got so used to the swiping gesture “extreme” convenience is key: all the major buttons should be displayed within reach on the app's screen   And this type of navigation comes down to:   bottom sheets swipe-up gestures    3.1. Bottom Sheets Why will bottom sheets become app developers' top choice when it comes to displaying sub-flows? Because they're highly flexible! Users get to scroll both vertically, for unlocking more content, and horizontally (carousel), for swiping through similar content with no need to skip screens. Pop-up dialogues, overflow drop-downs, hamburger side-drawers will start to fade compared to bottom sheets' “all within a swipe's reach” type of convenience.   3.2. Swipe Up Gestures  You'd swipe up to open an app drawer, then swipe up again to go back or to close the app... It's been a while since in-app swipe up gestures have started to “outshine” buttons/bottom tabs. And they're perfectly fit for bottom navigation. They enable you, the mobile app developer, to... keep everything“minimalistic” in your app:   the top area (content) the bottom area (navigation)   Simple, intuitive, convenient. No wonder that this will be one of the most influential mobile UI design trends in 2019.   4. Mobile App Design for Larger Screens You'll need to swiftly adapt your mobile UI designs to devices with increasingly large screens. They'll be the ones “dictating” how you'll design your mobile apps' interfaces in 2019. And there are few challenges to expect, consider, and properly prepare yourself for before this trend becomes... a norm:   How will you seamlessly integrate in-app gestures into your mobile apps? “Fully” integrate them, I mean... Losing buttons/bottom tabs will automatically enlarge the screens and leave you with more screen real estate; how will you fully leverage those enlarged screens? How will you optimize your apps' UX and UI so that the user can rely on his/her thumb and thumb only to navigate through and perform actions within the app?   The END! Let's recap, now! Here's your New Year's resolutions list:   "I'll design buttonless user interfaces in all my mobile apps in 2019" "I'll somehow make voice and visual interfaces work together" "I'll design “bottom navigation” and swipe-up gestures navigation in my next year's apps" "I'll adjust and properly adapt my mobile app designs to fit devices with larger screens" Photo by Gilles Lambert on Unsplash  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Dec 13'2018
Automatic Updates in Drupal Core? Top Benefits and Main Concerns With Drupal Updating Itself
Just imagine... automatic updates in Drupal core. Such a feature would put an end to all those never-ending debates and ongoing discussions taking place in the Drupal community about the expectations and concerns with implementing such an auto-update system. Moreover, it would be a much-awaited upgrade for all those users who've been looking for (not to say “longing for") ways to automate Drupal core and modules for... years now. Who've been legitimately asking themselves: “Why doesn't Drupal offer an auto-update feature like WordPress?” And how did we get this far? From idea to a steady-growing initiative?   first, it was the need to automate Drupal module and security updates then, the issues queues filled with opinions grounded in skepticism, valid concerns and high hopes started to “pile up” on Drupal.org, then, there was Dries' keynote presentation at Drupalcon Vienna in 2017, raising awareness around the need to re-structure Drupal core in order to support a secure auto-update system … which grew into the current Auto Update Initiative that echoed, recently, at Drupal Europe 2018, during the “Hackers Automate, but the Drupal Community still Downloads Modules from Drupal.org” session   Many concerns and issues have been pointed out. Many questions have been added to the long list. Yet, one thing's for sure: There still is a pressing, ever-growing need for an auto-update feature in Drupal... So, let me try to answer my best to some of your questions regarding this much-awaited addition to Drupal core:   What's in it for you precisely? How will an auto-update pre-built feature benefit you?  Does the user persona profile suit you, too? Is it exclusively low-end websites that such a feature would benefit? Or are enterprise-level, company websites targeted, as well? What are the main concerns about this implementation?   1. The Automatic Updates Initiative: Goal & Main Challenges  Let's shift focus instead and pass in review the inconveniences of manually installing updates in Drupal:   it's time-consuming it's can get risky if you don't know what you're doing it can be an intimidatingly complex process if you have no dedicated Drupal support & maintenance team to rely on it can get quite expensive, especially for a small site or blog owner   See where I'm heading at? This initiative's main objective is to spare Drupal users of all these... inconveniences when it comes to updating and maintaining their websites. Inconveniences that can easily grow into reasons why some might get too discouraged to adopt Drupal in the first place. The goal is to develop an auto-update mechanism for Drupal core conceptually similar to those already implemented on other platforms (e.g. WordPress). And now, let's dig up and expose the key challenges in meeting this goal:   enabling update automation in Drupal core demands a complete re-engineering of the codebase; it calls for a reconstructing of its architecture and code layout in order to support a perfectly secure auto-update system  such an implementation will have a major impact on the development cycle itself, causing unwanted disruption such a built-in auto-update feature could get exploited for distributing and injecting malware into a whole mass of Drupal websites   2. Automatic Updates in Drupal: Basic Implementation Requirements  What would be the ideal context for implementing such a perfectly secure auto-update system?  Well, its implementation would call for:   multiple (up to date) environments released updates to be detected automatically and instantly an update pipeline for quality assurance existing automate tests with full coverage a development team to review any changes applied during the update process    3. How Would These Auto-Updates Benefit You, the Drupal User? Let's see, maybe answering these key questions would help you identify the benefits that you'd reap (if any):   is your Drupal website currently maintained by a professional team? has it been a... breeze for you so far to cope with Drupal 8's release cycle (one new patch each month and a new minor release every 6 months sure claim for a lot of your time)? have you ever got tangled up in Composer's complexities and a whole load of third-party libraries when trying to update your Drupal 8 website? did you run the Drupalgeddon update fast enough? have you been secretly “fancying” about a functionality that would just update Drupal core and modules, by default, right on the live server?   To sum up: having automatic updates in Drupal core would keep your website secured and properly maintained without you having to invest time or money for this.   4. Drupal Updating Itself: Main Concerns And concerns increase exponentially as the need for an update automation in Drupal rises (along with the expectations). Now, let's outline some of the most frequently expressed ones:   there is no control over the update process, no quality assurance pipeline; basically, there's no time schedule system enabling you to test any given update, in a development environment, before pushing it live there's no clearly defined policy on what updates (security updates only, all updates, highly critical updates etc.) should be pushed with Drupal updating itself, rolling back changes wouldn't be possible anymore (or discouragingly difficult) with no GIT for version control again: automatic updates in Drupal could turn into a vulnerability for hackers to exploit for a mass malware attack  there's no clear policy regarding NodeJS, PHP and all the JS libraries in Drupal 8, all carrying their own vulnerabilities, too it's too risky with all those core and module conflicts and bugs that could break through such a feature should be disabled by default; thus, it would be every site owner's decision whether to turn it on or not could this auto-update system cater to all the possible update workflows and specific behaviors out there? Could it meet all the different security requirements?   So, you get the point: no control over the update pipeline and no policy for handling updates are the aspects that concern developers the most.   6. Does It Cater for Both Small & Enterprise-Level Websites' Needs?  There is this shared consensus that implementing automatic updates in Drupal core would:   not meet large company websites' security requirements; that it would not fit their specific update workflows benefit exclusively small, low-end websites that don't benefit from professional maintenance services   Even the team behind the automatic updates initiative have prioritized low-end websites in their roadmap. But, is that really the case? Should this initiative target small websites, with simple needs and writable systems, that rarely update and to overlook enterprise-level websites by default? Or should this much-wanted functionality be adjusted so that it meets the latter's needs, as well?  In this case, the first step would be building an update pipeline that would ensure quality. What do you think?   7. How About Now?"What Are My Options for Automating Updates in Drupal?" In other words: what are the currently available solutions if you want to automate the Drupal module and security updates?    7.1. You Can Use Custom Scripts to Automate Updates … one that's executed by Jerkins or another CI platform.  Note: do bear in mind that properly maintaining a heavy load of scrips and keeping up with all the new libraries, tools, and DevOp changes won't be precisely a “child's play”. Also, with no workflow and no integrated tools, ensuring quality's going to be a challenge to consider.   7.2. You Can Opt for a Drupal Hosting Provider's Built-In Solution “Teaming up” with a Drupal hosting provider that offers you automated updates services, too, is another option at hand. In this respect, solutions for auto-updating, such as those provided by Pantheon or Acquia, could fit your specific requirements.  Note: again, you'll need to consider that these built-in solutions do not integrate with your specific DevOps workflows and tools.   And my monologue on automatic updates in Drupal ends here, but I do hope that it will grow into a discussion/debate in the comments here below: Would you turn it on, if such a feature already existed in Drupal core? Definitely yes No way It depends on whether... ... Read more
RADU SIMILEANU / Sep 28'2018
Media Handling in Drupal 8.6.0: 4 New Features that Will Enhance Your Media Management Experience in Drupal
The media management experience had been one of the well-known sources of frustration for Drupal content editors for a long time. For, let's face it: Drupal's out-of-the-box media support was just... basic. But not anymore: there are new exciting features for media handling in Drupal 8.6.0 that will dramatically change the way you manage your media assets on your Drupal website! Now, let's take a sneak peek at these most-anticipated media handling features that Drupal 8.6.0 comes equipped with:   adding media from a remote source adding various types of media embedding Youtube and Vimeo videos in the content (via URL) easily accessing and reusing the existing media uploading new media types right out of the box   And this is almost... overwhelming: From almost no built-in media support in Drupal, for so many years, to a whole set of modern, powerful media management options now in Drupal 8.6.0. But let's not ramble about this topic anymore and dive right in! Into the pile of new features meant to enhance the whole media management experience in Drupal:   But First: An Update on The Progress of the Media in Drupal 8 Initiative The main goal of this media initiative was to: Add a rich media support to Drupal 8. One that would empower the content editors to easily reuse existing media assets, add new media entities and to overall gain more control (and meta information) over their media. And there are 3 core milestones that we can trace while tracking the progress of this initiative for Drupal 8:   adding the experimental Media module to Drupal 8.4 in late 2017 leveling up this module from experimental to stable phase in Drupal 8.5.0 turning it into the standard way of storing media in Drupal    Moreover, starting with Drupal 8.6.0 a new key module for handling media has been added to core — Media Library — along with a few more exciting options:   quick access to the existing media assets oEmbed support a new media type: remote video content   Quite a “leap” forward, to a great media management experience in Drupal, I would say...   2. Welcome a New Media Type in Drupal 8: Remote Video Let us list the 4 media types that you could add to your site's content up to Drupal 8.6.0:   file image video audio   OK, now it's time you welcomed a new media type to the group: remote video! Basically, as a content editor you're now able to add videos from remote sources, as well — Vimeo and Youtube — via their URLs.   In short: you're no longer constrained to settle for the default media types in Drupal 8. No sir, now you get to create new custom ones mentioning their media sources. Summing up: embedding new media to your website content is nothing but a two-step process: Content-Add Media. 3. Reusing Media Is Now Possible: Media Library One of the much-awaited features for media handling in Drupal 8.6.0 had been reusable media. Well, here it is now: Media Library! It's where you can save and store all your media assets to be further reused whenever needed. Note: do keep in mind that this an experimental module and that you'll also need to enable the Media module first things first. “And how does it work more precisely?”   while in your content edit screen just browse through all the media assets stored in your Media Library select the one you need and simply “inject” it into your page   Note: it's the “Media library” widget, added to the Media field, that enables you to scan through all your media entities straight from the content edit screen. 4. The New “Media” Field: A Quick Way to Embed Media in Your Content Handling media in Drupal 8.6.0 is as simple as... adding a new field — “Media” —  to the content type in question (be it news, blog post, article and so on). Once the new field is added on, just go through the 5 media types available in Drupal 8.6.0 and select the one you need to embed. Next, you can simply integrate it into your content, while in your edit screen, positioning it to your liking.   5. New Media Handling in Drupal 8.6.0: Youtube & Vimeo Embeds A new media management tool that significantly improves the whole content editing experience in Drupal. You're able to embed remote videos from Youtube and Vimeo via URL, thanks to the now added oEmbed media support. “How precisely?” Basically, you simply:   add that new “Media” field to your content type, as previously stated select the “Remote Video” option from the “Media Type” drop-down menu enter your video's URL in the “Video URL” field, while in your “Add Remote Video” screen and click “Save”   And voila: you'll have your remote video integrated into your content! The END! As Steve Burge from OSTraining would say: “Finally we're getting somewhere with media in Drupal!”   What do you think about the new features for media handling in Drupal 8.6.0? What other options and tools are there on your wishlist? To be able to embed remote videos right from the node create page, maybe? Or to have other video platforms, as well, supported in Drupal? ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Sep 21'2018