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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.

News Alert : Google Chrome Now Displays “Not Secure” Warnings for HTTP Pages
The harvest season, no doubt about it! Autumn (the month of October to be more precisely) is taking us... “Google Chrome novelties” picking! Starting next month Google Chrome will be displaying new “Not Secure” warnings for HTTP pages. We're talking, in fact, about two additional situations where these discouraging alerts get triggered in users' address bars:   when the user is asked to enter his/her credit card information or his password on an HTPP page (so when he's presented with an HTTP form having sensitive input fields)     when the user loads an HTTP page in Incognito mode   Note: speaking of the second scenario, the “Not Secure” warning will show up on ALL HTTP pages surfed in Incognito mode. Take it as Google Chrome's next level in its “campaign” of pushing the web on the HTTPS side. A plan structured into multiple gradual steps aimed at discouraging users from “venturing” on non-encrypted websites. And, implicitly, at “forcing” website owners to do the necessary: move to sitewide HTTPS.   HTTP vs HTTPS: Is A Migration Really Worth It? But first: which are the HTTP protocol's drawbacks? Those that Google Chrome warns users about through its new “Not Secure” warnings for HTTP pages? Basically an HTTP connection:   is a non-encrypted one gives visitors no guarantee that once they access a web page they're literally interacting with the “right” website  provides visitors with no protection, whatsoever, against man-in-the-middle attacks, eavesdropping, data modification    On the other hand an HTTPS protocol page:   is one where the user-website communication is an encrypted one, protecting the former against cyber attacks. keeps data protected from third parties   And now to answer your legitimate question, whether switching from HTTP to HTTPS is really worth the resources (of time and money), let us just imagine this scenario here: “A user walks into a/lands on your website and is ready to make a purchase. A payment form is presented to him and he is about to enter his credit card information when... he gets a warning, in his address bar, that your site is not secure...”   2 Updates to Run on Your Site to Avoid The New “Not Secure” Warnings for HTTP Pages  1. Simply Get to The Root of the Problem and... Resolve It How? Making sure that Google Chrome will label as “of secure origins” all the:   inputs marked as credit card fields  all the fill-in forms on your website incorporating <input type=password> elements   “Of secure origins” meaning that both the top-level page and the iframe (in case the user needs to enter his/her data in an iframe) need to display the HTTPS protocol. In other words: if your HTTPS login/payment form is presented to your users in an overlay on top of an HTTP page, then you'll need to either:   switch all your web pages to HTTPS redirect it to an HTTPS web page on your website containing that specific login/payment form   Taking the “shortcut”, placing an HTTPS iframe in an HTTP top-level page, is not a solution! 2. Go HTTPS! Switch to Using It Side-Wide Instead Since the new “Not Secure” warnings for HTTP pages that Google Chrome will be rolling out this October are nothing but another step in its “macro plan” to label ALL HTTP websites as not secure. So, why waiting for the inevitable to happen? Why should you “mend” when you can go for a long-term, in-depth solution? When you can make the move now and migrate your Drupal website to HTTPS?   Bottom Line  Take Google Chrome's new “Not Secure” warnings for HTTP pages as a new step in its whole master plan towards an HTTP-free web! It's a plan they first launched in November 2016 and which they're implementing gradually. So that the users grow more and more aware of the risks they expose themselves to accessing HTTP web pages, as the Google Chrome security team confirms:   “Studies show that users do not perceive the lack of a “secure” icon as a warning, but also that users become blind to warnings that occur too frequently. Our plan to label HTTP sites more clearly and accurately as non-secure will take place in gradual steps, based on increasingly stringent criteria."   There's no way of knowing, for the time being, when precisely Google Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as non-secure. When it will label them all with the red triangle currently indicating broken HTTPS pages.  What we do know is that this is the ultimate goal of their strategic plan. So, instead of waiting for the confirmation of the date in the calendar, why not gradually prepare your website for this move? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Sep 25'2017
Shopify Launches Shopcodes: Scannable, Trackacle Codes for You to Use
First the launching of Shopify Pay, now this! It's more than obvious: Shopify's constantly striving to enrich its merchant customers' toolset with new and new features. And this time it's all about easy-to-scan, easier to track QR codes. In other words: Shopify launches Shopcodes, a free app downloadable right from the e-commerce platform's store, an app playing the role of a QR codes “generator”. What does this launch mean for you? Well, it means that you, the Shopify store owner, get to easily create QR codes (just generate them and then download the graphic files) and then link them to any product page or shopping cart page that you want. This way you'll be:   enabling your potential shoppers to get extra info about various products while they're in your physical store (they just scan the QR codes attached to your products and voila: they'll be taken right on the products' dedicated pages in your Shopify online store)   interconnecting your customers' offline and online shopping experiences   streamlining the whole checkout process (the code can also take your customers right to the checkout page, skipping all the other time-consuming steps to take)   delivering your clients their desired products without having to keep an inventory on hand; so even if you own a popup store and you're constrained by the lack of space   … and the list of benefits can go on and on. Now let's delve even deeper into details on how to create and place these codes on your products/marketing materials, details on various use cases and on the multiple benefits:   How Do You Create These Codes and Place Them on Your Products/Marketing Materials? Generating these QR codes, then linking them to your product/checkout pages and downloading the graphics files (SVG, PNG) to be placed on your marketing materials /products is nothing but a simple 4-step process:   just get the Shopcodes app from the Shopify App Store and have it installed use the app to generate your first QR code  link the QR code to the product or the shopping cart page of your choice print the graphic file to place on your offline marketing materials!   Once your offline customer enters your physical store and uses his/her iPhone to scan the printed code added to a certain product he/she can:   learn more about it, visiting your online shop and heading straight to the product page that he's interested in get straight to the shopping cart page and complete the checkout process, purchasing that specific product!   OK, Shopify Launches Shopcodes: But How Do They Work Precisely? First of all, we need pointing out 2 particularities that set these QR codes in Shopify apart from the “traditional” ones (since QR codes have been around since the 90's):   you can generate them exclusively within your Shopify store they can be used exclusively for shopping purposes   OK, now that we've set these key details straight, here's how they work and also how you, the seller, get to harness their full spectrum of functionalities:   we've already briefly mentioned how they work from the user's perspective: he/she uses his Apple phone to scan the code and gets a screen with additional info about the given product or with a “buy” button instead if you, the seller, will have linked that code to a checkout page   you, the Shopify merchant customer, get to track down and to monitor those codes (they're not just scannable, but also unique and easily trackable), each transaction made by your customers, right from your Shopify Analytics dashboard; so you'll get a crystal clear picture of where traffic/sales on your online store are coming from    you, again, even get to harness a whole set of features aimed at enriching your toolset as a seller: to add discounts to those QR codes (thus encouraging your offline customers to purchase online), to make changes via your Shopcodes app's dashboard (e.g. to add extra information or promotions)   Convenience for your customers (and for you, too, since you have your dashboard as your control panel at hand) and a bundle of benefits for you, the Shopify customer!   Which Are the Use Cases for These QR Codes? “Practically you get to use Shopify QR codes wherever you advertise offline”:   place them on your product packaging; this way your customers can just scan them through and get more detailed information about your products by visiting your online store or go to the checkout page directly   display them in your brick and mortar shop's storefront window, alongside other products; this way, even with closed doors, after or before your shop's working hours, your customers can still engage in shopping: in online shopping on your Shopify store instead!   use them in your popup store (or at the events that your company participates to), where you face multiple constraints, such as lack of space and a limited inventory on hand; your visitors can still scan these QR codes and have their favorite products delivered to their homes instead   In short: rely on Shopify's QR codes whenever/wherever you're conducting offline marketing campaigns! Use them to stir your offline potential customers' curiosity, turning them into your future online shoppers!   Why Should You, The Shopify Store Owner, Be Excited About This App? “What's in it for you?” In what way does Shopify deliver you, through the launch of its Shopcodes app, (even more) value?  Let's sum up your benefits and outline the answer to your question:   it enables you to turn first-time customers into loyal customers thanks to a much more streamlined checkout process (they just scan the QR codes... land straight on the checkout pages... hit the “buy” button... and that's it!)   it helps you turn various limitations (of space, of inventory on hand, etc.), that you might need to deal with, into favorable contexts for directing your potential shoppers to your online store instead   from package inserts to storefront windows, to offline ads... practically any offline marketing material can serve as a QR code support, turning itself into a “tool” for your customers to gain quick and easy access to your Shopify online store    What do you think about these QR codes' comeback that Shopify orchestrates? Do you plan to incorporate them into your own future offline marketing campaigns?  ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Sep 21'2017
Selling on Amazon via Shopify Just Got 7 Times Easier
If the Amazon-Shopify partnership was looking so promising already, things just got better! Better for you, who runs an e-commerce business on this platform! Practically from now on by selling on Amazon via Shopify you'll get a major boost in reach. With the 7 new product categories (that's right, they did get bumped up from 1 to... 7!) you'll be “drastically” increasing the number of Shopify items that you can sell on Amazon's massive marketplace. And speaking of these newly added categories:   Health and Household Beauty and Personal Care  Home and Kitchen Patio and Garden Sewing Arts and Crafts Sports and Outdoors Toys and Games       There's more! The Shopify-Amazon integration expansion comes “packed” with better support for Amazon's Brand Registry, as well! Basically, if you're currently Brand Registered on Amazon, you won't need to leave your Shopify dashboard to list your Brand Registered products. You can create them right there! Better said: selling on Amazon via Shopify just got a whole lot more convenient and more advantageous for you!   “Specifically, What Do I Gain Out of It?” “… out of this Shopify and Amazon's strengthened and expanded integration?” Let us point out, in specific terms, how it benefits you, the store owner using the Shopify platform:   you'll get to list 7 times more products on Amazon right from your Shopify shop    you'll get a significant boost in reach: a new distribution channel, with a loyal and nonetheless massive audience (no less than 300M users only last year)   you will never have to leave your familiar Shopify dashboard for adding your Amazon brand registered products; just create and manage your listings right there, in your store    you'll no longer need to use UPC/EAN codes as an Amazon Brand Registered merchant   you'll create your product listings on Amazon even easier as a brand owner    Selling on Amazon Via Shopify: One Shortcoming and A Few Predictions For this sales channel does present a shortcoming: for now, only U.S. Shopify store owners get to leverage the newly expanded integration. Still, (and here we disclose a key prediction), the Shopify team's already put it on the roadmap.  They're currently working on giving merchants selling in other regions, as well, the chance of seamlessy selling on Amazon via Shopify. Of creating and managing Amazon listings, of fulfilling orders, managing inventories and so on without (ever) having to leave Shopify. A challenging task to carry out, if we consider that Amazon operates with separate, per-regions websites and that the Shopify team will need to work closely with all of those teams!  Moreover, analysts predict that this recently expanded Shopify-Amazon partnership is just one “brick in the wall”, the “wall” being their whole strategy of minimizing friction between storefronts. A strategy that will continuously strengthen these 2 e-commerce giants' influence in the e-commerce platform sector.  This being said, allow us to end our post with the optimistic statement coming from Shopify's Product Support Network : “... we've got a full roadmap for growth opportunities with Amazon! Stay tuned :)” ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Sep 11'2017
3...2...1... Angular 5 Is Just Around the Corner! What New Features Should You Look Forward To?
Making it significantly easier for developers to build Google-driven progressive web apps! And significantly simpler for users to access services through their mobile phones, as well. This is the 2-in-1 prime concept behind Angular 5! The latest version of Google's mainstream JS framework for building mobile and desktop applications is soon to be released to production. And its beta version's: bugfixes performance improvements new features ... have already “revealed” the Google team's principle of making progressive web apps accessible to everyone. To take out some of all that discouraging, heavy know-how that developers had to get themselves “equipped with” if they decided to take the dynamic AngularJS development's “bull” by the hornes. And speaking of Angular 5's announced new features and enhancements, let's highlight the truly noteworthy ones, shall we?   New Angular 5 Features to Watch Out For Here are some of the key features aimed to support the “simpler, faster, smaller” theme of version 5: forms: add options arg to abstract controls   router: add events tracking activation of individual routes   compiler: add representation of placeholders to xliff & xmb   build optimizer: keeps code to its bare essentials, reducing, therefore, the app's size   integrating Material Design Components and making them compatible with server-side rendering   simplifying the whole progressive web apps' development process: so that the apps can get cached in the browser   Key Performance Improvements  And speaking of enabling the development of progressive web apps (and implicitly of native-like experiences for the users), we can't leave out the notable performance enhancements brought to Angular 5: abstract class methods & interfaces   the usage of native addEventListener for faster rendering   Google's engineering team's main goal has been to supercharge the fifth version of AngularJS with the needed out-of-the-box enhancements so that developers won't dread using the framework because of all the needed know-how. So that, instead, they should turn it into their first option for building their browser-based apps!   And Then... Get Ready to Welcome Angular 6, Too! … which will step into the spotlight next year, April 16. So, there's a overcrowded (even “aggressive” we could say) release schedule awaiting the Google team. Meanwhile, what the team developing Angular 6 can “disclose” is that they'll keep walking on Angular 5's path paved with the “easier, smaller, faster” principles.  And that they'll keep their focus on making developers' “development time” spent building Google-based progressive web apps even more enjoyable: “We’ll continue that theme for version 6, just making [developers’] lives easier, making it possible to deliver apps better for their users” Brad Green, a Google engineering director, said. In short: progressive web apps will get easier to build, thanks to all the built-in support streamlining development itself and easier (and therefore much more tempting) to use.  So, now that you have your Angular 5 checklist, including all the key features and performance improvements (and you can find the list of bug fixes right here) save the date in your calendar (September 18) and get ready to... stretch test all these improvements and breaking changes!  ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Sep 05'2017
Google's New G Suite Features: Boost Collaboration Within Your Team
Managing dozens of edits and tones of suggestions! This is just a brief and highly rudimentary definition of project/team management.  Therefore, it goes without saying that collaboration within the team makes the perfect “shield” against pure chaos, time-consuming version control problems and challenging information tracking issues. And this is precisely why Google's new G Suite features are “collaboration features” first and foremost and some truly handy, real-time editing features secondly.  Here's just a quick “teaser” on this update of Google Docs, Sheets and Slides:   built-in add-ons tailored to your organization's specific workflow   improved version control management tools   advanced information tracking, improved search results   And now, without further ado, let's put the spotlight on Google's new G Suite features:   1. Improved Version Control  And this is gold when it comes to effective time and teamwork management! Just try to turn back the hands of time and to go back to that “prehistoric age” when teams used to share docs by email and to pile up a whole load of doc versions, each one having its own name. Each one sent out to all the other members of the team. Now, come back to the present time when Google's new G Suite features include some well-improved version control management tools!  Let us detail: now you get to edit a “draft 1” document as many times as you need, Google automatically saves it each time you apply a new change; once you're through with the editing you can go ahead and name it “draft 2”. Google will promptly store all these multiple versions, that your team can assign custom names to, and so each team member gains access to the whole “version history”. Just navigate to Select File > Version history > Name current version and keep a close track of and easily manage all your team's edits in that specific document (slide or sheet)! You and your team members can see the entire “work in progress” and access any specific older versions of the same doc.   2. One of The Handiest of Google's New G Suite Features: Preview a “Clean” Doc Here's a new reading experience-enhancing feature that Google introduces in its latest G Suite update: you get to preview a “clean” version of your current document! Basically, anyone from your team can navigate to Select Tools > Review suggested edits > Preview accept all/Preview reject all and see that specific doc either:   “clean”, lacking  any of the suggested edits/comments   with all the subsequent editing marks added to   3.  Accept/Reject All Edit Suggestions With Just One Click OK, so “collaboration” sure is the keyword to describe Google's new G Suite features, yet there's another one we can add: convenience! For instance: you get to either accept or reject all the suggested edits at once. With just one click! Simply go to: Select Tools > Review suggested edits > Accept all or Reject all. This way you're sparing your team members' time. The time they would otherwise invest in reviewing every formatting or punctuation mark edit.   4. Suggest Changes On-The-Go, on Android and iOS Long gone are the days when you could turn on suggestion mode and do your editing exclusively on your PC. By far one of the much awaited of the Google's new G Suite features is precisely this one: you now get to edit your doc on-the-go, right from your mobile device! Just hit the “...” placed in the top corner of your document, sheet or slide and turn on the “suggest changes” mode. Talking about convenience, right?   5. Promptly Compare Doc Versions and Track Changes  Along with “team collaboration” and “convenience”, “promptly” is another suitable word to define Google's new G suite features.  You get to promptly review headlines thanks to the now built-in Workshare and Litera Change-Pro add-ons!   6. New Templates With Built-In Add-Ons Tailored to Your Workflow Why should you have two separate “can't live without” features, when you can... have a powerful two-in-one tool instead? Meaning: why should you have time-saving templates, on one hand, and add-ons loaded with needed functionality on the other? G Suite now brings you: templates with pre-built add-ons! With customizable add-ons to fit your own company's specific workflow. For instance, you might depend on a tool like LegalZoom or LucidChart or rather DocuSign. Now you can have your template paired with precisely that add-on! And there's more! If none of the available templates incorporating “luring” add-ons suits your needs, feel free to... create your own! Pick a template, pair it with the add-on of your choice and voila: custom-fit template integrated with your much-needed add-on!   7. G Suite Integrates With Google Cloud Search Can you anticipate how this Google update will impact information tracking within your team? Let us give you some hints:   your team members will no longer need to leave the currently opened document whenever they have to scan through all their internal docs searching for a particular piece of information: G Suite incorporates Google Cloud Search now    you get a richer set of search results, since the app will list every occurrence of that needed information across all your Google apps   In other words: you no longer need to specifically access Google Cloud Search to retrieve needed data! You just open up the Explore tab in your current document/slide and enter your search word(s). A whole list of Google apps (from your G suite) including that specific piece of information will then unfold. And these are Google's new G Suite features that our team of Toronto developers here (who're “dependent” on G suite) are most excited about! How about you? Have you had the chance to test any of them? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Aug 23'2017
Google Enhances Its Search App With a Personalized News Feed
“The Google search box is great when you’re looking for a specific answer, but there are also moments when you just want to catch up on the latest for topics of interest.“ (Tamar Yehoshua, VP of Product Management).  And there you have it! The NEED that you might or might not have been entirely aware of! And the fact that Google enhances its search app with a personalized news feed comes to satisfy precisely this need: to enjoy a perfectly tailored, highly customizable experience when searching for content on mobile! To explore up-to-the-minute info precisely from your own areas of interest! “How does Google incorporate this personalized news feed section into the search?” Via tappable shortcuts placed right on top of the Google search app or right underneath the search bar (in case of the site's mobile variant). And now enough with the “teasing”! Let's delve into details:   Tappable Shortcuts Now Accompany Google's Mobile Search “Starting today in the U.S., we’re introducing tappable shortcuts on the Google app for Android and iOS and Google.com on the mobile web that give you easy access to great tools and the ability to explore deeper within topics you care about.” (excerpt taken from Google's announcement on its mobile search redesign) Practically from now on when you're using Google's search app or Google.com on mobile, you're presented with tappable shortcuts. It's them that enable you to explore Google's personalized news feed. Once clicked on, they're your free ticket to “steamy-fresh” news in areas such as sports, weather, entertainment, food and drink! Expect a news feed perfectly tailored to your own topics of interest and preferences (reflected in your previous interactions with Google)! A feed “seasoned” with content related to what's trending in your own area and around the world at that moment, as well. Need to know whether to take your umbrella with you today? Didn't manage to watch last evening's baseball match and you're dying to find out the score? Are you new in town and you need guidance for finding the best place to eat? It's all there, at a finger tap's distance! All the needed information and the freshest news “stacked” in your handy Google feed! Moreover: expect your collection of shortcuts to get enriched with new ones standing for all the big events (let's say the Olympic Games for instance) shaping the given present time. Also, Android users get “spoiled” with a collection of “extra” shortcuts: flights, currency converter, internet speed test, translate, nearby attractions, hotel! Nothing new under the sun, we could easily say! This so called “new” functionality wearing Google's signature isn't new at all if we come to think of it. Convenience is, in fact, the “novelty” factor here: you get your tappable icons nicely structured into categories such as Tools, Fun, Weather, Lifestyle, Nearby, My Stuff. An organized, tappable interface! Is there any need to add which is Google's own gain (if you, on your hand, gain loads of convenience)? The company's main objective is to retain its users on its search app!   How Will This “Move” Impact The Google vs Facebook Rivalry? This is the question!  The fact that Google enhanced its search app with a personalized news feed not only that aligns the giant search company with the “portals' revival trend”, but it puts it in direct competition with another giant: Facebook.  It was Facebook itself that seized the opportunity of “reviving” the concept of portal-style content! And of launching the concept of portal-like apps where users could find and consume their sports, local, news, weather-related content in the same place. And yet, Google's social media-style news feed differs! It's the very personalization factor itself that sets it apart from Facebook's! Google's personalized news feed is custom-fit so that its should reflect users' areas of interests and search histories entirely!  Whereas Facebook presents its own users with a news feed section displaying content defined by the people they know, by their very own social graph and by that news' popularity itself! See the difference?     The Editorialized Content Issue Along with this whole redesign of Google's mobile search comes a legitimate concern: will Google editorialize the content delivered to its users in its news feed section? Will it manage to entirely avoid the “risk” of editorializing content? Most unlikely! Reaching and maintaining a level of “pure” objectivity in Google's personalized news feed section will be as likely as an AI making decisions “outside” its coded-in bias.    How Will This Personalized News Feed-Powered Search Impact Us? “The way we explore and consume content online will never be the same again”. This is our team's here, in our Toronto web development agency, answer to your valid question! And it's quite obvious in what way! Since now we're presented with Google's personalized news feed before we even get to enter a text search query, we're no longer “constrained” to look only for specific answers to our questions. We can also just catch up with the latest news from our areas of interest. And we can just dive deeper into the topics that we're interested in. The END! We're more than curious to hear your own thoughts about this shift: how do you feel about being now “greeted” (or better said “tempted”?) with a set of tappable shortcuts, an integrated part of your whole search experience, instead of that timeless, ultra-minimal design emblematic for Google? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Aug 01'2017
Put Your Website's Load Speed to The Test: The Website Speed Test!
Content is king, yet speed is everything! Or, better said: “content is king, but visual content is... Emperor”! And since “visual content” means images (and videos), you run the risk to get your precious website bogged down by a too heavy load of (otherwise) visually-striking images. Trying to impress, you to end up frustrating your visitors due to your site's slowness! But there's good news: Cloudinary's Website Speed Test Image Analysis Tool! A “refined” tool to add to your web development essential toolbox! A website performance tool that goes beyond the “you need to re-size your image” advice and empowers you with a whole report on how to: encode optimize re-size images on your website   It measures, diagnosis and, moreover: provides you with a “treatment” for your site's poor load time, too! And now, without any further ado, let's see this tool “in action”:   How Does the Website Speed Test Work Exactly? But first, what would you say about simultaneously trying this Image Analysis tool itself? This way going through our short “tutorial” here will be much more interactive. Just enter your site's link in the bar there, hit the “Analyze” button and... let the site performance report unfold before your eyes! a. It Runs an Analysis of The Site's Overall Performance Can you see the green, oversized letter grade on the top left corner of your screen? Excellent!  This is just one of the 2 key metrics displayed to you in this section of your report:   a letter grade: do keep in mind that the Website Speed Test tool grades your website by the number of detected issues, not by their gravity. So, the more problems/mistakes your inventory includes, the smaller the grade you'll get!   an image weight comparison: it counts bytes (not problems) and counts the potential performance gains that your site could be exploiting instead                                 b. It Highlights Specific Issues After you get your short report on your website's overall performance, the tool digs deeper, tracks down and highlights each web page's issues! Every page-specific report will provide you with actionable information on:   your images' current status: how they've been sized and encoded   your images' “ideal” performance: actionable information related to their format, dimension, how you could have got them better compressed etc.   As you can see for yourself, the on-page analysis, too, displays both grades and a potential gains percentages. Now, if you get “hungry” for even more actionable data, just dig deeper: hit the “See More” button!  Then you'll get to “satisfy your need” for even more detailed information about every single web page's current and potential performance. A report “split” into 3 main panels: Current: it grades every element “responsible” of an image's performance: format, fit, compression (yet, it's just these 3 first elements that count in grading the image), color space, color width etc.   moreover, in the panel's bottom half you'll get a list of solutions for scoring better grades for each one of those analyzed elements; you're being told what you could have done better when you handled you site's optimization (and this is gold!)     Optimized Image: it's here that you're presented with your image's ideal size and compression (and sometimes even with details on how the Website Speed Test encoded it along with a short description of the image's actual content)   just download it leverage it!     Format Alternatives: provides you with several alternative options to the single one presented to you in the “Optimized Image” panel   you get to scan them through and choose the one that best fits your site's optimization needs      From Pointing Out the Problems to Listing their Solutions Tackling the issues highlighted to you in the Website Speed Test report depends greatly on your (your team's) specific workflow. On the web development tools and technologies that you've already integrated into your workflow and that you're already familiar with. For instance, has this image analysis diagnosed some compression issues? Then it's you to decide whether you get them fixed using a compression GUI or an ImageMagick instead! The same goes for all the other issues' systematic fixing methods. Just A Few Extra Details    Website Speed Test is result of Cloudinary and WebPagetest joining forces   it's integrated into the WebPagetest's navigation bar: just look for the “Analyze Images” tab!   you should incorporate it into your own “arsenal” if, as a web developer in Toronto, you're testing your own websites and you want to get empowered to fix the signaled issues yourself   in short: Website Speed Test turns a plethora of site performance-boosting details into measurable and (moreover) actionable metrics: into “fuel” for your own site performance-enhancing plan!   Have you tried it yet? Do you think that it sets itself apart from other website performance analysis tools that you've used so far? Do share your (first) impressions with us! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jul 28'2017
Create Once Publish Everywhere With CONTENTA, The Latest Drupal Distribution!
The “create once, publish everywhere with close to zero knowledge of Drupal” is nothing but a myth! And you must have surely convinced yourself of that by now!  This is why harnessing the power of decoupled Drupal has been a discouraging “mission impossible” for non-Drupalers. A “privilege” exclusively for those familiar with decoupled back-ends, for those who do know a thing or two (or more) about each of the Drupal modules' particularities. Well, it looks like the Drupal community is innovating for a brighter future! One where you, the non-Drupaler, get to leverage the decoupled Drupal 8's power hassle-free!  And this future (which recently turned into present) is called “Contenta”! What started like an innovative and promising initiative at Drupalcon Baltimore is rapidly developing into a powerful, stable API-first Drupal distribution adapted to the needs of the non-Drupal “gurus”.  How do its initiators plan to do that? By providing the users out-of-the-box Contenta “kits”, with all the needed tools, configuration, and demos that they could possibly need to start “fueling” their cutting-edge apps with content in no time (having Drupal 8 as a backend CMS to rely on)!   What Was The Context That Favored Contenta's Emergence? Two key factors defined this favorable context:   The app development process in a decoupled situation itself: for non-Drupalers it could easily turn into a daunting “ordeal” with all the setups to be made, the tools to be put together, master matching the app's front-end with its Drupal back-end etc.   Drupal 8's outstanding capabilities for building decoupled applications   A solution had to be found so that everyone should be able to benefit from a decoupled Drupal CMS at its full potential, especially since Drupal 8 already provided a truly powerful “toolset” to be leveraged.   What Goals Has The Development Team Set For Contenta? Now that we've outlined the “problem” that this Drupal distribution comes to solve, how about pointing out the “objectives” that its team has set for it, as well?   it should be highly accessible to non-Drupalers thanks to the provided “out-of-the-box” kit of tools (or quick installer) they'll need when building their apps (content models, demo content, modules suggestions, example consumer apps, default setup...)   it should be quick and easy to use (thanks to its “load” of helpful demos and inspiring consumer examples)   it should also turn into a go-to source of needed documentation   it should be full-featured, perfectly equipped for powering decoupled projects, irrespective of the used front-end technology: Angular, Ract, Vue, Ember etc.   How Do You (Quickly) Install It? Since we've already mentioned Contenta's “quick installer” feature, it's time we come up with proofs, right? Here are the simple steps to take for installing your API-first Drupal distribution, so that you can start building your consuming app in no time:   first things first: install Composer    ensure that you have the sqlite-extension installed in your local machine, as well ( sudo apt-get install php-sqlite3 in debian/ubuntu)   then enter the following command for creating your new project: composer create-project contentacms/contenta-jsonapi-project MYPROJECT --stability dev --no-interaction    next, just install Drupal as usual   What Type of Demo Content Model Will You Get, Out-of-The-Box? “A recipe magazine”! That's right, this is the type of pre-built content model and demo content that you'll get to implement and to work with once you've installed your content API.   What Front-End Technology Should You Go For? “Whichever you prefer”, since Contenta “spoils” you with a whole load of inspiring examples of consumer apps built in different technologies. And there's no need for you to get “suspicious” once you notice that all these examples feature the same structure.“In real-life” it's the front-end technology that will be powering them that will determine their look and feel (if it will be Angular, then your app will feature that already iconic material design, if it will be Elm, then...)   Wrapping Up: Hypothetical Contenta Use Case  Now, what a more suitable way to sum up our short presentation on this API-first Drupal 8 distribution here than with a hypothetical use case scenario, right? Let's proceed: “Let's take Matt, our hypothetical non-Drupaler (let's assume that he is a React developer instead). Matt here is in search of a powerful back-end CMS for that impressive app that he's planning to develop. He'll just need to install Contenta, quick and easy, and dig through the out-of-the-box collection of React-powered app examples that Contenta will deliver him, by default.” This way, via a quick installation process and helpful examples of consumer apps to get inspired by, Matt will be able to develop his React and Drupal 8-powered app in no time! Now we're curious to read your own thoughts on this initiative! How do you feel about this project? Which are your projections of its future? Are you currently looking forward to using it in your future decoupled Drupal projects? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jul 07'2017
5 Ways to Harness the Power of AI on Your Ecommerce Site
“Viva la revolution!” Since we keep reading/hearing how AI revolutionizes the way people shop online, the way retailers leverage their user data to personalize the shopping experiences they provide, how AI revolutionizes the entire ecommerce space. So, how are you harnessing the superpower of AI on your ecommerce site? Your set of options includes:   chatbots   virtual personal shoppers   ultra-personalized shopping experiences   AI-based search queries   machine learning-powered search results   … and the list is an ever-growing one! Now you're probably disoriented: how do you know which one(s) of these revolutionizing forms of AI fits your own company's ecommerce strategy?  Well, let us put each one of them into the spotlight and hopefully help you identify the forms of AI in ecommerce that best suit your goals:   1. AI Virtual Shopping Assistant The “Relax and enjoy your shopping experience!” turns into: “Relax, your virtual assistant will do the shopping for you, purchasing precisely the item(s) you need at the best possible price(s)”. In short, as you implement this form of AI on your ecommerce site, you're actually leveraging both the valuable user data that you will have collected and the set ups that your customers will make (for instance a certain day of the week/month when he prefers his virtual assistant to “go shopping” for him/her). Let's fancy this possible virtual shopping assistant-powered scenario: “you already have a load of priceless data on a customer's preferences and an enabled “sales” alert option. By leveraging this valuable information his online personal shopper can easily purchase that particular product/service precisely the day when the price drops down”. See the 2 main differences? The customer:   doesn't have to type in a whole string of relevant keywords in the search box on your site, looking for the product he'd like to buy (for his virtual assistant already knows what items he'd like to purchase)   won't be constantly notified (and eventually annoyed) whenever prices drop.    The shopping experience without the time-consuming hassle! Moreover: the AI virtual shopping assistant can curate the products/services your customers would want to purchase, depending on their browsing and shopping histories! So, we're talking about proactively assisting your customers, ensuring future conversion, too!   2. Machine Learning for More Relevant Search Results Relevancy is key when it comes to search results, wouldn't you agree? But what if you could reach “the utmost relevancy” in the search options that you deliver to your online customers? You can reach it: by leveraging the machine learning technology on your Drupal site!  Instead of relying on the conventional keyword matching technique, you'd better harness the power of machine learning AI and deliver the perfectly adequate search results to your potential customers!   3. A New Type of Search Query: AI Processing Natural Language  Searching for products/services on a given ecommerce website is getting “out-of-fashion”! AI technology steps on the stage and steals the spotlight as it's equipped with natural language processing capabilites. Capabilities that the traditional way of searching for items on a given online store can't possibly compete with! Therefore, instead of typing several relevant keywords, which may or may not display the relevant search options, AI can “interpret” customers' natural language. It can recognize and decipher their natural expressions and thus display only the most relevant search results.   on one hand we have a series of keywords that get, successfully or not, matched with their corresponding products/services   on the other hand with have search results determined by the process of “deciphering” natural expressions   See the difference?   4. Voice Search: Implement This Key Form of AI on Your Ecommerce Site  AI-powered voice search has ceased to be a striking novelty for some time now. It slowly and surely turns into a “must-have” technology for every ecommerce site/app! Are you ready to leverage this form of AI on your ecommerce site, too? It's the epitome of convenience: users can just utter the items they want to visualize and eventually purchase and the AI technology implemented on your website does all the rest. Yet it's much more than “utmost convenience”: it's a way of deep-personalizing your customers' overall shopping experiences on your ecommerce website! By using voice-triggered searches you'll practically tailor, to their own needs, the search options that you'll display. The “traditional” way of personalizing shopping experiences (to the search terms that users enter in the search box on your site) can't possibly rival with this AI-powered type of personalization, don't you agree?   5. Evolving Content  And we do mean “in real time”! A whole new dimension for the concept of in-depth personalized content going hand in hand with a perfectly tailored shopping experience. In other words: what this AI technology does is adjust the content on your ecommerce website LIVE, as the customers navigate through! The data collecting, followed by the content tailoring is no longer a viable tactic in today's ecommerce landscape. Content evolving in real-time is the new level of personalized customer experiences!  And not only that it helps you craft an “ultra” personalized online shopping experience, with a high level of interactivity, but you're actually taking the burden of A/B and layout testing off your team's shoulders. As you leverage this AI technology, based on evolutionary algorithms, you'll be actually improving your online shopper's experience “on the spot”!   And the list can easily go on and on! Visual search would have to be the next AI technology on our list, followed closely by... Yet, since it's a list that gets constantly enriched, we shall end it here. Do tell us now: have you already leveraged any of these forms of AI on your ecommerce site? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jun 28'2017