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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.

Cloudwords for Drupal 8: Translation at Scale Gets Automated 
If content is king, then content personalization sure is queen! Which leads us to content globalization, an ever increasing demand that many organizations strive to adapt their marketing technology stack to. Yet manually getting heavy loads of content translated not just in one, but in several languages, and then sending it out precisely to their target audiences, at high speed and ideally scaled, is almost a “mission impossible”. And this is the particular context that the Cloudwords for Drupal 8 was launched in! It's the answer to organizations' challenge of dealing with users' expectations for personalized experiences while striving to spare their valuable resources of time, as well! For users do expect to be “served” promptly, you can't compromise on quality (by delivering them poorly translated content) and you surely can't waste their time (delivering them the translated version of the content on your website weeks or months later). And this complex workflow involving:   large teams of content authors loads of content being constantly moved in and out of the Drupal website(s) a whole network of translation vendors to send it over to and to receive it from   ... has its limitations!  Therefore, integrating Cloudwords with Drupal 8 comes to turn all this from a cumbersome, time-consuming process into a fully automated workflow!  Now let's get into more details about the “happy marriage” of these two innovative web technologies, Clowdwords and Drupal 8:   Why Drupal? Why Drupal 8? What Does This CMS Bring To The Table? As you probably already know, it's been a while since we've got to use the Cloudwords for Drupal module. Why was Drupal “chosen” for the happy union? It's pretty logical: back then it was and still is large organizations' top favorite content management system! The one “equipped” with all the capabilities (flexibility, scalability, extensibility and all the other crucial “ity”-s) that are crucial for content-packed websites! So, since now we have Cloudwords for Drupal 8, a more than valid question would be: “But Why Drupal 8 in particular?”  “Because it's been built with content globalization in mind! It provides companies with multilingual support right in its core!”   What is Cloudwords? What Does It Bring to the Table? Simply put: Cloudwords is a software that automates the entire global content localization process! Basically what it does is eliminate all those resources-consuming tasks, that are now being carried out manually by “armies” of teams, and deliver a highly enhanced visibility into the projects' statuses. A “dream come true” for all the digital marketing teams involved in the production and the delivery of personalized content within large organizations. Like yours! Cloudwords's key role in this integration with Drupal 8 is precisely this one: turning your Drupal website's localization into a streamlined, automated workflow! Far easier to monitor and far easier to handle!  Workflow automation + Unmatched project management capabilities   The Challenge  More often than not enterprise organizations need their websites' content translated in several languages (not just one or two) and also have not just one multilingual site to manage, but an entire “constellation” of sites. So, as you can imagine (since you're probably facing the same challenge) monitoring the entire translation process, promptly updating it whenever new content gets added to the website and adding new and new multilingual websites to the group is resources-consuming and prone to error! And this is the challenge that Cloudwords in Drupal 8 comes to help your own organization respond to!   Cloudwords for Drupal 8: A Big Leap Ahead Into the Future of Content Globalization Now that we've:   glided through each one of the two technologies' key capabilities relevant for this integration pointed out the “problem” that this “union” comes to solve   … let's have a close look at this groundbreaking solution, shall we? First of all, what we can easily state is that it speeds up the whole website localization process. And that it protects it from human error, too, obviously! Since the entire workflow (implying the creation and the delivery of personalized content) gets automated, living up to higher and higher standards of speed, quality and scaling gets so much easier. Secondly, we're talking about efficiency in terms of quantity, as well: a high volume of web pages can now get translated at high speed, to more and more users located in different corners of the world and in more and more languages, as well. In short: accelerating translation at scale, that's what you'll achieve, within your enterprise, once you start leveraging Cloudwords for Drupal 8's capabilities!   And How Exactly Does It Streamline Content Marketers' Workflow? The very first “present” that content marketers get is an increased visibility into their content translation projects! A key benefit coming to complete all the other ones deriving from the fact that all the time-consuming tasks, otherwise manually handled, are eliminated from the whole process. “Automated convenience”, that's how we could call Cloudwords for Drupal 8 from content marketers' standpoint! And there's more! The future has in store even more (more or less “surprise) “goodies” for content authors and editors:   improved multilingual support (since we're talking about Drupal 8, after all) improved content authoring and editing experience    CloudWords for Drupal 8: Features That You'll Want to Use Now let's outline specifically those key functionalities that you'll be using the most in your translation at scale projects:   enhanced visibility into each project's status (a feature that we've just talked about) OneReview: in-content review functionality collaboration among all the teams and vendors involded, across departments, too; and good collaboration sure is a touchstone of any large scale project!   How Does It Work? “You simply select the content on your Drupal site that you want to localize and let Cloudwords for Drupal 8 handle the rest!”  The translation vendor that you'll choose for the job will get the content to be translated, then it will have it delivered into Cloudwords. A step-by-step website localization process that Cloudwords will streamline for you, taking an incredibly heavy burden off your team's shoulders! Moreover, it will also automatically detect and point out to you those specific translations that are outdated, as well as the new ones. And this is how Cloudwords for Drupal 8 works! Looking forward to hearing from you your very first impressions once you start integrating it into your organization's translation at scale processes!  ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jun 14'2017
Drupal-Powered Digital Signage? Yes, That's Possible!
Standard web pages have ceased to be the only data delivery medium available! And there's no way around it. You either respond to users' “pressing” expectations to be delivered up to the moment data, context-based data only, or, well, you'll be left behind! In this respect, Drupal-powered digital signage systems might just be the best solution to meet your customers' “new” needs and to remain relevant in your business! There's no reason to “act surprised” or be skeptical about Drupal being the right technology to go for! You have:   data-rich APIs   outstanding content management functionalities   … so collecting data, turning it into “relevant”, contextual data, detecting a whole network of devices and sending out that data following a certain content model already looks like a plan. A solid plan for you to build your first digital signage system on! But let us dive into more details, (hopefully) answer all your legitimate questions and deliver you some of the key information you need for getting started with your digital signs project:   Digital Signage Systems: A Few Examples What forms do these new types of digital experiences take? Where do we interact with digital signage in our day-to-day lives? Here are some representative examples:   mall kiosks   touch screens placed in various means of transportation (planes, cars, trains)   voice interfaces   These are all real-data delivery means! Digital signage solutions that we interact with daily (even if only visually) and which have already become indispensable to us.   But Why Drupal? Why a Drupal-Powered Digital Signage System? … when you have Angular, Node, Amber React and the whole “suite” of cutting-edge, modern technologies at your disposal? The answer lies in Drupal's whole “culture” of empowering the end-user! In other words: Drupal provides an improved user experience compared to other modern technologies focusing mostly on enhancing exclusively the developer's experience instead. As simple as that! You need to build your signage system with your client (his team of content editors) in mind! It's them who will need to be able to grow independent once you pass them over the device; to be able to edit everything about it with the utmost ease. And Drupal excels at empowering the non-developer, the non-technical user!   Real-Time Data Streaming = Managing Content With Great Ease And Drupal's well reputed for its capabilities as a content management system. It empowers those “in charge” with content with a whole structure of features and functionalities aimed at better organizing the editorial team, at handling and “refining” the delivered content (making it context-sensitive, as well). Now, let us point out some of its “star” capabilities:   its whole “infrastructure of roles and permissions   its revisioning feature   its translation functionality   its content types building tool   How Does Drupal Handle External Data? Having data “flooding in” from “outside” providers is something to consider when you decide to develop your Drupal-powered digital signage system! This data can range from:   social media   to weather data   to stock data   to news   to all kinds of crucial (for the passengers) public transportation-related data   And the way Drupal 8 copes with this “flood” of data goes like this: the provider API is sent out to collect this data, then Drupal gets it processed according to the content model. Note: If content is king, then context is queen! Make sure you contextualize the data you deliver via your digital signs, that you perfectly adjust it to the given context (you don't want to send out information about a train's schedule on the “wrong” platform or data news from Baltimore to people living in L.A. etc.)   Getting Started: How to Use Drupal for Powering Your Digital Signs  Here are the very basic steps to take:   enter the right command in Drush for collecting your data   next store your credentials in Drupal 8   “trigger” caching (yet, be cleverly selective about what you cach, since you can't, obviously, cach everything when it's real-time data that you need to deliver)   parse your collected data, using Drupal 8 to “spread” it to all the right devices, following the right content model path   Getting Data from Drupal to Your Digital Signs: How Does It Work? Before you go ahead and pick the obvious answers to this question, “pull” or “push”, you'd better consider all the “pieces of the puzzle”:   you can't really rely on the pull method since that would put a tremendous pressure on your server's shoulders (and heat up your devices)   you can't rely on a “multiple APIs” method either, since real-time data restricts you to a to a highly selective caching (unlike on web pages)   you can't reload as many times as needed, like on the web   there's limited or no user interactivity involved (the huge blue screen can be viewed by thousands of people and the only thing they can do is just... stare at it)   “Can't do this, can't do that: but what is it that I CAN do to make this data transfer work?” “You use websockets!” It's this solution that will provide you with an almost instantaneous, two-way type of communication for a longer time!   It's One of Those Perfect Contexts of Use for “Exploiting” Drupal's Scalability Apart from being incredibly flexible, Drupal's highly scalable, too! We all know it, even those that don't use Drupal know it! A Drupal-powered digital signage system is the perfect “context” for leveraging this scalability. And it's going to be of great help when you think of the whole network of devices involved here! Drupal's powerful enough to send out the collected data via one of the websocket channels that you'll use for transferring your data to your devices. Moreover, it can multiply that data for as many devices as your network has. Unlimited scalability!   Think Beyond Content Model: Think “Device Model”, Too! … for Drupal has the right capabilities for collecting, processing data and following the content model, yet you need to “give it some hints” regarding the devices, too. The devices that those digital signs will get displayed on. Let it know what is it that these devices can do, which messages get “triggered” by which one of the digital signs. In short: a well structured, crucial information-stuffed device model's needed, too!   Overall: What Does Drupal Need to Know? If you want your Drupal-powered digital signage system to work at its full potential, then you need to “empower” Drupal 8 with all the key information:   1. what data goes to which one of your interconnected digital signage devices 2. the format that Drupal needs to display that data in (along with language, size screen, and other related key data)   And now in order to “proof” your data, to ensure that it's just your own devices that have access to it, you can:   whitelist your digital signage system (leveraging the metadata that Drupal can collect for you)   establish TFA for all the involved users   ensure that your services of choice (whether it's Google, Amazon or another one) ask devices for authentication   How Does a Drupal-Powered Digital Signage System Handle Security? And this is, indeed, a “sore point” when dealing with digital signs! They're particularly vulnerable in case of cyber attacks. Now that we've pointed out the “problem”, let's jump to the possible solutions that you have:   1. this is a no-brainer and yet, we feel like adding this “rule of thumb”, too: always change the passwords that your devices ship with! 2. consider restricted access to them 3. ensure that the software you're using comes along with a patch/updates schedule, too, and that you remember to run those updates, periodically 4. secure your source data: get it validated and audited before you “release it out into the wild” 5. use SSL    And now all there's left for us to add is: good luck with your first Drupal-powered digital signage system! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jun 10'2017
Progressive Web Apps: How Precisely Do They Benefit Your Business?
Before we delve any deeper into the topic of progressive web apps, let's highlight the context that “produced” them: the limitations of the web itself (poor internet connection, low performance and so on). Therefore, a solution was needed so that users (and here we're referring mostly to users from emerging markets, although poor internet connection is a “sore point” for users from other countries, as well) faced with this type of drawback could enjoy some native-ish, app-like experiences, too. And so, evolving from the “standard” web-hosted apps and “rivaling” native apps in feature-rich user experience, loading speed and (most of all) unmatched accessibility, progressive web apps “were born”! Now let's get to the bottom of the growing “fascination” for this “new” type of apps, pointing out why they're preferred by developers (front-end developers in particular), by users and by organizations (Google being this web technology's most “notorious” advocate) to the same extent.      But First: What Exactly Are Progressive Native Apps?  And this leads to another another legitimate question: in what way are they different from “conventional” web apps? “Web browser APIs”, this is the answer! It's this feature alone that makes all the difference! Progressive web apps are “clusters” of multiple modern web technologies, the great majority of them deriving from the web API's itself. Basically this opens a whole new web era for developers, an era where they can build powerful dynamic web apps using web APIs. Where they can deliver native-ish user experiences without the need of using hybrid frameworks.  “Progressive enhancement” (or “brewing” top performance even from the early stages of development), this is how we can call the whole development process that sets this type of apps apart from web apps and gets them so close to native apps. Developers get to add new enhancements/features progressively, while users get to enjoy some native app-like experience, irrespective of their internet connection's quality or of the mobile browser that they're using. A win-win situation! And now, let's point out the key “requirements” for a “regular” web app to “level up” to a progressive one: to be responsive: a progressive web app runs on any type of device (any browser)   to run offline relying on service workers (to be connectivity-independent): one of the main reasons why these apps have gained so much ground so quickly; “poor or no internet connectivity” is the issue that progressive web apps have been created to compensate for after all   to feature an architecture enabling progressive enhancement (developers should easily add on new features, new functionalities hassle-free)   to be be easy to install locally, on the user's home screen, on smartphones and tablets   to be re-engageable: via features such as push notifications   to be built on HTTP, therefore addressing the security issue   to be easily accessed via one basic URL   And the list could easily go on and on with features deriving from these very “requirements”: they're app-like (with content and functionality playing, each, its separate role)   they're discoverable (since Google and other search engines can easily track them down identifying them as “apps”)   they feature dynamic app-like pages with separate URLs, etc.   What's most important for you, as a Drupal site owner and as an organization, is the aspect of ACCESSIBILITY! Being responsive, progressive and connectivity-independent, these new-generation type of apps (the “future of web apps”, as many call them) is a huge leap forward into the future of web. Once there the user's freed from the chains of performance and other types of dependencies (platform dependency, internet connection dependency...)                 And Again: How Precisely Do Progressive Web Apps Benefit Your Own Business? Is your organization's future projects include seizing business opportunities in the emerging markets (for, after all, they are “responsible” for 70% of the global growth, according to Forbes)? Markets which are known as having the mobile in their DNA while they face, at the same time, poor internet connectivity challenges? Then progressive web apps come as a sure “recipe” for your business' growth! As for your direct customers, it's all the new possibilities that this type of apps, built with unmatched accessibility in mind, unlock. Your users will be able to access your PWAs from any device (PWAs put an end to Android's “dictatorship”), from any network access (or none) and still enjoy a native-ish experience. They no longer need to limit themselves to “super light” type of mobile apps or to access their favorite apps only for short periods of time.   Progressive web apps can be adjusted to these particular customers' context of poor network performance and used devices. An enhancement that will smooth your access through and ensure your business' growth in a 3.9 billion person market. From our own team of Drupal developers' standpoint: they'll get to focus on configuring your company's web apps for 2G only, thanks to their “connectivity-independency” feature. Now if we are to point out some business stories of success, we could mention Jumia and Konga. The two companies operating in Africa have both implemented progressive enhancements into their their web apps' development process and they've both succeeded to increase their conversion rater and to reduce data usage. To Sum Up: your users don't need to compromise a rich native app-like experience in order to save their data or due to a poorly performing network   you'll make your web apps accessible to everyone (increasing visibility for your own brand)   you'll manage to cut down your bounce rate (no more “annoyed” users unable to access your app or constrained to access it for a shorter period of time)   you'll be able to more effectively safeguard your data       Service Workers: What Are They and How Can They Improve Your PWA? First of all we feel like adding that: service workers are indispensable when building progressive web apps! They're the JavaScript-like scripts handling everything data-related: where it comes from, how it should be structured and cached in the background, where it should be pulled to etc. Each time your users perform an action, it's these service workers that makes the right data requests in the database and transmits it between views. They coordinate all the background processes that go from data requests to content delivery. And speaking of service workers, we need to stress out that it's the Service Worker API that's the truly indispensable service worker that you should be using for ensuring a connectivity-independent PWA. It makes the very foundation of your progressive web app! Start with the Service Worker Api and build on it; take it from there and continue to enhance your app!   For inspiration, we recommend you to visit Service Workers Cookbook, a great source of “enlightening” demos and great examples for you to learn from!  A Few Words About The App Shell That Progressive Web Apps Use If you're familiar with the native app's architecture, then you surely are familiar with app shells.   They're the pre-established patterns that guarantee the clear separation of the UI from the data and code. It's also the true “culprit” of native apps' high performance, of their undeniable power: the interface remains visible and identical for the user, while different sets of data can load each time. It can be cached locally, making it easy for it to load with each access of your app, and guaranteeing a dynamic content: data and functionality filling in the views can differ depending on various factors. And this shell-like structure remains identical on every single page of your app. It's only the data/functionality that vary, creating that sense of dynamics and ensuring the best loading times, too. And that's it for today! This is our short 2-in-1 presentation and pledge for adopting progressive web apps. What do you think? Are they the future of the interweb or you don't see their potential?   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jun 06'2017
See You at DrupalCon 2017 Baltimore!
Still wondering how the weather will be next week in Maryland! It's “crucial” information for us, you know, since these days we're packing our bags for next week's DrupalCon 2017 Baltimore!   About DrupalCon 2017 Baltimore Needless to add that the Drupalcon North America is THE “peak” of all the other Drupal-themed meetings, events and camps taking place all over the globe, year-round. This year it's Baltimore's turn to host the event (and to welcome the no less than 3000 Drupalists and Drupal enthusiasts who'll be attending it), from April 24-28. And for living up to the scale of this event, it's the Convention Center, on One West Pratt Street, that it puts at the Drupal community's disposal!   OPTASY at DrupalCon 2017 Baltimore We have exciting news! This year OPTASY'S both one of the attendees and one of the sponsors who'll “power” this mega gathering! And we have to admit that we're, still, so proud of this opportunity (with the risk of slightly “breaking” the laws of modesty)! Therefore, do feel free to stop by our booth #140 and get to know the OPTASY team! We're ready to answer to all your questions, whether they'll be closely related to our work or to the “must-see” attractions in Toronto.   A Multifaceted Event With A Jam-Packed Program No matter how hard we've tried, we just couldn't put together a hierarchy! A calendar, yes, but not a hierarchy. We'd love to attend all the sessions at DrupalCon Baltimore, ALL the sprints, all the summits all the social events, all the special events (not exactly realistic, we know that)! In other words, we're looking forward:   to Dries Buytaert's keynote, on the 25th of April to attending community discussions to participating to the sprints (oh yes!) and be part of all those knowledge sharing, creative thinking challenging and innovative ideas spreading types of Drupal-y gatherings to attending trainings (so that we can get the bags that we're packing these days loaded with great tips, strategies, trends to watch in 2017, Drupal best practices, know-how, demos, etc. from the Drupal legends themselves) to attending some cool social events (definitely!) to attending community sessions (getting ourselves informed about Acquia's latest products, about its planned roadmap for 2017 and exchanging ideas with members of the community is, after all, one of the reasons why we attend DrupalCons) to attending session tracks on UX, PHP, project management, DevOps and the list of tempting topics can go on and on. A quick recap See you next week in Baltimore, at booth #140 and at all the other “can't miss” events listed in the event's jam-packed program! Now, let us continue with our bags packing and weather forecasting... ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 21'2017
Introducing Google Open Source: A Dedicated Website for All of the Company’s Open Source Projects
Google's been not just “a” member of the open source community, but one of its leading members. It's been advocating for the usage of open source as a sure path to innovation for a while now. This is no breaking news for anyone! Therefore, hearing that the California-based giant has taken a big leap forward in terms of “openness”, in terms of “exposing “behind-the-scene” details of its relationship with open source software, hasn't surprised us, the OPTASY team, all that much!  “Not so surprised” and yet: we can't deny that we're still excited about Google's announcement! It practically opens a large window for us, the “outsiders”, to “peep into” the company's code and other “in-house” code created for developing their open source projects. The website's not just a repository of key information on Google's projects and processes, but it gives away details on how precisely they're being used inside the company.  The revealed code will co-exist both on Google's own self-hosted git service, as well as on GitHub. And, in this equation Opensource.google.com will play the role of a central directory for them. And “feasting” on the information showcased there is not just for “fun” or for mere curiosity, but you should take it as an opportunity: it actually offers an insight into the best practices when it comes to developing open sources projects! And this is just the beginning for, Will Norris, Open Source Programs Office at Google declared: “it also contains something unexpected: a look under the hood at how we “do” open source”. Google's planning to showcase there information about project life cycle and they commit to keep adding new and new details on how they approach open source “in-house”. So, no need to put on your “binoculars” and try “spying” on what's happening “behind the closed curtains”, at Google. No need to strive to get your insights on their open source projects! The future looks bright for you! For it seems that the company's willing to put its inside information “on a silver plate” for you. Meaning: under one single handy URL!   About Google's Own Open Source Philosophy … revolves around one essential principle: everyone can benefit from open source! In Google's own “philosophy” open source sets the perfect context for teams to collaborate, to share information and to work together for creating new technologies. The company sees open source as a sure path to innovation, as we've already stated! “Collaboration” is, therefore, the main word behind Google's idea of open source. And “collaboration” goes hand in hand with the idea of “community”, with the idea of “the community of developers participating” in developing open source projects together. In addition to this, Google has revealed its other key principles supporting its open source philosophy: the “more is better” one. What does it mean? It means that the company's committed to showcasing as many open source projects as possible on their newly launched website. And this because they agree that they do not know, from the very start, which ones of them will have a larger audience. Therefore, they're decided to keep posting code, this leading to a repository of thousands of open source projects that developers can “scan through” and select the information they need.   Opensource.google.com: What's Its Purpose? One of the clarifications that the Google's officials have made was that their new site isn't designed with a one and only purpose in mind: to showcase the company's open source projects. It's supposed to be a “tool” that developers can use to discover how these projects are used internally. Both overviews of these projects and explanations on how they're being used are provided there. Also, another mention they've is that developers shouldn't take their showcased code and explanations on how this is being utilized inside the company as “absolute” how-to guides.They're just “starting points” or “inspiration” on how the company approaches open source. They're aimed at empowering you to venture yourself on the open source-provided path to innovation. An incentive to collaborate for creating new technologies.   But What Type of Information Will Go Public More Precisely? You're more than entitled to ask yourself right now: “But what type of topics will the information on Google's new site be covering?” And, also: “How will the content get structured on Opensource.google.com?” In this respect, let us detail a bit. Here's what Google's public collection will include:   information on how to submit patches to other open source projects   Google's policies regarding third-party open source projects    key information about Google's release processes for its new open source projects    Up to now Google's new site sums up 2000 projects. When it comes to content structuring and facilitating the user's/developer's access to certain information, a search feature has been added (besides the drop-down menu displaying the categories available on the website). This turns out to be a more than useful tool in case you already know what you need a certain project for, but you don't have your mind set on a specific bit of software.     In Conclusion: Judging by how other Google open source projects, such as TensorFlow and Kubernetes have evolved (turning into “constellation” type of projects, each with its own set of ecosystems gravitating around it), the documents piled up and made public on this website are a major opportunity from a developer's standpoint. No doubt about that! It also delivers inspiration for other companies to embrace open source and to showcase their own “behind the closed door” code.  How about you? How do you perceive the new Google site's release and how do you position yourself, as a company, when it comes to open source? Do you see any opportunity in revealing your internal code to “outsiders”?   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 03'2017
OPTASY Is Featured on CLUTCH: Top Web Development Companies
We just couldn't keep it to ourselves! Especially since we're fully aware that you, our long-time or new partners, are “responsible” for this recognition. Being ranked there, among all the top web development companies in Canada's so competitive digital landscape, is an overwhelming honour for our team. But also an incentive for constant self-improvement and a huge responsibility! No doubt about that!        Allow us to express our gratitude for your acknowledgment of our work!   Of the expertise and the creativity that we've invested in delivering relevant, adaptive and overall business success-driving digital experiences. Not the “one size fits all“ type, but the one reflecting our customers' visions and geared toward helping them meet their business goals!   We simply love what we're doing!   And we love getting better and better at what we're doing! That's it! No secret “ingredient” in this “formula for success”.   It's our passion for our work that has allowed us to broaden our offer of services from (exclusively) building Drupal websites to developing custom modules, theming, offering maintenance and support and delivering adapted Drupal e-commerce solutions, as well.    And yet, we did add a not so secret ingredient to this formula for success: “always putting clients first”!   And this prioritization includes both the input that our clients give us during their web projects development, as well as their own visions and goals. For we're never putting together “just” visually-appealing, functional Drupal websites: we develop Drupal websites that respond to our customers' particular needs and which help them achieve their own business goals.   What we're actually trying to say to you is: "Thank you, we take a bow before such a recognition of our work! It's been and will continue to be an honor working with you"!   Another “culprit” of our pure enthusiasm (we won't be getting over this news soon... if ever) is the research company who's put this top itself: CLUTCH!   Worldwide famous for the innovative methodology it uses for conducting its researches, an efficient “blending” of:   interviewing both past and present clients of the “target” company evaluating the quality of work evaluating its industry experience   ... it's become one of THE top go-to resources providing decision-making information to all companies interested in contracting software services providers.   At the end of this news-type of post, allow us to make a “pledge”:    “Not to rest on our oars, to turn this honor into a responsibility (and thus not to get “intoxicated” by “fame”) and to approach our work with even more professionalism and determination in helping our customers meet their goals!”   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Feb 22'2017
Curious What Google Has in Store for You for 2017?
How well did you keep up with Google's frequent updates in 2016? Didn't you feel, at some point, that striving to keep the ever changing “rhythm” that Google imposed was like “striving to keep yourself steady on quicksand”?   Preparation is key, right?   So, if you want to keep a steady balance while “walking on wire” this year (whether as a marketer, as a web developer in Toronto or as an online business owner) you need to anticipate the upcoming shifts in the SEO landscape.   In order to lend you a hand with that we have analyzed Google's most significant changes in 2016, read the forecasts of some the most influencing experts' in the field and we're here today, in front of you, ready to empower you with a list of 6 updates in Google's algorithms that you should expect to impact your business this year.    And here they are! Each one could easily win its own star on Google's “walk of fame”, the one grouping its most impactful updates along the years:   1. Google's Index Goes Mobile-First    In this respect, we couldn't be happier here, at our web development company in Toronto, with Drupal 8's mobile-first features!   Now this Google update is huge! It will most likely shake the entire SEO landscape and will challenge you to reconfigure all your digital marketing initiatives, plans and strategies.   If you have already implemented all the right measures for optimizing your website for mobile, for turning it into a welcoming place for your mobile users to land on, good for you.    Don't rest on your oars! Keep up the good work: 2017 means higher search ranking for you!   If, for various reasons, you've missed the train, and you stubbornly put all your faith (and therefore your brand's whole future) in your desktop website, “take a cold shower” and then get to work!   ASAP!   The wind of change will blow from Google's direction and might just sweep off your online presence if it lacks a strong foundation!   And that foundation, my friend, is made of mobile optimization-oriented measures.   Just think about it: not only that mobile-friendly will become a ranking signal, but it will be the primary source of ranking!   Google will push forward, right into the spotlight, mobile-optimized websites, while the desktop ones will remain behind, “in the dark”.    Moreover, it's not just a whole new way of marketing online that you should adopt, but a whole different mindset, too: you need to think mobile, not just to “act” mobile!   We witness the end of an era when marketers geared all their efforts towards making Google happy.   The modern day marketer should first and foremost make his user happy: by crafting the best mobile user experiences!   Here's how:   crafting unique content adjusted to the mobile's particularity (long gone are the days of keyworda and links-stuffed content and of those when you would transfer content from your desktop site to its mobile version in such a rudimentary manner)   ensuring them an intuitive navigation   guaranteeing them fast-loading web pages   And Google will always favor those who pay attention to and rush in to meet their (mobile) users' expectations.   2. Google Will Start an Intrusive Pop-Up Ads “Hunt”   Or better said “Google has started...”, for the announced change came into effect on the 10th of January.   How will this impact your website?    Well, the proper question would be: are you using interstitials on your mobile pages?    How much screen space do they take up?   You should know that Google has started to rank lower precisely those mobile website which keep annoying users with interstitials covering most of the content they want access.   Here are just a few of interstitial-related signals that will make Google wave its red flag:   a pop-up ad that the user has to close before he's given full access to the main content a pop-up add that covers almost entirely the content the user is reading, the he has to dismiss before (re)gaining access to the main content the usage of a specific layout where the above-the-fold section of the web page is an interstitial, while the main content is moved underneath the fold and thus is hardly accessible to the user   If the above practices sound too familiar to you, you should definitely consider revising your mobile marketing strategies!   Google is sure to strengthen its efforts for tracking down and penalizing those websites that will continue to annoy their users with pesky interstitials contributing to a bad user experience.    Accessibility, in the sense of easing users' access to that valuable content prepared for them on your mobile site, which goes had-in-hand with a good user experience, is what Google favors.   And intrusive ads are definitely not a means for achieving it!   3. Google Assistant Will Outshine the SERP Search   It's true that Google has a lot to catch up for being able to “rival” Siri and Cortana, voice assistants who've had the time to constantly improving their technologies, but we've gathered some really strong signals from this direction.   Can you imagine an SERPless future?    Google's Voice search technology would then efficiently guide users towards the information they're looking up for!   And, given the long-tail keywords, their whole search experience will get significantly improved: Google will bring the risk of irrelevant search results close to zero.   How prepared are you to reconfigure all the ads on your website, your overall online advertising strategy?   4. Google Will Expand Its Use of Rich Cards in Search   In the name of an optimized search experience Google's complimented its snippets with rich cards. It did this last year in May, so no news here.   The news is that Google's strengthening its efforts for adding even more industries to its list of verticals included in its rich card results. And this might impact your business, too, more precisely: the way your brand gets listed in searches, before your future visitors' eyes.   Therefore, even if you're not operating in the movie industry, you don't organize online courses or run a restaurant, mind you don't leave this Google trend out of your sight!   These days Google might add your industry, too, to its list and then you'll be challenged to adapt, quickly!   Get yourself prepared by experimenting various pieces of content presenting your brand and “luring” users in, content that would go in the richer previews enabled by Google.   5. Google Will Favor Those Participating in Its AMP Project   Here's another strong signal that Google's moving at high speed towards mobile indexing!    We've already talked abut Google's Accelerated Mobile Page on this blog, but we'd still like to stress this project's importance.   It's Google's way of encouraging website owners/web developers to focus their efforts on perfecting the mobile web experience for their users.   Expect this open source initiative to become even more impactful in 2017!   And here is how you could benefit from getting involved in this “mobile-friendly environment creating” initiative that the AMP project aims at:   you improve your users' overall experiences on your mobile website (and this is definitely a benefit for you too: happy users= higher search ranking in Google) improved loading speed for your web pages, which, again leads to a better exposure in search results   6. Google Will Start Penalizing Unsecured Websites   It looks like it's “raining Google penalties” this month!    In addition to the pesky interstitials-related one, scheduled to come into effect on the 10th of January, Google will start to penalize websites that do not run on HTTPS secure browser connections.   Of course, not any sites, but those requiring all kinds of private details from their users: passwords, credit card details etc.   If your website falls into this category, here are the 2 major measures you should take lest you should start 2017 with a Google penalty:   install a certificate from a trusted vendor on your website  migrate all the traffic on your website from HTTP to HTTPS   Now that you've taken a peek into the future of SEO, that Google's drafting for you right now, it's up to you to incorporate all these impactful updates into your future digital marketing initiatives. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jan 13'2017
Adobe Spark Video: How to Create Powerful, Engaging Videos... The Easy Way
“Engaging” could easily be called “the word of 2016” in the digital world!   Everything you did, as a website owner, a website developer or a web designer in Toronto has been oriented towards (and will continue to be in 2017, too) getting your audience engaged, right?   Which have been your most efficient “tools” for keeping with your own audience “engaged”?   “Video” and “Visual storytelling!” Bravo! Correct answer!   It's been a while since Adobe allowed you to combine these two powers and to boost all your content marketing plans with the power of video-storytelling.   It brought you Spark Video: the app that helped you engage with your users, inspire them and motivate them through customized animated videos. They used to “tell” your story and therefore to pull your users into the world you created for them and to get your message conveyed to them far more easily.   Such powerful visual aimed at adding meaning and triggering emotions!   Now Adobe strikes again!   It announced on their blog a major update to Spark Video: enabling users to craft beautiful, powerful video clips (that will gradually replace the now “old” animated videos).   Say “Hello!” to a new era of video-storytelling!   Say “Hello!” to a new wave of traffic on your website and not just any type of traffic, but one made of loyal users, “seduced” by and committed to your brand thanks to "the power of video clips”.   Before we go on with the step-by-step guide on how you get to create video-clips in Spark Video, let's sum up, very briefly, what you've been able to create and to share with this app up to now (when it got seriously upgraded):   Animated videos featuring: icons  text narration                                               In a nutshell: you've been able to breathe life into your animated videos by adding all the features specific to immersive, interactive visual storytelling.   Now here's how you can flesh out stunning video-clips that will help you “lure” new users, bond with your users, engage them and keep them engaged to your brand, using Spark Video:   1. Add Your Video Clips Faster Than You Say “Spark”   Adding a new video clip is nothing but a sequence of two quick steps:              1. you first add a slide to your Spark Video projects               2. you browse through the video collection on your device and pick your target one   A way too tempting feature: as compared to “standard” video editors, using Spark Video you get to cut your video into a series of slides varying in duration times.     2. Make a New Point Over The Same Video Clip   How? Nice and easy: you simply click on the “continue” button and select a new slide, then you coat it with your visually-pleasing icon, with your compelling text and with narration and it's now that you can adjust the volume, too.   3. Trim It To Your Liking    Get the most out of Spark Video's one-touch trimming feature for customizing precisely those points where your video clip starts and ends.   4. Breathe Life Into Your Video Clip With Narration    It's now easier than ever to add voices to your video project: just tap on the record button and start telling your story to your audience. Next, with another quick tap you get to align the narration's length to the video's length.   Can you already predict your brighter future as Toronto web designer who's been “slaving away” to constantly come up with interactive and engaging web design? A type of design that should “tell” a meaningful story, one that should trigger emotions in the audience?   5. Craft The Desired Mood Through Music   “What possibly could be so engaging about a video clip with no music?” your users might ask themselves.    Therefore, add the background music, too, the one that will help you craft the right mood for your video's watchers.   How? Quick and easy: add either your preferred track saved on your device or pick one of the app's suggestions!   If you really want to go deeper with your video clip's customization through music, get this whole process even more refined: use Spark Video's mini-feature which allows you to highlight and therefore to draw your audience's attention to key moments of sound from your video clip.   Therefore, instead of getting overwhelmed by data forecasting VIDEO-s “dictatorship” in the digital world, you'd better embrace the future of the video: video clips!   Here's how this video-related data looks like now, at the end of 2016:   it's been proven that if you “upgrade” your landing page with a video your conversion rate will increase by 80% by 2019 video will represent up to 80% of global Internet traffic data proves that in just one month over 3 million small businesses shared a video on their Facebook accounts   So, how about taking the new Spark Video for a “test drive”?   Have some fun, try out all its new features and put together some sample videos clips so that you'll learn to master the upgraded Spark Video and to get the most out of its improved features by the time it becomes a huge trend in web design and development in 2017. ... 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Adrian Ababei / Dec 22'2016
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Let me guess: your whole work as a developer (and even more so if you're a front end developer) depends on and relies on NPM, the "Holly Grail" of JavaScript package managers!   How about Facebook's own (not that) recently released package manager?   Has it even stirred your attention, just to see what new features it comes equipped with and how/if it can improve your whole workflow? Or have you stubbornly overlooked it, sticking to your way too familiar, already tested JavaScript package manager?   But what if it actually helps you handle your Javascript files much faster (thus gaining time, which is gold especially when you're dealing with huge web projects)? What if it is more secured? What if you discover that it's a much more simplified version of the standard "monopolizing" NPM?   If you're willing to continue to handle your Javascript frameworks, libraries or plugins in the same familiar pace, no need to continue digging up more info about what Yarn can do for you.   But if you're not too afraid to test and eventually embrace innovation and if you're constantly looking for breakthroughs that could help you get even more efficient in your work, well, then here's why should start using Facebook's Yarn today:   1. Catching Mode   Imagine this scenario: you're trying to install a package that you already installed once, in the past, and your internet connection goes down!   Here Yarn comes to your rescue: it practically catches the packages that it downloads and this features allows it to it handle previously installed packages without internet connection.   Could you have imagined this when you were using NMP?   2.  Secure and Faster Installs   Security is vital when you're deploying lots of packages during the development process of a big web project!   Stay reassured: Yarn inspects every package's integrity for you, keeping your project protected from any corrupt package that you might need to install.   As for speed (and this is no "small" detail when you need to install lots and lots of JS packages), Yarn becomes a serious competition for NPM: depending on the packages' sizes it can turn an install into a matter of just a few seconds.   3. Registry Compatibility   Need to download a package from the NPM repository? Or maybe from Bower or other custom repo?   Yarn "spoils" you with registry compatibility. So, feel free to install and boost your web project with whatever JavaScript package you need!   4. Deterministic Install Algorithm   Bid farewell to machine specific bugs!    For Yarn uses lock files, which allows it to keep the same node_modules directories structure; it practically installs the same dependencies regardless of the types of development environments (that's right,Yarn allows you to install them across multiple machines) that you're installing your JavaScript packages in or of the order in which you install them.   Just imagine: same structure (node_modules directories) for all the "participants" in a large project; close to zero bugs that would otherwise replicate on multiple machines.   5. Improved Network Performance    On a scale of 1 to 5 how frustrated do you get when your package's installation fails more than 2 or 3 times in a row?   Good news: Yarn will make the whole process stress-free. How? It queues up, mitigates and constantly retries the failed requests, thus reducing the no. of installation failures.   Does This Mean We're Witnessing The End of NPM?   No, we're not, for one major reason: open-source projects don't work that way.    The whole community behind it (bringing together Facebook, Google, Exponent and Tilde engineers) see themselves as NPM contributors instead of "annihilators".    In a nutshell: Yarn is the proof of how a piece of code written so that it should address secific work scenarios better than the generally-used and proven “tool” can turn into a competitive new tool that other teams of developers can deploy, as well.   Note: there still are improvements to be made (but we're talking about Facebook here, so expect the team behind it to work hard to continuously perfect it) and making Yarn capable to help you handle private packages (its main limitation at the moment) is on top of the list!   How can get started with Yarn? Well, it's available on GitHub, under a BSD-2-clause license. Go get it, test it and share your thoughts in the comments bellow! We're more than curious what are your impressions about the new Yarn vs the conventional NPM "competition" (for developers' preferences) are. Happy Yarning!   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Dec 08'2016